Summary: The key to embracing the life of a Christ-follower is in embracing the way of Jesus. Self-denial was a key part of Jesus example, and it's how we are able to live most free.
Today is the 2nd message is a series where we’re looking at the subject of spiritual formation. Last week in a message called: “Desiring God”, we covered some of the basics of what spiritual formation is, how it is God who draws us to Himself, to seek Him and to give us the desire to come near to Him.
We talked about some of the basic practices of spiritual formation: The practice of listening to God as we pray, the practice of regularly gathering with other Christ-followers for worship and teaching and encouragement.
We talked about how reading and meditating on the Word of God, the Bible, becomes one of the beautiful and rewarding rhythms of our lives, and how we need to examine ourselves, to re-order our affections.
That’s so that in daily, practical ways, the Lordship of Jesus Christ shows itself in our decisions and in the things we start to care about, things that reflect God’s concerns and passion – for justice for this broken world, for healing and reconciliation between people and families and nations and many other things.
If you missed or want to review that message, you can find it on our Podcast page on the church web site, www.catm.ca.
Today we’re going to reflect, still on spiritual formation, but more to the point on one of the ABC's of following Jesus. What are the ABC’s? Well, they are the Attitudes, Behaviours and Character of Jesus.
Philippians 2 calls us to be LIKE Jesus, to reflect in our lives the Attitude, Behaviours and Character of Jesus. "May our attitude be as that of Christ..."
We’ll look at this passage and hopefully gain a sense of the ways in which Jesus Christ lived not for own interests, but rather for the interest of his Father. So we’re going to be talking a lot about Jesus today.
In order to live for His Father, He had to live, actually, NOT for Himself. In order to affirm the ways of God the Father, He made the choice, the commitment to deny His own rights.
Did you know that Jesus had rights as the Son of God. He is God the Son. Philippians 2 says this: Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
Jesus was in His very nature God, yet that fact, that reality didn't lead Him to assume privilege for Himself, or, as Paul says, being God wasn't something Jesus chose to use for His own advantage. Rather, Jesus denied Himself in the most amazing way imaginable. He 'made Himself nothing'.
That's a little bit like if you, [person in front row], somehow had the power to become an ant (photo) or actually an amoeba (photo), one of the smallest life-form that exists. You had the power. It was of no advantage of you personally to do it; none at all.
And yet in order to build a vital connection with the other amoebas you compress yourself to that humble size. You create a way to enter that world, tiny though it is compared to the world you’re accustomed to.
So perhaps imagining that ratio takes us nearer the ballpark, perhaps, of at least being able to imagine how much greater, how much bigger than us God is. And what Jesus accomplished by becoming a man and inhabiting human flesh.
7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Jesus, gave up His rights; again, not using His equality with God the Father as something that was for his own profit or gain or blessing, not for His own advantage. He didn’t do this in theory, in the abstract. He did this in action.
Jesus said “no” to one thing that benefited Him in order to say “yes” to another thing that extended benefit to others. He said “no” to privilege and position and His own state of full glory, in order to bring many sons and daughters to glory.
Jesus, the 2nd person in the Trinity, said ‘no’ to Himself and ‘yes’ to the One who is sent Him to us, God the Father. Jesus modelled self-denial - selflessness, unselfishness, self-sacrifice. The self-denial that Jesus calls us to is something that He first lived out.
Once, we’ve been drawn by God, to a decision to receive God's salvation through faith in the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, followed naturally by baptism, we are members of the church of Jesus Christ. Doesn't matter what church or denomination we belong to.