Title: Philippians 2-The Heart of Christ
Text: Philippians 2.5-11
CT: In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Jesus Christ.
In his sermon titled "Think Hard, Stay Humble," Francis Chan told the following story about a man named Vaughn who radiated the love of Christ to everyone around him:
A few years ago, a missionary came to our church and told a beautiful story about sharing the gospel with a remote tribe in Papua New Guinea. At the end of the story this missionary said, "I should really give the credit to Vaughn, my former youth pastor who loved me and inspired me to live for Christ and share the gospel with others."
The next week another guy came to our church and he challenged us to start sponsoring kids living in poverty. The second speaker also concluded by saying, "I'm involved in this ministry because of my youth pastor, a guy named Vaughn." I found out those guys were from the same youth group!
Then the next week another speaker named Dan told us about his ministry at a rescue mission in the inner city of L.A. After Dan's talk, I casually mentioned, "It was so weird: the last two weeks both of our speakers mentioned how much impact their youth pastor, Vaughn, had on them." Dan looked surprised and then he told me, "I know Vaughn. He's a pastor in San Diego now, and he takes people into the dumps in Tijuana where kids are picking through the garbage. I was just with Vaughn in Tijuana. We would walk in the city, and these kids would run up to him, and he would show such deep love and affection for them. He'd hug them and have gifts and food for them. He'd figure out how to get them showers. Francis, it was eerie: the whole time I was walking with Vaughn, I kept thinking, If Jesus was on earth, I think this is what it would feel like to walk with him. He just loved everyone he ran into, and he would tell them about God. People were just drawn to his love and affection."
And then Dan said this, "The day I spent with Vaughn was the closest thing I've ever experienced to walking with Jesus."
Hearing this made me think, Would anyone in their right mind say that about me? Would anyone say that about you? … As I thought about all this, I prayed, "Lord, that's what I want. I don't want to be the best speaker in the world. That doesn't matter. I don't want to be the most intelligent person on the planet. That's not what I want to be known for. I want to be known for someone saying, "Wow, he's a lot like Jesus."
Francis Chan, "Think Hard, Stay Humble," PreachingToday.com
Several years ago I was traveling through the back roads of Florida and I ran into this little store to grab a pop. The cashier asked, “Where are you from? You don’t look like you’re from around here?
I said I was from Ky.
He said I looked like some pop star from around there.
I said, “No that’s not me.
He went on to describe this fellar and then he asked me if I was married.
I said yes very happily.
He said, “Why are you married? How old are you?”
I’m 37, I answered.
You’re too young to be married. You need many women
I said, “No that is really overrated man.”
He said, “Really? I think you need many women.”
I said, “I think you need Jesus, and you need a wife.” Than I said, “I’ve got to run, but you need to rethink your outlook on life.”
Starting a new 3-week Series on Philippians. We are going to be looking at the book of Philippians the next there weeks. This first week we look at the heart of Christ.
In Philippians 2 Paul exhorts the Philippians to adopt Jesus’ death as their central outlook, their central mindset for life. Instead of living to get and get and get—more women, more praise, more money—the Christian is called to imitate Christ, who came to give and give and give.
Get out your Bible. I want you to follow along with me as I read this passage today.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
This is one of the most amazing passages in the Bible. It was probably used in early worship.
It can be looked at from 5 perspectives.
1. God’s perspective, Jesus died as an atonement for our sins.
1 John 2.2, He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
He absorbed God’s wrath and turned away God’s anger from us.
2. Christ’s perspective, Jesus obeyed His Father perfectly saying, “Not My will but Yours be done. (Luke 22.42)
He carried out His assignment to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10.45)
3. Satan’s perspective, the cross means his defeat. Rev.12.11, They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.
4. Sin’s perspective, the cross is the means by which our debt is paid.
5. Our perspective, while acknowledging all these truths, treasuring the love and justice of God as well as the substitutionary life and death of Jesus—His victory over Satan and sin—we must also note that the cross also serves as our ultimate standard of behavior for us. That is what Paul is really trying to show here.
Jesus gives us the perfect example of the mind set we need and the humility we should pursue, as well as the ultimate picture of considering the needs of others.
So while Philippians 2.6-11is filled with theological hot points that we must consider closely, we must remember that Paul’s purpose for writing it is not to stir debate. It’s here for adoration and copying.
As a result of adoring Christ we will experience unity as a people. Unity isn’t the result of preaching on unity, it is the result of people adoring and becoming like Christ in their actions. The more we behold His glory and imitate his character the more unified we will be as the church.
We are also reminded about how much we need Jesus’ death and resurrection. He rose on our behalf and now empowers us to follow His example.
Now let’s break it down.
The Mind Of Christ.
Philippians 2.5, In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Paul is commending the attitude that Jesus had in order to stimulate humility and unity among the congregation. We are united with Christ, and we must now walk with Him. Paul is not talking about the individual here. He is writing about unity in the church, which comes from adopting a humble, Christ-like mind-set.
Paul exhorts the Philippians to pursue the attitude and actions of Jesus.
As we prepare to dig into this scripture or some call it a hymn to Christ keep this in mind.
Is this my mindset or attitude? Is this my way of life?
Do I seek to get, get, and get, or to give, give and give?
Are we known as a community that has humility and compassion?
The following verses unpack Jesus’ humility, His perfect life His crucifixion and His exaltation.
Let’s consider the humility of Christ in three parts.
