January 25, 2009

Phlippians #9

Phlippians 2:5-11

Our next section in our study of God's law as fund in Philippians is 2:5-11.

As we mentioned last time, Paul is dealing with a common problem of pride. It is a sin I find myself too often captive to.

In v. 3, we have for basic requirements for all our activity. Every action and thought produces results in the Kingdom of God.

Paul gives two negative do describe the sin, which is basically the root of all sin. Adam fell to pride, as he sought to be as God:

Strife--a spirit of contention. It hinders us from doing anything to the glory of God.

Vain-glory--this is vain and hollow pride; that is, a desire to bring honour to ourselves, to attract attention, to win praise.

Then he gives two positives to deal with the sin:

Lowliness of mind, which is the opposite of pride, or the desire to be exalted.

Let each esteem others better than themselves. This is certainly difficult when we consider what is around us.

This does not mean we are to ignore the gifts and abilities the Lord has given to us.

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

It does mean we must beware of considering ourselves better than others.

1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

V. 4, gives the requirement to look outside for ourselves

In 2:5-8, Paul deals with the problem of pride head-on.

V. 5. I have found that the humble mind of Christ to be the most difficult command of all the commands. Adam lost his pure mind when he fell. Since Adam, the fallen mind fights to control our every thought and motive. This battle will be with us until the day of Christ.

Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Its context of 2:5 is talking about humility:

He sets before them a most perfect example of all modesty and sweet conduct, Christ Jesus, whom we ought to follow with all our might: who abased himself so much for our sakes, although he is above all, that he took upon himself the form of a servant, that is, our flesh, willingly subject to all weaknesses, even to the death of the cross. (Geneva. See also John 14-17)

Christ is our example for every area of life, not only in holy living, but also in humility and modesty.

Paul's point here is that Jesus Christ left a state of glory which we cannot even began to comprehend. He humbled Himself from the place of the highest honour and glory in creation, to the place of a servant of the Father. As a servant of the Father, he also served men for the Father's glory.

Scripture probably deals with humility as much as any other subject – humility vs pride.

Was not the first sin a sin of pride? "Ye shall be as God."

James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

V. 6. Paul uses Christ as the example of humility. Isaiah 9:6 tells us that Christ was the very God of all creation. He willingly laid aside all His honor and glory which He had as God and came to dwell among us in a body of flesh.

Those who saw any form of God in the Old Testament, saw Christ. Those who heard God speak, heard Christ. Christ is every attribute of God the Father. All that the human eye can see and that the human mind can understand about God is in Christ (either now or then).

thought it not robbery...

Paul tells us that even though the pre-incarnate Christ was Divine and equal to God the Father in all ways, He did not seek to retain that equality with God. Rather, He willingly took upon Himself the humble position of a man, in fact, that of a servant — a servant of God.

In John 13, Christ took on the form of a servant, and washed the disciple's feet. That did not mean he was a servant to man. He was the Father's servant, and always did the Father's will. We see that the Father's will in this case was to wash the disciples feet, to teach them the important lesson of service one to another.

Luke 22:21 But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! 23 And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. 24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. 25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. 27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.

Can we serve one another with joy and love? It sure goes against our fallen nature.

V. 6, Christ did not allow his equality as God to hinder doing his Father's will.

Christ DID NOT seek to retain the position of equality with God. Rather, He willingly gave it up and made himself of no reputation.

He experienced no threat to His self-esteem.
He experienced no threat to His position.
He experienced no threat to His place of honor and glory and authority. He experienced absolutely no threat to anything as he made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant.

He was made of a woman in the likeness of men. He had to gain a physical body, so he would make the sacrifice.

Application:

Can we say, "I'm sorry," to someone whom we may have wronged or spoke harshly to?

Can we help a weaker brother or sister in Christ?

Can we do a job which we feel might be below our status in life, or that we feel would lower us in the eyes of others?

Christ, when faced with losing all his honor, glory and position in the eyes of men, did it anyway. Christ did not desire to retain His position with God even though He was in the form of God.

V. 7. But made himself of no reputation.

Note—made himself... No one forced Christ to lower himself to the form of a man. He did it willingly. In working out the plan of salvation in the beginning, the Son volunteered to lay aside all of his form of God.

In respect to what Christ had in this form of God he became as nothing, no reputation, and took upon him the form ...

1. Form means the external appearance. In other words, he did not lay aside his divine nature; rather he covered it with the form of a man. He was God among men. There was no way he could cease to be omnipotent, all powerful. He could not cease to be totally Holy and to be the Way, True and Life. His was the nature of God.

2. For 33 ½ years, he lay aside his outward manifestations of his divine majesty and glory. If he had not, man would not have been able to even be in His presence.

3. We cannot not assume there was any change in His divine nature, majesty, glory or perfection. The illustration here would be of the sun behind a very heavy cloud. The glory, brightness and majesty is still there, it is only hidden for a season. We have been in storms when it got so dark at noon that the automatic lights come on—this would be close to what Christ did.

His glory and majesty was hidden for a time behind a curtain of human flesh. He made himself of no reputation. Why? Paul is working to this, v. 8. To be obedient even to the death of the cross. So he could redeem sinners.

And took upon him the form of a servant. Look at the contrast—from the form of God. The highest form, the glory and majesty of the creator to the form of a servant.

Paul gives us an idea of total extremity. From the total extreme of God above all, to the other total extreme, below all, the form of a servant.

V. 7, and was made in the likeness of man.

There is no way we can grasp the tremendous spirit of humility of our Lord Jesus Christ as he voluntarily left his form of God and took on the form of a servant, the likeness of man.

What could be done in our relationship with others and with our community if we could totally lay aside our will for the Father's will?

V. 8. Christ took upon Himself all of the attributes of a man. Really we could say that He became as was the first man, Adam, before Adam sinned.

1 Corinthians 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

Christ left His glory as God and was subjected to the frailties and necessities of life like as we. He now needed food, clothing and shelter. He was now subject to suffering both physical and emotional pain (He wept at Lazarus tomb.)

He humbled himself. Humility is the main theme of this chapter.

I have very little difficulty understanding His ability to heal, walk on the water, weep at the tomb, preach hell-fire and damnation, and even maybe His love in a small way.

But I cannot grasp the Creator God humbling himself to the level of his creation, and being totally free of pride, strife or vainglory while he was hee.

V. 8 also tells us that the law-maker subjected himself to the laws he made, even to the death.

Nothing can show the importance of the law any more than the One who made the law submitting Himself to it. This is the highest honour the law of God could receive on earth, that the Divine law-maker Himself, Jesus, should submit to it.

He shows us that there can be, nor will be any exception to God's law.

How unlike human "law makers." They always leave a loophole for them and or their friends. In doing so, they show their contempt for the law, the very laws they made.

A very simple example would be the parking laws in Washington, D.C. The `law-makers' make the laws. The law calls for ticketing those who break them, yet they have license tags which allow themselves to break those same laws with immunity.

Notice how quick men are to place themselves outside of the law of God as given in the commandments, yet claim to be followers of Christ.

When men say that the law no longer applies, they are placing themselves above Christ.

We are told in Joshua 1:7, 8, that obedience to the law of God is the only means to prosper and good success. When we ignore God's way, we say we have a better way.

Even to the death of the cross... How many will agree to "law-keeping" as long as the cost to them is not too high?

The paragraph here in Phi. 2:5-11, starts in v. 5. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.

1. He was God, yet took the form of a man.
2. Not just any man, but as a servant.
3. He, the law-maker, humbled Himself and became subject to His own laws which He had made.
4. Not subject for life and prosperity (as we would think of life and prosperity), but subject to His own laws to the death, even the death of the cross.

If God among us could not and would not exempt Himself from His divine law as revealed in His written word, why would frail man-kind think that he can exempt himself?

Of course, the main thought in this chapter is that Christ had no pride. He did not possess the effects of the fall in him. He had nothing which might hinder His doing of the Father's will, and having the form of a servant.

Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

V. 9

Here we see that the Father's reward to the Son for this perfect obedience was exaltation above all names. Of course, He left this exalted place with the Father. If He had failed (which was impossible), He would have lost that place.

He was humbled to the place of a servant. Then as result of his fulfilling that job given to Him, the Father raised Him up to the throne of glory and total dominion.

No other name can be compared with His name. He alone is Sovereign over all. He alone is Redeemer and Saviour. There is none other name given under heaven whereby men might be saved, other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

He is the anointed of God. In absolutely every area, He is above and over all.

A passage I like to refer to at every opportunity is Ephesians 1:18-2:9

V. 10. He is so exalted that it is proper and fitting that all in heaven, in earth and under the earth should (and will) bow.

Paul quotes:

Isaiah 45:23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

We should rejoice that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow..., especially in light of the events of Psalms 2 taking place around us.

Every knee shall bow... tells us that force is involved. But it will be too late then to deliver from the eternal fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels.

Revelation 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Is it now so much better to make that confession from the heart before death?

V. 11. Everyone will acknowledge Jesus as Lord-owner, ruler sovereign. Everyone will acknowledge His right to rule over them with a total rule.

Peter said it best in Acts 2:36 as he told his hearers, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Peter tells us that one of the major doctrines or teachings of false prophets is the separation of Lord from Christ.

2 Peter. 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3 ¶ And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

His title/name is the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is our substitute, saviour, redeemer. Lord is His authority over us. We cannot have one without the other.

He will not be saviour apart from Lord. Those who desire to have salvation apart from submitting to the authority and requirements of the Lord Jesus Christ as revealed in the LAW of GOD, will be sadly mistaken in that day of judgment.

We see here in Philippians 2:9, 10, that Christ was exalted to both Lord and Christ, not Christ alone.

There is a heresy going around that during this dispensation Jesus is only the Christ and one day He will return back as Lord. Of course, this permits ignoring the command-word of God because if He is not Lord, He really has no authority right now.

Those who desire to have Christ as Saviour apart from having Him as their Lord and submitting to His Word for every rule of action will be in for a great surprise and disappointment.

Those who have any kind of hope of heaven and have trusted Him as the Christ, yet are waiting until the day spoken of here in Ph. 2:10-11 to confess that He is the Lord, have an unscriptural hope for heaven.

James is very clear that faith without works is dead. Paul also talks of any man in Christ, being a new creation with the old things passed away.

No doubt some say, "But I am submitted to Him. I do recognize Him as my Lord." Yet these same people very seldom, if ever, open the word of God to find out what the One they claim as their Lord desires for them to do.

Those who claim to be a child of God, yet have no desire to study the word of God (not just at church, but in private), then, according to that same word of God, they are not saved.

Study, however, is not a assurance of slavation. Only Christ is that assurace.

Notice the last part of Ph. 2:11. To the glory of God the Father. Do we want to bring glory to God the Father?

Some believe that simply singing praises to God brings glory to the Father. Though singing praises is Scriptural, if it is not done to the glory of God the Father, it is an abomination to Him.

Matt. 5:16, Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

It is our consistent life as a Christian that brings glory to the Father.

Jn. 5:23, That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. How do we honour the Son? By honouring Him as our Lord.

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