Sermon 2281. Our Lord in the Valley of Humiliation
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, NOVEMBER 6, 1892.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, JUNE 5, 1890.
"And being found in fashion as a Mian, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross." Philippians 2:8.
PAUL wishes to unite the saints in Philippi in the holy bands of love. To do this, he takes them to the Cross. Beloved, thereis a cure for every spiritual disease in the Cross. There is food for every spiritual virtue in the Savior. We never go toHim too often. He is never a dry well or a vine from which every cluster has been taken. We do not think enough of Him. Weare poor because we do not go to the gold country which lies round the Cross. We are often sad because we do not see the brightlight that shines from the constellation of the Cross. The beams from that constellation would give us instantaneous joy andrest if we perceived them. If any lover of the souls of men would do for them the best possible service, he would constantlytake them near to Christ. Paul is always doing so-and he is doing it here.
The Apostle knew that to create concord, you need, first, to beget lowliness of mind. Men do not quarrel when their ambitionshave come to an end. When each one is willing to be least-when everyone desires to place his fellows higher than himself-thereis an end to party spirit. Schisms and divisions are all passed away. Now, in order to create lowliness of mind, Paul, underthe teaching of the Spirit of God, spoke about the lowliness of Christ. He would have us go down and so he takes us to seeour Master going down. He leads us to those steep stairs down which the Lord of Glory took His lowly way and Paul bids usstop while, in the words of our text, he points us to the lowly Christ-"Being found in fashion as a Man, He humbled Himself,and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross."
Before Paul thus wrote, he had indicated, in a word or two, the height from which Jesus originally came. He says of Him, "Who,being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God." You and I can have no idea of how high an honor itis to be equal with God! How can we, therefore, measure the descent of Christ, when our highest thoughts cannot comprehendthe height from which He came? The depth to which He descended is immeasurably below any point we have ever reached-and theheight from which He came is inconceivably above our highest thoughts! Do not, however, forget the Glory that Jesus laid asidefor a while. Remember that He is very God of very God, and that He dwelt in the highest Heaven with His Father. But, thoughHe was thus infinitely rich, for our sakes He became poor, that we, through His poverty, might be rich.
The Apostle, having mentioned what Jesus was, by another stroke of his pen, reveals Him in our Human Nature. He says concerningHim that, "He made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a Servant, and was made in the likeness of men."A great marvel is that Incarnation, that the eternal God should take into union with Himself our human nature, and shouldbe born at Bethlehem, and live at Nazareth, and die at Calvary on our behalf!
But our text does not speak so much of the humiliation of Christ in becoming Man, as of His humiliation after He took uponHimself our Nature. "Being found in fashion as a Man, He humbled Himself." He never seems to stop in His descent until Hecomes to the lowest point-obedience unto death and that death the most shameful of all-"even the death of the Cross." SaidI not rightly, that as you cannot reach the height from which He came, you cannot fathom the depth to which He descended?Here, in the immeasurable distance between the Heaven of His Glory and the shame of His death, is room for your gratitude!You may rise on wings of joy, you may dive into depths of self-denial, but in neither case will you reach the experience ofyour Divine Lord, who thus, for you, came from Heaven to earth, that He might take you up from earth to Heaven!
Now, if strength is given me for the exercise, I want to guide you, first, while we consider the facts of our Lord's humiliation.And, secondly, when we have considered them, I want you to learn, from them, some practical useful lessons. I. First of all,CONSIDER THE FACTS OF OUR LORD'S HUMILIATION.
Paul speaks first of the point from which He still descends-"Being found in fashion as a Man, He humbled Himself." My graciousLord, You have come far enough, already, do You not stop where You are? In the form of God, You were-in the form of Man, Youare. That is an unspeakable stoop! Will You still humble Yourself? Yes, says the text, "Being found in fashion as a Man, Hehumbled Himself." Yet, surely one would have thought that He was low enough! He was the Creator and we see Him here on earthas a creature-the Creator, who made Heaven and earth, without whom was not anything made that was made, and yet He lies inthe virgin's womb! He is born and He is cradled where the horned oxen feed! The Creator is also a Creature! The Son of Godis the Son of Man. Strange combination! Could condescension go farther than for the Infinite to be joined to the Infant, andthe Omnipotent to the feebleness of a newborn Baby?
