Let’s Live To Please Jesus

Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

Philippians 2:2-5 Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…

Lifeway Research, one of our Southern Baptist Resources, released a mid-pandemic study May 2021 on the state of the Church in the United States. The study noted that prior to the pandemic “In 2019, approximately 3,000 Protestant churches were started in the U.S., but 4,500 Protestant churches closed…” The information did not just come from the Southern Baptist denomination, but analyzed “congregational information from 34 denominations and groups representing 60% of U.S. Protestant churches to arrive at the church plant and closure numbers for 2019”. In 2014 there were more openings than closings of Churches, but in 2019 the trend reversed.

The American Church is experiencing a demise, though we live in a place of amazing freedoms. However the early Church GREW in a hostile Roman and Jewish world.

Christians were not only persecuted by the Roman Empire for the first 300 or so years that the Church started, but the Jewish religious authorities actively sought out and persecuted Christians as members of a cult. The term “Christian” was not a compliment. The Bible says:

Acts 11:26 … the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

An article in Relevant Magazine entitled “Where The ‘Christian’ Name Really Came From” notes:

“The early Church never called themselves Christians. In the Bible, the title most often used was “saints.” … The Greek word for “saints” is “hagios” which means “consecrated to God, holy, sacred, pious.” It is almost always used in the plural—“saints.” This reflects not just the individual but the connection to a group of people set apart for the Lord and His Kingdom. … the name “Christian” was given somewhat flippantly or even derogatively by these powers-that-be—a sort of dismissive wave of the hand to those “little Christs.” Technically, the ending “-ian” means “belonging to the party of,” so “Christians” meant those of Jesus’ party. … After Acts 11:26 the word “Christians” is used only two other times in the New Testament: in Acts 26:28 (by Agrippa, an unbelieving King that applied the name he knew as an outsider) and 1 Peter 4:16 (in the context of being oppressed in wider society under that given name). In each reference, the emphasis, inherent in the original Greek, is on the fact that people from outside the faith recognized Christians as a distinct group”.

The Early Church Lived To Please Christ

In the early Church “Christians” lived so as to please Christ. This made them appear weird or “peculiar”. This is what God expects of His people. He told Israel:

Exodus 19:5 … if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people {the rest of the world}

Jesus gave His life for us that we might be peculiar. The Bible says:

Titus 2:14 {Jesus} gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

The early Christians were blamed for social unrest. The Great Fire of Rome (July 19, 64 A.D.) was blamed on Christians. From PBS:

“Nero himself blamed the fire on an obscure new Jewish religious sect called the Christians, whom he indiscriminately and mercilessly crucified. During gladiator matches he would feed Christians to lions, and he often lit his garden parties with the burning carcasses of Christian human torches.”

Why was the Church so persecuted? Because the early Church was NOT like the world. We are to be “light”, distinctly different from “darkness”(Matthew 5:14-16)

Jesus said in Luke 12:51-53 (ESV) Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.

Jesus again said in John 8:12 (ESV) … I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

And once more, our Lord decreed in John 12:46 (ESV) I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

Every early Christian understood the Gospel of Christ. If you ask the average professing Christian today what the “Gospel” is, most will give you a half-answer. What you are likely to hear is:

“The Gospel means I have received Jesus Christ as Savior. He died for my sins. Because I believe in Jesus, I will not go to hell one day, but I’ll go to Heaven.”

This is what most professing Christians believe the word “Gospel” means. But this is not the whole Gospel.

The Forgotten Part Of The Gospel Is That
The Saved Are To Please God, Not Man

Philippians 2:2 Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind

• As Christians we are to first of all bring God joy. As God the Son Jesus brought the Godhead joy.

