Follow • Message 3 • Exaltation
Joshua J. Masters
April 7, 2019
Is Christ worthy?
That song asks whether Jesus is worthy of all the blessings, and honor, and praise we say He deserves.
And that’s really the question we’ve been asking in this FOLLOW series.
Who is Jesus? What kind of redeemer is He?
We’ve been looking at the hymn (or poem) written about Christ in Philippians 2,
And today we’ll finish that series.
So you can go ahead and turn or swipe in your Bibles to Philippians 2.
It’s on page 947 if you’re using the Bible available in our bookstore.
This passage describes the attitude of Christ, and asks us to FOLLOW His example.
- In week one of the series, J.C. helped us explore the divinity of Jesus Christ.
--We learned that the Redeemer must be fully God to bring salvation.
--Only God can forgive sin,
and being fully God is the only way Christ’s obedience and sacrifice could be perfect.
--It’s the only way the Messiah could be born without a sin nature to overcome death.
- Then last week we looked at how Jesus is also fully human.
--We looked at His humility in leaving His place of glory, giving up His divine privileges, and becoming a human being.
--The Redeemer also had to be human (in addition to being fully God) so He could sympathize with our weakness, live the perfect life we’re not capable of living, and suffer the punishment for human sin on our behalf.
So our Brookwood Basic Beliefs question at the end of our outline today is this:
Q: What sort of Redeemer is needed to bring us back to God?
A: One who is truly human and also truly God.
How does that all come together?
What’s the result of a redeemer that is fully God and fully human?
We ended last week by looking at verse 8:
He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Philippians 2:8 (NLT)
Christ’s humility is what made it possible for my sin to be carried on His shoulders.
That’s important to remember as we move on to the last sentence in this poem.
Yes… we’re going to spend the entire message on one sentence… but hold on to your hats, because it’s a doozy of a sentence.
Here it is. Verse 9:
Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, 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.
Philippians 2:9–11 (NLT)
That sentence is filled with questions, and difficult theology, and End Time implications… and yes, we’ll touch on all that.
But it’s also filled with hope, and assurance, and purpose for our lives today.
Let’s break it down.
The sentence starts in verse 9:
Therefore [The “Therefore” refers to verse 8. Because of Christ’s humility and obedience], God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, Philippians 2:9 (NLT)
The phrase “elevated… to the place of highest honor” is actually all one word in Greek that might be better translated as “exalted.”
And that’s the answer to your first fill-in.
- Jesus is EXALTED by the Father.
He is elevated to the highest place of honor and given the name above all other names.
We’ll come back to that name in a few minutes…
But first, a little theology sidebar:
As we study this elevation, it’s important to understand that Jesus had glory from the very beginning.
Remember, Jesus is fully God.
- John 1 tells us that in the beginning, the Word was with God and the Word was God, and that the Word became flesh.
- Colossians 1 teaches us that everything was created through Jesus (and for Jesus)...
that He holds all of creation together.
- At the transfiguration in Luke 9, Peter, James, and John get a glimpse of Christ in His glorified state and it drives them to their knees.
Jesus was filled with glory before the creation of the earth.
But He gave up His divine privileges to experience a human life and make our restoration with God possible.
So in one sense, this elevation by the Father is a restoration of the glory Jesus already had and laid down when He became a man.
Jesus even said:
Now, Father, bring Me into the glory We shared before the world began.
John 17:5 (NLT)
But there’s also a sense in this elevation, that the Son’s role in the Trinity is being lifted higher.
The essence of who Christ is has not changed, but the position of the Son has been elevated.
And that new elevation is based on Christ’s sacrifice to overcome death.
When Scripture shows us glimpses of Christ being worshipped in Heaven, He’s not being worshipped for creation, but for His humility and sacrifice.
Look at Revelation 5:
Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders.
And they sang in a mighty chorus: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered— to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.”
Revelation 5:11–12 (NLT)
So in one sense, His pre-incarnate glory is restored, but in another sense, He’s being even further elevated within the Trinity by the Father.
