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The Model of Spiritual Unity

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
March 2, 2022 3:00 am

The Model of Spiritual Unity

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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March 2, 2022 3:00 am

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Bible Christ Jesus church scriptures John MacArthur grace salvation truth 452945 Humility
Grace To You
John MacArthur
Our Daily Bread Ministries
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Our Daily Bread Ministries
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The main point here is not to identify that God became man to show that in God becoming man, you have the supreme illustration of humility.

An illustration which we are called to follow. Despite that, maybe you've heard that unity in the church is more important than anything else. And if that means staying away from controversial doctrines like spiritual gifts or the unique roles of husbands and wives well it's worth it for the sake of keeping a congregation together, but how does that sort of unity compared to the unity that Scripture calls us to consider that today as John MacArthur continues his practical study a plea for unity, and now here's John open your Bible, will you please to the second chapter of Philippians and I want you to look quickly at verses five through 85 through eight, apparently from study of the Greek language of this passage.

It was a him very likely these verses were sung by the early church.

No other New Testament passage could so completely and was so much detail in its presentation. Focus on the event of God becoming man is what theologians have called a Christological Jim or a Christological diamond that sparkles brighter than perhaps any other passage in the New Testament is unparalleled in the New Testament in its strong statement about the incarnation of God in Christ. But listen carefully as strong as it is theologically as profound as it is theologically as unfathomable as it is theologically the passage is first and foremost ethical. It has to do with motivation for Christian living.

More than just facts of theology as great as those facts are the main point here is not to identify that God became man, but to show that in God becoming man, you have the supreme illustration of humility and illustration which we are called to follow.

Here you see self-sacrifice here. You see, self-denial here you see yourself giving here you see humble love the key to understanding the ethical nature of the passage is verse five. If you want a model to look at to see how this humility works then to have this attitude in yourselves which was also in whom Christ Jesus is the model is the perfect ethical illustration of humility.

Christ is the model of humility as he is the model of everything for us. That's why in Matthew 1129 Jesus said take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I am meek and lowly learn humility from me. That's why in John 13.

He says after having washed the disciples feet. Love one another as I have loved you, and how had he loved them by self-sacrificing, humble service and washing their dirty feet.

So Paul is drawing on Christ as the model of humility, which is the means of unity in here. You have is if he comes from heaven to earth in a series of steps climbing down, as it were the various factors of the dissent of Christ to humiliation.

That is the model for us but follow the steps. Verse six. It begins with the statement he existed in the form of God, he existed in the form of God, that's where it all began. And that means to say he is God. The word for us to do with nature, essence innate being.

He is God he existed in the form of God before the incarnation he preexisted as God, and this emphasizes the point from which his humiliation began. He is by nature fully God, Jesus, possess the very being of God. This is the high point from which he stoops need to send says you can well see from a level which we will never know our experience but we will never be as God, but he gives us a pattern to follow because he comes down from a lofty, lofty level, the highest in the universe. God but there's a pattern even for us in this are we not the children of God are we not the sons of God and the daughters of God are we not blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly's in Christ Jesus, are we not the chosen are we not in the beloved out of the world are we not be anointed by the Holy Spirit, are we not those special people who have been given the promise of heaven's eternal glory. Are we not priests, are we not chosen vessels are we not the ambassadors of Christ do we not possesses Christians an exalted position as sons of God, indwelt by the Spirit of God and so are humiliation to begins from a lofty level. It starts with the recognition of the fact that we have been lifted up by God's grace and we too must begin our humiliation from a lofty starting point. Notice the dissent now.

The second statement, although he existed in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. Here's the second step. He did not regard equality with God, which by the way, explains the phrase the form of God, we conclude that the form of God means the same as equal with God, Isis, the Greek word means exactly equal but he did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, not notice. Please. Humility begins with the recognition of a lofty calling and the first step down is an attitude and the attitude is that this loftiness of my calling is not something to be clutched is not something to be grasped, it is not something to be seized and It is not something to be selfishly held onto such a prized possession that it is only to be exploited and never set aside for anyone else that wasn't Jesus attitude as God.

