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Philippians 2:5-11-In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

If you have missed the last two weeks, I encourage you to go to our website and read the transcripts or to get on our social media and watch the video recordings.  God is helping us line up our lives with Him.  This is the theme for us in 2023, living in alignment.  That reminds me of a joke:  I told my chiropractor that my spine was already in alignment, but he proved me wrong.  (Next Slide) Now I stand corrected.  I hope as we hear the Word of God and apply it to our lives that we still stand corrected, that we will stand taller for Jesus, that we will stand in ways that honor the Lord.

The Apostle Paul begins these verses by talking about our relationships with one another.  He said in verse 5, “In your relationships with one another…” The point I want to make out of the shoot is this:  When you live in alignment with Jesus, it will impact your relationships with other people.

If it doesn’t, I would have to question if you are in alignment with Jesus or have truly been impacted by Him because life with Jesus changes everything.  The way you communicate, the way you respond, the attitude with which you approach people, the love that fills your heart for others, the way you view people’s brokenness and need, the desire you have to lift others, to bring peace to others…all of that changes when you are truly aligned with Jesus.  

Verse 5, about our relationships with others, is really the summation of verses 1-4 where Paul says, Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-mindedhaving the same love, (the same love as Jesus had) being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Alignment with Jesus should move us to becoming “others-centered.”  Our phrase, “You Matter Here,” isn’t just a cute marketing slogan meant to draw people in.  It is what we perceive is a core value of Jesus. People matter to Jesus.  The closer we draw to Him, the more others matter to us. Your prayer life will become focused not only on your own needs, but also on the needs of others.  Your time will be spent not just on meeting your own needs, but also on meeting the needs of others.  Jesus enables us to live an others-centered life in a self-centered world.  In other words, when you are Christ-centered, you will become others-centered.

Did you pick up that being aligned with Jesus will produce a Jesus-kind of love in you?

What is a Jesus-kind of love?  We read in I Peter 1:22, “Love one another deeply.”  Peter isn’t referring to a level of feeling, necessarily, but he is talking about a certain way of behaving.  What does it mean to love people the way Jesus does?  A Christlike love will seek someone’s highest good no matter the personal cost to one’s-self. It’s sacrificial.  His, is a love that doesn’t depend on whether someone loves Him back. It’s unconditional. It’s a love that isn’t dependent on whether someone has sinned against Him. His love provides a covering for sin.  His love extends grace to all who fall short of the glory of God which is all of us. His love brings people to God.  It brings people into the Kingdom.

A Jesus-kind-of-love is completely different from a worldly-kind-of-love. His, is a kind of love that goes out of its way for people who don’t deserve to be treated lovingly.  Loving your enemies demonstrates that you are aligned with Jesus.  Forgiving people who have hurt you is a way to express that you are aligned with Jesus.  Going out of your way for others is a way to express that you are aligned with Jesus.

If you are properly aligned with Jesus, your life will demonstrate a willingness to love people the way He did. If you have made a commitment that you are “done” with someone you deem an enemy, if you can’t bring yourself to pray for them and want God’s best for them, you need to check your alignment with Jesus.  If you have declared you will “never forgive someone for what they have done to you,” you aren’t properly aligned with Jesus.  If you can’t be bothered or inconvenienced to help someone in need, you need to confess that you are out of alignment with Jesus.

Back to our Philippians 2 text…Verse 5 again, In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.  Paul helps us understand that alignment with Jesus involves an “aligned mind.”

God not only wants to save your soul, to cover your sin, but He wants to transform your life.  There is no transformed life without a transformed mind.  I often quote Romans 12:2 about how we need to offer our minds to Jesus so that He can transform our way of thinking. Next to John 3:16, Romans 12:1-2 may be the most helpful passage to ingest because until we think like Jesus, we won’t act like Him.  We won’t change what we do until we change what we think.

Our minds need to sync up with Him and with His desires.  We need to think about sin and holiness the way He does.  We need to view our trials and tribulations the way He does.  We need to look at opportunities and challenges with His eyes.  What if you just took the next seven days and prayed each day, “God, give me the mind of Christ so that I can do the things He did and does?”  We can’t accomplish the things Paul challenges us to live out in Philippians 2 without a transformed mind.  People are too difficult.  Life is too hard.  We need the mind of Christ in order to see beyond the circumstance and into the spiritual realm where God is at work.

Romans 8:5-6Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Are you aligned with the flesh and its desires or are you aligned with the Spirit?  What you get into alignment with will govern the way you live your life and will govern the way you experience life. Is your mind being shaped by Jesus?  Do you have abundant life and peace?

Colossians 3:1-3-Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

You have a decision about where you will place your mind.  Dwell on, meditate on the Word and worship.  Set your mind on things that are positive and true.  That “you died” phrase means you died to your will when you aligned your life with Jesus’ life.  It means you died to the ways of the world when you aligned yourself with Jesus.  That means you can’t continue to think the way you thought pre-Jesus.  You have to set your mind on higher things than your flesh and this world. Your mind has to agree with God’s thoughts about your new life in Him.

His life is your life when your heart AND your mind are properly aligned with His.

So, alignment with Jesus will move us to becoming others-centered and it will also produce a transformation in our mind.  Third, alignment with Jesus involves an “aligned identity.”  Look again at verse 6 of our text.

Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Jesus was fully God and fully human at the same time. That is hard to wrap your mind around and is a concept we can’t logically work out.  It is what Scripture tells us.  If knowing God was based on human logic that we could attain and fully understand our God would be far too small to save us.  Jesus was fully God and fully human.  We accept that by faith.  His Divinity never compromised His humanity and vice versa.

