THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 12-8-02
LESSON TITLE: THE CROSS OF JESUS: "THE ATTITUDE OF CHRIST"
Good morning! Thank you for joining us today for God's Living Word. I hope everyone had a great week, and I hope your weekend was a profitable one also.
Here we are on another glorious Lord's Day morning. What a wonderful opportunity we have again today to join together in the worship of our Redeemer. I hope you are ready to begin this new week with a day of service and offering to your God.
As always, it is our commitment through this program to proclaim the simple truth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - which is confirmed for us in the Bible. I hope you all have your Bible's handy and I hope you are ready to worship God together as we sing praises to His name and study from His wondrous word. Now let's begin by talking to our Father in prayer!
What was the happiest moment of your life? At this time, we want to sing a song that reminds us of what that memory should be of. Won't you all join in with the congregation at this time as we praise God together with the hymn, "O Happy Day."
(SONG # 1)
How many times have you said something that you regretted? You know what I mean, "open mouth and insert foot." I think we have all been there and done that. However, the real question that we must consider is, just how important is it that we do and say the right things? Well our Lord said it is very important.
In Matthew 12:35, Jesus said, "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment." Also in Revelation 20:13, we read that each one is judged according to His works! Now we have the answers! It matters because the things we do and say will judge us in the last day! We will either receive a good reward for the righteous lives that we have lived or we will receive damnation, according to our choices in this life which forgot God.
In the same text back up in verses 33 and 34, Jesus summed up what causes us to do and to say the things which we do. There He says, "...For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things." Christ says we do and say things according to what we are inside. The heart and soul of man cause him to produce either good treasures or bad. Solomon said, "as a man thinks in his heart, so is he," Proverbs 23:7.
The things we choose to feed our heart, soul, and mind with, will determine whether we produce that which is good or bad. You and I know that a good tree doesn't produce bad fruit nor does a bad tree produce good fruit. Again, it was our Savior who said, "Therefore by their fruits you will know them," Matthew 7:20.
So my question today is, what type of fruit do you produce through your words and deeds. Is it the good fruit according to the will of Christ, or is it bad fruit according to the evil's of this world? Remember, it does make a difference, it does matter - so choose this morning to only bear that fruit that makes you acceptable before God.
We're excited to have a guest speaker with us this morning who we have not had before. It's great to have brother Robert Moss, minister for the Hillcrest Church of Christ, in Neosho, Missouri. Brother Moss will be leading us in our study of God's Word this morning.
In our study of the day, we will be continuing our discussion on the wondrous, "Cross of Jesus." Our specific topic of the day will deal with, "The Attitude of Christ." So please continue with us this morning and after our next song together brother Moss will return with this lesson from God's Word. It's now time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "Face to Face."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Robert Moss
Good morning. I'd like to begin this morning by expressing my appreciation to brother Sullins, to the congregation at Kansas Expressway and the other individuals and congregations who are involved in this wonderful work. I consider it a great honor to be a part of this morning to study with you from God's Word.
I'm very thankful for the subject of the attitude of Christ concerning the cross. I have some thoughts from God's Word this morning that I hope will be very profitable to us as we study them together.
We're going to be looking at mainly at a passage found in the 2nd chapter of the book of Phillippians. You may want to turn there with me as we'll begin studying that. There are some thoughts in this passage that I believe will help us to have a greater appreciation and understanding of the attitude that Christ had for the cross as evidenced in His life. In Phillippians chapter 2 beginning with verse 5 and following, we find this, "Let this mind be in you which is also in Christ Jesus who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God but made Himself of no reputation took upon Him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death even the death of the cross, wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above everything, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father."
There are many things in this passage, but I want to look at four areas that I believe will help us as we see Jesus fulfillment of God's plan in His life and these attitudes and principles that He evidenced that helped to give us a greater appreciation of Him and what He has done.