He had all the rights and privileges of God which he deserved and for which he had every right and from which he could never be disqualified. But he did not have an attitude that selfishly clutched all of his privileges and that's the first step down when you begin to loosen your grip on the possessions and the privileges that you have as a believer that provide that exalted identity and you become willing to's start the process down. Think of Christ as God in a favored position with unimaginable privileges. That position was infinitely perfect infinitely fulfilling. He was infinitely worthy of it and could never be disqualified from it, but he didn't have an attitude to cleaning to it by letting go of it, he could serve someone else. That's where humiliation begins.

Sure, we see ourselves as called and set apart from the world in lofty and high and lifted up and in a spiritual sense, but we have to hold that lightly.

For the sake of the needs of others.

Anyone who stoops begins with that kind of attitude. I will not clutch my privileges, possessions, rights, blessings no matter what my elevated position might be the next step down in the dissent of Christ in the pattern for us. Verse seven says, but emptied himself. Now the attitude becomes an action here. The attitude becomes an action, the attitude said I won't hold onto these things.

I don't clutch them. I am ready to let go of them. If, for the sake of others.

I must stoop the attitude then led to the action and he emptied himself. This is a profound statement.

He divested himself in some way of his privileges. He let go of some things in the process of coming down.

He didn't cease to be God. That's abundantly clear from the New Testament even claimed while on earth to be God saying things like, if you seen me. You've seen the father.

He was still God what he had set aside and emptied himself of some of his privileges why to come all the way down for the sake of unworthy sinners because their need was so desperate.

That's how humility works starts at a lofty point has an attitude that doesn't clutch what it possesses and releases those things, emptying oneself and coming down to meet the needs of others wanted to give up your thought about what Jesus give up the one thing you gave up heavenly glory in John 17 he prays to the father. Verses four and five and he says father restore me to the glory I had with you before the world began, which means you must've given up his heavenly glory. He did, he did he longing for that trust. Time for honors. John calls that face-to-face communion with God.

That's why went so often to the Mount of olives to pray because you love that intimate communion with the father they had in heavenly glory. But he gave it up. Secondly gave up the independent authority that he had as God, the second person he gave up that independent authority in Hebrews 58 says that he learned obedience and he said in John 530.

I have come to do what the father wants me to do and I resigned myself to his will.

The third thing he limited his own divine attributes. In Matthew 24, 36, he said he didn't even know the time with the father. The father had in mind for the setting up of his kingdom.

He said no man knows not even the son, and so he willingly set aside some of the exercise of his divine attributes he limited in that case his omniscience before thing he set aside were his eternal riches.

It would be impossible for me to explain how rich he was, but I know what second Corinthians 8, nine, says it says he was rich, but for your sakes he became what poor and it was so poor he said the foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head. Poor gave up a lot but that's what humility does.

That's what Paul is saying here.

Humility recognizes its rights and its privileges as a child of God, but doesn't clutch those things, but rather because it sees the need of another is willing to divest itself and stoop how far does ago was followed down it says in verse seven he emptied himself, taking the form of a bondservant, it comes all the way down to slavery is no condescension apparent in this because Jesus is an illustration of one who literally became a do lasts a bondslave all the way down all the way down from King to slave and may I say to you, this is not theatrical is not a Halloween costume input on the garment of a slave, he became one it says in verse six that he was in the form of God, and in verse seven that he took the form of a bondservant, whatever form means in verse six it means in verse seven and in verse six it means essential character and in verse seven it means the same thing. He literally took on the essential character of a slave. This is not theatrical. This is reality. He said I am among you as one who serves.