Is that all clear as mud?
Well, Jesus used mud to restore someone’s sight in John 9—so let’s hope for that effect.
One more important point and then we’ll move on.
Let’s put our sentence back on the board:
Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, 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…
Philippians 2:9–11a (NLT)
The Father gives Jesus the name above all names.
Looking at the whole sentence, what do you think that name is?
It appears in English like it’s referring to the name Jesus.
But that was a very common name… in fact, my name and His name would have been pronounced exactly the same… Yeshua.
This is bigger than His human name.
There’s some debate, but most scholars agree that this name is referring to the word LORD in verse 11.
Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Look at that phrase from a Jewish perspective:
Christ means Messiah (Savior)… and the word Lord here is the Greek translation of the word used in the Jewish Scriptures to reference the personal name of God – YHWH.
Every tongue will confess that Jesus, the Messiah, is YHWH.
His name and title is the name of God—the name above all other names.
APP: So here’s the question: Are we exalting Christ in our life?
Does our every thought, word, and deed reflect the fact that Christ is our God?
Because we can only experience true freedom and a renewed life when we submit to Christ.
Which leads us to our next fill-in:
- The exaltation of Christ results in…
- The Son’s LORDSHIP and creation’s SUBMISSION.
… every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…
Philippians 2:10b-11a (NLT)
The word “should” is a little misleading in the NLT.
“Should bow” is one word in Greek, so in reality, every knee WILL bow in heaven, on earth, and under the earth.
That’s all created beings: Angels, Humans, Demons, even Satan himself.
One day the glory of Christ will force every person who’s ever lived, and every spiritual being ever created to drop to their knees and cry out in submission to His Lordship.
But make sure you get this (because this is key to our purpose on this planet):
When that day comes—it will be too late for restoration.
Some will bow to His glory
with honor and overwhelming gratitude.
But many will bow in despair and eternal regret.
Let that sink in for just a moment.
When Christ’s true equality with God is revealed, every being will submit to His glory.
And the phrasing used in this passage is not an accident.
It’s designed to show Christ’s equality with God.
Look what God says through Isaiah:
“I am the Lord; [YHWH] that is My name! I will not give My glory to anyone else…”
“I have sworn by My own name; I have spoken the truth, and I will never go back on My word: Every knee will bend to Me, and every tongue will confess allegiance to Me.”
Isaiah 42:8a, 45:23 (NLT)
Even creation itself will bow to Christ’s power.
Our verse is talking about created beings with intellect, but Romans 8 tells us that all of Creation is groaning like a woman in childbirth awaiting Christ’s return.
But one day we will see creation restored under Christ’s authority.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. ... And I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among His people! He will live with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them.
Revelation 21:1–3 (NLT)
And it is there, in Jerusalem, that Jesus will sit on the throne of David as King of Kings and Lord of Lords for all eternity. (2 Samuel 7)
APP: Many of us try to live with gratitude for His saving power,
But do we really live our day-to-day lives with the understanding that every knee will bow to His glory—that all of creation will crumble and be restored at His Word?
We embrace Christ as our savior,
but I’m afraid we’ve lost our fear of the Lord and our reverence for His majesty.
The power and the authority of Christ’s divinity is unfathomable.
Yet He also remains fully human for eternity. He will sit on that throne in an actual body, and one day He will raise us up to the same kind of glorified body He has.
He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like His own, using the same power with which He will bring everything under His control.
Philippians 3:21 (NLT)
So even in His exaltation, Christ shows the same humility and servanthood He showed as a man.
Look at the last phrase in our passage:
… that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow… and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, [for what purpose?] to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:10–11 (NLT)
The exaltation of Christ results in…
- The Father’s GLORY.
--Everything Jesus has done since before creation,
--Everything He did in His 33 years on earth,
--Everything He will do as King of Kings
is to glorify the Father.
We looked at a small piece of this verse earlier, but as the crucifixion approached, Jesus prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son so He can give glory back to You. For You have given Him authority over everyone… I brought glory to You here on earth by completing the work You gave Me to do. Now, Father, bring Me into the glory We shared before the world began.”
