Monday, June 27, 2011

Week 11: Philippians 2:8-9

Philippians 2:8,9: And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
  1. Don't you just love how this passage abruptly ends at a climax?  Most of us know what's coming (and indeed, it's next week's section of memorization), but the Fighter Verse program chooses to cut off this week at verse 9.  How... peculiar.
  2. Building on last week's sections, we now turn to Jesus being human.  He gave up his Godhood for a while to become 100% Man.  As I mentioned last week, this was an enormous act of humility, and now verse 8 points out truly how humble Jesus became, insomuch that he willingly died.  Not only was His obedience to the point of death, but it was death on a cross.  This put Jesus in the curse of God (see Deut 21:23), though He was blameless and without sin.
    1. I marvel at His love for us.  He is an amazing God.
  3. God has highly exalted him.  Because of Jesus' obedience and sacrifice--voluntary actions born of love--God has highly exalted him.  Jesus, in turn, takes this honor and glorifies the Father.  This is somewhat a confusing relationship, since Jesus is part of the Trinity, and thus God and part of our worship.  Even so, Jesus takes this exaltation and points it to the Father.
  4. and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name.  Is this simply the name "Jesus," or is it something new that we will not know until we're in heaven?  I suppose it could be both, but I'm unsure.
This passage is exciting and awesome and wonderful and it just makes me want to post up next week's now, but I shall restrain myself.  If you can't wait, though, go on and read verses 10 and 11 and praise God when you're finished.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Week 10: Philippians 2:5-7

Philippians 2:5-7:  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
  1. This is one of those great verses that reiterates the fact that Jesus gave up his Godness to become fully man.  Yes, he was still 100% God, but he did not utilize that.  He did not even count equality with God a thing to be grasped.  Instead, Jesus became "nothing" by taking the form of a servant, one born of Man.  He suffered and loved everyone, counting himself lowly so God would be glorified.
    1. This passage again serves to remind us of how we should act if we are trying to be Christ-like.  Jesus was the ultimate servant and his humbleness is amazing.  We're expected to live with a humble attitude if we're going to be like the Savior.  This whole passage points to Jesus' humility (as do the next two memory verses), and we should keep this lifestyle in mind always.
Being humble is something many of us have problems with.  It goes completely against ourselves.  Too often we're willing to help others or be humble, but we have limits to how "low" we'll go.  Jesus had no limits.  He loved everyone, and took the ultimate shame by dying on the cross.  It's also interesting to see the dichotomy between Jesus and Satan here.  The devil is proud and exalts himself, while Jesus is humble and points all glory back to the Father. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Week 9: 1 John 2:15-17

1 John 2:15-17: Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions - is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of the Father abides forever.
  1. A stern and solid warning to not love the world or the things in it.  If we do, the love of the Father is not in us.  This is sobering and an excellent fighter verse, providing the clear and obvious truths we often seek in Scripture.  How much plainer can it get?
    1. What are the things that are in the world?  The desires of the flesh and eyes, as well as pride in possessions.  This tells us to not be selfish, but to deny ourselves.  By being selfless and giving--loving God and others, as it were--we will not yield to these desires.
    2. This is not talking about the people that are in the world, for we are to love them wholeheartedly.  Jesus didn't look at the woman at the well and turn her away, but He loved on her and gave her Living Water.  Likewise, we should be loving on the people of this world.  As Jesus said, He didn't come to save the righteous, but sinners.
  2. It's also a motivating set of verses, point blank saying that the world is passing away, with those that are lost in it.  This should fan the flame within us to go and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ around to all we can. 
  3. Whoever does the will of the Father abides forever.  This is such a simple tag at the end of these verses, yet it is profound.  In it we have the very key to eternal life.  How?  By doing the will of the Father.  How do we do that?  By following the two commandments Jesus called the greatest: love God with all our heart, soul, body, and mind, and love our neighbor as ourselves.  How do we love?  By professing Jesus as our Savior and walking in His ways.  What are His ways?  Seeking first the kingdom of God all for God's glory.  And that's the trump card.  Whatever we do, do it for the glory of God.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Week 8: Romans 8:1

Romans 8:1: There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.
  1. We are free from the chains of sin and this world and no longer guilty of our iniquities.  Why?  Because Jesus, God’s only son, took on the weight of our sins and was sacrificed to atone for them.  Where we once were condemned to death, Jesus instead took our places.
    1. How many of us live though as if we are free?  Too often we live in chains and in bondage, as if we are still condemned.  Condemned means "to be sentenced to a particular punishment, especially death."  We fail to see the liberty that Jesus has given us.  Without His sacrifice, God would be just in condemning us each to hell for our sins (Romans 3:23) for eternity.  Instead, the perfect, spotless Lamb of God willingly took on our sins and died so that we could have everlasting life.  This is staggering.  And those of us that live our lives as if we are condemned might as well be smacking Jesus in the face, saying yeah, your sacrifice was great, but really it's not enough for me.  We should all wake up and bow down to God, thanking Him for His love and mercy, for lifting our condemnation, for giving us life and reason and joy.
    2. I read a very poignant passage in Job over the weekend.  Job's friend Elihu shows up and eloquently praises God.  In Job 36:8-12, he talks about people being bound in chains and ultimately dying by the sword and without knowledge.  Jesus has broken all chains that bind us, freeing us (Galatians 5:1,13), giving us liberty so that we can live a life that glorifies Him.  We're not to be bound to anything, and we have this freedom because of what Jesus did.  There is no condemnation for us.  Let's live like that and see how the world changes.
  2. to those who are in Christ Jesus.  There is still condemnation for those without the blood of Jesus.  While He died for the sins of all, many do not accept His sacrifice, tragically, and condemn themselves to an eternity outside of God’s presence.
I really, really like the book of Romans a lot.  If you've not read it in a while, I encourage you to do so and be blown away by the love of God.  Also, if you're living life in bondage, floundering around in fear or indecisiveness, I encourage you to pick up Kevin DeYoung's Just Do Something (my review is here).  This short and potent book is a game-changer that I wish many American churchgoers would read.