Hello, and welcome to this teaching from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque. We pray this message strengthens your relationship with the Lord. If it does, we'd love to hear about it. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely Calvaryabq.org/give. As Christians, we are challenged to think about what Christ would do in any given situation, so we might do likewise. In the message What Would Jesus Do, we learn how Christ's example of humility and self-sacrifice shows us how to love people through lowering ourselves. Now, please open your Bible to Philippians chapter 2 as Skip begins.
Would you please turn in your Bibles to the book of Philippians chapter 2. The title of my message is what would Jesus do? Now, that's not an original title obviously/ You've all seen the bracelets and seen the little acronym WWJD, what would Jesus do. Let me tell you how that started. 1896, that's when it started. 1896, a guy by the name of Charles Sheldon wrote a book called In His Steps. The book was a story about a pastor in the Midwest who challenged his congregation.
For the next year, before they made any decision, entered into any transaction, did any action, to filter that through the notion of what would Jesus do. And the book goes on to show how the whole church was transformed by that approach to life and in turn the whole community was changed. So that's where it began. 1896 that book was published. But in 1990, a youth leader in Michigan decided that her group of young believers, the youth group, ought to have a little bracelet, so they could wear it around and people would ask them about it and started a grassroots movement that spread around the world, what would Jesus do, WWJD.
Now as wonderful as that is, I bet you have discovered that actually doing what Jesus would do is hard. It's hard to put it into practice. One mom found that out. She had been trying to teach her two boys this lesson, what would Jesus do. The oldest boy was Kevin. He was five years old. Brian was three years old. One day it was Saturday morning. She's cooking them up breakfast, making pancakes, and the two boys started arguing about who ought to have the first pancake. I want it. No, I want it. No, I want it. So she thought this is a perfect teaching moment, what would Jesus do.
So she said, boys, if Jesus were here, what would Jesus do. And before they could answer, she said I'll tell you what Jesus would do. He would say I'm going to let my brother have the first pancake. Well, Kevin, the oldest, turned to Ryan, the youngest, and said, hey, Ryan, you be Jesus. It's a whole lot easier to say you be like Jesus rather than me. And to answer the question, what would Jesus do, you have to first ask the question, what has Jesus done? And Paul answers that question by giving us four characteristics of Jesus Christ. They are outlined for you in your little bulletin. The little worship folder, you have an outline there.
We're going to look at verse 5 through 11 in just a moment, because verse 5 through 11 form a paragraph of thought. It is an example of Paul's principle. If you remember last week, Paul gave a principle. He said let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself. That was the principle. Now he gives us an example of that, and the example he chooses is the ultimate example. It's the example of Jesus Christ.
He's going to give more examples as we keep reading this book. He'll give an example of using a guy by the name of a Epaphroditus as an example of humility. He'll also give us an example of Timothy as an example of humility. But first he gives us the example of Jesus Christ. Now I just have to say this. The text we're about to read is one of the deepest, most glorious texts in the entire New Testament. It is like the seminal text that talks about the condescension of the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, as God becoming man.
Now keeping that in mind, let's look at verse 5 read through verse 11, but we're really only going to talk about up to verse 8 today. But let's just read it all. "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation taking the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men.
And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God has-- also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus-- as we are just sang a moment ago-- every need should bow, of those in heaven, and those on the earth, and those under the earth, that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Now we're going to split that paragraph in two. We're going to take the first part this week, second part next week. We're going to talk about his lowering today. Next week, we're going to look at his lifting. Today, we're going to look at the cross. Next time we're going to consider more the crown. Today we look at him giving up his glory. Next time, we'll look at gaining more glory. Now, before we can ever appreciate what Jesus has done, we have to understand who Jesus Christ was. You will never appreciate this whole idea that Paul presents unless you begin where Paul began understanding who Jesus Christ was and is.
And over the years, I've always been interested in what people think about Jesus. I usually ask people that. What do you think about Jesus? Who is he to you? Some of the things that people believe, I've already known. Some of the things I discover, I'm baffled by. I'm just amazed that people actually think these things. I've known, for example, that many Hindus believe that Jesus is the reincarnation of Lord Krishna. I've understood that the Mormon church believes that Jesus was a product of a sexual union between the resurrected Adam God and the Virgin Mary, or that the Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus was the first created being AKA also known as Michael the archangel.
But then there are some even wilder ideas, like Jesus was an illusionist who went around practicing magic, or here's one I came across recently, Jesus is an alien who came from Venus. And then there are those who espouse the fact-- or the idea, not a fact at all-- the erroneous idea that Jesus was the husband of Mary Magdalene and together they procreated a secret lineage to rule the world.
Well, the Bible says Jesus Christ is God. He is God who humbled himself to become a man, and I want to share with you four descriptions that form the character of Christ. First of all, his divinity. His divinity. Verse 5, "let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." We'll get to that in a moment, but look at verse 5. "Who being in the form of God." You see that little phrase, form of God. That is translated in English from the Greek [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH], and [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] literally translated is form of God.
But it's not the best translation, because when you and I think of the word form, we think of an outward form. We think of size, and we think of shape, but that is not the word that is used. He uses the word morphe. If Paul wanted to talk about outward form, he would have used the Greek word schema. Morphe, outward form, the word that he uses here, the word morphe, speaks about essence, nature, or character. It's who you are at your core. That's morphe. Morphe never changes. Schema always changes. That the outward form.
Here's an example. As a human being, we have both morphe and schema. Morphe, we have the essence of who we are from birth. That is we are human. That is our morphe/ you are a human being from your birth through every stage of your life all the way to death. That's the essence of your nature. You are humanity. But your schema, outward form, changes throughout life. You begin as a zygote. You go I don't even know what that is. After a zygote, you became an embryo. Then your form changed to a fetus. Then your form changed to a small baby being born, an infant. Then your form changed to a toddler. Then you became an adolescent. Then you became an adult. That's the schema. It always changes. The morphe never changes.
So what Paul is saying by this is saying that Jesus Christ possessed the unchangeable essential nature and character of God to being in the form of God. And please notice the word in verse 6, being. You see that word, who being in the form of God. That's a present active participle. And some of you are going, oh, no, not an English class. I thought I got out of that. Why that is important is this in using it this way, he is saying that Jesus Christ always has been and presently continues to be in very essence and nature God. This is why Jesus could say he who has seen me has seen the Father. If you've seen me, you have seen the Father.
So Jesus never became God at a certain point, because he is this word, Paul wants us to know he always was this way and continues to always be this way, who being in a form of God. So the deity of Christ was pre-human. It was pre-Bethlehem. A while back I had a knock on my door. I opened it up. It was Jehovah witness, and I've been through a number of these encounters, so I, kind of, know the song and dance. And so I just decided I'm just going to cut to the chase. I said, I believe Jesus Christ is God in a human body. Took a step back and almost had an apoplectic reaction to that. He was like.
I said, no, He is God. No, he's not. I said, well, the Bible says He is. No, it doesn't. I said, yeah, it does. No, it doesn't. The Bible-- and so I said John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And he goes, ah, that's a wrong translation. It literally is in the beginning was the word and the word is with God, and the word was a God. I go it doesn't say that. It does say that. So I pulled out my Greek New Testament, opened it up, turned to John 1:1 and read it to him out loud. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH].
I said it states very plainly that the God is the word. And then I said, listen, if you're telling me Jesus was a God, now you have bigger problems, because you just are telling me there are two gods. And it started to register a little bit like, yeah. But then he quickly-- it went south from there. It didn't go well after that. But to say that Jesus never claimed to be God is a ludicrous statement. The only one who could ever make such a statement is somebody either who A, has never read the New Testament, or B, blatantly denies the plain text that is written in the New Testament.
For example, in Luke 5, you know the story of the crippled man being led to the rooftop by his buddies. They lowered him down, and he can't move. And he's a paralytic. And Jesus looks at him, and he says, man, your sins are forgiven. On the other side of the room are the enemies, the scribes, and the Pharisees who said, he speaks blasphemy. Nobody can forgive sins, but God only. Duh. That's the whole point of Him saying your sins are forgiven, because only God can forgive sins. In John chapter 8, Jesus said before Abraham was, I am. I am, as you know, that Old Testament construction of absolute timelessness when God said to Moses I am that I am.
In John chapter 5, we are told the Pharisees sought to kill Jesus, because he said God was his Father making himself equal with God. And then in John chapter 10, the Jews wanted to stone Jesus. Jesus said, many good works I have done from my Father. Of which of these good works will you-- do you want to stone me for? And they said, for a good work we do not stone you, but for blasphemy because you being a man always make yourself out to be God. They understood what Jesus was saying about himself. This is why when Jesus is rose from the dead and stood before Thomas, Jesus didn't argue with Thomas when Thomas said, my Lord and my God. My Lord and my God.
So listen if Jesus was not God, then he deserves an Academy Award, because he sure acted like it and talked like it for three and a half years in his ministry. So Paul is talking about His divinity who being in very nature God or who being in the form of God meaning Jesus Christ is the God who created everything. John 1:1 and then John 1:2, all things were made by him, and without him nothing was made that has been made.
So when you look at the Milky Way galaxy and remember there's a 100 billion stars in that galaxy and think that they say there are 100 billion other galaxies beside that down to the 800,000 cataloged insects that crawl on the earth and that bother your garden, Jesus made those. That's why he could stand before the waves in the sea and tell them to shut up, rebuke them basically, and say stop. And it says the winds and the sea obeyed Him. He could do that, because He had the authority to do that as creator God. So he begins with the divinity of Christ followed by number two, second characteristics, his humility.
"Who being in the form of God," verse 6. Now watch this. "Did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation." Now what does that mean? Robbery is a word that means to seize or to carry off by force. It was a word used of a soldier who would plunder and steal. Why is Paul using that term to describe Jesus? He means to say and is often translated this way, he didn't think equality with God was something to be grabbed a hold of. That's how it is often translated in modern versions of the New Testament. So Paul's idea here is this. Jesus didn't think that equality with God was something to be taken and held onto and clutched and never let it go.
Now think for a moment. Jesus as God didn't need anything. He had all the angels around him in heaven giving him praise. He had all the glory of heaven. Being in heaven with the Father and with his spirit, he reigned over all of creation. Now he could have stayed right there. That's a pretty good gig. Why would anybody want to leave that? And the answer is because he wasn't thinking of himself. He was thinking of others. His attitude was an attitude of unselfish concern. You see that's the principle that Paul begins with back in verse 3 and 4. So it's as if Jesus said, I'm not going to keep my privileges for myself. I'm going to lay them aside and serve others.
Now look again at verse 7. "But he made himself of no reputation." At this point, it's like Paul goes, hey, come here. Let me take you back stage into the mysteries of the incarnation of Jesus Christ and let you know what is really going on. It's like he's given us direct insight into the miracle of all miracles, and that is the incarnation. The incarnation of Jesus Christ is like the theological Diamond that sparkles brighter than any other.
Did you know that many scholars believe that verses 5 through 8 was originally a hymn that was sung by the early church. Wouldn't you love to hear this put to music? So they sang it, and they sang it so they would remember and commemorate the incarnation. It was that important to them. It was that important to them. Having said that, I also have to say I don't totally get it. And I'm not afraid to admit that. When it comes to God becoming a human being, it's like, boy, do I believe that. I'd even die believing that. I'd die for that. But to really get my head all the way around that, it's like the Trinity. I'm accepting it by faith, but it's-- well, Paul put it this way. Great is the mystery of godliness that God was manifest in the flesh. It's one of those great mysteries.
I sometimes feel like the little boy who is outside looking up at the stars, and he said, mom, are you sure God's up there? She said, sweetheart, he's up there. He's everywhere. You're sure he's up there. Yeah, I'm sure. Then he said, wouldn't it be great if he'd just poke his head out from time to time so we could see him. Essentially the incarnation was that, God poking his head out, moreover, taking on human skin and living among us. That's the incarnation.
Now the incarnation was the fulfillment of what Isaiah the prophet said would happen. A child would be born. You will call his name Emmanuel, which is translated what? God with us. Jesus Christ is God with us. Now, I want your eyes to see it for yourself. Look at it, what it says. He made himself of no reputation. All of those words are one single word in the original Greek language [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]. Theologians talk about the kenosis, the emptying. Because this word made Himself of no reputation, [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] means to empty of contents. To take something and pour it out.
So if you were here Wednesday night, and I poured-- you saw me pour water in that cup and poured out the contents, It's as if-- it's saying Jesus who being in very nature God, poured himself out. He emptied himself of content. The question and the controversy is what did Jesus empty himself of when he poured himself out? What did he empty himself of? You can't say of deity, because remember Paul's whole point is Jesus by very nature always was and continues to be and ever more will be God. He always is. That's his nature. So when it says He emptied himself, what'd he empty himself of? Here's the answer, the privileges of deity, the prerogatives of deity.
One of those was his glory. Jesus in heaven enjoying the anthems of praise of all the angelic beings. Being in intimate, close face-to-face fellowship with his Father, he gave up that glory. This is why he prays in John 17 verse 5. He says and now, Father, glorify me together with yourself with the glory which I had with you before the world was. He longed to have that glory back that He poured out.
A second thing he emptied himself was independent authority, independent authority. That is while he was on the earth, he completely submitted to his father's will. Jesus in John 5 said, I do not seek my own will. I seek the will of Him who sent me. You remember what Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane when they came to arrest Him before that point, and He was experiencing the anguish of what He was about to go through. And He said, if it's possible let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but your will be done.
So get the picture. Jesus Christ had all the rights and authority as God, but He didn't hold on didn't grasp, didn't clutch that. He emptied Himself of certain privileges, prerogatives, and one of those was independent authority. Now before we move on, think of the contrast between Jesus' philosophy of life and Satan's philosophy of life. Satan's philosophy was this, not thy will be done, but my will be done. That's Satan. Jesus' philosophy of life, not my will be done, but thy will be done. Satan was a creature who wanted to be the creator. Jesus was indeed the creator who was willing to become a creature. Satan had a subversive mind. Jesus had a submissive mind. Complete polar opposites.
So Paul let this mind be in you, which is also in Christ Jesus. And then he covers His deity, then His humility. Let's look at a third, His humanity. Back in verse 7, He says taking the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death even the death of the cross. Paul is tracing the downward steps the humility of Christ. In Christ, God stooped. In Christ, God stooped from heaven to Earth, from deity to adding to that deity, humanity, from life to death. All of these downward steps that Jesus took.
Now listen to this carefully. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, he entered into a permanent physical body. It's not like He borrowed it, and then it's over. He entered into a permanent physical body from which there was no escape. Let we flush that out, no pun intended. When Jesus died, He died physically. When Jesus rose from the dead, He rose physically. When Jesus ascended into heaven, He ascended physically. They saw Him. Jesus is now seated at the right hand of God physically. There's a man at the throne of God right now, and when Jesus comes back, He is coming back physically.
Now I know it's hard to figure it all out, God, man, great is the mystery of godliness. But let me give you a little illustration. If you've ever traveled, especially to a third world country, and I mean more than like two days, like for a couple of weeks, you experience what they call a culture shock. It's a shock when you discover, you mean there's no air conditioning here at all? And it's 100 degrees with 100% humidity. You mean you don't put ice cubes in drinks. You mean I have to eat that. You mean I have to smell those smells, like, all the time. It's a shock to your system.
Now let's take it to the Nth degree. The ultimate culture shock is leaving heaven and coming to earth. Anthems of heaven, all the praise, all the angels, all the hallelujahs, and then coming here and hearing the scorn of mankind and the spit in His face and the names He was called and the utter rejection that He experienced, ultimate culture shock. Deity, humility, humanity, One author said, when God chose to reveal Himself, He did so through a human body.
The tongue that called forth the dead was a human one. The hand that touched the leper had dirt under its nails. The feet upon which the woman wept were calloused and dusty, and His tears, oh, don't miss the tears. They came from a heart as broken as yours or mine ever has been, and so people came to Him. My how they came to Him. They came at night. They touched Him as He walked down the street. They followed Him around the see. They invited Him into their homes and placed their children at his feet. Why? Because He refused to be a statue in a cathedral or a priest in an elevated pulpit.
He chose instead to be Jesus, fully God, fully man, fully God, fully man. Undiminished deity, unprotected humanity, theologians call this the theanthropic nature of Christ. That's a cool word. You may want to write it down and use it a few times this week, theanthropic. Get your Starbucks, hey, thenathropic. Because nobody knows that word, but you know that word now. So theos, God, anthropos, man, theanthropic, God has-- Jesus had two natures fully God, fully man, theanthropic nature of Christ. OK, verse 7, made Himself of no reputation.
But watch this, taking the what does it say? Form, there's that word again. Just like universe in verse 6, being in the form of God. And by the way, same exact meaning. Morphe, essential nature and character, the essence of his being. Taking the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men. In other words Jesus just didn't assume an outward form. He didn't pretend to serve. It's not like He came from heaven and goes I hate being here. I hate these people, but I'm going to act like I love them and serve. Hi, I'm here to serve you. No, He actually served them. He was in his very essence and nature, the human servant of God in heaven. He served them. He-- that was His purpose statement.
He said, the son of man did not come to be served. He came to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. So He served fishermen. He served tax collectors. He served harlot's. He served those who were sick. He served suffering people. He even served dead people raising some who were dead to life again. And He served His disciples. In the upper room when they all sat down to a meal and they completely forgot about serving each other, cleaning up their feet, and getting ready for the meal, they just sat down and started arguing about who'd get the first pancake. Who's going to be the greatest in the kingdom? It says Jesus got up at that moment, cast aside his outer, put on a towel, took a basin of water, began to wash their dirty feet.
So when we ever asked the question what would Jesus do? We have to begin what has Jesus already done based on who Jesus is and was as God? He was equal with God. He emptied himself of privilege and prerogative, of position. He left heaven. He added a human nature to Himself. And with that human nature, the very essence of His being, He served people. Now let's apply it. As we close, let's apply it.
We've discovered His divinity, His humility, His humanity. The final point I want to draw out is His desirability. Verse 5, let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Then He gives the description. In other words, listen, if you want to follow Jesus-- that's your desire-- if you want to follow Jesus, you need to follow him and I need to follow him in this that we humbly serve one another. He's saying the same thing Jesus said, any man desires to come after Me, let Him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.
So Paul says, let this mind-- what mind? The lowly mind. It's what he talked about in verse 3 and 4. Let each-- with lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself. So let this mind, the lowly mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. In other words, Paul is not merely describing the incarnation to reveal theological truth, though it's awesome. Paul's not saying let me just dazzle you for a moment with-- let me throw down some theology on you, so you can just be wowed. He's saying let me throw some theology down on you, so you can be wowed and think the same way Jesus thinks. And that is to humble yourself and to become a servant.
So let me sum up everything this passage says in one sentence. The incarnation should become the motivation for our demonstration of loving service. The incarnation should become the motivation for our demonstration of loving service. As we mentioned last week, you are never more like Satan, than when you are selfish. You are never more like Jesus, than when you humbly serve.
So He says let this mind be in you, because it always begins there with the outlook. Outlook determines outcome, right. Attitude determines aftermath, and the idea of let this mind be in you is that. Let this attitude be in you. Have the same attitude toward people that Jesus had toward people. So if my outlook is selfish, my actions will be divisive and destructive. If my outlook is self-sacrificing, then the outcome will be edifying, unifying. Let this mind be in you.
But I need to tie one more bow on the end of this as we close. Humility doesn't stay in the mind. It has to move to the hands and feet before it's true humility. Jesus didn't just think good thoughts up in heaven, go yeah, that's good, that's humble, and that's serving and just stay there. From the mind, he did something about it. He came. He came, and he served. So that bracelet doesn't say what would Jesus think. It says what would Jesus do? Because once Jesus had it in his mind, he moved it into action. What was in the mind moved to action. What is the right attitude should become the right action.
So my wife will buy groceries and bring them home, and she has this little thing that we do where she's about five-- three or five minutes out. She gets me on the phone, calls me. She goes are you home? I said, I'm home. She says good, because I have a bunch of groceries I want you to take in. So that's the deal. She buys them. I take them in. I can do that. I should. So I show up, garage door opens, I go take the packages out-- or the grocery bags out of the car.
So what if she comes home, pulls in the garage, and I'm standing there with his dopey smile. And she goes are you going to help me? Are you going to take the groceries in? What if I said, well, I'm thinking helpful thoughts. In my heart, I'm helping you right now, and I feel good about my attitude. Would that be of any value at all? None. It would be of value if I thought helpful thoughts, and then like moved my feet over to the car and used my hands to actually carry them in. Now I'm putting my mind into action.
So think like Jesus thought, and He started way up here and went way down here to the point of death. You're never going to be able to follow Jesus in His deity, but you can follow him in humility. At whatever position in life you are, whatever place you have in the home, in the family, in the business among people in your group to humble yourself, think like Jesus and act like Jesus.
Here's the paradox. I love a paradox. The more you give, the more you receive. If you're the type of a person who said, man, I'm going to-- I'm going to actually going to put this sermon into practice after today. I'm going to figure out ways to serve people. I'm going to look at how I can esteem people better than myself, something's going to happen to you. Your joy is going to go up guaranteed. This is the epistle of joy, remember. Paul's in jail says, I have joy. People are talking bad about him, I have joy. I might live. I might die. I have joy. We've discussed all that. The more you pour out, you're going to discover the more you get in. The love of God will be shed abroad in your heart, and you're going to be a joyful person doing what Jesus would do.
Let's pray together. Father, thank you for the absolute joy of being a believer, because we realize that we can't do anything to deserve the kind of love that we have just scratched the surface in talking about here today. Jesus, very God in nature, in essence, in His being poured Himself out in that humble mindedness that transferred into the action of assuming a human nature that would live among people and serve people, be scorned by people, but he would do it bearing sin and conquering death by Resurrection.
So that we in trusting what He did was enough would have everlasting life and the glories that would follow. Lord, I pray that you help us serve one another, and I know that we'll be among the most joyful people on the earth as we put these truths into practice. In Jesus' name, amen.
As believers, we are called to humbly love others regardless of how they treat us. How will you put the truth from this message into practice. Tell us about it. Email as email@example.com. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque.