With many things there are usually at least 2 competing camps of thought and certainly our text today is no different.
One camp says that our passage today should be thought of as a hymn or at least a proclamation of the gospel (kerygma) and the other insists our passage should be read as a lesson in ethics.
My big idea for today is that we would hear the Word of the Lord and understand it as both ethical, kerygmatic/proclamation focused, and experience that word with joy and praise in our hearts. My prayer today is that by hearing this message that together, we would come one step closer to unity as the body of Christ, as well as, unified in the mind of Christ. If you have your Bibles today you can join me in Philippians chapter 2, Starting with verse 5
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:5-11
In order to help me share with you today, I have separated my thoughts into 2 sections or points. As we explore these differing thoughts, the first will be…
The Ethical View
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Those who support the ethical view would suggest that Paul is using the example of Christ as a model for the Philippians to follow. Seems reasonable right? After all, Christ demonstrated an attitude obedience, humility, and self-sacrifice. This is a great example for the Philippians.Philippians 2:5-8
If we take on the same mindset as Christ, we would be unified in Him and each other. Just as Christ whose very nature was God did not think it was to be used to his advantage. Because it would not be of use to you and me. He emptied Himself, became nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant man. He goes from equality with God. And becomes the lowest level of human status. Christ Jesus demonstrates obedience to His Father/God, He humbles Himself, and begins to reveal Himself as Self-sacrificing.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!Philippians 2:8
He becomes obedient to a death only fit for a slave. At this point it becomes really important for us to see Christ as fully God and fully human at the same time. Here’s why…
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,Colossians 2:9
And yet He suffered, He suffered a death that most people of His day did not discuss. They saw it as so brutal and disgusting that it was thought to be in poor taste to even bring it up. Fully God And fully human.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.Hebrews 4:14-16
Here is where everything ties in.
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:9-11
With Christ as our example, we can expect that because we possess the same spirit that raised Christ from the grave that we too will be in unity with Christ and sharing His inheritance.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,Ephesians 2:6
If we are found faithful in Christ Jesus: obedient, humble, self-sacrificing we will find the mercy and grace of the one who bears the name that is above every name. Through His sovereignty we will find help in our shortcomings and God our Father will work within us to ensure our faithfulness. And at that day we will be found pure and blameless, filled with the fruit of righteousness. There we will receive the prize of eternal life in the presence of God.
I’ll move on to my next point/competing thought.
While the ethical view is significant, there is more to be had. The Kerygmatic view tends to see this passage as a hymn that recounts the transitions of Christ through his incarnation, death, and His exaltation. This is important because if we are open to see this angle, we are not just given an ethics lesson be we are reminded of our position in Christ and our identity as sons and daughters, adopted into the family of God. In this position “in Christ” obedience is the appropriate posture. In light of these things, the idea of taking this passage as a hymn becomes more tempting, because the joy of summarizing the gospel in the praise of a hymn just seems to feel right.
These proclamations bring hope to those who are weary, and they encourage those to Continue to seek Christ. Many of these Philippians where slaves themselves and needed a sort of creed at this point to help them push forward in the faith. It also helped people learn to articulate the reasons for their faith.
In most cases, Paul does not pull Christian ethics from the example of Christ’s life, rather from the participation of the believer in Christ’s death and resurrection and from the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. In tough times, times of isolation, and times of persecution It is import that we remain unified and encouraged. Reminded of our faith and in whom we believe.
who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.Philippians 3:21
Even as we choose a side as to which viewpoint seems more probable, the enemy is at work to bring division in the church. I will tell you that I’m convinced that in most things there are 2 sides. A natural side/explanation, and a spiritual side/explanation. One that is a reality and one that is perhaps prophetic. I’m also convinced that this passage fits into this framework. In this case, most agree that Paul’s intention was to bring about a form of Christian ethics, it does not negate the function of Joy and encouragement that is present when we are reminded of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Will you join me as we seek an authentic relationship united in Christ and each other? Rejecting division, embracing God’s reality in Jesus, and encouraging one another. It’s just between you and God. Here’s the thing, If we love God and abide in Christ we will find ourselves more and more loving each other. You will we more and you will love better. We will experience God in spirit and in truth and we will share that among each other. Share all the ways God has shown you mercy and grace. Will you allow the Holy Spirit to stir faith in someone through your testimony?
Would you join me as the Holy Spirit moves on us to be unified in the spirit of Christ? These are the kingdom values. This is truly the work of God. The intentional actions of the body of Christ. Remember the devil seeks only to kill steal and destroy. Steal your freedom, kill your joy, and destroy your destiny for hope and love. But God has a plan! He’s stealing from your neighbor, your family, and your loved ones today.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
Jesus, He’s the Son of the living God, and we can receive from Him today His Righteousness, His purpose and His calling. Will you call on him today? Your salvation/forgiveness is just one prayer away. Will you trust in his ability to do what He said He would do? Will you believe today? Many of you need a fresh touch from God today. Is there some form of unbelief or a fracture of trust as it relates to God in your life today? God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life? He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today.
You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today. There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior …It’s not too late
It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today. Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me? Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here.
Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life.
If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me.
Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.
“‘The Lord bless youNumbers 6:24-26
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’