Yet, this is not all. If the Lord of Life and Glory must be married to a creature, and the High and Mighty One must take uponHimself the form of a created being, yet why does He assume the form of man? There were other creatures brighter than thestars! There were noble spiritual beings, seraphim and cherubim, sons of the morning, presence angels of the eternal Throneof God! Why did He not take their nature? If He must be in union with a creature, why not be joined to the angels? But, "Hetook not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham." A man is but a worm, a creature of many infirmities.Death has written on his brow with his terrible finger. He is corruptible and he must die. Will the Christ take that natureupon Him, that He, too, must suffer and die? It was even so! But when He had come so far, we feel as if we must almost putourselves in the way to stop Him from going farther. Is not this stoop low enough? The text says that it was not, for, "Beingfound in fashion as a Man, He humbled Himself," even then.
What will not Christ do for us who have been given to Him by His Father? There is no measure to His love-you cannot comprehendHis Grace. Oh, how we ought to love Him and serve Him! The lower He stoops to save us, the higher we ought to lift Him inour adoring reverence! Blessed be His name. He stoops, and stoops, and stoops and, when He reaches our level and becomes Man,He still stoops, and stoops, and stoops lower and deeper-"Being found in fashion as a Man, He humbled Himself."
Now let us notice, next, the way in which He descended after He became a man-"He humbled Himself." We must assume that Hehas stooped as low as our humanity, but His humanity might have been, when born, cradled daintily. He might have been amongthose who are born in marble halls and clothed in purple and fine linen. But He chose not to be. If it had pleased Him, Hemight have been born a man and not have been a child. He might have leaped over the period of gradual development from childhoodto youth and from youth to manhood-but He did not. When you see Him at home at Nazareth, the apprenticed Son, obedient toHis parents, doing the little errands of the house, like any other child, you say, as our text says, "He humbled Himself."There He dwelt in poverty with His parents, beginning His life as a workman's boy and, I suppose, running out to play withyouthful companions. All this is very wonderful. The apocryphal gospels represent Him as having done strange things whileyet a child, but the true Gospels tell us very little of His early days. He veiled His Godhead behind His childhood. WhenHe went up to Jerusalem and listened to the doctors of the law, though He astonished them by His questions and answers, yetHe went home with His parents and was subject to them, for, "He humbled Himself." He was by no means pushing and forward,like a petted and precocious child. He held Himself in, for He determined that, being found in fashion as a Man, He wouldhumble Himself.
He grew up, and the time of His appearing unto men arrived. But I cannot pass over the 30 years of His silence without feelingthat here was a marvelous instance of how He humbled Himself. I know young men who think that two or three years' educationis far too long for them. They want to be preaching at once-running away, as I sometimes tell them-like chickens with theshell on their heads! They want to go forth to fight before they have buckled on their armor! But it was not so with Christ-30long years passed over His head and still there was no Sermon on the Mount. When He did show Himself to the world, look howHe humbled Himself! He did not knock at the door of the High Priests, or seek out the eminent Rabbis and the learned scribes!No, He took for His companions, fishermen from the lake, infinitely His inferiors, even if we regarded Him merely as a Man!He was full of manly freshness and vigor of mind
and they were scarcely able to follow Him, even though He moderated His footsteps out of pity for their weakness. He preferredto associate with lowly men, for He humbled Himself.
