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Bible Search
The Exaltation of Christ, part 2, Philippians 2:10-11
Christ Humbled, Christ Exalted
The Exaltation of Christ, Part 2
Philippians 2:10-11
 
Tonight we will return for the third time to our study of Philippians 2:5-11 where we find a summary of the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ that outlines both His humiliation and His exaltation. 
 
One of the great mysteries of Scripture is that it was God's plan for Jesus to be humiliated. As we saw last Sunday morning, even in the birth, God ordained that it be that way.  And that’s what we find here in verses 6 through 8. 
 
Even though Jesus existed in the very form of God, He laid all that aside and went as low as He could possibly go as a human and died on a cross. 
 
Then in response to that, in verses 9-11 we find His exaltation.  
 
Verses 9-11
 
Every so often you will hear me or someone else talk about the necessity of the cross.  Jesus had to die so we could be saved.  And that point can’t be overstated. 
 
But there is a companion thought to that we need always to remember and that is Jesus had to be exalted as well.  The story is incomplete without that fact.  Unfortunately, that message is often left unsaid.
 
 
But we need to say it and hear it and be reminded of the exaltation of Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  God raised Him from the dead!  But that’s not all.  As we noted last time, there are these ascending steps in His exaltation.  Is exaltation includes resurrection, ascension, coronation and intercession and it all revolves around this declaration that He is Lord.
 
That is really the focus of this passage.  Jesus has been declared Lord by the Heavenly Father and some day every tongue will confess that truth as they bow before Him.  That is the very heartbeat of the Christian faith. 
 
Our evangelism efforts are attempts to convince people of the claims of Christ and see them confess that Jesus is Lord.   It’s not just saying a prayer or making a decision.  We affirm with our heart and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and anything less than that is illegitimate.       
 
This is our faith. Preaching half of that message has produced tragic results. We have multitudes of people who believe that Jesus died to give them a free gift, but they have no sense of what it means to live under His lordship, and have no intention of living under His lordship. 
 
That’s why the Holy Spirit includes verses 9-11.  Jesus didn’t just humble Himself and die.  He is also raised to exaltation and recognition as Lord. 
 
Now last week, in regard to His exaltation, I told you there were four aspects of His exaltation found in these verses.  We’ve looked at two of them already. 
The source of His exaltation was first. Verse 9 tless us it was God Who highly exalted Him and gave Him the name which is above every name. 
 
Then we saw the title of His exaltation. God has given Him the name that is above every name and that name is Lord. 
 
Next we see
 
3.  The Response to His Exaltation
 
Verses 10-11
 
Notice the verse begins with the word “that”.  It is a little literary device that indicates purpose or result. Literally, “He is given the name which is above every name in order that or with the result being that when that name is heard, knees bow and tongues confess that He is in fact Lord.”
 
The purpose of Him being given that name was to put Him in authority and cause everyone to bow to that authority and every tongue to acknowledge His lordship.
 
Again, that is what salvation is all about. That’s why He came.  We misinterpret scripture when we limit His coming to just dying for us.  That’s rather arrogant anyway. 
 
We are actually a by-product in some ways of His coming.  He came so that God could be glorified and God chose to do that through humiliating His Son, then raising Him from the dead and bringing Him back home where He would enjoy eternally praise from heaven and earth. 
And as a part of that, we get to go along for the ride.  But it’s not primarily about us.  It’s about Him and God bring glory to Himself through Him!
 
In fact, I’m afraid we may have missed the point of our being saved altogether. We’ve made it all about us.  We get saved.  We get to go to heaven.  We get a better life and all the fringe benefits of salvation.  That’s normally how we present the salvation message. 
 
But in truth, God saved us so we would worship Him! 
His purpose in saving us was so that in response to the exaltation of Christ, we would worship.  Rather than thinking about how good salvation is for us, our first response to salvation ought to be to worship the One Who provided it for us. 
 
He was exalted and given a name for the express purpose that every knee will bow. And every knee will. Some of us, by God's grace, have been privileged to bow by choice and others will bow by force. But every knee will bow. It’s going to happen!
 
And just to make it clear, every part of creation is included in the prophecy.  The whole universe is called to worship Him.
 
Three categories are indentified; those who are in heaven, those who are on earth and those who are under the earth. It's as if the Apostle under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is just collecting the whole universe and saying they all will bow the knee, they all will confess Jesus Christ is Lord.
 
So who are "those who are in heaven?"
That would include angels and redeemed believers whose spirits are already there. Their resurrected bodies are still in the graves awaiting the resurrection, but their spirits are there now.
 
If I read this verse correctly, those who are in heaven are joining the angels in acknowledging Jesus Christ as Lord. They are bowing the knee. They are worshiping. They are confessing His lordship.  They're already doing it. Throughout all of their time since they've been in heaven they've been doing it...the angels non- stop and the redeemed non-stop have been worshiping the Lord of glory.
 
By the way, John gives us a little window into their worship in Revelation 4.  If you ever wonder what your loved ones are doing in heaven right now, then just read this chapter.  This is what they're doing.
 
Verse 2-8
 
That is unending eternal non-stop angelic worship of the exalted God.  That's the angels.
 
verses 10-11
 
Here we find representatives of believers and they are saying, “You're the Lord. You're sovereign. You're in charge.”
 
So in heaven the angels and the redeemed already in the presence of God are confessing Jesus as Lord, are bowing the knee in worship to Him.
 
What about on the earth?
 
