Scripture: Philippians 2:9-11
I. God lifted Jesus up because God always exalts the humble.
A. Because Jesus emptied himself in humility, because Jesus was obedient to God the Father, because Jesus died on the cross, therefore (vs. 9) God highly exalted him. In the ascension, God makes a value judgment about Jesus. Nothing else would do for Jesus but that he should be lifted up to the highest place of all. Jesus showed both obedience and love to the uttermost. And God vindicated Jesus and approved of Jesus in the ascension because of His humility.
B. There is a principle at work here in what God has done for Jesus that also applies to you. Jesus spoke about that principle in Matthew 23:12: “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” God hates pride. But He loves humility. Jesus humbled himself to the greatest degree on the cross. And so God has lifted Jesus to the highest place. If you want to be lifted up, you then need to humble yourself.
II. God lifted Jesus up because Jesus is King and Lord.
A. God bestowed on Jesus the name that is above every name (vs. 9). What name? Lord (vs. 11). By giving Jesus the name Lord, there is no clearer way for God to say that Jesus Himself is divine. God had said in Isaiah 42:8: “I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other.” Jesus was humbled and died on the cross. But Jesus is now the triumphant, resurrected, God-man who rules the world from a throne in heaven. So, God shares His name with Jesus.
B. We read in Philippians 2:10 “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” We see the same thing said in Isaiah 45:22-24: “I am God, and there is no other… ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength.” To confess that Jesus Christ is Lord in the language of Isaiah 45 is to say that Jesus is God.
III. God lifted Jesus up because Jesus is judge of all people.
A. If everyone is going to bow the knee to Jesus, if everyone is going to confess that Jesus is Lord (vs. 10-11), does that mean that everyone will go to heaven? All will submit to Jesus. All will confess. But not all will be saved. On Judgment Day we can only choose whether we will make that confession of Jesus as Lord with joy or with terror. One day you will have to give an account of your life to Jesus as your maker and judge. Every knee is going to bow before Jesus sooner or later, whether in joy or in shame and fear. I pray that you bow the knee to Jesus today.
Joyfully confess that Jesus is Lord today before you meet Him on Judgment Day.
The letter to the Philippians
Commentaries on Philippians by Moises Silva, J.A. Motyer, D.A. Carson & Steven Lawson
Sermon Discussion Questions
- Why do you think God loves humility so much? At a practical level, what can you do to become a more humble person?
- Is there any greater name that God could have bestowed on Jesus than Lord? Why is the ascension of Jesus worth celebrating?
- How many people will bow the knee to Jesus and confess that He is Lord? Why do you think that even Satan and the demons and unbelievers will do this on Judgment Day?