The Gospel Poem


The Gospel Poem

Philippians 2:5-11

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: …who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Introduction – Historical Context

  • Acts 16:1(10)-40 — the founding of the church at Philippi during 2nd “missionary” journey
    • Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke
    • Lydia, girl, and jailor (vs. 21)
  • Gifts sent to Paul at Thessalonica twice
  • Timothy and Silas sent back to Philippi various times
  • Paul stops through on way back  on 3rd journey
  • Paul jailed in Caesarea (2yrs)
  • Paul sails to Rome
  • Under “house arrest” in Rome (2yrs)
  • Paul’s circumstances worsen towards the end of his first imprisonment
  • Philippians send a gift to Paul with Epaphroditus
  • Paul writes Philippians
    • Not like Corinthians – Philippians has “no” ethical teaching
    • Not like Romans or Colossians – Philippians has “no” doctrinal teaching
    • Yet, today’s passage contains one of the most significant doctrines in the Bible, with a very practical ethical application

Vs. 1:1-11 – Greetings, Thanksgivings, Confidence and Love, Prayer

Vs. 1:12-26 – How to Look at Trouble

Vs. 1:27-30 – Live Like the Gospel

Vs. 2:1-4 – Be like-minded, of one mind, of one accord

  • Theological Context – John 17:21-22
    • That they may be one…as we are one
  • What – Likeminded, same love (there are different loves), one accord (soul), one mind (purpose)
  • Why – Consolation in Christ, Comfort of love, Fellowship of the Spirit, Bowels and mercies
  • How – Do nothing through strife; Do nothing through vainglory; Esteem others better than self; Show concern for others “things”

Example – 2:5-11 – poetic summary of the gospel

  • Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus
  • The Trinity is in perfect unity
    • Jesus is God and Man. As man, He is our example of how to attain (maintain) unity.

Exposition

…who, being in the form of God,

  • Form = morphe = the same being

thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

  • Equal with God
    • Satan – “I will…”
    • Eve, Adam
  • Not robbery for Jesus

but made himself of no reputation,

  • “Emptied himself” – kenosis
    • He was still God
    • He gave up the use of his divine power for his own human needs
      • Poor, “homeless,” tired, hungry
      • He knew every technological invention that would and still will be discovered – lived without them
      • Matthew 26:53

and took upon him the form of a servant,

  • Took upon = added this “form” to His original form
  • Form = morphe = the same being
  • Servant = lowest place in human society
  • Echoes of Isaiah’s “Messianic servant” (suffered)

and was made in the likeness of men:

  • It would have been humbling to be an angel
  • Angels are ministers of God
  • He was made a little lower than the angels

and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,

  • He put on frail flesh
  • He came as a baby and grew through childhood, etc.
  • He lived in corrupt human society

and became obedient unto death,

  • Eternal life had to die

even the death of the cross.

  • Final, most extreme humiliation
    • As a symbol of Christianity…
    • It has lost the total disdain of that day
      • Jews – cursed of God
      • Romans – reserved for the worst crimes, yet no Roman could suffer it
  • This progression of humiliation is self-imposed
    • Imagine the conference room of the Trinity

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him,

  • You humble yourself, I’m going to exalt you

and given him a name which is above every name:

  • Jehovah, Jesus (Joshua = Jehovah saves)

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

  • At some time in history (life) this will happen
  • …at least once.

of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

  • Under the earth included…

and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,

  • Compare/contrast Isaiah 45:21-23
  • Compare/contrast Romans 10:9-10
  • Billboard says, “Jesus is Lord”
    • Just because you say the words, doesn’t mean you’re saved
  • Just because there will be a day when every tongue will say the words, doesn’t mean everyone will “in the end” be saved

to the glory of God the Father.

  • Worshipping Jesus Christ does NOT take away from God’s glory
  • In fact, you cannot give God glory without acknowledging His Son

Unsaved application

  • This is a simple, poetic statement of the gospel.
  • The contrast with all mankind
    • Not God, live as god, or as if no God
    • We must empty ourselves – humankind wants to use its own power to attain life
    • Become a servant – I am not the master, He is
    • Take up the cross (Luke 9:23)
    • This is not easy (strive – Luke 13:24)
    • God will forgive your sins
    • God will make you His son
    • God will give you His righteousness
    • God will lift you up to heaven
    • …you must humble yourself and come to God – Romans 10:9-10

Saved application

  • All of this was given not as doctrinal teaching, but as an example of how we should think and act.
  • This summary of the gospel is a template that can be laid over the top of every situation in our lives
    • Our relationship with God
      • Affects our view of ourselves
    • Relationships with others
      • Family
      • Church
      • Community
      • Work
    • 1 Peter 5:6 – Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: