Summary: This series was developed from the chorus of a wonderful song by Casting Crowns. The lyrics of the song were originally written by J. Wilbur Chapman in 1911. However, John Mark, Hall and Michael Bleecker rewrote the tune in 2009 for Casting Crowns.
“Living He Loved Me” Philippians 2:1-11
Sermon by Don Emmitte, Grace Restoration Ministries
Today we begin a series developed from the chorus of a wonderful song by Casting Crowns. The lyrics of the song were originally written by J. Wilbur Chapman in 1911. However, John Mark, Hall and Michael Bleecker rewrote the tune in 2009 for Casting Crowns. The chorus is:
Living He loved me,
Dying He saved me,
And buried He carried my sins far away,
Rising He justified freely forever,
One day He's coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day.
The original hymn actually appears in our Baptist Hymnal on page 193! I suppose I, like many others, was not struck with its powerful message until the tune was contemporized. At any rate, the theology and inspiration of these five statements in the chorus are incredible basics of our faith. The first in the series, Living He Loved Me, is a principle laced throughout the Scripture, however, I have chose Paul’s letter to Philippians to center our focus today.
TAKE YOUR BIBLES PLEASE…
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:1-11 ESV).
Martin Luther was correct when he said, “The mystery of the humanity of Christ, that He sunk Himself into our flesh, is beyond all human understanding.” Perhaps that is what strikes us so clearly in the chorus. That the God of all, the only God, creator, sustainer, and almighty God of life itself would make himself human, in every way just like us, is indeed a great mystery. This is the declaration of the Apostle Paul.
Our text today is one of the most well known and moving passages in Paul's writings. It is known as the Kenosis Hymn (from the Greek word ekenosen, "he emptied"). There is a lack of consensus on how exactly to interpret the passage, and still less agreement on the role it should play in the life of the community of faith. However, few would deny the centrality of this particular passage in the Book of Philippians or its broader importance for a deeper understanding of the person and work of Christ. The act of Jesus’ incarnation is the clearest and most profound act of love we could imagine.
THERE ARE THREE DISTINCT PRINCIPLES PAUL DECLARES:
First, Jesus Laid Aside the Form of God for Us (vv.6-7).
…Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
The language is important in these verses. Since the Greek is awkward translated into our English, “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,” it has made it difficult to truly grasp the intent of the apostle’s declaration. It is not as some have suggested. Some have tried to point to an image of a loss that Christ suffered in becoming human and therefore His humility was show in at he did not “cling” (grasp) to it. This is the root of the translation in the King James Version of “robbery.” Vincent argues that, instead of “robbery” it should be translated “a highly prized possession.” Christ, therefore, did not regard His equality with God as a “highly prized possession” to be held onto. Instead, “He counted humanity His prize, and so laid aside the conditions of His preexistent state, and became man.”
So, let me dig in a bit at this point. God, and all of who he is, came to a place where he recognized that my redemption was such a highly prized object, he willingly, happily, eagerly left His glory and came to earth to live just like me. This is the heart of the gospel. It is this message of love that overwhelms me. It is like a huge wave washing over me. To think that he cares for me, not merely a Creator to created, but Father to child is overwhelming! Perhaps it would help a bit to go to John’s declaration: