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Advent 2000 -4- The Wonder of His Love

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Reading: Philippians 2:1-11

6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Philippians 2:6-7 (NIV)

I.   Jesus reverses Eden

     A.  The temptation You will be like God

           1.  In Eden we were tempted to become gods

                 a.  We were free to enjoy all of the creation, except one tree.

                 b.  The serpent tempted us to doubt God’s intentions toward us.

                 c.  He tempted us to become God-like

           2.  We forgot we were in God’s image

                 a.  We are already in God’s image!

                 b.  How often are we dissatisfied with what we have, wishing we had more

           3.  We still want to be our own God

                 a.  We don’t want to submit.

                 b.  We want to be our own masters

                 c.  We pretend, or act as if we are the most important people in the universe

     B.  Jesus willingly lets go of Divinity

           1.  Though he was by nature God

                 a.  Everything was created through Him

                 b.  He was with God and was God (John 1)

                 c.  He had all the fringe benefits of Divinity

           2.  For Him Divinity isn’t something to grab

                 a.  Unlike Adam & Eve he didn’t grab for it

                 b.  His love for us was more important to him than his divinity.

II.  Jesus Embraces humanity

     A.  Jesus Empties Himself

           1.  He empties Himself of heaven’s splendor

                 a.  Heaven’s holiness, glory, purity, joy!

                 b.  The songs of angels, seraphim, continuous praise and adoration.

           2.  He empties Himself of much of His power

                 a.  Power to create, to think something into existence.

                 b.  The ability to do anything & everything.

           3.  He empties Himself of the “All’s”

                 a.  All-powerful, all-knowing, omni-present

                 b.  Of infinity, the full unity of the Trinity

     B.  He takes on Humanness

           1.  Though we weren’t satisfied being human

                 a.  In Eden, we didn’t think it was enough

                 b.  We still don’t–we blame everything that’s wrong on our humanness.

                 c.  If only we could become like God . . .

           2.  He willingly takes on our humanity

                 a.  Being human is enough for him to do what he needs to do.

                 b.  By becoming human he shows us once and for all that being human is OK!

                 c.  Even our bodies are created good and are fit for God to live in.

           3.  He becomes human to redeem humans

                 a.  He gives up so much of Himself for us.

                 b.  Out of sheer love for us.

                 c.  To make it possible for us to love Him.

     C.  He trades Divinity for Servanthood

           1.  He doesn’t come to be a human king!

                 a.  Doesn’t everyone in the Gospels seem to expect that?

                 b.  He is born in a barn to a simple, working class family.

                 c.  He doesn’t get a first class seat.

           2.  He comes to be a human servant

                 a.  He takes the form of a human servant

                 b.  He becomes one of the least powerful

                 c.  He grows up working with His hands

           3.  He comes to serve, not be served.

                 a.  He isn’t here to be pampered by us

                 b.  He came to serve us–to lay down his life as a ransom for us.

                 c.  All for love.

III. Jesus Humbles Himself

     A.  Jesus reaches for Lowliness

           1.  In the garden we wanted to exalt ourselves

                 a.  We wanted to be like God . . .

                 b.  We try to fool people into thinking we’re more than we really are.

                 c.  We are still pleased when we succeed.

           2.  Jesus chooses to lower Himself

                 a.  He humbles himself.

                 b.  Humble: from a Latin root meaning dirt

                 c.  Gr.: to become lowly, insignificant.

           3.  Because we could not reach up to Him

                 a.  He condescends–in the best sense!

                 b.  We could not ascend to God in any way

                 c.  Out of love God came down to us.

     B.  Jesus chooses radical Obedience

           1.  He chooses to obey (listen to) the Father

                 a.  The all-powerful, now submits too.

                 b.  He adopts a posture of submission because He is human.

                 c.  Since He isn’t all-knowing, He follows His Father’s leadership.

           2.  Where we chose to listen to the serpent

                 a.  The serpent: “Did God really say . . .”

                 b.  From the beginning we doubted God’s intentions, his right to tell us what to do

                 c.  So we listened to the serpent, & still do

           3.  He obeys until and to the point of death

                 a.  He chooses to obey until He dies–he won’t outgrow his need to obey.

                 b.  He chooses to obey even if obedience means His death.

                 c.  He becomes the sacrifice of Abraham’s son, but no one intervened.

     C.  Choose the Attitude of Jesus

           1.  The four “If’s” (2:1)

                 a.  If you have encouragement from being united with Christ.

                 b.  If any comfort from His love

                 c.  If any fellowship with the Spirit

                 d.  If any tenderness and compassion

           2.  Love and respect each other as Jesus does

                 a.  If so, think His thoughts, think His way

                 b.  As He gave so much, out of such deep love for us, love each other as He does.

                 c.  Don’t be self-centered when it’s possible to love the people Jesus loves.

           3.  Submit to Him as He did to the Father (v.8)

                 a.  In our humanness, we submit to Him

                 b.  Our knees bow to him now!

                 c.  We acknowledge Him Lord now!

The Bottom Line:

Proclaim Jesus Lord, humbly Submit to Him in your Humanity.

(HoR: R#171 Joy to the World v. 4)

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