John 17:1b-2a, 4–5 (NLT)
The ultimate purpose in the plan of redemption was to bring the Father glory.
So the glory that Christ receives after the resurrection, also glorifies the Father because it is the fulfillment of the Father’s will.
And as Spurgeon points out, with all the authority given to Christ, He doesn’t crown himself.
He waits for the Father to elevate Him.
The greatest desire of the Son is to bring glory to the Father.
APP: Is that your greatest desire?
We talk a lot about being transformed to be like Christ.
We talk a lot about our ability to have a true relationship with God because of Christ.
But that relationship should be marked by a desire to bring glory to the Father in everything we do.
Not out of obligation—but out of a love and understanding of who the Father is.
Is everything we say and do intentional in bringing glory to God?
Is every prayer marked with a desire to reveal His will?
We will never find contentment in seeking our own glory—but submitting to a life that glorifies the Father will bring eternal contentment—not just after we die, but here on earth.
That’s what it looks like to live like Jesus—especially as we acknowledge how His glory lifts us out of the consequences of our sin.
The exaltation of Christ results in…
- Our ASSURANCE.
The first and most important thing Christ does with His exalted glory is give it to the Father.
But God’s love and grace is so great that He does something else with His glory too.
Jesus said to the Father:
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in Me through their message. … I have given them the glory You gave Me, so they may be one as We are one. I am in them and You are in Me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that You sent Me and that You love them as much as You love Me.”
John 17:20–23 (NLT)
Every knee will bow to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
And He would be well within His right to keep every creature kneeling before Him in fear.
But instead, He shares His exalted state. He brings us into the family.
He uses His place of authority to lift up those who look to His work on the cross for their salvation.
If you belong to Christ, you don’t need to question your salvation, because there is no higher authority than the One who gave it to you.
Look at John 10:
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from Me, for My Father has given them to Me, and He is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
John 10:28–30 (NLT)
We have assurance in our salvation,
and Christ will exalt those who belong to Him before the Father, but sharing in Christ’s glory should lead us to have the same attitude as Christ.
Humble yourselves [Just as Christ did], therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6–7 (ESV)
That’s what this entire passage around our poem in Philippians is all about.
In fact, the lead-in to this poem about Christ’s character is this:
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Philippians 2:5 (NLT)
Do we have the attitude of Christ?
- Do we understand the role of Christ’s divinity in our lives?
- Do we exist to bring glory to the Father?
- Do we have the humility and servanthood of Christ?
If Christ lives in us, His character should be reflected in our lives.
Because if you truly grasp the weight of Christ’s sacrifice as a human being,
and the depth of His glory as God, you cannot help but be changed.
Let’s read the whole poem. (And like J.C., I also want to encourage you to memorize this poem):
Though He was God,
He did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, He gave up His divine privileges;
He took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When He appeared in human form,
He humbled Himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated Him
to the place of highest honor
and gave Him the name
above all other names,
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.
Philippians 2:6–11 (NLT)
How does that affect your life?
Men- How are you making sure this is reflecting in your families
Moms and Dads- How is this reflected in the lives of your children?
What are you doing to be sure this is reflected in your life?
- How does Christ’s sacrifice, not only on the cross, but knowing He surrendered everything to become fully human affect your life?
- How does His Authority over all creation, knowing that He’s fully God affect your life?
- How does the assurance of your salvation affect the way you live your life?
- How does the knowledge that when exposed to the glory of Christ, every created being will be driven to their knees in worship?
And that many will kneel in eternal regret, forever separated from His glory?
We need to evaluate our lives in the light of these truths.
Before we close, let’s look at four questions we can ask God to speak into our lives about ourselves as we reflect on this passage.
These four questions are included in your Discussion Guide under question 9.
- How does it affect my interactions with other people?
Do we respond to people with love, grace, humility, and accountability?
How do we relate to other believers?
Maybe even more importantly:
Is there an urgency in our heart to build relationships with non-believers?
Because this passage should create an urgency in us.
