Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV) 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
“But quite apart from its function in the argument, this narrative has significance all on its own. Here is the closest thing to Christology that one finds in Paul and here we see again why the ‘scandal of the cross’ was so central to his understanding of everything Christian. For in ‘pouring himself out’ and ‘humbling himself to death on the cross,’ Christ Jesus has revealed the character of God himself. Here is the epitome of God-likeness: the pre-existent Christ was not a ‘grasping, selfish’ being, but one whose love for others found its consummate expression in ‘pouring himself out,’ in taking on the role of a slave, in humbling himself to the point of death on behalf of those so loved. Discipleship in the present calls for servanthood, self-sacrifice for the sake of others.”[Fee, Gordon D., Paul’s Letter to the Philippians (NICNT), Kindle Locations 4673-4679]
Let’s pray that we will have the same mindset as Christ in our relationships with one another in the church. Pray for 2-3 people in your missional group, campus/grad ministry or small group and pray for an opportunity to serve one of them in some way this week.
Let’s close our time in prayer in worship with this song, “How Great Is Your Love,” (click here) by Kristian Stanfill.
Matthew 22:35-40 (NIV) 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
“Once more, what Jesus says here about loving God, and loving one another, only makes sense when we set it within Matthew’s larger gospel picture, of Jesus dying for the sins of the world, and rising again with the message of new life. That’s when these commandments begin to come into their own: when they are seen not as orders to be obeyed in our own strength, but as invitations and promises to a new way of life in which, bit by bit, hatred and pride can be left behind and love can become a reality.” [N.T. Wright, Matthew for Everyone: Part Two, page 95]
Let’s thank God for the reality of His love through Jesus that has changed everything and now we have been invited to live in this new way of life – loving Him and loving others. As this is our heart’s desire, let’s pray that it will bear fruit through out the day in whatever we do and whomever we interact with.
Let’s also worship and be encouraged by this song, “We Could Change the World” (click here) by Matt Redman.
Lord’s Prayer (modified 2014, from NIV, NLT, CEV and ELLC)
Our Father in heaven,
help us to honor your name.
May your kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us for doing wrong,
as we forgive others.
Keep us from being tempted
and protect us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever.
Let’s pray today according to the Lord’s prayer, communicating with our heavenly Father, asking for help to honor Him, for His kingdom and will to come and be done, for the daily provision we need, whether physical, spiritual, emotional, or otherwise. Lord, teach us to pray, in the status quo!
Let’s also worship to this song “The Lord Our God” (click here) by Passion.
Matthew 6:31-34 (NIV) 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
We have a heavenly Father who knows what we need even more than we do, and His provision is abundant and abundantly good! In light of that reality, we are free to focus our attention and energies into seeking first His kingdom in the present—in the status quo. And all these things, which includes status and situation, are provided and given to us as well!
“Learned reliance on God’s care for present needs will cause his disciples to develop trust in him for their future needs.”[Michael Wilkins, Matthew, NIV Application Commentary, p.299]
Let’s pray that whatever may or may not happen or change in the future, that we would rely on God’s care in the present by seeking His kingdom with all we have! Pray for those your ministry/church is outreaching to, on the campus, in the city, that they also would come to know our heavenly Father as He desires!
Let’s also worship to the song “Here and Now” (click here) by Eddie Kirkland.
1 Corinthians 7:18-20 18 Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts. 20 Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.
At times we may feel unhappy, limited or overwhelmed in the status or situation we are currently in, and that once our situation changes then we will be able to live for the Lord as we desire. The freedom for us who are in Christ is that it isn’t the change of status that is necessary for us to live out our Christian faith. We are able in the present status or situation to fully love the Lord and live for Him as we desire!
“However one defines ‘the commandments of God,’ keeping them is something that Christians can do in any condition, circumcised or uncircumcised, slave or free, married or celibate. What is important is not the state that one is in, but how one lives ethically in that state.”[David Garland, 1 Corinthians, Baker Exegetical Commentary, p.306]
Let’s pray for the heightened awareness and importance of following the Lord in our present status or situation. Pray for our churches to experience and live in this true Christian freedom – unhindered by our current status or situation and able to live for Him!
