God On The Dance Floor

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The idea that God moves inbetween our lives is something that most people can wrap their heads around, but the majority still hold onto the distant God theory. The truth is God yes intimacy with God does play out day to day but also it’s from generation to generation. Picture God as the most interesting dancer on the dance floor he’s moving through the crowd of human history like nothing we can ever grasp but we can witness his glory.

In John 14:6 Jesus says to his disciples, ‘I am the way the truth and the light and no one comes to the father but through me.’ In this moment Jesus reveals to everyone that he indeed is God and there is no way, path, or even prayer that be uttered in the human vocabulary that could reach God’s ears unless it goes through him. In this moment the outsider might be thinking, ‘well isn’t God one?’, or the ten commandments from Exodus chapter 20 states that there should be no other Gods before the most high God how can there be more to God if he was born as a man? Jesus in this moment doesn’t transcend and plane of existence, make any cosmic bargain with God the father to obtain authority he is born and has existed as God prior to this moment and still is God. (John 1:1-3) Jesus himself predates his incarnation in the first chapters of each gospel in the New Testament, and if we back track to the creation scenario in Genesis 1 and 2 God imprints man and woman in his image as in the first chapter of Genesis God’s spirit hovers over the waters and then imprints his image into the genetic material in which man exists. In this moment we can insert that God’s design for man is based on himself conducted in the presence of Jesus and in the likeness of Jesus as to be a reflection of God himself. God moving in spirit and in God the son and God the father in dictation of the order of which everything is structured and ordered. Therefore we see God move in three person in perfect unity as one being in the conduction, creation, and even the presence of man as he falls into sin.

In the movements we have in revelation of God in these three chapters we still see the same God in remaining 65 books his attributes remaining the same as the author of Hebrews pens remaining the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. We are introduced to this holy God and we are only made aware of these attributes in man’s fall in Genesis 3, as we see how the full view of God’s holiness is forced into view as man cannot be in his presence. We come to understand his zeal, and mercy as his punishment does not fit the crime, as Satan who had deceived early man knew that blood is the only thing that can pay for sin, and that it results in death. God’s love for the crown jewel of his creation comes into focus as the punishment does not fit the crime instead he allows man to live in the filth that he has brought on to himself and creation.

This provides us with the necessity for him, and redemption as man is now in a state of perpetual sin, death, and destruction this is the case and need for Jesus as proclaimed for the first time in Genesis 3:15. Which Jesus confirms in as he centralizes himself as the summation of this need for God and fulfillment of salvation to man in John 5:39 and so the need for the fulfillment of the cross. Which John Stott confirms in his book, ‘The Cross of Christ’ that the very nature and necessity of the cross itself as the symbol of the Christian faith originates in no other place but in the mind of Jesus himself. Thus we can assert as God proclaims in Genesis 3:15 he has this in mind. So why is there so much confusion on how Jesus is God? And how can we be sure that the same God we are introduced in the Old Testament is the same God that we are devoting ourselves to in the New Testament, and how can we be sure God is truly one?

Deuteronomy is a central book in the Old Testament because it chronicles God moving with his people in a time that is before they enter into the promised land that God swore to their ancestors and after he has delivered them from centuries of slavery in Egypt. It’s a reintroduction to a lifestyle, culture, relational piece, law, and complete identity that God reintroduces to the people as they enter into a national stage among other nations. Deuteronomy is retelling of the law, and it’s also carries the aroma of reminding the people of who they are but more importantly in how they now will reflect God into how they live for him, reflect him, and represent him to make him relatable to others outside of their race. The point of this is to prepare the people that will precede the current generation of God, what he’s done but also provide and expose of man’s inherent need for God as more than just a series of tributes but to have a clear understanding the God deserves praise, and doesn’t want to be distant from us. His actions prepare a path to where we can run to him like a child running arms wide open to embrace their father and so this preparation is not an institution of religion to keep an all powerful God happy but for man to recognize his separation from God as being something that needs to be reconciled. As sin is the issue being addressed as sin is the very infectious contamination of the human race as sin ranging in variation of size, and severity in it’s consequences in how it effects those around it. Is still viewed the same in God’s eyes as an act of treason against a holy, and righteous God which is like taking the dust from a vacuum cleaner and throwing into a clean room in a micro chip factory. Sin is a ultimately a death sentence and cannot be acquitted or unpunished by a holy God and so there needs to be a means in which to reconcile which is blood, and ultimately death. The 4th quarter Hail Mary play of the fallen Satan was to use mankind God’s image to follow him in rebellion against him which he knew that God would be required to punish them. Instead we given this promise of redemption made way by God we are promised Jesus as means in which to escape the impending wrath of God that will ultimately come down.

The common phrase of tracing this meta-narrative through the Bible is called the scarlet thread in which one can trace the promise of Jesus to Jesus and to him in his second coming. Deuteronomy is a key book in foundationally preparing the people for their savior as the lifestyle of humility inwards and outwards in full observance of God, for God, and by God is what Jesus in his first coming came to re-establish in the people of Israel. We can be sure from our understanding of this that Jesus is God in as we stop here and look at how God is revealed up until this point. Genesis begins out with one God in full presence moving three distinct but equal parts father, son, and spirit pre-fall in the creation event, and pre-fall. As there was no question of this as Genesis 1:27 says to himself, ‘let’s make man in our image.’ Moving to post fall man we are now revealed to God the father and God the spirit preparing the people for the coming of God the son as while God does not require a mediation between himself and man but rather elects Abraham, Jacob, and in Deuteronomy Moses. This headship being re-introduced by these leaders to replace the role that Adam should have been in fulfillment in the first place, instructing the people and carrying out his commands, introducing the law, and establishing the people in godly lifestyle. In all of this God remains visible but without having image of what he truly looks like as to prevent idols being made out of him but also to prepare the people for Jesus in his coming.

Deuteronomy’s movements move from what God has done, to what he expects, and then what he will do (Deut. 18:15) an identity pressed, commanded and given the people are only asked to obey both in the action but in their hearts. The theme is, ‘remember lest you forget’ having a healthy fear of God in moving from a nation of ex-slaves while being prepped by God the father, and God the spirit to a life that now requires a deeper reliance on God himself than before. The transition of becoming a physical representation is the dividing line between men as Israel who had once represented the summation of what makes men so weak is now a nation strong under the Lord. Israel is described as a stiff necked and stubborn people easily swayed, rebellious, and gullible in their own fears and superstition which needs to be broken before they are can become ambassadors.

“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ – Jesus

We don’t name God; God reveals His name to us. We don’t have the right to exercise authority over God. God copyrights, He trademarks, He patents His name.” -Mark Driscoll

Jesus is the central figure of all history as he was born in this world now approx. two thousand years ago born of virgin birth his birth is declared by God’s army of heavenly hosts declaring peace an juxtaposed armistice between God and man through his revelation to man and entrance into human history. Luke 2:28 and on Jesus is recognized as the promised one in which God had spoken of in Genesis 3:15, Deuteronomy 18:15 and in every prophetic tone including the tree spoken of in Zechariah 3:10 that all are invited under. He becomes the physical mediation between man and God as this was pleaded for in Job 9 where Job asks for a some one to place one hand on him and on God. He becomes the sacrifice that Abraham tells his son Isaac about that God would provide. He would teach with authority that no prophet before him could command, and he would perform miracles that would undo the very effects of the fall themselves that only God himself could perform and that man could not say or do on his own without God’s intervention.

Prior to the gospels there was 400 years of silence from God before he decides to enters in during the Pax Romana that exists as this brief period of relative peace and prosperity. The Bible starts off as God in full view Father, Son, and Spirit working in perfect fellowship in the creation event, the creation of man, and the expulsion of man from the garden of Eden. God then is revealed as God the father giving directive, and establishing his authority and otherwise supremacy over all creation, and God the spirit anointing those leaders through generations to have the authority that will ultimately be perfected in Jesus. Which Adam was supposed to embody and each prefigured leader since would act as means to prepare the people of God and to relate God to the people until he was able to introduce himself to be the ultimate relation of himself to us.

Jesus is baptized in John 1:29-33 as he is baptized by John the Baptist God the father verifies Jesus as being his son, and God the spirit descends on him. This a great New Testament view of God as a triune God together again in revelation to man, as he now is full representation of himself and the human body is now the tabernacle in which God now comes to man to teach and preach to them.

Quentin Tarantino says this about superman in and interview,

Superman didn’t become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he’s Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red “S”, that’s the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears – the glasses, the business suit – that’s the costume. That’s the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent. He’s weak… he’s unsure of himself… he’s a coward. Clark Kent is Superman’s critique on the whole human race.”

Jesus puts on weakness as he comes in a similar fashion by putting on weakness in order to relate to what is it to be human in order to redeem mankind. Jesus doesn’t just put on weakness though and die in weakness so that men can just perpetually continue to live and die as a weak race of representatives but rather he reintroduces new teaching that are a retelling of a now fulfilled law in him that is derived from and based in the words that he had given man in Deuteronomy 6:4-8, Matthew 22:36-40. Before Jesus is set to take on ministry he is tempted in the desert where in the Genesis 3 Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan in a lush garden surrounded by God; Jesus is in a barren wasteland alone surrounded by Satan in means to tempt and test him. The progressive logic in this event is how can Jesus be God and still be tempted into weakness, and how could Satan know what exactly could tempt a holy God that he might give up what he has to rule in filth and rags?

Jesus puts on the weakness, and allows himself to enter into the scenario where Satan attempts to bait him by playing a weak hand towards God by trying to down play his zeal for his people and his desire for himself to be known as to them. He attempts to compartmentalize a righteous holy zeal into a finite view that doesn’t require a cross, and doesn’t involve sin to be forgiven and would result in the destruction of everything. Instead of forfeiting humanity and his ultimate plans for redemptive motion he instead meets Satan with the inerrant truth in rebuking him from Deuteronomy 6:13, 16, and 8:3. Jesus doesn’t stop in using Deuteronomy in his rebukes but he embodies the law as it’s being retold to the people through his life as he fulfills the law in preparation of the cross, he also teaches people from re-establishing them as the holy people that are holy because he indeed is holy (Deut. 7:6).

God is now revealed in the New Testament as God the son and God the spirit in full representation of God the father as the Holy Spirit;s empowerment is continually stressed. (Driscoll. 233) Each fully God as he had this people who were in transition from slaves to his people he gives them the law preparation of this revelation to now transition from being in bondage to their sin to being free children of God. And we find this to be the parallel to how God now approaches his people in Christ as Christ is the not just coming to re-tell the law but to fulfill it and prepare the people for a new way of life that now represents God in a way that is a militant mindset to one of peace by conquering hearts through love, devotion, obedience, and submission. The purpose of mirroring Deuteronomy is show how God had given man a measuring stick to measure up to in their rebellion, and so the law is meant to move man to a deep place of repentance as it does not save but condemns. But in the revelation and representation of Jesus and the Holy spirit of the father he can now provide the tree that Zechariah 3:10 speaks of in order save not just his elect but all people whom believe. (John 3:16, 2 Peter 3:9, Eph 2:8)