We have a tendency to think about the grace of Christ, but we must never forget that the justice of Christ is still coming.
**Let me show you something incredible in Scripture:
When Jesus stood in the temple and read from the Book of Isaiah, He revealed something about Himself.
He took the scroll and read:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And He rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down.
And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Luke 4:18–21 (ESV)
Jesus was fulfilling His purpose to come and set the captives free…
He was telling them that He was the Messiah and that He’d come to fulfill that prophesy.
But you know what’s incredible about that passage Jesus read?
He stopped in the middle of a sentence.
He didn’t finish the sentence.
The sentence in Isaiah continues…
…to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God…
Isaiah 61:2 (ESV)
He stopped in the middle of the sentence because He’s delayed His judgment.
He’s delayed His judgment so we might have a chance to turn to Him…
And then use our lives to help others find Him.
We think we have plenty of time, but we don’t.
The entire church age lives inside a comma in the middle of a sentence.
And we don’t know when He will finish that sentence… but we do know that when He does, it will be too late.
The vengeance of God against sin has been postponed by grace. But it’s only delayed.
We must be intentional in our relationships.
The second question we should ask God to reveal to us is:
- How does it affect my giving and generosity?
And I’m talking about both giving to the church and your generosity with other people.
Understanding we don’t know how much time is left, and knowing what’s at stake for those who don’t know Christ when He comes, how does that change the way we look at money?
2 Corinthians says:
Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”
2 Corinthians 9:6–7 (NLT)
So you have freedom in Christ, and I’m not here to make anyone feel pressured—but this passage assumes two things about the body of Christ:
**First, that everyone is giving something to the church. (That’s not happening in any American church)
**And Second, that they’ve gone through a process of searching their HEART for what they’re really supposed to give.
Have you done that? Have you really spent time seeking what God wants you to give to ministry and to others?
Or are we just staying where we’re comfortable?
Does His Lordship matter in our finances?
- How does it affect my priorities (schedules, activities, service)?
If we had an app that tracked how much time we spent focusing on us (even the good things we do) vs. how much time we spend glorifying God, what would your tracker say?
And if we had to turn that tracker into God at the end of the age, how important would all the things we fill our schedules with seem then?
That tracker does exist. 2 Corinthians 5 says we will all give an account for what we did within the body of Christ.
When we stand before the glory of the Messiah—in front of the resurrected body that was killed for us, how will we feel when He lays out every action we’ve ever taken, every dollar we’ve ever spent before us in front of His glory?
- How does it affect my worship?
Above all, this passage should give us hope, and assurance, and joy.
Do we worship with His sacrifice and majesty in our hearts?
Do we worship throughout the week?
Do we prepare ourselves for worship on Sunday morning?
Of course, worship goes beyond singing.
So do you enter to a place of worship during the Sunday message or when you’re serving during the week?
Or when you’re at work or in the parking lot?
How can we read this passage and not be overwhelmed by His goodness?
We started this morning by asking the question, “Is He worthy?”
Knowing what He laid down for us,
Is He worth laying down everything to worship His glory?
Let’s try… Let’s try just for a few minutes, to put aside everything we worry about and truly worship.
As our team leads us, please, don’t leave… don’t pick up your stuff. Worship.
Don’t be afraid to sing out—even if you can’t sing, close your eyes, raise your hands, call out to Christ if that’s what the Holy Spirit leads you to do.
This moment is about you and God.
Ask God to reveal a glimpse of His glory to you, and let’s truly worship Him together.
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Holy, holy is He
Sing a new song to Him who sits on
Heaven's mercy seat
We have victory because Christ is worthy.
Please don’t leave this room without embracing the glory of Christ’s sacrifice for you.
Maybe you’re a believer and God is calling you to a closer relationship with Him.
Maybe you realized this morning that you’ve never surrendered to Him and you want Him to claim you as His own on that final day.
Our Care volunteers will be down front and in the care connection room to encourage you and pray with you.
He is worthy, He is glorious, and if you stop resisting Him, He will lift you up.