January 1. 2017
INTRO: Four weeks ago I announced that we would have three lessons on THE STORY OF JESUS, with the understanding this it would be incomplete. Last week marked the end of the three. When I looked over my shoulder at very passage of Scripture we began with, I knew we could not stop there. Philippians chapter 2 summarize the bigger picture of the Jesus Story, better than any other place, in my estimation. So we continue on.
EVERYBODY OUGHT TO KNOW WHO JESUS IS and those that do are optimistic about the future. The story of Jesus is found in the first 4 books of the New Testament but it’s impact is summarized well in Philippians 2:1-11. Before Jesus was called Jesus on earth he was in “form of God” in heaven. That is, he was a spirit. The writer continues, “He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped” (or held on to) but emptied himself.” With the price of our sins hanging in the balance he “emptied himself” and became a human being, bondservant. His humiliation took him to His death, and more, death on a cross. This is significant. Each step downward shows his eternal plan. He died for sinners between two sinners. This sent another clear message: He was a sinner!!! “He was counted with the transgressors”- Luke 22:37. Those watching knew two things: 1)Crucifixion was reserved for the worst, those who were threats, especially to the nation. 2)And three very bad people were dying that day. When Jesus died as a sinner for sinners (although he was sinless) His Father accepted his sacrifice as sufficient for all. Your sins have been paid for!!!
THIS PART OF THE STORY OF JESUS IS FULL OF APPLICATION. All that Jesus did, he did for those outside of himself and that includes us. He was a giver, provider and servant. Does it not seem reasonable, since Jesus lived his life as an example for us to “follow in his steps” (I Peter 2:21) that we should learn to love more effectively, give more abundantly, and prioritize our decisions more consistently? Jesus teaches us in this passage that the way up is down. Our futile attempts to be or become or to gain, so that we can have more, are not representative of Jesus. Let’s all give this some serious thought.
THE JESUS STORY TAKES AN UPWARD TURN. At this point we encounter a huge change in direction and this also affects us. Enter the word THEREFORE! This points to a change of circumstances and is built on the past. It means “for this reason,” and looms large here. We saw Jesus in heaven with His Father, we know of His humiliation and now THEREFORE, “God has highly exalted him…” Jesus has been reinstated!
So Jesus is again in heaven and the Bible says, many times, “He is seated at God’s right hand.” But what is Jesus doing? Just sitting? No!
First of all, while with the Father in Heaven, Jesus is also residing with in every Christian in the person of the Holy Spirit. How do I know? The Bible tells me so- As Jesus was preparing his followers for his departure, He told them he would be with them through the indwelling Holy Spirit whom He would send to them. Jesus is with us all the way, everyday.
Second, Jesus lives(present tense) to intercede for those who follow Him- Hebrews 7:25, Romans 8:34. He makes requests on our behalf and brings our prayers before the Father
Thirdly, we see a beautiful and practical picture in I John 2:1,2. It says “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” Positioning Himself between us and the Father, Jesus Christ now declares our righteous standing because of His sacrifice and our obedient faith.
Christians need an Advocate because of the Adversary, the devil or Satan, who accuses us before God (1 Peter 5:8; Rev 12:10). If Satan is the “prosecuting attorney,” Christ and the Holy Spirit are the legal advocates, the “defense attorneys,” who help, defend, counsel, and comfort us; they plead the Christians case before God day and night, providing a continuing remedy for sin.
CONCLUSION: This is a court scene. A young man has been accused of and now found guilty of a crime. This crime calls for time in prison. The Judge is honest and true to his position. Hearing the verdict he describes the crime and the appropriate time of punishment. However, the Judge is the father of the young guilty man. The Judge rises, takes off his robe and announces that he will be serving the time that his son was given.