The Bible begins with a triune God creating in perfect fellowship, then moving God the Father, and God the Spirit establishing and preparing. Then it moves towards God the son and God the spirit fulfilling, redeeming, and reconstituting how man is represent God, and obey him making the body the new tabernacle that all people can fellowship with God. The consistent representation of God in the Bible is the Holy Spirit as he is seen in the beginning of the Bible hovering above the waters, and he’s the anointing of all the leaders from the Judges to Jesus and now the people God, present at the baptism of Jesus but who exactly is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy is Spirit is the very essence of God in personality, power, thoughts, and will he is present and equally God in all phases of creation and existence. The Holy Spirit is not an it, or a likeness of God that is immaterial or means of communication like long range walkie talkies. But he is a person, a personality and has a will that is of God and is God that works in the ways that carries out his own will and knows the depths of God in every possible eternal scenario. He shares the same attributes of God as he is immutable and does not change he is the same Holy Spirit seen in Genesis 1 as he is the same Holy Spirit that is at work in the believer today. He has a will as he is able to carry out instruct, empower, and bare witness as he knows the depths of God he is able to teach, and guide Christians in a manner that is only characteristic of God himself (father and son). (Grudem. 635) The Holy Spirit is all powerful and can restore, illuminate, and give spiritual gifts that exist outside of the human spectrum of power, and dominion. (Grudem. 634) He is also able to divinely inspire scripture which also shares God the father and Jesus traits of being omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent so he knows all and is in every stage of existence at once in the future, past and in the past everywhere in one single moment.

So in this God the Spirit is the witness, and the power that empowers the Christian people to rightly represent God in Christ to the rest of the world that is in unbelief. His divine inspiration of the Bible testifies as he was present in Moses penning of Deuteronomy allowing Moses access to details only God would have access to about God, and about man even in the books prior to Deuteronomy. Even in Moses death in the conclusion of Deuteronomy the Holy Spirit bares witness to the account of Moses’s burial and so in his representation of God’s heart, thoughts and essence we can also look at his presence in all phases of the Bible to be holy, and truthful as what is known of God is that he cannot lie. And with his witness of Jesus being fully God and fully man we can rest that God’s testimony is not bias, or partial but one given in full truth.

So why is there so much confusion on how Jesus is God? And how can we be sure that the same God we are introduced in the Old Testament is the same God that we are devoting ourselves to in the New Testament, and how can we be sure God is truly one?

As we have discussed we have looked at how God has remained in tact throughout the Bible and how his movements and revelation to man has been one that is felt and dealt with in the different ways that he has interacted and deemed appropriate to do so in different areas of scripture. He leaves us the meta-narrative to follow to chronicle and follow after him and better understand the depths of who he is from our finite standpoint but also so we can understand and not forget the reason of who we are, and why we need him. He answers with a resounding yes that Jesus is indeed is God as he leaves us with no other option but to agree or disagree with him. (C.S. Lewis) The faith step we take is for us to take but he catches us with inerrant doctrine, scripture that has built foundations of who he is, and who we are and how to live in his presence. He has given us detail into how Jesus is, what he will do, and why before he is even introduced as we know him; the carpenter from Galilee and he also provides all details to tie up any doubt in his faithful witness of the Holy Spirit. The same God that hovers on the waters of creation is the same God that died for a lost humanity on a cross, and the same God that is now at work in convicting broken man of sin in order to prepare them for a life that God has predestined to reward us with well in advanced.

Works Cited.

Driscoll, Mark. Breshears, Gary. Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe. Wheaton, IL. Crossway. 2010. Print.

Wilkinson, Bruce. Boa, Kenneth. Talk Thru The Bible. Nashville, TN. Thomas House. 2002. Print.

Jensen, Peter. The Revelation of God Contours of Christian Theology. Downers Grove, IL. Inter Varsity Press. 2002. Print.

Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, MI. Zondervan. 1994. Print.

Merrill, Eugene. The New American Commentary: Deuteronomy Vol. 4. Nashville, TN. B&H Publishing. 1994. Print.

Sproul. R.C, Who is Jesus. North Mankato, MN. Tyndale House. 2010. Print.

Stott, John. The Cross of Christ. Downser Grove, IL. IVP. 2006. Print.

 

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Unmasking Jesus: The Purpose of Temptation

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The idea of Jesus Christ being tempted has been the focal point of debate, and imagination in many in the last 2,000 years. Sources like Hollywood, and The New York Times bestsellers list have taken liberties with how a thing can be. As we step back and reflect perhaps the question we should be asking is why was Jesus tempted?

The person of Jesus is defined as the God man, the hypostatic union that is the combonation of the union between the divine nature of Jesus with the human element. Genesis 3:15 is the first mention of this as he would be born of woman and not of the conventional means that which would override the sin nature that falls on the shoulders of all image bearers under the headship of Adam the first man. (Psalm 51) The debate of the nature of Jesus has been of much debate as many in the faith have not physically seen him but the scriptures in their inerrant testimony of God’s meta-narrative redemptive movements give complete documentation of who Jesus is. In Matthew 4 and Luke 4 Jesus after being baptized is tempted in the wilderness and the question posed is even as a man how can God be tempted?

Man was created in the image of God in the creation event in Genesis 1 and 2 where God in three persons planned out and made man in his image to reflect him both physically, and spiritually as man was made to be a living spirit. God had man in his image socially as he had given Adam a helper the first woman, Eve whom Adam the first man was set to reflect God in three areas: as a worker, a wise man, and a warrior. These roles were given to Adam to up hold practicing godly wisdom as he is given knowledge and instruction naming animals, and instructing his wife cultivating her in God’s teachings. Genesis 3 marks the change in history where man rebels against God cursing all men are cursed to live in sin, born spiritually dead. (Romans 5:12, Psalm 51) Genesis 3:15 enters in the proto-gospel of the one who will crush the head of the serpent and who will mend the relationship between God and man. The cross itself originated in the mind of Jesus himself as he knew from that moment that he would be brought low become a man, live a life that reflects the one that Adam and Eve were originally intended to live as the last Adam, and dying on the cross atoning the sins of man. Sin is an infection that is deep rooted and is the present in the natural man who is born into spiritual still born state that is opposed to God. At it’s essence it’s ‘the failure to conform to the moral law of God in act, attitude, or nature.’ (Grudem. 490) It’s root is rebellion and blooms into everything from lawlessness to faithlessness and all in between with the common denominator being death. Sin takes the form of everything from being a piece of fruit that was forbidden to eat, to riches, fame, fun, it’s formless and yet is the shape of anyone’s desire. It’s however the thing that promises quick reward apart from God, and is against God making it’s effects to be devastating to those whom feel the reprocussions.

While sin effects can range from major to minor and often times are overlooked they ultimately are against God at it’s core. (Psalm 51:4) Temptation however is the alluring call to sin that provides foothold into one’s life if they are to accept fellowship with it but is not sin. Jesus is counted as being he who knows no sin but became sin upon the cross for all but is tempted himself in the wilderness in Matthew 4, and Luke 4 the account of which Christ is confronted by sin that offers him temptations that go against the grain offering short cuts in his ministry and are crossless means in which of winning over the world trumping God’s override and destruction of his image bearers.

Jesus himself is the fulfillment of over 300 prophesies concerning his coming, his virgin birth, his life, his ministry, death, and resurrection leading up to the day of the Lord in accurate detail. Jesus is presented as the second member of the trinity as he has provided characteristics in his coming that he only can have in common with God himself that being his omnipotence as he is able to read minds (Mt. 9:4), walk on water (Mt. 14:22-33), raises the dead (Mark 5:21-43, Luke 7:11-17, John 11:1-44) performs miracles having two members of the trinity present at his baptism, providing testimony to his credentials as God. He is also revealed in the transfiguration as being God to his disciples as they are shown Moses, and Elijah in the presence of Jesus transfigured before God the father. (Matthew 17) The evidence surrounding Jesus being fully God and fully man is documented and witnessed by those present and heavenly hosts who proclaimed his coming to the surrounding public. His presence as the messiah sent by God even confirmed being presented at the temple in Luke Chapter 2 the scriptures themselves are presented as the inerrant testimony of God breathed out (2 Tim. 3:16). So the argument of Jesus’s divinity is undeniable, and his birth his capacity to feel and relate in weakness to man is also before us in the scripture that as he lived, breathed, and ate he was fully God and there is no separating the two pieces of Christ’s person.

