Christ Provides the Pattern for Growth

MEMORY SELECTION: “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 3:14

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Philippians 3:3-16

THERE are two texts that seem to be especially appropriate to the title of our lesson. The first of these is found in Hebrews 2:10: “For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”

Our text tells us first that the whole arrangement was planned by God and that it is his design to bring many sons to glory, but that the Captain of their salvation, who is Jesus, must be dealt with first. It is God who supervised his experiences, and by being submissive (or suffering) under difficult and trying circumstances, he was made perfect.

To fully understand this text we must know what happened when Jesus indicated by water immersion the complete and unreserved consecration that had already taken place in his heart. Jesus realized that his chief mission at his first advent was to die, to provide the ransom price for Adam. Since all of humanity was condemned in Adam, if Adam was redeemed all could be released from adamic condemnation.—I Tim. 2:5,6; Mark 10:45; I John 2:2; I Pet. 1:18,19; Rom. 5:18,19,12; I Cor. 15:21,22

When Jesus was immersed it pictured his willingness and determination to surrender his life as a sacrifice for Adam’s sin. This sacrifice was completed on Calvary’s cross. But it pictured more than this. In order that Jesus might have an opportunity to live and be resurrected, it was necessary that he be begotten to a new life—the divine nature. This the Heavenly Father did, and the reality was indicated to John by the dove lighting upon Jesus. When Jesus was brought up out of the water, it pictured his being raised to this newness of life.

From God’s standpoint the fleshly body of Jesus was dead, along with any earthly thoughts, aims, or plans. Even any earthly possessions were to be surrendered as belonging to God from this point forward. God was interested only in the new spiritual mind of our Lord. All his experiences were permitted of God and designed to develop spiritual maturity, and to try and to prove his loyalty under the most adverse of circumstances.

The second scripture that pertains especially to our text is Hebrews 5:8,9, which reads, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author [cause] of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” When we speak of Jesus learning obedience, or being made perfect, we must remember that the reference is being made to his spiritual development—the development of his spirit-begotten mind. We are informed by our text that Jesus was made perfect by his experiences, that he was completely submissive under them, and that because of this God was able to resurrect Jesus to the divine nature and give him headship over the church.

Jesus indicated to his disciples that they would have the same kind of experiences he was having if they walked faithfully in his footsteps. In Matthew 10 Jesus goes into considerable detail preparing the disciples for the experiences they would encounter when he sent them forth to preach concerning the kingdom. In verses 24, 25, we read, “The disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord. If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?”

The Apostle Peter confirms our Lord’s statement, saying, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.” (I Pet. 4:12) The point is that these trials and testing’s are permitted by the Heavenly Father for the purpose of developing in us a mind, or character, like that of our Lord, and in this school of development and testing Jesus is our example. In I Peter 2:21-23 the apostle wrote: “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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