Luke 2227 Matthew 2028. The Son of Man didn't come to be served but to serve, to give his life. You see waive the exercise of his rights as God and it only what God asked him to do came all the way down emptied himself, and became a slave and he served men as one who was a slave even went to the point where it says in Isaiah 53 six that God laid all our iniquities on him. Slaves carry burdens and he carried the greatest burden any slave could ever carry the burden of sin for us. You can ask a slave to carry a lot of things, but only God could ask Christ to slave to carry the burden of your sin, which he carried. What a servant, and what a model what a model the service to sinners took the form of total identification total identification, but in the next step down verse seven being made in the likeness of men became like us get all the attributes of humanness, he became a genuine man really the second Adam truly human.

It was not a reasonable facsimile was a man I want say something to you that I want to misunderstand when God became man, in the form of Jesus Christ.

He did not become man as man was pre-fall understand that he did not become man as Adam was in his innocence, he became man, in the sense of partaking of the results of fallenness say what you mean by that will ask yourself some simple questions. Did he feel pain.


Did he feel sorrow to be.

We did have strong crying and tears. Did he ever hunger did he thirst was he weary was he. We and here's the final one did he die. Death was the result of what the full. This is not this is not God taking on the unfallen character of humanity. This is God taking on the following character of humanity with one significant element eliminated. What is sin, being all points tempted as we are. Hebrews 415 yet with out sin, never sinning but feeling the results of the fall, he became one of us. Otherwise, how could he be in all points tempted like as we are. How could he suffer and be a sympathetic high priest if he had a prefall humanness because it wouldn't have anything to sympathize with no we went all the way down the walk in our skin as it were, sympathize and empathize and he says that's the model that's what humility does sixth next step down verse eight and being found in appearance as a man that is most interesting. Wish we had more time to talk about what that means is very much like what it says at the end of verse seven, but from another perception. Verse seven says as a fact, he was made in the likeness of men.

This one says he appeared as a man and it views it from the vantage point of the people who saw and experienced him and what is saying is he was so much like them that they thought him to be no different than them.

And that is the supreme complement they didn't have any feeling that there was one condescending to them.

They didn't have any feeling that this was a reluctant, stooping down the didn't have any feeling that this man did not understand them know what it's saying is, he appeared as a man to them. They found him in appearance as a man, so much so, by the way that most of them didn't really know who he was. Did so much that he appears demand that they they really thought them no better than themselves. That's tragedy on the one hand, but on the other hand, what an illustration of humility. They didn't even see him as any different than them, but follow this. He isn't even reached yet.

The bottom is a seven step down in verse eight it says, he humbled himself, you say was not humble enough to be a man. No was not humble enough to be a poor man no was not humble enough to live the way they did with a simple life. He didn't ask for a palace. He didn't ask for a cherry didn't ask for servants. He didn't ask for a wardrobe. He didn't ask for golden jewelry didn't ask for anything. He lived as one of them appeared as one of them to them wasn't that enough know he step hello are down below that it wasn't enough just to be one of them. He went below that. Think of it the God who made the universe standing alongside a man named Joseph, helping them make a wooden yoke and a carpenter shop in Nazareth.

What condescension we went even below just working alongside men. He went down further than that. Hello, did he go verse eight he became obedient to the point of this, he went so low that he was willing to die for me, there is the epitome of humiliation. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

He didn't have to die volunteer no man took his life from them. He gave it up was an undeserved dad and it was a death of a humble person. He went all the way down and I say why did he do that because that was the way in which men had to be served because there was no way to deliver them from sin apart from death. Since the wages of sin or death.

Somebody had to die. Since God required to sacrifice someone had to be the sacrifice and if he was to help man truly he would have to die in man's place and pay the penalty for sin humility as she goes as far as it has to go to meet a need goes as far as it has to go to meet any what a model… How far to go to the point of death. That's not even the final wrong in the letter coming down. Look at the last one, even death on a cross.

That is the worst form of tortured death man has ever devised the incredible pain the unbelievable shaman nakedness and disgrace to say nothing of the spirit of people and their blows and their punches and jeers and beyond that the desertion of God, the guilt of sin, the excruciating experience of the cross.

But that's how far you want for sinners who didn't deserve it didn't even want it. And you still don't want except the garden is free, sovereign grace gives it to them. Sometimes humility is painful and sometimes it's so unfair and sometimes it's misunderstood and usually is very costly, but Jesus is the model he's the example. Let's bow together in prayer Lord, we confess right now that we love to live on level I. We love to exist as children of God blessed chosen gifted graced empowered, called, set apart priests, a royal family. We love that the Lords how hard it is to let go. You come all the way down where we look on the things of others not just our own and what we consider others more important than ourselves. That's what you've asked us to do. Forgive us, Lord, for not doing.

Please forgive us and strengthen us so that we might humble ourselves. May we see in our dear Christ, the pattern for our own humility. This is grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us. John's a writer, a conference speaker and Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary. He has titled our current study a plea for unity.

John is a way of wrapping up this study let me go in this direction. You've been in church ministry for basically your entire life and there been ups and downs in terms of unity and for that person is listening who attends a church that maybe is in a rough patch in terms of unity with your encouragement be what practical steps can we take to help bring about unity. Whether you're a leader or layperson.

Why think it starts.

First of all with the humbling yourself because humility is the ground in which love flourishes so you don't think on yourself and the things that concern you don't get angry. Don't become hostile. You'll become critical. You don't start gossiping no start tearing down you fine. I was just saying this is somebody the other day you find those people that you think are maybe the troublemakers in the church and you find a way to humbly love those people that's that's how you begin to make the steps in the right direction. If the issues of disunity and discord are coming from leadership.

II think in a gracious and kind and loving way. You go to the leader, and you confront you know the Bible only knows one way to deal with sin in the church. If you're in sin. This is right in the book of Matthew you go to the person and you call them to repentance and you offer them forgiveness and if they don't hear you go with two or three others and finally you tell the church mean the pattern of dealing with sin in the church is always direct you go to that person. Our Lord said, you know, make sure your own life is right and go in love and speak the truth and go to restore that one in love as the apostle Paul says so don't sit back and complain. Don't sit back and gossip.

Don't criticize express love.

Find the person that's maybe even the cause of that division and in humility, love that person and lovingly confront the issue if it's at a leadership level from the heart and then be patient and prayerful to see what the Lord does. If you follow the path of humble love your much better off and you're not going to have that bitterness and that the hostility that just keeps elevating and you're going to may be in God's kindness be part of the restoration of the church to the unity that you desire, but that's the close out on our series on a plea for unity, but that's just the beginning of applying it. Isn't it in your life and your ministry so we would love to get this series into your hand.

It's on five MP3 downloads from the website you can get a transcript or you get it in audio form, or you can order a five CD album if you would prefer that material that we would send to you. Glad to do it if you can find it helpful in ministering to the folks in your life.

That's right, friend cultivating true biblical unity will not only bring more joy to your church, but it will also strengthen your church's testimony in the community to order a plea for unity on five CDs or to download all five messages for free. Contact us today. Call our toll-free number any time 855 grace or go to our website. Also, anytime you can order the five CD album.

There are website is also where you go to download each lesson free of charge. Again, take advantage of the free MP3s and and while you're online. I would encourage you to click on the donate button at the top of the screen you learn how you can support us financially and help give people like you access to verse by verse teaching in small towns and big cities around the world. You can also express your support by regular mail right to grace to you. Box 4000 panorama city, CA 91412 or call us at 855 grace and are website one more time. Thanks also for mentioning this station's call letters when you get in touch that is more important than you may realize now for John MacArthur and the entire grace to you staff on Phil Johnson encouraging you to watch grace to you television this Sunday on DirecTV channel 378 or check your local listings for channeling times then be here tomorrow for another half hour of unleashing God's truth was at a time on grace to you

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