Friday, April 22, 2011

The Christ Hymn aka Be Like Jesus, Philippians 2:1-11; The Adult Sunday School Lesson for 5-1-11

ATTENTION:  Please note that this is The Adult Sunday School Lesson, The Christ Hymn aka Be Like Jesus, on Philippians 2:1-11 for the 5-01-11 International Sunday School Lesson.  You will find the 4-24-11 lesson, Christ is Risen! aka Go and Tell, directly beneath this message and on the right side.


The Christ Hymn
Be Like Jesus
Philippians 2:1-11
International Sunday School Lesson
May 1, 2011

Jed Greenough

Have you ever stopped attending a church class or group or position within a church because of problems you were having with another member?  How about the extreme example of leaving a church because of the same reason? 

You are not alone, but I feel more and more that when any of us do this we are in error.  More and more it seems that as we split and form new denominations, form house churches or stay at home, we are sinning against Christ, sinning against the unity that He prayed that we would display so that the world would believe.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that the reasons for these troubles are real, that they are substantive and that those who are passionate about the reasons are passionate about Christ.  It does not change my position however that we are in error when because of disunity with our brothers and sisters we split from them either partially or in total.
To come away from today’s lesson and read the scripture and just think thoughts that are individualistic in nature with regard to our being like Jesus, would be to miss the point that Paul is making.  Paul didn’t write this letter to one person named Philip but rather to all those that made up the church at Philippi.

This appeal to each of these members I would like you to apply to yourself.  To paraphrase, if you are united with Christ and you have any encouragement then stay like-minded with your brothers and sisters.  If you receive comfort from Christ’s love then stay united.  If you have any fellowship whatsoever with the Spirit then keep your unity.  If you have any tenderness or compassion then be in one spirit and purpose.

Again, I feel that if we do not have this attitude, an attitude of being servants, then we are going against Christ.  If you remember the story of Paul’s (Saul’s) conversion (Acts 9) then you may remember what Paul had been up to before that moment.  It had been his goal to destroy the fledgling church and he zealously persecuted the members.  What did Christ say to him?

Christ said, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”  “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.  “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”  You see, when you look at it, you cannot argue, disagree or split from a member without doing the same to Jesus as they are inseparable!

As I point out in other places, most recently in our 2-20-11 lesson, we are to take on the role of servant with a responsibility to each other just as Christ did.  This is His will for us, to take care of each other; we cannot do this if we put distance between ourselves.
Sure the behaviors described are outward and inward manifestations that would benefit us as individuals, but it is our fellow Christians that make up our church and all who view this Christ-like behavior that stands to benefit. 
Every knee will bow one day.  We will not hesitate to throw ourselves prostrate before our Lord.  The glory that we sought here and may think we achieved in seeking out our own way, will shame us if we recall it.  Instead what we did and all we will do to glorify Him will be all we care about then and forevermore.

For Discussion:

1.      Colossians 3, Romans 12, Romans 15, Galatians 5:13-26
2.      Go through today’s scripture and assuming all have encouragement, comfort, fellowship, tenderness and compassion due to having Christ, have all write out what they should be like to be like Christ.
3.      Encourage each member to consider at least one way they can demonstrate new Christ-like behavior within the church and ask for volunteers to share their ideas.
4.      Give examples, rather than ask for them, of “generic” examples that have created disunity.
5.      Why is it hard (sometimes) to be humble?
6.      In a previous lesson I suggested a class project where each member came up with people they would like to send an invitation to attend class.  I would especially encourage this project to include those who may not attend due to strife.  Give it a go, it works!
7.      Have someone read aloud John 17:20-23
8.      Please take a moment in your classes to pray for your fellow students in Nigeria as well as all Christians in crisis though out the world!

5-8-11:     Heavenly Worship (Perpetual Praise) Revelation 4:1-2, 6b-11 or Rev 4 respectively.
5-15-11:  Thankful Worship Revelation 7:9-17
5-22-11: All Things New (New Order of Things) Revelation 21:1-8 or 21:1-8, 22-27           respectively. 
5-29-11:   Tree of Life (Water of Life) Revelation 22:1-9 or 22:1-9, 13-17

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment