Jesus, from Glory to Earth back to Glory
INTRODUCTION: Week after week if you come to the Green Street Baptist Chapel, you will find that we preach out of the Bible.
We believe the Bible to be God's revelation to man. In order to speak to the human race, God spoke to us through His Word.
We believe this to be a supernatural revelation from God given to Holy men of old as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, and as such it IS the Word of God.
We believe the Bible is relevant, up to date with what is happening in our world today.
We also believe the Bible says something about our personal needs and our personal problems. As you sit here, we believe God's Word has something in it for you.
We have been going through the Book of Philippians verse by verse, line by line, and in some places, word by word in order to:
Discover what God want us to know,
Discover what God wants to reveal to us about Himself, and
Discover what God wants us to experience.
Someone said, "The church has only one message, it preaches Jesus Christ. You will not always get that impression but that's how it ought to be. It doesn't mean we say the same thing every single week. There are so many aspects of WHO He is, of WHAT He says, WHAT He did, WHAT He taught, WHAT He requires of us, and HOW we can know Him, and what we should do with the information. There are so many different aspects to consider, that even in a Pastor's whole life-time of preaching, he could never exhaust all there is to know about Jesus Christ."
That's kind of a bold statement to make. Why should we spend all of our time, talking about and even thinking about somebody who was born and lived over 2000 years ago? Well, a great deal of the answer to that question is given in our text of Philippians 2:5-11;
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (9) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: (10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; (11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
In these verses the Apostle Paul provides a perfect role model as a powerful conclusion to his message on unity in the church. In our last message I said that most commentators believe these first eleven verses are an attempt on the part of Paul to deal with the friction that had grown up in the Philippian assembly.
He had already admonished them in 1:27 to "stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel." Now he wants to encourage them to form the habits that would promote such harmony. In verses 1-4 the Apostle Paul gives us a 3 dimensional approach.
In verse 2 for our CHURCH, God wants us deeply concerned about HARMONY.
In verse 3 for OURSELVES as individuals, God wants us deeply concerned about HUMILITY.
In verse 4 for the WORLD, God wants us deeply concerned about HUMANITY.
Paul's desire was for this church to have HARMONY among themselves, HUMILITY as individuals, and a deep concern for HUMANITY in the world. Now the key to all this is found at the end of verses 3 and 4.
Verse 3, "…let each esteem OTHERS better than themselves."
Verse 4, “…but every man also on the things of OTHERS."
The key is OTHERS!
If we are going to have HARMONY within the church, we must be concerned for OTHERS.
If we are going to have HUMILITY in our lives, we must be concerned for OTHERS.
If we are to be concerned for the souls of HUMANITY, we must also be concerned for OTHERS.
At this point, we are given a glimpse of Jesus Christ so that we might see the price that must be paid for unity, which is nothing less than death. The price is a willingness to turn totally away from our own prerogatives in order that we might focus on the needs of others. No one has ever done that like Jesus Christ did.
After the Apostle Paul finishes his instruction in verses 1-4 someone pictured him eloquently crying out, "Don't forget, that in all this wide universe and in all the dim reaches of history there has never been such a demonstration of self-humility as when the Son of God in sheer grace descended to this errant planet, not for His own interest but for the "interest of others."
These verses picture the decent of the Lord Jesus Christ from the highest position in the universe, DOWN, DOWN, DOWN to his death on the cruel cross. Then they carry our minds up again to see Him seated once more on the Throne of His glory before whom every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Who He says He is.
In order to feel the strength of this passage, let us look at each step that was involved for our Lord, as He made the round-trip journey from glory to glory.
Step One: He relinquished His place, verse 6, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God…” If anyone had the right to be self-centered, it was Jesus Christ. He had existed throughout eternity. If we are to understand the greatness of Christ's sacrifice, we must try to comprehend the lofty position He held before He was made man. Not only had Christ existed eternally, but He had existed eternally as God.
We read that He existed "in the form of God." Now what does "the form of God" mean? When we talk about the form of a certain thing we are talking about its shape. Are we saying that Jesus had the same form or shape God had?
In John 4:23; we read that "God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must do so in Spirit and in truth." Now a spirit doesn't have a form, it doesn't have a shape. So what does it means when it says Jesus Christ was in the form of God?
I am reminded of a teacher in school who was getting exasperated with the kids (some of you can relate to that), so she said for the next half-hour they were to get out a piece of paper and draw anything they wanted to draw. After a while she came to one boy who was drawing the likeness of something she had never seen before.
She asked him what he was drawing. Without missing a stroke he said, "God."
The teacher was dumfounded and said, "Why, no one has ever seen God. God is a spirit and nobody knows what God looks like."
Again without missing a stroke he said, "They'll get to know when I get finished."
Now there are times when we conjure up in our minds what God looks like. What does God look like in your mind? Well, we have a very interesting Greek word here for the English word "form." It is "morphe" from which we get the English word "metamorphic" which means a drastic change that takes place. We see a metamorphism every year in nature when winter gives way to spring.
The Bible is telling us that this is something that has happened as far as God is concerned. You see, God had always been so distant and difficult to comprehend. Even His name was so holy and majestic that the Jews couldn't even pronounce it.
Then 2000 years ago in the little obscure village of Bethlehem, something unusual took place. God left behind:
His unapproachable majesty,
His indescribable Glory, and
His incomprehensible splendor.
God left all that behind. He came to this earth and contained Himself in a frail, fragile, human body just like yours and mine.
Right here, the Bible is saying: Jesus Christ has always been God the Son. Jesus didn't become God in that manger, He always was God. In the change that took place, He still remains God. Jesus Christ was not simply like God; He was the very nature and substance of God. All that God is, Jesus Christ was and is and ever will be.
Colossians 1:15; "He (speaking of Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all Creation."
I Timothy 3:1; "…great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh…"
Hebrews 1:1-3; "God…has in these last days spoken to us by His Son…who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person."
This morning, I want you to realize that:
Jesus Christ didn't come to this earth to become a god, like there were a lot of them.
Jesus Christ is not God-like, and
Jesus Christ is not just another god.
Jesus Christ IS almighty God; He created this whole universe, earth and all that lives and breathes in it. This great and mighty God came to this earth and wrapped Himself up in human flesh. Now that is a startling action when you stop to think about it. We believe that, and we teach that, because this Book teaches that. Just like the wise men of old, we still bow down and worship Jesus Christ as almighty God. Let me tell you this:
Jesus didn't come to be a teacher, although He was a great teacher.
Jesus didn't come to be a great healer, although He was a great healer.
Jesus didn't come to be a good moral example, although He did provide for us moral teachings.
He came as Almighty God. He took a body of flesh and made God visible. There was a metamorphic change that took place, not a change in deity, but a change in splendor and majesty. So in STEP ONE He relinquished His place. Now in
Step Two: He refused His prerogative. Our text goes on to say in verse 6, Christ, "thought it not robbery to be equal with God." When you think of a robbery, you think of stealing something. Jesus Christ was not stealing anything, when He said I am equal with God. He was God. The real meaning of this word is "to hold on to something." It means you are unwilling to let something go.
So what Paul is saying here: "Jesus, even though He was God in all the MAJESTY and in all the SPLENDOR and in all the HONOR He had in heaven; He didn't think that was something that ought to be held on to when there was a need right down on this planet." He did not view all he had in heaven as something to hold on to at all costs. He felt the need was so great that He was willing to give up heaven's best to meet the need here. Christ surrendered that which He loved, in order that He might save those whom He loved.
Now what was that need? Because man-kind had stumbled and fallen into sin, and not only individually but corporately, he was making a mess out of everything. The damage was so great that it could not be rectified by humanity. That's why God almighty left the glory of Heaven to come down and take up residence to meet the needs here.
This morning, if you don't believe that things are in a bad state of affairs, then please:
Sit where I have to sit once in a while, and listen to people whose lives and homes are wrecked because of sin.
Listen to people whose bodies are broken and in a state of disrepair because of sin.
If you don't believe that you are a sinner, alienated and eternally separated from God, then please:
Listen to Romans 3:10-18; “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one: (11) there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. (12) They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (13) Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: (14) Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: (15) Their feet are swift to shed blood: (16) Destruction and misery are in their ways: (17) And the way of peace have they not known: (18) There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
And what makes it worse, you can't even take this sinful, messed up situation you are in and use all of your brains, money and religious activity to fix yourself up, or make yourself better fit for heaven.
Many of us at one time or another have heard the Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes. Are you aware that they were actually written to describe the political situation in Europe at the time? One of the nursery rhymes was:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men,
Couldn't put Humpty together again.
Who was Humpty Dumpty? He represented the human race. Remember in the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve were forbidden by God to eat of that fruit of the garden? If they did, they would fall into sin, and it would affect the whole human race. Well, they did, and the fall has been so great that the WISEST and the MIGHTIEST and the HOLIEST and the NOBLEST of mankind cannot get us back together again or make us right with God, which would enable us to go through life having peace in our hearts:
Knowing that we are right with God,
Knowing that every sin that we have ever committed has been forgiven, and
Knowing that we have everlasting life.
God Almighty recognized that He Himself would have to leave the splendor of heaven. He would have to come down to this planet and place himself in a human body. He would have to live a sinless life, a perfect life. And He would have to die to pay the penalty for every single one who was a contributor to the fall. That is exactly what He did!
So in STEP ONE Jesus relinquished His place in glory and in STEP TWO He refused His prerogative. Now in…
Step Three: He renounced His privileges. Please notice again verses 7-8, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
In the Greek, the phrase in verse 7, "But made Himself of no reputation…" literally means "He emptied himself." The word “reputation” means, "to deprive something of its proper place and use." Perhaps a way of saying this phrase would be, "Jesus stripped Himself of all privileges." To our way of thinking that is almost incomprehensible. Nevertheless that is what the Bible teaches, and the Bible is the infallible Word of God.
Can you imagine God, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent from everlasting to everlasting, willingly taking such a place of humiliation? Instead of exalting himself, which He had every right to do, Jesus emptied Himself. Jesus set aside or striped Himself, not of deity, but of His glory and became man for man's salvation. Think what the self-denial of Jesus meant to the spotless Son of God.
First, it meant living in a foreign body like ours.
Second, it meant living in a world of impurity, a world of revolting sin.
Third, it meant suffering death upon a cruel cross.
Imagine yourself stepping into the lowest moral environment possible, into the company of prostitutes, homosexuals, hardened criminals, and then living and dying for them. That would only be suggestive of what Jesus did for you and me.
So in STEP ONE Jesus relinquished His place in glory, in STEP TWO He refused His prerogative, and in STEP THREE He renounced His privileges. Now in…
Step Four: He restricted His presence. What Grace! From Heaven to earth, from Glory to shame, from master to servant, from life to death, even the death of the cross. Mark 10:45; tells us, "…the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many."
Moving to verse 8, I want you to note the first statement, "And, being found in fashion as a man…” You see that little word "a"? I want to point out to you that Jesus Christ did not go to the cross as a man. Rather, Jesus Christ went to the cross representing all mankind. How could a mere man do that? Because He wasn't a man, He was God, and God can do that! Jesus Christ formed Himself in fashion as man, and He went to the cross not as "a" individual man, but as a representative of all humanity, your representative and mine.
When He went to the cross, He went in my place, and He went in your place.
When Jesus went to the cross, He went there as my substitute, and he went there as your substitute.
When He went to the cross, He went as my representative, and He went as your representative as well.
When Jesus hung on the cross, He died for us; He died in our place.
I Peter 2:24; "Who His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness."
Romans 5:8; "But God commanded His love towards us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
So in STEP ONE Jesus relinquished His place in glory, in STEP TWO He refused His prerogative, in STEP THREE He renounced His privileges, and in STEP FOUR He restricted His presence. Now in
Step Five: He realized His purpose. Again notice verse 7-8, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Notice again those words, "became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
If you were to remove the death of Christ, you would reduce Christianity to just another empty, shallow religion; it wouldn't be worth a plug nickel.
“Sin and despair like the sea wave’s cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the Refuge, the mighty Cross.
Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above to bear it to dark Calvary.
In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see;
For 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died
To pardon and sanctify me.
Calvary covers it all,
My past with its sin and distain;
My guilt and despair Jesus took on Him there,
And Calvary covers it all.”
That is the message of the cross. God's wrath is stilled; man's sin is removed. Oh, Christian, look again to the cross and marvel at the extent of God's divine love in Christ Jesus.
If you are discouraged look to the cross and see there the height and the depth of the love of Christ.
If you are uncertain of your eternal salvation, look to the cross and find there all that He has done to redeem you.
Expectantly, God wants a reaction to all this from us. That reaction is found in Romans 10:9, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
What is the reaction God wants? "It is to confess with thy mouth that Jesus is Who He says He is, and believe in thy heart that it is true." When you do that, God's word says you shall be saved. That's all God wants, it's that simple.
There was a day when I believed by simple faith, and Christ became my Saviour. Something wonderful took place. My sins were forgiven, and the peace that so many are looking for became mine through Jesus Christ.
So in STEP ONE Jesus relinquished His place in glory; in STEP TWO He refused His prerogative; in STEP THREE He renounced His privileges; in STEP FOUR He restricted His presence; in STEP FIVE He realized His purpose, and finally in…
Step Six: He received His promotion. Again in verses 9-11 we read, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: (10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; (11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Here we have the full circle, from glory to earth, to the cross, back to glory. Paul is speaking of Christ coming again, and on that day, the text says:
Every knee shall bow,
Every Angel in Heaven,
Every demon in hell,
Every human that has ever walked upon this earth, and
Every tongue shall confess, Jesus Christ is who He claims to be.
If you have never received Christ as your personal Savior, our desire is that you might do just that as you hear God's Word. Jesus said, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." Jesus came into this world to die for you. Today, won't you come to Him in simple faith?
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon "Jesus, from Glory to Earth back to Glory" right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31; “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13; “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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