When He went out to speak, His style was not such as aimed at the gathering together of the elite-He did not address a fewspecially cultured folk. "Then drew near unto Him all the scribes and Pharisees for to hear Him." Am I quoting correctly?No, no-"Then drew near unto Him all the publicans and sinners for to hear Him." They made an audience with which He was athome-and when they gathered about Him, and when little children stood to listen to Him-then He poured out the fullness ofHis heart, for He humbled Himself. Ah, dear Friends, this was not the deepest humiliation of the Lord Jesus! He allowed Satanto tempt Him. I have often wondered how His pure and holy mind, how His right royal Nature could bear conflict with the Princeof Darkness, the foul fiend, full of lies. Christ allowed Satan to put Him to the test-and spotless purity had to bear thenearness of infamous villainy! Jesus conquered, for the Prince of this world came and found nothing in Him. But He humbledHimself when, in the wilderness, on the pinnacle of the Temple, and on the exceedingly high mountain, He allowed the devilto assail Him three times.
Personally, in His body, He suffered weakness, hunger, thirst. In His mind He suffered rebuke, contumely, falsehood. He wasconstantly the Man of Sorrows. You know that when the head of the apostate church is called, "the man of sin," it is becauseit is always sinning. And when Christ is called, "the Man of Sorrows," it is because He was always sorrowing. How amazingit is that He should humble Himself so as to be afflicted with the common sorrows of our humanity, but it was so! "Being foundin fashion as a Man," He consented, even, to be belied, to be called a drunk and a wine-bibber, to have His miracles ascribedto the help of Beelzebub, to hear men say, "He has a devil, and is mad; why do you listen to Him?"
"He humbled Himself." In His own heart there were, frequently, great struggles. And those struggles drove Him to prayer. Heeven lost consciousness of God's Presence, so that He cried in sore anguish, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Allthis was because He still humbled Himself. I do not know how to speak to you upon this great subject! I give you words, butI pray the Holy Spirit to supply you with right thoughts about this great mystery! I have already said that it was condescensionenough for Christ to be found in fashion as a Man. But after that, He still continued to descend the stairway of condescendinglove by humbling Himself yet more and more!
But notice, now, the rule of His descent. It is worth noticing-"He humbled Himself, and became obedient." I have known personstry to humble themselves by will-worship. I have stood in the cell of a monk, when he has been out of it, and I have seenthe whip with which he flagellated himself every night before he went to bed. I thought that it was quite possible that theman deserved all he suffered-and so I shed no tears over it. That was his way of humbling himself, by administering a certainnumber of lashes. I have known persons practice voluntary humility. They have talked in very humble language and have decriedthemselves in words, though they have been as proud as Lucifer all the while! Our Lord's way of humbling Himself was by obedience.He invented no method of making Himself ridiculous! He put upon Himself no singular garb which would attract attention toHis poverty. He simply obeyed His Father and, mark you, there is no humility like obedience-"To obey is better than sacrifice,and to listen than the fat of rams." To obey is better than to wear a special dress, or to clip your words in some peculiarform of supposed humility! Obedience is the best humility-laying yourself at the feet of Jesus and making your will activeonly when you know what is God's will for you. This is to be truly humble!
In what way, then, did the Lord Jesus Christ, in His life, obey? I answer-There was always about Him the spirit of obedienceto His Father. He could say, "Lo, I come: in the Volume of the Book it is written of Me, I delight to do Your will, O My God:yes, Your law is within My heart." He was always, while here, subservient to His Father's great purpose in sending Him toearth! He came to do the will of Him that sent Him and to finish His work. He learned what that will was, partly from HolyScripture. You constantly find Him acting in a certain way, "that the Scripture might be fulfilled." He shaped His life uponthe prophecies that had been given concerning Him. Thus He did the will of the Father.
Also, there was within Him the Spirit of God who led and guided Him, so that He could say, "I do always those things thatplease the Father." Then He waited upon God continually in prayer. Though infinitely better able to do without prayer thanwe are, yet He prayed much more than we do! With less need than we have, He had a greater delight in prayer than we have,and thus He learned the will of God as Man, and did it, without once omitting, or once transgressing in a single point.
He did the will of God, also, obediently, by following out what He knew to be the Father's great design in sending Him. Hewas sent to save and He went about saving-seeking and saving that which was lost. Oh, dear Friends, when we get into unisonwith God, when we wish what He wishes. When we live for the great objective that fills God's heart. When we lay aside ourwishes and whims-and even our lawful desires, that we may do only the will of God, and live only for His glory-then we shallbe truly humbling ourselves!
Thus, I have shown you that Jesus did descend after He became man, and I have pointed out to you the way and the rule of Hisdescending. Now, let us look, with awe and reverence, at the abyss into which He descended. Where did He arrive, at last,in that dreadful descent? What was the bottom of the abyss ? It was death-"He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death,even the death of the Cross." Our Lord died willingly. You and I, unless the Lord should come quickly, will die, whether weare willing or not-"It is appointed unto men once to die." He needed not to die, yet He was willing to surrender His life.He said, "I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father."He died willingly, but, at the same time, He did not die by His own hands. He did not take His own life as a suicide-He diedobediently. He waited till His hour had come, when He was able to say, "It is finished." Then He bowed His head and gave upthe ghost. He humbled Himself, so as to die willingly.
He proved the obedience of His death, also, by the meekness of it, as Isaiah said, "As a sheep before her shearers is dumb,so He opens not His mouth." He never spoke a bitter word to priest or scribe, Jewish governor or Roman soldier. When the womenwept and bewailed, He said to them, "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children."He was all gentleness. He had not a hard word even for His murderers. He gave Himself up to be the Sin-Bearer, without murmuringat His Father's will, or at the cruelty of His adversaries. How patient He was! If He says, "I thirst," it is not the petulantcry of a sick man in His fever-there is a royal dignity about Christ's utterance of the words. Even the, "Eloi, Eloi, lamaSabachthani," with the unutterable gall and bitterness it contains, has not even a trace of impatience mingled with it! Oh,what a death Christ's was! He was obedient in it, obedient not only till He came to die, but obedient in that last dread act!His obedient life embraced the hour of His departure.
But, as if death were not sufficiently humbling, the Apostle adds, "even the death of the Cross." That was the worst kindof death. It was a violent death. Jesus fell not asleep gently, as good men often do, whose end is peace. No, He died by murderoushands. Jews and Gentiles combined and, with cruel hands, took Him and crucified and slew Him. It was, also, an extremely painfuldeath of lingering agony. Those parts of the body in which the nerves were most numerous, were pierced with rough iron nails.The weight of the body was made to hang upon the most tender part of the frame. No doubt the nails tore their cruel way throughHis flesh while He was hanging on the tree. A cut in the hand has often resulted in lockjaw and death, yet Christ's handswere nailed to the Cross. He died in most exquisite pain of body and of soul. It was, also, a death most shameful. Thieveswere crucified with Him. His adversaries stood and mocked Him. The death of the Cross was one reserved for slaves and thebasest of felons-no Roman citizen could be put to death in such a way as that-hung up between earth and Heaven as if neitherwould have Him, rejected of men and despised of God! It was, also, a penal death. He died, not like a hero in battle, noras one who perishes while rescuing his fellow men from fire or flood-He died as a criminal. Upon the Cross of Calvary He washung up. It was an accursed death, too. God Himself had called it so-"Cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree." He was madea curse for us! His death was penal in the highest sense. He "bore our sins in His own body on the tree."
I have not the mental, nor the physical, nor the spiritual strength to speak to you aright on such a wondrous topic as thatof our Lord in the Valley of Humiliation. There have been times with me when I have only needed a child's finger to pointme to the Christ and I have found enough in a sight of Him without any words of man. I hope that it is so with you tonight.I invite you to sit down and watch your Lord, obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. All this He did that He mightcomplete His own humiliation. He humbled Himself even to this lowest point of all, "unto death, even the death of the Cross."
II. If you have this picture clearly before your eyes, I want you, in the second place, to LEARN SOME PRACTICAL LESSONS FROMOUR LORD'S HUMILIATION.
The first is, learn to have firmness of faith in the atoning Sacrifice. If my Lord could stoop to become Man and if, whenHe had come as low as that, He went still lower, and lower, and lower, until He became obedient unto death, even the deathof the Cross, I feel that there must be a potency about that death which is all that I can require. Jesus, by dying,
has vindicated law and justice. Look, Brothers and Sisters, if God can punish sin upon His own dear Son, it means far morethan the sending of us to Hell! Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin, but His blood was shed, so there isremission! His wounds let out His life blood. One great gash opened the way to His heart. Before that, His whole body hadbecome a mass of dripping gore, when, in the Garden, His sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling to the ground.My Lord, when I study Your Sacrifice, I see how God can be "just, and the Justifier of him which believes in Jesus." Faithis born at the Cross of Christ! We not only bring faith to the Cross, but we find it there. I cannot think of my God bearingall this grief in a human body, even to the death on the Cross, and then doubt. Why, doubt becomes harder than faith whenthe Cross is visible! When Christ is set forth evidently crucified among us, each one of us should cry, "Lord, I believe,for Your death has killed my unbelief."
The next lesson I would have you learn from Christ's humiliation is this-cultivate a great hatred of sin. Sin killed Christ.Let Christ kill sin. Sin made Him go down, down, down-then pull sin down, let it have no throne in your heart. If it willlive in your heart, make it live in holes and corners, and never rest till it is utterly driven out. Seek to put your footupon its neck and utterly kill it. Christ was crucified-let your lusts be crucified! And let every wrong desire be nailedup, with Christ, upon the felon's tree. If, with Paul, you can say, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross ofour Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world"-with Him you will also be able to exclaim-"Fromhenceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Christ's branded slave is the Lord'sfreeman!
Learn another lesson, and that is obedience. Beloved, if Christ humbled Himself and became obedient, how obedient ought youand I to be? We ought to stop at nothing when we once know that it is the Lord's will. I marvel that you and I should everraise a question or seek a moment's delay in our obedience to Christ. If it is the Lord's will, let it be done, and done atonce. Should it rend some fond connection, should it cause a flood of tears, let it be done. He humbled Himself, and becameobedient. Would obedience humble me? Would it lower me in man's esteem? Would it make me the subject of ridicule? Would itbring contempt upon my honorable name? Should I be elbowed out of the society wherein I have been admired if I were obedientto Christ? Lord, this is a question not worth asking! I take up Your Cross right joyfully, asking Grace to be perfectly obedientby the power of Your Spirit!
Learn next, another lesson, and that is self-denial. Did Christ humble Himself? Come, Brothers and Sisters, let us practicethe same holy art! Have I not heard of some saying, "I have been insulted. I am not treated with proper respect. I go in andout and I am not noticed. I have done eminent service and there is not a paragraph in the newspaper about me." Oh, dear Friend,your Master humbled Himself, but it seems to me that you are trying to exalt yourself! Truly, you are on the wrong track!If Christ went down, down, down, it ill becomes us to be always seeking to go up, up, up! Wait till God exalts you, whichHe will do in His own good time. Meanwhile, it behooves you, while you are here, to humble yourself! If you are already ina humble position, should you not be contented with it, for He humbled Himself? If you are now in a place where you are notnoticed, where there is little thought of you, be quite satisfied with it. Jesus came just where you are-you may well staywhere you are-where God has put you. Jesus had to bring Himself down and to make an effort to come down to where you are.
Is not the Valley of Humiliation one of the sweetest spots in all the world? Does not the great geographer of the heavenlycountry, John Bunyan, tell us that the Valley of Humiliation is as fruitful a place as any the crow flies over and that ourLord formerly had His country house there, and that He loved to walk those meadows, for He found the air was pleasant? Staythere, Brothers and Sisters! "I should like to be known," says one. "I should like to have my name before the public." Well,if you ever had that lot, if you felt as I do, you would pray to be unknown and to let your name drop out of notice, for thereis no pleasure in it! The only happy way seems to me, if God would only let us choose, is to be known to nobody, and to glidethrough this world as pilgrims and strangers, to the land where our true kindred dwell, and to be known there as having beenfollowers of the Lord.
