Humility of Christ
Preached in Quabbin Valley on 9-14-08
Text: Hebrews 1
We looked last week at how Paul was speaking to the Philippians and wanting them to remember some very important things. To remember 1) they have encouragement in Christ, 2) comfort from love, 3) and fellowship in the Holy Spirit, and Paul says because this is true humble yourselves, think the something, and see others as more important than yourselves and the result will be unity.
We are going to continue this week in verse 5 through 11 and look at the example that Paul gives of humility. We are going to look at what Paul says about Jesus.
Paul says have this same mind in you that is in Christ Jesus, or is yours in Christ Jesus. Paul is going to tell us what that mind or attitude is.
The attitude that Jesus had is seen in Jesus’ statement in Mark 10:42-45:
ESV Mark 10:42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, "You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
That is the kind of attitude that they are to have, that is the kind of attitude that we are to have, a servant attitude, one of humility.
C.S. Lewis said:
“Do not imagine that if you met a really humble man he would be what most people call “humble” nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.”
I like that idea that a humble person will not be thinking of themselves at all. That is humility.
1) Being in Very nature, God
a. This passage very clearly teaches us that Jesus is the one true God, almighty God. Jesus is here said to have the same nature or substance as God. This is talking about his very being not that he looked like God or was godlike in some sense this is saying very clearly that Jesus was in the very form of God, had the nature of God from all eternity.
b. John 1:1 says a very similar thing.
i. ESV John 1:1 ¶ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
ii. ESV Colossians 1:19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
iii. This is very important that we realize what is being said here about Jesus otherwise we will miss the amazing truths that Paul is going to reveal to us about Christ.
2) Did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped
a. Although Jesus was God he didn’t hold onto that privilege that right, he didn’t grasp at keeping his right to be God but gave it up.
b. Turn to Genesis with me.
c. Genesis 3:1-7 ESV Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" 2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'" 4 But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.
d. Here we have an example of man looking and longing for a higher position than he had. Man wanting to be like God, to be God, grasping after that equality. Adam and Eve were not happy with their position even though they had dominion over the earth and the animals they wanted more and ended up sinning and death and hardship enters the world.
e. Now think about Jesus, the Word, God. He is God has that equality and is by nature God but unlike Adam He doesn’t hold onto that or grasp at it or cling to it He doesn’t think about His rights but looks to the lost the ones who can’t help themselves.
3) Made himself nothing
a. Instead of thinking about His rights he makes himself nothing and takes the form of a servant.
i. Jesus does not empty himself of his deity but he takes on human flesh, or he takes on the nature of humans as well as retaining his nature as deity.
1. Looking at the Gospel of John again we find a similar thing sated about Jesus.
2. John 1:14 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, He is saying the same thing that Paul said.
3. Paul says he took the form of a servant or he took the nature of a servant. This is the same word used before when he said that Jesus had the nature of God here he says he took on the nature of a servant.
4. Jesus did not just look outwardly like a servant he had taken upon himself the nature of a servant. The True God is not a self seeking egotistic maniac who looks to have others do his bidding. No, he is the God the only God who is a God of service or sacrifice, and love. Jim McGuiggan has a book out titled “The God of the towel”. That’s who God is.
5. John 13:3-5 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6. And Jesus went around and washed the feet of the disciples. Some of us may not want to do the dishes never mind wash someone’s feet.
4) He humbled himself by became obedient to death
a. You realize that Jesus gave his life us voluntarily. No one took his life from him he laid it down. In fact you will remember on many occasions the Pharisees and Sadducees tried to take him and he walked through their midst. He said that he could call down 12 legions of angels to come to his rescue if He wanted but he gave up his life for us.
i. John 10:17-18 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father."
ii. On the cross we read: John 19:30 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, "It is finished," and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
b. He humbled himself, no one humbled him, he did it of his own accord and he became obedient to death even the death of the cross.
c. To us removed approximately 2,000 years later these words may not have much impact but remember that being crucified was one of the worst ways to die.
i. The Jews saw crucifixion as being cursed by God.
ii. Deuteronomy 21:22-23 22 ¶ "And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance.
iii. Even in polite Roman circles you would never mention the word “cross” or “crucifixion”.
iv. Death on a cross was by far the worst most humiliating way to be put to death at that time. So Jesus not only was obedient to death he died on a cross.
v. The God of the universe humbled himself to become a human and to live among us and to die for us and that death was on a cross. Is there any other picture of humility that is greater than that? No way!
vi. It’s important that we recognize who Jesus is so we can have a proper understanding of what it means to have the attitude of Christ and to be humble.
5) God highly exalted him
a. Paul doesn’t stop there he goes on to show that God the father highly exalted him and gave him the name above every name.
b. Here we see that Jesus humbled himself and was exalted by the Father. The lesson for us is humble yourself and God will lift you up. We talked about this last week and this is a very important point. I can’t force you to be humble but you can chose to humble yourself and if you do God will exalt you. If you chose not to humble yourself God will humble you but the point is we all need to humble ourselves and the reason we humble ourselves is because we as Christ’s disciples are following Jesus.
c. One other important point we want to see here is that Paul once again is showing us that God is three persons in one. And how does he do that? He quotes Isaiah 45:23.
i. Isaiah 45:22-23 22 "Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. 23 By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: 'To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.'
d. Paul takes this quote from Isaiah which is spoken by Jehovah God about himself and Paul applies it to Jesus.
i. Philippians 2:10-11 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.
e. Jesus Christ is Jehovah to the glory of God the Father.
What does this have to do with us and how we are to be like Christ? If the God of the universe humbled himself and took on flesh, lived the sinless life for us and voluntarily gave that life up and died on a cross don’t you think we who do not have such a high place as God can take a baby step down and humble ourselves and serve others?
When we place things in their proper perspective God really isn’t asking that much from us to think of others as being more important than ourselves. God though you were more important than his rights.
As we enjoy the Supper with the crucified and risen Lord of the universe take this time to humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, take this time to make a change in your life and start think of others as more important than yourselves.