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UNITY THROUGH HUMILITY (6): TRUST EXEMPLIFIED

(Phil. 2:9-11)
July 22, 2018
John 17; Isa 42, 45
Read Phil 2:9-11: Philippi’s a great church with a festering problem that Paul
wants to address before it gets worse. He’ll get to it in 4:2. But first He gives a
profound theological context -- urging all to quit playing God for each other.
Vv. 5-11 show us the ultimate model for humility – Jesus Christ. Vv. 5-8
show how in extreme humility He became one with us so He could die for us.
The world has never seen a greater act of humility – which we are to copy!

Now he’ll show it’s worth it. 9) Therefore God has highly exalted him.”
“Therefore – because He did that (humbled himself), God did this.” “Super-
exalted Him”! It’s an intense word. Exalted Him above all things. He
humbled Himself in the extreme; God exalted Him in the extreme. He
humbled Himself to the death. But total vindication is just around the corner.
Paul’s point is, seeking unity through humility will also be vindicated.

But vindication is not the main point. Surprised! Well, the context dictates that
vindication is subordinate to a bigger theme which is simple – trust God. How
can we truly give up rights and honor? Trust God, not yourself. Jesus did!

We all want to see our opinions prevail. We’re like Winston Churchill who
got into an argument with a servant one day. Churchill lashed out, “You were
very rude to me, you know.” The servant replied, “But Sir, you were rude to
me, too.” Churchill grumbled, “Yes, but I am a great man.” We are not
usually that blatant about it, but when we put our interests above others; and
our solutions above God’s are we not saying the same thing? “I am bigger; I
am more important; I am more expert; I am more qualified. I am a great
person and you are not”? Thankfully Jesus didn’t go there. He trust the
Father completely, and his trust was well-placed, tho it didn’t look like it at
first. Paul shows us three ways Jesus’ trust was vindicated.

I. God Did the Exalting


9) Therefore God has highly exalted him.” No one humbled themselves like
Jesus – but as a result, the Father exalted Him. That’s the mindset we are to
follow. No one ever ultimately lost by doing so. Matt 20:16 So the last will be
first, and the first last.” We all want to count, don’t we? And the world says,
“Push yourself forward. Self-promotion, that’s the ticket.” Jesus says, “Put

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other’s interests above your own. Serve. Lose your life to truly find it! At the
end of His own humiliation, He was super-exalted. So counter-intuitive.

But who did the exalting! Not Jesus. He didn’t launch a “Me first” campaign
to get to the top. 9) Therefore God has highly exalted him.” God exalted. Jesus
humbled Himself. Jesus served. Jesus obeyed – and God exalted Him. God
did it. That’s our example, too. If there’s any exalting to be done, God does it.

We can always graciously share our opinion. But it’s a dangerous thing to
exalt oneself – even if we are right. We trespass in God’s territory when we
cause division over minor issues. Prov 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.” It is for God to do any exalting, not us.

Self-importance is hard to reign in. But remember in Prov 6:16-19 God lists 7
things that He hates – that are an abomination to Him. Last but not least on the
list: “the one who sows discord among the brothers.” Unless it’s a matter of
morality or theology that blasphemes the person of work of Christ, we must
seek unity by letting Humility be our badge of honor rather than Ego.

Hudson Taylor was once introduced in to a Melbourne audience in glowing


terms for all he’d accomplished in China as “our illustrious guest.” Taylor
quickly corrected: “Dear friends. I am not an illustrious guest. I am the little
servant of an illustrious Master.” If there was any exalting to be done, Taylor
wanted it to be by God, not by himself or others. He lived out what Jesus said
in Mt 18: 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the
kingdom of heaven.” Let God do the exalting – like Jesus did.

II. God Gave the Recognition

Joan Crawford once walked out of NYC’s famous 21 club, noted the beautiful
weather and told her chauffeur she was going to walk home. He said, “But
Madame, you’ll be mobbed.” She replied, “I should certainly hope so!” We
all want to be somebody, don’t we? We crave recognition. It’s human nature.
So, have you ever thought about what it was like for Jesus to spend 30 years
as an absolute nobody followed by a brief period of celebrity because of His
miracles followed by rejection because of His message and refusal to meet
expectations – all the while knowing He was God in human flesh?

Imagine what it was like for Him to be arrested, tried illegally, mocked, spat
upon, beaten, stripped and hung naked on a cross – doing it for the very
people who were scorning Him – knowing He could have stopped it at any
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time? He must have longed to cry out, “Don’t you know who I am?!” But He
never claimed the recognition that was His by rights. Rather, he absorbed the
shame before men so we would not have to be ashamed before God.

But the recognition He would not claim for Himself has been and will be
given Him by the Father. On the basis of His willingness to become the lowest
of the low, the Father has exalted Him to the highest of the high. Two ways.

A. New Status – God “highly exalted” Him. How? We get a clue


from Jesus’ prayer in John 17:5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own
presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” He
didn’t promote Himself; He trusted the Father: “Glorify me . . . with the glory
I had with you before the world existed.” In other words, restore what I gave
up for these last 30 years. And do that “in your own presence.”

The Father answered! First – resurrection. But that was only the start. Forty
days later the resurrected Jesus left earth and ascended back to the presence of
the Father. Exalted such that the Bible runs out of superlatives. Heb 4:14:
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,
Jesus.” That doesn’t mean He got to heaven and kept on going! It means His
position exceeds all in heaven save that of the Father Himself. Heb 7:26c: He
is “exalted above the heavens.” No one in heaven compares to Him. Eph 4
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He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens,
that he might fill all things.” He rules, not just on earth, but in heaven as well.
In Eph 1:20 Paul describes the incomparable power of God “that he worked
in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in
the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and
dominion, and above every name that is named.” In Acts 2:33 Peter
graphically illustrates, telling his Jewish audience at Pentecost, “Remember
that Jesus you all crucified 7 weeks ago? Remember? Know where He is
today? He is ‘exalted at the right hand of God.’ That’s where He is! But, He
stayed dead long enough to pay for your sins if you will repent and believe
in Him.” No wonder 3,000 of them did so right then and there.

In one sense, when Jesus ascended back to heaven, He just took up where He
had left off as the second person of the Godhead 33 years before. Only now it
is not just the divine nature of Jesus acting as God, but the Person of Jesus –
comprised of a divine nature that has been there before and a human nature
that never was! In that sense it is an extreme exaltation. The Person, Jesus, is
now experiencing everything in both natures all that His divine nature always
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had but his human nature never had. The emptying is over; the mission is
accomplished; the sentence is served and the glory is indeed back! Only now
it is there for the whole person, and not just for the divine nature. Exaltation!

And His status is further exalted by this. He will now be judge of those who
have judged Him. John 5:22-23: “The Father judges no one, but has given all
judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the
Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent
him.” Jesus will judge all who have misjudged Him, from His own generation
and ours. All who reject Him will answer to Him. And they’ll never be able to
say, “You don’t know what it was like.” He does know. He “in every respect
has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb 4:15b). Thus He could
“give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45b), so that “all who believe
in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” The return of all His glory
as God will be reflected both in those who are saved by faith in Him as well as
those who are judged because they rejected Him. Status restored.

B. New Name -- 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and


bestowed on him the name that is above every name.” So what is that name?
Some say “Jesus” because the text continues: 10 so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow.” But He already had that name. Got that when He was
born on earth. But one day every knee will bow to Jesus because of another
name bestowed. What name? 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is
Lord.” “Lord” is the new name. You say, “Well, wasn’t Jesus Lord before
the incarnation?” Absolutely. So wasn’t He always Lord, even after His
birth? Absolutely. But the world refused to see that. They crucified Him -- bc
He refused to act as Lord. But the Father has rectified that wrong.

“Lord” is special – God’s covenant-keeping name. When God called Moses to


go to Egypt to deliver His people that Moses was reluctant – full of excuses.
He finally said, “Well, who shall I say sent me?” Exod 3:14: “God said to
Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM
has sent me to you.’” “I am”. Yahweh. It’s the Hebrew verb “I am.” God’s
name Yahweh emphasizes His self-existent, all-sufficient, promise-keeping
nature. The Jews so revered that name that when reading the OT they would
not pronounce it out loud, using instead Adonai, another name for Lord. And
if you want to know how God feels about that name, listen. Isa 42:8) I am the
LORD; (Yahweh, Jehovah) that is my name; my glory I give to no other.” God
doesn’t share His name or His glory with anybody, right? Why would He?

