Lesson 2 - The Mind of Christ

Lesson Two: The Mind of Christ

(Chapter Two)

Ordinarily we think of the mind as the seat of the intellect.  The mind is where we think.  To the Jew the mind was more than that.  This is expressly implied in Proverbs 23:7, where we read, "For as he (a man) thinks in his heart, so is he."  In the language of the Old Testament one Hebrew word, "leb," is translated "mind" 11 times and "heart" 494 times in the King James Version of the Bible.  In Paul's epistle to the Philippians he has more than the intellect in mind when he writes about the mind.  "Leb" includes both the intellect and the heart, the seat of human emotions and the will.

 

SINGLENESS OF MIND

James wrote that "a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways" will not receive anything from the Lord.  Such a man flip-flops "like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind."  James 1:6-8.

A double-minded man lacks singleness of purpose and commitment.  Some people try to serve God and riches, and it can't be done.  Luke 16:13.  The pursuit of wealth leads away from the path of God.  The apostle Paul had words of warning for a young preacher, Timothy.  "No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier."  2 Timothy 2:4.

There is a basic question that everyone should ask themselves.  Whom am I living for?  You cannot live for self and the Lord.  We cannot be self-centered and Christ-centered at the same time.  That's no more possible than living in the flesh, according to the dictates of our sinful nature, and walking in the Spirit simultaneously.  "No one can serve two masters...."  Matthew 6:24.  Is Jesus Christ Lord of your life?  Is your heart and mind submitted to Him?

In this epistle Paul is not addressing individuals, but rather the whole fellowship of believers, the church at Philippi.  Singleness of mind should be expressed in the unity, the oneness, of the body of Christ.  We are clearly admonished to "stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel."  Philippians 1:27.  "Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind."  Philippians 2:2.

When Paul wrote to other churches in the New Testament he usually addressed problems.  For example, he was concerned about carnality at Corinth, apostasy at Galatia, worldly regulations at Colosse, and misunderstandings about the coming of Christ at Thessalonica.  At Philippi it appears that two Christian women had trouble getting along together.  Paul tried to remedy the divisive situation in the spirit of gentleness, mentioning each woman by name.  "I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord."  Philippians 4:2.  The apostle knew these women personally.  They had labored together with him in the gospel ministry.  Even dedicated Christian workers are not always like-minded.

 

LOWLINESS OF MIND

In the body of Christ singleness of mind is demonstrated in unity, oneness in purpose, love, and doctrine.  Lowliness of mind is displayed in humility, and in genuine concern for others.  In the United States there is much talk about equality.  Some people say, "I'm not better than you, and you're not better than me.  We are all just as good as each other."

Consider the following words of the great apostle.  "Let nothing be done through self ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."  Philippians 2:3, 4.

Paul and Timothy were living examples of those who served in lowliness of mind.  They called themselves "bondservants of Jesus Christ" in Philippians 1:1.  It's also interesting how Paul described himself in his letters.  First he wrote, "For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God."  1 Corinthians 15:9.  Later he said, "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief."  1 Timothy 1:15.  He went from the least of the apostles to the chief of sinners.

Next we'll look at the greatest example of all.

 

THE MIND OF CHRIST

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 2:5.  Memorize this verse.  Hide it in your heart.  Make it a part of your life.

What is the mind of Christ?

We know that He knows all things.  Peter testified to this.  See John 21:17.  All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in the Lord Jesus.  Colossians 2:3.  He is acquainted with all our ways.  Psalm 139:1-6.  But this is not what Paul had in mind when he wrote about the mind of Christ.  It would be impossible for anyone to have such knowledge other than the Son of God.  The mind of Christ has nothing to do with the intellect and knowledge.

When you think of the mind of Christ remember three words: "He humbled Himself."  Philippians 2:8.  Jesus began at the top "in the form of God," a full expression of deity.  The Lord Jesus is "the image of the invisible God...."  Colossians 1:15.  See also 2 Corinthians 4:4; Hebrews 1:2, 3.  He "did not consider it robbery (or something to be held onto) to be equal with God."  Philippians 2:6.  See also John 5:17, 18; 10:30.  In the Old Testament He is known as El Elyon, the most high God.  Genesis 14:18-22.  He is the One who is "far above all...."  Ephesians 1:21.

But "He humbled Himself."  His humility is expressed in the following ways.  First, He "made Himself of no reputation."  Philippians 2:7.  He emptied Himself.  He stripped Himself of His expression of deity, but not His possession of deity.

Second, He took "the form of a bondservant."  Philippians 2:7.  What condescension!  From the form of God to the form of a bondservant.  In Mark's gospel Jesus is portrayed as the Servant of Jehovah.  The most revealing verse in that gospel is Mark 10:45.  "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."  See also Matthew 20:28.  When His disciples argued among themselves as to who was the greatest, Jesus said, "I am among you as the One who serves."  Luke 22:27.

Third, He came "in the likeness of men."  Philippians 2:7.  This is a reference to His incarnation, "the Word became flesh."  John 1:14.  "Therefore in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation (an atoning sacrifice) for the sins of the people."  Hebrews 2:17.  How uplifting it is for believers to know that "as we have borne the image of the man of dust (Adam), we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man (Jesus Christ)."  1 Corinthians 15:49.  It was the humbling reverse for the Lord Jesus.  He is the heavenly Man who came in the image of the man of dust.  What humility!

Fourth, He "became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."  Philippians 2:8.  Isaiah prophesied concerning Jesus, "Behold!  My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights!  I have put My Spirit upon Him...to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house."  Isaiah 42:1, 2, 7.  Jesus is the suffering Servant, who shed His precious blood, dying for our sins on the cross.  John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18.  Hallelujah!  What a Savior!

"Therefore (because of His humbling of Himself) God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus (Savior) every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."  Philippians 2:9-11.  It's a tall order, but even as He humbled Himself, we should humble ourselves.  "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."

 

Lesson 3 - The Pursuit of a Lifetime

 
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