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This morning we’re going to talk about the exaltation of the Son, the exaltation of the Son. Open your Bible to Philippians chapter 2. We have really been doing a series on unity in the church, which is of grave concern to our Lord. Jesus said to His disciples in the upper room the night of His betrayal that, “If you have love for one another, men will know that you belong to Me. By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, that you have love for one another.”  

We’ve been talking about the fact that the church of Jesus Christ does not always demonstrate that kind of love that gives glory to our Lord. In fact, we’re seemingly living in a time when there is more hostility in the church, more ranker, more dispute, more efforts to isolate people, more concern about rights and privileges and power and status, and even turns to hatred and vengeance and demanding reparations and doing things that are divisive. And so we’ve been endeavoring to get back to what the Word of God says about unity in the church; and that is the desire of our Lord.

Obviously, Paul writes in Ephesians about, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one hope of your calling, one God and Father of us all. So do everything you can” – as Paul says to the Colossians – “to maintain unity in the bond of peace.” We are one in Christ. We are in Christ, Christ is in us; we are to manifest our loving unity so the world can know that He has transformed us. It puts His glory on display. When there is division in the church, He is dishonored, and particularly in the world, because it confuses them about the truth of the gospel and what it actually accomplishes.

So we have been called to unity. And I’ve been saying to you over the last three weeks that unity is basically a result of something else. It’s a result of love. And love is basically a result of humility. Only humble people love, and only loving people will do what it takes to maintain unity.

That is the message of the apostle Paul in Philippians. In fact, in chapter 1 and verse 27, he says, “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” What would that be that would be worthy of the gospel of Christ? He says, “So that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are” – and here’s what causes us to live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ – “standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” To be worthy of bearing the name of Christ we must be in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. There must be unity in the church.

Paul then expands on that in chapter 2. So let’s come down to chapter 2, and I want to read the first eleven verses before we look at the last part of this section. And I’ll translate it as we have indicated it should be translated, for us to understand. “Because there is encouragement in Christ, because there is consolation of love, because there is fellowship of the Spirit, because there is affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” That’s the unity he’s calling for.

How does that happen? Verse 3 and following: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” And then here is the model to follow for humiliation: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

There is the model of humility. The Son of God, who was and always will be God, did not regard that equality with God, that eternal equality with God, something to hold on to, but divested Himself of the privileges of that identity, became a slave, became a man, came all the way down, humbling Himself to death, and even the most ignominious death, dying on a cross. That’s the model of humility. Never was one so high who descended so low. This is the attitude we need to have. And unless you’re something more than Christ, you ought to be willing to humble yourself.

He starts from eternal deity, we start from a sinful position. We need to humble ourselves, and He’s our example. He was willing to step down from heaven all the way to death on a cross for us, for our salvation. Are we willing to humble ourselves to love each other, to manifest the unity that will bring honor to Him? That’s the point.

And there’s one final motivation here for this kind of humility, verse 9: “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” There is the exaltation of the Son, an incredibly rich portion of Scripture, one to be studied, one to be meditated upon. It speaks of the fact that the One who humbled Himself before God was exalted by God to a place that was higher even than He had been before. There were new honors, new privileges that were His. Even though He was the eternal God, even though He was all that God is, by His humiliation He was then honored to a place with even more honor than He had had before.

This is the model of humiliation: follow Christ. “Have this attitude in you,” which is to say humble yourself and let God exalt you. If you’re spending all your time trying to exalt yourself and make sure you get what you want, making sure that your life is full of rights and privileges and demands on the people around you, if you’re concerned with exalting yourself you’re putting yourself in a very, very dangerous position. Let me tell you why.

This is what our Lord said, and He said it three times as recorded in the New Testament, once in the book of Matthew and twice in the book of Luke. It is recorded that He said this: “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” So take your choice. You can work very hard to exalt yourself and God will humble you, or you can humble yourself and the Lord will exalt you.

In Matthew chapter 5, as our Lord was speaking in the familiar Sermon on the Mount, He said this: “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great.” Hmm. So you’re being insulted, you’re being persecuted; evil things are being said against you falsely. Rejoice and be glad, because as you’re being humbled, God is increasing your eternal reward. You want to embrace the things that humble you.

Listen to what Peter said, 1 Peter 5: “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.” What does it mean “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God”? Understand this, that God is sovereign, and whatever difficulties you are going through, whatever issues you face in life, they are within the framework of the mighty hand of God, and they are better for you if they humble you than they would be if they exalted you.

“God is opposed to the proud,” – people demanding their rights – “gives grace to the humble. So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.” It’s not as if you’re humbling yourself under the hand of men or even the hand of Satan; you’re humbling yourself under the sovereign, mighty, providential hand of God, knowing that whatever you may suffer will be turned to eternal joy and gladness and reward.

Listen to the apostle James, chapter 4: “God is opposed to the proud,” – same thing – “but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord and He will exalt you.” Again, not under the mighty hand of God this time, but in the presence of the Lord, realizing that anything that comes into your life that humbles you, that diminishes you, happens in the presence of the Lord. Nothing is outside His plan, outside His purpose, outside His purview; and He will exalt you, He will exalt you.

This truth is expressed even in the Old Testament in one particular portion of Psalm 119. The psalmist says in verse 161, “Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of Your words. Princes persecute me without cause,” – life’s not been fair to me. I’ve been falsely accused, unjustly treated – “but my heart stands in awe of Your words. I rejoice at Your word, as one who finds great spoil,” – or great treasure. So here is the psalmist saying, “I’m being unjustly treated.” And injustice is a reality in life. Persecution is a reality in life. But in the midst of it all, he says, “I stand in awe of Your word, and I trust in Your promise to lift me up.”

Job had something of that in mind when he said, “Though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God, whom I shall see and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” The worst that can happen to you here turns to the best that can happen to you; that is the very presence of God Himself.

The apostle Paul says, “I have learned to be content to suffer.” – 2 Corinthians chapter 12 – “It’s in my weakness that God’s strength becomes pronounced.” James says, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” So even in the midst of the trial there is benefits, spiritual benefit, in the midst of the trial we are going through; we are being perfected. James says it has a perfecting work. Paul says it has an empowering work. Even in the midst of the trial and the suffering and the injustice and the things that are unfair, the Lord is shaping us. Humbling us shapes us. The Lord is also, in the same very difficult circumstances, adding up our eternal reward; for those who suffer for Him will be glorified with Him. And nothing can change that, because nothing can ever separate us from His love.

So the message of the apostle Paul is a powerful, powerful message. The humiliation of Jesus in itself is a glorious theological reality. But Paul is using it here as an illustration of the kind of conduct he wants from believers. “You need to humble yourself. And however much you think you deserve, you don’t deserve what Christ rightly deserved and willingly yielded up. You’re far less than He is. And if He humbled Himself from a place so high, infinitely beyond where you are, to a place so low, far beyond where you’re asked to go, who are you to be unwilling as a sinner to humble yourself so that God can exalt you?” That’s the message.

Now we went through verses 5 through 8, the humiliation of Christ last time. Let’s look at verses 9 to 11, the exaltation of Christ. And this is really the capstone on Paul’s entire presentation here. He wants you to see how high Christ was exalted so that you will be motivated to lower yourself, to humble yourself, and let God exalt you. Now remember, the principle, we read it in several places: God hates the proud, God resists the proud, but God gives grace to the humble; so humble yourselves. Humble yourselves, and God will exalt you. That is the message of Scripture.

In the case of what Paul is saying here, he’s saying, “Humble yourself to the place” – described in verse 3 – “where you do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind you regard one another as more important than yourselves; and the interests of others more important than your own.” That is the attitude of Christ. He was willing to empty Himself of all that He possessed as the eternal Son for the sake of others who were undeserving. This is the model: we are to go low, and then God will lift us up.

Verses 9 to 11 are so rich that you could literally go from this portion to many, many other Scriptures throughout the New Testament to see how this is affirmed. I’m going to resist doing that for the sake of time. But I want you to catch something of what these verses are saying about Christ’s exaltation. And keep in mind, this is to motivate you to say, “It’s more important for me to be exalted by God, therefore I humble myself, than it is for me to exalt myself and be humbled by God.”

When God exalts someone, He exalts him to the highest place. And we see this in the case of Christ: “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him.” First, we come to the source of His exaltation: it is God. God highly exalted Him.

“For this reason, God highly exalted Him,” – what reason? – “because He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross.” He humbled Himself to die on a cross, to die as God’s chosen Lamb, a sacrifice for sin. Because He came all the way down to the cross, God lifts Him all the way up to the highest exaltation in the heavens.

God is the source of His exaltation. God is the one who exalts His Son. Because of what He did in His suffering and humiliation, God highly exalted Him. It’s a Greek word: super-exalted Him. There wouldn’t be enough prefixes or adjectives to describe the elevation. He exalted Him in a way that even was beyond the exaltation that He had had before: God raised Him from the dead, God drew Him into heaven, God seated Him at His right hand, God crowned with honor and glory. God exalted Him.

This became the message of the apostles. Peter on the day of Pentecost back in Acts chapter 2, verse 31, is speaking about the death of Christ, that Christ had died and was raised from the dead. “He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.” And then verse 33. This is Peter’s sermon on Pentecost: “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God.” Verse 34 quotes from the Old Testament Psalm 110: “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ – this Jesus whom you crucified.” All the way down to the cross, and because He humbled Himself to the cross, God exalted Him to the highest throne in heaven.

Again, Peter and the apostles in chapter 5 of the book of Acts, defending the fact that they must obey God rather than men, Acts 5:30, “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. 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.” God exalted Him because He had accomplished His work on the cross.

The apostle Paul says in chapter 1 of Ephesians that, “When God exalted Him, He seated Him” – verse 20 – “at His right hand in the heavenlies, 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 one to come.” God exalted Him. God highly exalted Him, placed Him at His right hand, far above, not just above, far above all rule, authority, power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but the age to come. Again, God exalts Christ. Because Christ humbled Himself, God exalted Him.

Perhaps the most wonderful of all revelations of this exaltation is found in Hebrews chapter 1. You want to look at Hebrews 1, and just follow the marvelous truth of this chapter: “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He” – the Son – “had made purification of sins,” – that is, died on the cross – “He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more exalted, or excellent, name than they.”

In other words, God exalted Him to a place far above the angels. “For to which of the angels did He ever say, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You’? or, ‘I will be a Father to Him and He shall be a Son to Me’?” Never said that to angels. “And when He again brings the prōtotokos, the premiere One, into the world, He says, ‘And let all the angels of God worship Him.’ And of the angels He says, ‘Who makes His angels winds, and His ministers a flame of fire.’ But of the Son He says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your companions.’ – above the angels – “And, ‘You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands; they will perish, but You remain; and they will all become old like a garment, and like a mantle You will roll them up; like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end.’” The eternal reign of Christ.

“To which of the angels has He ever said, ‘Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet’?” They’re just ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation.” “Christ is exalted” – says Hebrews chapter 1 – “far above the angels.”

Of course, Jesus as God is incapable of being more than God. He didn’t become more of who He was; it’s just that there were more honors that belonged to Him. “When He came into the world He was the Son of the Most High,” says Mark chapter 5, verse 7. You can’t be any higher than the Son of God. But by the end of His redemptive work on earth and His ascension back into heaven and His coronation, He had won the final victory. He had ratified the covenant of salvation, He had accomplished redemption. And the Father had then raised Him from the dead, exalted Him to His right hand, and so He is now exalted as a Prince and a Savior who has accomplished redemption. Around the throne are myriads and myriads of angels, ten thousand times ten thousand angels, and they all worship Him.

His exaltation is not some alteration in His nature, it is simply that He receives more honor for the accomplishment of the cross, more honor. He becomes the King who has crushed the serpent’s head. He becomes the Prophet who has spoken the truth, provided the gospel work that becomes the heart of the truth to be proclaimed to the ends of the earth for salvation. He always was the Priest, but now He enters into a level of priesthood in which He always, Hebrews 7, intercedes: “He ever lives to intercede for His people to bring them to glory.” He is more honored than He’s ever been because He has accomplished God’s redemptive purpose.

In Romans 14, verse 9, “For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” He died and rose that He might be Lord, Lord of the dead and Lord of the living.

There are many portions of Scripture that speak about that, that His return to heaven signaled a new place of authority. Listen to Colossians 1:18, “He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.” That was the Father’s good pleasure.

Second Peter 1:17, one more Scripture: “For when He received honor and glory from God the Father,” – and there’s the point. He didn’t become more than He was; He was already the God-man from His incarnation. “But when He went back to heaven He received honor and glory from God the Father,” – but He had tasted that before – “when an utterance was made about Him by the Majestic Glory on the Mount of Transfiguration, ‘This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased.’” The Father was well-pleased with Him. And the Father declared that He would be exalted and honored and given glory for His redemptive work even before He had gone to the cross.

So first thing to understand about the exaltation of Christ is that God is the source, God is the one who exalted Christ. Many other Scriptures speak to that. The second: How are we to understand this new position? The title of His exaltation answers that, the title.

