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Summary: If you want God to exalt you, you must humble yourself.

Downward Leads to Upward

(Philippians 2:5-11)

1. Most of us have heard of Reverse Psychology….

Tom LaForce describes it:

“When using reverse psychology, you ask for or do the opposite of what you want and through the magic of human nature, you end up with what you really wanted.”

2. There is a lot of reverse psychology in the Bible:

“He who finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake shall find it.”

“ Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

Matthew 23:12, “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

3. With God’s reverse psychology, the way up is down; the way to be first is the last; the way to be wise is to forsake the world’s wisdom.

4. It really is in our best interest to be humble: arrogance, and it’s cousin, stubbornness, are destructive forces:

In the summer of 1986, two ships collided in the Black Sea off the coast of Russia. Hundreds of passengers died as they were hurled into the icy waters below. News of the disaster was further darkened when an investigation revealed the cause of the accident. It wasn’t a technology problem like radar malfunction--or even thick fog. The cause was human stubbornness. Each captain was aware of the other ship’s presence nearby. Both could have steered clear, but according to news reports, neither captain wanted to give way to the other. Each was too proud to yield first. By the time they came to their senses, it was too late. Closer Walk, December, 1991.

3. The text before us describes the opposite of pride, the great humility of Jesus Christ our Lord. Because of its poetic style, some commentators have thought these words part of an early hymn that was circulating throughout the churches, and that Paul is here affirming the truth of that hymn. Others think Paul is simply writing eloquently, as he did in I Corinthians 13. Whatever the source, Paul’s seal upon it means it is true.

MAIN IDEA: If you want God to exalt you, you must humble yourself. But what does humility look like? Jesus’ example demonstrates humility to an infinite degree. Although we could not possibly be as humble as Christ was, we can be humble to a lesser degree.

I. A Humble Person Does Not Pull RANK (5-6a)

A. If you have NOTHING to give up, it should be EASIER to be humble

He’s quite humble--but he’s got a lot to be humble about.

• But not always: sometimes people have an inflated picture of themselves:

The little boy was innocently talking to the arrogant pastor. "Today my dad taught me all about Babylon."

Really? replied the pastor. And how did he explain Babylon?

He said, "Babylon is what our pastor does ever Sunday morning."

B. We will never be called to GIVE UP as much as Christ gave

• we do not have as much to give up as He had

---Christ was “in the form of God"--- explain His pre-existence

• we will never be as low as He was

• Christ became our CURSE; we can never get that low….

C. Yet Paul tells us to let the attitude of Christ, His mind, characterize us. According to 1 Corinthians 2:16, “we have the mind of Christ.” But we need to let this mind control us.

• Part of us longs for the freedom to do this; we have inhibitions from our upbringing, our society, even perhaps fellow Christians

• When Boone & Julie left the boat shop; when Matt and Janet left Delco…

If you want God to exalt you, you must humble yourself.

II. A Humble Person Does Not GRASP (6b)

A. The idea of grasping implies clinging to SECURITY

1. The Son had equality with the Father---has always had; He did not have to grasp for it because He had it;

2. But He did not hang onto that status of equality; although He did not cease being God when He became man, He submitted Himself to the Father; the Father became functionally superior. He worked His miracles with the Father’s permission and with the Holy Spirit’s power…

3. 2 Cor. 8:9, Paul wrote, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”

B. We may work hard to gain POSITION, but it should not go to our HEADS

C. Worldly people find security in what they OWN; Godly people find security in CHRIST.

If you want God to exalt you, you must humble yourself.

III. A Humble Person CHOOSES to Humble Himself (7-8)

A. Christ EMPTIED Himself

• The Greek word kenosis, made Himself of no reputation

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