Sunday, September 30, 2012

Downward Mobility

The service began with uncommon punctuality as Pastor Brad greeted us and indicated that today’s message will be on the familiar passage from Philippians 2:5-11. 

Today's Announcements:
Brief meeting with the council after the service today.
Thursday at 7 p.m. building committee meeting here at the church.
Brooke noted that this Wednesday we'll be hosting the first Family Night, with Adventure Club meetings for youth and young adults, 6:00 – 7:30.
Dawn Walsh mentioned a fund raiser for blankets during the month of October for Bethany Crisis Shelter, an on-going need that we have helped with in the past.
Paula also requested old flannel shirts for a special quilt being made.
Chuck said the Salvation Army Brass Band will be in town this Friday, 6:30 pm at Salvation Army.

Darlene initiated worship with a tender rendition of This Is My Father’s World. Then, Drake Peterson and Megan Blomberg, seniors at UMD, were introduced. Originally from other parts of Minnesota currently in leadership with Campus Crusade at the university. Trivia: Drake is the mascot for the UMD Bulldogs.

Drake and Megan led us in worship this morning and hope to become more involved with our church family this coming year.

Come Holy Spirit
Come in the wind
Come be Lord of our hearts
Come fill your Church once again…

After worship we shifted to a time of prayer for the various needs in our church family. 

Downward Mobility

Brad began with the commnet that Philippians 2:5-11 is an earth-shattering text.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

This text ties to everything in history from the Garden of Eden onward. Upward mobility is what life seems to be about for people of all ages. Downsizing, downscaling, demotion, etc. all have a negative connotation. The values in this passage are not embraced many. It is perhaps the most counter-conventional passage in Scripture.

Paul’s life goal in Phil. 1 is plain: “For me, to live is Christ… and to die and be with Christ is even better."

What does living for Christ mean? In this passage Paul shows that it has something to do with downward mobility.

Vs 5: Think like Jesus thought. Have Jesus’ attitude...

Brad noted that this passage shows seven downward steps to greatness in the eyes of God.

Where did Jesus start from? He was God. He began at the top. He was never a VP like Joe Biden or junior partner to God. He was equal to God, a singular person in the Godhead.

“He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped.”

First voluntary demotion: From God to being a human….

How willing are you willing to loose your grip on your own prerogatives? We tend to be clutchers… power, positions, possessions… We have difficulty letting go…

“He made himself nothing…” He emptied himself. He did not cease from being God, but he put aside his God-rights. He divested himself of that which He had every right to hold.

Verses 3-5 all relate to the incarnation:
~ The God of the universe took on the appearance of a man
~ To be made in the likeness of man
~ To become a bondservant

Here's an amazing thought. God took on the binding confines of the flesh to rub shoulders with people whom He created. It's a mind-boggling transition. Jesus relaxes his grip to take on the likeness of a bondservant, serving obstinate sinful people.

From there He humbled Himself yet even further and became obedient unto death. He let death win. The eternal life-giver gives up His life. And not just any death... He became obedient to the humiliation of crucifiction, the most intense form of hellish suffering, all the while being mocked. This is the basement of human abasement.

Best selling books are usually rags to riches books. What Paul outlines here is a fully contrarian stance… riches to rags. Jesus decreased and downscaled to lose on purpose. This happened in history. There were eyewitnesses and Jesus did it out of love for you and me. That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow…

There will be a day when the world wakes up to who Jesus is. When people die and enter the world beyond the veil each will hear the thunderous high-volume choruses of He is Lord.

Why did Paul write this text? To remind us of who Jesus was? Not primary though true. Rather, Paul is calling every Christian to a life of downward mobility.

Decreasing, demoting, downscaling for the advancement for the Gospel.

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