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Furthermore, God says in Isa 45:22) “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of
the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. 23) By myself I have sworn;
from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To
me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’” “Listen up,
Folks. There is no other God. I’m it. All of you have violated my character.
If you turn to me, I’ll save you. I want you to be mine. But I swear this:
whether willingly or not, some day every knee will bow and every tongue
confess who I am.” So in the OT, Yahweh will share His name and His glory
with no one. And one day, willingly or not, every knee will bow and every
tongue acknowledge His lordship. He has sworn it; He will do it. That’s OT!

Now, here’s Paul saying, “That name, Yahweh, that God will not share with
anyone – well God has bestowed that name on the God-man, Jesus, and one
day everyone will confess that Jesus is Yahweh.” Wow! All that God
partitioned off for Himself in the OT, He now bestows on Jesus of Nazareth.
What’s it all mean? It means Jesus is God. And though people denied it – and
still deny it – the Father has declared it so. And one day, the whole world will
acknowledge it to be so. Every knee – every single one – will bow to Him.
And every tongue acknowledge Jesus is Yahweh!

But, of course, there is one critical difference. Those who have bowed the
knee to Jesus and confessed Him as Yahweh in this life will inherit His gift of
eternal life. Those who refused here will do so there, but only on their way
out the door to an eternity in hell where they will forever ask, “Why didn’t I
confess Him then, when it counted?” The regret will go on forever. But so
will the unprecedented joy for those who have bowed the knee here and now.

On Jan 12, 2007, a hidden camera videotaped a young, white man wearing a
Nationals baseball cap, emerging from the DC Metro at L’Enfant Plaza,
positioning himself against a wall, removing a violin from a small case and
beginning to play Mozart and Schubert. In the next 45 minutes, he collected
$32.17 from the 1,097 people who passed by. Only 7 stopped for a brief listen.
Only 1 recognized him as world famous violinist, Joshua Bell. No one knew
he was playing a $3M Stradivarius. The Washington Post arranged the
experiment and Gene Weingarten got a Pulitzer Prize for it. It was a test to see
how many people would walk by “genius” like it wasn’t even there. Now
think how many missed the obvious with Jesus. The Lord of the universe,
playing His own Stradivarius, demonstrating His Lordship by miracles that
displayed His power over nature, demons, disease and death. Yet most walked
right on by. Like most walk right on by today. I hope you are not one of them.

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But Paul is using all of this marvelous theology to say, “Follow Jesus in
trusting the Father. As He was exalted, so you will be exalted in Him.” You
want recognition? You want to be somebody? You won’t get it by winning an
argument with your Xn brother or sister about hymnals vs words on screen, or
pulpit vs podium. How will you get it? Like Jesus. Trust the Father. Find
your worth in Him. Find your worth not in yourself but in Christ. Let Him be
Lord and at the right time, He will exalt you beyond your wildest dreams.

III. God Got the Glory

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and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the
Father.” Because Jesus trusted the Father, God got the glory. Both His
humiliation and His exaltation result in that one overriding goal, God’s glory.

How our petty disagreements and seeds of discord must grieve the Father. We
were made to glorify Him; instead we use our God-given abilities to win the
argument, to get our way, to push our agenda forge our own glory. But we
miss the priceless chance to be part of something far bigger – to glorify God
by giving up our rights and looking to the interests of others -- by allowing
God to be God instead of ourselves. By trusting His judgment, like Jesus.

Conc – Donald Barnhouse said that the first time he was ever in China he
went to the headquarters for the China Inland Mission. They had transferred
the old office of founder, Hudson Taylor, from previous quarters to that office
– stick for stick and chair for chair. On the wall was a motto with three Bible
verses – really three clauses from the Bible. They read, “The sun stood still.”
“The iron did swim.” And “This God is our God.” And He’s your God, too, if
you’ve bowed the knee to Jesus and confessed Him as Lord. So trust Him to
give the recognition. Let’s pray.