In our last two lessons Paul has addressed the question, "What causes proper unity to occur in the Church?" The answer is that unity occurs when we are humble. Our experiences in Christ should motivate us to be humble. If this is the case, a church will display the right behaviors: "Doing nothing from selfish ambition, in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself, and look out for the interests of others."
Then Paul pointed to Christ as our example for humility. He set aside His Divine privilege and humbled Himself to die for us. So in these past two lessons we have seen the motivation for unity, the marks of unity and the model for unity.
Today Paul shares with us the reward that Christ has received for His humility. He has been exalted by God the Father with "a name which is above every name." (Phil. 2:9) While you and I will never be exalted in the same manner as Jesus, we will still be exalted if we humbly submit ourselves to God's will.
The use of "therefore" to start verse 9 indicates that "because Jesus humbled Himself to the death of the cross", He has now been exalted by God. Jesus has now been given a :name" that is above all names.
True exaltation can only come through God. Human exaltation is often just flattery and only lasts through one's life. The Bible tells us of men who tried to exalt themselves and were punished by God. Read about Nebuchadnezzar in Dan. 4:28-33. He refused to acknowledge God's role in his success and was humbled to acting like a beast in the field.
Read about Herod in Acts 12:18-24. After God prevented Herod from murdering Peter; delivering him by an angel from Herod's jail, Herod went down to meet with men from the countries of Tyre and Sidon. These small nations were experiencing famine and they hoped that Herod would help them with food, as he had in the past.
So that day as Herod gave them an eloquent speech, the people began to pay homage to Herod as if he were a god. Herod knew better, but He did nothing to discourage them. So God punished Herod with death. Man must never exalt himself to the status of God!
Jesus, being "equal to God humbled Himself." (Phil.2:6-8) So God exalted Him. Jesus gives all men both a model and a standard rule as to how they can one day be exalted by God. The model is His life described by the four Gospels. The standard rule is in Mt. 23:11,12, "But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted." You see, God rewards those who serve others.
The reward for Jesus was a name. That name according to Phil. 2:11 is "Lord". The truly glory that goes with this name is that Jesus will be worshiped and acknowledged by every person that "He, Jesus is Lord." The significance of this title is even clearer in Rev. 19:11-16, Here John sees Jesus as the victorious Christ riding on a white horse. He has conquered all the earth. John goes on to tell us in v.16, ""and He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: King of kings and Lord of lords." When Jesus returns to earth with the saints the dead will rise from the graves and along with all the inhabitants of the earth, everyone will confess "that Jesus Christ is Lord."
Many will do so in fear and sheer terror because they realize they are about to be condemned. (Rev.6:15-17) But the saints will do so with unbelievable joy! Because they confessed Jesus as Lord while still living and humbled themselves to live obediently to Him. (Acts 4:12, Rom.10:9,10) This is the exaltation of Christ!
But the faithful saints will also be exalted with Christ. Not as Christ, but as joint heirs with Christ. They will "reign with Him." (2Tim.2:12) But this will only happen if we have taken on "the mind of Christ". (Phil.2:5) This is the mind of humility and service to others.
Humility brings reward to the Christian. Read 1 Pe. 5:5,6, here Peter restates the Lord's rule in Mt. 23:11,12 in this way, "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time." The only way any man will ever be exalted by God is by humbling himself to the Lordship and authority of Jesus Christ."
1. According to Jesus in Mt. 23:11,12, how will one become the greatest?
2. What is the name that God has given Jesus, by which He will be confessed by every tongue?
3. Why has God exalted Jesus according Paul in Phil. 2:6-9?
4. Will everyone confess that Jesus Christ is Lord or will it only be Christians?
5. Why will the Christian be one day exalted with Christ according to Peter?
6. When John saw the victorious Christ riding a white horse in Rev. 19, what name was written on His robe and thigh?
7. How can you as a Christian become more like the humble Christ?