INTRO: In a classroom a teacher may lecture on certain procedures for hours, have principles of the procedures fixed in the minds of the students and still have a class full of students who have not the vaguest notion of how to actually use the procedures in practice. So one of the students might say, Can you show us how its done? or Can you give us an example? With the example all of the teaching becomes very practicable. Paul has appealed for unity; he has specified the areas in which unity is so needed; he has given the personal qualities necessary to unity. Now he gives the example Christ Jesus Our Example to Follow in a disposition which will promote unity.
I. THE MIND OF CHRIST IN US (2:5)
A. What might the mind of Christ mean?
1. 1 Cor 2:16 the teachings of Christ (Col 3:16)
2. 1 Pet 4:1 the example of determination, obedience
3. Phil 2:5 the attitude of humility ... as the context goes on to show
B. His mind must be in us
1. not just in some sterile, academic form
2. it must dominate us in practice
3. 1 Thes 2:13 with Phil 2:13 Christs mind - in His teachings, example and attitude - must be working in us to effect change and a practical life
II. HOW JESUS EXEMPLIFIES HUMILITY?
A. We must begin with fact of His Deity (2:6)
1. Paul describes Jesus in preincarnate state
2. being unalterable, innate, unchanging characteristic
3. form nature of, essence
4. Jesus, then, is unalterable deity/Divine equal with God
B. His preincarnate state was not jealously grasped! robbery - the idea of jealously grasping or clinging to
1. 2 Cor 8:9 seems to explain what is happening
2. rich is descriptive of that preincarnate state
3. Christ was with Jehovah in creation, etc. -- Col 1:16,17
4. but Jesus did not snatch or clutch at this richness as His right to exclusion of interest in others ... this is a key fact in understanding humility
C. He emptied himself (2:7a A.S.V.)
1. put His position, interests after those of others
2. did not have to He chose to ... Jno 10:17,18
3. this was the emphasis of Phil 2:3,4
4. it was not (and is not) the expression of weakness to be humble - humility is a characteristic of strength!
D. Now to what did Jesus empty himself?
1. to servanthood (2:7b) He had been the Served in His heavenly state; now, He chooses in humility to serve others (Lk 22:24-27)
2. to manhood (2:7c) He had created man; now, He chooses to take upon Him the form of sinful flesh (Rom 8:3) with all of its limitations, temptations, etc. how else, though could we have beheld his glory? (cf Jno 1:14)
3. to death (2:8b) He over whom death could have had no power
now chooses an existence requiring death (could not escape it as had Enoch or Elijah)
4. to death of the cross (2:8c) not just to die ... but to die the most painful, shameful death of His world but there was a point to it all (1 Pet 2:24a)
5. little wonder that Paul refers to all of this as Christs becoming poor!
E. This disposition must exist if unity is to prevail
1. we must be willing to make our legitimate rights at times secondary to the needs of others
2. the issue often is Do we want to follow the lead of Christ? ... not an issue of ignorance
3. until we do, we face attitudes which will make unity among brethren an elusive goal
CLOSE: Jesus has led where we must follow. He does not ask the impossible of us. He does ask that we equip ourselves with His attitudes so that we can succeed in our lives as Christians.
Cecil A. Hutson
05 March 2000
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)