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Four Rights Jesus Gave Up

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
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December 24, 2021 12:00 am

Four Rights Jesus Gave Up

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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December 24, 2021 12:00 am

What did God give up in order to become a man? What rights did He set aside for our sake? The answer is as humbling as it is amazing. LINKS: Visit our website: Make a donation: Free ebook: Free issue of our magazine:

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So you look at him as you read the Gospel accounts. He stood before Pilate and what did he do? Absolutely nothing. He gave up the right to a fair trial.

And as you read that story as I did this past week, I'd like to jump in that story and when Pilate asks him those questions, I want to say, Lord, tell him, you know, call out fire. Do a miracle. Speak up. Why? Because that's the way I'm wired. That's the way you are too in this society. We stand up for our rights. Here is someone who came and he gave it all away before the foundations of the world.

I've already decided to die this way. I gave up my rights. When's the last time you heard about a person demanding his rights? Or maybe a group of people marching or protesting in demand of their rights? Our inalienable rights are good and are a blessing from God.

But let me change the question. When's the last time you heard a person or group voluntarily give up their rights for someone who doesn't have any? Well, as Christians, we know at least one person. Jesus gave up all of his rights for you when you had no rights, at least when it came to your relationship with God.

Welcome to Wisdom for the Heart. Today, Stephen Davey takes you to Philippians in a sermon he's calling four rights that Jesus gave up. In September 1607, Captain John Smith won the first lawsuit in what would become America's first jury trial. Seems that another soldier by the name of Edward Wingfield accused Smith of being a liar. In fact, the court records document that he accused Smith of being much more than that.

He said that he acted beggarly in Ireland as a rogue without license. Well, John Smith faced defamation of character, so he took Edward to court. In the first libel suit recorded in American history, John Smith won. And his settlement would be on today's economy somewhere around $5,000. Well, that case was rare and in defense of Smith's character and reputation.

But as I read that for the first time this past week, the old commercial came to mind. You've come a long way, baby, and we have because we now live in a suit craze society. In fact, I've read that one out of four Americans will be involved in a lawsuit of some sort or some kind, either directly or indirectly. One of the magazines I subscribed to came and there was an article by George F. Will on our suit craze society. It talked about one elementary girl who sued her school and won $15,000 from the courts because they did not remove, swiftly enough, graffiti on the restroom wall. Or the Princeton University student that George F. Will commented on who climbed on top of a building on the campus of Princeton University where he was a student and he was electrocuted by some machinery that was there on the roof and now he is in turn suing Princeton University for damages. He also told about the 17-year-old girl who tried out for the high school football team this past season. If school authorities said she couldn't, she would have sued them for violation of her rights and so they remained quiet in the first scrimmage she was hurt. And she is now suing that particular Board of Education $1.5 million because, as she says, no one told her of the potential risks of serious injury and error in the sport.

She ought to watch Monday Night Football with me. Long and more tragic note, a Duxbury, Massachusetts fireman clubbed his wife severing an ear, leaving her partially deaf. She took him to court and she lost.

The judge acquitted him, saying he was temporarily insane. However, the fire department fired him from his job and that was a big mistake. And now, after seven years of litigation, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination has filed a report that is forcing the fire department to hire him back to pay him $200,000 plus 12% interest on back pay due to emotional distress caused him. Justice lies wounded in the street and injustice sits enthroned. All we ever seem to hear today are people who have lost their rights, and I'm all for keeping rights inalienable, rights that are ours as American citizens, but all we hear about are people who are demanding their rights. I will have my rights, whatever they may be.

We don't hear anymore of a person who voluntarily gives up their rights for somebody who doesn't have any rights. I want to rehearse to you the simple story of a person who 2,000 years ago gave up all his rights to you and I who didn't have any. It's the age-old Christmas story and I want to turn your attention to the second chapter, not of Luke, but of Philippians. And I want to give you four rights that Jesus Christ gave up on that first Christmas morning and on until his resurrection for our sake. Philippians chapter 2, right number one.

Jesus Christ, nearly 2,000 years ago, gave up the right to live like God. Look at verse 5 with me. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who although he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. By the way, ladies and gentlemen, this is one of the strongest defenses in the New Testament of the deity of Jesus Christ. He was the second person of the Godhead.

He would become the visible bodily form of that Godhead. He had, in effect, equal rights with the Father and the Spirit. And it says here that he did not grasp those rights. He literally gave them up.

He gave up the right to live with all of his majesty and glory with God, right number one that he gave up. And that is quite a riches to rags story, if we have ever heard one. I read some time ago of David Buick, who founded the Buick car company. A man who lived the life of a millionaire and made millions off the sale of his particular line of cars.

