Philippians Week 5: What’s the Big Deal about Easter?

LAST WEEK: 27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ,

1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,

Four different types of experiences to reflect back on and remember to motivate them to love one another within; basically he wants them to remember the sweetness they had when they first came to Christ and the sweetness of all of Christ’s gracious dealing with them.

So if there is any encouragement in Christ: having them think back to their salvation experience when Christ met them in the depth of their sin and brought them to life (discouragement went to encouragement). There was hope!

Any comfort from love: they are unconditionally loved and accepted by God through faith in Jesus because of Jesus’ great act of love in dying for His enemies. Comfort also comes from their security of being a child of God, deeply loved.

Any participation in the Spirit: This word is koinon, the fellowship word that is so embedded in the argument of Philippians… One body in Christ, by the Spirit. This is the enduring reality of our lives — fellowship in the Spirit.1

Any affection and sympathy: this affection and sympathy for others is the result of being saved from the wrath of God, forgiven, declared righteous and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Paul is having them think back and remember all that the Lord has done in their lives and in their community from the first day until now. He is emotionally compelling and it is right to let ourselves emotionally feel and remember our past experiences with the Lord and other believers.

Now that Paul has their emotions tied up with the powerful outworking of the gospel, he says:

Then… 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Paul desires unity among the believers. He starts with calling them to have the “same mind” then he ends the sentence by calling them to have “one mind”.

Paul is saying, if the gospel has brought you any encouragement, comfort, love, fellowship with the Spirit, and affection and sympathy for one another, then: 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Humility and lowliness is the end product of those who have experienced the depths of their redemption. They realize they are so sinful that Jesus had to die for them. This is humbling. But when you do realize this, you also realize the depths of Jesus’ love for you in that you were undeserving, but He loved you so much that He was glad to die for you!

Humility is the new way to be human. In God’s economy, if you want to be rich, you gotta become poor. If you want to be somebody, you gotta be nobody. If you want to get a life, you gotta lose your life… Why is this so….ANSWER: Look to JESUS.

Some scholars say that this next passage (5-11) was an early Christian hymn that was written soon after Christ died and ascended to heaven, but either way, it is our Christian hope:

5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 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.

v. 5: Have this mind among you, which is yours in Christ Jesus: The Lord doesn’t desire a mind to be full of info, rather He desires the reformation of our lives.

v. 6: who, though he was in the form (the whole outward appearance) of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped: Christ’s existence has been eternal (always has and always will be). He has always shared in the glory of God. Jesus alludes to this in His High Priestly prayer in John 17:5: And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

Hebrews 1:3: He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. Jesus doesn’t “reflect” the glory of God, He radiates God’s (His own) glory.

This great and mighty God not only came down to dwell with man, but He did not use His God-hood (or power) for His own advantage. He gave up the right to flex His muscles while He was here on earth (see vv. 3-4: 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves).

In verse 6 we see the humility of the pre-incarnate Christ, now we see His humility in His coming to earth: v. 7: but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

Christ didn’t empty Himself literally, rather, He emptied Himself of all the praise and glory He received in heaven.

Consider that, leaving such a high place of prestige and becoming a servant with the single minded purpose of redeeming the very ones who reject Him?

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

Jesus fully identified Himself with mankind. He was not an imposter, a copy, a fake. He was God, in the flesh, who became a man, lived a perfect life, and suffered death on a cross for the payment of sins that we deserved. He took on our flesh, our sin, our shame, our death, and was cut off from God, because He was the only one who had the currency to take it and not have it destroy Him.

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.

The main difference will be that you will be among the number who bows the knee to Jesus…no one will be bowing the knee to you. You tracking with me?

OK, since it’s Easter Sunday, we must take a turn here and focus on the reality of this great news of Jesus, coming, dying and rising up out of the grave, and one day all creation bowing their knee to His kingship and declare Him Lord of all. What does this mean to you and I this morning. What’s the big deal about Easter? To answer that this morning, we are going to turn to:

1 Peter 1:3-5: 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

This passage gives us a full glimpse of the good news of Jesus, and if you look closely, you can see the past, present and future tenses of our reality, if indeed you are a new creation in Christ Jesus.

We see the same past, present, future tenses of the gospel in 1 Cor. 15:1-6: Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

1) PAST – v. 3a: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep

Paul has this to say about this important news: Romans 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,

Why do we need salvation? Gen. 1-3 overview, and Eph. 2:1-4: 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. // Rom. 3:23: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

So God created man, gave us Himself, set the standard with which to keep if we are to remain with Him, we didn’t listen, and now we continually look to our own standard and do not acknowledge God as Sovereign Ruler and Creator, and try to take His place. All of us who are born after Adam have inherited this rebelliousness in our DNA.
Rom. 5:12: Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—

BUT…  This is a good “but”, especially since it’s coming after such horrible news. It could be similar to hearing that you have just eaten meat that is filled with a bacteria that will destroy your body over the next 10 years, slowly eating away the lining of your veins and your major organs and death is certain for 100% of it’s victims, BUT, there is oner person who can cure this disease, and not only that, but He can cure you in such a way that when you do eventually die years later, that you will live again, with a new body that will never die, or feel pain or sadness. You would say, “Now that’s one sweet ‘but’!”

BUT God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Eph. 2:5-9)

Faith in this past news removes guilt and shame. Theologians call this justification.
You have been saved from the power of sin (Eph. 2:1-5). You have been given the righteousness of God through Jesus and you are seen as righteous before God. When you sin, you can immediately run to the cross and repent and not live in guilt and shame for days before you feel right before God.
If you are in Christ and you don’t truly believe this, then you are always going to hold yourself to a standard that you can’t live up to. You’ll be plagued by guilt and shame and unworthiness. You are going to punish yourself for your sin and think that you have to add to the work that Jesus already finished. The Gospel gives you instant identity in Christ and justification means you are declared righteous before God.

2) PRESENT – vv. 3b: he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Eph. 2:10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

2 Cor. 3:18: And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Col. 2:6-7: 6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

The present “good news” is that God in his love and power is making you like Jesus. Theologians call this sanctification. You are continually being saved (sanctified) by the gospel and are held by it’s power for daily righteous living (1 Cor. 15:1-2). Often we live at the cross and not at the resurrection too.

We must believe that Jesus died and He rose again to new life so we can have new life too. If the resurrection isn’t true, then as Paul says, 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Cor. 15:17-19).

How do you know someone gets the Gospel? Their life changes and they live by the power of God and God continually brings them to places where they can’t live on their own. They realize their sinfulness more and more, and then God’s holiness is more and more realized. That means you were worse off than you thought before God saved you and God’s holiness if much more holy than you ever thought, which means the cross means so much more to you than ever and is bigger in your life than ever. (diagram)

3) FUTURE – 1 Peter 1:3-5: 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Romans 8:23-26: 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Revelation 21:1-4: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

This future “good news” is that God has sealed your fate in Christ Jesus. He not only saved you from the consequences of sin and is freeing you from the power of sin, but He’s gonna free us from the presence of sin forever. Theologians call this glorification.

This is our HOPE! Your salvation is kept for you and will never fade. It can’t be touched because God has done the work and is keeping it until the day you receive your full inheritance if indeed you have not believed in vain (1 Cor. 15:2).

This confidence keeps you from praying the prayer a million times wondering if you’re really saved. This allows you to trust God and not some prayer that you prayed. This allows you to endure suffering, pain and all kinds of hardship, because you know that the hope that awaits you is far better than anything you have ever, seen, heard or imagined. Glorified body reigning with Jesus for eternity.

If you do not believe this, you will constantly doubt your salvation and try to prove yourself to God and others, which is a never ending, tiresome, insufficient way to be accepted by God. Actually, not having faith in the resurrection will lead you to eventually  running from God when tough times come or when you suffer.

But faith in this news, makes you righteous, grows you into being like Jesus, and one day will glorify you and raise your dead body to life to live forever with the Lord.

THIS INDEED IS GREAT NEWS and THIS IS THE BIG DEAL ABOUT EASTER!

Past: justification: you are free from the payment of sin.
Present: sanctification: you are being freed from the power of sin
Future: glorification: you will be free from the presence of sin.
This weekend in history is the hinge (the cross) and the door (the resurrection) of Christianity.

Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (His coming for us, His death for us, and His resurrection for us) and you will be saved!

Let’s pray!

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