Let’s also worship the Lord through the song “Yours (Glory and Praise)” (click here) by Elevation Worship.
1 Corinthians 7:17 (NIV) . Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.
“The concept of call is first of all a way of describing Christian conversion…God’s call to Christ that comes in these various settings renders the settings themselves altogether irrelevant. Because of this, change is not necessary; indeed, a person may live out their Christian life in whatever setting that call took place. On the other hand, precisely because the settings are irrelevant, if change does take place, that too is irrelevant. What one is not to do is to seek change as though it had religious significance, which it does not.”[Gordon Fee, 1 Corinthians, New International Commentary on the New Testament, p.341]
Our initial salvation in Christ was something that superseded the situation or status that we were in at the time – it didn’t matter if we were married or single, in school or out of school, had young children or older children or no children, God’s rescue and calling to Christ came into our lives and we responded! Paul’s point is that if one situation or another did not influence our initial calling, neither is change of situation necessary, or even relevant, to living as a believer now. Let’s live as a believer in whatever situation we are in!
Let’s pray for ourselves but also the ministry or small group that we are part of, that in all the various situations we find ourselves in, we will be caught up in the Lord who saved us and called us!
Let’s also worship to this song “Fullness” (click here) by Elevation Worship.
Galatians 3:26-29 (NIV) 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
The most amazing status change has happened in our lives already through Jesus Christ! It wasn’t just that we believed, but something fundamentally changed, we became children of God through faith, part of His people, His family. There are other major categories to identify and distinguish human beings, and they tend to be quite divisive in the world, whether during Biblical times or modern day. But as we came to faith in Christ, our primary identification now is referenced not on us or our background, but in Christ Jesus, on his work on the cross – we are now in Christ Jesus and that is now what distinguishes and identifies us.
Let’s pray that we would experience and live in the freedom of this new identity, not only individually but together with one another in Christ Jesus!
Let’s also worship to the song “Who You Say I Am” (click here) by Hillsong.
Galatians 5:13-14 (NIV)You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
The kingdom of God is about his salvation love, our true freedom in Christ. This freedom is that our hearts can be expanded with God’s love to love and serve others in the power of his love. This is how we are truly human and know who we truly are, and this is the freedom God has won for us through Jesus Christ! This is our hope – God has poured out his love into our hearts through the Spirit. This is our freedom – we can be dedicated to serving and building the lives of others to advance the kingdom of God and his love.
Let’s pray: Father, you have called us into your kingdom love and freedom. Thank you! We praise you! Expand our hearts and pour in your love to overflowing measure so that we may build up your people and love them in your power.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV) 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
Colossians 1:13-14 (NIV) says,13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The sacrificial death of Jesus Christ was the price paid so that we could know God, his love and forgiveness in real relationship with him. When the blood of Jesus redeemed us there was a complete transfer of ownership and authority of our lives. God rescued us out of the dominion of sin, condemnation, death, separation from God and brought us into the kingdom of his Son. This is our true freedom –our entire being including our bodies belong completely to Jesus. This is God’s amazing grace and we now honor him with our lives and bodies. This is who we are.
Let’s pray: Lord, I confess that I have been trying to live my life as if I owned it. Lord, my life, my being, my body are not my own. They belong to you. Lord, take all I am and use my life for your kingdom.
1 John 4:9-10 (NIV) 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Luke 12:31-32 (NIV) 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
This is the power of the Gospel –Jesus Christ has conquered sin, conquered the filth and shame of sin, the chains of sin, and the fear and worry that would try to beat us down.
“Jesus calls for a single issue to be a disciple’s major concern: God’s kingdom. God will care for the rest. To “seek (God’s) kingdom” means to live as his representatives…We must represent him and reflect his righteousness in a world unconcerned about knowing God. That is the constant call of the disciple…” [Darrell Bock, The NIV Application Commentary, p.350.]
We can seek first the kingdom of God without fear because our Father is pleased to give us the kingdom. This is the power of His love!
Let’s pray: Father, fill us with the power of the Gospel and your love that we may seek first your kingdom. May we embrace your kingdom call with all of our being.