Willie Duran ultimately brought it into GM. But Buick would lose his fortune. In fact, he was so destitute that he had to declare bankruptcy, and in the later years of his life was unable to buy a car with his name on it.

He was too poor. Or Willie Duran himself, who took all of the automotive strings and pulled them together. You ought to read an interesting biography.

Read his. He pulled all the strings together. He was a creative genius, but he wasn't able to organize what he created, and so he lost his fortune. Eventually tried to compete against that he created called General Motors. He bought out men like Olds of Oldsmobile and Buick. All of them, and he put them together. Ultimately, he tried to compete against GM, and he lost his fortune. Forty-five years ago he died, and his last job was managing a bowling alley.

Too poor to own a car. But all of those stories pale in significance when you think of the one who rode upon the wind, who had multitudes of cherubim and seraphim singing to his holiness and to his glory, and he comes down and he becomes like one of us. He gave up his right to live like God.

Right number two. Jesus Christ gave up the right to act like God. Look at verse seven. He emptied himself, taking the form of a bondservant, being made in the likeness of men. Now your translation may say that he made himself of no reputation. The word made of himself of no reputation is one original word, or emptied himself is one original word, kanao, which means to empty. It's called the kenosis of Jesus Christ, the emptying of Christ. The question is, what did he empty himself of? His deity? There are those who would say so.

No. I think the original word kanao helps because it's translated throughout the New Testament, empty-handed. Jesus Christ, who with his own hands, Colossians tells us, created the universes, now he empties his hands of the prerogatives of deity, of the independent use of his sovereign power. He is giving up the right to, upon a whim, act like God.

The kenosis. Jesus Christ could have smashed his way through history, manipulating everything from the weather every day to his workbench in the carpenter's shop. Now there were times when Jesus Christ expressed his divine power. Acts chapter 2 verse 22 tells us it was to accredit himself as God, a very God. But he limited what theologians call himself to the independent use of his attributes.

That's why he was always talking with the Father, doing the will of the Father in his function on earth. Now what do you think about this carpenter for a minute? I mean, let's face it, if you and I had the power, would you slave and hammer and saw and sand?

No. You and I would twinkle our noses like Samantha, and there it is. We would snap our finger like some genie, and there is that bed, there is that bureau, there is that table, there is that desk, there it is.

No sweat, no labor. Jesus Christ lived the life of an ordinary carpenter working hard in his father's business, his earthly stepfather's business. So he didn't empty himself of his deity, but of the independent use of his attributes, and he became an ordinary man. In fact, so ordinary, ladies and gentlemen, that when he introduced himself as to who he was, his stepbrothers, or his half-brothers and half-sisters, didn't even believe him.

Him, God, can't be. Look back at the verse again, verse 7. He emptied himself, taking the form of a bondservant. Now don't miss this, because a bondservant in that day never really owned anything. All that they had was in a sense dependence upon the one who owned them.

And how does Jesus measure up as a bondservant? Well, he didn't own anything either. He borrowed everything. The manger that he came to lie in was borrowed and go back to the cattle the next day.

He never owned a home, the Gospels tell us. He didn't own a place where he could pillow his head. He borrowed places to sleep. He borrowed a boat to go across the Sea of Galilee. He borrowed that donkey that rode him into the city of Jerusalem.

He borrowed the upper room where he would meet with his disciples, and the tomb where he was buried was borrowed. Here's a person who has given up the right to act like God. He could have had anything he wanted at any time, but yet here's a man with absolutely no advantages or privileges. He lived as a slave.

Write number 3. Jesus Christ gave up the right to look like God. Before his incarnation, he was clothed with divine splendor, but now he takes on the human form of a Jewish male. Dark skin, dark curly hair.

Now the problem is you and I can't really be that objective. We don't think it's so bad to become a human. I think all of the created creatures, no hippopotamus thinks he looks that ugly. They look kind of suave.

No gorilla thinks he looks all that bad. It's hard to step back and look at humans like, well, what's so bad about that? When Marcia and I moved into our home, the rented home in West Raleigh where we would live for a few years, I discovered why those people had wanted to move out. I had to pick it out because she and our twin boys who were five months old were in Atlanta.

So I searched and searched for a house that we could afford and finally found one. And the first time I went to that house to look at it, this family had cats everywhere. I don't like cats. But I know that a lot of you, a lot of you like cats. You're weird, I know.

I can say that and you can't talk back. Isn't that terrible? In fact, the day I went to see that house, there was a cat on the counter eating leftover food from one of the people's plates. That was sick. So when they moved out, we moved in and my brother, I got him from Virginia, one of my younger brothers, and we painted that whole house. We painted every room. We cleaned it all out. We cleaned the carpet as best as we could.