1. His humble Renunciation. He gave up His heavenly throne to come for us.
Philippians 2.6, Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
Jesus enjoyed His preexistent exalted position but He laid it aside.
In Ad 451, the leaders in the Chalcedon wrote a creed affirming both Jesus’ full humanity and His full deity, united in one person. In so doing they rejected all heresies that tried to say Jesus was not God.
In every generation we must contend for the biblical view of the person and work of Jesus Christ.
This phrase, he did not consider equality with God to be used for his advantage, highlights the astonishing giving nature of Jesus. He did not consider being God grounds for getting, but for giving.
Do you have a hard time letting go of your possessions?
Do you find it hard to relinquish your rights to be mad at someone for the good of preserving the relationship? I know some who need to work on this?
If we applied Jesus’ mind-set to our marriages, our families or any other relationships, imagine what our lives would be like.
2. His Humble Incarnation. Jesus becomes a man.
Philippians 2.7, rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
He made himself nothing. Christ refused to hold onto His divine rights and privileges. He veiled His deity, but did not void His deity. He added humanity; He didn’t surrender deity.
Bryan Chapell illustrates the idea of Jesus “emptying Himself” by relaying a story from an African missionary.
In this particular part of Africa the chief was the strongest man in the village. As the chief, he also wears a very large headdress and ceremonial robes. One day a man carrying water out of the shaft of a deep well fell and broke his leg, and lay helpless at the bottom of the well. To get down to the bottom, one would have to climb down, using the alternating slits that go all the way down the deep well and then climb back up. Because no one could carry the helpless man up like this, the chief was summoned. When he saw the plight of the man, he laid aside his headdress and his robe, climbed all the way to the bottom, put the injured man on himself, and brought him to safety. He did what no other man could do.
That’s what Jesus has done for us. He came to rescue us. And He laid aside His heavenly glory, like the chief did with his headdress, in order to save us.
Now did the chief cease being the chief when he laid aside his headdress? Of course not.
Did Jesus cease being God when He came to rescue us? Of course not.
The slave in the Greco-Roman world was deprived of the most basic rights. Jesus gave up his sovereign rights and became a slave. In John 13 we find a powerful illustration of Jesus’ servant mentality.
John 13.3-5, 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
While the disciples jockeyed for positions in the coming kingdom, the One with all authority began to wash their feet. You can imagine what the disciples would have said if asked to do this task which was reserved for slaves.
“I’m not washing Peter’s feet. Look at those feet.”
“I’m not washing John’s feet he never washed mine.”
“I’m not washing any of their feet. When we buy fish sandwiches I pay for them all.”
“I’m not washing Philips feet. I am sick of Philip and all his dumb questions.”
But Jesus, in the very nature of God, begins to wash the feet He made. He humbled himself, taking the form of a slave.
Let this be the attitude in you.
Imagine what would happen if we all took this posture in church—if each person sought not to be elevated to higher positions, but to humbly serve others as Jesus did.
His Humble Crucifixion.
Philippians 2.8, And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross.
Christ’s whole life was marked by humility. Look at His birth. He wasn’t born in a big fancy city like Alexandria, Rome, Athens or Jerusalem. He was born in a place for animals in Bethlehem. He lived 30 years in relative obscurity. Then His earthly ministry, He was known for loving unlovable people and humbly serving others. Then He was killed on a cross beside two criminals.
Christ humbled himself voluntarily. Neither, Herod, Pilate nor the Romans humbled Him; no one can humble Jesus. Jesus humbles us. Jesus chose to empty Himself. Don’t look at this passage and feel sorry for Jesus. He humbled himself.
We too must choose humility.
Matthew 18.4, Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
1 Peter 5.6, Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
Paul talks of Jesus being obedient and humble to the cross.
Jews believed a person was cursed if he died by crucifixion.
Galatians 3.13, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”
His Exalted Position
Philippians 2.9, Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
No one else is exalted like this. Jesus is in an exalted class by Himself.
What is amazing is that we know Him. We should fall on our face. We must lift up our voice in praise and adoration to the King who has lavished us so abundantly with grace and mercy.
Philippians 2.10-11. 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
In response to Christ’s universal lordship everyone will bow and confess His lordship.
Some will confess Him as Lord with great joy and humility. Others will confess Him as Lord with despair and anguish. Pilate, Caiaphas, Stalin, Hitler and every other evil dictator will confess Him as Lord. Everyone from every age will do the same. The hymn has this “already/not yet” dimension. We confess Him as Lord now, but we know we also look forward to the future day when all acknowledge the lordship of Jesus. History is not like a treadmill, going nowhere; rather it’s all moving toward that day. Sadly it will be too late for many. If you don’t acknowledge and confess that Jesus is Lord in this life, it will be too late after death. So bow now! Confess Him as Lord now.
Our text ends today, “To the glory of God the Father.”
Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension and exaltation bring glory to God the Father.
May we also bring a life to our Lord that brings glory to Him!
Conclusion: This is a passage we should memorize.
Believe this passage. Do you believe that Jesus Christ is Lord? You will either now or later. Don’t wait till it’s too late.
Live like it says to live. Live as Christ.
Tell the world this message. Let us adore Him. Let our attitude be like His. Let our actions reflect Him and be to the glory of God the Father.
Merida, Tony; Chan, Francis; Christ centered Exposition Exalting Jesus in Philippians, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville Tennessee, 2016