The Power of Grace Ministries

February 24

Possible the greatest downfall of Christianity today is that the belief of self-first has crept into our society. You may call it self-preservation, but the true concept is situational ethics which is simply a selfish way of looking at life, “What may be considered ethical at the time for you does not necessarily apply to me”. Paul had the same issue in his day when he found no one likeminded to tend to his beloved church in Philippi.  

Philippians 2:19-22
“19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel.

               

We can learn a great deal from the life of Paul.  Even in his daily actions he purposes to not get ahead of the Holy Spirit.  His desire would probably be to send Timothy immediately to Philippi, but is seeking Jesus for the correct timing.  As an Apostle, and according to his previous verses, he loves the people of Philippi because they have come out of Pagan bondage into a walk worthy of Jesus.  Remember he could not just pick up a phone and call someone and even letters could take weeks and depended on a trusted friend for the delivery.  There was not a mail system like we take for granted.  Even at the writing of this letter, Paul is aware that some may have fallen away, but looks forward to hearing in person from his son in the spirit Timothy, regarding the state of the church in Philippi.  When an Apostle, Evangelist, Pastor, or Teacher sows seeds into the lives of people on a consistent basis the sharing of the word builds an agape love for the ones that are hearing the word. And this is the very thing we see in these verses; Paul’s’ deep love and concern for the people he sowed into.

                Verse 20 & 21 are sad statements, but ones not too different from today.  I wish I could say that United States Christians do not fall into this category, but as a country we do.  For starters the majority of US citizens are not bible believing Christians.  Many say they are Christians, but their voice, actions, and church attendance tells a different story.  Those that are bible believing Christians have managed to get themselves Born Again, but many stop there.  There seems to be a, me and mine attitude.  So how can I make such a strong statement?  For starters Matthew records Jesus as saying, wherever your treasure is so is your heart, Matthew 6:21.  The synonym for this statement is a person “will” lay their treasure, “money” where their heart is.  According to a Charisma Magazine article just a couple of years ago, the latest study of tithes brought into the church as a whole in United States shows less than 10% of the people attending or belonging to Christian churches tithe.  Ouch! That means 90% of the population that claims to be a Christian does not give the minimum of 10% of their income into their church or any ministry.  There is no reason other than doubt in the word of God for this type of action.  God’s word is very clear that if we bring our tithes into the store house God will bless us abundantly, Malachi 3:10.  The other area Christians are missing it in the US is caring for others.  The like mindedness Paul is referring to IS NOT a cultic statement demanding everyone to think and act alike.  Some Churches lean in that direction and the evidence is clear in their mannerisms.  The like mindedness Paul is referring to is to be like minded with the mind of Christ.  We are called to spread the gospel and just telling someone they will go to hell if they do not change and turn to Christ is not spreading the gospel.  That is spreading the condemnation which creates bitterness in the hearer.  Christians are more prone to spreading the “gossip” than they are the gospel.  The only way to truly spread the gospel of Jesus Christ is to invest your time, life, and energy into people to help them find their own walk with Jesus.  That is seeking the things of Christ, telling the world about His precious gift to all who will believe.

                But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel.  This verse is the greatest complement a person could receive; to have your character proven and known as a man or woman of God.  This is a person that has both understood and taken up the mantel to commission with Jesus to spread His good news.  To take on the mind of Christ is to fulfill the second commandment.  Luke 10:25-37 is the picture of the mind of Christ that Christians seem to miss. The key to having the mind of Christ is to be like Timothy was; to be selfless.  Here he was a young man that could have been making his own way in the world, but chose the things of God and serving people over serving himself.  For a follower of Christ to love his neighbor as himself is the fulfillment of the second commandment.  For a person to love himself over his neighbor, makes for a very small person.  Do you live to spread the gospel, do you live for Christ Jesus, if someone were to watch you over any period of time would they see you reaching out in kindness to everyone you cross paths with?  Would they see you caring for those less fortunate than you?  Would they see you spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ?  Would you be considered a fellow worker with Paul?