Prologue | Table of Contents | Chapter 6

In Galatians 6:2-3 we read the following words, "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself." In this instance the word law is not referring to the Mosaic Law but means a rule of action. The law of Christ is humility and servanthood. Paul contrasts Christ's rule of action with pride and self-deception. Anyone who deceives himself by thinking he is something when he is nothing is not fulfilling the law of Christ but is rising up in a spirit anti to the Spirit of Christ--the spirit of antichrist. Paul exhorted, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another" (Romans 12:2-5).

Jesus Washing Feet

What does it mean to think soberly? Have you ever been around a drunk? After they've had a few too many, they become virtual gods. Some think their intellectual prowess rivals that of Einstein. Others tell war-stories, casting themselves as heroes who single-handedly won World War II. Some think that they are invincible and can out-fight the biggest of men. Unfortunate for the rest of society, other drunks think they can drive quite well under the influence. How could they arrive at such faulty conclusions? They are not sober! Something has affected their judgment so that they think more highly of themselves than they should. To be sober is to view things as they really are, to accurately assess ourselves in relation to God and His people.

God has given a measure of faith to every believer. He has, without respect of persons, distributed grace to all. He has not given extra grace to some so they can subjugate the rest. We are not lords of one another but "members of one another." It is insobriety to view ourselves as more than this. Christ is calling all believers from an intoxicated view of their individual worth to a humble, corporate participation in His rule of action. Paul wrote, "Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law" (Romans 13:8 NKJV). The selfless agape love of God is His rule of action-- self for others, not self for self.

Now we will consider Christ's rule of action as set forth by Paul in Philippians 2.

Fulfill you my joy, that you be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not a thing to be grasped to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:2-8 KJ2)

Paul contrasts two motivating rules of action in the above passage: strife and the mind of Christ.

The Greek word for strife in this passage is eritheia [2052], which in Greek records before New Testament times was found only in the writings of Aristotle, referring to the self-serving ambition behind the pursuit of political office, i.e., electioneering. W.E. Vine expands its definition even further. "It (eritheia) is derived not from eris, strife, but from erithos, a hireling; hence the meaning of seeking to win followers." This casts the comparison of these two rules of action in a totally different light. Strife here is not just bickering and fighting; it is the ambition to lead away disciples after yourself and use them for your own gain. Paul spoke of this ambition to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20: 29-30. He warned them that "savage wolves" would come in among them, and even worse, some of these wolves would come out from among these very elders.

The Nature of the Wolf

What is the nature of a wolf? How does he hunt the sheep? He first tries to cut the sheep off from the Shepherd (Christ) and take them to himself. Paul warned that these wolves would speak perverse things with one purpose in mind--to draw away the disciples after themselves. Among those perverse things that were taught was most certainly a warped justification for their wolf-like actions, such as apostolic succession, submission to themselves, and warnings to stay away from the rest of the church (See 3 John 9-11). Most forgot Peter's exhortation, "Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock" (1 Peter 5:3 KJ21), and fully embraced the perverse teachings of wolves. Before long these wild dogs taught the perverse notion that they were Christ's sole representatives and as such they were Christ on earth and that the people must receive their every word as the word of Christ to them. They insisted that their edicts were superior to the scriptures and were to be obeyed without question. This is the legacy of wolves that has been bequeathed to every generation since, including our own. Godly leaders who have seen through this deception do not try to lead away disciples after themselves. They do not want to be the voice and conscience of God's heritage. They only want to make disciples of Christ, who hear His voice, taught directly by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus spoke of this,

"No man can come to me, except the Father who has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that has heard, and has learned of the Father, comes unto me." (John 6:44-45 KJ2000)

The proof-test of all teaching is this, does it lead us unto Jesus? If we are taught of God we will be led to Jesus. If we are taught of men we will gather unto them. This is what Jesus is saying here, isn't it? All teaching that comes from the Father has one end in view--to join the hearer to Christ. Anything other than this is perverse. Those who are taught of God do not come under the domination of religious wolves whose every word is spoken to gain a cult-following, which they often refer to as "my sheep," "my flock" and to the gathering of them as "my church."

This is a serious problem today and we should not take it lightly. God doesn't! Neither did Paul. For three years he warned the churches of this night and day with tears. Paul wrote of such wolves early on in the book of Philippians. "These, indeed, announce Christ out of party spirit, (eritheia - electioneering) not sincerely, thinking to add affliction to my bonds" (Philippians 1:16 LITV). There is no doubt in our minds that it was this party spirit promoted by hirelings trying to win followers that has spawned the 200,000 denominations and sects in Christendom today, ripping and tearing at the very body of Christ for this is what wolves do. We know this sounds harsh and intolerant, but God has shown us how evil this divisiveness is and we cannot mollycoddle it. We see in Jesus, His walk and humility the only true model of leadership!