So how then can Christ as being fully God and man be tempted even if he doesn’t carry the curse, and mark of sin?

God is sovereign and is the same God that under his sovereignty oversaw indirectly Satan enter into the garden to tempted Adam and Eve. Is the same sovereign God that would allow himself to be tempted in the same weakness that brought him low to save his beloved creation while Jesus was fully God he is complete with personality and has displayed full spectrum of emotions, and desires to do the will of the father whom had sent him. As Jesus did not know sin as the first Adam pre-fall didn’t know it either was still armed with the same knowledge of identity, commands from God wasn’t tempted by the normal things that the natural man could be tempted by women, fame, money, finite power the things that sin offers one to gain in place of God as the object of the worship.

Satan is only able to tempt Jesus with short cuts that reveal his character of being finite, but still short cuts that stray from the path to the cross, and into the dead ends of finite broken, and empty avenues of Lordship that yes would provide absolute quick and temporary imitations of peace and security of God’s will but nothing that would provide man with the eternal promise that we do know in Christ but instead would have offered a burned bridge leaving man under the full condemnation of God himself.

The purpose in Christ’s temptation wasn’t a matter of whether or not could Jesus pass the test in order to become messiah he already was the messiah with identity in tact. In fact the purpose of the temptation was to display the power of God’s word and the ability that it has for freedom over sin, and temptation. As Christ was in the wilderness there comes a parallel between the first Adam in paradise in Genesis 3 being tempted and falling, and Jesus the last Adam being the first born of the dead turning to God in the midst of temptation in a barren wasteland distant from God and succeeding. The temptation is set to serve as a model that Jesus set the bar that as distant as one can come from God can still overcome bondage through his word, and submission to his commands.

Philippians 2:5-11 Jesus came in poured out servitude that serves as the bar that one who calls himself a disciple needs to meet. The temptation is meant to serve as the model one needs to come to in the face of temptation leaving people without the excuse to continue in their sin while Christ’s sacrifice pays for it the practice of it by no means should continue. “Satan gives Adam and apple and takes away paradise. Therefore in all temptations let us consider not what he offers but what we shall lose.”- Richard Sibbes. God cannot be tempted (James 1:13) and for God to be subject to temptation is not for the benefit that he himself can beat down on the principalities of darkness which he will eventually do, but rather endure so that he may lead others through trials as an example to imitate that reflects God himself into the darkest places.

Works Cited

Drisoll, Mark. Breshears, Gary. Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe. Wheaton, IL. Crossway. 2008. Print.

Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, MI. Zondervan. 1994. Print.

Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity. New York, NY. Harper One. 1952. Print.

Pentecost, J. Dwight. A Harmony of The Words and Works of Jesus Christ. Grand Rapids, MI. Zondervan. 1981. Print.

Wilkinson, Bruce. Boa,Kenneth. Talk Thru The Bible. Nashville, TN. Thomas Nelson. 2002. Print.

What Defines The Church?

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You are probably thinking that a church is defined by a house, building, and cookie cutter suburbanites and grandparents right? Wrong the church is made up of an eclectic group of people, but with all this diversity and relatablity the church is suppose to represent. What defines a church? What defines Christian ministry?

In the letter to the Philippian church by the Apostle at a glance is a letter of Paul himself communicating to a church he helped plant, raise and had communication with since he beginnings as a 1st century church planter. He is anticipating his release from prison and he’s looking reaching out to encourage and edify these people who are supporting him in his imprisonment like the people who take to the street and protest in the modern day they are a people with a cause to rally around having their founding pastor imprisoned. Paul himself is not in a defeated position, or spirit as he lays the ground work for not just deep theology to be preached from the pits of Roman jail but he’s overflowing with a supernatural joy that also spills out the philosophy of ministry that he not just lays for this church but to all the saints whom are to come. In this Paul’s establishing the principles that allows the church to become the true community of believers for all time, to allow them to have both a visible presence yet an invisible presence at the same time, as God sees them having the dual access to be the relatable presence to the hostile world around them.

