Summary: Exposition of Philippians 2 regarding the unfathomable truth about Christ and His entrance into the world.
Text: Philippians 2:5-11, Title: Forms of Christmas, Date/Place: 12.25.11, AM
Opening illustration: Jonathan Edwards wrote a discourse/sermon on The Excellency of Christ in which he labored to show the ‘admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies in Christ.’ In it he talked about the combination of infinite highness and infinite condescension and said these words, “His infinite condescension marvelously appeared in the manner of his birth. He was brought forth in a stable because there was no room for them in the inn. The inn was taken up by others that were looked upon as persons of greater account.
The Blessed Virgin, being poor and despised, was turned or shut out. Though she was in such necessitous circumstances, yet those that counted themselves her betters would not give place to her; and therefore, in the time of her travail, she was forced to betake herself to a stable; and when the child was born, it was wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. There Christ lay a little infant, and there he eminently appeared as a lamb.
But yet this feeble infant, born thus in a stable, and laid in a manger, was born to conquer and triumph over Satan, that roaring lion. He came to subdue the mighty powers of darkness, and make a show of them openly, and so to restore peace on earth, and to manifest God's good-will towards men, and to bring glory to God in the highest, according as the end of his birth was declared by the joyful songs of the glorious hosts of angels appearing to the shepherds at the same time that the infant lay in the manger; whereby his divine dignity was manifested.”
A. Background to passage: Paul is writing to a church about unity around a purpose (the advancement of the gospel). In the first four verses of chapter two, he dealt with unity and self-sacrifice, and then he breaks into the first of three examples of humble, kingdom-oriented sacrifice and service with our Lord Himself, and His incarnation as a man.
B. Main thought: this text teaches this unfathomable truth about Christ and His entrance into the world
A. Form of God (v. 6)
1. The word for “form” really doesn’t translate well into English, because we associate shape with it. It really has nothing to do with shape, but with an inherent possession of definitive qualities of something, in this case the divine. So, Jesus existed originally with all the definitive qualities of God. He is the centerpiece of all that exists! He is exalted to the highest degree! In fact we and kings and men compare to Him as though we were the worms in the dust! He possessed then, and does so now, the inherent glory that God possesses! His character is all that the Name of the Lord is proclaimed to be!
2. Rev 5:1-14, Matt 1:23
3. Illustration: “He is the Sovereign Lord of all. He rules over the whole universe and doeth whatever pleaseth Him. His knowledge is without bound. His wisdom is perfect, and that none can circumvent. His power is infinite, and none can resist Him. His riches are immense and inexhaustible. His majesty is infinitely awful.” “It is He that is terrible out of his holy places; who is mightier that the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea. Before whom a fire goes and burneth up his enemies round about; at whose presence the earth quakes and the hills melt; who sits on the circle of the earth, and all the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; who rebukes the sea and maketh it dry and drieth up the rivers; whose eyes are a flame of fire; from whose presence and from the glory of whose power, the wicked shall be punished with everlasting destruction; who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, who hath heaven for His throne, and the earth for His footstool, and is the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, who kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and of whose dominion there is no end.” -Edwards, quotes from Sex and the Supremacy of Christ,
4. We do not have a category for this kind of God, except the highest that our imaginations can concoct. But we long for this! We were created to see, and think, and ponder, and ruminate upon, and enjoy the glory of God. And this was Him before and after his incarnation, and only veiled slightly during those 33 years. And I will do all in power to raise your affections for the most glorious, most satisfying, most beautiful, most precious treasure ever, so that you may be ravished by His awesomeness. Be amazed that somehow this God could come to live among us and not consume us on the spot. Be in love with the highest, greatest, and best of all beings! Run to this God in absolute trust and abandonment, or else run away in fear, but at least do not do Him the injustice of having shallow, impotent, needy thoughts of Him, especially at Christmas. For this babe in a manger was still the Master of the Universe!