Jesus made Himself nothing in the world’s estimation.  He could have played the God-card on the daily, shutting down all kinds of difficulty and drama that came His way, but He only admitted or declared God-status on a handful of occasions.  For our sake, He laid aside His divinity to possess and fully embrace a human status in order to bring rescue to all of humanity.

Let me be clear.  Jesus always knew who He was.  He didn’t have some-kind-of amnesia when He came to earth, forgetting what the halls of Heaven looked like, forgetting how He created everything from the beginning, forgetting how He and the Father and Spirit all had been working together to impact human history.  Jesus was in very nature God, but He didn’t use His God-status for His advantage, rather He fully used His human status for our advantage.

What a stunning realization.  He descended from Heaven so that we could one day ascend to Heaven, and He descended to earth so that we could live a heavenly existence on earth.  Jesus lowered Himself so that we could be lifted from the drag and destruction of sin. And Paul says He didn’t just take on the nature of a Walstreet Executive or a CEO of a big-time company and come to earth to throw His weight around, but He took on the nature, the form of a servant.  Y’all, Jesus was doing “Undercover Boss” long before CBS thought it up!  Jesus could serve, He could stoop, He could humble himself to help others because He knew WHO He was.  I am just going to go ahead and connect the dots for you on this point.  Here it is: When you are secure in your identity, you can do what God asks you to do no matter how lowly the ask might seem to the world.  The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Mighty God became the servant of humanity.

Do you know why Jesus didn’t need to defend Himself and give an answer for every question that was asked of Him?  It’s because He knew who He was.  He was secure.  He was confident in God’s plan and confident in God’s timing for the execution of that plan.  Do you know why Jesus didn’t create havoc for people who created havoc for Him?  It’s because He knew who He was at all times.  Jesus didn’t have to prove something or promote anything except the Father’s will.  That was the result of a secure identity.

Believer, when you align yourself with Christ you will be given an identity that cannot be taken from you.  You gain a royal status when you walk with Jesus, and no one can thwart God’s good purposes for your life.  No one can take away your victory.  You can serve securely knowing who you are and whose you are.  Your value and worth aren’t diminished when you serve others.  In fact, your humble service becomes proof of your royal identity.  Do you understand that Christians are part of an upside-down kingdom?  It’s those who serve who are elevated and given favor.  Those who are last become first, Matthew 20:16. Because of the way He served, Jesus was elevated to the highest place and was given the name above every name, Philippians 2:9. 

Jesus was the G.O.A.T., the greatest of all time, because He was the greatest servant who ever lived.  He told His disciples in Matthew 20:26, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.”  People who are truly aligned with Jesus will be servants of others.  You are never more like Jesus than when you are suffering or serving.  He did them both with great joy in His heart.  Achieving, attaining a worldly status might be the way to be seen by man, but serving is the way to be seen by God.  Favor with God will take you exponentially further than favor with man, and it may just get you both. Don’t just align your life with Jesus in a moment of time, but align your life with Jesus for the course of your life.  He was a servant.  Follow in His footsteps.

Fourth and finally, alignment with Jesus involves an aligned purpose. Jesus came to die.  The salvation of the world would not be accomplished had Jesus not fulfilled the purpose for which He had come to earth. Philippians 2:8, “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”

When you are others-centered, when you have the right mindset, when you know who you are, you can faithfully execute God’s plan for your life. Most of us aren’t called to die a physical death in order to serve the purpose of God for our life, but we were all created to fulfill a purpose.  I truly believe the abundant life that Jesus promised us is tied to us discovering and fulfilling that purpose.  Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.” John 4:34  Jesus lived to accomplish the Father’s will.  Do we have that same focus?  He didn’t want to do something half-way or half-hearted.  He was going to fully complete the task. 

God’s will for your life will be different from God’s will for my life, but each of us has the same opportunity to align with Jesus in that we can make doing God’s will for our life our highest aim.  I don’t want to live a random life.  I don’t want to wander through life.  I don’t want to just bide my time until my time to move to Heaven arrives.  I want to accomplish what God has purposed for me to accomplish.  On my Facebook “intro” about me, I have this posted:  Happy to know God and to have discovered why I am here.  I mean every word of that statement.  It is because I have hitched my life to His, because I have yoked up with Him, that my life has meaning and purpose.  Because I have aligned my life with His life, I have a track to run on.  I get up excited for each day.  I have something beyond mundane and routine to accomplish.  I am living a life of adventure because of the purpose that alignment with Him has given me.

Discovering the will of God takes intention and effort. When was the last time you prayed, “Show me Your will for my life, Lord?” My guess is that each of us knows something God would desire for us to be doing right now for Him that we aren’t accomplishing.  What is that about?  How can we come into alignment with Him in those areas?  Some of you need to be saved.  You are outside of the will of God for your life in this moment because the Bible says it is His will that none should perish, II Peter 3:9.  You can’t accomplish your life’s purpose in an unsaved condition.  Getting right with God is the first step to getting right which will lead to getting life right which ultimately involves living out your purpose. 

If there is something you know to do because you know it is God’s will for you, don’t put it off.  Don’t leave here unsaved.  Don’t leave here mad at your spouse or your neighbor or an extended family member.  Don’t leave here with unconfessed sin in your heart and life. Make the decision to have whatever conversation, to make whatever visit, to change whatever habit, to address whatever circumstance that you know God has already said needs to happen. Discovering your purpose happens as you say “yes” to the will of God every day.  Jesus lived for His purpose.  That purpose was you.  That purpose was me.  Now we have the opportunity to live for our purpose which is Him.

I finish with Colossians 2:6- So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him.

What a succinct way of saying, “Align yourselves with Christ.”  Get others-centered. Align your mind with His.  Align your identity in Him so that you can freely serve, and align your purpose with the will of God.  Don’t delay.  Do it today. 

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