Summary: If Jesus is our model, the way up is down.
Title: Attitude and Altitude
Text: Philippians 2:5-11
Thesis: If Jesus is our model, the way up is down.
On March 13 the Roman Catholic Church elected Pope Francis who is now Head of the Church and Sovereign of the Vatican City State. He became a priest in 1969 and made his way to Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998 and Cardinal in 2001. And now he is Pope Francis.,
He rose as high as one can rise in the Roman Catholic Church and yet he has been known throughout his life and ministry as a humble and simple man who is committed to social justice. He recently unveiled his vision for the Church as “a poor church working for the poor.”
He chose the name “Francis” in honor of Francis of Assisi who never rose to any ecclesiastical heights, in fact he chose to live a life of extreme and total abject poverty.
Our text today is about the extremes of highest high and lowest low.
Our text begins with an admonition and/or exhortation. An admonition is generally in the form of gentle or friendly reproof or scolding. An exhortation is generally an urging or encouraging that is in the form of a convincing argument. An admonition is one of those “don’t do this because” and “here is an example” conversations.
I think the text is both an admonishment and an exhortation, I think there was something of a disunity problem in the church at Phillipi and God, through the Apostle Paul, is in a nice way, getting at that. And it is also an exhortation in which he argues that their attitudes and behavior is totally opposite that of Jesus Christ… so he wrote:
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” (NLT and NIV) You may be more familiar with the “Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ.” (KJV) Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase puts it, “Think of yourselves the way Jesus thought of himself.”
Whenever we read Scripture we cannot simply pick out a verse without considering the context from which it comes. So we ask, “What prompted Paul to write, “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had?”
So we briefly look back at Philippians 2:1-4 and there we see the makings of conflict and disunity. He is urging the Christians at Phillipi to play nice. He wants them to agree whole-heartedly with each other and to love one another and to work together with one mind or purpose.
As if disunity is a malady or sickness that needs curing he suggests a series of good old home remedies to restore the church to health.
First, the Don’ts…
1. Don’t Be Selfish trying to have your own way and trying to impress everyone.
2. Don’t Be proud and think of others as better than yourself.
3. Don’t Think Only of Yourself and your own interests.
The don’ts really don’t work unless you turn them into do’s…
1. Do Be Selfless
2. Do Be Humble
3. Do Be Considerate of Others
Then Paul argues why they/we should be selfless, humble and place the interests of others before one’s own interests, He says: “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” (NLT and NIV) You may be more familiar with the “Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ.” (KJV) Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase puts it, “Think of yourselves the way Jesus thought of himself.”
So then, what was the mind or attitude of Christ who, as Matthew wrote in his Gospel, “did not come to be served but to serve others and give his life as a ransom for many?” Matthew 20:28
The idea being conveyed is, in Christ there was a willingness to condescend from being a person who was at the very apex of honor, power and prestige as God of the universe, to the lowliest position on the planet… a human slave.
I. From Godhead to Manhood - Jesus went from being in morphe/form/essence – God, to being in
schema/form/appearance – man.
“Though he was God… he took the humble position or a slave and was born a human being and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” Philippians 2:6 and 8
Similarly, to the church at Corinth Paul wrote, “Although Jesus was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor.” II Corinthians 8:9
The first thought was/is to establish who Jesus was/is. The text says, “He was God.” Some say he was by “very nature in the form of God.” The word “form” may be understood in a couple of ways and our text uses the word “form” in both ways.
The first word for form is morphe which describes the essence or inner form of someone. A person’s morphe (who he or she is) is unalterable… it does not change.