Summary: A sermon on Philippians 2:3-11, focusing on the incarnation of Jesus Christ (First point taken from Dr. Jack Cottrell's book, "The Faith Once For All," Chapter 13 The Person of Christ; Second point taken from Warren Wiersbe, "Be Joyful", Chapter 5 The Gre
Long ago, there ruled in Persia a wise and good king. He loved his people. He wanted to know how they lived. He wanted to know about their hardships. Often he dressed in the clothes of a working man or a beggar, and went to the homes of the poor. No one whom he visited thought that he was their ruler. One time he visited a very poor man who lived in a cellar. He ate the coarse food the poor man ate. He spoke cheerful, kind words to him. Then he left. Later he visited the poor man again and disclosed his identity by saying, “I am your king!” The king thought the man would surely ask for some gift or favor, but he didn’t. Instead he said, “You left your palace and your glory to visit me in this dark, dreary place. You ate the course food I ate. You brought gladness to my heart! To others you have given your rich gifts. To me you have given yourself!”
Sunday morning talking about the incarnation from John 1:1-18.
Sunday evening talking about many other Scriptures that talk about the incarnation. John is not the first one to discuss the doctrine.
Thesis: Tonight let’s discuss the hypostatic union and what this means to us from Philippians 2:3-11
The hypostatic union from Philippians 2:6-8
What is the hypostatic union? “hypostatic union” may sound fancy in English, but it’s a pretty simple term. Hypostatic means personal. The hypostatic union is the personal union of Jesus’ two natures. Jesus has two complete natures—one fully human and one fully divine. What the doctrine of the hypostatic union teaches is that these two natures are united in one person in the God-man. Jesus is not two persons. He is one person. The hypostatic union is the joining of the divine and the human in the one person of Jesus.
Just wanted to say something different than “incarnation” all of time. Quiz on these terms after service (Ha! Ha!).
Vs. 6- Morphe and harpagmos
“In the form of God”-ESV, KJV, NASB. The word for “form” is morphe. Sometimes in English we use the word “form” to represent the outward, changeable aspects of something, as opposed to its essence or content. But this is not how morphe is used here. This Greek word actually refers to the essential nature of a thing, its unchanging essence. It refers to the sum of those characteristics that make a thing precisely what it is. When its says that Jesus existed in the morphe of God this means that in his prehuman state he possessed all the attributes of deity, all the characteristics that make God God.
Other expression is parallel to this: “equality with God” in NIV and others. This phrase “expresses the God equal existence of our Lord Jesus Christ in His prehuman state, and He has this condition of existence because He is very God from all eternity.”
“Did not count, regard, consider equality with God a thing to be grasped”- “A thing to be grasped” translates harpagmos. It is from the verb harpadzo, meaning “to steal, to seize, to snatch up, to take away forecefully.” It means that the Logos did not consider his equality with God a thing to be grasped after, since it was already his by nature. The Son of God did not consider his status of equality with God as something to be selfishly guarded or clutched or clung to, but he was willing to set it aside in some sense in order to accomplish salvation for lost mankind.
Vs. 9-11 talk about Jesus Christ in his glorified state after his ascention and exaltation. Similar to the way he was before the incarnation but with more than before.
Vs. 7- Kenosis
He “made himself nothing”- NIV and ESV, “emptied himself”- NASB, “made himself of no reputation,”- KJV; the word here is kenosis, which means “to empty, to make void.” What does this mean?
One idea is that Jesus emptied himself of some or all of his divine attributes. He “laid aside his deity,” some might say. As the TEV says, “He gave up all he had.” The result of this idea is that the Logos in the flesh is less than fully God. This cannot be because of Colossians 2:9: “For in Christ all the fulness of the Deity lives in bodily form.”
What is a more corrrect teaching? This has to do with function, not essence. The incarnate Son of God voluntarily laid aside the preorogatives, privileges, and advantages of deity (God) and chose instead to experience the limitations of human life. He did not selfishly insist on his “rights” as a divine being. As the KJV says, He “made himself of no reputation.”
How did he do this? Not by subtracting something from his divine nature, but by adding something to it. “taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” or as the ESV says it “taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”