Philippians 2:7 - What Jesus Did For Us - Part I
1) It teaches us specific truth about the mystery of how God's own Son
became a man.
- our faith rests on the fact that a capable Person was willing and
able to pay for our sin.
- from the Garden of Eden onward----the issues of God's power and
holiness contrasted with man's rebellion and sinfulness are
fully in view.
- and what's especially in focus is the gap/separation that
our sin created.
- that’s what the OT sacrificial system was all about:
-- which repeatedly taught - "sin demands a sacrifice..."
- but the Scripture also taught that one day God would send a
Person who could/would pay for man's sin completely, once for
- many places in the OT speak of the coming Messiah---that’s why the
Jews were waiting for Him with such expectation.
- cf. Isa. 53:6 - All we like sheep have gone astray, we have
turned everyone to His own way; but the Lord hath laid on
Him the iniquity of us all.
- the problem with many in the Jewish nation in Jesus' day was that they
had added their own ideas/expectations of what the Messiah should be
to what the OT had predicted...
- but even without that---we would still say that it is challenging
to understand how God's own Son became a man.
- that’s part of the beauty/wonder of the Christmas message --
"Immanuel-God is with us."
- John 1:14 - "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,
and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of
the Father, full of grace and truth."
- point is - these verses in Philippians are some of the most detailed in
all the Bible when it comes to the matter of how Jesus Christ became
2) these verses are also important because they are intensely practical.
- If we have adopted the goal of becoming more like Christ (Rom. 8:29,
II Cor. 5:9), then verses like these should be of real interest to
us because they explain in very practical terms what our Lord was
3) They are a great help in marriage and child-rearing.
- We could spend weeks, if not months, fleshing out all the
implications of these verses to the way we function in marriage, and
the goals we have for our children, and the way we treat our
children as parents, and on and on.
- Most families would be significantly better of if these concepts
were more a part of the "way they did business."
4) These are also good verses to memorize.
Psalm 119:11 - Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin
- so for all those reasons, we want to be sure we study these verses
- last week, we looked at verses 2:5-6.
- those verses stressed that Christian unity in a matter of the mind.
- and that people who are putting off divisive habits are ones who are
seeking to think the way Jesus Christ thought---who did not
consider His rights/privileges/position something to be tightly
- I hope you had some opportunities this week to apply those ideas...
- and I hope you allowed the truth of the Scripture to put on the
mind of Christ, and therefore react in a way that was pleasing
- this morning we're going to concentrate on verse 7, and see three steps
Jesus took to be our Savior.
I. Our Lord Emptied Himself
KJV - made himself of no reputation
NASB - but emptied Himself
NIV - but made Himself nothing
- let me ask you a question at this point:
A. What is the relationship between verses 6 and 7?
- What is the relationship with this first phrase in verse 7 (He
emptied Himself) to the last phrase in verse 6 (did not
consider equality with God something to be grasped)?
- verse 7 describes the act, verse 6 describes the mindset
- what we're studying this morning is a natural progression
of what we concentrated on last week.
- another question we need to look at is:
B. Why is this phrase translated this way?
- if you're like me, you memorized this phrase from the KJV which
reads "made Himself of no reputation."
- that’s a good translation---but you'll notice that some of the
newer versions use the phrase "emptied Himself."
- the reason for that is – that’s exactly what the word in the
original is -- the Greek verb "kenow" which means "empty."
- the newer versions have chosen to translate that word very
literally, and that’s why you'll hear us talking about Christ
- (you may also hear someone talk about the "kenosis of Christ,"
the "kenosis passage" – that’s taken from this word)
C. Note the word "Himself."
- Paul is very emphatic about the fact that our Lord voluntarily
- in fact, in the text, the word "himself" comes before empty---
to emphasized the fact that Jesus did this Himself -- it was
voluntary because of His love for us -- and His desire to
submit to the will/plan of the Father.
- now all of this leads to a key question:
D. Of what did Jesus empty Himself?
- this is the kind of question we could discuss for days, but
William Hendriksen gives four answers that are especially
1. He gave up his favorable relation to the divine law.
- the point here is that because Jesus Christ was God, He was
- there was never guilt, there was never the penalty of guilt,
because Jesus Christ never sinned.
- but in agreeing to come to the earth as a man to save us---
He now was going to bear the penalty of our sin (not His,
of course) on the cross.
- John 1:29 - Behold the lamb of God, who taketh away the
sin of the earth.
- II Cor. 5:21 - He hath made Him, who knew no sin, to be
sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of
God in Him.
- the point is - Jesus Christ gave up the right of never
being personally associated with guilt, sin, separation
from the Father.
- He emptied Himself.
2. He gave up His riches
- a beautiful verse that goes along with what we're studying
this morning is II Cor. 8:9
- "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that
though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that
you through His poverty might be rich."
- now I think that passage is talking about more than
material riches, but Hendricksen is right in talking about
the riches Jesus gave up in coming to earth.
- think about the conditions in which he was born.
- not a palace (like we would have expected--like if it
was us--we would have demanded?)
- but a borrowed manger
- think about the conditions of his life
- Matt 8:20 - "...the foxes have holes, and the birds of
the air have nests, but the Son of Man has not where
to lay His head"
- think about the conditions of His death (we'll study more
about the cross next week)
- but even after He died for our sin---where was He
buried? (in a borrowed tomb)
- like one preacher said -- "That's OK, He wasn't
going to be there long!"
- the point is -- Jesus Christ emptied Himself -- He gave up the riches
"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was
rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His
poverty might be rich."
3. He gave up His heavenly glory
- in heaven, where truth is known and proclaimed, Jesus
Christ was worshipped because He is God.
- our Lord made reference to that in His high priestly prayer
"And now, O father, glorify thou me with thine own self with
the glory which I had with thee before the world was."
- but compare that to the treatment He received on earth:
Isa. 53:3 - He is despised and rejected of men, a man of
sorrows, acquainted with grief, and we hid as it were our
faces from Him, He was despised and we esteemed Him not."
4. He gave up the independent use of His authority
- John 5:30 - "I do not seek my own will, but the will of Him who
- Heb. 5:8 - "Though He was a Son, He learned obedience by the
things which He suffered."
- point is -- because Jesus Christ did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped (v. 6) he voluntarily emptied Himself of the
independent use of some of His attributes of deity.
E. Key phrase - "gave up."
- as you look over that list, the words that jump out at us are
- Jesus Christ gave up whatever needed to be given up in order to
serve His Father effectively.
- now there's an obvious point there -- isn't there?
- How are you at the matter of emptying yourself?
- Now we have to start a lot further back than our Lord did.
- He was willing to empty Himself of good things...of things
that legitimately belonged to Him.
- Kenneth Weust said - "The only Person in the world who
had the right to assert His rights waived them."
- but that’s not where you and I start.
- what about the matter of emptying ourselves of things
that we possess that are wrong (sinful habits) that
hinder us from serving God effectively?
- Hebrews 12:1-2 - "Wherefore, seeing we are compassed about
with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every
weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let
us run with patience the race that is set before us.
Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the
cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right
hand of the throne of God."
- see, when it comes to the matter of emptying ourselves, are we first
willing to work hard at emptying ourselves of the sinful habits that
hinder us from serving God?
- after we give that issue a "good look," then we can start thinking
about emptying ourselves of things that might rightly belong to us,
but if relinquished would help us minister better.
- that’s what this next phrase is about:
II. Our Lord Became A Servant
- "He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant."
A. In fulfillment of OT prophecy
- one of the remarkable things about the kind of Messiah the Jews
expected was that the OT had clearly prophesied in many places
that the Messiah would be a Servant.
- Isa. 42;1 - "Behold my servant whom I uphold; My chosen One in
whom my soul delights..."
B. The central focus of the life of Christ
Matt. 20:28 - "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered
unto, but to minister, and to give His life as a ransom for
Luke 22:27 - "...But I am among you as He that serves."
C. Our Lord wants this to be true of us.
John 13:12-14 - "...Know ye not what I have done unto you? You
call me Mater and Lord; and you say well, for so I am. If I,
then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also
ought to wash one another's feet."
INPUT - ways this can be true at home?
- at work?
- at church? (hit issue of serving---challenge folks to
join and get at it)
D. Implications to the way Paul was handling his imprisonment?
- cf. 1:1 - "...the servants of Jesus Christ"
E. Implications to church unity?
- cf. the context of the verse.