When asked, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”, Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:36-37). Truly, we should love God with every bit of our being. It cannot be just a spoken love. It must be a love that is openly expressed by who we are and how we think, talk and act. One of the paramount features of a Christian’s life is that it is lived it to the glory of God.
God has given us the greatest lifestyle system the world has ever seen- Christianity! No other discipline even begins to measure up to the quality and promise of the Christian lifestyle. Everything the world has come up with on its own pales by comparison. In fact, any philosophy devised by man that removes God as a central tenet generally brings misery and is doomed to failure.
We’ve undergone an extensive study on the mind of Christ, focusing primarily on the text on the subject in Paul’s letter to the Philippians (Phlp. 2:1-8). Paul lists many characteristics that exemplify the mind of Christ that we should implement into our lives as Christians- unity, fellowship, love, humility, obedience, sacrifice, service. Paul’s admonition, in the middle of the text, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” is an instruction, not a suggestion. We’re supposed to implement the mind of Christ in our lives. How can we do that?
In his letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul penned a magnificent text of scripture on The Mind Of Christ (Phlp. 2:1-8). In the first four verses of the text he listed character traits that ought to exemplify a Christian’s life. In the last three verses he gave examples of the mindset displayed by Christ in His coming to this earth, living as a man and going to the cross to offer His life as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Perhaps most intriguing is verse five, right in the middle of the text, in which Paul admonished, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” We are to have the mind of Christ!
We’re at the beginning of a new year. This is a time when people are contemplating making changes in their lives. They think about how things have been going and consider what they would like to change to make their lives better. Let me urge you to consider what could be one of the most significant changes that you could make. Resolve, make up your mind, to be in Bible classes every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening, as consistently as you possibly can be. If you have children, resolve to bring them to Bible classes every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening.
We’ve crossed over the threshold of time, moving from one year into another. This article is number thirty six in a line of bulletin articles I’ve been privileged to write, as a full time gospel minister, at the beginning of a new year. Four such articles have come at the beginning of a new decade, and one served to usher in a new century and millennium. I suppose it’s common for a preacher to mull over, to a somewhat greater degree, just what he should write at the beginning of a new year. He wants to say something profound, something that will stimulate thoughtfulness and action in a positive direction on both an individual and a congregational basis.
Foolishness can be observed in various forms all around us, even in our own personal lives. In some forms foolishness is basically just harmless fun, as long as it is not carried too far. Everybody needs to take some time to relax, have some fun, as my parents used to put it, cut up a little. As long as it is kept in proper perspective, with no harm being done, that kind of foolishness can actually be productive, having a rejuvenating effect and contributing to having a good time without negative consequences.
Many passages of scripture speak of God’s love for mankind. Jesus stated, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” ( Jn. 3:16 ). Paul wrote, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” ( Rom. 5:8 ). John also wrote, “In this is love , not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” ( 1 Jn. 4:10 ). What God did, in sacrificing “His only begotten Son,” was certainly a supreme act of love.
The greatest gift that has ever been given is salvation through Jesus Christ. Paul wrote of this gift in his letter to the Romans. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” ( Rom. 6:23 ). In his letter to the Ephesians Paul stated, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves;it is the gift of God ,” ( Eph. 2:8 ). The Hebrews letter calls it “the heavenly gift” ( Heb. 6:4 ).
The face of our culture is changing before our eyes. The evidence of this fact can be observed by looking in a number of different directions. Space will not permit journeying down all of those tracks in this article. But computerized technology may be the biggest influence affecting and shaping much of the change. It seems that only our imaginations limit us as to what continued changes lay ahead.
Gary L. Hutchens