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What Jesus Gave Up

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“What Jesus Gave Up

At Christmas

Philippians 2:5-11

The focus of the Christian’s confession

       The core of the Christian faith

              Our message in a nutshell is:

The transcendent God

-        Omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient

o   All powerful, present everywhere, all knowing

-        The One who is:

o   Holy, power, truth, love

       This God has visited

              And redeemed

                      His people

                             In Jesus of Nazareth.

For this Advent Season (when we celebrate the coming of God from heaven to planet earth) we are going to use the phrase:

       “The Word became flesh”

              To guide our meditation.

We will look at topics such as:

1)     the divinity of the pre-incarnate Christ

2)     the reason Jesus became flesh > salvation

3)     The co-existence of a)  the Son of David – human and b)  the Son of God – divine in the person of Jesus

4)     Jesus is: ‘Emmanuel’: “God Himself with us!”

Within this discussion questions will be looked at such as:

-        the virgin birth

-        was Mary sinless

-        should we call Mary ‘the mother of God?’

What did you give up for advent?

Whoa – sounds more like Lent than advent season.

Christmas – the question is:  “What do you want to get for Christmas?”

What did Jesus give up?

Phil 2:6

‘Emptied himself’?

What did he have to be emptied of?

Vs. 6a:  “Who, being in the very nature God”

Same word used in 7b: “taking the very nature of a servant.”

This was Christ’s nature before his advent on earth.

His nature – His essence – the best way to describe His existence before His incarnation – His birth in human flesh:

       He had equality with God.

He is God.

This equality with God was the driving desire, the great temptation that led to the fall of Satan and subsequently the Fall of mankind:

       “I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High."” (Isa 14:14 NIVUS)

       Adam Gen 3:5

“"For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."” (Ge 3:5 NIVUS)

Jesus > every right to hold on to this equality but willingly gave it up.

Divine nature:

John 1:1

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (Joh 1:1 NIVUS)

Before time or anything else came to be, the Word absolutely was.

“13 I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father. 14 I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” (1Jo 2:13-14 NIVUS)

When nothing but God had being – the Word enjoyed an intimate “I-Thou” relation with the Father.

Jesus explicitly affirmed His timeless preexistence:

John 8 – during a ceremony of the Festival of Tabernacles

Four great candelabra were lit to commemorate the pillar of fire that guided Israel through the wilderness.

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."” (Joh 8:12 NIVUS)

“But he continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.” (Joh 8:23 NIVUS)  Jesus existed with the Father before His human birth.

“Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad."” (Joh 8:56 NIVUS)

“"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"” (Joh 8:58 NIVUS)

Ex. 3:14 – at the burning bush: God’s name:  “I am.”

Jesus said:

-        God has sent me into the world – I am on a unique mission under God’s authority.

-        I am the Son of Man who came down from heaven. (John 313,31)

-        I am the true bread that comes down from heaven (John 6:32,33,38,41,51)

John 1:14

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Joh 1:14 NIVUS)

John and others observed the glory of the majestic God shining through Jesus’ human flesh.

“No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” (Joh 1:18 NIVUS)

Jesus is the full revelation of the unseen God.

Jesus has uniquely expounded the reality of God to finite persons.

“27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 ¶ I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father."” (Joh 16:27-28 NIVUS)

Heb 1:3

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Heb 1:3 NIVUS)

Col 1:15-20

“15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Col 1:15-20 NIVUS)

“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,” (Col 2:9 NIVUS)

John 17:5

“And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” (Joh 17:5 NIVUS)

I am reading an interesting and sometimes controversial novel:  “The Shack” by Wm. Paul Young.

This book by a Christian author has gotten on the list of the New York Times bestseller!

Now more than 4 million copies in print.

The author states that he wrote the book for his children.  He writes out of his own experience growing up believing in Jesus but Jesus was very impersonal.

He wanted his children to discover a personal God who cares deeply about His child even in – or especially in – the deepest of suffering and pain.

He never intended his novel to be considered as a theological textbook.

But he raises some very thought provoking questions that challenge our notions about God.

His main character, Mack, learns to call God, ‘Pappa’.  The author has Pappa suggest that God does not come to us in a form that shuts us out from God but invites us into the embrace of God.  (My words).

I see this at the incarnation – God clothed Himself in human flesh so that we would be invited to approach God.

As we approach the manger and see the little baby, we are attracted, we ponder, we reflect, and then perhaps slowly, the realization dawns upon us – we are staring in the face of God.

The disciples were attracted to an itinerant rabbi – teacher.

Spending time with Him, listening, watching, they began to realize they were with the Messiah – the sent One from God, as Peter said:  “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Philippians 2:7

‘But’ – strong Greek word

- “made himself nothing” – emptied himself

Contrast to the divine nature which he had,

       He took the nature of a servant

He was about to be born ‘made’ in human likeness,

       He chose the form of a servant.

That’s what we see at the manger:

-        not royal birth  –  but a stable

-        announced by shepherds

Obedient > even to death.

Obedient to God.

Jesus did not have to submit to death.

       You and I do: sinful mortal man has no choice.

Only the divine has a choice;

Only the divine can choose death as an act of obedience.

Even death on a cross > revolting thought!

From:

-        the glory of the Father’s throne

-        enters into a human existence

-        identifies himself with men

-        is obedient to His destiny as the Servant of God

-        yields to the yoke of submission and to the curse of death by crucifixion.

From the highest heights

       - to the deepest depths

From the light of God

       - to the darkness of death

Why?  What was His motive?  To give us a gift…

The gift of relationship – with our creator God.

That has been God’s desire all along:  ‘To have an intimate relationship with the climax of his creation – man and woman whom He created in His own image.

You were created by God to experience the love – the most profound > ever increasing LOVE.  A love that fills you with joy in all circumstances.

This gift was rejected, broken, and lost at the Fall in the garden.  Since then mankind has been looking for that love and looking in places that do not lead to joy and life but to misery, hopelessness, bondage and death.

Jesus came to remove that barrier of our sin, to redeem us from the slavery to our sin, to pay the price for the penalty of our sin.  Jesus takes our sin into His body on the cursed cross so that we might take His righteousness and receive the gift of a restored relationship with God.

Why would Jesus make such a sacrifice?

What attitude would allow such sacrifice?

Only an attitude of

-        releasing what rightfully belonged to Him

-        humility

Paul said to the Philippian church: ‘Let this ‘mind’ (attitude) be in you…

Paul was writing to a church with division, and arguing among the people.

He calls them to an attitude of humility.

Paul gives Christ’s incomparable self-renunciation – His willingness to set aside all that was rightfully His – as an example of humility.

What did Jesus give up for Christmas:

-        heaven

-        glory

-        worship

-        uninhibited relationship with His father

-        security – no guarantees this plan of salvation would work – that anyone would accept in faith.

But He continued to give when He took human flesh:

-        his right to be a king > choose the form of a servant

-        his right to immortality > obedient to His father even to death

-        any sense of dignity even in death > obedient to death on the cursed, cruel cross.

Why?

-        Obedience

-        For God so loved the world that He gave

-        For the joy set before Him

This Christmas you are invited to

-        give up what you cannot keep anyway > pride…

-        receive forgiveness, salvation, joy.

This Christmas, as we focus on the first advent and await the Second Advent – the return of Christ to this world – let this mind be in you.

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