Monday, April 10, 2017

Sermon April 8-9, 2017 Palm Sunday

Title: In humility Jesus came to be your King!
Text: Phil 2:5-11

9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

When I first served here at Peace many years ago as President of the congregation, I use to have to lead meetings. Some were congregational council and Voters meeting and some were smaller board meetings. At times we dealt with issues that could be a bit contentious and there would be people on both sides of the issue. When I put the agenda for the meetings together I always added a scripture verse at the bottom of the page. It was there for all to see but it was mostly there for me … as a reminder.

The scripture was Philippians 2 verses 3 and4. It read:

3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. NIV 1984

It was there to remind me to be humble in how I served the church and how I need to deal with others who also serve the church. It is what Paul, in writing the church at Philippi, wanted them and us to know.

After the introduction to his letter Paul says as I paraphrase:

2 If you have any encouragement from being brothers and sisters in Christ, if you can bring comfort to those who might be hurting or be a bit more loving, as we share our common faith, be tender and show compassion …

2 then you make my joy complete being like-minded, and having the same love - being of one spirit and of one mind.

We are often anything but … of one mind. We are like the Philippians in need of a reminder from Paul, the apostle and from God’s word of what humility looks like. In servant hood and obedience to Jesus

Humility comes to us in our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. He took on our humanity and became man humbling himself in the form of a servant to serve you and me.


I’m reminded of that TV show that I’ve seen a few times Undercover Boss.

“The show’s format features the experiences of senior executives [or business owners] working undercover in their own companies to investigate how their firms really work and to identify how they can be improved, as well as to reward hard-working employees.”
So these people don’t know that the new employee or worker working with them is actually … the boss.

He investigates what is going on with the people, the workers. At times he has to tell someone in charge that they are not doing a good job – as Jesus did with the Pharisees who were keeping the letter of the Law and not the Spirit of the Law. He reminded them when they accused him of not keeping the Sabbath – which was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. Also, at times an employee on the show needs help and the boss gives that help to one in need.

This analogy only goes so far as we can all fall victim to our own self-righteousness and works-righteousness thinking that if we only do enough good we are acceptable to God. This is not true.

But what we do see in the show is that the people only know the boss’s true identity after it has been revealed. For you and me and for all born in the natural way it is revealed by the Holy Spirit through the word. At time the word points to our failings – which condemn us, and at time it is the comfort of the Gospel that points to Jesus and his work on our behalf.

We and those in Philippi, whom Paul is writing know Christ. They have been brought to faith by the Holy Spirit and now Paul is pointing them and us to the humility of Jesus and how as followers of his … we all need the same attitude.

He says:

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

Though Jesus is God in the flesh, he made himself nothing – for you.

Though Jesus is God in the flesh, he was humble and obedient – for you.

Though Jesus was God in the flesh, he went to and died on the cross – for you.

His ride into Jerusalem, on Palm Sunday, veiled the agony on what lay ahead – for him.

In the week to come he would be deceived, accused, tried, condemned, denied, mocked and forsaken – crying: “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Having completed his course Jesus yielded up his spirit. He died.

The Earth shook and those dead saints who were raised came out of their tombs just like Lazarus from our reading last week. They appeared to many. So much for guarding the tomb of Jesus ... we might think. But still they do because it is Jesus’ resurrection that changes everything.

It is Jesus … who changes everything – for you!

No longer are you dead in sin but now in Christ you are raised to newness of life. No longer are you lost in a broken and corrupted world but because of Christ and his death there is for you, because of the humble Lamb of God, a life eternal.

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,

Jesus’ true identity which had been veiled at his coming in the flesh will be revealed by his glorious resurrection and his rising from the grave. And just as he has conquered sin, death and the devil by his active obedience we who receive this gift in a passive way through word and sacrament, have all that he won for us and promised to us.

That where he is - we will be also

3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

In humility he came to be your king!

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.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.


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