Summary: The death of Jesus on the cross provides an example of love, self-sacrifice, and obedience.
The Death of the Cross. Phil. 2:8
INTRO.: In Philippians 2, the death of the cross is presented as an example of selfless living. Not that we should seek to die like Jesus, but that we should strive to live in the spirit of self-sacrificing love for one another and obedience to the will of God.
Our world has largely forgotten the principles of love, selflessness, and obedience to God. Men and women live for self and cannot be convinced the principles Jesus taught can ever be practiced.
Jesus not only taught these things, but lived them and proved they will work even in a hostile society. He died for living these truths and even His death leaves an example for us.
I. An example of love:
A. Calvary is the world’s greatest love story. John 15:13f
1. ILLUS.: Note on a tree. The entire world is the object of God’s love.
2. He made the greatest possible sacrifice in the interest of this love.
3. Only divine love could make such a sacrifice. “Out of the ivory palaces into a world of woe, only His great eternal love could make my Savior go.”
B. This love is an example for us:
1. I Cor. 13 extols the wonder of divine love.
2. Substitute Jesus for “love” and “it” in 4-8 and get a true picture of His character.
3. This is the lofty ideal and model He leaves for us.
C. Sometimes love hurts. Calvary teaches us this.
1. We often hurt the ones we love the most because we take them for granted.
2. We think they understand us perfectly and often they don’t.
3. More often, we hurt the ones who love us. This is what happened to Jesus.
4. His love held Him on the cross, not the nails.
II. An example of self-sacrifice: Phil. 2:4
A. In this chapter are four examples of selfless love:
1. The writer himself. 17
2. Timothy. 20
3. Epaphroditus. 25-30
4. Christ, who provided the model for all. 8
B. Jesus calls us to a life of self-denial: Luke 14:26, 27
1. Friends and loved ones may oppose or desert you.
2. There may be sacrifices called for in time and resources for those committed to the Lord’s work.
3. We must count the cost if we are to serve Him effectively. Some do not and fail.
C. In spite of this, the Christian way is worth it all.
1. For friends we lose, there will be many new brothers and sisters in the Lord.
2. For the time we give, we will be given eternity.
3. For the wealth we may have to sacrifice, there will be “treasures in Heaven.”
III. An example of obedience: Phil. 2:12
A. Jesus’ death was the supreme evidence of His willingness to obey the Father:
1. He cast aside the gloties of Heaven to become “slave” to God and man.
2. He even obeyed the Father to the point of an agonizing death
3. It was only because of obedience God exalted Him.
B. Christians are exhorted to “work out” their salvation through obedience:
1. We don’t earn salvation, but we need to work at obeying God. Not many do.
2. We see little “fear and trembling,” even among Christians.
3. Obedience doesn’t stop with Christian baptism.
C. If we do our part, God will work in us. 13.
1. He not only gives strength to obey, He also strengthens our resolve.
2. The Christian witness bears fruit because the Lord works with us.
CONC.: The death of the cross points up a great need for love, self-sacrifice, and sincere obedience by the Christian.
The prospect of “every knee bowing and every tongue confessing” Jesus is Lord makes the Christian life worthwhile. We will one day see Him coming to receive the honor He is due.
Christians need to realize confessing Christ as Lord and Savior means a complete surrender of our all to Jesus to love, sacrifice for, and obey Him.