Martin Luther King Jr. was pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama from 1954 to 1960. In 1960, he moved to Atlanta and became co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church. He remained in that position until his death in 1968.
While holding these pastoral positions, he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which was organized to give leadership to civil rights movement. During his service as president, it is believed that he gave over 2500 speeches, led protests, wrote 5 books and many articles. All of this was done in his never-ending quest for equality and civil rights for all people. This quest led to his arrest at least 25 times, as well as being assaulted numerous times for his beliefs.
Some of his most well-known writings and speeches were: “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and his “I have a Dream Speech”
In 1968, Martin Luther King was murdered while standing on a balcony of a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee.
Martin Luther King Jr’s life is the epitome of a life sacrificed for the good of others. Because of this, he received many awards during his life and following his death. Some of these awards include five honorary degrees, as well as was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963, Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and the Rosa L. Parks Award, presented by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. (posthumously) 1968
See the following links (and many others) for more in-depth information concerning MLK Jr’s life and accomplishments:
One of the many famous quotations of Martin Luther King, Jr. is a question that he posed to his listeners, which became a summary of his entire life’s mission: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” http://blog.twitter.com/2010/01/persistent-and-urgent-question.html
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life was filled with great sacrifices for others. But the sacrifice made by our Lord Jesus Christ is the greatest of all sacrifices made on behalf of others…
Phil 2:4-8 (KJV)
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
In Phil 2:4-8, we find some of the Lord’s instructions to us concerning living lives of service for others…
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
One of the greatest responsibilities our God has handed to His people is the need to love and care for others (Matt 22:38-40, Mark 12:30-31, Gals 5:14, 1 John 3:17-19) Because of this, we should be concerned about both the spiritual and physical needs of others:
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
For many of us, it is easy to love and care for those who are our friends, but what about those who oppose us? We are to love and care for them as well. It is a great opportunity for us to show the love of Christ to others:
But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and [to] the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
What is one key to showing consistent concern for others? Thinking as Christ thinks. What was the mindset of Christ, that allowed Him to literally give all for others that He loved?…
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Christ’s mindset allowed Him to recognize His deity (John 10:30) …
But made himself of no reputation,
And be willing to “empty” Himself of the exercise of His divine attributes. In other words, Christ choose to not exercise His great Godly abilities that He possessed.
and took upon him the form of a servant,
He was willing to serve others, working for their benefit, by teaching, healing, and dying for them.
and was made in the likeness of men:
He was willing to take upon Himself, flesh (not sinful flesh), so as to be in the “likeness of men”. His perfect humanity is being spoken of here. He was in the “form” of man although, as God, He was sinless.
And being found in fashion as a man,
Not only did Christ physically appear as a man, but He also came to the earth, lived among men, conversed with men, ate as a man, worked as a man; ie – He lived his life just as any other man lived his life on earth (only without sin). This is what is meant by Christ being found “in fashion” as a man.
he humbled himself,
His entire earthly life was characterized by “humility”. From his birth in a stable, to His heinous suffering and death as a publicly convicted criminal (although He was actually innocent).
and became obedient unto death,
Christ’s death was not only motivated by His love for others, but it was also an act of obedience to His Father in heaven. (Matt 26:39-42)
even the death of the cross.
Christ displayed the ultimate self-sacrificial act by submitting to a horrible death on the cross.
The greatest aspect of His suffering was not the physical torture. It was when He was separated from His heavenly Father, as He bore the sins of His people upon Himself. (Mark 15:34)
This was the supreme act of self-sacrifice… the sinless Son of God was willing to be humiliated by His own creation and separated from His heavenly Father.
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION
For those who have trusted in Christ…
By following the Lord’s perfect example of self-sacrifice, we all can leave a legacy of a life that is pleasing to God and of benefit to all mankind.
For though I be free from all [men], yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all [men], that I might by all means save some.23And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with [you].
For those who have never trusted in Christ…
God the Father chose to give His Son to be the Savior of His people. Then Christ, in submission to the will of His Father, came to the earth, lived a life of self-sacrifice and then died on the cross, as He bore our sins. All of this was done to make it possible for the people of God to be saved.
By coming to a realization that we can do nothing to save ourselves, we must come to Christ and rely upon Him to intervene in our life and save us from our sins.
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
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