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Bible Search
The Exaltation of Christ, part 1, Philippians 2:9
Christ Humbled, Christ Exalted
The Exaltation of Christ, Part 1
Philippians 2:9
 
Philippians 2:9-11
 
These verses are a familiar text to most students of God's Word. They speak of the exaltation of Jesus Christ. In fact, it is God's great response to Christ's humiliation found in verses 5 through 8.
 
There we discovered that Christ existed in the form of God.  He was God in human flesh.  But He chose to not hang on to the privilege and glory of that position, but became fully human and kept descending downward until he was finally crucified on a cross. 
 
But in verse 9 this amazing reversal takes place and Paul moves us from the humiliation of Christ to the exaltation of Christ.   This is Paul's great declaration of how God responded to Christ's incarnation and humiliation.
 
Here we find, not only this great truth concerning Jesus Christ that was actually a fulfillment of prophecy, but we also find a divine principle which will benefit our lives as well.
 
In regard to the exaltation of Jesus Christ, we find four main points.  We’ll look at two of those tonight and two the next time we meet. 
 
First of all, we see
 
 
1. The Source of His Exaltation
 
verse 9
 
Whatever Christ was given, whatever this exaltation include, it came from God. God exalted Him and God literally gifted Him.
 
Notice the word "therefore" at the beginning of verse 9. What we find in verse 9 is connected to verses 5 to 8. In other words, His exaltation is directly connected to His humiliation.  The two are inseparable.
 
That needs to be deeply embedded in the heart and life of every child of God.  Exaltation is connected to humiliation.  There is no short cut. That is a scriptural principle. If you desire to be lifted up by God, you will humble yourself.
 
That was certainly true in the case of Christ.  He who so deeply lowered Himself in death, even to the point of the death on a cross, is equally and magnificently lifted up and exalted by God.
 
Notice God “highly” exalted Him.  The word "highly exalted," is a word in the Greek that means "super exalted or hyper- exalted."
 
There's a lot in that. Foro instance, in Acts 2:32 we find Peter preaching at Pentecost and he says, "This Jesus God raised up again." Verse 33, "Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God."
 
So the exaltation of Christ includes the resurrection and it includes the coronation. He was raised up and He was exalted to the right hand of God.
He went to sit on the Father's throne at His right hand.  That's resurrection and coronation. Those two elements are part of the exaltation of Christ.
 
In the fifth chapter of Acts, again we read, Peter and the Apostles are speaking and they said, "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus," again God exalted Him through resurrection. That was part of God's exaltation of Christ. Verse 31, "He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a prince and a Savior to grant repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins."
 
Now we see resurrection, we see coronation and we see a third term, forgiveness of sin, including intercession. The exaltation of Jesus Christ involved His resurrection, His coronation and His intercession. He intercedes as the one whom God has ordained to forgive sins.
 
In Ephesians we read even further about this, regarding Christ's exaltation. It says that Christ was raised from the dead, that's resurrection, seated at the right hand in heavenly places, that's coronation. And then it describes that coronation. Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.
 
That gives us even more detail about His coronation. He is far above all rule, authority, power, dominion and every name that is named in this age and in the age to come...resurrection, coronation and intercession were elements of exaltation.
 
 
There is another element and we find it in Hebrews chapter 4, "God granted to Jesus Christ that when He went into heaven," verse 14, "He became a high priest who has passed through the heavens." What does that refer to? Ascension.
 
So you have a four-fold factor in the exaltation of Christ...resurrection, ascension, coronation and intercession. Those four things make up the four-fold exaltation of Christ. Raised from the dead, ascended to heaven, seated on the throne of God to intercede as the high priest for the sins of His people.
 
Just as there were downward steps in His humiliation, now we discover the upward steps of His exaltation, resurrection, ascension, coronation and intercession.
 
And when you think about it, the same is true for us. The day will come when we experience resurrection, and when we experience resurrection we will also experience ascension at the Rapture.  And when we get to heaven we will experience coronation for we will sit with Christ on His throne in the throne of God. And we will no longer need intercession for the work will be complete. But the path of glory which Jesus followed from resurrection to ascension to coronation is the path of glory that believers will follow as well. That's the promise of God.
 
Who is the source of all of this? God. God raised Him from the dead. God lifted Him to glory. God crowned Him and sat Him at His right hand. And God gave to Him the ministry of intercession as the high priest of His people.
 
 
Now I want to take you to a second point and it is really the focus of the text.  The source of His exaltation is God and
 
2.  The Title of His Exaltation Is Lord
 
Verse 9
 
Underline the little word “the”. It is “the” name which is above every name.  So what is THE name which is above every name? It can only be one name, I want you to think it through, it can only be one name.
 
Whatever name it is Hebrews 1:4 says it is a more excellent name than the angels have.
 
Whatever name it is, it is consistent with Scripture, both Old and New Testament, and it is not just a name in terms of distinguishing one person from another like we use Bob and Joe, but it will reveal something of the nature and person and inner being of Christ.  And whatever is this name will be a title that will literally cause Him to be ranked above all other beings.
 
So why is God going to give Him a name?.  Well, let’s think about that. 
 
