Christ Is Savior and Lord
Christ IsPastor Jerry Gillis - August 9, 2015
Paul tells us in Philippians that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. What does that mean to us as Christians?
Community Group Study Notes
- If Jesus humbled Himself in coming to this earth, how does that transform our relationships with others? Is there any room for Do you know who I am? kind of attitudes when you are reflecting the servant heart of Jesus to others? Explain.
- Why does a ruthless obedience to Christ reveal that we actually believe He is Lord? Conversely, what does our disobedience say we believe about Jesus? Why does this matter?
- How can you keep your mindset in line with Jesus mindset? What will that require of you?
"Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 2:4-5
So, when we look at the book of Philippians that we're looking at today and we're studying here over these next number of weeks, it's important for us to remember something: that this was a letter that was written to actual people. There were people on the other end of this letter. It's not just some nebulous thing that was floating through cyber space since there wasn't cyber space at that time. This was an actual pen on parchment letter that was intended for human beings on the other end that were in Philippi.
For instance, people like Lydia. I mentioned Lydia last week. Lydia was one that Paul helped lead to Christ near a river and then she started hosting the church at Philippi in her home. And Lydia was a dealer in purple cloth so she was in the clothing industry. And it's possible that maybe she was waiting to hear from Paul, getting a letter from the apostle by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to help her in whatever it was that she was facing. Because now that she had been allowing the church to meet in her home and she was also someone who was dealing in the clothing world there and dealing in the empire, maybe she was starting to feel the strain of the empire squeezing down on her a little bit because she was walking in the way of Jesus and was forsaking all the pagan gods and deities that they had in Rome and now she was hosting these people in her home and also trying to do business. It's possible.
Or maybe it was intended for people like the jailer. You may remember the jailer, although the jailer is unnamed in Acts chapter 16 we find out that both Paul and Silas when they were in Philippi are put in jail for what they are doing, particularly casting out demons and those kinds of things. So they're in jail and they're singing at midnight and then everything starts shaking, right? And the doors open. There's an earthquake and the doors open and they don't leave. And in fact they convince everybody not to leave because you know that a jailer would face probably the same punishment that the prisoner had if the prisoner escaped. And so they stayed and they ended up giving testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ and the jailer came to faith in Jesus Christ and his household was influenced by that as well and now everything had changed for him.
And I wonder if he was on the other end of this letter waiting to hear from the apostle Paul because now he was in a position where he was working for the empire but was following after Jesus. It's probably a tough position for the jailer to be in.
Or maybe it's for people like Euodia and Syntyche. I'm sure you were thinking that. They're listed at the end of the letter to Philippi and they apparently, they were co-laborers, these two ladies that were working with Paul for the sake of the gospel but then somehow they got sideways with one another. I'm not sure exactly how that happened but they got sideways with one another. It could have been through some outside pressure that was being put on the church at that time. Maybe they were facing some persecution and one of them gave in to it and maybe the other did it and I don't know. It could have been through envy. It could have been through jealousy. It could have been that pride got involved somehow. But now there was a little bit of an internal struggle.
So there were people on the other end of this letter and the reason that we need to remember that all the time is because it helps us to understand the implications for our time. Because now we're people who even though this was a specific letter for a specific people in Philippi, it has been preserved by the Spirit of God through the pen of the apostle so that we now could benefit from that and we could understand some of the implications maybe for our own life.
Maybe there's somebody that's sitting under the sound of my voice, at any of our campuses, or watching online whose feeling significant pressure in your workplace and maybe it stems from the fact that you're someone who has chosen to love Jesus and to try and follow after Jesus and as a result that's cost you something. Or maybe continues to cost you something. Or maybe you're someone who is in your own home, you're being ridiculed because after following Jesus all the people that are in your family think you're nuts. They think you're crazy. They're trying to think what in the world are you doing? We've been fine without all this God stuff and now you're getting crazy on us.