I think that we should also learn from our Lord's humiliation to have contempt for human glory. Suppose they come to you andsaid, "We will crown you king!"? You may well say, "Will you? All the crown you had for my Master was a crown of thorns-Iwill not accept a diadem from you." "We will praise you." "What? Will you praise me, you who spat in His dear face? I neednone of your praises." It is a greater honor to a Christian to be maligned than to be applauded. Yes, I do not care whereit comes from, I will say this-if he is slandered and abused for Christ's sake-no odes in his
honor, no articles in his praise can do him one-tenth the honor! This is to be a true knight of the Cross, to have been woundedin the fray, to have come back adorned with scars for His dear sake! O despised one, look upon human glory as a thing thatis tarnished, no longer golden, but corroded because it came not to your Lord.
And, O Beloved, I think when we have meditated on this story of Christ's humbling Himself, we ought to feel our love to ourLord growing very vehemently! We do not half love Him as we ought. When I read the sentences of Bernard, half Romanist, butaltogether saint, I feel as if I had not begun to love my Lord! And when I turn over Rutherford's letters and see the glowof his heart toward his Divine Master, I could smite on my breast to think that I have such a heart of stone where there oughtto be a heart of flesh! If you hear George Herbert sing his quaint, strange poetry, suffused with love for his dear Lord,you may well think that you are a rookie in the school of love! Yes, and if you ever drink in the spirit of McCheyne, youmay go home and hide your head, and say, "I am not worthy to sing-
"Jesus, lover of my soul,'
for I do not return His love as I ought to do." Come, seek His wounds and let your hearts be wounded! Come, look to His heartthat poured out blood and water, and give your heart up to Him! Put your whole being among the sweet spices of His all-sufficientmerit, set all on fire with burning affection, and let the fragrance of it go up like incense before the
Lastly, let us be inflamed with a strong desire to honor Christ. If He humbled Himself, let us honor Him. Every time thatHe seems to put away the crown, let us put it on His head. Every time we hear Him slandered-and men continue to slander Him-letus speak up for Him right manfully-
"You that are men, now serve Him,
Against unnumbered foes.
Your courage rise with danger,
And strength to strength oppose." Do you not grow indignant, sometimes, when you see how Christ's professed Church is treatingHim and His Truth? They are still shutting Him out till His head is wet with dew, and His locks with the drops of the night.Proclaim Him King in the face of His false friends! Proclaim Him and say that His Word is infallibly true and that His preciousblood, alone, can cleanse from sin! Stand out the braver because so many Judases seem to have leaped up from the bottomlessPit to betray Christ again. Be firm and steadfast, like granite walls, in the day when others turn their backs and fly likecowards.
The Lord help you to honor Him who humbled Himself, who became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross! May He acceptthese humble words of mine and bless them to His people, and make them to be the means of leading some poor sinner to comeand trust in Him! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON PHILIPPIANS 2:1-18.
Verses 1, 2. If there is, therefore, any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, ifany heart and mercies, fulfill you my joy, that you be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.Paul did not mean to doubt that there is "any consolation in Christ, any comfort of love, any fellowship of the Spirit, anyheart and mercies," for no one knew better than he did how those blessings abound to them that are in Christ Jesus. He putit by way of argument. If there is consolation in Christ, since there is consolation in Christ, since there is comfort oflove, since there is fellowship of the Spirit, be one in Christ. Be not divided. Love one another-"be like-minded, havingthe same love, being of one accord, of one mind."
3. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory. "Nothing." Never give to exceed other givers. Never preach that you maybe a better preacher than anybody else. Never work in the Sunday school with the idea of being thought a very successful teacher."Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory."
3. But in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. There is some point in which your friend excelsyou. Notice that rather than the point in which you excel him! Try to give him the higher seat. Seek for yourself to takethe lowest place.
4. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Have a large heart, so that, though youcare for yourself in spiritual things and desire your own soul's prosperity, you may have the same desire for every otherChristian man or woman.
5. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. What an example we have set before us in the Lord Jesus Christ!We are to have the mind of Christ and that in the most Christly way, for here we have Christ set out to the life.
6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. For He was equal with God.
7. But made Himself of no reputation, emptied Himself of all His honor, of all His glory, of all His majesty. And of all thereverence paid to Him by the holy spirits around the Throne of God.
7, 8. And took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a Man, Hehumbled Himself. He had not descended low enough, yet, though He had come down all the way from the Godhead to our manhood-"Hehumbled Himself."
8, 9. And became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him. He stooped,who can tell how low? He was raised, who shall tell how high? "Therefore God also has highly exalted Him."
9, And given Him a name which is above every name. He threw away His name. He emptied Himself of His reputation. How highis His reputation now! How glorious is the name that God has given Him as the reward of His redemptive work!
10, 11. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Now is He higher than thehighest! Now everyone must confess His Divinity! With shame and terror, His adversaries shall bow before Him! With delightand humble adoration, His friends shall acknowledge Him Lord of All-"that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ isLord, to the glory of God the Father." See how the greatest Glory of Christ is the Glory of the Father. He never desired anyother Glory but that. The highest honor you can ever have, O child of God, is to bring honor to your Father who is in Heaven!Do you not think so? I know you do!
12. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work outyour own salvation with fear and trembling. Get out of self. Work out your salvation from pride, from vainglory, from disputationsand strife.
13. For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of His goodpleasure. You may very well work out what God worksin. If He does not work it in, you will never work it out-but while He works within your spirit both to will and to do, youmay safely go on to will and to do, for your willing and your doing will produce lowliness of spirit and unity of heart withyour Brothers and Sisters.
14. Do all things without murmuring and disputes. Do not say, "You give me too much to do! You always give me the hard work;you put me in the obscure corner." No, no! "Do all things without murmurings." And do not begin fighting over a holy work,for, if you do, you spoil it in the very beginning-and how can you then hope for a blessing upon it? "Do all things withoutmurmurings and disputes."
15. That you may be blameless and harmless. None finding fault with you and you not finding fault with others- neither harmingnor harmed-"blameless and harmless."
15. The sons of God, without rebuke. So that men cannot rebuke you and will have to invent a lie before they can do it-andeven then the falsehood is too palpable to have any force in it-"without rebuke."
15. In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. You cannot straighten them,but you can shine. They would destroy you if they could, but all you have to do is to shine. If Christians would give moreattention to their shining, and pay less attention to the crooked and perverse generation, much more would come of it. Butnow we are advised to "keep abreast of the times" and to, "catch the spirit of the age." If I could ever catch that spirit,I would hurl it into the bottomless abyss, for it is a spirit that is antagonistic to Christ in all respects! We are to stayclear of all that and, "shine as lights in the world."
16. Holding forth the Word of Life. You are to hold forth the Word of Life as men hold forth a torch. Your shining is largelyto consist in holding forth the Word of Life.
16. That I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain. God's ministers cannotbear the thought of having labored in vain. And yet if some of us were to die, what would remain of all we have done? I
charge you, Brothers and Sisters, to think of what your life-work has been. Will it remain? Will it abide? Will it stand thetest of your own departure? Ah, if you have any fear about it, you may well go to God in prayer and cry, "Establish You thework of our hands upon us; yes, the work of our hands, establish You it." Paul cared much about God's work, but he did nottrouble about himself.
17. Yes, and if I am offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. If he might bepoured forth as a drink-offering on their behalf, or offered up as a whole burnt-offering in the service of the Savior, hewould be glad. He could not bear to have lived in vain-but to spend his life for the glory of his Lord would always be a joyto him.
18. For the same cause also do you joy, and rejoice with me. To live and to die for Jesus Christ with the blessing of theFather resting upon us-this is a matter for us to joy in unitedly and continually. God help us so to do!