Do you remember a man in the Old Testament named Abram? Abram met with God, God established a covenant with him that actually established this unique relationship between the two of them.  And in regard ot that, what did God do to his name? He changed it from Abram to Abraham. 
 
 
 
Read a little farther in your Bible and you will encounter a man named Jacob.  Again, God entered into a unique relationship with Jacob and what did God do to his name?  He changed it from Jacob to Israel.
 
Move over to the New Testament and you will find a man named Simon that Jesus called to be one of His followers.  And upon a brand new relationship with Jesus Christ, his name was changed from Simon to Peter. 
 
Then we find a man named Saul who was breathing out threatenings against the church until Jesus knocked him off His horse and changed his heart.  And upon the establishment of a brand new relationship, Jesus gave to that man a new name and his new name was Paul.
 
Then when you turn to the closing book of the Bible and read the letters Jesus sent to the churches of Pergamos and Philadelphia in Revelation 2:17 and Revelation 3:12, you find the Lord promised to those who overcome He would give them a new name.
 
All of those serve as reminders that new names are uniquely given to mark out a definite stage in a person's life. It is one of the hallmarks of God’s work down through human history in bringing redemption to the world.  And here we find He does it even in the case of Christ.
 
He literally gives to Christ a name. And to be honest, it is not a name that will shock us or surprise us.  We are familiar with the various names and titles of Christ. 
He is known as Jesus, Christ, Son of Man, Son of God, Messiah, but here He receives a new name.
So what is the name given to Jesus by God Himself that is above every other name? 
 
Verse 11 tells us.  Every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord. 
 
So what's the name? It is Lord.  God gave Him the name that is above every name and the name that is above every name is Lord. Whoever is Lord is in charge, right? That's the name that is above every name. That's the supreme name.
 
That, by the way, is a New Testament equivalent to the Old Testament name of God which is Yahweh or Jehovah and it indicates One Who is sovereign ruler.
It signifies rule based on power and authority. And consistent with what we’ve been studying now for several weeks, just as Isaiah prophesied,  out of His humiliation, God’s Servant becomes Sovereign Ruler. He becomes Lord.
 
And all through His earthly ministry you find hints and insights that this was coming.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said one of these days folks are going to line up and say, “Lord, didn’t we do this or that or the other”. 
 
People would bring their sick friends and family to Jesus for healing and address Him as Lord.  Out on the sea in the middle of a storm, the disciples said, “Lord, don’t you care that we are perishing?”  Thomas looked at Him and said, "My Lord and my God."
 
It was evident all along that He was the living Lord but here in His exaltation He is formally and officially given the name Lord. That's the name which is above every name.
 
Now some say it's the name Jesus because in verse 10 it says at the name of Jesus every knee should bow." But that can’t be right because Jesus is not a new name for Jesus.  The name of Jesus wasn’t given to Him at His exaltation.  It was given to Him at His birth. 
 
And to be honest, it can't be the name Jesus because Jesus is not a name that's above every name. In fact there are a lot of people named Jesus. Jesus is actually a rendering of the name Joshua. The old KJV interchanges the two.  Tradition tells us that Barabbas, who was released at the crucifixion of Christ was known as Jesus Barabbas. 
 
So the name that is above every name can’t be Jesus and we know that because of what we read in
 
verses 10 and 11
 
It is a mistake to stop reading at the end of verse 10 and not include the rest of the statement found in verse 11. 
 
And notice it does not say that every knee will bow at the name Jesus.  They will bow at the name of Jesus which is the name of Jesus that was just given Him by God the Father which is Lord.  The name Jesus doesn't make people bow.  The use is as a curse word.  They laugh and ridicule and ignore the name Jesus. 
But there is coming a day when every knee will bow before the Lord and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. 
 
By the way, that is taken right out of Isaiah 45.
 
Verses 21 – 23
 
Now that's talking about sovereignty.  That’s Lordship. God is saying I am the Lord.  There's nobody but Me. And Paul picks up that Old Testament reference to God and assigns it to Jesus Christ to say, Jesus is God in the flesh and as such God has assigned to Him the name of Lord.  And the result of that will be that one day every knee will bow and every tongue will acknowledge that to be true.  
 
The source of the exaltation of Christ is God and the title of the exaltation of Christ is Lord. And we cannot know Christ in any other way than as Lord.
To be a Christian we must confess that Jesus is Lord. 
 
Travel the Roman Road with Paul and you will hear him saying, “Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead.  For whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
 
That's the substance of Christianity. Lord is above every other name. You don't make Him Lord. God made Him Lord!  We acknowledge His Lord ship.  We submit to His Lordship.  We bow before His Lordship. 
But we don’t make Him Lord.  God did that.
 
 
He is Lord.  That's who He is.  By the way, He's called Lord no less than 747 times in the New Testament. That seems to me significant. 
 
It is at the very center of the Christian confession and the Christian gospel that Jesus is Lord and that’s what you must affirm to be saved. And that's what Paul says every tongue will ultimately confess. 
 
Jesus Christ is Lord. The source of that exaltation is God. The title of His exaltation is Lord. And Paul says everyone is going to acknowledge it sooner or later. It would be my prayer for you that you would acknowledge that He is Lord by choice and not by force.
 
Let's pray. 
 
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