Thursday, November 27, 2014

Nine Guys Who Missed Thanksgiving

Some of you noticed the title to the sermon already, and you are thinking, “Man, that doesn’t apply to me. My belly is still full from the feast I had. I sure didn’t miss Thanksgiving.”

Well, you may not have missed Thanksgiving dinner, but thanksgiving is more than turkey and stuffing. And even cranberries and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving is an attitude, an attitude of gratitude.

That’s the part of Thanksgiving that was missed by the nine in the story we are looking at today. I fear, that is the attitude that is severely lacking in a lot of us in our day. We, the most blest people that have ever lived, are often the most ungrateful.

So, perhaps we can learn something from this story too about the “nine guys who missed Thanksgiving.” By the way, the title isn’t original with me. I’ve heard it used a number of times before, I just can’t remember where. But it does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? So let’s look at a time when nine out of ten guys missed thanksgiving.

First, let’s set the stage:
Luke 17:11 - 12
11 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off.
Obviously, Jesus is traveling. We haven’t read enough of the context to know more than this, but Jesus is heading to Jerusalem. The reason He is heading there is to present Himself to the Nation of Israel as her Messiah and to be rejected and crucified. He will become the fulfillment of the Passover Lamb, dying in place of His people.

But on His way to Jerusalem, He encounters a distraction. Off to the side of the road, “afar off,” stood a group of lepers. They were required by law to stay separate from everyone. They were even required to yell to everyone, “Unclean! Unclean!” They lived in isolation; it was like a living death. And that’s what they were doing, waiting to die because leprosy was a fatal disease. Nobody wanted to look at them with their disfigurement and their weeping sores. Nobody would touch them. Nobody wanted to catch the dreaded disease - a disease rampant in that day.

But, they must have heard about this traveling miracle worker that some were claiming was the Messiah because when they saw Him go by, they ignored all the social requirements. Instead, they cried out to Him for help. Luke 17:13 tells us, “And they lifted up their voices and said, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’”

This is quite a bold thing to do, not just that they had the audacity to speak to someone, but in what they were asking. The word “master” here meant “top commander, head general of an army, the one in command.” It was a synonym for Lord - the expressed faith that Jesus is in command, yes, even that He could command the disease of leprosy. This was a cry of faith to the one they believed could help, to the one who could truly show mercy to them.

What will Jesus do? He has made a habit out of healing everyone who came to Him with a need. That’s why the multitudes flocked to Him. And He healed them all. Often, it was through His touch. Yes, He actually touched the untouchable.

But not this time: Luke 17:14 says,
“So when He saw them, He said to them, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.”
What? That’s it? Nothing flashy? Nothing dramatic? No laying on of hands? No theatrics? No loud proclamations or prayers for healing? No! None of that! Just act like you are healed, fellas, and go show the priests so they can certify you are clean. That was the requirement of the law according to Leviticus 13. They had to be examined by a priest. They had to have their skin examined and be certified they were clean before they could return to society.

But they weren’t were they? They were still just as repulsive as ever with their oozing sores. This would totally be an act of faith. But they obeyed, amazingly, they obeyed. And as they were going to the priest, they were healed. One second their skin was white with dead, rotting flesh, and the next second, as pink and soft as a babies. Truly a miracle had taken place.

I assume they were long gone from Jesus’ presence when his happened. I don’t know where the priest lived, but it was far enough that the one had to turn around and come back. Luke 17:15-16 says:
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.
Wow! He was even a hated Samaritan? Had you caught that in the story before? Yes, Jesus compassion even extended to a Samaritan - one of those people no self-righteous Jew would have anything to do with. They wouldn’t even talk to a whole and well Samaritan, let alone a leprous one. But Jesus did! That’s what it says. And Jesus healed him. Remember from verse 11 that Jesus was going “through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.”

But this Samaritan didn’t just come back to say “Thank You!” He “fell down on his face at [Jesus’] feet.” This is worship. This was a common Scriptural expression of worship. By falling on his face before Him, he was acknowledging Jesus as God. Who else could do a miracle like that?

And “with a loud voice, [he] glorified God.” This is praise. Not sedate, fundamentalist praise where we don’t make any noise or ever get excited, but this was Pentecostal praise – loud and exuberant. Nobody could doubt this man’s joy and excitement.

But Jesus looked down at the man, and remembered there were ten, not just one.
Luke 17:17-18 –
So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”
We don’t know what Jesus is feeling, we only what Jesus said. But it seems logical that in His human heart, he felt hurt by the nine men’s ingratitude. Nobody wants to feel unappreciated, and God is not too big to feel slighted. Yet, nine of them received the healing without a peep of thanks. What a shame!

