The Bible says about Jesus in Philippians 2:7-8, 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. The Bible says that Jesus made Himself of no reputation. This entire phrase is just one word in the Greek, and it means literally that He emptied Himself. Selfishness is sin. When God calls you, your own sinful selfishness is the only thing that can keep you from following Him and doing His will. It was the will of the Father for the Son to come into the world. The Son was able to leave the throne in glory because He emptied Himself.
When the King of Kings came into the world, He did not live in a palace or sit on a throne. He became a servant. If you want to find out what is Gods will for you, simply find out whom you are to serve and serve them. Learn to be a servant and you will learn to live life the way that it was meant to be lived on this earth. In order to become a servant He had to become a man. When you are the express image of the living God, to take on the form of a man is stepping way down.
Why did Jesus take on the form of a man? For one thing He came to be an example. He showed us that it could be done. It is possible for a human being to be led by the Spirit of God in everything that they do. Jesus was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. Unfortunately, we have not done what Jesus did. We have sinned. Thats another reason that Jesus came into the world. He came to die for the sins of the world and to be the Savior.
After becoming saved through faith in Christ, when you start following God you will not last long unless you intend to follow Him until death. Jesus became obedient unto death. Some people are obedient until some great temptation pulls them away. Others become obedient until the attraction of the world interests them too greatly. Anyone who stops following God does so for some selfish reason, but Jesus was obedient unto death and not just any death, even the death of the cross. Some people say that if you follow God He will lead you to prosperity. Maybe, but He might also lead you to a violent death. Thats what happened to Jesus. The important thing is where you go after you die. Because of Jesus, through faith in Him you can go to heaven.
The Bible says in Philippians 2:9-11, 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. We spoke of the negative side of suffering as it relates to having to endure it sometimes in this life. But there is also a positive side. The positive side is the rewards that will be given to those who suffer for Christ. Those who bear a cross will one day wear a crown.
Jesus promised great rewards for those who suffer for His sake. Jesus said in Matthew 5:10-12, Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Jesus suffered and then He was rewarded. He was rewarded by the good results that came from His suffering. Isaiah 53:11-12 prophesied of the sufferings of Christ and the rewards that would follow. It says, He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. According to Philippians chapter 2, the reward that Jesus was given is expressed by the fact that Jesus is highly exalted. In what way is Jesus highly exalted as a result of what He suffered? There are probably several ways in which Jesus is highly exalted. For example, we know that He receives exaltation from the angels of heaven. We also know that Jesus has been given all power. After the resurrection Jesus said to the disciples, All power has been given unto me. Of course, this is probably the same power that He had as the Son of God before He came to the earth.
Jesus suffered for the sins of mankind. He took our stripes upon Himself. And because He was willing to do the will of the Father and to suffer, He was given a name that is above all other names. He has always been the Son of God, from eternity to eternity; but He only became known as Jesus when He came to the earth. The angel said to Mary in Luke 1:31, And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. Jesus means Savior. He came to save us from our sins, but He could only do so by suffering. The Son of God has ever since been given the greatest of all exaltations. Among men and angels the name of Jesus is now the greatest of names. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus: what a name! At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and every tongue should confess to the glory of God the Father.
In Philippians 2:11 when the Bible says that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, the verb that is translated should confess is actually in the future tense and means will confess. Every human being one way or the other will one day confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. They will either confess willingly in this life through the salvation experience, or they will confess at the judgement. Of course, it will be a much better circumstance to confess now when forgiveness of sins is a part of the benefits of confession. The word confess has an interesting meaning. To confess means to say the same thing as, and in this context it means to say the same thing about Jesus that God the Father says about Him. The voice of God the father was heard from heaven and it said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.