And then I moved Marsha and our five-month-old boys in. And a couple of weeks after we were living there, we were always scratching our ankles. There were little red spots. And we didn't know what to think about it until one night as we had our little boys on a blanket on the floor, I reached down to brush a black speck from one of my son's cheeks and it jumped just as I reached for it. Fleas. That house was infested with fleas. We had the carpet professionally cleaned.

I think it was $29.95. That didn't work. I even went to the store, one of the hardware stores, and I got one of those bombs. You know those bombs?

The directions say that one bomb would take care of our house. Didn't work. Still had fleas. We did everything that you could imagine to try to get rid of those fleas, but we could not get them to leave. We even called the exterminators out.

Didn't work. So finally we were going away for a couple of days, and I loaded the boys and Marsha up in the car, got all the stuff, all the suitcases all loaded up, and then I went back in the house. This was war. I put a bomb in every room of that house, and I let them off.

And then we drove away. I wondered if anybody would call the fire department with smoke billowing out of that poor house. When we got back, no more fleas. No more house. No, I don't hate fleas.

I don't really know a lot about them. I would have been glad to gather up all 1,000 of them in a cup or something and take them over to the neighbor's cat. But how could I tell them the bomb day was coming?

How could I tell them that I really didn't think that poorly of them, but if they didn't get out of my house, they were going to die? I know. Become a flea. That would be humiliation.

Because I would limit all the freedoms that I have, everything that I can experience, and I would become a little flea. Ladies and gentlemen, whether we can be objective enough to recognize when Jesus Christ left Heaven's glory, he became a little man. And he landed not on satin sheets.

If we were God, we would have designed it that way. But he lands on prickly straw. He's surrounded by munching cattle and the smell of manure. He is God who is giving up all of his rights to become a little baby boy. And he gave up his rights throughout life.

What did this man look like? Well, Isaiah 53 tells us, don't turn there. We don't have time. But let me just read you the first three verses. It says, who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up, this is talking about Jesus, before him like a tender shoot and like a root out of parched ground. He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon him, nor appearances that we should be attracted to him. For goodness sake, if we were God and we were going to become a man, we'd at least make us look a little bit like John Wayne and Robert Redford, all mixed up. He picks an ordinary Jewish look. He's just a plain dough who blends in with the rest of the nation. He didn't just give up his right.

It's as if he threw them all away. In 1947, when Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh were married, everybody came to London, who was anybody. Monarchs came from around the world, even King Faisal II, the 12-year-old monarch from Iraq. And on the day of the parades and the festivities, he was dressed in ordinary street clothes for some reason, and he was more interested in seeing the stallions and the steeds than anything else, and so he pushed his way through the policeman to get a better view, and he was treated roughly by the policeman. And when the news got out who he was, the London newspapers carried the story the next day, and the headlines read, We're sorry, King Faisal. We didn't know who you were.

That's exactly what happened here. Jesus Christ gave up the right to look like God and was mistreated, ultimately crucified by a nation, and by us had we been there because we really didn't know who he was. Look, we've never seen God before, but if we were and we knew what he looked like, certainly this man, 33-year-old, wouldn't be God. He gave up the right to look like God. It leads me to the last right that Jesus gave up, right number four, in verse eight. Jesus gave up the right to be treated like God.

Look at it with me. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Isaiah in that same chapter I read from says he was despised and rejected. That's not the way to treat a king, of men. He was despised and we did not esteem him. You could render that Hebrew phrase, we did not think he was important. And Paul highlights here the cruelty of the cross. He says, look back, he became obedient to the point of death. Even, get this, imagine this, even the death of the cross. That doesn't mean a lot to us. Perhaps if it had said even the death of the electric chair, it might mean more, but it wouldn't really fit unless we redesigned the electric chair to slowly burn a person to death over six to eight hours.

Then maybe there would be a little bit more of a parallel. This was the most inhumane way to treat someone. The Persians created this way to torture people to death, those who were enemies of their state. In fact, a Roman citizen was free from ever worrying of being hung on a cross because it was so despicable, so humiliating, and so torturing. But he not only came to die, be treated unlike God would be treated, he came to die on a cross. And so you look at him as you read the Gospel accounts. He stood before Pilate, and what did he do? Absolutely nothing. He gave up the right to a fair trial.

And as you read that story, as I did this past week, I'd like to jump in that story, and when Pilate asks him those questions, I want to say, Lord, tell him, you know, call down fire, do a miracle, speak up. Why? Because that's the way I'm wired.

That's the way you are too in this society. We stand up for our rights. Here is someone who came, and he gave it all away. And he said, you can treat me like an inhumane slave, but before the counsels of God, before the foundations of the world, I've already decided to die this way. I gave up my rights. And he didn't demand worship then.

