He Humbled Himself

by | Jan 21, 2024 | Podcast, Sermons

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Preacher: Pastor Chuck Holiday

Scripture: Philippians 1:12-30

Most people believe that becoming a Christian means a life of prosperity.  When adversity comes it makes us think that something is wrong.  Paul’s letter to the Philippians reminds us that God uses what we experience as adversity to continue advancing the gospel in the world.  The gospel expands in times of conflict, suffering, and even death.  We are never promised a prosperous life, but we are promised that Jesus, who faced the conflict, suffering, and death willingly, will be right there with us through it all. 


Morning church supp that’s loud great to see everybody this morning I’m finding a little bit of a cold but I I feel fine but I probably won’t mingle too much among you afterwards so don’t don’t be offended if I not shaking your hand or kissing your cheek but um this is a great passage this morning I’ve been looking forward to preaching this in Philippians this is this is you know just one of those classic um passages that as Christians we go back to time and time again it’s it’s just a beautiful picture of our Lord Jesus and what he did for us and and um leaving Heaven coming to Earth taking the form of a servant everything he he described in the Gospel reading you know he he who is God became man to serve us to um enslave himself really to those in Authority here in this in this worldly Kingdom that he might redeem us and um and he said that’s all we have to do to live the Christian life is just do what Jesus did you know and he asked the question what would Jesus do well this is what Jesus would do he gave himself up for us and uh you know the bigger context of this gospel Our Gospel partnership this is the question that David’s put before us what does it look like for us to be in gospel partnership with with our Lord Jesus Christ and reaching a lost world and um it’s it’s such a powerful and simple but impossible thing for us to do to Humble ourselves that’s really what we want to talk about you know the first three verses of this passage in Philippians says if there’s if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ the ifs here are not know if it happened it’s because of you know and if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ if any comfort from his love if any fellowship with the spirit if any tenderness and compassion then make my joy complete by being like-minded said if if if you been touched by the warmth of God’s love for you has it melted the hardness in your heart have you have you tasted the love of the father and and of course the answer he’s talking to these fellow Believers the answer is well yes we have then then he said then then it’s let let it pass on through you to others a friend of mine uh says Grace is not a coin you can spend on yourself to the extent that that God’s love has warmed your heart softened your heart um brought tears of of joy and and and repentance and freedom to your life then then the obvious thing to to to do is to give it to others right let the love of God pass through you to a lost and hurting world it’s not something you can store up for yourself um the the gospel has to go

somewhere it’s not it’s not um okay God saved me now the rest of my life is about me no the gospel saved me so that I am free now to do as Jesus did to give myself away for others it says he humb In this passage in verse eight Paul says he humbled himself God the most powerful being in the universe humbled himself one of the sign says he Stoops to make us great God Stoops to find us we don’t reach up to find God he Stoops to find us to make us great in um his his book humilitas John Dixon says this humility is the noble choice to forgo your status deploy your resources or use your influence for the good of others before yourself

more simply you could say that the humble person is marked by a willingness to hold power in the service of

others to hold power and service for others so i’ like for us to think this morning about um what that means in in two categories okay in in following our Our Savior Jesus and uh you know we’re trying trying as a church to figure out how do we reach our Lost World right what does it look like how’s God going to use us and there are two categories I think that are presented to us here in the example of Jesus the first is he took the place of the servant the second we’re going to get to in a minute he took the place of The Sinner my friends if we can if we can learn to take the place of the servant and to take the place of The Sinner God will use us to serve this world and to reach many lost people for Christ but this is not easy it takes a work of God in our hearts let’s take a look at what does it look like for Jesus to have taken the place of a servant you know word servant is a little bit easier to to grasp than the the real word is slave but the the Greek word here is for Servant is the same word is is the word slave I mean I I think we’ve in our culture we’ve even lost the sense of you know um I can’t think of anything left in our culture where servants don’t still have the right to not go to work if they don’t want to you know I mean we we’ve we’ve lost uh some of the historical um depth of the meaning of what it means to be a servant it really means to forgo your rights whether you were enslaved involuntarily or you took upon yourself the indentured servitude of a of one who made himself a servant you entered into a um a relationship where you really didn’t have the ultimate say of whether you went to work or you didn’t go to work what you did that day or what you didn’t do there there were no labor unions there there were no real rights for servants servants were closer to Slaves than we than our concept of servant is today it’s more than serving it’s forgoing my choices because of the status I’ve chosen for myself now now this has a lot of practical implications that are hard for us to to in our American Christianity to process for instance um you know in in a in a few weeks we’re going to have a a spiritual gifts Workshop which is going to be amazing and I really hope you’ll consider coming uh to help you find your fit where where am I designed to serve in the body of Christ it’s going to be really helpful and practical but even a way we ask those those questions today is a little different because usually we begin with well what are your strengths and where where is your passion what makes you come alive if any of you been vocational counselors uh these are the questions we learn to ask when we’re trying to help people find out what they want to do for a living when we when we want to help students find out where they should focus their studies these are all good and helpful questions but usually they’re secondary questions and often what’s avoided is the primary question is where does the world need