Or maybe, who knows what the scenario could be for you. Maybe you're concerned about social settings that you find yourself in now because the culture has changed so dramatically and now when you get labeled a Christian in some social setting that you're in, you're concerned because you think that people are going to look at you either as some kind of bigot or they're going to label you as some kind of fundamentalist or they're going to label you as somebody who is discriminatory or whatever. Right? And they're going to give you some over the top designation that you didn't want and so you kind of start to shrink back as a result of that.
Or maybe you have a friend group that is not real intent on following after Jesus and you're trying to figure out where your place is in that friend group and whether you're going to go with them or whether you're going to follow after Jesus and you're just kind of wrestling with some of those kinds of questions. Or maybe you have a professor at your school who is using their bully pulpit to try and undo everything you've ever known about Jesus. Or maybe you've had a falling out with somebody who's a brother or sister in Christ and you're trying to figure out what to do about that.
For any of us that are in any of those positions, this letter speaks to us. And it will speak to us today and spoke to us last week and will continue to speak to us. Regardless of whether we find ourselves in one of those positions or we might find ourselves in one of those positions, this has something to say to us just like it did to the original recipients.
And so what Paul does in this letter, and we saw it in chapter number 1, he kind of helped them see his situation that he was in jail in Rome, but he was writing them a friendship letter to kind of see how they were doing, to tell them how he was doing and to speak to some of the affairs that were going on there. And he actually started by telling them that here's what I want you to know: I want you to know that Christ is my life. And by saying that he was not only saying that Christ is his life, but he was saying by extension Christ should be your life as well in Philippi. But then what he did at the end of chapter 1 is he kind of acknowledged some of the struggles that they were going through in Philippi.
Listen to what he says in verse number 29. It says, for it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through some of the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have. In other words here's what Paul's saying. He's saying, I get it. You guys are going through some stuff and in fact you're going through some stuff that I'm going through. You've seen what's happened to me and you're going through some of the same thing. Now they weren't in jail like he was. He was under house arrest.
But some of the same pressures were being exerted upon them. Let me explain. So for Paul, one of the pressures was the pressure of empire. Because now he was going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of four years in their captivity. Four years! They were trying to figure out what to do with the guy. He was a Roman citizen but they didn't like who he was preaching about. It was going against all of their multiplicity of gods that they had. He was preaching Jesus. They were trying to think what is this guy all about. So they kept him in captivity for four years. So you had the empire to deal with. And they were trying to figure out what they were going to do with him. Were they going to kill him? Were they going to release him? Were they going to just keep him in jail? He didn't know.
But he also had, there was a population of Jews that were also in Rome that were causing some headaches - both in Rome and some other parts of the world because they were wanting to make these new followers of Jesus - they were wanting to pull them back into Judaism. But he was also dealing with, in Rome, Paul was, some things that were going on inside of the church at Rome. Because there were people from the church at Rome that were going out and preaching the gospel. Some with good motivation and some with not so good motivation. They were actually wanting to get the glory for themselves and create more of a headache for the apostle. So that's what Paul's going through. And he says, I know that some of you are going through some of the same stuff. And here's what you're going through. You're going through a struggle with the empire because Philippi was a Roman outpost and so you're going through some of the same struggles because the empire's starting now to put a little bit of pressure on you. They're starting to eyeball you, see who you are and what you're doing and why you're doing all this Jesus stuff. You're also experiencing, some of the Jews that live there, they're putting some pressure on you because they don't really like what's happening with those who are following after Jesus and claiming that he is the Messiah that Israel has long awaited. And also you're having to deal with some stuff that's going on inside of the church at Philippi. So he says I hear you and I see your struggles and they are somewhat similar to the ones that I'm going through.
And so with all of that in mind, what exactly does Paul offer as a remedy for them for their struggles? Here it is: Christ. That's what he says. Christ is the remedy. More specifically, he says think like Christ.
I will make no bones about what I'm doing today. What I'm doing today is I am aiming for your mind, because in the context that we're going to look at this passage of scripture that's exactly what the apostle Paul is doing. He is saying you need to rethink some things based upon who Christ is. You need to have his mind and you need to think like him based upon who he is and even more specifically Paul says here's who he is. Let me tell you who he is. I've not only told you that he's our life, but you need to understand that Christ is Savior and Lord and as a result of him being Savior and Lord, that should change the way you think about your relationships. It should change the way that you think about your decision making, and it should change the way you think about the way you view the world. This is what Paul is getting them to.
