Summary: Jesus example calls us to display the willingness of the cross in our daily lives.
The Willingness Of The Cross
Text: Phil. 2:5-11
1. Illustration: John Stott, said, "I could never myself believe in God if it were not for the cross. In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it? I turn to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross, nails through hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn-pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in God-forsaken darkness. "That is the God for me. He set aside his immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death."
2. Nothing exemplifies the Christian faith more than the cross.
A. It is the universal symbol of the followers of Jesus.
B. It is an image that is loved and revered by believers and despised by the world.
C. We sing about it with songs like "The Old Rugged Cross," "At The Cross," and "Near The Cross."
3. However, to me the power of the cross is the willingness of Jesus to go to it.
A. He was willing to become like us to go to it.
B. He was willing to give up his divine privileges to go to it.
C. He was willing to submit to the physical and emotional pain to go to it.
4. In his willingness to go to the cross Jesus left us an example to follow...
A. The Willingness To Be Humble
B. The Willingness To Be Obedient
C. The Willingness To Let God Lift You Up
5. Let's stand as we read from Phil. 2:5-11.
Proposition: Jesus example calls us to display the willingness of the cross in our daily lives.
Transition: First, Jesus exemplified...
I. The Willingness To Be Humble (5-7).
A. The Same Attitude That Christ Jesus Had
1. While this text is often used for Christmas, it also lends itself as one for Lent because it centers on the cross.
2. It starts by telling us the heart of Jesus in going to the cross. In v. 5 it says, "You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had."
A. Many people feel that they can’t control their moods or attitudes. But Paul doesn’t accept the fact that Spirit-filled Christians are slaves to their attitudes. Christ Jesus had a particular attitude; so must we.
B. One of the great myths of popular psychology that has drifted into the church today deals with impulsive behavior based on emotions.
C. Those who accept Jesus Christ as Savior enter a community of believers, the church.
D. Believers are to obey their Savior because of who he is and what he has done on their behalf. Paul eloquently describes this in the following verses (Barton, Life Application New Testament Commentary, 850).
E. While verses 5-11 contain some of the most important Christological truths in the Bible, they were written in a context which should encourage Christians to emulate the example of Christ in humility.
F. Thus, having the attitude of Christ means "to think as Christ thought" (Rossier, The Complete Biblical Library – Galatians-Philemon, 199).
G. "Our Lord Jesus Christ, when urging his disciples to undertake great works, makes himself an example...This too blessed Paul does, bringing Christ before their eyes when he urges them to practice humility" (Chrysostom, Ancient Commentary On Scripture, vol. 8, 225).
3. Then Paul points to Christ's divinity when he says, "Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to."
A. A more literal translation of the Greek text who read, "though he was in the form of God."
B. The word form means the permanent, constant being of a person. It is the very essence of a person, that part of him that never changes. It is the unchangeable being (The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible – Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Under: "B. Humbling One's Self, 2:5-11").
C. This verse describes the status of Christ as he existed before the creation of the world—that is, his preincarnate state.
D. Jesus Christ was God. Everything God is, Christ is; the equality is in essential characteristics and divine attributes.
E. But Jesus did not demand and cling to his rights as God, but set them aside for a time in order to become human.
F. When Christ was born, God became a man. Jesus was not part man and part God; he was completely human and completely divine. Christ is the perfect expression of God in human form.
G. As a man, Jesus was subject to place, time, and other human limitations.
H. What made Jesus’ humanity unique was his freedom from sin. He did not give up his eternal power when he became human, but he did set aside his glory and his rights.
I. In his full humanity, we can see everything about God’s character that can be conveyed in human terms.(Barton 850-851).