When a person confesses that Jesus is Christ is Lord, that person is accepting everything that is true about Jesus. Immediately the divine nature of Christ is accepted. The living, saving, resurrected person of Jesus is accepted. Anyone who does not have this acceptance of Jesus Christ, has never been saved and has never confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord. The Bible says in I John 4:2-3, Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God. To confess that Jesus Christ is Lord means to say the same thing that God says about Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God enters into a person who makes such a confession, and the Spirit of God then reveals the true doctrine of Christ to the heart and mind of the believer. Anyone who does not believe the doctrine of the divine Christ, does not have the Spirit of God.
Romans chapter 10 relates the concept of confessing Jesus Christ as Lord with the salvation of the soul. Romans 10:9 says, That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. The importance of confessing Jesus as Lord has at least two significant issues. Jesus is the divine Lord of glory. This relates to His position and nature as the divine Son of God. Secondly, for anyone to call Jesus Lord and really believe it, means that such a person is surrendered to Christ. Your Lord is the person that you follow and obey. If you willing and freely put yourself under a Lord, then you have surrendered your own will. No one gets saved unless it is truly their purpose to surrender to the will of God and Christ. Thats why in the final analysis, anyone who remains unsaved is a person living in rebellion against the will of God. Of course, the emphasis of Philippians chapter two is the fact that such rebellion will not be permitted to go on forever. Every knee should bow and the day is coming when every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
The Bible says in Philippians 2:12, Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Paul mentioned how much they were loved, and then he mentioned how much they had obeyed. It is always easier to obey if you do it as a response to being loved. We love Him because He first loved us. Parents and supervisors and managers should remember this principle of positive re-enforcement. The best possible response is obtained from people by giving them good reasons to do what you want. The fear of punishment is not the best of all motivations.
Paul said that they obeyed when he was absent as well as when he was present. Your character is properly developed when you do the right thing no matter who is watching. The management philosophy of walking around and constantly watching the workers to insure they work is not the best philosophy. It would be much better to have workers who had the character to be self-motivated. Christian workers can have such character, if they grow in the Lord in the way that the believers in Philippi had grown. The believers in Philippi obeyed. The word that is translated obeyed comes from a Greek work that means to listen or to hearken. In other words, you listen to what someone else has to say and you do what they want instead of what you would have wanted. In order to obey God we must listen to His Word and then act on what we have heard. Do not be hearers of the Word only, but doers also.
The Bible says in Philippians 2:12 to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. When we become saved through faith in Christ, the salvation that we are given is by faith and not by works. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Of course, even though we are saved by grace alone, works are involved after we are saved. The works that we do are very important for several reasons. For one thing we all reap what we sow. For every action there is a reaction. For every behavior there is a consequence. Galatians 6:10 says, Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Most of the things that happen to us in this life are simply the results of actions and behaviors that we ourselves have chosen to do. Therefore, do the right thing until the stars fall. When we are saved, concerning this life we are given a new potential. Because of salvation we have the possibility of becoming everything that God wishes us to become as believers in this world. Will you realize your potential? Will you become everything that you can be? That depends upon if you work out your own salvation.
We also need to work out our own salvation because our future rewards will be based upon our works. Concerning your eternal future, going to heaven is the most important thing. The second most important thing is the rewards that you will gain. Salvation is based upon grace and grace alone, but rewards will be based upon our works. First Corinthians 3:11-15 says, For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
The rewards will undoubtedly be the opportunities and the responsibilities that will be given to you by God in eternity. A crown is a symbol of authority and power. Thats why Christian rewards are called crowns. Paul said near the end of his life in II Timothy 4:7-8, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness. Hopefully you will gain your rewards and your crowns at the judgment of the believers, but you will only do so if you work out your own salvation.
We believe in eternal security of course, because salvation is based upon grace and grace alone, just as Ephesians 2:8-9 says: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. But we also believe in individual human responsibility for ones own behavior. The choices that you make will have grave consequences for your future both in this life and the next. Thats why it says here in Philippians to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. We should fear making the wrong decision, and we should fear committing any sin. For one thing the consequences may be disastrous. Thank God that He is merciful to us, and thank God that our salvation is based upon grace alone through Jesus Christ.
Copyright; 2001 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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