He still doesn't. An education report came out telling, or designed to help teachers and principals over what they call the December Dilemma. It's a problem, you know. And they suggested several things in this booklet on how teachers are supposed to handle it so they can get through Christmas without ever mentioning Jesus. They suggested, first of all, avoid asking students to explain their beliefs and customs. Focus on how and when holidays are celebrated, not why. Teach through attribution, i.e.

by reporting that some Buddhists believe this. Finally, the educators were reminded that nativity, pageants, and plays are not appropriate. Why are we having this party? My wife took a rather courageous step. She asked the teachers, public school teachers of our boys, if she could come in and tell the Christmas story. Boy, there was a flurry, you know. Their memos were being sent and letters and people were discussing.

And the answer came back, yes, you can. So I happened to be able to go along that first day when she went to Seth's first grade class. And as she told the story, you know, that age group is not the kind of age group that sits still very long, but for 20 minutes those kids were enraptured, as Marcia told, through a flanograph and other objects. The story of Christmas. In fact, when she would take one flanograph background off and expose another one and put up the little figurines, the kids oohed and awed, we were wondering if they'd even want to sit still and listen.

Probably some of them heard for the first time why America's throwing this big bash. But near the end of it, a little girl raised her hand and she said, why was Jesus called the Son of God? My wife looked over at me and she said, well, I'd like my husband to answer that question.

Thanks a lot. So I'm up there, you know, what am I supposed to talk about, the kenosis, you know, the second person of the Godhead, kenao means this, and I stumbled all over my feet, you know. But here's a little girl who didn't know who Jesus was. If I were God, I'd write it in the sky so nobody could ever forget every year. He's still giving up the right to demand worship.

It's a gift you and I give him because of what he gave us. Can you imagine, as America will do, coming to a birthday party and inviting everybody there except the person whose birthday it is, can you imagine having a birthday party and giving presents to everybody else who comes but not to the person whose birthday it is? We're going to do that this week as a nation. Are you going to do it as a family? Have you given your heart? Will you worship him?

Will you see the Lord and Master of your life? You think of all of the lawsuits. I imagine if somebody whose birthday it was, was not invited to a party, they'd probably sue all the partiers for emotional distress. But you think of all of the lawsuits of people who got what they didn't deserve or who didn't get what they thought they deserved or who were treated unfairly and on down the line it goes and here is a person who gave up his rights, the right to live like God, the right to act like God, the right to look like God and the right to be treated like God. Why did Jesus Christ give up all of those rights?

I'll tell you why. John 1-10 tells us, As many as received him, to them he gave the right to be called children of God. Jesus Christ gave up all of his rights so that he could give you and I the right to be a child of God.

Ladies and gentlemen, of all of the rights that are claimed in our society, that is one right that you'd better claim. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, we are grateful.

We are grateful as far too small a word for what you have done for us. We cannot even begin to discuss or understand the incarnation. God becoming a baby. God becoming flesh. But we can understand because you've given it to us the motivation.

It was to give us the privilege of sin's forgiveness, security eternally of heaven, and a life that's worth living. My friend, if you have never given Jesus Christ the gift of worship, you've never given him your heart. You've never bent your knee to him.

He's just somebody that you know about, that you talk about. And you've come to worship and you've sort of looked around and you've noticed the faces of people and you've heard the singing and you've heard the message and perhaps you agree with everything that's been said, but you have never made it yours. You've never said personally that I want this baby who's grown up, who is crucified, who died, who was buried, who rose again, who's coming back to be my Savior.

You can do that now. All you have to do is pray a simple prayer, something like, Lord Jesus, I recognize now who you are. You are God come in the flesh and you've come to die for me. You've given up all of your rights to give me the right to be related to you.

And I want to claim that right as mine. I want to ask you to forgive my sin. I want to thank you that you've offered me eternal life and I want to take it as my own. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for becoming my Savior. Our Father, for those here who know you, we have come to remind ourselves that you are worthy of our adoration and our love. You have done so much for us. We cannot understand or comprehend the rights that you've given up for us. Oh, but we thank you.

And we do in fact adore you. In Jesus' name, Amen. Thanks for joining us today on this Christmas Eve edition of Wisdom for the Heart.

Stephen's message today is entitled, Four Rights that Jesus Gave Up. And I hope it was a blessing to you. Before we go, I want to mention that we have a gift on our website, a free Christmas ebook called An Indescribable Gift. Just go to and there will be a link that takes you right to the resource. I'm Scott Wiley and for Stephen and the entire Wisdom team, I wish you a Merry Christmas. I hope you have a wonderful day.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-05 17:36:06 / 2023-07-05 17:46:53 / 11

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