The Humility of Christ

Hello readers of my blog. I want to post my sermon from last night which I preached at FBC Hubbard for the association Lenten service. Please know, I don’t want to be arrogant by posting my sermon. I hope that God may speak through the sermon to you. God bless, Steve

Introduction:

First, I want to give you my thanks for this opportunity to preach the Word of God to the people of God tonight. Thank you, it is my pleasure.

Do you have a favorite Bible passage? Maybe there is a passage that you memorized as a child and it has stuck with you ever since; maybe there is a passage that was especially meaningful to you in a life transition; maybe there is a passage that provided comfort during the death of a loved one; maybe there is a passage that provided strength when you needed it most; or, maybe there are several passages that you can think of right now? Hopefully, you can at least think of one passage. As I am sure you can imagine, the passage I will preach on this evening is one of my favorite passages. I have several favorite passages, but this one is especially applicable during this time of year. Please turn in your Bible to Phil 2:1-11:

 

Read Phil 2:1-11:

 

  1. Allow me to give you some background to this letter before we dive into this passage.
    1. Philippi is the area that this letter was written to.
    2. Philippi was a colony of Rome (Acts 16:12), whose citizens enjoyed Roman citizenship (DeSilva 640-641)
    3. This made Philippi under Romans law.
    4. Philippi was not a major city.
    5. Philippi had several temples and the typical cultic practices of Romans and Greek gods. The imperial cult was strong. The GK gods such as Zeus, Apollo, Dionysus, and Artemis were strong in this city.
    6. There was probably high tension between the Christian community and the world they left behind.
    7. Paul had founded the church in Philippi which we can read about in Acts chapter 16.
    8. Now, many years later, Paul is writing this wonderful letter to them.
    9. This letter to the Philippians is one of the most memorable in the New Testament, I mean, there are amazing passages in this letter. In chapter 1 verse 21 Paul writes to “live is Christ, and to die is gain.” What a meaningful statement. It has been called a friendship letter. Yet, Paul writes this letter from a Roman prison. It is one of the Prison Epistles. This is a title given to Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon because Paul wrote them from prison. Paul references his imprisonment in many places of this letter.
    10. The people of Philippi had also been persecuted because of their faith.

Now let’s get back to the passage at hand

  1.  Just look at verses 3-5 with me and see how Paul tells them to live.
    1. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit. In other words, don’t do anything from selfishness or with empty pride. This is not the idea of some things, but no things, nothing. Don’t do anything from selfishness!
    2. Paul continues; with humility of mind consider others more important than yourselves.
      1.                                                               i.      This is a mindset, it starts in the mind.
      2.                                                             ii.      Wow! Humility of mind.
        1. Do you think others would call you humble?
        2. Do you have a mindset of humility? Ask someone.
        3.                                                           iii.      The test is in the rest of the verse: consider others more important than yourself.
        4.                                                           iv.      How are we doing with this? Do you walk around with a chip on your shoulder? Do you go to the store knowing that you are equal with the cashier or do you think you are more important than the cashier?
          1. Actually by this mindset the cashier at the store, the custodian is above you, they are more important than you.
    3. Remember that Paul is writing this from a prison. Paul is a Roman citizen; Paul is highly educated, yet he is writing about humility. He is also living humility. You know, not once do I see Paul writing, “This is below me, people of Philippi get me out of this prison!” No, instead, he talks about how much of a witness he is able to have with the prison guard. Paul is living humility.
    4. In verse 4 Paul says to look out for the interests of others. Again, this is the idea of humility.
      1.                                                               i.      You know, humility is a good thing in our culture. If we say someone is humble that is a compliment. But did you know that in the first century it was not a compliment to be humble?
  2. Verses 6-11 are all about Jesus’ example. Jesus was very humble.
    1. Verse 6 talks about how Jesus existed in the form of God.
      1.                                                               i.      Jesus is God; Jesus was God, yet what does this passage go on to say? He did not consider being God a thing to be grasped. That is a hard thing to understand, but it basically means that Jesus was willing to set aside certain attributes of the godhead in order to become a human.
      2.                                                             ii.      In Barnes’ commentary he says, “…that is, that though he was of a divine nature or condition, he did not eagerly seek to retain his equality with God, but took on him a humble condition-even that of a servant.” (Letters to Channing, pp. 88-92)
      3.                                                           iii.      This helps me to put this into the whole picture: Paul is getting ready to talk about the crucifixion and going into the crucifixion if Christ wanted to He could have called down ten armies of angels to conquer and rescue Him back to being with God. He could have called down ten legions of angels; each legion is between 4000 and 6000 angels. So Jesus could have called down at least 40,000 angels to rescue Him from the cross. (Matthew 26:53) That would have been using “being God” to His advantage. Instead He died as a Human servant. Instead, Paul is just about to talk about what Christ did.
        1. Christ had everything; He had everything and gave it up. He gave up His royal Robes for our salvation.
        2. The American Dream (say quote, unquote American Dream) is to start at the bottom and work your way to the top. Christ started at the top and worked His way down to His death on the cross. His life was the opposite of the American Dream. Ask yourself:
          1. “Am I willing to sacrifice the American way for Christ?
          2.  Am I willing to be humiliated for Christ? Are you? How?
          3. Witnessing?
          4. Stepping outside of your comfort zone. We live in a comfort zone country. The Christian life is not about comfort zones. We are not called to live in comfort zones.
          5. Working at a homeless shelter.
          6.  Missions.
          7.  Inner city ministry. This might be neighborhood ministries or a homeless shelter.
          8. Being a friend to the one no one else will be a friend too.
          9. Jesus talked to the Outcast. The woman at the well, the woman caught in the act of adultery. In the work place there are groups and if you aren’t in the right group you are an outcast as well. Love the unlovable, help the hurting…

Mother Teresa, founder of the Roman Catholic Missionaries of Charity, working saint of the streets in Calcutta, and the recipient of the Nobel peace prize in 1979, says she finds the same thing missing in the lands of plenty as in the lands of poverty—compassion. “Maybe they are starved for bread in Africa. You are starved for love in the United States.”[1]

 

I have another illustration that some from my church might remember:

 

Americans are eager to send money but do not want to get their hands dirty. Many times we are eager to pay towards a homeless shelter but not go and serve ourselves. This may take humility.

There may be many reasons:

  1. It is in a bad section of town
  2. We are too busy
  3. It isn’t my gift
    1. There is a book called: Same Kind of Different as Me.
    2. This book is a true story that follows two people’s paths in life until they meet up.
    3. One person was raised in a middle class white family. He grows up and becomes very successful and very wealthy.
    4. The second person is a poor uneducated black man. He grew up as a modern day slave. His parents worked a farm and he did too. He experienced heavy racism. Eventually this man ran away. However, he never had been educated. He lived homeless and learned how to fend for himself.
    5. Eventually the wealthy white man, now married, is convinced by his wife to begin helping at a homeless shelter. They had committed their life to Christ and she wanted to go deeper. He was willing to give money, but she wanted to do more. So they start helping at a homeless shelter. She then says that she wants to take one group from the homeless shelter to dinner and a play.
    6. Now the relationship grows between this wealthy man and woman and this uneducated poor black man.
    7. The wealthy white man asks to take the uneducated black man out to breakfast. At breakfast the black man asks, “Why are you doing this?” the white man says, “To be your friend.” The black man says, “I like to fish, but I notice when white people fish they catch and release. I don’t want a ‘catch and release’ friendship.”
    8. Well, this wealthy husband and wife decided to do more than give money and because they did they touched many lives. One of those lives was that uneducated black man. Later on they formed a friendship that will last the rest of their lives and has lasted the rest of her life, as he was there for the woman’s death.  The wealthy white man and the uneducated black man published this book together.

 

  1. Let’s read verses 7 and 8 of Philippians 2
    1.                                                               i.      Christ being equal with God still patiently waited to return to His place on the throne. While He waited He continued in the position of a servant. Reverend Billy Graham has said that it is like humans going down to the form of an ant to tell them something. This passage amazes me. Therefore, we are going to park here for a couple of minutes and talk about it.
    2.                                                             ii.      Let’s start with a rhetorical question, “How was Christ born? Think about it…..
    3.                                                           iii.      Alright, Christ was born in a manger, or a barn in a feeding trough on what was probably a cold night to a virgin woman.
    4.                                                           iv.      You and I always think of Mary as the virgin woman that was blessed by God to give birth to Jesus.
    5.                                                             v.      That is correct she was a very good and honorable woman. However, do you think all the other people thought of her that way? They thought of Mary as a woman committing adultery, they thought of her as a prostitute. I had one New Testament professor put it this way, “People would see Jesus and say, “Look! There is Jesus the son of that prostitute Mary.””
    6.                                                           vi.      We would think of a King coming down to earth and being born in a Castle into royal Robes but no, that wasn’t Christ. Christ was born into a barn, into a trough where you would usually put food or water into. This is how the Creator became part of His creation.
    7.                                                         vii.      Jesus was raised and suffered just like anyone else. He probably mourned at the death of his earthly father. He went through pain and sickness I am sure. He had emotions, in fact the Bible says that Jesus wept at the death of His friend Lazarus. He had to work and learn a trade.
    8.                                                       viii.      If I was Jesus talking to God the father in eternity past and God the Father said, “I am going to create people and they are going to break my law, will you become one of them and die for them? I would think I would say, “Alright, I’ll do it but, I have to be born into a castle with running water, air conditioning, breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day on time the same time. I don’t want to have to work. I’ll teach the people but you can make them come to me and sit in front of my throne while I talk to them. Then, I guess I have to die, just make someone assassinate me while I am asleep so I don’t feel it!!!!” NO, this wasn’t Jesus. Think about Him. He is God, He created the universe. He was with God in the creation, He knew that He will return to the form of God again but He decided to lay aside some of the attributes of being God in order to be man as well. He created man and He created the laws we live by and now He is subject to them. He was all knowing and now the Bible says that He grew in wisdom and stature which means He doesn’t know everything anymore. I am sure he was subject to body odor and bad breath just like you and I are. At least I am. He was once all powerful and will be again but for His lifetime He submitted to powers and authorities that were corrupt. That is what Christ did!
    9.                                                           ix.      The Text in verse 8 says that He was obedient to death even the death on the cross. Let’s talk about this death for a minute. There are four aspects of the pain that He had to go through for us.
      1. We must realize that Christ suffered in Physical Pain. In Grudem’s Bible Doctrinetheology text He talks about the cross this way:  Many people of the time period would have witnessed a crucifixion and had a painfully vivid mental picture upon reading the simple words “and they crucified Him”(Mark 15:24)
        1. This was a very slow death by suffocation
        2. “Arms were outstretched with and fastened to nails on the cross, he had to support most of the weight of His body with His arms. The Chest cavity would be pulled upward and outward. Making it difficult to exhale in order to draw a fresh breadth. But when the victim’s longing for oxygen became unbearable, (gasp for air) He would have to push himself up with His feet, thus giving more natural support to the weight of his body, releasing some of the weight from his arms, and enabling His chest cavity to contract more normally. By pushing himself upward in this way the criminal could fight off suffocation, but it was extremely painful because it required putting the body’s weight on the nails holding the feet, and bending the elbows and pulling upward on the nails driven through the wrist. The criminal’s back which had been torn open repeatedly by a previous flogging, would scrape against the wooden cross with each breadth. Thus, Seneca (First century A.D.) spoke of a crucified man “Drawing the breadth of life amid long drawn-out-agony” (Epistle 101 to Lucilius, sec.14). Draw a deep breath! [Note to Steve: demonstrate breathing while on a cross with my body]
        3. Sometimes people crucified would survive several days nearly suffocating but not quite dying. This is why the executioners would sometimes break the legs as we see in John 19:31-33.
        4. Also, although not a bone of Christ was broken it is quite possible that every bone was dislocated when He was fastened to the cross and then the guards picked up the cross, with Him on it, the cross was dropped into the ground slamming into its resting place. [As I describe this put my arms up as if on a cross and jump down to the step on the stage]
        5. The people He created were beating and killing Him, with all the materials He created. He created the materials to make the nails. He created the tree to get the wood. He created We killed with our sin. My sin.