And so then he unloads this beauty on them in verse number 5 of chapter 2. He says this: In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge (or confess) that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Now, this may be one of the most, in all of the New Testament, one of the most theologically rich summary passages of the gospel and of Jesus' nature. And it is one of those texts, I'll be honest with you, as a guy who does this for a living, this is what my vocation and my call is. There are sometimes when I approach a text and it is so striking and so intimidating, I just want to suck my thumb and drink a baby bottle because it is just overwhelming. When you start to look at the rich depth and breadth and strength of what this text brings.
I feel often like Charles Spurgeon, who was a great Baptist preacher in the 1800's who would say sometimes that I'm just not up for this text. It's too much for me. I don't know that I can do it justice. Well, I'm in that boat today and I know, I'm the moron who picked this series and I get it so it's my own fault. I got it. But at least I didn't pawn it off on anybody, make them feel bad. I'm dealing with it myself but here's what I want to do: as best I can for people like me and you who want to be able to understand plain English and understand what's being said because there are reams and reams and volumes and volumes of ink spilled on just those verses alone that I just read to you. Reams and reams and it is one of the places where theologians love to camp out and do all kinds of work writing all kinds of stuff based upon one individual word sometimes in this passage.
So what am I going to do here over the next handful of minutes? Well, what I'm going to try and do is this: I'm going to summarize the passage for us in terms of what it says to us about Jesus and then I'm going to just ask the question, so what? So what does that mean for us? So what do we have to do about that? We're going to summarize this great theological text and then we're going to say, what do we do about that? O.k.? Is that fair enough? All right, so stay with me here. Some of you guys are still trying to wake up and I will come off the stage and I will get smack in your grille. If I see you nodding off, not getting where you need to be, I will be all up in your - don't make me do it. Do not make me do it. I will do it.
All right, so here's some things that we learn about this passage. Here's the first thing that we learn. That Jesus is God. This is the first thing we learn in this passage when we start reading through it. Jesus is God. I want you to look in verse number 6. It says this: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage. Now, in the Greek language there, there's a word that's used and it's the word morphe. It's where we get our word morph. Now the reason I point it out, it's not because I want you to be impressed - oh, he knows a Greek word. Well, congratulations. Who cares? You care about ... Who cares? So I know a Greek word. The word morphe, the reason it's important is because in some of your translations, in some of the bibles that you're reading, here's what it says: Who being in the form of God, that's what you read in your translation. Now, it is not an incorrect translation to translate that in the form of God. Morphe can be translated form. But it's insufficient for us in terms of our understanding because when we begin to understand morph, or form, we kind of think of an external appearance.
Any of you that are roughly my age, maybe slightly younger, do you remember the Wonder Twins? Wonder Twin powers activate, form of, you know, whatever, and they would just make themselves whatever. Some of you that are much younger, you're going, that just sounds stupid. Some of you that are older are saying , that just sounds stupid. Some of us that are my age are going, it was stupid. So don't bother yourself on Google and looking it up. Don't even bother, all right? Wonder Twin powers activate! And then one of the twins would go, form of, and do whatever, right? And then they'd become this external appearance of something. You see when we think of the idea of form we think of external appearance but that's not what's being communicated by morphe.
Morphe is communicating, listen to this, essence or nature. That's why the translation that I'm using here today, I like the translation. Who being in very nature God. In other words, what is of essence of God is of essence of Jesus. What are the characteristics of God are the characteristics of Jesus. The nature of God is the nature of Jesus. In other words, Jesus is God. That's what's being said right from the beginning and in fact if you need a little more understanding of that he says who being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage. Do you know what that does?
Forgive me for a second. That presupposes preexistence of Jesus. I need to make sure I'm not losing anybody here. When I say the preexistence of Jesus, here's what I mean. Jesus was before he came. Everybody o.k.? Jesus was before he came. You see, sometimes people's timeline of Jesus starts in Bethlehem with a virgin named Mary. But it actually started in eternity past because he has always been. That's why John actually says in the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of God, full of grace and truth. Right? That's the idea that he was before he came. All right? So this text actually pre-supposes preexistence because he says who, Jesus, being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage. In other words it presumes equality with God and says that what Jesus did is he did not hang onto some things related to his God-ness, though he remained God, and showed us what God was like.
It's a stunning passage. This is why I tell you. Sometimes you're out of your depth, sometimes when you start dealing with passages like this. So we learned first of all that Jesus is God. But then we also learn a second thing here, that Jesus became the "God-man". Listen to what verse number 7 says. After it says who being the very nature of God did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage, rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature (there it is again) of a servant, being made in human likeness.
So here's what happened - Jesus, who was God, became man. But here's what you need to understand. That when Jesus became man he did not cease to be God. You see, this is a great passage. Theologians call it the kenosis passage. It's just a word describing the emptying of Jesus. That he emptied himself or that he made himself nothing, this idea.
But see here's what you need to understand. What Jesus emptied himself of was not his deity. He emptied himself of, of his rights and privileges that were associated with being deity. Because Jesus was at the same time fully God and fully man at exactly the same time. That did not make him 200% anything. If he's 100% God and 100% man, he's not 200% anything. He's just 100% God-man. He's not 50% God and 50% man. And some people go, man, Jerry, that's really difficult for me to grab hold of because if Jesus was fully human there's no way he could actually be God. Here's the problem. The text won't allow us to say that. Because Paul starts it this way: who, Jesus, being in very nature God. Do you know that in the Greek language, and again I know you don't care, but it's important for us, in the Greek language that's in the imperfect tense. It's not in the past tense. In other words, he's not saying Jesus who was God who now became man. Um-um. Jesus, who was God and who still is God, who being in very nature God. It's in the imperfect tense which means this - it means it is an ongoing continuous action not just a past tense reality. That's why it's important for us to understand. That Jesus is God and Jesus became God-man, fully God, fully man, at exactly the same time.
Jerry, I'm not sure I can wrap my mind around that. Well, welcome to the party! Glad you showed up! No one's able to wrap their mind around that idea. Let me give you a third thing that we learn from this passage. Jesus became the Servant-Savior.
Look at what it says in verse number 8. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross! So think about this. The one who is God, Jesus, the one who is everything made himself nothing. Why? Because in humility he chose to obey. He obeyed by going to a cross to die. I cannot overstate the humiliation of dying by crucifixion. I cannot overstate that. I can't oversell how humiliating that is. Do you know why it's humiliating? Well for the Romans, they put people on crosses who were insurrectionists or criminals. So when you're on a cross you're identified as a scourge, as a scum of the earth. That's who you are. If you are a Jew, based upon their law in the book of Deuteronomy, anyone and anything to hang on a tree is cursed.
So the Messiah, who is Jewish himself, Jesus, who came through the line of Jews is now hanging on a tree which is considered a curse in the Jewish world. So, the humiliation of hanging on a tree and acknowledging the Jewish curse-ness of it and acknowledging the Roman criminality of it, not to mention unclothed, beaten and battered for everyone to see publicly as a spectacle, I cannot overstate the humiliation associated with crucifixion. Yet, what Jesus did is he obeyed the Father all the way to the cross. He embraced the humiliation because he himself is the Servant-Savior.
You see Isaiah had been prophesying this all along because Isaiah chapter 40 to chapter 55, roughly, talks to us about the one who is going become the Messiah and he casts him as a suffering servant Messiah. You see the world was looking for a political upheaval, right? Someone who could come and whip Rome. Someone who could come and take over as a political leader. But they had failed to remember exactly what Isaiah was trying to help them to see. But the beauty is that Jesus' obedience, Jesus' humility, even though he was God and made himself nothing and went to humiliation, his humiliation birthed our salvation. This is the beauty of the cross.
So, Jesus is God, Jesus became God-man, Jesus became the Servant-Savior. But lastly, Jesus is Lord. This is what we see in this passage of scripture. Again, I'm kind of skipping on the mountain top here a little bit to give you a summary. Look in verse number 9. Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess, or acknowledge, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Do you see where this passage went? Listen to this. In one great sweep this passage went from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs. To the worst of humiliation to the greatest of exaltation. That's where this passage goes in telling us about the person of Jesus Christ and then it says this: here's what God has done. God has exalted Jesus the Son above all things and his name is above every name and at the name of Jesus, listen to this, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. And here's what Paul does. Paul uses evocative, beautiful language to describe that. He says every knee will bow in heaven.
Now think about this. When he's using that terminology he's talking about the heavenlies at this point and so what he's saying to us is this: every created being, every angel in all of the heavenlies is going to bow and acknowledge that Jesus is Lord. He also is reminding us that in the heavenly realms, so to speak, I'm not talking about heaven proper, but in the heavenly realms also, there are angelic beings that were created that rebelled called demons. Do you know what's going to happen with them? Every single last one of them is going to bow their knee and acknowledge that Jesus is the King over all. He is the King over everything in heaven, and then Paul says and on earth. What that means is every person that inhabits the earth, every living being that inhabits the earth, one day at his return is going to bow the knee and acknowledge that he is the King over everything, everywhere.
You remember the idea of bowing the knee is one of a servant to a king, right? It's the idea of acknowledging my king. Now here's the thing. He says in heaven that's going to happen, on earth that's going to happen and under the earth that's going to happen. Do you know what he's referring to? He's referring to everyone who's ever died. Anybody who's ever died at any point. So do you think he's covered everything? He says in all of the heavenly realms, anyone who inhabits the earth and everyone who has ever lived but is now dead - every single one of those created beings is going to get on their knee and acknowledge that this is the King of everything and everywhere.
Now, don't be confused. I don't want you to be confused about something because what this is not is this is not a statement of universal salvation. It's not a statement of that at all. In fact only those who have put their faith and trust in Jesus in this life, will they be bowing their knees acknowledging their Savior. Everybody else will be bowing their knee acknowledging the Sovereign who is over all. They just won't have words. They will be stumped. And they will realize he is who he said he was. But they will not be giving allegiance in terms of salvation. They will just simply be acknowledging his sovereignty over everything.
You see when Paul says not only will every knee bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, then he says he's going to get the name that is above every name. Now, here's what you need to understand. Paul is steeped in Old Testament understanding. Most of the time when Paul's talking he's talking, it's like there's a backdrop of Old Testament right behind whatever he's saying to us. And in this case it's plain and clear. Sometimes we just have to say, o.k., Paul's saying some things to us like for instance when he did not quote Job in chapter 1, but sort of did quote Job. We have to be able to go pick that out. But here it's plain. Plain as the nose on our face. Paul is actually quoting from Isaiah.
Remember I told you that chapters 40 thru 55 are talking about the Suffering Servant and God talks about even himself and his own name. I want you to listen to what Isaiah said in chapter number 45. Declare what is to be, present it - let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. "Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn and my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: (and here's the word) Before me every knee will bow; and by me every tongue will confess or swear."
You see Paul is actually now quoting from Isaiah. Listen carefully. What does that say to us, then? Well, he's already begun by saying and establishing that Jesus is God, right? Who being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage or to be forcibly retained. He's already helped us to see that. But now he's going to help us to see that again. Because there is, listen to this, God says in Isaiah my name is above all things and I'm going to give you something that you can take to the bank. By my name, every knee will bow and every tongue will swear or confess. By my name. What was that name? That name was the covenant name of God. Yahweh. The Lord.
Many times when we read this passage, when we say what is the name that is above every name that is given to Jesus? And we think that it's Jesus. Now pause. That's a part of it because that's his name. His name, Jesus, means he will save his people. It means Jehovah saves. Yahweh saves. That's what his name means. But the name that Paul is talking about here is probably not specifically the name of Jesus, though it says at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Chris is what? Lord.
Do you know what Paul is doing here? He is helping us to see that here's what God does in the exaltation of the Son. He says he has humbled himself, he has been humiliated, but therefore God has exalted him. And he has given him the name that is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee will bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! God is sharing his covenant name with Jesus. And is reminding us that Jesus is God and just as it was promised in Isaiah that every tongue will confess and every knee will bow before him, he is saying this is the fulfillment of that. Every tongue will confess and every knee will bow before Jesus who is Lord of all.
This is a startling passage of scripture, ladies and gentlemen. It gives us really a beautiful summary of the gospel and of Jesus. But here's what you need to know about it. This summary that Paul gives us from verse 6 to verse 11 where he begins who being in very nature God did not consider equality...that whole passage? It was probably something that Paul was quoting.
You see most scholars believe that this is actually an early Christian creed. In other words it came in the form of a hymn or a poem and Paul is actually referring to it and is not necessarily the author of it. Why is that important for us? Well it's important for us on a number of fronts because it helps us understand some things. You see I've run into well meaning people but misinformed people who have tried to convince me from time to time that you know, this whole thing about Jesus being God, that didn't develop until, you know, a couple of centuries later. Oh really? Because Paul is quoting something that the early church actually had as a creed and was singing probably in or reciting in their churches already.
Paul, who was writing in the early sixties AD, only about thirty years removed from the resurrection, the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, is actually quoting from something even earlier than that. So he's telling us that the early church already had an understanding of the nature of who Jesus was. This wasn't something that waited until the 300s during the time of Constantine. This was something that was happening now, that they actually believed and Paul is referring to that actual thing.
It also reminds us, by the way, that those who are of a persuasion that says that God is not tri-personal in his nature - God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. They are also misinformed because they think that somehow something got into the water and you know, the mid 300s AD and Constantine meddled with stuff and made this kind of three headed God or something along that line and we've already discussed a number of weeks ago about this. The problem is they already believed in a trinitarian nature of God - one God in three persons. Because a few verses earlier, in Philippians chapter 2 Paul is referring to the activity of the Spirit and here in this particular passage that he's quoting he's referring to the activity of the Father and the Son. That God exalted the Son and he did that - listen to this - gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
So this is already evident in the early church. It's not some late edition and by the way, by the way, by the way! If you wanted to have trouble convincing somebody of a tri-personal God, try doing that with a Jew. And it's a Jew who wrote it. Paul. Pharisee of Pharisees. A Jewish man who is writing of the tri-personal nature of our God.
So, this is important to us because it helps to summarize what Isaiah was saying in prophesy hundreds and hundreds of years earlier. In fact, listen to what Isaiah said about the suffering servant in Isaiah 52. See, my servant will act wisely: he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness - so he will sprinkle many nations and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand. I mean this is startling that hundreds and hundreds of years earlier we are seeing the outliving of that in the person of Jesus Christ.
So, all right, so I've done my best to kind of summarize a passage that is way too deep for me, for my little mind. But I've tried to speak in terms we can all understand. So what do we do with that? Glad you asked. The same thing that Paul told the Philippians to do with it is what we do with it. You know what he said to them? He said in your relationships with one another have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. And then he launched into this incredible teaching about who Jesus was. In your relationships with each other have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. And then he launches out and says Christ is Savior and Christ is Lord and you need to understand that because of the relationships that we have.
So let me break it down for you. Because Christ is Savior, here's what that means for us. We can be servants. Because Christ is Savior we can be servants.
Isn't it interesting that we're always trying to make something of ourselves. Just the world that we live in kind of promotes that. We just got to make something of ourselves, right? So here we are, nothings, trying to make ourselves somethings. That's near impossible to do by the way. We're always trying to make something of ourselves because we've got standards that the world imposes upon us about what's truly good and what's truly right and so maybe it's some standard of beauty, maybe it's some standard of body shape or body type, maybe it's some standard of financial earning or production or education or whatever. And so what we do is we have to strive to attain all of these things and in doing so either actively or passively what we do is we incessantly self promote. We're trying to be something. Incessantly self promote. We are a diseased people in the west. We have ego influenza. We have selfie smallpox. We are a diseased people because we who are nothing are tying to make ourselves something and what Paul says is this. He says I need you to remember in your relationships and in the way that you view the world, I need you to remember and have the mindset of Jesus. He is everything. He is something. But he made himself nothing so that you and I in our nothingness could be something in his everythingness. That is what he's asking us to remember.
So what that means is, is that we can actually be free to be servants instead of feeling like we've always got to be at the front of the line, that we always have to shamelessly self promote. Jesus became a servant. The one who had everything became nothing on our behalf. That means those of us who have things can lose things for the gospel because the gospel is the thing. It's not about us. It's not about our self promotion. It's not about how much stuff we can acquire. That we can actually lose for the sake of others so that they may gain. That's what Jesus did. We are free now because Christ is Savior, we're free to be servants, ladies and gentlemen. We're free to be servants. You know what we're also free to do? We're free to lovingly sacrifice. Because Christ is Savior we can sacrifice.
Do you realize, and I told you - you can't overstate the humiliation that Jesus faced at the cross. You can't overstate that. Do you know - listen to this - do you know why Jesus went through the humiliation of the cross? To save the relationship. That's why.
So let me ask you something. If, Paul says in our relationships we are to have the same mindset of Jesus, are you willing to experience some humiliation to save a relationship? Are you willing to humble yourself to save a relationship? Because that's what we're called to do. We have to sacrifice sometimes. So in other words in the relationships that we have whatever they might be our goal is to - listen - is to love people for themselves, not just love people for ourselves.
Sometimes the reason that we love people - listen to this - I'm prodding here - sometimes the reason that we love people is because we have a need. We need to feel affirmed. We need to feel loved so we're giving love so that we can get it. Paul says if you have the mindset of Jesus then you will love people for themselves not for yourself. You will love them and help to meet their need for them. Because that's what Jesus did because while we were yet sinners who were not loving him back he gave himself. You know this applies to everything.
It applies even to our giving when we can lovingly sacrifice even in our giving because Christ as our Savior has modeled that for us. In fact when Paul talks about giving, he actually goes back to what Jesus has done. Listen to what he says in 2 Corinthians chapter 8. He says for you know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. You know what Paul's doing? He's appealing to the gospel to say if you have the mindset of Jesus Christ here' s what you can understand. You can live generously because he has given everything on your behalf and his life in you is going to be a generous giving type of life. So if Christ, because Christ is our Savior, we can be servants. We can willingly sacrifice.
But remember we talked about him being Savior and being Lord. And because Christ is Lord let me tell you there's a couple things that we can figure out here, too. Because Christ is Lord you know what will happen? Humiliation will not be permanent. Because he's Lord. Humiliation won't be permanent.
Some of you walk through some stuff you know and you feel humiliated and you feel persecuted. You feel beaten down, whatever. It won't be permanent because he's Lord. He's Lord. In fact do you know when he was coming his mother was singing a song. She was pregnant with him, going to give birth to him. Jesus... She's singing this beautiful song. And do you know what she said about what her son was going to do and who he was going to be? Listen to what it says, Luke chapter 1. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. In other words there's going to be this great reversal and Jesus is the one that's going to be, the one who humiliated himself is the one who is going to be exalted. And that's exactly what happened to him, right? But do you know he says the same thing happens for us? Listen to how Jesus said it in the book of Matthew. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Here it is. The way up is the way down. The way down is the way up. He is the great reverser of these things.
And in fact, even when we're facing persecution we need to understand that it will not last forever and that actually it will result in blessing for us. That's what Peter said in 1 Peter chapter 4. Dear friends, don't be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. You will not be humiliated forever. Just as there was vindication of the Son of God, there will be vindication of those who put their trust in the Son of God. You will not be humiliated forever because Christ is Lord. You know what else? Because Christ is Lord you can obey confidently.
Do you realize, ladies and gentlemen, that obedience brings blessing and disobedience brings consequence? Obedience brings blessing. There is never a waste when we obey. Even if it gives us a temporary humiliation to obey. When God says I don't care what you think and how it feels, you are to forgive. And it feels humiliating to forgive or to ask for forgiveness. When we obey God will always bless that and he will always honor that and we can always confidently obey because Christ is Lord. He obeyed all the way to the cross. And do you know what happened? He didn't stay dead. God got him up from the dead, vindicating him. Why? Because obedience always results in blessing.
