Elder Vernon Johnson

   
 

Philippians 2:5-11 

5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

In the previous passage of scripture, Paul had taught us about the need of humbleness of mind in the service of God.  Now Paul directs our attention to the greatest example of humility that has ever been and he tells us that this is our perfect example and that we should strive to follow that perfect example. 

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…

Obviously none of us can possible understand or comprehend the breath and depth of the thoughts of God.  The "mind" in "Christ Jesus" under consideration is limited in the context to the mind of humility showing us that Christ Jesus is the example of humility that we should follow in our lives.  True humility begins in the mind.  If we think we are great or think that we want to be great, then we have not humility.  If, however, we think we are a servant and want to be a servant, then we have the mind of humility, which enables us to be humble.  

"Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God…"  Christ showed us that we could be humble regardless of what our position in life may be.  There is none greater than God is.  God has all knowledge, all power, all wisdom, and to him belongs all glory.  Christ was in the form of God for he was God:

         1.  John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."

2.  1 John 5:7 "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."

3.  Col. 2:8, 9 "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."

4.  John 8:58 "Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am."

5.  John 17:5 "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was."

6.  John 5:18 "Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God."

7.  1 Tim. 3:16 "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." 

Christ was verily God.  He was co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit.  He had all the attributes and qualities of God.  It was in no way robbery for him to declare himself to be God or to think that he is God.  Obviously, there is none greater than God and thus none greater than Jesus Christ. 

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men…"

A reputation is something that is gained over time.  It is gained by perceived or actual actions or deeds that are done over time.  A just conceived baby in the womb has no reputation.  That just conceived baby is unknown even to the mother.  As the God of glory, Christ had a reputation that was unparalleled among men.  Yet Christ laid aside his reputation as the God of glory and came down to be conceived in the womb of the virgin by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost.  What an incredible condescension that the very God of glory condescended to be conceived in the womb of the virgin.   

Christ also took upon him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men.  Even as Christ was in the form of God, meaning he was verily God, he took upon him the form of a servant.  As God, he is the creator of the universe.  As God, he is the ultimate Master.  He made himself the "man, Christ Jesus:"  1 Tim 2:5 "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." 

 While Christ Jesus is verily God, he also is verily man.  It was indeed great condescension for Christ to take upon him the form of a servant and be made in the likeness of men.  Luke 22:27 "For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth."   

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Christ not only humbled himself by making himself of no reputation and by taking upon him the form of a servant, but he also humbled himself by becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  Christ said in John 6:37 "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day."  Christ was the perfect obedient servant.  He laid aside his own will in order to perform the will of him that sent him.  This humility in service was manifest even to the death of the cross. 

We are to emulate the mind of Christ.  Christ made himself of no reputation.  Whatever position we have in life due to either being the descendant of famous or rich parents or position we have labored to attain in business or otherwise, we should lay aside any reputation in order to become the humble servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.  There is simply no room to pull rank on others in the church Kingdom of God.  We should consider others better than consider ourselves.  We should not desire position, but desire to serve above all else. 

Second, as Christ took upon himself the form of a servant, we should likewise, consider ourselves to be the blood-bought servants of Christ and not the masters of men. 

Third, Christ became obedient unto death.  This obedience was a perfect obedience, keeping the law to a jot and a tittle, and keeping the covenant of God even to the death of his body on the cross.  Likewise, we should, as the servants of Christ, "press toward the mark for the prize of the high-calling of God in Christ Jesus."  We do this by seeking to obey the Lord in all things.  Further, we should not count our lives dear unto ourselves, but be willing to lay down our lives for Christ Jesus as a living sacrifice and also be willing to suffer and die for the cause of Christ. 

After Christ had humbled himself in the above ways, we are told that God exalted him: 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.  True exaltation is not to come from men, but comes from God.  Now at the name of Jesus every knew should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, the glory of God the Father.  Because of the humility of Christ, we will one day be exalted by God to be glorified in body, soul, and spirit to the praise of our Lord Jesus Christ and to the glory of God the Father.