Philippians 2:7 - What Jesus Did For Us - Part I

Dr. Steve Viars July 29, 1995 Philippians 2:7

Phil. 2:5-11

  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
    a man.

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
       against thee.

- 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
          to Him.

- 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
           "emptying Himself."

        - (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
            did this.
        - 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
    of heaven
     "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
             sent me."

        - 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
          "gave up."

       - 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.

III. Our Lord Became A Man

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video