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March 20, 2016

"EVEN THE CROSS"

TEXT: Philippians 2: 8 (Read verses 5-11)
READING:
 Psalm 40: 1-17

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SUBJ: The cross described as and demonstrating the necessary extreme to which our Lord submitted in fully humbling Himself under the will of the Father.

AIM: That we might ever be aware of and meditate on the price paid for our salvation and to see that our humility must be patterned after that of the Lord Himself.

INTR: The occasion of this reminder was to give the ultimate illustration of self-abnegation in deference to the needs of others and no greater sacrifice has ever been made and none other ever humbled themselves in this manner.
1. Even here, the Apostle gives emphasis to the sacrifice made by the use of the word “even” as a more intense form of death and dying.
2. Thoughts of the cross are often tossed around in an irreverent manner and we do well to often visit the manner of our Savior’s death in order to be made properly aware of the debt I own and cannot pay and so rejoice in the mercies of our God in Christ.
3. It was enough to take on Him the form of sinful flesh, but to voluntarily die in this manner defies imagination.

THESIS: Apart from a proper view of the sufferings and death of Christ there can be no proper claim to salvation and the life from the dead that He imparts to His own.

I. The cross as a topic
1. We note first Paul’s disclaimer: 17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:17-18.
2. The cross is seen as the means of reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles: And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: Ephesians 2:16
3. It is an offence to the world: And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. Galatians 5:11
4. It is the reason of peace with God: And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. Colossians 1:20.
5. It is the only legitimate cause for the believer to glory: But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. Galatians 6:14
6. By it our Lord is designated as a curse: Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: Galatians 3:13.

II. The humility of the cross (borrowed in part from William Hendriksen and others
1. He who made the Law made Himself subject to the Law: The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29 AND For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21
2. He gave up His wealth in every way – See For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9: He came to minister!
3. He gave up His heavenly glory: And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. John 17:5. Consider that the One who submitted to the cross is the One we see in Isaiah 6 as high and lifted up and being continually praised by the angels.
4. He gave up the independent exercise of His authority: Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; Hebrews 5:8 deferred to the will of the Father in all
5. Ultimately He gave up all:
1) The form of a servant – not just the appearance but literally became one in His human nature
2) When reviled He reviled not again (1 Pet 2:23)
3) Submitted to the death of the lowest of servants and criminals
4) From Robertson: “Yea the death of the cross – The bottom rung in the ladder from the throne of God.”
5) It was a most horrible death, painful, extensive and shameful!
6) Consider once more: Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Isaiah 53:10.
6. From Hendriksen: “Thus, while hanging on that cross, from below Satan and all his hosts assailed Him; from round about Him men heaped scorn upon Him; from above God dropped upon Him the pallor of darkness, symbol of the curse; from within there arose the bitter cry, “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?” into this hell Christ descended.”
7. It was all borne out of an eternal love and so was voluntary and satisfaction was obtained for all who come into God by Him!