Number 1, in verse 7, we find the following: "He made Himself of no reputation and took upon Him the form of a servant." Here we find self-renunciation. That's the first quality that I would like to look at into which Christ had and as He looked toward the cross He exhibited for us in His attitude. Of all the things that could be said concerning Jesus Christ and His demands, it could never be said that He required more than what He Himself did, or that His demands exceeded His own personal contribution to things. There are none of us who could say that we have involved ourselves in self-renunciation anymore than Jesus Christ. Of all people who deserve special treatment would it not be the Son of God? Yet He refused that special treatment so that He could be equipped to represent us in heaven.
Hebrews chapter 5 and verses 8 and 9 teaches us, "Though He were a Son yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered and being made perfect became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obeyed Him." Literally the passage has the idea that he equipped Himself. He considered not Himself but He considered us, and He gave of Himself. He emptied Himself so that we might be rich.
We are told in 2 Corinthians 8 and verse 9, "For yea though 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." Jesus was filled with self-renunciation. A great attitude as He lived His life looking toward the cross.
Secondly, let's note verses 7 and 8. The Bible teaches that "He was made in the likeness of men and being found in fashion as a man." He thoroughly identified Himself with the human situation. He put Himself in the position that He practiced self-adaptation so that He could walk in this life, so that He could live in this life, and therefore be our perfect High Priest to stand before God the Father. He was not an angel pretending to be a man. He was not some sort of phantom as the agnostics would make Him out to be and which prior to His baptism, He wasn't really human and prior to the cross, His spirit left and He was no longer there and that He was a figment or a phantom, but He was truly the God man. It's quite interesting to understand also that when He came to the earth that His incarnation was not with the upper (inaudible) of humanity, but the Bible says that He took on the form of a servant. We find here self-adaptation. Consider the things that came with this identification. Here He left the heavenlies where everything was perfect. Nothing out of order. No problems. No sin. Nothing of that kind. Then, He comes to earth and what happens? He experiences hunger. He experiences pain. He experiences suffering. He experiences thirst. He experiences loneliness. Now consider coming from a perfect place in the heavenlies to this earth where He came face to face with these things. There was self-adaptation involved there. Consider the fact of death on the cross itself. Consider the suffering in the Garden of Gethsemene.
If you recall in Luke chapter 22 and verse 44 we are told, "And being in agony, He prayed the more earnestly and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." Such makes us to consider our own self adaptations that we're involved in our everyday lives. Such a small matter. Such insignificant matters in comparison to what Jesus went through when He came here and as He looked forward to the cross realizing that being the climax of it all that He was willing to involve Himself in this great effort of self-adaptation. He paid the full price of self-adaptation.
In Hebrews chapter 2 beginning with verse 14 we find the following: "For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same and through death he might destroy that hath the power of death that is the devil and deliver them that through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily, He took not only Him the nature of angels but He took on Him the seed of Abraham, wherefore in all things in behooved Him to be likened to His brethren that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God and to make reconciliation for the sins of the people for that He Himself had suffered being tempted. He is able to sucker them that are tempted." So we see that as Christ was in this position, He was able to be our great High Priest and be that propitiation for us. Now this does not mean and I cannot mean, I might add, that He literally divested Himself of His divine nature, of His perfections, for that was impossible. Paul does not say here, notice very carefully, that Christ emptied Himself of the form of God or that He exchanged the form of God for the form of a slave or that He emptied Himself of His equality with God or that He exchanged His equality with God for the equality of a servant. Those are not what He said. He simply states the fact and does not continue and philosophize about the possibility. Christ had to attach the full weight of His deity to His being obedient in His suffering and His dying. It was a voluntary act, willfully self-imposed. I do not believe we can even begin to imagine what was involved in the self-adaptation that Christ took upon Him as He came to this earth looking forward to the cross whereby He would give His life for all mankind. What king do you know of that would take and would leave his throne, would go down and live among the peasants, allow himself to be sacrificed in a horrible death, not only for those who cared for him but even for those who hated him?
