Sunday, January 2

For the First Sunday of the New Year

How about a hymn full of prayerful resolutions?
May the Mind of Christ My Savior

May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.

May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
This is victory.

May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.

---Kate B. Wilkinson

The featured sermon has to do with having the mind of Christ, too. The Incarnate Humility of Jesus is a sermon preached by Rev. Geoff Thomas of the Alfred Place Baptist Church of Aberystwyth, UK. The text is Philippians 2:7,8, which speaks of Christ
"taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!"
Rev. Thomas says that Christ is our role model:
The Lord Jesus Christ has left us who are his disciples the great example whom we are to follow. He is God's great definition of a man - the 'proper man' as Luther called him. That is why we have this section in this letter. The church at Philippi was being threatened by division, fragmentation and vain-glory. That worldly spirit was ruining the fellowship, and so Paul is appealing to our Lord as the divine role model for them: "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus" he says in the fifth verse. Then he reminds them particularly in which ways they are to emulate Christ: it is not in his power to turn water into wine or raise the dead but in his self-abasement, "who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing" (vv. 6&7). This great statement of the incarnation of the Son of God Paul is bringing to bear on the members of the Philippian congregation. Most of them let it be known that they were aware of their exact status in the church, the founding members knew that they had been there first. The wealthy slave owners knew that they had power. The elders knew that they ruled the church. Others were missionaries or deacons. The groups of women knew their place. Everyone knew his place.

Spurgeon once said something like this, that in class-ridden England a five pound note will not speak to a pound coin, and a pound coin will not notice a 20 pence piece, and a 20 pence will sneer at a 5 pence, and 5 pence will not acknowledge the existence of a penny. It should not be so with Christians, he said. Paul is addressing these tensions in Philippi and he takes their sniffiness about their station and their rank pleading with them that they might be like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose, doing nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility considering others better than themselves. It is to encourage such an attitude that the apostle reminds them of what Jesus Christ did. He speaks in the loftiest terms of the Son of God. Let us look at three more of the great acts of Jesus.
The three things Christ did are these:


Rev. Thomas concludes:
This Christ is the role model for every Christian. If you are in him you must be like him - that is Paul's exhortation. This is one who turned his back voluntarily and deliberately on all that hinted at the breaking forth of the eternal glories of God. So I dare not insist on my rights because he refused to. I cannot refuse to be a servant among my brothers and sisters because he was not. I cannot forego humiliation and loss because he did not. "He recognized no limit to the extent to which his obedience to God in self-humbling must go. Whatever he found in himself to be expendable, he spent. While anything that was left which could be poured forth, he poured it forth. Nothing was too small to give, or too great. This is the mind and the life which is commended to us by the example of Christ" (J. A. Motyer, "The Richness of Christ," IVP, London, 1966, p.85).

So we are of the same mind, having the same love. We refuse to look to our own interests, but we are very concerned for the interests of others. Costly love. Hurting love. Golgotha love. Servant love. The world is to see that love in the Christian community, and that is to make its own impact on them.
Read the whole sermon, which includes careful explanations of those three central points here.

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