Philippians 2:9-11 “The Glory of Christ”
The Lord Jesus Christ is worthy of our worship! I must admit that I do not always live as though this is true. Sometimes I get so caught up in the things of this world that I forget who Jesus Christ is, I forget that all things exist for his glory and that I was made to worship him. Today we are called to take a fresh look at Jesus Christ and to worship him.
Follow along with me as I read Philippians 2:9-11 from the English Standard Version:
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
This is the Holy Word of God. Let us pray…
Since God has exalted Christ, let us worship him! Today I want us to consider three truths from this passage which should lead us to worship:
- Christ has been exalted!
- Christ has the highest name!
- Christ brings glory to the Father!
- Christ has been exalted!
The text begins with ‘therefore’. The reason why God the Father exalted Christ is because Christ lovingly and willing submitted himself to the depths of humiliation. Last week we learned that Jesus Christ, who is the eternal Son of God, considered us more important than himself, did not cling to his position as almighty God, but became a man, endured all the hardships of this life, and suffered a shameful death on a cross. It is for this reason that God the Father exalted him.
When we read that God highly exalted him, we must understand that the Greek word here translated communicates no small or typical exaltation. This is not the mere justification of an innocent man formerly charged of a crime. Nor is it the crowning of a king or the installation of a president. This is a supreme exaltation, that of one seen as a mere man who was humbled by being hung naked on a cross, being raised to the height of the glory of the eternal God!
The eternal Son of God, who is very God of very God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe would have needed no exaltation but for the fact that he willingly set aside his divine privileges, became a man, and humbled himself to the point of death on a cross.
It was precisely because of this humiliation that Christ has been exalted. The Father would not have been just to have allowed Christ to remain unknown, unworshipped, and lowly. Christ won his exaltation. He deserves to be worshipped and adored. Indeed, he came for this very purpose, to save for himself a people who would worship and enjoy him forever! In his condescension he relates to the least of us, for there is no suffering, poverty, sickness or trial which we may endure but which Christ did not suffer in even greater measure! How then is Christ to be rewarded for such loving condescension? Only in the supreme exaltation of God the Father.
Beloved, here we learn that Christ did not merely come that we might have a good life, he did not condescend merely to bless us so we could live lives independent of him. What groom loves a bride and sacrifices for her without the intent of entering a deep and personal relationship with her? What groom loves his bride without expectation of her reciprocating?
Christ lay down his life for us! He came to win for himself a bride! We are his bride! We must rejoice in his exaltation as a bride in her husband’s promotion! We must praise him, congratulate him, and adore him, for his exaltation is justified! He is God Almighty, and he has suffered that we might know and adore him!
So let us worship him today! Let us sing our songs of praise with hearts which long for Christ! Let us reflect upon all that he has done for us with gratitude. Let us give thanks to the Lord for he is good and his love endures forever! Let us gather for worship! May our lives be lived in service to the Christ who loves us, who gave his life for us, and who is now exalted!
2. Christ has the highest name!
The text tells us that God the Father bestowed upon Christ his eternal Son the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!
Beloved, what name has Christ been given? In this text he is referred to as Jesus, Christ, and Lord. Jesus means Savior, Christ means anointed one and refers to his roles as supreme prophet, priest and king, and Lord refers to his divinity. For the greek work Kurios is used in the septuagint of to translate the Old Testament name of God, YHWH. So God has bestowed upon Jesus Christ not merely the role of savior of the world, nor even the position of supremely anointed prophet, priest, and king, but ultimately the recognition that he is the eternal and divine God, the existing and self-revealing creator of the universe who always has been and always will be. The uncreated one. Yes beloved, God has revealed to the world through the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ that he is indeed God Almighty, the second person of the Trinity!
How are we to respond to this revelation? According to the text, we are to respond with bended knees and a common confession that Jesus Christ is God! Indeed, all of creation will ultimately bend their knees in submission to Christ Jesus as Lord and God. The text tells us that every knee in heaven and on earth and under the earth will bow. What does this mean? Those in heaven are the angels. Those on earth are all mankind whether believers or God’s enemies, and those under the earth are the demons. One day when Christ returns, every created being will bow their knees in reverence and worship! But some will do so out of fear and others from hearts of joy! The holy angels and the saints do not wait until the last day to bow the knee or to confess that Jesus Christ is God Almighty! We joyfully acknowledge the exalted Christ today, living accordingly! But the lost who do not repent and place their faith in Jesus will one day bow and confess even though they will never know the joy of salvation!
It is important to understand that this entire passage of scripture is a commentary on the book of Isaiah. We do not have time to walk through Isaiah this morning, but Jesus Christ is the suffering servant of Isaiah, the one whom Isaiah prophesied would humble himself and become a servant, offering himself up to death that we might be saved. Isaiah explained the purpose for this humility of the coming suffering servant in Isaiah 45:23 which says, “By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.”
Beloved, we must be a people who do not wait until the return of Christ to worship and bow down to Christ Jesus the Lord! We must live our lives in submission to Jesus Christ. We must seek to love, serve and obey him!
How do we do this? Not by deciding to be better or to live better, but by receiving the gift of God in Christ, for, as we will learn next week, it is God who works in and through us to worship and serve the Lord!
Last week we heard the call of God on our lives, God told us how we are to worship him. We are to love others with the same love of Christ which we have received. We are to count others as more important than ourselves. Out of love and obedience to Jesus Christ, we are to live lives of humility just as Christ humbled himself. And the promised reward is coming in next weeks text, that we who participate in Christ’ humiliation will also participate in his exaltation!
3. Christ brings glory to the Father!
The text gives us the ultimate reason for the humiliation and exaltation of Christ, and it was not our salvation! Our sins and need for a Savior provided an opportunity for God to reveal the depths of His lovingkindness. But the reason why Christ humbled himself and served us even to the point of dying on a cross in our place, and the reason why he was given a name above every name, the reason why every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord is that these actions bring glory to God the Father.
How does the Father receive glory when the Son is exalted and worshipped? This is counter-intuitive. The way the world thinks about glory is that there can only be one who receives the glory. There is only one first place prize for any race, only one richest man on the earth, only one chess grand master. But the exaltation and worship of Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity brings glory and honor to God the Father! Indeed, the worship of any of the persons of the Trinity is a worship of our one Triune God, and when one person is exalted and recognized, all three participate in the same glory. Christ does not reserve the glory for himself, but exists for the glory of God the Father!
In the same way, we who would worship and serve the Lord must not be about our own glory, we must not be about making a name for ourselves. We must be about the glory of God. We must live and work a those who serve a glorious King! We must give God the credit and the glory for all that he does in through and among us!
So the next time someone congratulates you for your skills or intelligence or good works, take that opportunity to share that any good in you is Christ living through you! Take every opportunity to give the glory to God just as Christ our savior takes opportunity to give glory to the Father!
Beloved, my prayer for us today is simple. May God grant us a greater vision of his glory that we may be inspired to worship and enjoy him more! To God be the glory, great things he has done!
Let us pray…