Summary: This is the second sermon in a series of three on "The Journey To The Cross" which deals with brokenness in terms of surrendering our rights from The Exchanged Life perspective.
Last week I began a series of sermons on “The Journey To The Cross” wherein I talked about how we get started on the Journey and how we continue on the Journey from Luke 9:23-25. I mentioned that we need to come to an experiential awareness of what the cross means in our lives today.
In this sermon I want you to see another biblical picture of The Journey To The Cross in “Jesus Journey to the Cross” as revealed in Philippians 2:5-11. This is a snapshot of Jesus journey to the cross and your journey will mirror Jesus Journey. Our cross will correlate with His cross. That is to say, we need to come to an experiential awareness of the cross through, humility, suffering, and brokenness. That’s what Jesus did and that’s where we must go on our journey to the Cross.
The point we need to see today is, when God is breaking us, we need to give up all rights during that process of brokenness. We have to give up all rights to defend ourselves, because it’s God who’s at work in us, it’s He who is breaking us. When Jesus went to the cross, He had to give up all rights to be accepted. He had to be willing to be rejected. When Jesus went to the cross he went through tremendous rejection. I mean when you think about it, one of his best friends, Peter, denied him three times. In fact, a lot of the people turned on Jesus because He wasn’t fulfilling their dreams of rescuing them from the Romans. When Jesus went to the cross He had to leave behind his mother and brothers. And the three friends who went to pray with Him fell asleep on Him. He was misunderstood and even when He was dying, He cried out, “My God, my God, Why hast Thou forsaken me?” He felt rejected by His own Father. So before we look at our continuing journey and in the midst of this context, let’s look at Jesus journey to the Cross. As we do the first thing we need to see is:
I. The ATTITUDE of Jesus as He took His Journey vv.5-6
Have you ever thought about why God picked the experiences He did for Jesus to have on the way to the cross? Why did those exact things happen to Him? Why weren’t there other things? Why were those particular things prophesied and told beforehand. Well, it seems to me that God hand picked those things in order to allow us to know what we might have to suffer as God breaks us and sets us free from our "Selves." Because in Philippians 3:8-10 Paul testifies, “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own . . . but that which comes through faith in Christ . . . that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death...” Do you see, that what we go through is going to conform us not only to his sufferings, but his death. This is so that His death can be experienced as our death (identification).
Now, in our text one of the first things God tells us is that we have to have an attitude. The same attitude Jesus had as he was going to the cross. And when we have this kind of attitude we’ll understand why we have to go through what we experience. We’ll understand why this sense of loss is necessary. You see, God is setting us free from our "Self" and the flesh – we’re being conformed to His death. God is at work in us to will and to work according to His good pleasure (v.13). So we have to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (v.12). You see, God put a salvation in you (Christ’s life). Now that needs to be worked out of you. Christ needs to be worked out of you so that He’s manifested to others, to your brothers and to the world. Your salvation needs to be manifested in terms of your past, in terms of whether your parents still control you, whether or not a tragedy still controls you, whether or not you’re a mere survivor or you’re "more than a conqueror." All this salvation needs to be worked out of you on your way to the cross.
It was worked out for Jesus in that he had the right attitude. He humbled himself. There’s something in us, that thinks it’s in the form of God too and it’s the flesh. So I need to be emptied of my Self, my self-sufficiency, my own control. However, I can’t empty myself as Jesus did, but I can be emptied and will be at the cross. Hence, our need for the journey to the cross. Now this matter of humility is important. In 1 Peter 5:5b we read, “clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Grace is another part of this important attitude. Sometimes we talk about grace as something that we’re helpless over – that we have no effect upon, that God just gives grace and you either get it or you don’t. Well, according to this verse the Bible tells us that grace can only be ours if we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. And so we do have something to do with the receiving of grace, it’s in our attitude. Well, what happened to Jesus when He humbled Himself? Philippiand 2.9 says, “God highly exalted Him . . ." So, as a result of the attitude of Jesus we also need to see the: