Summary: This message shows how the resurrection of Jesus was the first stage of exalting Him to the highest place. It was followed by the tenth appearance in the Gospels when Jesus ascended in front of his followers.
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The Christian Faith from A to Z Sermon 26
The Doctrine of Christ Phil. 2:5-11
OUR EXALTED LORD
1. The Ministry of His Life (Acts 10:38; Isa. 66:13).
The ministry of Jesus’ death was primary in importance. He came to “die for our sins” (1 Cor. 15:3) by offering His sinless life “without blemish” (1 Pet. 1:19) to God. But His life is far more than simply a means to an end. God came to earth to share our humanity (Heb. 2:17-18) and love us face to face, personally. Peter said, “Jesus of Nazareth ... went about doing good ... for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). He showed kindness because God is kind. He loved because God is love. Isaiah compared God’s love to a mother’s love (Isa. 66:13) and no mother loves long range, but up close and personal. Following the ministry of His earthly life we have ...
3) The Ministry of His Ascension
(Acts 1:9-11; Phil. 2:5-11; etc.).
Paul, in Phil. 2:5-11 shows the three stages of the life of God’s Son, the last two showing the ministry to us. He shows: (1) His Prior Exaltation - Where He preexisted with the “nature” of God, “equal” to God (2:6). He shows (2) His Humiliation (2:7-8) where Jesus “made Himself nothing” (NIV) and took the “form of a servant” (2:7) and died on a cross (2:8). Because He did, we have (3) The Grand Exaltation (2:9-11) where God gives Jesus heaven’s highest place and name and has all creation bowing before Him as Lord. Today we look at the last two.
I. THE HUMILIATION (Phil. 2:7)
When the pre-existent Son became the God Man He “emptied himself - KJV - made Himself nothing - NIV” (Phil. 2:7). What He gave up has been the subject of endless debate. It is best to see that He gave up nothing of the power that is God’s but voluntarily chose to limit and restrict its use for the purpose of salvation. We saw this in the analogy of the three legged race. What Jesus did give up was the splendor and shelter of His exalted position. Paul said he “took the nature of a servant” (Phil. 2:7). He said, “He who was rich for our sakes became poor” (2 Cor. 8:9).
Out of the ivory palaces into a world of woe
Only His great eternal love made my Savior go
II. THE EXALTATION (Phil. 2:9-11).
1. The Resurrection (Mt. 28; etc., 1 Cor. 15:4-8; Lk. 23:43)
. Paul said because Jesus humbled Himself and was obedient to death on the cross, God “highly exalted Him” (Phil. 2:9). This exaltation was in three steps or stages, the resurrection, the ascension and the seat at God’s right hand.
1) The Fact of the Resurrection.
When Jesus died, His spirit, who He was, went back to God (Lk. 24:46). He took a thief with Him (Lk. 23:43), heard the praises of heaven (Ps. 24) and for some reason went and preached to the spirits of those who disobeyed Noah (1Pet. 3:18). On the third day God (Acts 5:30), the Holy Spirit (1 Pet. 3:18) and Jesus (Jn. 2:19), united His spirit with His body and changed it into the kind of resurrection body we who are saved will receive (Phil. 3:21).
It was visible and touchable but not easily recognized (Jn. 20:15) and was not subject to gravity (Acts 1:9-11) or hindered by locked doors (Jn. 20:19).
We take the fact of the resurrection by faith, but it is based on solid historical grounds. Jesus didn’t swoon, He died, the Romans knew how to see to that.
We have the New Testament records of ten or more appearances (Acts 15:1-8).
We have the change of the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday, something unthinkable to a Jew.
We have the transformation of the disciples from cowards (Jn. 20:19) to heroes (Acts 5:29), ready to die.
We have the Christian Church built not upon His teachings but upon His life, death, resurrection, ascension, presence with us, and promise to receive us when we die.
2) The Importance of the Resurrection.
Why stress the resurrection of Jesus’ body? Why not be content to say His spirit survived death and touches our spirits today?
First, because God’s word teaches the resurrection of Jesus’ body, in which He ate (Lk. 24:30) and was seen and touched (Jn. 20:17, 27).
Second, because it is vitally important.
It declared Jesus as the true Son of God (Rom. 1:4) and shows that God accepted His sacrifice. Paul says He “was raised for our justification” (Rom. 4:25), and without it our preaching is in vain (1 Cor. 15:14).
It proves we survive death. Paul says without it we have no hope (1 Cor. 15:8).