you where where can can you be of most

service and to even ask questions about calling and vocation and and and serving apart from asking the question of where am I needed you see how incomplete that can be now there is something in all of us that wants to serve that wants to make a difference uh in fact God made us to enjoy serving and to enjoy uh work and to enjoy being profitable and and helpful to other people I mean Believers and unbelievers are all built in the image of God with a natural desire to do something significant with their lives we all want to build something that that’s helpful to the world but my friends it can it can be for us and not for the world you you can be a doctor because you really and truly like helping people or you can be a doctor because people are dying and they need you now that’s not two opposite things but they’re two different ways of looking at the same at the same issue and my friends Jesus didn’t get up in heaven one day and said father I would really like to find my

calling it began in the holy counsil of God with the father’s saying we have a lost people who need a savior who’s going to go for us who’s going to go for us Jesus would you go my friends this is the or origin of the gospel story it began with a god a triun god father Son and Holy Spirit whose heart was broken for a lost world

and and the father sacrificially sent the Son and the son sacrificially signed on and sayses father I’ll go and the spirit said and I’ll do what I can do to bring the application of the Redemption to the hearts of our people and together we’re going to bring them bring them home so my friends when we begin to ask what does it look like for us to do like Jesus did it begins with asking Lord how how can you use us what’s our place in this great calling of redemption it’s the most amazing thing in the world that God actually calls us into partnership with him in this great work of redemption of reaching a lost world that he uses us he could have used angels and sometimes frankly he does you know there are stories around the world today especially in Muslim cultures where people are seeing visions God is coming to them directly in visions and angels are appearing to people with the gospel and changing their hearts but but that’s not the normal plan the normal way is for God to use us to reach our

neighbors but it starts with the simple question Lord what do they

need what do they need um you know when we really serve people they don’t they don’t feel um lower than

us you know there’s a way to serve that makes people in awe View and makes and you know we can serve in ways that make the people around us feel small that’s not the way Jesus served and it’s not the way God’s called us to serve when when you’re serving truly as Jesus served it it helps that the people you’re serving actually feel lifted up they feel dign ified not belittled okay that’s um sometimes it’s hard to know how we’re making people feel you know I remember Debbie and I when we actually came to Jacksonville we came to help an inner city church and that we loved it was mostly mostly African-American people and you know quite a number of white people as well was it was real desire to have racial reconciliation in this down in this in the city and we we served there for a year and it was a wonderful year but it was a humbling year because we realized after a lifetime of ministry that we didn’t know much about this community and um you know we tried hard to listen and ask the right questions and people were very gracious to us um it was it was weird how how just the different culture was and for instance U Debbie was you know usually a little late getting there um and uh but there was always and the and the place was jammed with cars you know it was really reaching hundreds of people but there was always one spot right in front of the right in front of the uh the door that was empty and she always found this parking spot right at the right at the end you know I’m I’m calling her honey you’re going to have to park three blocks down and because there’s no parking in the city and she’d always pull up and there was a spot right there and she said to one of the ladies one day well I don’t know how this happens God gives me this spot every every Sunday oh what do you mean we save that spot for you you’re the first

lady I mean there was no marking on it there was no um it’s just a different culture but I remember one day after being there for quite a few months and the people were so so kind to us so appreciative um I I was out to lunch with a few of our people friends there and I said guys would you give me some honest feedback H how am I doing because this culture is really you know we’re we’re new at this and uh how are we doing how am I doing and they they say oh you’re doing great Chuck it’s you know we love you we love you and Debbie you know you’re the parents we never had and all this you know and and I said yeah but how am I really doing and they said said well do you really want to

know and and I said yeah I think I do and then they began to be a little more honest and they began to be very I mean very specific about a couple you know big pretty big faux PA culturally insensitivities and you know it stung a little because I wasn’t doing quite as well as I thought I was

doing but it was a beautiful time

it opened all kinds of more doors right and all it took was the hardest thing in the world for me humility you know but for a powerful white man who was older and more educated to ask that question how am I doing was empowering to these dear

people my friends what would it take for you to lower yourself humble yourself to serve somebody in your

