Patterned After Jesus (Sermon Recap)
PATTERNED AFTER JESUS
In our most recent sermon we reflected on Philippians 2:6-11, where Paul sets before our eyes the gospel shining forth in brilliant color. Here we behold the beauty of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In beholding Christ, we also behold the pattern for our own lives: Christ established a distinct pattern of life (set forth in verses 6-11), and our calling as Christians is to be conformed to that pattern (see Philippians 2:3-5).
One of the simplest ways to summarize Christ's pattern for life is by quoting the instruction He gave in Matthew 23: "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted" (Matthew 23:12 ESV). As Jesus taught, so He lived: He humbled Himself in the most profound ways, and consequently the Father exalted Him in the most profound ways.
Philippians 2:6-8 tells us about how Jesus humbled Himself: "who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:6-8 ESV) The One who because of His divine status had everything, "made himself nothing." The One who existed "in the form of God" took "the form of a servant" (i.e., bondservant, slave). The One who enjoyed "equality with God" was "born in the likeness of men." The One who commanded the obedience of the whole creation "[became] obedient to the point of death." From everything to nothing! From sovereign Lord to lowly servant! From God to Man! From glory to weakness and shame! The High King of heaven leaves His throne and enters into the earthly sphere as a human like us, and in this earthly sphere He suffers a shameful "death on a cross." All this reveals Christ's mindset not to use His exalted divine status for His own private advantage, but instead to leverage His infinite divine resources for the salvation of others.
How would God the Father answer His Son's humble, obedient, sacrificial service? With highest honors!
So Philippians 2:9-11 tells us about how God the Father exalted the God-Man Jesus Christ: "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) Christ “made himself nothing,” but the Father exalted Him above everything. Christ “[took] the form of a servant,” but the Father made Him Lord of all. Christ “humbled himself,” but the Father “highly exalted him.” Christ “made himself of no reputation” (Philippians 2:7 KJV), but the Father gave Him the highest reputation, the highest renown, the highest name. Jesus is Lord! Christ suffered a shameful death on the cross, but the Father gave Him “the name that is above every name.” Christ obeyed the Father “to the point of death,” but the Father’s message to the world is that everyone ought to worship and obey His faithful Son. "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" (Revelation 5:12 ESV)
Although Jesus is unique in His divine status, unique as the sin-bearer who died in our place on the cross, and unique in His exaltation as the Lord of glory, we are nevertheless called to be conformed to His humility-now-exaltation-later pattern (Philippians 2:5, 3:10-11). Like Jesus, we are to humble ourselves for the sake of lifting others up (Philippians 2:3-4); we are to lay down our lives for the good of others; and we are to wait patiently for the Father to lift us up to glory in the promised day of resurrection.
Therefore, let all of us resolve to walk with Jesus on the path of humble service, knowing that this is the path – the only path – that leads to everlasting glory.