FREED: to Humility | Philippians 2:3-11
Topic: New Testament Passage: Philippians 2:3–2:11
Christopher Rich – May 6, 2018
FREED | From Prison to Peace
Freed to Humility | Philippians 2:3-11
Introduction | Prison of Self
Good Morning Welcome to Damascus Road where we are Saved by Jesus Work, Changed by Jesus’ Grace, and Living on Jesus’s Mission. Today we’re continuing our series FREED: From Prison to Peace.
How do we see ourselves in relation to others? Do others exist to serve us? What do we think we deserve?
How do we think we’re entitled? Where does this sense of entitlement come from? How does that impact our thoughts and behavior? What is to be our motivation and ambition? Is ambition always bad? When we are in a prison of self and selfishness we can easily have our ambition and self-interests become preeminent in our lives. We begin to think more and more about ourselves and our circumstances and it never leads to greater contentment or joy. This only serves to reinforce the bars of our cell. In the Gospel we are set free from the prison of sin and ourselves. We’re freed from ourselves, for others, to be unified as citizens/family, etc. But what gets in the way of this? Because we don’t easily default to this. What example can we have to see how deep these concepts go? When we are freed from the prison of self, we are freed to unity with others, we are FREED to Humility. Humility for the purpose of stronger unity, greater glory and forever joy. Why don’t we do this? What hinders this unity? What keeps us from experience both greater peace and the fulfillment of pure ambition? We are to be a united community of saved sinners, who are broken and are (at different places) being Changed by Jesus’ Grace. Yet there are conflicts and we really just don’t trust other people. We don’t trust God who gave us the other people. In our mistrust we believe a lie that we are the best at taking care of ourselves and that if we aren’t looking out for our interest and significance no one else, even God, will. That we will not gain by caring for others but in fact will wholly lose if we walk in humility. We need to have the orientation of our lives changed for our sake.
PART I | FREED from Conceit | 2:3-4
Philippians 2:3-4 | 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Ambition is good. We were created by an ambitious God, who has Universe sized ambition in creating for His glory. Pursuit of glory is good. We can still have ambition, drive, desire, ambition is good, selfish ambition is not!! It fills us with conceit. Conceit is a pride… in self. The word Conceit is really an empty glory, that will always leave us feeling less secure because we know how inglorious we truly are on our own. When we forget we’re part of God’s kingdom we act citizens who think the kingdom is really about us, instead of Jesus and others we work against this unity and upset the order we are to consider and engage with others. There is an order, and it’s kindergarten simple but grad school difficult to pursue, it is as simple as Jesus first. Others Second, Yourself last. JOY. The opposite is what we typically do. YOJ. Yourself first, Others second, Jesus last. Jesus died for YOJ people for the purpose of reordering them to experience Joy. This is hard to think of others as more significant as us. But in Jesus we follow a God who went to the cross because he thought of us in that moment in that pain, in that opposition as more significant than himself. That in humility he would purchase a people who were/are prideful, who are conceited, who look out for our own interests and think we’re the most significant person in the universe. Get out of the prison of only looking out for and being concerned with only yourself. Oh, I’m not boastful, I’m not ambitious. I am humble and calm in fact I see myself as so small, I’m just insecure and self-conscious. It is still a focus on self. Don’t JUST look to your own interests (IN the gospel there is healthy self-denial, but there is also self-disconnection/distortion) You are individual. But you are never meant to only be an individual, you are meant to be one who is orientated and concerned with others. We can’t take care of ourselves as well as we think we can. We can believe that self-care is the only care we’re called to experience. We can be concerned with our own interests, but we we’re to also be concerned with the interests of others. This is so realistic more than idealistic. We can look out for the interests of others when we remember we have a God who is looking out for our interests better than we ever can. Because He knows what we need better than we do! God doesn’t say “don’t ever care about yourself” If you care about yourself, humble yourself. This IS your best interest and it rescues your selfish ambition and sets it free to be ambitious about things that truly matter. It sets free your insecurity to empower you towards a pursuit of a full lasting glory. CS Lewis said “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” We have to change our gaze to something greater. We have been given an example, and an imperative to have our focus change for the purpose of greater glory because we had our sin dealt with and we’ve had the fulfillment of this charge accomplished in our place. This is only a possibility because Jesus has done it for us. Let’s see!
PART II | FREED to Humility in Christ | 2:5-7
Philippians 2:5-7 | 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
We have been given the mind of Christ. That is a gift, to be led by the Spirit and by the truth. We can think like Jesus. We have been given the mind we need. We need to listen to this mind. To have the Mind of Christ is to have a new habitual way of thinking. Consider this. Consider what thoughts come into your head and ask yourself is this your mind or the mind of Christ. Our Identity is who we are and who we are changes what we do, but what we do is driven by what we think. So we actually have to consider how we think and how Jesus thinks. To see how Jesus thinks about the pursuit of Glory and how ambitious He saw His mission we can look at how what He thought led to what He did. We see how Jesus thinks by looking at the trajectory of Jesus engaging in Human History. Want to think like Jesus look to Him We look to Jesus as the author and perfecter of our faith. Because Jesus is our savior we can follow Him as our example. Jesus ambition for the restoration of His people and interests of lost sinners led to humility.
Jesus humility precipitated a significant status downgrade for the purposes of upgrading lost people like us. Jesus has great status because He for eternity has been, is, and will be God. God the Son, willingly downgraded to servant. We need a few moments to consider the depths of this down grade. this is no small shift like Major league down to AAA. It’s major league to little league loser’s towel boy. To talk about the fullness of the incarnation (God come as a man) is to understand how big that gap is. Jesus Christ is a man. And God. We screw this gap up or think to little of it because we have an overestimation of ourselves. We think we’re greater than we are. OR we think this gap is too small because we have an underestimation of God. We don’t think He is as great as He is. It’s not like walking down a step it’s like falling off a cliff downgrade. In this sequence we see Jesus go from throne of Heaven to cross of a criminal. Jesus is the Supreme being. Preeminent, Prince of Peace, King of Kings. Creator. Worthy of respect and honor. Jesus possessed and experienced Deity. Jesus is eternal. He is eternally entitled. Jesus God. He with God, fully God. Everything we know about God is true in Jesus. Jesus is preeminent, God is Big, Jesus is Big, God is eternal, Jesus is eternal, God is omnipotent, Jesus is omnipotent. Jesus did not strive to achieve this status, this power, it’s His. Jesus has every right to be entitled. Jesus in fact is the only one who is truly entitled because he is God, equal with God. He goes from Entitlement to emptying. How are you entitled? We want to be served when we should be serving. Jesus should be served and He comes as a servant. We count equality with God at thing to be grasped. Jesus is God is equal and He lets it go. We feel empty of glory and we try to fill ourselves. We wanted to be exalted and honored for who we are. If we don’t receive that we will work to honor ourselves. This is not the way of Jesus. Jesus IS glory and He emptied himself. His humility wasn’t just a state of mind. Humility is an action, he humbled himself.
Condescension for Empathy- Jesus mind says “for me to engage with these fallen people I need to condescend to them. Willingly being made less than. We do not “willingly allow ourselves to be made less than.” This is so hard for us, but yet Jesus was able to do it and He is GOD! Jesus serves people by becoming like them. Empathy. Presence. Fragility. Lives a life in “nearly” every stage. Jesus came down as a baby. There was some divine angelic announcements that were pretty rad, but it was in humility as a needy helpless baby. It was in humility that he grew through childhood, puberty, became a young man. Worked hard lived in obscurity. We want people to serve us by being more like us for others to change for our comfort. Jesus changes and serves us by becoming like us. This condescension should bring us great comfort. Jesus knows what it full means to be human. Our God knows our pain, our temptations, our struggles, our limits, what it means to be tired. Jesus dominates at humility.
Obedience for Redemption- Obedience is an action. Jesus humility included active obedience. Yes in living the life we should. Living as the perfect example of what it means to be human. Incarnation is so we can be more like him. HE became like us so we can be like him. He redeemed us so we can be freed think and act like him. Jesus is our example, only because He is our savior. He is our standard bearer because He has been our sin bearer. This happens through Jesus obedience to take our death on the Cross. In this we see a throne to human downgrade goes further to human to inhuman disgrace. From being fully human to fully humiliated. In Pride, we are disobedient to God thinking it will lead to more flourishing life. Jesus in humility, becomes obedient knowing it will lead to humiliating death. Jesus death wasn’t an accident, Jesus said no one can take my life only I can lay it down. He obediently laid it down, even after asking the Father if there is another way, let’s do that, but not my will but yours. This is humility leading to active obedience. Even his death was an occasion of humiliation. It was not a glorious death in the midst of battle leading a victorious army, or dignified death after a long life of accomplishment. It was disgraceful death, on a cross. For the Romans it was not even an honorable execution, a death fit for a king, or even a citizen of their empire, but only fit for a treasonous rebel or criminal of the lowest status. Surely for the people Jesus came to save it would be seen as noble. No, for Jews the cross (to be hung on a tree/wood) beaten bloodied body naked on display it was not a death for a blessed person but an accursed one Deut 21:23
It was a death for a purpose. It was not for selfish ambition or empty glory it was not for Jesus interests only but looking to the interests of others. It was a sacrifice in our place as our substitute. It was a death the produced the purchase of His people. A new people who are to be unified in humility and obedience.
Our humility and obedience to God is for the purpose of pointing other people to Jesus. WE look to Jesus on the Cross for encouragement God’s love for us! All of our Christian life is one of looking to Jesus. Looking to Him as our savior to keep us from condemnation, looking to Him as our example so we can live the life He has for us. WE look to Jesus for power in His resurrection so we can have new life now. AND looking ahead to him as the forever LORD for our HOPE and eternal life. Obedience leads to glory.
PART III | FREED to Glory | 2:9-11
Philippians | 2:9-11 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Therefore, because of Jesus being God, because of His mind and way of thinking, because of Him emptying himself taking the form of a man, Because of His obedience in our place taking our death for us on the cross. Jesus has been and will be exalted and glorified. So the answer for us to be able to look not only to ourselves and doing nothing from selfish ambition or for empty glory is for Jesus to be seen as glorious, as He truly is. To see Jesus humility as deep as it is in contrast between God and mad. For us to be able to look out for the interest to others is to see how Jesus looked out for our interest. We have to remember Jesus displaying Humility is not a permanent state. He traded the pursuit of Glory for humility for others and it lead to Exaltation. I will lay down my glory for the sake of life for others. AND I will be glorified too. Jesus humiliation was followed by exaltation. We’ve seen what has happened, this is what will happen. This is hopeful prophecy of what is true now (with rival god’s, lords competing for our attention/affection, being true forever with no completion. Nothing but Jesus is Lord.
We see Jesus’ path Jesus goes throne to humility, to cross but he also goes cross to glory to throne.
We’ve had a path of being humans, trying to grasp equality with God (not ours to grasp), and God rightly responding with just humiliation. We all want glory and are made to reflect glory but we go about it wrong. In sin we trade our name and status of Created children of God for the purist of Glory for ourselves that leads to humiliation. If we want glory we need to follow Jesus path. Humility is not our eternity when we are In Christ, glory is. But humiliation is our eternity if we are not In Christ.
The glory of Jesus will lead to a true confession of what will one day be undeniably evident, and everyone will make it. IT will lead to God’s glory and it will lead to joy for those who delight in Jesus as Lord. This is the true order and orientation the world has always been intended but has been wrong since the fall. Jesus will return, reorder, and set right. In the new heavens and new earth there are no more tears, no more suffering, no more sickness, no more sin, no more death, BECAUSE every kneed is bowing and tongue confessing Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father and joy of His people. Join His people!
Freed to follow Jesus as Lord. Demons know Jesus is lord and tremble. Saints know Jesus is Lord and rejoice. You don’t want to simply know Jesus is Lord and hate it or be impersonally indifferent. You can dislike Jesus being lord, but Everyone will bow to Jesus. Angels in heaven bow to Jesus and declare Him Lord. Demon’s and sinners V7nfAoBX
Jesus know Jesus is Lord and can confess it but they hate it. There is a level of distain and frustration at the realization that all your pride where you don’t think you need Jesus, you will bow but not out of loving compulsion (this is my LORD, this is my God, but out the compulsion that is forceful of having to ascend to something that is no longer deniable and realizing that you are on the wrong side of history and there is a condemnation. But when Jesus is not just “the LORD” but “my LORD’ there is no condemnation, there is joy and the Glory of God. You’ll confess before commendation or you’ll confess before coronation.
Jesus IS the most significant person in the universe and He came, died, and rose because He sees us as significant enough to save. He’s saved us to have great ambition, not for ourselves, but for His glory, we can actively pursue glory and interests of Jesus and others when we Trust Jesus.
More in FREED | From Prison to Peace | Philippians
June 24, 2018FREED: To Contentment | Philippians 4:10-23
June 17, 2018FREED: To Peace in Conflict | Philippians 4:2-9
June 10, 2018FREED: to Present Maturity and Future Glory | Philippians 3:17-4:1