Summary: Want to get promoted? Get what you feel is yours ’by right’? The way up is down.

The oldest Hymn part two- the way up is down. Phil 2:1-11 WBC 29.01.06pm


Paul’s really concerned about Christian character, consistency and fruit

- He’s particularly concerned because he knows he might ’go to be with the Lord’… and there are factions in the church… and striving for prominence… and those who claim particular blessing and hence particular rights

And we learned this morning how he basically says

- if you’ve been blessed in any way. By being united with Jesus. By an experience of His love, or of His Holy Spirit… or anything that has touched your emotions. Good!

- … But then show it by the way you deal with each other

o be united. Loving. Of one mind. Not acting out of selfish ambition

o in stead- be looking to each other’s needs

That’s the real evidence that God has been at work among you

- and Jesus is the example to follow

Then he cites this fantastic old hymn-

- which it almost undeniably is.

o Uses words Paul doesn’t anywhere else

o Has rhythm and meter

- And is a window on what the church was singing pre-62AD, and their theology

o Eat your heart out Dan Browne! Their liturgy spoke of Jesus full divinity and humanity long before 325 AD (Nicea)

The hymn speaks of how Jesus (in very nature God) didn’t think about His rights, status or ’comfort’… as though He had to ’hold on’ to it

- but emptied himself (ekenosen). Of what? All the privileges He had- and became a servant. Human

So- how do you know if someone is specially blessed? By the way they live. By their thoughts of others. By them acting like Jesus

- who is the supreme example and incentive

So- what about you. What do you face that is a struggle? And how are you seeking to get what you think is yours by right?

- that promotion? Job. Status. Recognition. Fame. Lucky break.

- That freedom from being picked on? At work? School? Home?

- That ’favour’ among people that you are looking for

- Deliverance from that problem

That thing that you think ’should be mine!’

What is it, and how are you seeking to get it?

- just think about this for a moment


Well- I want to tell you- the way up is down

Sounds crazy doesn’t it? But the opposite is there behind this passage-a s the context and antithesis of Jesus’ approach

- firstly, Satan, who (Is 14;14) wants to be like God

ISA 14:14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;

I will make myself like the Most High."

ISA 14:15 But you are brought down to the grave,

- to the depths of the pit.

o He tries to grasp at that which is not his. And gets cast down

- Secondly: Adam. "I want a bite of that apple and then we will be like God!"

o And he ’falls’…

o And each of us have been doing it like him, since

It’s built into the fabric of our fallen world. The bible describes it as the ’basic principles of this world’

- dog eat dog. Get your promotion. Step on their heads. Fight for your rights. "It’s mine, by right!"

that’s man’s way. And it works to some degree

- but I want to tell you- God won’t let it work for you if you are one of His children

o you’ll fight for self promotion and your rights

" but be miserable in the process

" lose your intimacy with Him

" probably end up knocked down

Your life can only work, function, if you function by the principles of the Kingdom

- and that is- "down means up"

- only as you humble yourself can God lift you up

- only as you submit to your circumstances can the Lord lift you out

- only as you take ’hands off’ can He get ’hands on’

o and bring glory to Himself

Jn 3:21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.

Listen to some passages from the scriptures

- Psalm 75:6 For promotion comes neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. 7But God is the judge: he demotes one, and promotes another

F.B. Meyer said, "I used to think, that God’s gifts were on shelves - one above another, and the taller we grow, the easier we can reach them. Now I find that God’s gifts are on shelves - one beneath another and the lower we stoop, the more we get!"

- JAS 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

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