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Summary: The act of incarnation in which God became man, the humble circumstances and sufferings of Christ in life, and the supreme act of dying on the cross established Jesus Christ as the greatest illustration of one completely unselfish and entirely devoted to others.

Date: 7/20/18

Lesson #12

Title: Follow the Example of Christ's Humility

Scripture: (Philippians 2:5-11, NIV)

5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature{1] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature{2] of a servant, being made in human likeness.8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

and gave him the name that is above every name,10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

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1. In very nature, or “in the form of,” can be used to describe outward appearance; shape; “that which truly characterizes a given reality.

2. Very nature, or “the form.”

Introduction

The act of incarnation in which God became man, the humble circumstances and sufferings of Christ in life, and the supreme act of dying on the cross established Jesus Christ as the greatest illustration of one completely unselfish and entirely devoted to others.

A careful examination of this passage will reveal that Christ retained His complete deity, but restricted its manifestation and did not use His divine powers for His own benefit.

Lesson

5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Before considering Christ’s “mindset,” we need to understand what Paul means by his directive, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” Does it mean we automatically think like Jesus because we are united to Him by faith? Or does it mean that Jesus displayed a certain “mindset” that we must adopt in our “relationships with one another?” It is true that our union with Christ brings tremendous spiritual benefit. But this particular passage emphasizes that Christ is our perfect pattern. He is the image to whom we must be conformed (Romans 8:29{3]). We must think like Him.

By “mindset” he means literally that we should think within ourselves, or in our hearts, just as Christ did when he became incarnate. In brief, we should think Christ’s thoughts. Christ, in spite of His divine attributes, His eternal glory, and His rightful claim to worship and obedience, willingly put aside the insignia of divinity and put on the robes of humanity.

Paul now gives emphasis to his call for humility by describing Christ as the supreme example of self-sacrificing love. He would have us to be like Jesus in everything we do, for He showed Himself to have self-sacrificing love in the innermost core of His being, when He became poor. He that was rich became poor in order that we by His poverty might be made rich. If we are to follow Christ, we must, every one of us, not in pride but in humility, not in lowness but in lowliness, not degrade ourselves but forget ourselves, and seek every man not his own things but those of others. Our self-denial is thus not for our own sake, but for the sake of others. And therefore, Christ does not call us to mere self-denial, but specifically to self-sacrifice. Self-denial for its own sake is in its very nature harsh. It concentrates all our attention on self-knowledge, self-control—and can therefore eventually result in nothing other than the very greatest of selfishness. It is not to this that Christ’s example calls us. He did not cultivate self, even His divine self: He did not dwell on His own importance. He was led by His love for others into the world, to forget Himself in the needs of others, to sacrifice Himself once for all upon a rough wooden Cross. Self-sacrifice brought Christ into the world. And self-sacrifice will lead us, His followers, not away from but into the midst of men. It should be noted that the appeal here is to the church as a community and not merely to isolated individuals. There is such a thing as the sanctification of the congregation as well as of the individual believer.

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[3} (Romans 8:29) “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

6Who, being in very nature{1] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

Who, being in very nature{1] God,

This clause refers to Christ’s pre-existing state and points to indefinite continuance of His being. The term “nature”{1] designates external manifestation, but it is more than mere appearance or a disguise; it may include things such as shape, gender, a bodily form and the essence of a thing or person. Theologically, the word refers to the inner, essential and abiding nature of a person or thing. And here the meaning is that Jesus Christ has the same nature as God. Jesus Christ, the Father and Holy Spirit are the three persons of the God-head (Holy Trinity) and Jesus being originally, natively, essentially God in the full possession of all that is distinctive of God in His majesty and glory; the dignity of perfect Deity.

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