INTRO: WISHING FOR PASCAL’S BRAIN
Blaise Pascal was a philosopher, mathematician, scientist and theologian. Yet he was incredibly humble. Someone once approached Blaise Pascal, the famous French philosopher and said, “If I had your brains, I would be a better person.” Pascal replied, “Be a better person and you will have my brains.”
The key was that Christ reigned on the throne of the universe, and the throne of his heart. [TAKEN FROM SERMON CENTRAL].
The chief theme of Philippians is Paul’s admonishment to us to have Christ on the throne of our hearts. Paul wants to encourage the Philippians to live out their lives as citizens of a heavenly colony, as evidenced by a growing commitment to service to God and to one another. The way of life that Paul encourages was manifested uniquely in Jesus Christ; it was also evident in the lives of Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus.
Philippians 2:1-11 (NLT) 2 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests but take an interest in others, too.5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. 9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Let’s look at Philippians 2 verses 2-5 again: 2 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. 3 don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Paul had been beaten and imprisoned, and yet his concern was for the churches he established. Paul’s concern was never for himself. He encouraged the Philippian believers to look out for each other, and place each other above themselves. This city is known today as Kavalla, Greece. But in Paul’s time, it became a Roman colony, i.e. a settlement for veteran Roman soldiers who possessed the rights of self-government under Roman laws and freedom from taxes. So I’m sure the town took great pride in being a Roman colony, and probably had the attitudes to go along with that. But Paul sharply contrasts the Roman pride of the city.
Look at Paul’s attitude here. He says to value others more than ourselves. That means even when we are down in the dumps ourselves. Christ maintained an attitude of humility and gratitude. He humbled himself to the point of coming down to earth 2,000 years ago and becoming one of us. He’s our undercover boss.
Your attitude makes a difference
You might be saying, well preacher, I’ve heard this before. But again, look at how the Apostle Paul and how Christ Jesus suffered. Ask yourself if someone crucified your son or your daughter, and they went to prison for it, and you had it in your power to free them from prison, even though they fully deserved prison, which is what hell is, would you do it? Christ Jesus prayed for the Father to forgive these people, even though they fully deserved God’s wrath for crucifying the Him. Yours and my perspective on life, and our attitude about our situations makes all the difference.
Well, 2,000 years ago, our boss went undercover, deep cover, as a carpenter. Our boss went undercover and made himself nothing and became a servant. He went undercover and made himself nothing so he could sneak into the prison of sin and frailty of human existence so that he could rescue those already in jail, that is, you and I. This is known as the Incarnation, not re-incarnation over and over, but the Incarnation.
Let’s check out verse 6….
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!
It’s funny, but Jesus Christ never questioned who he was. The Apostle Paul never questioned who Jesus was, once he converted from Judaism to Christianity. Now when we say that Jesus is the Son of God, it’s because he called God, “my Father.” But this doesn’t mean that Christ was less God, or less powerful than the Father.
The Bible is vague about the how and why of the godly nature and human nature that are unified in Christ, so what we have to do is trust in the mystery of God, and understand that somehow, Christ was still fully God, and yet made himself nothing. The passage speaks of Christ “making himself nothing,” or ”emptying himself.” The Greek word for this is kenosis. The question is what did Jesus empty Himself of when He came to earth?
Jesus Emptied Himself In Three Ways
Jesus emptied Himself in at least three different ways. First, He voluntarily accepted the limitations of being a human being. Second, His glory was hidden from the people. Third, He gave up the independent use of His relative attributes (all-knowing, all-powerful, everywhere present, etc.).
And yet, Christ was able to fully identify with us as human beings. He was able to experience every human emotion, and every human temptation, yet still not sin. Such a divine mystery should compel us all to surrender! Remember, it was God’s will for Christ to be crucified. But if Christ would’ve just tried to start a rebellion and was killed when the Father’s will was for Him to do something else, his sacrifice would’ve been in vain. If we sacrifice just for the sake of sacrificing, we are wasting our time.
Obedience is better than sacrifice
You know…I believe the battle for our souls was won in the Garden of Gethsemane. What do I mean? I’m not saying that Christ actually paid for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane; Christ paid for our sins on the cross. The Church of Latter-Day Saints believe that the drops of blood that Jesus said in his final prayer was what paid for sin, and that Christ just died horribly on the cross just as an example to prove his courage, but there was no real salvation or effectiveness in the cross. We know of course that this is false teaching, because all of the Old Testament teaches that sin was so serious that animals were not just beaten, but were killed for the sins of the people. Imagine the worst crime you have ever heard of, and multiply that crime 1,000 times 1,000 thousands. Imagine God’s limitless anger over sin, imagine his limitless fury, imagine his limitless wrath. And yet, we also see patience multiplied one billion times over on the cross. We see limitless love, limitless grace, limitless mercy, and limitless forgiveness on the cross as well. What Jesus was asking was,” Father, if there is any other way, any other possible way, please, please, show me the path! Is there any other way, Father? If there isn’t then let your will be done.”
So then, obedience, and simply letting God accomplish his will in our lives is the greatest offering, the greatest sacrifice we can give God. Now, we will see the rewards of obedience. Just as God exalted Christ, he was also exalted us, and promises that we will spend eternity with Christ in the heavenly realms! Next verses:
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.
The glory of God is what matters in this world. Kevin DeYoung He says, Kabod is the Hebrew word for glory; it literally means “weight.” The glory of God is the weight of all that God is, the fullness of his understanding, virtue, and happiness, as Jonathan Edwards put it. So the reason why we do the things listed in Philippians to is so that it will bring God glory, that is, point people to God, so they can be saved.
No matter who you are, we all will acknowledge that Jesus is Lord
We glorify God when we throw a spotlight on how great God is. To glorify God is to make much of him–as a mother makes much of her daughter when she fusses and frets over her. To glorify God is to magnify the greatness of his character–not as a microscope magnifies by making small objects look large, but as a telescope magnifies by giving us a glimpse of things that are unimaginably big. To glorify God is to honor his worth– Just like you honor your spouse or your children by honoring their worth, and you do this by investing in them, and making their interests more important than your own, or investing in what they enjoy, their will, their desires, etc. And in doing so, we will reflect God’s glory and project that glory onto the earth, and every knee will be compelled to bow to the Lord Jesus, and confess Him as Lord, and as the Son of God, to the glory of God the Father.
Now if there is someone here who does not follow Jesus Christ, please understand that right now, the Bible calls you an enemy of God. But you don’t have to remain his enemy. Your sins have separated you from a Holy God, just like my sins separated me from a Holy God. However, once I acknowledged and confessed to God the fact that I was a sinner in need of His grace and forgiveness, God forgave me and I became a disciple of His Son Jesus Christ. You can become a Christian today. After I close, I will be available at this altar. We have Bibles here, and tracts to help you on the beginning of this journey. So please, don’t wait anymore; you don’t know how much time you have left. If you died today, would you wake up in heaven, or would you wake up in hell, separated from a holy God for all eternity? Don’t take that chance; make that most important decision today. AMEN!
So in conclusion, let us magnify the Lord with our humility. Let’s look around at each other. Let’s put Neighborhood Okinawa, and the Korean Assemblies of God and other believers as well as non-believers at the beginning of our prayer time this week. Let’s meditate on what God is calling us to be obedient to. What is he asking you to do, and asking me to do that in our own hearts, we don’t necessarily “want” to do, but we know to be right? I would encourage you to surrender that seat on that stool because Christ will win in the end anyway. If our boss has gone undercover for us, surely, we can pursue his glory. AMEN!