4/17/11 Philippians 2:5-11
Leader: Pastor Biebert
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM
THE CRADLE, THE CROSS, AND THE CROWN
Philippians tells us that the key to enjoying life is Jesus. Yes, non-Christians enjoy life too, but only temporary highs from blessings they can see. Believers have a joy with no expiration date. It doesn’t depend on life’s circumstances. Philippians also contains one of the most powerful New Testament statements that Jesus is God. He’s always existed as God, but He emptied Himself to become human. Jesus willingly surrendered the prerogatives of being God to become human, and to suffer the punishment for every human’s sins on a cross. This is the foundational truth in Christianity.
What would you say is the most amazing thing this Bible section mentions?
¦ That God could – and would – lower Himself to do the things Jesus did.
¦ That Jesus loved us enough to choose to suffer damnation and physical pain for us.
¦ That one day everyone in the history of the world will bow in worship to Jesus.
¦ Other ____________________________________________________________
In the Old Testament, Jesus took on human appearance to visit people on earth, like Abraham in Genesis 18. These human appearances were temporary. When Jesus became a one-celled fetus inside Mary, He became permanently human. There was no backing out. ‘He emptied himself’, not of His God-ness, but of His glory. The Bible uses the same word at the beginning of verse 6 to describe Him as 100% God that it does at the beginning of verse 7 when it describes Him as 100% human permanently (John 1:1; Colossians 1:15; 2:9). Jesus didn’t exchange His makeup as God to be a human. He added humanity to His deity.
Which way do you go on these True/False questions. Can you justify your answer?
r There was never a time when Jesus wasn’t 100% God.
r There was never a time when Jesus wasn’t 100% human.
r The most humiliating thing about Jesus on the cross was the physical torture.
r The best result of Jesus’ life is that now we have a perfect example to follow.
r Being human is OK. Jesus is still human in heaven.
r Doing things beneath you never pays off. Look at the abuse Jesus took. People take
advantage of you.
Jesus was “found in appearance as a man” (2:8). This does not imply that Jesus only seemed to be human. The Greek word here is schema. It stresses the visible form of something. People saw God’s Son as a human. He really was what He appeared to be: one of us. Even in human form His essential nature or permanent inner quality (Greek: morphe) remained unchanged. He was still God. Jesus’ attitude was, “I won’t demand My rights. I surrender the independent use of My God powers so I can truly help people. It’s not too much to pay.”
What did Jesus give up to come to earth (2:6-7)?
The Savior’s claim to be God infuriated Jewish leaders (John 5:18). It made them accuse Him of blasphemy, insulting God by claiming to be God (John 10:33). Jesus’ humanity was genuine. Still, He was different from other humans. He was sinless.
What’s the real reason Jesus gave up His position and power in heaven (verses 6-7)?
How is all this relevant to us? 2:5 tells us to work on humility. Humility doesn’t mean thinking less of yourself. It means thinking about yourself less. When you think you’ve achieved humility, you’ve lost it.
Why are verses 6-8 such powerful motivation for living like Jesus? Hasn’t He done it all in our places?
“God exalted Him to the highest place” (2:9). The Bible explains what this means in other places, Old Testament, as well as New – Isaiah 52:13; John 17:1; Acts 2:33; Hebrews 2:9. “God gave Him the name that is above every name.” This is not referring to what was on His birth certificate. It’s not referring to a specific title. It’s referring to His reputation. The Bible is saying Jesus did the most famous thing of all time.
Who are the people “under the earth” (2:10)? Why will they worship Jesus?
Greeks worshiped gods in the sky, on the earth, in the sea and as part of the underworld. Traditional Greek mythology also placed the shadowy existence of departed souls in the underworld.
Do verses 10-11 mean that someday point everyone will become a believer, or that someday even unbelievers will realize they were wrong?
There’s an old country song that goes, “Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way!” Jesus was perfect as He lived here, but He never would have sung that song. There’s no better example of someone doing what comes unnaturally – in our place.
What is the difference between humility (using your strength to help other people) and being a “doormat”?
How does this section challenge society’s definition of success? What’s your definition of success?
How does this section connect to Matthew 21:1-11? What’s the connection to Zechariah 9:9-10?