Summary: Pentecost 19 (A) - Humility creates (completes) joy. Believers discover this truth in Jesus which then causes believers to display this truth to others.


October 7, 2007 -


Philippians 2:1-5

INTRO: Today’s verses are an excellent example of divine teaching conflicting with worldly wisdom. The wisdom of God is foolishness in the eyes of the world. This is known as a paradox. A paradox is a statement that seems contrary to common sense. Our world would not think that humility creates joy. Who can be humble and happy? This is the truth God would have us learn and enjoy today.

Consider the example of Paul’s life earlier. Paul had a thorn in the flesh. He did not like it. He did not want it. Paul prayed to God 3 times for the removal of this thorn in the flesh. God’s answer was not really what Paul was expecting. "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me"(2 CORINTHIANS 12:9). A paradox: Paul would be strong in weakness. Paul knew that in his human weakness his strength would be in the Lord alone. Strength in weakness is a paradox – but it is also God’s truth. Joy in being humble is also God’s truth for us. May the Holy Spirit guide and direct our understanding as we consider


I. Discover this truth in Jesus, and;

II. Display this truth to others.


A. The apostle Paul was in Rome, in prison and in chains. Even in this situation God’s word went out.

1. Though Paul was bound God’s word was still freely preached.

2. Paul’s message from God to the Philippians was to be like Christ, verse 5.

B. To have the attitude of Christ meant to be humble. (This is clearly revealed in verses 6-11).

1. Jesus humbled himself and became obedient – even obedient to death, death on a cross!

2. These believers, and Paul, learned humility from the humility Jesus displayed while on earth.

C. Paul now lists the gifts that belong to believers because of Jesus’ sacrifice and humility, verse 1.

1. The word if is used here in the sense of since with the conclusion in verse 2 – then.

2. If (since)…then make joy complete by having the same attitude of Christ Jesus, humility.

D. There was no man who has ever lived more powerful than Jesus. There was also no man more humble than Jesus. By faith we learn, know, and believe in the power of the humility of our Savior. This is a paradox. The creator of the heavens and the earth lived and died and rose again to save his creation. Jesus’ disciples struggled with power and service. They argued who was the greatest among them. Jesus knew their thoughts. He taught them by example. In the upper room, Jesus stripped down, knelt down and washed his disciples’ feet. "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many"(MARK 10:45). The humility of Jesus would bring joy to the world.

E. Jesus’ humility was and is the powerful strength to save mankind. Christ became poor so that we would become rich. The eternal, saving power of Jesus is clearly seen in the humility of his death on the cross. In chapter 53, Isaiah describes that by his wounds we are healed! A paradox – wounds that heal. Willingly and humbly Jesus did his Father’s will for us who did not do our heavenly Father’s will. "He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth"(ISAIAH 53:9). Jesus was innocent, we were not – but now are.

F. The world scoffs at this truth. Jesus is always under attack by those who feel he was nothing more than a good teacher. Even Allah admits that Jesus was a prophet. But Jesus was more, far more. By his life, death and resurrection we learn that this humility brings salvation and thus, great joy. At times this truth can be hard to grasp. By faith through grace we know, believe, and can confess this divine truth that flies in the face of human reasoning and common sense. We believe by God’s grace and power as he opens our eyes to see the truth. "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God"(HEBREWS 12:2). Jesus found joy in enduring the cross, and that for us!

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