Friday, May 09, 2008

I've Encountered Some Thoughts Worth Pondering

There are some thoughts that I have come across regarding life in Christ, and the life of Christ--they aren't my own thoughts, so I'm not taking credit for them, but I love them, I don't think they should be missed by anyone, whether you consider yourself a Christian or not:

Let us remember that this present life on earth is the worst things will get for the believer. But for the unbeliever this present life will be the best they will ever experience. (1)

Sounds good for the believer, but the unbeliever should take warning. Think a minute...

Then, the next two thought provokers that I encountered in a sermon, that seemed related in their stark contrasting nature similar to the thought above, are in the following. The pastor who gave the sermon is relating the premise that selfishness is the biggest killer of unity in the church, and just how selfless Jesus was in becoming human for us (barely even touching upon the fact that His death on the cross was pretty central to it!):

(Quoting Philippians 2:5-6)
"'Have this attitude in yourself which was also in Christ Jesus, who although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance like a man, He humbled Himself becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.' That is the mindset that he wants us to put on. We have before us an example of what is known as the humility of we have before us...the humility of Christ, His coming down as man, and being made a curse for man, and that's our example...of not being selfish, of being in unity...Turn to Genesis 3, please...what is Paul trying to tell us with this contrast? 'He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, even though He was equal...' 'The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."'
"...What does the first man on earth do? 'I'm gonna do this because I will be like God.' Christ being God, knowing God's will and wanting to do God's will, even though He is God and equal with God, says, 'I don't want to be like that because it would be against God's plan'...see, the first Adam did regard equality with God a thing to be grasped..."
"Now we as humans may not see how low Christ came. When Christ came down as a human, we of course are humans, and we have a very hard picture, because we're...not God, to truly appreciate God taking the form of man. We have no idea what it's like to be God...we've never been face-to-face with an angel that you know of or God, it's very hard to get the concept that Someone sunk down to that form. But He has done two things...He emptied Himself, made Himself of no reputation; and He humbled Himself...Christ being in glory, full-blown in Heaven, stoops to the very low, to a filthy earth, to the place of sin, and leaves Heaven in all its glory, He sets aside His glory, He empties Himself from being Lord of all the world, the Sovereign, who takes the form of flesh, and a slave, a bondservant, a low slave at that, that would need to be obedient to His own laws. You see that the picture Paul is painting here is of perfect self-denial...the fact that He was made human was humiliation all by itself...Our human nature never looked so good as the day that Christ took it. The fact that Jesus took on flesh brought on to human flesh heights to which it had never been, to heights way above's never been exalted that high...I'll tell you something, the greatest exaltation of human flesh by Christ's incarnation was the greatest humiliation that Christ could perform..." (2)

Yeah. I enjoyed having that put into words that I could ponder.

1: Thomas Ice, "Some Glorious and Incomparable Promises of the Bible," Pre-Tribe Perspectives, Vol. 8, No. 10, Feb. 2004, p. 5. (That wasn't where I found it--I saw it without the credit given, and found the source online.)
2: Daniel Urroz, How to Kill Church Unity All By Yourself, a sermon,

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