Scripture Text: Philippians 2:5-8, NLT
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. 7Instead, 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.
What is the primary cause of division in our churches? This was covered in our LCBS lesson last Sunday and we have been discussing it on Wednesday nights. The cause of division can be summed up in one word, “Selfishness.” Yes, I am quite sure the devil is involved at some level, but he works through our selfishness. The church at Philippi is divided but we do not know the details. We do know the root of the problem; people were not acting Christ like; they were being selfish. Paul understood that the solution to the problem is to adopt the mind-set of Christ. If we all take on the attitude of Christ, there would be no division in our churches.
William Barclay says three words sum up the “Attitude of Christ,” humility, obedience and service. I am going to add one additional point and make this our outline: HOSS…Humility, Obedience, Service, and Sacrifice.
- HUMILITY—Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7Instead, 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…
- Christ condescended. Jesus is the Great I AM the God of Abraham. He is the One that was, is and will always be. Jesus is God. However, He did not cling to His rights and privileges as God but took on Himself the form of a human being. The Greeks have two words for form, morphe and schema. Morphe is the essence, the essential nature of a thing. I am a human being. My morphe will never change [not in this life]. Schema is appearance. My appearance may change but my nature will not: I will always have a human nature. When Jesus, the Prince of Heaven condescended, He came down from heaven and entered into our humanity through the portals of Mary’s womb. He became flesh and pitched His tent among us.
- Christ became Incarnate…He became flesh and dwelled among us. I agree with Dr. Wiersbe and many others that Jesus will always be human. He did not take our humanity for 33 years. His condescension means that He took it for eternity. Taking on our flesh with all its limitations and frailties is one thing but He came in the form of a servant. Jesus was born into a peasant’s home, born in a stable, not a palace. Jesus did not live like a king with people waiting on Him. He took the form of a servant.
- Christ became obedient. It is much easier to give orders than to take them. Some people cannot take orders. They lack the humility to obey. They want to lead but do not have the humility to follow. In Christ kingdom, you don’t lead until you learn to follow.
- OBEDIENCE—He humbled himself in obedience to God.
- Matthew 26:39— “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”
- John 5:19–Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever fnthe Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.
- John 5:36–“But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me.
- John 10:18–“No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”
- John 12:49–“For I did not speak fnon My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.
- John 12:50–“I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”
- John 14:31–I do exactly as the Father commanded Me.
- SERVICE–“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus not only became a human, He humbled Himself to be a servant to other humans. Jesus served the needs of others…Time and time again, we hear Him ask, “What can I do for you?” These are the words of a servant. I don’t think a better illustration can be found than that in John 13….Jesus, knowing that He had come from God and was going away to God, stood up from dinner and removed His outer garments. He then wrapped Himself in a towel, poured water in a basin, and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with His towel. Incredible! Jesus washing the disciples feet on the eve of His death. He did what one of them should have done but they lacked the humility to do it. I am afraid our denomination is divided. The Reform movement, which they refer to as a REFORMATION, is generated by pride. They talk about DOCTRINAL PURITY but they do not have the heart of a servant. As a matter fact, they are devoid of all forms of humility. One of their calling cards is arrogance. There is not much that they don’t know. They have solved most of the mysteries that surround God, I look for them to be giving us an explanation of the trinity in a year or two. I know quit of few of their persuasion and none of them have a servant’s heart, they have the uncanny ability to get others serving them. They do speak a lot of truth but not in love. Their attitude betrays them. Jesus was a servant. He never used pressure to persuade any man to serve Him. He challenged and invited but never used force.
- SACRIFICE—He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. At a religious festival in brazil, one of our Missionaries spotted a sign hanging over one of the booths that advertised “Cheap Crosses.” He thought to himself, that is what many people are looking for, a cheap cross. The Cross of Christ was anything but cheap. We will never know how much it cost for Him to become our sin upon the cross. The CROSS is a mystery of LOVE that is so great that no finite mind will every fully comprehend it. The love of Christ, how rich and pure, will never be fathomed. It is so incredible that no man can fully take it in, not more than one could drink the ocean dry. Since it is incomprehensible, it is also indescribable.