world Jesus Took the place of a servant the place of a slave it says in verse S he made himself nothing he the literal Greek word is he emptied himself uh theologians have argued for 2,000 years you know the exact meaning of that that that God emptied himself of his godness to become a man he didn’t stop being God but he he gave up all the prerogatives of God you know um I think he had them I think he had to memorize the scriptures just like you and I do to be able to quote them I think he had to read the scriptures to find out even who he was you think about that I’m not a heretic I promise you but but he empty he didn’t stop being God but he he gave up all the all the prerogatives of godhead to be to become fully man that little baby Jesus had to learn to talk had to learn to walk he he had to he had to go through all the trials everything that you and I face in trials in this world he had to he had to face all the Temptations fully man that’s the extent to which he humbled himself but that was only the beginning wasn’t it because it says he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross and my friends this is the next step he took the place of a sinner see just it wasn’t just that he came and he died he came and he died as a sinner the cross was the place of execution for criminals liars and

thieves everybody who stood at the cross that day except for maybe a very very few like his

mother felt sorry for him they thought surely he didn’t deserve this but they also had that question well why isn’t God rescuing him if he’s the son of God why is he dying a sinner’s

death he died looking like a sinner now we know he wasn’t a sinner Hebrews chapter

2 verse 14 says since the children have have Flesh and Blood he too shared in their Humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death that is the devil and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death for surely it is not Angels he helps but Abram’s descendants for this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God that he might make atonement for the sins of his people he came to die as a sinner 2 Corinthians 5 said God made him who knew no sin to be sin so that we might become righteous in him Jesus the righteous one the Holy One the perfect Son of God who had never sinned became sin on the cross so it is absolutely accurate to say he died a sinner although he never

sinned now what does that have to do with us because we can’t give our lives for anybody’s salvation but Paul said we participate with Christ in this work of redemption when we take the place of a sinner what does that mean to take the sinner’s place you don’t have to take on anybody else’s sin my friend but it’s but it’s a willingness to descend into the reality of the O your own depths of selfishness to acknowledge who you are not just privately but in a public humiliating way you know there’s a great danger in general confession of sin for us to come together and even with our our beautiful Creeds to acknowledge that we’re all Sinners and fall short of the glory of God blah blah blah blah blah and I don’t I don’t mean that to be quite as mocking as it sounds because I do it

too but my friends think about how it goes in our fellowship groups corporately with a 100 people we can all we can all easily say how lost and sinful we are but in small group of three or four or 10 what how how quiet would the room get if somebody said let’s just all confess our sins for a little bit

here brother what are you struggling

with wh what is there in your life that you haven’t conquered

yet can can you be specific with anybody and my friends there’s a place and a Time time for that not it’s not on Sunday morning I don’t think in a big group like this but is there any

place in your life where you’re free with another believer even your own husband or wife or your children to say would you forgive

me would you pray for

me because this is where I’m struggling I’m having a hard time believing that God loves me today I’m having a hard time with an

addiction I’m I’m just overwhelmed today with how selfish I am and how little I care for lost people is there any place I mean the Bible’s pretty clear about this James says Brothers confess your sins to one another that you may be healed

and I don’t think he meant publicly stating that we’re all Sinners he meant more than that now my friends there’s nothing more powerful in our witness to a lost world than for us to learn to take the place of The

Sinner this is the reason they don’t believe our Our Testimony because they see us is self-righteous and thinking that we’re better than them there’s one simple way to diffuse that take the place of a

sinner so but what if I haven’t sinned against them what if I haven’t offended them well how first of all how would you

know how would you know and what what would it mean to them for you to even ask and be curious as to whether you have given

offense friends I think the the place to start is not with the people that aren’t Christians I think it’s probably foolish for us to think we can have authentic spiritual conversations with people who aren’t Christians if we don’t learn to have those conversations amongst ourselves

in our own families is there a place for us in our in our fellowship circles with fellow Believers to begin asking those questions brother what what do you see in my life that’s

off-putting are there ways which when you when you look at me and the way I I move among you and I you know we all love each other and are there are there ways that you think sometimes I’m just missing it is there anybody you can ask that question of my friends uh this is um not easy but it is simple it’s not Beyond us it’s not out of our reach it just takes humility and Trust to take the place of The Sinner now here’s the question okay it’s real simple God says how are we going to be partners with with Christ and reaching the world says it’s easy just humble yourself okay how do you do that how do you do that you know Benjamin Franklin had his 12 virtues uh which is a young man he listed out and and was very diligent about and then he a friend of his came to him and said you know Benjamin you’re you’re a bit of a you know you’re a bit of a

pain you’re condescending and you’re arrogant and you you’re striving so hard for your 12 virtues but you’re just you’re just not a very kind loving person so Benjamin Franklin added a 13th which he called

humility now it could be debated how well he achieved that he recognized the need for it not on his own but through the the uh feedback from another friend which is always the way that goes but how well he achieved it I I don’t know um I suspect not so well how can we make ourselves