This is why we can obey confidently because Christ is Lord and so, listen, when he tells us stop hoarding all your stuff and acting like I'm a God who can't provide. Obey me! Be a person who's generous. Love me in those ways. Share my life with other people and stop keeping it to yourself. These are things that we obey him in and when we do maybe some humiliation comes with that, but it's not permanent.
But I can tell you this - we can confidently obey because he is Lord and we will be vindicated because he has been vindicated. Let me give you a last thing. Because Christ is Lord we can stop living in fear. Man, I hope you get this point.
As we saw in the scripture just a moment ago, the scripture says that every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Do you know what that means for us? That because Christ is Lord we don't have to live in fear. So your atheist friends that attack you on social media because you've put up something about your love for Christ, and they tear you down and rip you apart and you don't quite know what to say and you don't know how to defend yourself and you kind of feel all backwards and all that kind of stuff and they're just all over you and they make you feel stupid and small and like a simpleton.
Here's what I need you to remember: they will bow the knee. You don't necessarily have to defend yourself at every turn because they will bow the knee one day. You have fear because radical extremists are doing things all over the world and you're worried that's it's going to come to your town, to your neighborhood, and things are going to happen in your space. Well it might. This world, Jesus said, you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world. You know why? Because all of them one day, they will bow the knee. They will bow the knee.
You get concerned because the boss at work who continues to oppress you and mess with you because of your faith in Jesus - here's what you just need to remember: one day they will bow the knee. You don't have to live in fear because one day they will bow the knee. That professor who uses it as a bully pulpit to try and undo everything you've ever known about Christ. One day, that professor will bow the knee. You don't have to live in fear because Christ is Lord. Some of you are fearful about the direction of the country or whatever. What's going to happen in the next election and who's going to be there. What's going to happen with our country and we're real nervous about all that. Hey, let me just tell you something. Whoever occupies the office, whether now or later or before or after, they will bow the knee. They will one day bow the knee.
What about, Jerry, I get fearful that all those unethical people that are doing things that are so unjust and so unethical that they're going to get away with it and nobody's going to be able to call them to account and these things are just going to happen. One day they will bow the knee. You don't have to live in fear anymore because Christ is Lord. Every knee is going to bow and every tongue is going to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
So, what's Paul telling us? He's telling us we need the mind of Jesus. And you know he tells us that at another place as well? Listen to what he says in 1 Corinthians 2. He says for who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. Listen before you leave. We have the mind of Christ. You do not get the mind of Christ through imitation. You get it through impartation. The Spirit of God gives it to us. You can't just copy your way into the mind of Christ. The Spirit of God gives you the mind of Christ.
And so I'm saying to you in every relationship that you have, in every decision that you make, in every way that you view the world, you must have the mind of Christ and take on the same thinking that the Son of God, who was everything, God the preexistent one who came and became nothing, who willingly sacrificed, who gave his life as an offering, who by God's grace was exalted and who is King over everything - ladies and gentlemen, he is the one who would shape our mind by the power of the Spirit and help us to make decisions about our relationships, about life decisions, and about the world that we live in. Because Christ is Savior and Lord.
Bow your heads with me. Before we're gone I would say this to you. If you've never bowed your knee and bowed your heart and confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, when we dismiss I want you to walk straight out of here and into the fireside room. It's just out in the atrium, you can see it clearly marked. There's pastors and some prayer partners that are in there that would love to talk to you for just a few minutes about what it means to bow your heart, to bow your knee, to bow your life before Jesus and receive him as Lord and Savior. If you've never done that, I don't know what you're waiting on. The greatness of who he is, and the love that he has shown, is more than you will ever understand or experience. He loves you. Come to him.
Father, for those of us that do know you we have been challenged in our minds to understand that because you are Savior and Lord, Christ, that we need to have the same mindset as you in our relationships, in our decisions, and in the way we view the world. Help us, by the power of your Spirit, to have your mind. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.
God bless you folks. Have a great week.