In Matthew chapter 1 and verse 23, "Behold a virgin shall be with child and she shall bring forth a son. Thou shalt call His name Emmanuel which will be interpreted "Is God With Us." God with us. The God man, Jesus Christ. Self-adaptation. What a marvelous example of Christ's attitude as He lived toward the cross.
Now thirdly, we find in this in verse 8, self-surrender. He humbled Himself the passage said. The word "humbled" was re-defined by the cross and it became one of the great words of the Christian vocabulary because of the influence that Christ left in His attitude of self-surrender in looking to the cross. The word "humble" in this passage describes a condition where there is no self-consciousness.
I think you would agree that in our world, there is a great amount too much, if any at all, but a great amount of egotism, self-seeking, assertiveness. We live in what everyone says is that "dog-eat-dog world." We talk about four-letter words and we teach our children concerning the heinous nature of many of them, but how often do we teach them concerning the four-letter word "self", and the dangers that come from that. But here, Jesus practiced self-surrender in His attitude in looking toward the cross into which He was in the position that one of the definitive features of His character was that of lowliness. We find in Matthew 11 and verse 29 where Jesus said, "Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me for I am meek and lowly and hard and you shall find rest unto your souls."
More specifically in the passage the term means in this context, a willingness to seek others advantage instead of our own. That's the attitude Christ had in looking toward the cross. Our advantage would be in order, not His own. Often Christ eluded to the fact that He came to do the Will of the Father. He constantly looked to the Father's Will and announced that that was what He was doing and He sought to glorify the Father as we see in John chapter 17 in the fist few verses of that great chapter into which we find His prayer there. Do you remember again when Jesus was looking to the cross and He was in Gethsemene and in great agony and He said, "Thy Will be done." Self-surrender to the Will of the Father. Event though the cross was ahead of Him, the great agony that would come with it, He was willing to do the Will of the Father.
Also we find in verse 8 the Bible says that, "He became obedient unto death even the death of the cross." It goes beyond saying that the Son of man just came to die. He came to die the most awful of deaths, a death in which people in His time look down upon with great shame. It wasn't that He was in a position into which He died some martyr's death and He was upheld and the world looked and said, "What a great and glorious act." He died a shameful death on the cross. If you'll recall in Galatians chapter 3 and verse 3, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, then made a curse for us for it is written cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree." What do you find there? You find self-sacrifice. Willing to sacrifice the things that man would look upon in an honorable way and die a death in shame on the cross.
It has been said by individuals who are historians that in the days and time in which Jesus lived that of all the deaths, the cross was looked upon as most shameful, and that it was looked down upon as a death that was there for those who were rebellious, those who were criminals, those who were robbers, the low-life. Well can you imagine, can you imagine the Son of God leaving the heavens and making such self-sacrifice that He would first of all even come to this earth, take on the form of man, adapt and live in this life with all the things He had to face and then being in the position knowing that He was going to die this type of death, a death of shame? He came all the way down to the most despised death of all. Well who did He do that for? He did it for you and He did it for me.
In this passage, as we examined these thoughts to the extent that we could in our time, consider the fact that Christ, as He looked to the cross in coming from the heavenlies, He practiced self-renunciation. He practiced self-adaptation. He practiced self-surrender. And He practiced self-sacrifice. These in this passage help us to understand the attitude of Christ as He looked toward the cross.
Consider the demands. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.
Thank you for your time.
(SONG # 3 - "Fairest Lord Jesus")
What a wondrous time we have had together in participating in the things of God. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
Now let me ask if you have any questions or comments about today's lesson? Maybe, you would like a free transcript or a free cassette tape of this program? Possibly, we could assist you with free Bible materials or free Bible correspondence courses? No matter what your need is, please contact us at the following address:
The Living Word
2540 N. Kansas Expressway
Springfield, Mo. 65803
Many of these materials are also available on our website:
That address is: www.thelivingwordprogram.com
Or if you prefer, you may call us at:
What a wonderful attitude Christ had toward all those of this earth. May we all learn to have better attitudes ourselves, from this most perfect example left by the very Son of God.