Humble and Bowed Down Before Jesus Our Lord (Sermon Recap)
HUMBLE AND BOWED DOWN BEFORE JESUS OUR LORD
In our most recent sermon, we reflected on Philippians 2:9-11. Specifically, we pondered God's central mission to glorify and honor His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, by bringing all creatures to the awestruck recognition that His Son is sovereign over heaven and earth. The passage says:
"Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:9-11 ESV)
The phrase "so that" is key: the Father glorified Jesus as Lord over all so that all will humbly bow down before Jesus and acknowledge His Lordship.
God's central mission to glorify His Son is evident throughout the Scriptures. In Psalm 2 we are told that the promised Messianic King would be sovereign over all the nations (Psalm 2:6-8). In our Lord's Transfiguration, when His ordinary humanity radiated with the splendor of His deity, the Father declared: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to him" (Matthew 17:5 ESV). John 5 tells us that "the Father... has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him." (John 5:22-23 ESV)
We must not confuse secondary aspects of God's mission with this primary purpose. Because we gravitate so easily to human-centered thinking, we often say that God's mission is primarily about us. Therefore we may speak of sinners being saved and of broken lives or broken relationships being restored or of missionaries being sent out and of churches being planted and of building strong families and showing mercy to the afflicted and of the promise that one day there will be a new heaven and a new earth. All of these things are wonderfully true and we ought to rejoice in them, but they are not God's central and overarching purpose. God's mission is primarily about the glorification and honor of His Son! At its heart, our salvation consists in recognizing the supreme glory and sovereign authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Consider:
- The gospel message is about "Jesus Christ as Lord" (2 Corinthians 4:5 ESV).
- God's purpose in exalting Jesus is "so that... every tongue [might] confess Jesus Christ is Lord" (Philippians 2:10, 11 ESV).
- True and saving faith embraces/receives/trusts Jesus as Lord (Acts 16:31, Romans 10:9, Colossians 2:6).
- True and saving faith is not a dry affirmation of divine truth, but rather a deep-in-the-heart awakening to the glory of Jesus. Whereas unbelievers are blind to "the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV), believers see it because the Father has graciously "shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV).
As grateful disciples, we must pay attention to the glory of Christ that shines through the gospel: we behold His humility and sacrifice (Philippians 2:6-8), His compassion and grace, His authority and power, His faithfulness and truthfulness, His unshakeable trust in the Father and His steadfast love for sinners like us, His broken body and shed bood. We behold our King and conclude in our hearts, 'I must follow Him!" We behold Him risen from the dead, ascended into heaven, seated at the Father's right hand, clothed in divine splendor, far greater than anything and everything in all creation, the Lord of glory who holds salvation in His mighty and merciful hands. As we behold our Lord, our hearts are compelled to worship Him and give Him the honor that is rightfully His.
While Philippians 2:9-11 is very good news for all those who love and follow the Lord Jesus, it is all very bad news for everyone who continues in sin and refuses to honor and follow Jesus. God's holy wrath abides on everyone who refuses to honor and love and obey His dear Son (Psalm 2, John 3:36). At the judgment, every unbeliever will come face to face with King Jesus and will recognize His Lordship, but by then it will be too late for them to be saved. What a day that final day of reckoning will be "when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed...." (2 Thessalonians 7-10 ESV).
This great and future day will be glory and joy for the Lord's faithful people, but it will mean vengeance and punishment for the disobedient. Do you feel the weightiness of these two great realities that await the human race on that day?
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