Series: The Things Jesus TOOK!
The Lordship: The Supremacy of Sovereignty
Philippians 2: 5-11
An anonymous author gave us a glorious description of the Lord Jesus Christ, when he wrote:
"More than 2000 years ago, there was a man born contrary to the laws of life. This man lived in poverty and was reared in obscurity. Only once did He cross the boundary of the country in which he lived; that was during his exile in childhood. In infancy, he startled the king; in childhood, he puzzled the doctors; in manhood, he ruled the course of nature, walked upon the billows as if on pavement, and hushed the sea to sleep. He never wrote a book, and yet all of the libraries of the world could not hold all the books that have written about Him.
He never wrote a song, and yet He has furnished the theme for more songs than all the songwriters combined. He never founded a college, but all the schools put together cannot boast of having as many students. Though time has spread many years between the people of this generation and the scene of the crucifixion; yet, He still lives. Herod could not destroy Him and the grave could not hold Him. He stands forth as the highest pinnacle of Heavenly glory, proclaimed by God, acknowledged by angels, adored by saints, and feared by devils as the living, personal Christ; our Lord, our Savior and our God!"
As we conclude our study of the things Jesus took, we come to one of the greatest passages of Scripture ever penned.
We have considered how Jesus "took a child," and used a lad to define the secret of success. We saw how Jesus "took the loaves," and it was the lunch that illustrated the source of sufficiency. He "took a towel" and let that piece of linen teach us about the standard of sanctification. He "took the bread/cup" which represented His life and the sacrifice of surrender.
In Philippians 2 we see the final thing Jesus "took" presenting to us His Lordship, and the supremacy of sovereignty.
Verse 7 tells us that He “took upon him the form of a servant."
On December 11, 1936, King Edward VIII abdicated his throne because of his love for Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee. As King, he was also head of the Church of England, which unequivocally prohibited remarriage after divorce. However, so adamant was King Edward VIII in his desire to marry Ms. Simpson, he immediately and willingly stepped down from his throne.
In the great text before us we read of how the Lord Jesus, because of His love for you and me, abdicated His Heavenly throne. He came to dwell with man and to die for man. He gave up Heaven's throne for Calvary's tree.
In this passage, the apostle Paul is telling us about taking the form of a servant, and in that description, we see
1. Jesus: The ETERNAL SON!
In verse 6, Paul depicts the Lord Jesus Christ as the everlasting and eternal Son of God. In fact, the entire thrust of Paul's statement focuses upon the deity of Christ.
The word "form" that is used speaks of "one's essential form." When we use the word "form" we often think of the shape of something. However, this word, "form," speaks of the nature of something.
It is a word that speaks of the essence of Christ and His divine nature. In other words, when Paul spoke of Jesus "being in the form of God," he was declaring that He was and is God.
This statement is very much akin to John’s declaration that
"In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1: 1)
No one knew what God looked like until Jesus showed up. As Jesus told His disciples, "If ye have seen me, ye have seen the Father." He was saying, "I am, have always been, and will always be essentially God."
Notice also the word, “equal”
“. . . did not consider it robbery to be equal with God."
If Jesus is essentially God, He must also be equally God. The word "equal" literally means, "to be on par with." Therefore, Jesus was "on par with" God. He is not like God, He is God. He is essentially God, and He is equally God.
There are those that claim that we, who believe in the Trinity, are worshipping 3 Gods. They reason that 1 + 1+ 1 = 3. I would say that their math is right, but their using the wrong operation, therefore their theology is wrong.
They’re using addition when they ought to be using multiplication. It is not 1 + 1 + 1 = 3; it is 1 x 1 x 1 = 1. God has expressed Himself in 3 distinct persons; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; yet, each one is essentially and equally the same. Because Jesus is essentially God, equally God and He is
The word "being," in verse 6, literally means, "Under beginning." It denotes prior existence. At the time Paul penned these words, Jesus was already essentially and equally God. He did not begin to be God at a certain point, or place in time. He was God at eternity past. He is God in eternity present. He will be God in eternity future.
It was for this very claim that Jesus was crucified. The Jews believed in God. IN fact, they believed there is only one God. One God, Jehovah, was the premise of the Torah.
However, when Jesus came proclaiming to be essentially God, equally God, and eternally God, He was accused of blasphemy, and condemned to die the death of the Cross.
There has always been, and will always be those who doubt and deny the deity of Christ. Yet, the Lord Jesus continues to remain essentially God, equally God and eternally God. Jesus Christ is the Eternal Son of the Living God!
2. Jesus: The EARTHLY SERVANT!
Paul continues His theme by reminding us that He who is essentially, equally and eternally God became a man. He who was the eternal Son became the earthly servant. Notice how he describes that act:
There is the word that has been our focus. Jesus “took” the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men."
The eternal Son became the earthly servant. He who was in the "form of God" took upon Himself the "form of man." The Son of God became the Son of Man. He that in eternity was without a Heavenly mother came to earth as a Son without an earthly father. In other words, God, in the person of His Son, Jesus, wrapped Himself up in the package of human flesh, and became a man.
The word "likeness" speaks of that which resembles, or is like something else. In other words, Jesus took upon Himself the nature of the human race that was condemned. Why did Jesus take upon Himself the likeness of man? This is the glorious, yet mysterious doctrine of the Incarnation.
It was not so much that He descended, but that He TRANSCENDED! The sinless Savior came down to this sinful world to live a sinless life to die for sinful men. He became a man so that He might die as a man, and be the substitute sacrifice for man.
I once read of a president of a great railroad company who died. His funeral procession was amassed of a long line of plain-clothed workers who marched behind the casket on their way to the cemetery. As they marched behind, one of the workers carried a sign which read, "He Was One of Us!"
Jesus was one of us. He left the Heavenly to become the earthly. He who was God became a man. He who possessed the life of God "took upon Himself" the personality of the life of man.
Now don’t lose sight of this: In order for Jesus to become a man, He had to temporarily abandon what He was in heaven.
One ht one hand, in the likeness Jesus assumed, we see what He took. But, in the life Jesus abandoned, we see what He THOUGHT.
That is a most interesting statement. The word "robbery" is a Greek word that speaks of "a treasure to be clutched, or held onto at all costs."
One commentator translates the phrase:
"Who....did not consider the fact of being equal to God a prize to be selfishly grasped."
The word "thought" looks at a logical time in eternity past when Jesus made a decisive resolution that all He had in Heaven was not something to be held onto, clutched or grasped.
Rather, He looked at the case of the human race that was condemned by sin, and He saw that the sinner was in desperate need of a Savior. Thus, He looked at the case, weighed all the facts, and "thought," or came to the conclusion that He would "take upon Himself" the "form of a servant" and "be made in the likeness of man."
That is more deeply explained in verse 7
The word literally means, "To empty." The case of man's depravity demanded that the Lord Jesus, the Lord of Glory empty Himself, and make Himself of "no reputation," or become like us.
That reminds me of Isaiah 53: 2-3, 8-9
If I could put it in language we all understand, the earthly appearance of Jesus was not anything flashy. He was not a runway model, or a candidate for People magazine's sexiest man of the year.
Do not be misled to believe that when Jesus made Himself of "no reputation" and emptied Himself that He ceased to be God. He did not empty Himself of His deity to assume humanity. He did not become a man and cease to be God. He was God who became a man.
He was fully God and fully man. He was as much God as though He were not a man; and, He was as much man as though He were not God. He was not all God and no man. He was not all man and no God. He was not half-God and half-man. He was fully God, and yet, fully man. He was the God-Man!
He who was essentially God, equally God and eternally God laid aside what was rightfully His. He did not cling to His deity, though it belonged to Him; but, He veiled Himself in human flesh, made himself of "no reputation" and became a man. What an amazing truth!
Why was He, who was God, willing to become a man? Again, He laid aside His glory to assume identification with man that He might die as a man for man. This was the only solution for the case of man's depravity. Jesus had to become a man to die as a man for a man.
I think of an incident told by D. L. Moody during the days when the gold fever swept California. A man went west, leaving his wife and son in New England. Soon, however, he struck it rich in gold and sent for his family. The wife's heart leaped for joy, and she took her son to New York to board a steamer headed for San Francisco.
The ship had only been at sea a few hours when the dreadful cry, "Fire! Fire" rang through the bows of the ship. Lifeboats were launched, but they proved to be too small, too few and quickly overcrowded. As the last boat pushed away, the mother pleaded with the boatman to take her and her son. The boatman replied, "No, I dare not take another." But, she continued to plead, and finally the boatman agreed to take only one of them. The mother did not leap into the boat, but seized her son, gave him one last hug and dropped him into the boat with these parting words, "My son, if you live to see your father, tell him that I died in your place!"
Friend, the eternal Son of God became one of us so that He might die for us. He "humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." As R. G. Lee said:
He became the Son of Man that we might become the children of God.
He became sin that we might be made the righteousness of God.
He became exceedingly sorrowful that we might have "joy unspeakable and full of glory."
He became poor that we might become rich.
He became a partaker of our human nature that we might become partakers of His divine nature.
He became weary that we might have rest.
He was born in a manger that we might live in a mansion.
He was homeless that we might have eternal habitations.
He was condemned for us that we might be justified.
He became a servant that we might become kings and priest with God.
He bore our chastisement that we might have peace with God.
He was wounded for our transgression that we might be forgiven.
He bore our stripes that we might be healed.
He was stripped that we might be clothed.
He was cut off that we might be brought nigh.
He was made a curse that we might receive the blessing.
He was forsaken that we might never be forsaken.
He died that we might live.
He entered the realm of darkness that we might dwell in the Kingdom of Light.
He was silent that we might speak.
He was humbled that we might be exalted.
He was rejected that we might be accepted.
He became like us that we might become like Him.
What was it that Jesus "took?" He "took" the personality of man that He might take the place of man. He "took" the likeness of man that He might become the Life for man. He who was the eternal Son became the earthly servant. He came down to be like us, so that we could go up to be like Him.
Lastly we see
3. Jesus: The EXALTED SAVIOR!
Jesus came to die. The eternal Son became the earthly servant to die a vicious death. He became man to die for man. Thus, from the shadows of Golgotha's hill we hear His cry, "It Is Finished!"
But, although it was finished, IT WASN'T OVER.
Every time I read those verses I want to take my shoes, run around, shouting to the top of my voice, "He's Alive! He's still God! He's still on the throne! He rules and reigns forevermore, and of His kingdom there shall be no end!" He is not hanging on a cross, He's wearing a crown. He is not lying in a tomb, bless His name, He's sitting on a throne!
The words "highly exalted" literally mean, "To elevate above others; to exalt to the highest rank." The words are actually a double superlative. In other words, Jesus has been exalted to the highest, most superlative degree. He is unmatched. He is unchallenged. He is unequaled.
God has "highly exalted" Him, and, in the process, He has given Him a "name which is above every name." "A name" is literally rendered, "THE NAME!" It is actually a title which denotes office, rank, position and dignity.
The name "Jesus" was a common name in Bible times. It was as common as Joe, Jeff, or Sam, or Steve. But, when God "highly exalted" Him, He gave Him THE NAME! He elevated the name of Jesus to the point that it could never be confused with others. He placed Him in a class all to Himself.
If one were to trace history, they would be able to match all of the great names of world history with one or more that is equally as great. We could talk about Homer, but we would need also to mention Virgil.
We could mention Dante, but in fairness we should include Milton.
Who would deny the genius of Tennyson, with his "Crossing the Bar"? But, along side him is Longfellow with his "Psalm of Life." Among the great preachers of history one thinks of John Wesley, George Whitfield and Jonathan Edwards. But, they are matched with C. H. Spurgeon, Joseph Parker and D.L. Moody.
But, ladies and gentlemen, when you mention the name, JESUS, there is not one to stand beside Him. Who will you mention? Muhammad? He lies lifeless in a grave. Buddha? Dead for hundreds of years! Confucius? Dead forever
Jesus stands alone in a class all to Himself. He is forever the great unlike!
He is the Advocate, the Almighty, the Anointed, the Author and the Amen!
He is the Beloved, the Branch, the Bread, the Bridegroom and the Blessed!
He is the Cornerstone, the Covenant, the Captain of our salvation and the Christ.
He is the Dayspring, the Door, the Deliverer and the Desire of all nations.
He is the Elect, and Emmanuel.
He is the Firstborn, the Faithful Witness, the Fountain and the Foundation.
He is the Gift, the Glory, the Governor and the God!
He is the Head, the High Priest, the Hope, and the Horn of Salvation!
He is the "I Am!"
He is the Judge, the Just and Jesus!
He is the King of all Kings.
He is the Lamb, the Life, the Light, the Lion and the Lord!
He is the Master, the Mediator, the Messiah and the Morning Star!
He is the Offspring of David, and the Only Begotten!
He is the Passover, the Physician, the Plant of Renown, the Power of God, the Prince and the Prophet!
He is the Rabbi, the Redeemer, the Righteous Judge, the Rock, the Root, the Rose, the Ruler and the Resurrection!
