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Christsfreeservant

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“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” (Philippians 3:17-21 ESV)

The apostle Paul led an exemplary Christian life to the point to where he could, in good conscience, and of the Spirit of God, encourage other believers in Jesus Christ to imitate his walk of faith. And he also encouraged the believers in Christ to keep their eyes on other Christians whose walk of faith was according to the example that they had in Paul and in Timothy, from whom this letter came to the saints in Christ Jesus in Philippi.

But we should be cautious here about emulating the lives of others who we presume to be good Christians, for as he also said, many people walk as enemies of the cross of Christ whose god is their belly, and whose minds are set on earthly things. And this includes many who profess faith in Jesus Christ and many who serve as pastors and elders and deacons and Bible teachers within the gatherings of what are called “churches.”

For being a Christian is not just in professing faith in Jesus Christ nor by being baptized nor by any other religious performance that may be by outward appearance only but not true in practice. And having a Bible college or a seminary degree doesn’t make anyone more spiritual than others who do not have such degrees, either. A true follower of Christ is one who denies self, dies daily to sin, and who follows the Lord Jesus in obedience.

So, what was Paul’s example? For one, when he believed in Jesus Christ, he did a complete turnabout of his life. He took a spiritual U-turn and he went from persecuting Jesus Christ and the church to becoming a true worshiper of Christ and one of his apostles who taught the TRUE GOSPEL of salvation to the people despite being hated and rejected and falsely accused and imprisoned and beaten for his walk of faith and testimony for Jesus Christ.

And he is still being falsely accused today of having led a sinful life side-by-side with his spiritual life. For many people are taking some of his words out of context and they are making them say what they do not say if taught in the correct context, and they are drawing faulty conclusions which they then use to excuse away their own ungodly and immoral and sinful practices. So the Lord had me write on that subject to correct those errors (1).

If we read of Paul’s life as a follower of Christ, throughout his writings in the New Testament, we will learn that he was a man of God and a follower of Christ who gave his life up in entirety to follow Jesus Christ in obedience and to do what the Lord called him to do. And he preached the truth of the gospel even against much opposition, and even though many hated and mistreated him and rejected him and falsely accused him of wrongdoing.

And the gospel message that he taught is not the one that is most popularized in America today, but it was a message of self-denial, of self-sacrifice, of dying with Christ to sin, not just once, but daily, and of walking in obedience to the Lord and no longer in sin. This is the message of the cross and the purpose for why Jesus gave his life up for us, that we might die to sin and now live to God and to his righteousness, in His power.

So, be very careful about who you raise up as someone to be followed, and be very careful about who you ignore and reject and cast aside as worthless and not worth your time or consideration. For you may be raising up those who walk as enemies of the cross of Christ, whose god is their belly, while you might be rejecting the Lord’s true servants and messengers who are suffering great persecution for their walks of obedience to the Lord.

For the Lord does not see and choose as man sees and chooses, for God looks on the heart, and not on the outward appearance which could be fake. But when our hearts are in the right place, our actions should follow suit, and we should be those who emulate the Lord Jesus in our actions and who are following the Lord in obedience to his commands, even if it means being hated and rejected and cast aside by others professing faith in the Lord.

For Jesus Christ said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of living for self and in sin, we will lose them for eternity. But if for Jesus’ sake we deny self, die daily to sin, and follow our Lord in obedience to his commands, then we have the hope of eternal life with God. For righteousness, and not sin, is our practice, because we love God.

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; John 1:12-13; John 6:44; John 10:27-30; Acts 26:18; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 1 Co 10:1-22; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Gal 5:16-24; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:1-17; Titus 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; 1 Peter 1:15; 1 Pet 2:24; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Make Me a Blessing

Ira Bishop Wilson / George Schuler

Out in the highways and byways of life,
Many are weary and sad;
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife,
Making the sorrowing glad.

Tell the sweet story of Christ and His love,
Tell of His pow’r to forgive;
Others will trust Him if only you prove
True, every moment you live.

Give as ’twas given to you in your need,
Love as the Master loved you;
Be to the helpless a helper indeed,
Unto your mission be true.

Make me a blessing, make me a blessing,
Out of my life may Jesus shine;
Make me a blessing, O Savior, I pray,
Make me a blessing to someone today.


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(1) Was Paul a Hypocrite? II
 

Bobber

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For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
It's so very easy to do this living in a world where people embrace so many expectations they think would make a normal life. Earthly things....Earthly priorities , doing and having what so many have constitutes wordily normal. We need to be careful to shake those things off of us. God wants to know where our hearts are. We can fool ourselves but never God.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body,
This gives us a reality check for sure......we're to make sure we keep all things in perspective.
 
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Christsfreeservant

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It's so very easy to do this living in a world where people embrace so many expectations they think would make a normal life. Earthly things....Earthly priorities , doing and having what so many have constitutes wordily normal. We need to be careful to shake those things off of us. God wants to know where our hearts are. We can fool ourselves but never God.


This gives us a reality check for sure......we're to make sure we keep all things in perspective.
Thank you for your response. We need the direction of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to guide us in this.
 
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