Well, that’s us.  We are part of the "on earth" group of people who bow the knee to Christ and confess Jesus as Lord. We're those who follow the pattern of Romans 10:9 and 10.  We have confessed with our mouth the Lord Jesus the belief that is in our heart.  God has raised Him from the dead and we’ve been saved!  We bow our knee and confess with our tongue that Jesus is Lord. 
 
And one day, every person alive on this earth will bow their knee whether they are saved or not.  The day will come when He returns to this earth that ridiculed Him and cursed Him and mocked Him and crucified Him and they will bow the knee by compulsion. They will have no choice.
 
Listen to 2 Thessalonians 1:1-10
 
Don’t you fret about the Muslims and the skeptics and those who mock and ridicule and kick Jesus out of the schools and court houses.  Their day is coming.  And upon the authority of the Word of God I can say to you they'll bow the knee.  Don’t you worry about it.   Every human being on the earth will bow the knee when Jesus comes. Some will bow in homage, adoring love and worship like we have. Some will bow in terror and fear and horror to enter into eternal punishment and damnation. But everyone on this earth will bow.
 
That brings us to the third level. Those under the earth.
 
That speaks of the place of eternal punishment we know as hell. It is occupied by demons and Christ-rejecters. 
Now as we speak, Jesus Christ is receiving unhindered praise from the angels and the redeemed in heaven.  And there are multiplied millions on the earth who love Him and believe in Him and by grace have been saved and are praising Him. 
 
But one of these days, even hell itself will honor Him as Lord as they bow their knees and confess Him as Lord without any option. How bad will that be?  ON earth, they mocked and ridiculed and cursed the name of Jesus, then died and went to hell and on top of the punishment and torment of hell, they will still have to bow before Him and confess He is Lord. 
 
When you talk about Jesus Christ, you're talking about the Lord and master and sovereign of the universe. And He will rule. And He is Lord.
 
And every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. What does it mean to confess Him as Lord?  The word means to acknowledge or affirm, to agree. Everyone will agree He's Lord. The demons will say He's Lord. There's no question about it. The lost of the ages will confess He is Lord.  The resurrected, glorified saints will agree that He is Lord. The angels will bow before Him and say He is Lord. 
 
Everyone will say He's Lord. Every tongue, every language, every angelic expression, every demonic utterance, all people, all beings, all of creation will acknowledge His lordship.
 
That's where we're headed.  See why we don’t stop with the humiliation?  The exaltation is so important.  It is so significant. 
Yes, we receive a gift from a humiliated Christ who died in our place,  but we also bow our knee and confess an exalted Christ as Lord.
 
The source of His exaltation is God. The title of His exaltation is Lord. The response to His exaltation is worship. And finally,
 
4.   The Purpose of His Exaltation
 
The purpose of His exaltation is glory. Look at it.
 
Verse 11b
 
"to the glory of God the Father."
 
Now remember, last week I told you these verses are a direct quote from Isaiah 45 where God says of Himself, “I am God.  There is no other. There's no one like Me. There’s no one to compare Me to.  I don't ask anybody's counsel. I don't seek anybody's advice. I don't look for information from anybody.  I do exactly what I want to do. I accomplish all My purposes and all My ends come to pass. I am God and I am God alone.”
 
And now all of a sudden every knee is bowing to Jesus Christ. Every knee is bowing to the one who is called Lord. Now you would assume that when every knee bows and every tongue confesses Jesus Christ is Lord it would be to the irritation of God the Father, or it is to the embarrassment of God the Father or in blasphemy of God the Father.
 
After all, God tolerates no competition.  But the majesty of the Trinity is that when the Son is glorified the Father is glorified.
Perfect glory to the Son is perfect glory given to the Father. He who honors the Son honors the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father. 
 
That's why the Father looks down on the Son and said, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear Him." That's why when you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and confess Him as Lord you not only exalt the Son, you exalt the Father. He is not calling on us to worship God through Jesus, He's calling on us to worship Jesus as God.
 
God is exalted in what He accomplished in Christ and there is no competition, no embarrassment and no blasphemy.
 
When you say Jesus Christ is Lord, you're not displacing God. You're not dishonoring God. You're not rivaling God. You're not blaspheming God. You're not ridiculing God. You're not embarrassing God. You're not pulling God down.  Instead, you're exalting and glorifying God. That's the gospel. It's the gospel of humiliation and exaltation. Jesus Christ is Lord.
 
Remember how this section of Scripture begins? 
 
In verse 2, Paul calls for unity.  In verses 3 and 4, he stresses humility.  So he's calling for unity and he says the path to unity is humility. And then he says, “Just be like Christ” in verse 5 and provides this illustration of what He’s calling for by using Christ as His object lesson.  He humbled Himself, as we read in verses 5-8. 
 
And then he throws this in, "And He was exalted by God."
 
So why does He say that?  I think it’s because he wants us to know that the same God who exalted a humbled Christ will exalt a humbled believer.
 
That’s why we are to let the mind of Christ be ours.  We seek humbleness in the same way Christ sought it because we know on the other side of our humiliation comes the exaltation of God the Father.
 
The example of humility is Jesus Christ and the compelling thing that drives us to humble ourselves is that if we humble ourselves God will lift us up. If you lift yourself up, God will push you down. If you push yourself down, God will lift you up.
 
The humiliation and exaltation of Jesus Christ is the greatest truth in Christian history.  But it is also a constant reminder of the fact that if you humble yourself before God, He will lift you up.
 
Let's bow together in prayer.
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