A couple years ago the former president of Cedarville University Dr.Dixonshared a story that I think goes along with this: “a boy who was about sixteen years old came into the room where his father was sitting and said, “Dad can I have the car keys, I gotta go somewhere?” His dad replied, “No son, remember we talked about this, you are grounded.” The son said, “I thought it may come to this so I had my own set of keys made.” The son ran out of the house with his father chasing him. The son got into the car and started to back up. The dad stood behind the car thinking his son would stop. The son thought his dad would move. Neither did what was expected and the father died. The creation destroying the creator.  True story

  1. 2.      We must realize that Christ suffered the pain of taking the sins of the world upon Himself.
    1. a.      We know the painful conviction we feel in our own life when we sin…. In fact as we grow closer to God in Holiness the more intensely we feel this deep repulsion against evil.
    2. b.      Grudem says: “Jesus was (and is, and always will be) perfectly holy. He Hated sin with His entire being. The thought of evil, of sin, contradicted everything in His character. Far more than we do, Jesus instinctively rebelled against evil. Yet in obedience to the Father, and out of love for us, Jesus took upon Himself all the sins of those who would someday be saved. Taking upon Himself all the evil against which His soul rebelled created deep revulsion in the center of His being. All that He hated most deeply was poured out fully upon Him.”
    3. c.       Scriptures frequently says that our sins were put upon Him. “The Lord Has Laid on Him the Iniquity of us all….”(Isa 53:6) “He bore the sins of many” (Isa 53:12) John the Baptist says of Him, “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) 2Cor 5:21: “He who knew no sin became sin for us” Gal 3:13: That Christ became a curse for us. Heb 9:28: that Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. 1Peter 5:24: “He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree”.
    4. 3.      We must realize that Jesus suffered the pain of being abandoned.   
      1. a.      In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus took with Him Peter, James, and John and confided something of His agony with them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch”(Mark 14:34). This is the kind of confidence one would disclose to a close friend, and it implies a request for support in His hour of greatest trial. As soon as Jesus was arrested all the Disciples forsook Him and fled (Mathew 26:26)
      2. b.      He loved them to the end but they abandoned Him.
      3. c.       Far worse than that He was deprived of the closeness to the Father that was the deepest joy of His Heart for all His earthly Life. When Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, Why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt 27:46), He showed that He was finally cut off from the sweet fellowship with His Heavenly Father that had been the unfailing source of His inward strength and the element of greatest joy in a life filled with sorrow.
      4. 4.      We must realize that Christ suffered the pain of bearing the wrath of God.
        1. a.      Jesus became the object of the intense hatred for sin that God had patiently been holding in since the beginning of the world.
        2. b.      Romans 3:25 talks about this as propitiation: a sacrifice that bears God’s wrath to the end and in so doing changes God’s wrath toward us into favor.
        3. c.       At the cross all the fury of all that stored up wrath against sin was unleashed against God’s own Son.
  2. IV.             Let’s read the last three verses of our text: 9-11
    1. a.      Jesus isn’t dead anymore. We serve a risen Savior. Everyone will acknowledge someday that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Conclusion:

We must be Christ like. We must follow Christ example in this way. The church has everything to offer the community, not the other way around. However, In order to help people you have to be a servant. To be a servant you have to be humbled.

  • How are we treating others?
  • Christians?
  • Non-Christians?
  • Are we looking upon others as better than ourselves?
  • Are we being humble?
  • Are we willing to die a humiliating death to help someone else? I know this is a strong statement, but verse 5 had said to have the attitude of Christ, what did He do? He died for the gospel.
  • Once again, are we willing to be humiliated in order to help others?
  • This humiliation could be in many forms:
  1. You will be humiliated by being seen with someone who has been looked down upon.
  2. You will be humiliated because the person you are trying to help may be different than you.
  3. You will be humiliated because you are cleaning up trash and cleaning restrooms when usually you have people do that for you.
  4. You will be humiliated, or offended by the person’s dress, language, etc.
  5. You will be humiliated in many other ways…..fill in the blank

This all has to do with your perspective; are you storing up treasures in Heaven or on earth? Martin Luther said, “I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all, but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.” Jim Elliot said, “He is not fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

 

Are you being humble as Jesus is humble?

 

Pray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


[1] Jones, G. C. (1986). 1000 illustrations for preaching and teaching (257). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

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What’s this blog going to be about?

Hi all,

I have thought about a blog for some time now, though I never knew what I would write about. Well, if I am going to have a blog it must have a purpose. I don’t want to simply write to write. So, my plan for this blog will be to write about what I am reading and what I am learning. More specifically, I will write about the books, articles, blogs, etc which I read that relate to the Bible and God’s church. Soon, I also want to start a blog-study which will be on this blog or another. In this case we will read a chapter of a book every two weeks and we will discuss said book on the blog. You will be able to comment and comment to each other. Next post, which may be today, will be an overview of the books that I am currently reading. God bless.