This is the choice before us. Will we embrace the Spirit and likeness of the lowly, servant Jesus, who said, "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true" (John 5:31), or will we like so many be found "ministering" with constant references to ourselves? In John 7:18, Jesus explains this reasoning further, "He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood." Soren Kierkegaard agreed when he wrote, "To win a crowd is no art; for that only untruth is needed, nonsense, and a little knowledge of human passions. . . Those who speak to the crowd, coveting its approval, those who deferentially bow and scrape before it must be regarded as being worse than prostitutes" (Provocations).

Seeking the glory of God is the real issue here, for no king appoints an ambitious person to be his trusted servant. No, he wants one who will protect his glory, not some Absalom going behind his back, promoting himself so he can take over. Like the Mighty Men of David who had a single heart--to enthrone the rightful King, we are called to contend for the glory of Another. The government only rightly fits on Christ's shoulders. Are we content with this? Are we passionate for this or do we try to draw away disciples after ourselves? Which rule of life do we live by? Our focus should not be on authority but on glorifying Him who sends us. We have been purchased by Jesus' poured-out blood. We are no longer our own to do as we will.

True authority is selfless and can only reside in the hearts of those who do not promote themselves but live for the Father's glory. We want to go on record as advocates of this kind of authority and no other! We ascribe to no other authority than what flows from hearts passionate for the exaltation of the true King! He that speaks on his own authority may sell his tapes and market his books and gain a following, but he will never know true authority because he is untrue and bears witness of himself. Dare we posture as kings when Jesus came as a servant? Have we forgotten His words, "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him" (John 13:14-16)?

The example of Christ, on his knees serving, is undoubtedly the greatest argument against the supposed legitimacy of the ruling cast known as the "clergy." As the Holy Spirit reveals the Kingdom that the Father gave to Christ, and His self-emptying rule of action, only then can we see that the clergy/laity system is indeed a wolf/prey system, a hireling system, composed of men seeking a name and a following. Those who truly possess the Mind of Christ walk as Christ walked and are without doubt God's consummate proof text against the counterfeit.

Christ never exalted Himself. God exalted Him in due time! Yes, in due time. After a lifetime of waiting and of humble service, ending with His sacrificial death on the cross, God highly exalted Jesus, giving Him the name above every name. God's reward is waiting for you too, just the other side of the cross and the grave, but it is not a thing to be grasped in this life.

Satan tried to short-stop this coming glory by tempting Jesus to grab it for Himself on this side of eternity, promising, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory [the kingdoms of the world]; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours" (Luke 4:6-7). How many of us today have passed this test?

Some of you are probably asking, "But when I serve, won't God promote me to a place of prominence?" Yes, right after you've been crucified and buried and raised to newness of life! It is God who does the resurrecting and exalting. Our part is to submit to Christ's rule of action and stop thinking we are something when we are nothing. So many have bought into the tempter's song, "Get all you can get. You only go around once. Go for the gusto. Be all that you can be. You owe it to yourself" et infanausium. Many have traded their divine birthright for this cup of pottage. "I want it now and I want it biggie sized!"

God does not intend to exalt anyone unduly, independent of His Son. The glory God gives us is a shared glory, which we inherit when we are filled with Christ, the only "hope of glory." God has exalted Christ, and given Him a name above every name. If we partake of Christ's cup and baptism, we will share in His life and God will raise us up to sit together with Christ in his throne. No independent ministry here! When the cross has done its work in us, we are joined with Christ in His passion for the Father's glory and we become one with the Father in His zeal for the eminence of His Son. There is no more thought of personal advancement. Having gone the way of self-emptying, the way of the suffering Servant, downward to the cross and the grave, all strife ceases and our hearts are realigned to God's single passion.

O glorious resurrection morning! Ambition is gone! Strife and vainglory are left behind like discarded grave clothes! Lust for position has lost its appeal, and in its place; the Spirit and mind of the lowly Christ! Finally, we have come to see beyond the dark veil of our own deceitful hearts to comprehend the glorious Servant-Christ and the kingdom that He confers! The Spirit of lowly Jesus has triumphed! Strife is vanquished! Rest is found for the soul! What victory! What glory! What life!

May these words become like frontlets (Exodus 13:16) upon our hearts!

"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:5f)

Prologue | Table of Contents | Chapter 6

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