Verses 1:12-26 Paul really polishes the beginning showcase the true motives of someone and the church in how they conduct themselves in preaching, teaching, and raising more and better disciples. That is Christ revealed, and the kingdom of God and his kingly rule he is quick to identify those in his time who are preaching and teaching from all kind of imitations, and manners in which draw varying reactions, and gain a lot of attention in the body. Paul cuts to the bone in highlighting that the vessel of which Christ is proclaimed should not be the focus of the church or how it’s packages but the contents itself in which it holds as Jesus himself is the motive. (Grudem. 863) The people themselves are not the kingdom but a society of men under God’s rule which in itself is the kingdom and they are the instrument of which it’s used in it’s proclamation. The focus of Christ being the faithful center piece of any movement of any ministry as Paul lays this out the mark of which is his joy and celebration as his affliction is serving the overflow of a Christ centered in the middle.

This is to attribute to the advancement of the gospel by living Christ coram deo the mark of which is the presence of joy that is the lifestyle we are called to; it’s attributed the philosophy Paul is bringing to the church and it’s the very presence of God himself that comes from Christocentric motives, and mission.

“Joy is a lifestyle that celebrates the forward progress of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” -Mark Driscoll

Paul then moves in verses 2:17-30 to give way to the example of service that the church should embody as Christ’s representatives. Ministry should embody purity, and humility that is to serve as light to contrast the world around them. He uses Timothy and Epaphroditus as the examples credentialing them to the church to not only vouch as one would co-sign for credit on a loan but to highlight to church as to the type of character one should be striving towards as the mark of the godly fruit that they bare. This goes in conjunction to the Christ like example that Paul writes to the church in verses 5-11 in chapter 2 as Christ himself had poured himself out as a sacrifice coming to serve to ultimately ascend and every conscience in creation will bow in humble recognition of his Lordship. The servant should willing to be seen for the sake of Christ and to be the example of faith that is seen by the world that represents in that scene of those whom he or she is also in connection with. The imprisonment is joy, the unity in the church is joy, and the opportunity to serve in a capacity that is not ideal, or even looked down upon is also joy. The servant is being called to a lifestyle of joy that extends past the momentary and in that joy the gospel is being progressed either spoken, and/ or unspoken to greater make him known among the nations. This type of man that is described in Timothy, and Epaproditus is what should be retained and valued versus the men whom seek godly means in which to elevate and promote themselves among God’s people. Joy progresses the gospel, the means in which joy is exacted in the servant is selfless service that speaks outside of the box and is an overflow into their actions. This speaks out to the fulfillment of Matthew 5:13:16 as a Christian’s influence to be both salt and light they extend beyond themselves as a city on a hill that can be seen for miles a people serving a world willing to persecute them. (Stott. 57) Salt in itself on an elemental level is stable and can withstand attack and can sustain itself against that which comes against it, but can become contaminated among other impurities. In the credentialing from verses 19-30 Paul is laying out that these men of God and men that need to be retained in God’s regenerate community that in itself has the ability to be stable as salt itself. Many people in the first century just like they do today come with the guise of the Christian veneer and lifestyle but do not produce the reflection of Christ as true believers and servants of God do. Matthew 7:16, and John 8:12 Jesus says two things that ‘You shall know a tree by the fruit it bares’, and ‘I am the light of world’. Meaning that people are more universal than they than they are unique and you can always tell who they really are by the transparency that they have or lack of in which to discern if God’s presence is really with them. Ed Marcelle used the analogy once in a sermon where he compares the believer to a mirror that is broken or shattered the life of which the believer is spent allowing Christ to assemble those pieces back together so that they may better reflect his presence in their life. The true servant of God is one that is light and reflects God in their life, their worship, their prayer life there is no lack of transparency for them to hide because they are a reflection of Christ before man.

