Jesus: Crucified and Exalted Back to all sermons

Date: May 1, 2015

Speaker: Pastor Steve Fuller

Scripture: Philippians 2:5–2:11

Tags: crucified, glory, Jesus

Let’s turn to Philippians 2. In this chapter Paul describes an event at the end of history which all of us will experience. At the end of history we will all stand before Jesus Christ. And we will see that he is fully God and fully Man.

We will see that he is fully God – having always existed with no beginning, and having infinite power, perfect love, and complete sovereignty.

And we will also see that he loved us so much, cared about us so deeply, that to save us from our sins he humbled himself and became a man so he could be punished for our sins on the cross.

On that day Jesus Christ will be revealed as the exalted God-man who is worthy of all worship, all glory, all honor forever.

And you will be standing before him.

And at that moment those of you who have trusted Christ, and submitted to him as Lord, will be filled with joy. Because when you see his glory, his love, his majesty -- and know that you will be with him forever – all your trials will be worth it; all your battles against sin will be worth it, and all the suffering you that you endured for being a bold witness will be worth it. And you will be filled with joy.

But sadly, tragically, those of you who have not trusted Christ, who have not submitted to him as Lord, will not be filled with joy. Jesus said you would be filled with weeping and gnashing of teeth, because you will know that you have not submitted your life to him, and you will know that you face eternal punishment.

But God loves us. God cares about us. And so God had Paul write these words, and he had to be in the service today, so we could know ahead of time about this future event. If you are not trusting Christ, God wants to warn you ahead of time that one day you will stand before Jesus as Lord. And if you are trusting Christ, God wants to encourage you ahead of time with the fact that one day you will stand before Jesus as Lord.

So let’s look at what Paul says, in Philippians 2: 5-11. Last week we covered verses 5-7. So today we will study verses 8-11. At the beginning of verse 8 Paul says Jesus was “found in human form,” which meant that he became a man. But why did Jesus choose to become a man?

The answer is in verse 8 –

8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Jesus chose to become a man so he could die cross.

Here’s what that means. In verse 6, Paul says that before Jesus was in human form, he was in the form of God, but that he did not count that equality with God as something to be grasped. So before Jesus took on human form, he was equal with God, fully God in every way.

So just like God the Father, Jesus had always been from eternity past, Jesus was sovereign over everything in the universe, Jesus had infinite power, and Jesus was full of joy in the fellowship of the Trinity. From eternity past Jesus was fully God.

But there was a problem. God had created a beautiful world, and given Adam and Eve the gift of life and the joy of trusting him. But they – and all of us – sinned against God. We all refused to trust God. We all have disobeyed him. We have all lied, become impatient, been jealous.

Now we can easily think sin is not very serious. But it is terribly serious, because every sin dishonors God’s infinite glory. Think of how much glory the Queen of England has. And imagine what an outrage it would be if someone scooped up some mud puddle and threw it on her as she was passing by.

But that dishonor is nothing compared to what it means to dishonor the infinite glory of God. And when we sin that’s what we do.

See, through creation God displayed himself as infinitely powerful, flawlessly wise, and perfectly loving. So we have every reason to trust hi think of one more whole to buy the thesis on earth that us to dishonor God you is a you see m. But when we sin we are saying that God can’t be trusted – that he is a liar, that he is not good, that he is not loving. And that dishonors God’s infinite glory.

For example, Wednesday I had a lot to do. And I had planned out my day for how I was going to get all these things done. But then s one interruption came. Then another. Then another. Now God has promised in his word that he is in perfect control of interruptions, and that every interruption is a gift from him, and that therefore I should trust God and be patient when interruptions come.

But Wednesday I was not patient. I became frustrated, bitter, and angry. Which meant I was not trusting God. God had promised that he was perfect loving control of interruptions, and I was calling him a liar.

So my sin of impatience, and every sin we commit, is like we are standing on a mountaintop shaking my fist at God, and shouting to everyone: “Listen! God’s a liar. He’s not good. He’s not loving. You can’t trust him!”

And so impatience, and every other sin, dishonors a God of infinite glory. Think of how many times just this past week that we have dishonored God’s infinite glory. And even though God deeply loves us, God is perfectly just, and so he must punish our sin. And because our sin has dishonored infinite glory, our sin deserves infinite punishment.

Let that sink in. We all deserve infinite punishment. Which is why hell lasts forever – because the punishment we all deserve his infinite. But in great love and mercy God made a way for us to be saved. Because Jesus was fully God, his lowering of himself to be man, and to die on the cross, was an infinite punishment. Not infinite in time, like hell is; but infinite in degree.

So that’s why Jesus chose to become a man. Because the only way we could be forgiven was if he became a man and suffered the infinite punishment we deserve for our sins. And that’s what we read in verse eight –

8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

So not only did Jesus humble himself by becoming a man. He humbled himself even more by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. And notice how Paul emphasizes that Jesus died on the cross.

So what was involved in death on a cross? All of Paul’s readers knew about death on a cross, because crucifixion was a Roman invention, and since Paul’s readers lived in a Roman colony they would have seen people put to death on a cross. So as Paul’s readers read these words “death on a cross,” they would have had a picture in their mind exactly what this meant.

But we are not familiar with death on a cross. And so to get the impact of what Paul is saying, let me spell out what this meant for Jesus. And as I explain this understand that at any moment in this process Jesus could have called a halt to the whole thing. That’s what we read in Matthew 26:53, where Jesus said that any moment he could call for 12 legions of angels and been delivered. But because he loves us so much, at every moment he chose to continue suffering until sin was completely paid for.

So first Jesus was scourged -- tied up to a pole, whipped with a leather whip which had balls of lead and glass embedded in the strands so it would tear open your back and side. And at any moment Jesus could have called a halt to the whole thing, and gone back to heaven. But he loved us, he wanted to save us, and so he chose to continue.

Then the soldiers blindfolded him. They beat him. They mocked him. And beat him some more, treating his face like a punching bag. And again, Jesus could have stopped the whole thing. But he loved us, he wanted to save us, and so he chose to continue.

Then they took him to a public hilltop, and nailed one wrist to the cross; then the other; then his feet. And he chose to let this continue, because he loved us.

But the worst was still to come. The only way he could breathe was by pushing down on the nails in his feet and pulling himself up on the nails in his wrists -- causing unspeakable pain. Think of five minutes of this. 30 minutes. Three hours of this. But he was determined to suffer until the infinite price for your sin was paid – because he loves you. And finally, finally, after six hours, he cried out “it is finished!” And he died.

This is the clearest picture of God’s love for us. Is anything more beautiful than this? More heart-breaking? More glorious and majestic? There on the cross, in Jesus, is the ultimate display of mercy and love.

But the story does not end there. What did God the Father do? Look at verse 9 –

9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,

God has highly exalted him. Jesus had died. But God raised him from the dead, showing that he had fully paid the infinite punishment required by our sin.

And then God bestowed on him the name that is above every name. And what is that name? The answer is in verse 11. Since every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, that means the name God gave him was the name “Lord.”

And since this name “Lord” is the name that is above every name, that means this word Lord means God. Paul is not saying that at this point Jesus became God. Jesus had always been fully God. But all through the Old Testament, his glory was hidden. And throughout the Gospels, his glory was veiled. But now, after his death, the father lifts the veil, pulls back the curtain, and publicly reveals him as “Lord” -- as fully God.

And why does God do this? Read vv.9-11--

9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Now this does not mean everyone will be saved. In Romans 14 Paul describes this same event. But in that passage it’s clear that the scene is one of judgment, where both believers and unbelievers are present. So while everyone will bend the knee and confess Jesus as Lord, not everyone will do this gladly. Some will do this only because the Father’s power brings them to their knees. And with weeping and gnashing of teeth they will bend the knee and confess him as Lord, knowing that they will be cast into hell.

That’s what Paul means when he says that every knee will bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth.

Picture this. Every knee will bow before Jesus, and acknowledge him as Lord. Every knee.

Every knee in heaven will bow – speaking of all the angelic host. Every knee on earth will bow – speaking of all of humanity past, present, and future. And every knee under the earth will bow – speaking of all the demonic hosts.

Every knee will bow before Jesus. Every laborer you see in the streets will bow before Jesus, along with every CEO. All your neighbors and friends will bow before Jesus. Every celebrity and athlete and rock star will bow before Jesus. Everyone will bow before Jesus – some with joy because they have trusted him and will be welcomed into heaven, others with cries of agony because they face judgment in hell.

Because Jesus was willing to humble himself and receive infinite punishment to save us from our sins, God the Father will have every created being kneel before him.

So what does this mean for us?

What this means is that we must bend our knees before Jesus Christ. Now. Today.

For some of you this would be the first time to bend your knees before Jesus Christ. You may have questions. And questions are important. But you have seen enough in the truth of Jesus today that you know it is right to bend your knee before him, trust him to forgive you for your sins, and submit your life completely to him. So please, bend your knee before Christ.

Others of you have bent your knees before Christ in the past. But are you bending your knees before Christ today. Are there areas of your life which you are not submitting to him? Are you submitting to him your career, your sexuality, your money, your future? Bending you are knees before Christ does not mean becoming perfect. But it means you want to submit every part to him, you ask for his forgiveness for how you have not been submitting every part to him, and you ask for his help to enable you to submit every part to him. And he will.

We all have every reason to trust him and submit to him. So bend the knee before him today.