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Summary: Human beings have a strong tendency to live life in their own individual ways. We bristle at the idea of anyone – even God telling us how to live. But when we see Jesus' obedience on the cross it can motivate us to obey God.

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Introduction:

C. S. Lewis is probably best known today as the author of The Chronicles of Narnia because that series of children’s books have been made into movies. Lewis wrote many other books, including one entitled, Mere Christianity. In that book he tries to explain and “defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times.” He writes, “The central Christian belief is that Christ’s death (and His coming to life again) has somehow put us right with God and given us a fresh start.”

“We believe that the death of Christ is just the point in history at which something absolutely unimaginable from outside shows through into our own world. … You may ask what good will it be to us it we do not understand it. But that is easily answered. A man can eat his dinner without understanding exactly how food nourishes him. A man can accept what Christ has done without knowing how it works…. …His death has washed out our sins, and … in dying He disabled death itself. That is … Christianity.”

Citation: C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Collier Books, © 1952

And that’s why we’ve been going to Jesus’ cross as we work our way to Easter Sunday’s celebration of his resurrection. His death is the central idea of our faith. This is a great time to uncover the blessings his suffering and death provide for us.

So far, we’ve found that Jesus’ death on the cross paid the ransom that sets us free from slavery to sin and Satan. His crucifixion conquered the forces of evil and sets us free from the list of charges against us. On the Cross, as Jesus bled and died, he received the punishment our sins deserved. When Jesus died for us he makes it possible for us to become God’s children.

We need to return to the beginning and review our history to discover today’s blessing from Jesus’ death on the cross.

I. Humanity’s Drive for Upward Mobility is displayed in our history. (Draw boxes up and then down in the shape of an inverted V to correspond to the words in ALL CAPS.)

A. Our first parents grabbed for EQUALITY WITH GOD and ate themselves out of house and home in the Garden of Eden.

1. Humans long to have more POPULARITY than the next person. (Even on Facebook and Twitter your influence is measured in part by how many friends or followers you have.)

2. We seek POSITION and POWER in order to tell others how to make us happy.

3. We struggle to own more and more POSSESSIONS as we declare, “The one who dies with the most toys wins.”

B. That brings us to the downside of our drive to move up to God’s throne.

1. Friends and followers can DESERT us at the worst possible moments.

2. Every time we grab for power, position and possessions it causes DISPUTES, war, famine and DISEASE.

3. The more we develop to improve our lives in this world the more we are reminded that DEATH and chaos reign here.

II. Jesus acted in the exact opposite direction. His Decision for Downward Mobility is described for us in Philippians 2:1-13 (p. 1162). (Draw boxes down and then up in the shape of a V to correspond to the words in ALL CAPS.)

(Let’s save verses 1 through 4 for later and go straight to verse 5.)

[5] Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

[6] Who, being in very nature God,

did not consider EQUALITY WITH GOD something to be grasped,

[7] but made himself nothing,

taking the very nature of a SERVANT,

being made in human likeness.

[8] And being found in appearance as a MAN,

he humbled himself

and became OBEDIENT TO DEATH —

even death on a CROSS!

[9] Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

and gave him the name that is ABOVE EVERY NAME,

[10] that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE should bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (EVERYWHERE)

[11] and EVERY TONGUE confess that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD,

to the GLORY OF GOD the Father.

Thesis & REPENTANCE POINT

Human beings have a strong tendency to live life in their own individual ways. We bristle at the idea of anyone – even God telling us how to live our lives. But when we see Jesus’ obedience that took him to the cross it can motivate us to obey God the way he did.

Key Question:

How does that look in our lives? What does it mean for us to seek downward mobility? Again the answers are found in Philippians 2. Let’s go back and pick up the verses we skipped over earlier.

[2:1] If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, (in other words, if you have a growing relationship with Jesus) [2] then make my joy complete (here come the marks of living like Jesus in downward mobility) by BEING LIKE-MINDED, HAVING THE SAME LOVE, BEING ONE IN SPIRIT AND PURPOSE.

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