Summary: This sums up the life of Jesus, as seen thru the Apostles’ Creed: His cradle, His cross, His crown.
So Much to Say, So Few Words - Philippians 2:5-11
Billy Sunday, a great preacher from the early 1900’s, once said: “There are two hundred and fifty-six names given in the Bible for the Lord Jesus Christ, and I suppose this was because He was infinitely beyond all that any one name could express.”
To sum up who Jesus is in one sermon is absolutely impossible. After the Apostle John wrote a whole book about who Jesus was and what Jesus did, he writes these words: “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (John 21:25)
So today, as we continue to go through the Apostles’ Creed, looking at what we believe as Christians, we’ll take only a glance at three stages of Jesus’ ministry to us, how He served us, how He loved us. We’ll tie together the passage in Philippians 2 called the Kenosis hymn (v5-11) with the Apostle’s Creed. Let’s read the Apostles’ Creed together.
I believe in God the Father almighty, Maker of heaven and earth;
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into Hades;
the third day he rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Church universal,
the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
Taking the section about who Jesus is, we’ll first look at…
1. The Cradle
v6-8a: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man,
Creed: I believe…in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary
We celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas. We rejoice in the love of God freely given to sinful people, as seen in the wonderful gift of His Son. We hold the truth as sung by the angels that first night: "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11) We believe that the Holy Spirit came over the teenager Mary, a virgin, and she became pregnant. We believe that God the Son, the Son of God, stepped out of heaven and became a human being.
The cradle was a symbol that God was still very much aware of the hurts of His people. They were forced to obey a godless civilization who had taken over their own. With the exception of only a handful of people, everybody thought the Messiah would rescue the people from Roman bondage. Only a select few understood that the Messiah cared more about being free from sin, a freedom of the heart, a freedom that cried: You don’t have to sin anymore! You can be right before God! I can get rid of the power of sin, as well as the penalty of it!
Many people stop thinking about Jesus at this point. As if He never grew up, never did anything important after being born. But we believe the best was yet to come!
2. The Cross
v8b: he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross!
Creed: He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into Hades.
Although Jesus’ first 30 years were uneventful, at some point that all changed. He embraced a call to serve others, to point others to God. That same call is ours. In all we do, God asks us to show His love to people. For Jesus that meant leaving his life as a carpenter and becoming a full-time wandering minister.
He cared for people who had no-one else. He fed people by using what he had. He touched people who were horribly lonely. When going about His daily life, He stopped to help others. He showed concern for Jews and non-Jews. He shared that the heart was more important than the appearance.
And He made enemies. These enemies asked for His death. He went through a mockery of a trial and was declared innocent – yet He still suffered the death penalty. He was buried in a friend’s tomb just before sundown on Friday night. And we believe that we descended to Hades, not hell, but the place of the dead. He preached to all the godly men and women from the time of Adam and took them with Him to heaven.