humble you can’t you can’t just choose to be a humble

person you can try but my friends I’m telling you it will come across a bit contrived uh it’ll it’ll come across like you’re talking down to people that you’re trying to humble yourself to it it just doesn’t work to try to make yourself humble you really can’t do it and and you know the old joke you know the guy that wrote the book humility and how I attained it right I mean there you go how are you going to succeed at making yourself humble you you just can’t do it but but let me tell you this you can choose a path that will lead you to humility you can do that I I remember asking one of my professors one time when I when I went back to graduate school um after 17 years in Ministry um to learn to help people and and we were talking about Brokenness and God was exposing how unbroken I really was and I said I what can I do is there anything I can do to to move down this path toward Brokenness and he said oh yeah Chuck there’s something you can do you can pretend about nothing you can resolve in your heart to pretend about nothing and God will humble you and that was the beginning for me of a of a a path of humiliation and Brokenness frankly that was wonderful you know H real humility doesn’t look uh sad and miserable there’s a joy that comes with it there’s a peace there’s a freedom that comes with humility it doesn’t look like a you know Sad Sack the guy that’s just always down in the face and and you know poor me I’m a miserable doesn’t look like that at all a really humble person is a free joyful person he’s just not about himself he’s about others and it’s a beautiful experience when when we when we get glimpses of it but how can what is the path you can choose if you would were to want to ask God to make you a humble person well there’s there let me give you two couple couple categories to think in one is when you’re thinking of serving okay

I’ll give you

you most of us when we ask the question where can I serve circumscribe the answer in a circle that fits our competencies okay and God has a way of asking us to get out of our competencies God often asks us to do something that we know we are are not really good at where we are not well enough trained now now I’m not saying give up the things that you’re good at but I’m telling you when you when you put your heart on the line and say God send me where you want me often the thing the holy spirit’s going to put on your mind is the thing oh no Lord that wasn’t you because I can’t do that and God’s point is that’s why I want you to do it because you can’t do that without me and you’re not going to look good doing that you’re going to actually look like a bit of a fool but that’s what I want you to do not just because you can help but because it’ll help you so when you’re thinking my friends Where’s God calling

me that might be what he has for you don’t don’t don’t don’t be so quick to put that idea out of your head ask the holy spirit is this from you send me out under the waters that are too deep for me where only Jesus can hold me up my friends that will be a path of humility because you will be you’re you will be exposed in a wonderful

way the other the other path you can pursue is is in the area of relationships Community can you can is there a is there a group that you could join is there a relationship that you could enter into where somebody might actually tell you the

truth because most of us have a very very defined group of people that’s designed trying to make sure nobody ever really does tell us the truth there’s it’s an unspoken agreement I won’t meddle with you if you don’t meddle with me those are the rules for this

Fellowship is there a community that God could be calling you into where somebody might actually do you the greatest service a human can do for another in love help you see how your hurting people there are people already in your life who can do that for you but whether they would I don’t know your family knows but it’s so risky to tell somebody in your family so they may

not but is there a community that could you take an intentional step some of you might have to join a AA group to to find a place I don’t know it would be nice if someday in church we could have those kind of groups where we could actually tell each other the truth my friends humility will not just descend upon us it’s the work of God but he uses the means that he’s created and one of those means is community it is a very precious are the wounds of a brother there is no greater friend you will ever find on on this Earth than somebody who loves you enough to tell you what’s true about how you’re hurting people that’s that’s the friend that sticketh closer than a brother and my friends together as as God’s people we could become a powerful powerful Lighthouse for our community and for our families when we walk in the humility of a servant take the place of the servant and take the place of The Sinner you know John and Charles Wesley and George Whitfield were all great anglicans back in the 18th century and they all were part of this great group called The Holy Club their whole their whole purpose in life was to be as holy as they could and they weren’t very attractive people but God changed all that he began to expose to them the depths of their arrogance their self-righteousness how their views of themselves separated them from the people that they were called to reach John or Charles Wesley wrote this this great hymn he said Jesus left his father’s throne above so free so infinite his grace emptied himself of all but love and bled for Adam’s helpless race to his Mercy all immense and free for oh my God it found out me long my imprisoned Spirit lay fastbound in sin in Nature’s night thine eye diffused a quickening ray I woke the dungeon flamed with light My Chains fell off my heart was free I Rose went forth and followed thee my friends this didn’t happen before the holy Club this happened while he was in the Holy Club the Holy Spirit descended upon him and showed him more of his own sin than he could see of anybody else’s but more than that he showed him Jesus the one who had already come to die for his sins said no condemnation now I dread Jesus and all in him is mine alive in him my living head and clothed in righteousness Divine bold I approach the Eternal throne and claim the crown through Christ my own my friends as you descend more into the place of the servant in The Sinner Christ will become more beautiful to you he will change you he will change us to make us more humble more like him and more Winsome to the world

[Music] Amen

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