This should be our focus. We should desire to please Him with the lives that we live. After all, God suffered immensely to offer us salvation. God suffered by laying down His crown, and by stepping down from His Throne in Heaven to become a part of His own creation. The Scripture tells us of Jesus that:

Philippians 2:6-7 Who {Jesus}, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Jesus was “being in the form of God”. The word translated “form” is the Greek μορφή morphḗ, {pronounced mor-fay’}, which means Jesus is equal to God. Jesus is not only equal to God, but Jesus openly declared Himself equal to God. We read:

John 10:30-33 (ESV) {Jesus said} “I and the Father are one.” 31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

Jesus is God. Jesus took the holiest Name of God, the name God gave to Moses “I AM” (Exodus 3:14), and applied that holy Name to Himself:

John 8:57-59 (ESV) … the Jews said to {Jesus}, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

Jesus is God. The Jews sought to stone Jesus because they thought He violated the Law (see Leviticus 24:16) when He presented Himself as God in the flesh. It would be a lie for me to say “I am God”, for I am not. But it was no lie for Jesus to say “I am God” because He is. The early Apostles believed Jesus is God. The Apostle Paul told the Pastors at Ephesus:

Acts 20:28 (ESV) Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

Jesus is God. Jesus Christ, God the Son, shed His blood for His Church. When the Apostle Thomas saw the resurrected Jesus, he called Jesus “My Lord and My God” (John 20:28). Jesus did not correct Thomas. The Apostle Peter called Jesus God when he wrote:

2 Peter 1:1 (ESV) … of our God and Savior Jesus Christ

Jesus is God. But what does God the Father say about Jesus?

Hebrews 1:8 (ESV) … of the Son {The Father} says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.

When Jesus walked this earth, He was often worshiped – something that no human should receive (see Matthew 2:11; 14:33; 28:9, 17; Luke 24:52; John 9:38). Jesus NEVER stopped anyone from worshiping Him, but received worship as His due. Yet Jesus lowered Himself. Though fully God the Son, Jesus “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men”. What did Jesus do after this?

Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, {Jesus} humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Jesus did two things. “He humbled Himself”. Though God, with all the rights and privileges of God, He set aside those rights. He “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”. Jesus was shamed, willingly shamed, so that we who believe in Him could be saved.

• As Christians, we are commanded to be “like minded”, to have the mind of Christ.

Philippians 2:2 Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love…

We are supposed to love like Jesus loved. The Lord told us that the great Commandment of God is:

Matthew 22:37-40 (ESV) … “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

God commands that His Creation love Him above all else, and that as His Creation we love others the way that we want to be loved. This is God’s standard for every part of His creation. The problem in the world today is that – as God’s Creation – we love OURSELVES more than we love God. We also love OURSELVES to the exclusion of others. How many times have you heard on television:
“YOU do YOU”
“Be true to YOURSELF”

In the words of a popular song called “You Do You”:

Who it is that you want me to be? I can’t be
I can only do me
I can only go where life takes me
Now who it is that you want me to be? I can’t be
I can only do me
I can only be how god made me, yeah
You do you and I’ll do me
Together we’ll make harmony
Together we’ll make the world go ’round

That’s what the world believes,
“You do you, and I’ll do me”.

What does Jesus command of His followers? Not “You do you, and I’ll do me”. Jesus teaches us to be like HIM, to do as HE did. We are to be “be like minded, having the same love” that Jesus had. What did our Lord do?

Jesus went to the Cross because He loved us more than He loved Himself. Jesus died an excruciating death for our salvation because He loved God the Father more than He loved Himself.

When Jesus called people to His side, He demanded that we “follow Him”. Jesus said to His Church:

John 13:34-35 (ESV) A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

Jesus gave us the GREAT Commandment (love God with our all) and the SECOND GREAT Commandment (love others the way you want to be loved). But then Jesus gave those whom He saved ANOTHER Commandment, a NEW Commandment, which is:

“love one another: just as I have loved you”

Jesus, loving us, willing went to a humiliating and horrifying death. Jesus, loving us, gave up every right that He had. Jesus did not follow the narcissistic mantra of our age, “You do You”, but Jesus did “I die for you”. Jesus’ death was not empty and useless, but His sacrifice made it possible for us to be one with God. To make sure we get this, Jesus repeated the command:

John 15:12 … This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

We are to love as Jesus loved, even if we are hated for it. Jesus said “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19). The world will despise you, dear Christian, but you must continue to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) no matter how that truth is perceived.

Matthew 5:44-45 (ESV) Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.

As Jesus, the Son of God emptied Himself to save us, we are to empty ourselves to save others – even if we are hated. We are to love as Jesus loved.

We are to stand firm in what the Bible affirms as true, but are not to lower ourselves down to the “I’ll just do me” mentality. The Scripture orders us to “Bless those that persecute you, bless and do not curse them” (Romans 12:14). We are commanded to “not repay evil for evil … but bless, THAT YOU MAY OBTAIN A BLESSING” (1 Peter 3:9). As Christians we are not to back away from the Bible, but are to BE the Bible. “Do not be overcome by evil, but OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD” (Romans 12:21).

Church, We’ve Got To Do SOMETHING

As our nation gets darker and darker, and as common sense seems to be dead, I hear Christians and Pastors and Churches saying, “We’ve got to do SOMETHING”. Then the leaders in the Church begin to take some type of action – generally the wrong one.

Illustrate A woman was relaxing in her home one day when she saw a black snake slither into the room. Shrieking, she jumped up as the snake slid under the sofa. Running to the bathroom, she interrupted her husband’s shower to tell him to get that snake out of my house! The husband came out of the shower, wrapped a towel around his waist, and headed toward the couch with a broom. Poking around under the sofa, the family dog came in to see what the fuss was all about. Nuzzling the master’s foot with his cold nose, the man thought the snake had bitten him – and he fainted. The wife called an ambulance, and the attendants put the husband on a stretcher to carry him to the hospital. About that time the confused and frightened snake slithered out from under the couch. One of the ambulance attendants saw the snake, and with a yell dropped the stretcher, breaking the patient’s leg. In the midst of the confusion the snake quickly slithered out of that madhouse. There were better places to be!

Church, we do have to do “something”. If the Church is to survive, we MUST do what the Scripture commands. We must love like Jesus loved.

Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory …

God’s standard for His Church – the gathering of Christ’s believers – is ZERO TOLERANCE for “strife” or “vainglory”. We all know what “strife” is – it is fighting. King Solomon wrote,

Proverbs 20:3 (ESV) It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.

The Air Force Mission Came FIRST: It is a FOOL or a LOST PERSON that seeks quarrels. In the Air Force we learned that our mission was to protect this country. We worked TOGETHER to get the mission done. The Church must work TOGETHER to get the mission done. The Scripture says, “A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating” (Proverbs 18:6). James, the stepbrother of Christ, wrote,

James 4:1 (NLT) What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?

Word Study: The word translated “vainglory” is the Greek κενοδοξία kenodoxía, {pronounced ken-od-ox-ee’-ah}, which means “empty glorying or self promotion, self conceit”. It was Lucifer who first illustrated kenodoxía when – looking at himself in comparison to the other angels, said “I will ascend above the clouds of Heaven; I will be like the Most High God” (Isaiah 14:14). We are not supposed to be like the devil. We who are saved are to be Children of God. We who are saved are to be like Jesus.

Philippians 2:3-4 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

“esteem others better than ourselves”
Is the direct opposite of “
YOU do YOU”.

The English Standard Version renders this scripture,

“in humility count others more significant than yourselves”

Jesus considered us “more significant” than Himself. We are to do the same with our fellow believers. You see, I by myself can do little. Yes, I can do some good for God. But I cannot do the same amount of good unless I band together with other believers who will be like Jesus. When I decide to bind myself together with the Church, not as “me doing me” but as “me doing Jesus”, the more of us there are, the more good we can do.

Humble Love Is Proof Of Life

When Jesus humbled Himself to the death of the Cross, Jesus was proved to be the Messiah.

Philippians 2:8-11 … being found in fashion as a man, he humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

How do we know that Jesus Christ is THE Messiah, and there are no others? Because Jesus Christ humbled Himself unto death to save us. There were many who professed to be Messiah when Jesus walked the earth, and many profess this today. But only Jesus did what the Messiah was supposed to do. He laid His life down for our salvation (John 10:11, 15, 18). Jesus did NOT do “you do you”. Jesus died for you, and for me.

You are sons & daughters of God because you have partnered with Jesus in God. Proof of your sonship is that you lay your life down for others as the Master did. You CANNOT follow “You do You” and be saved!

Philippians 2:12-13 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

If you are saved, you are saved to be like Jesus. If you are saved, you are called to follow the same marching orders that Jesus had. Are you? The Scripture is clear. Follow the Lord Who saved you. Be like Him in behavior. Do not be like the world. May God the Holy Spirit touch your hearts through this, His blessed Scripture. Amen and amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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