Elder's Prayer - March 10, 2019
Please find below the notes from the Elder's Prayer this past Sunday.
My wife is diligent to instruct our children in Scripture memory. A few weeks ago, I was sitting in my dining room at home, dinner was over, the boys were clearing the table, they were loading the dishwasher, and my eldest son - who wasn’t getting the cooperation he thought he should be getting from his younger brother - was yelling at him a portion of some of these Bible verses…. He said, “Have this mind among yourselves which is yours in Christ Jesus! Who took the form of a servant, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death on a cross...!”
I’m not sure that his words of “encouragement” were perfectly motivating, but the principle is sound. Philippians chapter 2, beginning in verse 3.
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition 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. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:3-11)
These verses highlight humility and obedience toward God. These qualities being characteristics of our Servant-savior, Christ Jesus himself. And as a result of his being humbly obedient, God exalted him.
But what was the motivation for Christ’s humility? What was Jesus’ motivation for obedience? Was “exaltation” by God Christ’s sole motivation for obedience...?
Christ’s motivation for obedience was love. Paul tells the Philippians in the verse preceding these verses - verse 2 - “complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”
What mind did Christ have? What was Christ’s motivation for obedience and humility toward his Father? It was love.
Real obedience can only be borne of love. Genuine humility can only be borne of love. Obedience to God and humility of yourself to Him and to others can only come from love for God first.
Do you desire the “mind of Christ”? Do you desire the characteristics of obedience and humility toward God and others? Then you must first covet and cultivate the “mind of Christ” in yourself. You must first possess a deepening love for Christ and his Father. Love for God must be your motivation.
Father, in your sovereign wisdom, you displayed infinite love toward us when you created us, when you graciously and mercifully revealed yourself to us, and when you made us your children. How thankful we are to be counted as your very children!
As chosen and loved children of your own, produce within each of us an ever deepening love for yourself.
Make the significance of our own agendas small and nonexistent relative to your own. Align our desires and plans with your will.
Help us to consider others more significant than ourselves. And help us to consider their interests and their needs prior to our own.
Produce within us that “mind of Christ” - that “love for you” - which would result in a deepening love for others. Produce in us Christ-like, loving obedience to you and to the authorities you have placed over us, and give us attitudes of humility in our approach to you and to others.
Make us willing and eager servants of yourself and of others.
And make our actions so conformed to your will that others would see your name exalted in our lives. So that they might even bow to you in praise, giving you glory.
Make our own tongues confess Christ Jesus as our Lord - our Master and Savior - that God would be glorified and others’ attention would be pointed to him.
May our worship this morning continue with you as our focus, and may our lives outside of this building be consistent with the worship we give you today.
In Jesus name, Amen.