Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of June 3, 2018

Philippians 2:5-11
Have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Although he was in the form of God and equal with God,
    he did not take advantage of this equality.
Instead, he emptied himself by taking on the form of a servant,
    by becoming like other humans,
    by having a human appearance.
He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
    death on a cross.
This is why God has given him an exceptional honor—
    the name honored above all other names—
10         so that at the name of Jesus everyone in heaven, on earth,
            and in the world below will kneel
11                 and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord
                    to the glory of God the Father.

This portion of St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians has been referred to as the “hymn of the church” by many scholars.  The thought is that these words were perhaps the earliest song sung in all of Christendom. 

Whether or not these words were written to accompany a tune or not; and whether they were a part of an early liturgy is in essence irrelevant.  Yet, clearly they present a future song to be sung by all for:  “Every knee will bow and every tongue confess.”

The lyrics (so to speak) of Philippians 2 do more than proclaim the miracle of the Incarnation.  God’s gift of redemption is here and heralded, as is the glorification of the same by us, the gifts recipients. 

The hymns aim and refrain are one in the same: Jesus has humbled Himself and this same Jesus has been exalted!

“Christ Jesus, being in very nature God…”   The second person of the Triune God, has in Christ, become man. 

Jesus of Nazareth is also Creator of the universe. 
The adopted son of a wood worker is at the same time the Word worker of the eternal Father.  

He is God of God, light of light, very God of very God, begotten not made, who through the power of the Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man. 

God, in Christ, took on flesh NOT in order to walk among His creation once again.

God, in Christ became a person in the incarnation NOT in order to experience the sensations of the flesh; NOR so that He might be welcomed and hailed as Divine King of heaven come to dwell on earth. 

No! In Christ, God has become man to serve humanity. 

This hymn of the church is not merely about the Incarnation of our God, but the redemption of His creation. 

That which was made good, became, by its own choice fallen and profane. 

Jesus is a perfect servant.  He serves those in need, the lonely, the outcast, the isolated and broken hearted. 

He serves by feeding the hungry, curing the ill and casting out the power of the devil from the demonics; yet, His greatest service is in obedience to His Father. 

Not only did He embrace the Father’s mission and thus enter creation as a human being, He kept the law of God purely as no other human has, or will, due to the fact that we, by nature, are fallen.

His obedience didn’t stop with the activity of His life; it continued with the passivity of His death – “even death on a cross.” 

His perfect life (what theologians call the active obedience of Christ) and His innocent death (what those same theologians term the passive obedience of Christ) are the means of our Redemption. 

As penned in the catechism, “Jesus has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death.”

Our redemption leads to the glorification of God in Christ.  As sung in the song of the church, “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”  These lyrics cry Soli Deo Gloria, to God alone be the Glory.

The Exalted is self humbled, He who is humbled has been exalted; and in Him, the church – every tribe and race, every station and place in life, is lifted and lifts a hymn of glory.

So often we think of the term church in a colloquial sense as in, our congregation, our denomination, yet the church from the dawn of time to the end of the age, the church scattered across the planet and found on every continent, the church from when the Word as copied painstakingly by hand to when it can be transmitted easily by the push of a button, the church from every accent and every ethnicity, the church GLOBAL and ETERNALLY joins in ONE SONG – THIS ONE – “Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.”

-Pastor Seth Moorman


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