Summary: An Easter sermon which describes the glory that Christ received after his death and resurrection. This sermon has profound theology as well as practical application. I would be delighted if you could rate this sermon and give brief feedback.
Recently, the music veteran from Tamil Nadu (in South India), Ilaiyaraaja stated that he doesn’t believe in the resurrection of Christ. In one of his recent speeches, he claimed that he watched a few documentaries on YouTube which supposedly prove that Jesus didn’t resurrect from the dead. Several Christians in and around Tamil Nadu have been protesting his remarks on social media. Well, I believe that one day, Ilaiyaraaja will bow his knee before Jesus and confess that he is Lord! In fact, one day, all the enemies of Christ will recognize his Lordship and tremble before the resurrected and glorified Christ. Today’s text talks about this very fact.
Would you take God’s Word and turn your Bibles with me to Philippians 2:9-11? I have entitled today’s sermon as: “The Exaltation of Christ." Our text is part of Apostle Paul’s prominent exhortation given in Philippians 2:5-11 to the Philippian Church. Though this passage has great Christology, the primary purpose of this passage is to exhort the Church at Philippi to be united and humble (Philippians 2:3-5). In today's passage, we see that the Father highly exalted Jesus and gave him the name above every name so that all creation can worship him to the glory of the Father.
Central Proposition of the Sermon: I have used an inductive proposition for this sermon.
(I have used Dr. John MacArthur’s outline for this sermon.)
1. The Source of Christ's Exaltation is the Father (Philippians 2:9).
In Philippians 2:5-8, Apostle Paul explains that Christ humbled himself through incarnation (by adding human nature) and by dying on the cross for our sins. Since Christ humbled himself, God highly exalted him and bestowed (wholeheartedly, generously, graciously gave) on him the name above every name. Now notice that it is God, the Father who exalted Jesus. In Philippians 2:7, Paul says that Jesus “emptied himself.” In Philippians 2:8, he says that Christ “humbled himself.” Since Christ humbled himself, the Father exalted him. Christ didn’t try to elevate himself, but he waited for the Father to elevate him. So, God “highly exalted” Jesus. This phrase can also be translated as “super-exalted” or “hyper-exalted.”
Acts 2:33 also conveys the idea of Jesus exalted by the Father. So, the exaltation of Christ includes resurrection, ascension, and glorification. This is what Peter and the apostles say:
Acts 5:31: God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
So, it is God who exalted Jesus. And please understand this. It is God who exalts us too. That’s why, Matthew 23:12 (cf. Luke 14:11; 18:14) says: Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Humbled by whom? Exalted by whom? By God! That's why the psalmist says:
Psalm 75:6-7: 6 For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, 7 but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.
Here, we need to answer the question as to why Jesus was exalted. Isn’t he already exalted? Isn’t Christ the eternal God? I think the key to understanding this question is in Philippians 2:7-8, where Paul says, “7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Since Christ “emptied himself,” “humbled himself,” and died on the cross, God restored back all that Christ gave up and he gave Christ much more than that, especially the complete submission talked about in Philippians 2:10-11. Since Jesus humbled himself, one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that he is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11). It is God who exalted Jesus and it is God who exalts his people too.
2. The Title of Christ's Exaltation is "Lord" (Philippians 2:9, 11).
Paul says that God bestowed on Jesus “the name above that is above every name.” Based on Philippians 2:11, some scholars say that this name is probably “Lord.” Though the word “Lord” was used for owners, Roman emperors, and pagan gods, scholars point out that the word “Lord” (Greek: kurios) is a translation of the Hebrew word, “Yahweh” (that’s the Greek word in the Septuagint as well). This clearly affirms the deity of Jesus.
Jehovah’s witnesses cannot explain how Jesus can be given the name “Lord.” “Name” also implies that Jesus has authority over all. So, the Father gave Jesus the name above every name. In Scripture, we see that God gave a new name to people who entered into a new stage in their lives. God changed the name of Abram to Abraham after he received the promise (Genesis 17:5). Jacob’s name was changed to Israel after he wrestled with God (Genesis 32:28). Jesus gave the name, Peter to Simon before he became his disciple (John 1:42). Even Jesus is bestowed the name above all names after he humbled himself. Jesus is far above all!