He is the Sanctification, the Sceptre, the Seed, the Servant, the Son, the Star, the Stone, the Surety, and the Savior!
He is the Teacher and the Truth!
He is the Way, the Wisdom, the Witness, the Wonderful and the Word!
Stepping down from His throne, He "took upon Himself the form of a servant" and submitted to the shame and death of the cross. But, now lifted to loftiest heights, He is enthroned highest among the high, mightiest among the mighty, greatest among the great and holiest among the holy!
There is coming a day when all of creation shall bow at His feet. "Things in Heaven" will bow at the name of Jesus. Angels, archangels, cherubim and seraphim will adore Him.
"Things in earth" will bow at the name of Jesus. Every man, woman, boy and girl will bow at His feet. All of humanity will adore Him. "Things under the earth" will bow at the name of Jesus. Every demon and even the devil himself will bow and worship the name of Jesus.
The first time He came He was laid on a Roman tree. The next time He comes He will occupy a Heavenly throne. The first time He came they spat upon Him. The next time He comes He will smite the nations. The first time He came to be crucified. The next time He will come to be crowned.
One day, after the final Battle has been fought, He will come again. At that moment every king, every queen, every dictator, every prime minister, every potentate, every czar, every president, every skeptic, every scoffer, every atheist, every agnostic, every infidel, every liberal, every God-hater, and every Christ rejecter will bow their knee and publicly confess He is the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords."
Yes, there is coming a day when Madelyn Murray O'Hara will bow the knee. Mussolini will bow the knee. Stalin will bow the knee. Hitler will bow the knee. Fidel Castrol will bow the knee. Saddam Hussein will bow the knee. Obama, Osama, and Chelsea's mama will bow the knee.
Every Buddhist, Confucianist, and Muslim will bow the knee. Every member of Al Qaeda will bow the knee. Every Dali Lama will bow the knee. Every Jew will bow the knee. Every Gentile will bow the knee. Every knee in Jerusalem will bow. Every knee in Mecca will bow. Every knee in Communist China will bow.
Every seraphim will bow the knee. Every cherubim will bow the knee. Every angel will bow the knee. Every demon will bow the knee. The devil himself will bow the knee and publicly confess that Jesus Christ is "King of Kings and Lord of Lords."
S. D. Gordon tells the story of an old shore-man. He was a wicked, ungodly man who had absolutely no interest in spiritual things. He worked off shore for months at a time, and would come home on occasion. Once, when he came home, he was home for only a couple of days. One day, while he was resting, he suddenly heard some singing off in the distance. He discovered that the singing was coming from a tent meeting down the street.
He was infuriated and yelled to his wife, "I'm going to go bust up that meeting. I didn't come home to hear all that religious stuff." And, before his wife could say anything, he was out the door, on his way to bust up that tent meeting.
As he walked into the tent, with every intention of stopping the meeting, someone recognized him and greeted him. The man was so excited to see the old shore-man that he invited him to come and sit with him during the service. The shore-man was so surprised that before he knew it, he was sitting in the meeting he had gone to bust up.
When the invitation was given, the very first person to the altar that night was that old, ungodly shore-man. And, there in the very meeting he went to bust up; he gave his heart to Jesus Christ, and was saved.
When he got home, he ran in the door shouting, "Ma, come on down. Come on down, and bring ‘Lassie' with you. We're going to have prayers tonight." Immediately, his wife thought he was drunk again, but when she came down, she saw a different man. They all knelt in the floor to pray.
However, the man suddenly realized that he didn't even know how to pray. The only prayer he had ever prayed was the prayer of salvation he had just prayed moments before. He didn't how to pray or what to say.
About that time, he remembered a time when the Queen visited their little town. And, as so, when the Queen passed by, all of the people took off their hats, twirled them in the air and shouted, "Hurray for the Queen! Hurray for the Queen!" So, there, kneeled down in the middle of their living room floor, the old shore man, not knowing what else to pray, took off his hat, twirled it in the air and shouted, "Hurray for Jesus! Hurray for Jesus!"
One day, He who was the eternal Son, and became the earthly servant will be the exalted Savior. The Risen Christ will be the Revered Christ, and will be crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I say with John Rippon:
Let every kindred, every tribe
On this terrestial ball.
To Him all majesty ascribe,
And, crown Him Lord of all!
Seeing that He left Heaven's glory for you, came to earth for you, died on a cross for you, and rose again for you, why would you not bow your knee and confess that He is Lord? You will do it one day, why not make it today?