So we saw the source of the exaltation as God: the title. And what is the title? Back to verse 9, “and bestowed on Him” – gave Him, granted Him – “the name which is above every name.” Hebrews 1:4 I just read, “A name more excellent than the angels.” Ephesians chapter 1, “A name higher than all rule, authority, power and dominion, and every name that is named.” This is the ultimate name above every other name – a name, a name, a title. This is the title.

What is this name? What is this title? It is not Jesus, that was already His name. It is a name that speaks of absolute sovereignty. It was common to signal the new stage in someone’s life by giving him a new name. Abram became Abraham, and Jacob became Israel, and Saul became Paul, and Simon became Peter.

Jesus was given a new name as well. What is that name? It’s given in verse 11: “Jesus Christ is Lord.” That’s the new name. It is the name that is above every name. The name Jesus is not the name above every name, that’s just a reference to the Old Testament name Joshua. A lot of people had that name; a lot of people still have that name: Jehovah saves. But this is a name that is above every name. It is the name Lord. No other name than Lord, or if you will, an Old Testament equivalent, Yahweh, can be the name above all other names.

The whole context flows to that confession down in verse 11: “Jesus Christ is Lord.” Jesus was a very common name. Jesus was the name given to Him in His humiliation. But He is given a name above every name. This name causes every knee to bow. Jesus had many names, titles: Messiah, Immanuel, Son of God, Son of Man, Christ, the Word. But Lord is the name above every name, kurios, it means absolute ruler. He is Lord by His Father’s doing. We don’t make Him Lord, no one does; He is Lord.

The great Christian cry, “Jesus is Lord,” that is our confession. He is Lord. It indicates power, absolute power, absolute authority, dignity, honor, dominion, worthiness, rule. If you want to be a Christian, Romans 10 says, “Confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.” It was His resurrection by which God honored Him and established Him as Lord. He raised Him from the dead, drew Him to His throne, and crowned Him Lord. The book of Revelation says, “King of kings and Lord of lords.” So the title of the exaltation of Christ is Lord, Lord of lords, Lord above all power, all authority, all dominion, every name that is named in this age or the age to come.

Now what is the response? The third thing that Paul points to is a response to His exaltation, verse 10, “so that,” – this is the purpose of His exaltation – “so that at the name of Jesus” – not the name Jesus, but the name of Jesus, which is Lord – “every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”

So what is the response? Worship. This is the only appropriate response to Christ, and ultimately will be the response of everyone. Did you hear that? Everyone will one day bow the knee to Christ. Those of us who confess Jesus is Lord now, we have bowed the knee. Those who reject Christ and go into eternity without Him end up in eternal punishment in hell will every moment of their tenure in hell, every everlasting moment be recognizing that, in fact, Jesus is Lord, and they failed to acknowledge it.

He is Lord. The idea that He is Lord over those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth is not intended to make three distinctions between beings in locations, but simply to say that’s everywhere. You’re either in heaven or on earth, or in the earth or under the earth. Covers the ground. Every knee will bow.

That’s a very interesting statement, by the way, because that’s borrowed from Isaiah 45. And for the Word of God to say that God is going to exalt Jesus Christ, give Him the name Lord, and make every being in the universe bow the knee to Him, is an amazing statement. It would be very offensive to people who don’t think Jesus is God. But go back to Isaiah 45.

In Isaiah 45 where this statement is originally made, God is declaring Himself as the true and living God. In the forty-fourth chapter of Isaiah, God shows the folly of idols, how ridiculous to make a god out of wood or stone, when there’s only one God, only one true God. He says that toward the end of chapter 44: “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the one who formed you from the womb, ‘I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself and spreading out the earth all alone. It is I.” “It is I,” repeats again and again.” “It is I. It is I.”

In chapter 45, verse 21, “Declare and set forth your case; indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the Lord? There is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.” Strong words.

In chapter 46, look at verse 5. This whole surrounding context focuses on the one true and living God. “To whom would you liken Me and make Me equal and compare Me, that we would be alike? Those who lavish gold from the purse and weigh silver on the scale hire a goldsmith, and make it into a god; they bow down, indeed they worship it. They lift it upon the shoulder and carry it; they set it in its place and it stands there. It doesn’t move from its place. Though one may cry to it, it cannot answer; it cannot deliver him from his distress. Remember this, and be assured; recall it to mind, you transgressors. Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.’” And at the end of verse 11, ‘Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.” God is the only God.

But look at verse 23 in chapter 45: “I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone out from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will confess allegiance.” That’s exactly what is said in Philippians. But here it belongs only to God, “Only to Me, every knee will bow, every tongue will confess. Only to Me.” So back to Philippians.

When you read there that God declares that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, that is a declaration of the deity of Christ. That is an affirmation of what we read back in chapter 2, verse 6, that He existed in the morphē of God, that He was equal to God. Every knee will bow to Him. There’s only one true God; but one true God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

So the one true God, the Son came into the world, humbled Himself. The Father then exalted Him, gave Him the title Lord over everyone, and now commands that the entire universe of conscious beings bow their knee to Him. Whether they are angels or men and women, they all bow. Whether they are holy angels or damned angels, whether they are saints or sinners, whether they are in heaven or hell, they all bow the knee, and they all ultimately confess Jesus is Lord. Every tongue will confess that. “Every tongue” – meaning – “will acknowledge it.” Every tongue, whether in hell or heaven, will say, “Yes, Jesus is Lord. We rejected Him, we refused Him; but He is Lord.” This God will do for Him, exalt Him to this level, so that everyone bows the knee to Him. What an astonishing exaltation.

But what is the reason? What’s the motive? The source is God, the title is Lord, the response is worship, but what’s the purpose? Back to verse 11: “To the glory of God the Father,” because the Father ultimately gets glory. “To the glory of the Father.” The Father is honored when the Son is worshiped. The Father is honored when the Son is worshiped. The Father said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased. Listen to Him.”

The Father is honored when the Son is worshiped. God is exalted by what Christ has accomplished. God is glorified when you honor His Son. And in the end, the entire conscious universe of beings in heaven or hell will all confess, “Jesus is Lord.” And that will affirm what God has declared, and God will be glorified. He will be glorified in judgment as well as in eternal blessing. Ultimately, everything resolves itself in God’s final glory.

The gospel then is the story of humiliation and exaltation. The one who is God stoops all the way down to become man, takes the role of a servant, willing to die, die on a cross. And because He accomplished our redemption, the Father exalts Him back to where He was, with new honors and new glory for having accomplished redemption. Gives Him a name above every name, the name Lord. Declares that anybody who comes to Him must say, “Jesus is Lord.” And this in itself is the glory of the redemptive work of Christ. But in this passage, this is an illustration to you and me that you would be a whole lot better off to humble yourself and let God glorify you, than to glorify yourself and cause Him to humble you; because when God glorifies you, He takes you to places that are unimaginable. The Bible says He seats you on the throne with His Son; He makes you an heir of all things. “Eye hasn’t seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for them that love Him.” That’s why Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4, “For momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” So life hasn’t given you everything you want. Embrace that; be humbled by that. Be unconcerned about your own issues; give yourself in love to others. Be a part of the unity of the church; and wait until the Lord exalts you with an eternal weight of glory.

The next verse of 2 Corinthians 4 says, “We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things that are seen are temporal, the things that are not seen are eternal.” Don’t try to squeeze everything you think you deserve out of this life. Humble yourself and wait for the unimaginable things that God has for you in your eternal inheritance, which is imperishable, undefiled, unfading, and reserved in heaven.

Again, the message here is primarily a message of Christian conduct. The glory of the incarnation, the glory of the exaltation of the Son of God are designed by God to demonstrate to us what it means to humble yourself and what it means to be exalted by God. You start and I start from a place far lower than Christ – right? – to humble ourselves; and yet we will be lifted up and exalted to the very place where Christ is. This is the kindness and grace of God.

Don’t spend your life trying to demand your rights, trying to get what you think you deserve, being angry at people or vengeful. Be humble. Don’t be conceited, don’t be self-centered. Be concerned about others. Be loving. Do everything you can to create unity. And leave the future exaltation to the Lord, because when He does it, it’s going to be so far beyond anything you can even imagine. That’s what you see when you understand that we will be exalted with Christ, in His throne, in His glory.

Father, we thank You for Your Word. We thank You for the power that it has to speak to our hearts. We thank You for the glories of it. It has a glory all its own, as You do. It has a power that sometimes overwhelms us. It convicts us, and yet at the same time, it encourages us. May we be a people who are of one mind and one spirit, with the same love, humbling ourselves in loving ways to serve one another, so that we can put on display the glory of the gospel in a transformed church. We pray this not only for our own church, but we pray it for all other places where Christ is named and dishonored by discord and disunity and pride and demands. Humble Your people so that they can be exalted in Your proper time. That’s our prayer. And we include our own selves in that for Your glory. Amen.

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