Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Christmas is the good news that God has spoken to us in person. Jesus Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. In Christ, we have God in a comprehensive way.
How do we benefit from that? Only the one who knows the Father can take you to the Father. This is the good news of the arrival of the Son of God. Isaiah 53 10, yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and to cause him to suffer. And though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days. And he and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
This is God's will. This is why Jesus said in John 10, Jesus is talking about being the Good Shepherd. John 10 verses 11 and 16, I am the Good Shepherd. I lay my life down for the sheep.
That the sovereign creator of the universe, the second person of the Trinity, emptied himself and came as born in the likeness of men and took the form of a slave. Isn't that humility? And yet Paul feels it necessary to talk about, yet he humbled himself. What's important is that he humbled himself sacrificially.
The person with a submissive mind does not avoid sacrifice. Sacrificially, he humbled himself that he became obedient to the point of death. Hebrews 5 8 says, Son, though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered. He was so committed to his Father that he obeyed as far as death. And that death was a separation. That's something you and I will never be able to comprehend because here he is, the second person of the Trinity, eternally pre-existent with the Father as God, and yet for our redemption, for our reconciliation, there was necessarily a separation between the Son and the Father. That's why he prayed in the garden the night of his betrayal.
Father, if there's any way, let this cut pass from me. Hebrews 10 verses 5 through 7, the Lord is saying it's a prophecy made true of the Lord Jesus. A body you have prepared for me. I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book. A body you have prepared for me. We celebrate Christmas and all the lights and all the comfort and the joy and a cozy little baby and the Christmas programs. Why did God create a body for the second person of the Trinity?
I'll tell you why. So he could be nailed to a cross and buried and rise again. We can't lose sight of that because this whole celebration of Christmas is meaningless if we lose sight of that. What does it say about him and his sacrifice that he humbled himself sacrificially? Isaiah 53 10, yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and to cause him to suffer. And though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days. And he and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
This is God's will. This is why Jesus said in John 10, Jesus talking about being the good shepherd. John 10 verses 11 and 16, I am the good shepherd. I lay my life down for the sheep. He sacrificially humbled himself.
The cross was a form of execution reserved for non-Romans and slaves and the worst of criminals. And here he is, your creator, nailed to a cross. Now let's go back to verse five.
Let your attitude be that of Jesus Christ. He humbled himself sacrificially. He emptied himself. So when it says that he humbled self to death, even the death on a cross, there are huge theological implications in that statement that Paul doesn't unpack right here. But his readers knew what he meant. The last point that I want to make today is simply this, that he humbled himself not only sacrificially, but willingly.
This is a key point. Warren Wiersbe says, the test of a submissive mind is not just how much we are willing to take in terms of suffering, but how much we are willing to give in terms of sacrifice. Jesus chose to take upon himself that one thing which, without his consent, had no power against him.
Do you remember how he was introduced by John? Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. How does a lamb take away the sin of the world? By forfeiting his life. And this is a substitutional sacrifice that is a foundational doctrine of biblical Christianity. Without it, our faith is nothing. And this was foreshadowed in all of the sacrifices under the law in the Old Testament.
Sacrifice of lambs, goats, and bulls. All of that foreshadowing the reality that would come in Jesus. And yet, I like what J. A. Mottier says.
He's one of my favorite expositors. He says, yet those substitutes of the animals, those substitutes were incomplete for the central citadel of sin. The will was left unrepresented in uncomprehending and unconsenting animal. Only a perfect man could be the perfect substitute, and that at the heart of this perfection lay a will delighted to do the will of God.
The central citadel of sin is the will. Christ humbled himself willingly. You see, the animals could not.
They had no clue what was going on. Christ did. John 10 18, Jesus makes this very clear as he was speaking. Jesus said, no one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.
This charge I have received from my Father. This in Christ, this is the supreme act and example of love and selflessness for the sake of others, which is why Paul gives this, let your attitude be that of Jesus Christ. This is the reason for Christmas. Let's not lose sight of it, because there is a lot that can distract us away from this. So for a conclusion today, the title of this series has been a call to follow Christ.
Two points for application. The first one is, humiliation precedes exaltation. And the exaltation of Christ is what we will be celebrating as we come together at the Lord's table. 2 Corinthians chapter 8 verse 9, for you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. And what exactly is that wealth of which he speaks? It is the wealth of you being reconciled to the infinite sovereign creator and being able to enjoy him in all of his perfection for eternity. That's wealth.
Let me make this point. The only way you can be exalted to the height of humanity is to humble yourself in surrendered trust to this one, this one who is your creator and your redeemer. Point number two, and finally, Christians, we are called to incarnate the gospel. Incarnate the gospel, incarnate the love of Jesus as a follower of Jesus.
Get beyond the abstract. I saw a picture in advertisement one time for a Christian group. They called themselves the Good Intentions. I'm like, I'm not so sure I would choose that name.
Many people are willing to serve others if it doesn't cost them anything. Take my life and let it be. There's too many of us. Take my life and let it be. There's too many men who have changed the words to that song.
They've changed it to take my wife and let me be. Wiersbe says, again, sacrifice and service go together if service is to be true Christian ministry. If you are in Christ, you are in what? Ministry. How many of you are in ministry?
Five. So here we go. Sacrifice and service go together if service is to be true Christian ministry. Here's my call to you. Here's my challenge to you today, and it's big. Are you ready for it? This is not your typical standard Christmas message. Here's my challenge to you today.
You ready? Serve in a way that will cost you. It's way too easy to serve out of our abundance. Jesus laid all that aside. He laid all his privilege aside. He took the form of a servant and he humbled himself, sacrificially and willingly. Serve as a follower of Christ. Serve in a way that will cost you. Purpose to share in Christ's humility and suffering.
Why? Because we are people of the King. Our King has come. We are people of the King. And we march to his drumbeat, and it's a different drumbeat. And that drumbeat is serving others willingly and sacrificially. Because of Christmas, we are Christian.
The church, beautiful. So let's be that. Christians, I challenge you to that. And if you are here this morning and you don't know Christ, I want to remind you that you are called to humble yourself in surrendered trust of this one who gave himself entirely for you. That's your call this morning.
Would you stand up? Father, this is a time of year when we are all about warmth and lights and reunions and gifts. But Father, it is necessary for us to remember that Christ humbled himself sacrificially and willingly.
That's why he was born. So Father, may we make it our ambition as followers of Jesus to do the same, to make our attitude that of Jesus Christ. To consider others more significant than ourselves and be willing to serve at a cost. Thank you for the unfathomable cost that Christ endured, so that we might be reconciled to you. Impress this on our hearts and our minds this morning, Father, that we indeed, as we leave here, we will live and serve as people of the King. In Jesus name. Amen. Live by grace. Tune in on weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-19 18:09:45 / 2022-12-19 18:14:09 / 4