Friday, March 26, 2010

Rayburn on Philippians 2:1-4

Philippians 2:1-4 1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Paul’s argument runs like this. Look, if you are a Christian you must practice love and unity with other believers. It is the inevitable, the inexorable logic of your faith. You can’t argue that other believers don’t deserve your love, because you didn’t deserve Christ’s and yet he gave it to you! You can’t say that your interests are more important than theirs because Christ’s interests were certainly more important than yours, but he put your interests first. He had every right to look to his own interests and he looked to yours instead. You can’t say you love him if you don’t show yourself willing and ready to please him and he has said that what pleases him is to have his followers love one another. If you know the love of Christ, the glory of it, you can’t not love someone who also knows that love. You can’t look down on someone, you can’t hate someone, you can’t dismiss someone whom Christ loves as much as he loves you! Such a thing would be to dishonor the love of Christ, not to thank him for it and adorn it in your life. Christians can’t be selfish who have been saved from sin and death by infinite acts of selflessness.

There is an inescapable logic here and every true Christian knows it! As Augustine said of himself and his Christian friend Alypius, “we were washed in the same blood!” But every Christian is obliged not only to say that about every other Christian but then to treat the other accordingly. You love Christ when you love those Christ loves. He said that himself in many different ways and, had he never said it, we would still have known it to be so.

- Dr. Robert Rayburn (commenting on Philippians 2:1-4)


Rick Calohan said...

Tony, if we are to seek unity in Christ why is there so much divisiveness in the body of Christ. The theological divides in Christianity are such that the non-essentials seem to overshadow the essentials. I admit I have been guilty of this myself. So in your view what are the essentials that should unite us, what are the non-essentials that should not divides us, and what are the things that we should hold fast to as Reformed. (Don’t worry it is not a pop quiz and you won’t be judged by your answer) ; )

Reepicheep said...

Rick, you ask the ultimate ecclesiastical question.

I have come to believe organizational unity of the true Church of Christ will not be realized until the Head of the Church returns- the Lord Jesus.

I do think a certain unity between believers happens when there is agreement on the essence of the Gospel. To borrow the statement by "Together for the Gospel", I think we can see the very basics of what must be affirmed by people in order to enjoy unity (keeping in mind, it is God who gives the faith necessary to believe, so unity on this point is evidence of God's work)-

The Gospel is the joyous declaration that God is redeeming the world through Christ (Matt 1:21; Luke 1:68; Eph 1:7; Col 1:20), and that he calls everyone everywhere to repent from sin and trust Jesus Christ for salvation (Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38; 17:30).

Each of us has sinned against God (Rom 3:23), breaking his law and rebelling against his rule, and the penalty for our sin is death and hell (Rom 6:23). But because he loves us, God sent his Son Jesus (John 3:16; Eph 2:4; 1 John 4:10) to live for his people’s sake the perfect, obedient life God requires (Rom 8:4; 1 Cor 1:30; Heb 4:15) and to die in their place for their sin (Isa 53:5; Mat 20:28; 26:28; Mark 10:45; 14:24; Luke 22:20; John 11:50-51; Rom 3:24-25; 4:25; 1 Cor 15:3; 2 Cor 5:21; Eph 5:2; Heb 10:14; 1 Pet 3:18). On the third day, He rose bodily from the grave (Mat 28:6) and now reigns in heaven (Luke 22:69; 24:51; Heb 8:1), offering forgiveness (Eph 1:7), righteousness (Rom 5:19), resurrection (Rom 8:11), and eternal blessedness in God’s presence (Rev 22:4) to everyone who repents of sin and trusts solely in Him for salvation.

Woody Woodward said...

What an exciting Lord's Day is ahead of us.