Ministry is also men and women who are righteous through their faith there can be no merits in man if there was the cross would not have been needed. Christ does elevate man from unworthiness to a place of deserving poor faith in Christ is based solely on his mercy and cannot rest on the substitutions that we bring to the table ourselves. John 3:16 gives a perfect picture of the great exchange, and is the fulfillment of the redemption mode in which Christ was prophesied to take in Zechariah 3:10. Even more so the basis of faith is extended back to the sacrificial testing of Abraham and God providing the means of redemption in which man can live righteously in fellowship with him.

The faithful are not fools though as Paul speaks of being weary of the enemies of the cross, the unfaithful, mentioning them as dogs as we have looked at being able to exercise godly wisdom. Paul speaks into the original identity that God had given pre-fall man of being workers, wise man, and warriors. As they are called to godly wisdom in being able to discern the character of those around them, speak the revealed truth of the gospel of Christ Jesus, and know humility and truly understand having Christ being the object of their worship and not the things around them or even who they were before they had come to know Christ in faith. They are also able to strive in one body, spirit, and one solid movement that reflects a unified body, and Paul uses himself as the example to model in a how-to fashion as his position is to nurture, mold and guide the church, and the communities at large. The areas of workers, and warriors are those who hear this call, and obeys while at the same time securing the godly balance, and presence.

Finally in the last part of Paul’s letter he hones in; in chapter 4:8-20 Paul really reveals that ministry should not be something left for the younger generation to figure out. He in fact through the letter to the church uses himself as the example in which they are to use like a teacher who’s giving a demonstration. By doing this there is no room for new things to bring to the Christian faith rather it is more or less an old fashioned demonstration of how one lives out obedience, in faith, and maintains transparent spiritual integrity as salt and light that results in a lifestyle that celebrates the gospels forward progress. This is not something that is done a lone and the whole of Paul’s ministry to the church in Philippi is that it is one rooted in joy but done in community the missional piece of ministry that Paul pours out is one that is intentionally in community from his prayers, concerns, and reception of gifts from them and his dispatchment of Timothy and others to and from the church is that while Christ is the central crown jewel of ministry, and the godly positions that the believer is privy to that is restored through Jesus and faith. Through maintaining the path, the frame work is meant to serve the people of God under submission to God revealing the effectual calling of God into himself.

Ministry is defined loosely in the modern day as any church and has been raised up and organized to mean, serve, and establish the church presence in community. While there is variation of experience, and attempt to find fresh ground in Christ as a missional community Paul’s presentation to the Philippians church can be summed up as, ‘The Lifestyle of Joy’. Flowing from which comes the piece of the forward progress of the gospel of Jesus Christ as joy is the effectual mark of his presence and from that wells the overflow that will pour out onto the community that the church is set to serve as a missional and monastic presence. At the essence the goal is worship of God which as John Piper has said that, “The ultimate goal of the church is worship, missions exist because worship doesn’t.”

Ministry is not the presentation of the people that occupy it’s organization, or fit within the services each week but is the right presentation of our God, and his gospel as his redemptive movements that offers spiritual resuscitation, and restoration. Ministry is the presentation of God’s presence among mankind, and offers us the same reassurance of his presence that ancient Israel, and even the 1st century church had who were able to dine, and touch Christ himself. The lifestyle of joy is his mark, and that ministry is about a God who fully present, and fully loving as he is reflected amongst his people like broken mirrors, offering salt.

Works Cited

Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, MI. Zondervan. 1994. Print.

Stott, John, R.W. The Message of The Sermon on The Mount. Downers Grove, IL. Inter Varsity Press. 1978. Print.

Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity. New York, NY. Harper One. 1952. Print.

Pentecost, J. Dwight. A Harmony of The Words and Works of Jesus Christ. Grand Rapids, MI. Zondervan. 1981. Print.

Wilkinson, Bruce. Boa,Kenneth. Talk Thru The Bible. Nashville, TN. Thomas Nelson. 2002. Print.