Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Gleanings in Philippians ~ The Song of Christ: Phil 2.5-11 (Part II)

Tuesday we started to outline this passage. There’s the exhortation to have this mind among yourselves: Humility. What’s that mind of humility look like? Christ, in His humiliation. What happens if we live like this? Exaltation! Glory! Joy! He wants us to experience the joy that God has intended for us, even in this fallen world, together in the congregation of God’s people. He says ‘You go the way of humility, and I’ll show you real joy.’ And should that surprise us? Today we’ll outline what Paul says about Christ’s exaltation and next week we’ll look more closely this passage, in greater detail.

III. Christ’s exaltation.
Paul asks, “what are the consequences of Christ’s humiliation and living with the mindset of Christ?

Paul is laying it down in front of you. He’s saying, ‘You want to know joy in this life? Go down. You want to know joy in this life? Go the way of humility. Go the way of the cross and it will lead to joy, glory, and exaltation!

And Paul in verses 9-11 is saying, ‘Let me show you what this looks like,’ and he tells you five things.

First, there is going to be hyper-exaltation of Jesus Christ. God is going to proclaim Him as above and before and over all. You remember Paul in Ephesians 1:10 tells you that the whole purpose of God’s grand work of redemption is that the whole of everything would be brought under the headship of Jesus Christ; and here Paul is picturing for you the day when that comes, when He is exalted above everything.

Secondly,you see the final coronation of Christ pointed to in verse 9.

There are two really amazing things going on here. One is we see here the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abram. Paul is saying here is that Jesus himself has fulfilled all of the obligations of the covenant of grace that God has made with Abraham, and God has given Him not only a great name, but the greatest name, so that He has fulfilled the purposes of God in the covenant of grace promised to Abraham eons ago.

But there’s another really interesting thing going on with that, as well, because every good Hebrew listening to this knew that God’s name is above every other name! Paul announces that Jesus has the name which is above every name, what is that but a testimony to the sheer divinity of Christ and His equality with the heavenly Father?

Thirdly, global adoration. So, not only hyper-exaltation and final coronation, but global adoration from sea to shining sea, “from earth’s wide bound to ocean’s farthest coast, through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,” so that “at the name of Jesus Christ, every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and under the earth.” That’s Paul’s way of saying there are no knees left that aren’t bowing to Jesus! Here Paul’s saying every knee is going to bow; every knee is going to confess, everyone is going to worship Jesus, because He’s God!

Fourthly, there’s universal confession that every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord, and that has Psalm 2:6-8 in its background. ‘Kiss the feet of My Son, lest His anger come upon you. Kiss, acknowledge, do homage to Him. Kiss His feet. Confess Him, because I am exalting Him above everyone.’ Paul says there will be an absolutely universal confession that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Fifth, paternal glorification. All that He does will be for the glory of His heavenly Father, and His enthronement, His exaltation, His being given the name which is above every name will only glorify His Father.

I want to close with two thoughts as we look to next week when we study this text in more detail.

First, this passage reminds us why truth is for life. Paul, when he wants to exhort you to be unified, to be humble, to be mutually helpful, he doesn’t tell a cute story, he tells you truth about Jesus! When he wants Christians to live in humility and unity and mutual helpfulness, he doesn’t call for a pep rally! He tells you truth about Jesus! And there are so many churches today that think that Christianity is a pep rally, but Paul is saying the gathering of the church is for God to speak truth into your lives.

But not only that; it’s not just that truth is for life. Notice this it’s that the biggest truth is for the simplest important practical thing in the Christian life.

Paul wants these Christians to get along. He wants them to be humble, united, selfless, and helpful. That’s the kind of stuff that you’re working on with your kindergarten age kids. So what kind of truth would be appropriate for that? Paul thought the pre-existence of Christ, the incarnation of the Son, the humiliation of the cross, the exaltation of Christ to the right hand of God fit the bill. Those are simple, practical truths to talk with them about this important, mundane thing that they’re supposed to do in their common everyday Christian life.

You see what Paul is doing, he is showing you the applicability of the profoundest truths of the Bible to everything you’re called to in the Christian life.

And so the Apostle Paul is not only teaching you that truth is for life, and that doctrine is for practice, he’s teaching you that the most profound truth in all the Scripture is the most practical thing that you could possibly consider, so that every truth of Scripture is designed for your everlasting good and for God’s glory.

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