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Jesus Isn’t a Part-Time Savior … Are You a Full-Time Follower?

posted Jun 29, 2014, 6:50 AM by Website Administrator   [ updated Jun 29, 2014, 6:51 AM ]
June 29, 2014
Key Passage: Philippians 1:27 – 2:11

“Jesus Isn’t a Part-Time Savior … Are You a Full-Time Follower?”

Today’s passage is, literally, my favorite in all of Scripture.  God used it soon after I was saved 20 years ago to change my worldview from one of selfishness, guilt, pride and a complete lack of obedience to one of … well, I’m still working on it.  That said, our generation, and the world we live in, is a relational mess.  People have no clue how to relate.  Power, fear and distance rule over love, courage, humility and intimacy.  Sexually, it’s a disaster area.  Families are in shambles.  People are destroying each other, and they’re becoming increasingly isolated.  Now, if you’re like me, it feels like as Christians we’re in a world at war – and we are; however, EVERY single issue we have can be drilled down to two things – and hear me on this, b/c it’s critical – every issue we have with this world and each other boils down to fear (worried; impatient; discouraged; upset with something).  We become dependent on ourselves out of fear.  If Satan doesn’t succeed there, he attempts to drive a wedge through Christian relationships (marriages; friendships; churches).  The best way to defeat an enemy is to divide and conquer, and that’s exactly what Satan attempts to do to us via our relationships.  As Christians, we’re to influence the behavior of our world rather than simply parrot its environment.  When we appear before the Lord he doesn’t look us over for medals, but for scars.  Which begs the question: are you a part-time Christian, or a full-time Christian in a part-time world? 

The Cornerstones of Jesus’ Character – Suffering, Humility, and Obedience (Philippians 1:27-2:11)

1.  Suffering – (see 1 Peter 2:21 WWJD; James 1:2-3; Romans 8:18) C.S. Lewis says pain is God’s megaphone – he gets our attention through our suffering and uses it to teach us great spiritual lessons. Unfortunately, for most, ANY suffering, confusion or tragedy is patently unfair and underserved because we stopped trusting a God whose presence makes suffering, confusion and tragedy bearable.  In a culture that primarily strives to eliminate pain and suffering, the Gospel tells us that Christ is magnified through our struggles.  We won’t be truly liberated until we understand what it means to be crucified with Christ.  Max Lucado says, “God owes no man anything…which makes the fact that He gave us everything astounding!” 

2.  Humility – (see Psalm 51:16-17; Proverbs 3:34; Mark 10:45) Most of us are repulsed by arrogance and pride, yet strangely we’re not attracted to the opposite – lowliness and humility – at least not in ourselves!  In the world, the pinnacle of success is often reached by ambition and greediness, yet Jesus constantly said “the first shall be last,” “the way up is down.”  Listen, you’ll succeed in life because of who God is, not because of who you are.  It’s God’s job to solve the problems of the world…yours is to walk in humble obedience to Him.

3.  Obedience – (see John 14:23) Obedience puts us in the path of God’s will!  Frankly, I could list dozens of verses here that command us to obedience.  But Jesus says it best Himself – “If you love me, you’ll obey me.  If you don’t love me, you won’t.”  

Q: How is “rejoicing” in suffering different from “enduring” suffering?
Q: Of the 3 cornerstones we’ve discussed (suffering, humility, obedience), which is most difficult for you?
Q: Why do only 15-20% of “Christians” truly surrender to Christ?  What will it take for you to fully surrender?

Bottom Line: We read in Hebrews of our Lord, who “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”  So what was that joy set before him?  It was his glorious expectation that in the lives of men and women who were being blasted and ruined, torn apart and disintegrated by sin, rebellion, self-confidence and self-effort, there would enter that healing life of mercy and grace, purchased with his blood.  Jesus isn’t a part-time Savior…..are you a full-time follower?