Beautiful Quote on Love

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I read this in a book a few weeks ago and its really lingered with me:

Love is the great equalizer. One cannot love from a higher position. Love requires personal abandonment, a divesture of the social, economic, political, or hierarchical artifices we think make us somebody of worth. Only love does that, and the loving requires the divestiture, the humility. It descends, never condescends. This is what God is teaching us in Jesus. Phil Needham

Yeah I don’t have anything to add to that, other than that this is true and worth reflecting on. To help try reading Philippians 2:5-11 a few times, I think it will resonate really well with what Phil Needham wrote.

Emptying Yourself

On Sunday we put on our theological thinking caps and dived deeply in Philippians 2:5-11. What we discovered was a clear picture not only of Jesus, but also of who God is. Because Jesus is the perfect representation and revelation of God.

cross-with-shadow-4-1356539-mThrough this hymn we discovered a God who is about emptying himself. The word in Greek is kenosis. So we read that Jesus made himself nothing, or literally emptied himself. So we worked the passage through to discover what did Jesus empty himself of? He didn’t empty himself of divinity, instead to be divine is to actually empty yourself. So what did he release and let go?

Well we discovered three clear things he actually emptied himself of, or divested himself of. The first was unilateral power. In coming to earth he gave up unilateral power, and actually embraced vulnerability. Because now for the first time God in the person of Jesus Christ could be beaten, bruised, and killed. Jesus emptied himself fo power, and embraced vulnerability. He also emptied himself of position. It says that Jesus humbled himself. He gave up his position above us to join us where we are at. He became human to reach us. So he gave up position, and embraced humility. And lastly, he gave up privilege and embraced obedience. Privilege is the right to choose and be in charge. Jesus gave that up and let the father direct him in all things and embraced absolute obedience.

So on Sunday we discovered that the way of Jesus is to empty yourself of power, position, and privilege and embrace vulnerability, obedience, and humility. And if this is the way of Jesus, it is to be our way as Christians as well. We will never ever change the world as long as we are holding onto our power, position, and privilege. Our church is to be known for how it empties itself on those who are around it. Because this is what Jesus is known for: emptying himself for our sakes. We need to do the same thing because being a Christian isn’t about knowing a lot about Jesus, it’s about living life in the way of Jesus.

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: Live your Life on Empty

Take Aways…

  • Phroneo: To Cherish the Same Views as Jesus
  • People desire power and position to be able to use it
  • God is “Jesusy”
  • Our God is the self-emptying one
  • The decision to become human, and to go all the way along the road of obedience…was not a decision to stop being divine. It was a decision about what it really meant to be divine. N.T. Wright
  • The attitude of Jesus isn’t to hold onto power and position but to embrace vulnerability
  • “The voluntary downward plunge of the divine” Antoinette Clark Wire
  • The attitude of Jesus is one who gives up position and takes on humility
  • The attitude of Jesus is one who gives up privilege and embraces obedience
  • Christians we are to live our lives on empty
  • Being a Christian isn’t just about going to church and reading your Bible, Being a Christian is about living life like Jesus Christ
  • this church is to be known for how it empty’s its life on all those around it
  • As long as we are holding onto our power, our position, our privileges we will not change the world
  • We are not responsible to fill someone else’s life, we are absolutely responsible to empty ours
  • Measure your life not by how much you gain, but how much you give

 

Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new?

Why might it be so important to get our view of Jesus straight? What happens when our understanding of Jesus is off?

Why do you think there is such a temptation in our world to hold onto power, position, and privilege? Have you ever thought of Jesus as one who empty’s himself before? What do you think is hardest to empty yourself of – power, position, or privilege?

Who are you feeling called to “empty” yourself on around you? How might you do that in practical, meaningful, and creative ways? Are you prepared to try to live life without holding onto power, position, or privilege? Who can help you to live that way?

Discussion Questions for Young Families: Take a moment and talk to your kids about today’s message. Remind them that purpose of life – isn’t to gain things – it’s to give. Ask them if they have anything they’d like to give to someone else. Ask them if they have any ideas of how they might give something (time, a toy, whatever) to someone to brighten their day. Then actually go and do it.

Challenge for this Week: Empty yourself on those around you this week.

 

Learning to Actually Live Like Jesus

On Sunday we are looking at probably one of the most important passages in the entire Bible. We are going to be looking at  Philippians 2:5-11. This is called the Christ Hymn by scholars, and here is why this passage is so important.  This passage is important because it sets out with absolute clarity who Jesus Christ is.jesus-on-cross-4-1364043-m

And this matters because if we don’t know who Jesus is, we don’t know how to live, and we can end up not looking or living at all like Jesus. And maybe you’ve seen this in your own life; people who seem to know a lot about God, but don’t seem to actually live anything like him.

This is what we want to really dive deeply into on Sunday. Who is this Jesus we follow? How do we live like him? And how do we change the world with him? Because make no mistake, we, as Christians, are called to change the world. The problem is that we do it in the way of the world, rather than the way of Jesus. And as we’ll see on Sunday the way of Jesus is all about vulnerability, obedience and humility. The way of Jesus is about getting rid of power, position, and privilege and emptying ourselves. So come Sunday we hope to come away with two clear things. First, who Jesus is, and secondly, how we are to live.

So before we get there why not spend sometime with the passage below and wrestle with it. Ask who does this passage reveal Jesus to be? And how is it then calling us to live?

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.