The Health guru says, “You are what you eat.” But that is not correct. “You are what you think!” The attitudes of your inner man is what you really are: “As a man thinks in His heart, so is he!” (Pr.23;7)
Christians are to live with each other in such a way that the reality of our salvation is fleshed out in the forum of human relationships within the body of Christ before a watching world. (Phil. 1:27).
There is an indication in our text that disunity within the congregation at Philippi threatened the effectiveness of their gospel outreach in Philippi.
- “that I may hear that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the gospel (1:27)
- “Fulfill my joy by being likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” (2:2)
- “Do all things without complaining and disputing” (2:14)
- Euodia and Syntche are implored to be of one mind in the Lord (4:1-3)
What follows is a pointed reminder that living worthy of Jesus is to live in unity with one another. In our text Paul makes it clear to pull that off you have to THINK LIKE JESUS! This passage is about an example of “worthy living” that is down at our level. An example that we can grasp, one we must follow!
We are naturally bent toward self-centeredness and pride. We are so prone to demand rights – to struggle and fight to gain some advantage we believe is rightfully ours. This has caused untold harm to the church and hindered the proclamation of the gospel through the centuries.
The great tragedy of Paul’s day and the great tragedy of our day is that when God’s church is dominated by strife, pride and self-seeking the gospel suffers! We are diverted from issues of critical importance.
Paul points us to Christ as our example of true humility, servanthood and obedience.
THE HUMILITY OF HIS COMING TO EARTH (5-6)
Jesus refused to demand what was rightly His.
Jesus Christ is God (Heb 1:3). He shares the nature, the attributes, the person and the glory of God Himself. He is one with the Father, co-existant, co-equal in every way! This is the mystery of the Trinity – three persons, one God!
Jesus did not hold onto what was rightfully His. When He came to earth He did not cease being God, rather He laid aside the “form” that is, the outward manifestation of the inner reality. Jesus took off the robe of glory and donned a robe of flesh! What Humility!
He left the place & position that was rightfully His
Jesus Christ did not hold onto His glory as God as something He used for His own advantage. The pre-incarnate Christ was God in all majesty and glory yet he refused to demand what was rightfully His.
Instead Christ set that glory aside in heaven, and came down to take upon Himself flesh and blood. Rather than viewing His position with the Father as something to protect and a right to demand, He saw it as the qualification for Him to be the Savior of His people.
He left the throne of heaven for this wicket planet – imagine what the all-seeing eye of God and the all-knowing mind of God has seen on planet heart in the past 48hrs! (Rom. 1:20-32). The Cesspool of Humanity.
- How often do we hold tightly to our rights, we make demands based upon the perception that we have our own worth, achievements, position, place.
- We must live in humble obedient submission to the Father’s will, accepting from the times of disgrace, abuse and trials. It is through this that God prepares us and qualifies us as servants of Christ.
THE HUMILITY OF HIS SERVANTHOOD (7)
The form He took – a Bondservant (7b)
“Taking the form of” term used of button on outside clothing. He takes of His robe of glory and puts on the clothing of a slave! This form was both in appearance and also in being. He was not identified by his halo and glowing face – he was identified by his servant spirit. (Lk 17:7-10)
His commitment to that form was clearly demonstrated when in the upper room He washed the disciples feet. The disciples right up to the cross argued about positioning in the kingdom. Jesus Christ washed their feet (Jn. 13:14-16).
- You will serve the least
- You will serve everyone
The humanness He embraced (7c)
Christ, the King of Glory came to our dirty little planet and made himself human. Born into a world dominated by the filth of unregenerate men, filthy passions, debased motives, filthy agendas. Like dogs gleefully rolling on a rotting carcass man revels in their sin.
It was into this world that Jesus Christ came, bringing Himself willingly and completely into our world – a world that despises the authority of God, rejects the laws of God, throws off all Divine restraint to madly pursue sin and drink it to the fullest.
Into this world Jesus came – what amazing humility!
HUMILITY OF HIS OBEDIENCE (8)
His humility was lived out in obedience to the father (8a)
The agony of obedience – Jesus knew what the cross meant! He was sorrowful unto death! (Mk 14:32-35)
“Jesus was about to be plunged into the raw sewerage of humanity to be defiled and separated from God the Father for the first time in all eternity!” – Chopo Mwanza
The horror of bearing the wrath of God – He would have to face the wrath of Almighty God upon Himself. The agony of bearing God’s displeasure.
His humility embraced obedience all the way to the cross (8b)
In the world of men it meant shame! Jesus Christ died one of the most scandalous deaths known to man. Humanity has not created a more degrading or loathsome experience than a cross. In Roman Society the mention of the cross was considered an obscenity.
If the last thought was not enough to cause us to fall to our knees and worship think of this: His humility was not something being forced upon Him by external forces, but it was His own doing!
As a real man He humbled Himself, he withheld His innate power and submitted in obedience to the will of the Father. This obedience was “even unto death.”
Christ’s self-humiliation brought ultimate obedience (2 Cor. 5:21, I Jn. 2:2)
Let’s review what we have seen about Christ in this passage:
- He humbled himself by setting aside His glory with the Father
- He humbled himself by serving His Father
- He humbled himself by obeying the Father
What now? (9-11)
Therefore, God has highly exalted Him:
- Exalted at the right hand of the Father
- Exalted to a place of honor
- Exalted through the worship of all created things
- Exalted through the submission of all creation to Him as LORD – everyone will bow and everyone will confess!
What is the result? The glory of God the Father! (11c)
God is calling you to love justice, love kindness and to walk humbly before your God. (Micah 6:8). You might be thinking – that will require grace! “But He gives more grace, Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (Jas. 4:6)
When you think like Jesus Christ you will:
- Choose Humility: Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves (3-5)
- Obey fully: This is a call to fulfill the command to live a life worthy of the gospel – the path for obedience is clearly spelled out in Christ.
- Serve faithfully: The message of Philippians is for all of us who are prone to ambition and vainglory: “in humility count others better than yourself, let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also the interests of others.”
Will you bow before Jesus now and acknowledge Him as your LORD?
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