But, I wonder how we would have acted in a situation like that? Do you know how you would have? You bask in the goodness of God, but do you ever give Him thanks? And I’m not talking ritualistically. Most Christians would routinely say grace at meals to thank God for their food, or pray in the morning thanking Him for the day, but do you, you personally, truly have a heart of gratitude? Is gratitude a good description of your attitude? Or do you take God’s blessings as your due, that it is somehow your right as a Christian?

It happens all the time. On a human level, the ones you pour the most energy into, who take up the most time, who cost you the most money, are quite often the least appreciative. They think it is there due. And you say, “After all I’ve done for you, how could you do this to me? I bailed you out. I lent you money. I was there for you. Now you turn on me?” And they will respond, “Well, yeah, but what have you done for me lately?” You are only as good as the last thing you have done for someone, and if you haven’t done what they want this time, man, you are history. There is no residual gratitude that carries over. And they will turn on you quick as a wink.

But they are that same way with God. God showers them with blessings. They enjoy this good earth, good health, good food, sunshine and rain, and material blessings. But a little trouble comes along, and “I’m mad at you God!” becomes their attitude. It is amazing the number of truly blessed people who are ungrateful and mad at God.

But even in the best of times, we don’t tend to have a gratitude gene in our nature. We mostly are dominated by grumbling, complaining, and whining. We need to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Good times, bad times – it doesn’t matter. We must be grateful people because God is always good.

Well, Jesus was real good to ten lepers, and only one came back to say thank you. Ah, but this one did came back. And to him, Jesus said: Luke 17:19 – “And He said to him, ‘Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.’”

This is something new, something incredibly new. This is more than physical healing, since he had already been physically healed. This is spiritual healing. The word, “well,” in verse 19 is the word, “sozo,” in Greek. It means to save, or to rescue, and it is the standard Greek word used for salvation. Physically, he had been made well, but spiritually, he was now made well. He was saved by faith.

And that’s the only way. Ephesians 2:8 affirms, “By grace are you saved, through faith.” So this is the story, not of ten men being physically healed, but of one man being saved through faith. Ten had enough faith to go to the priests to have their healing verified, but only one had the faith to return to Jesus and glorify God.

OK, let’s bring this home now. Leprosy, in Scripture, is symbolic of what? The disease of sin. The disease to the soul caused by sin is an ugly, revolting thing, and if not healed, is a progressive thing. Sin continues to eat away at us until eventually it causes death, the second death where we are cast into the lake of fire. And only Jesus can make us well, only Jesus can “sozo” us, save us from sin.

But how many of us who have been saved are truly grateful for that? How many of us even think about that on a daily basis? We concentrate so much on the physical, we become ungrateful over the smallest inconveniences. And when real tragedies come along, well, forget about thankfulness. But there should never be any inconvenience big enough that it over-shadows our gratitude for salvation. No matter what, we can always be grateful for that. Therefore, gratitude should be the natural state of every believer. We should live lives that are characterized by grateful hearts and grateful lips.

This one man who returned, you might have expected him to run on to the priest to get his certification of a clean bill of health just like the other nine did. But he turned around and came back - back to express his thanksgiving. That’s what you would have expected all ten to do. They should have returned and started an impromptu choir singing the “Hallelujah Chorus.” But wouldn’t you expect us unworthy people who are saved by grace, to also be singing perpetual praise? Thanksgiving is always appropriate, no matter what our circumstances.

Gratitude makes so much difference in your attitude. For instance: There is the story about a balloonist at the end of the 19th century who planned a trip over the Alps in Europe. Each day he would carefully plan out his itinerary, but who can control the wind? So instead of going to point A like he had planned, he ended up at point B. And the next day, instead of point C, he ended up at point D. But instead of being all upset about it and grumbling and complaining, like so many of us would, he took it in stride, saying: “I didn’t know about this place. Had I known, I would have planned to land here.”

Each day was a new adventure, and a new and welcome surprise. He was delighted with the experience. But likewise, each day, no matter what it brings to your life, can be a new opportunity to experience the grace of God even in times of pain and loss, we can experience God’s grace.

The moral? If you plan to go to from point A to point B and end up in point C, rejoice anyway. Maybe God has something exciting for you there. This is part of what Paul was talking about in Philippians 4:11, where he said: “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Gratitude can be a part of every area of your life, because we can learn gratitude in any situation, just as we learn contentment.

For instance, Paul recommended being single. There are great advantages in being single. You control your life, and decide when and where to go, what to eat, you are free to do what you like. But the Bible also says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing,” so being married is a good thing. There are great advantages to being married. I won’t elaborate on them here, but life is fantastic when you have a good partner, especially one warm and cuddly. Whatever state you’re in, you can praise and thank God.

You can give thanks in good times and bad. Pastor Martin Rinkhart wrote the words to “Now Thank We All Our God,” during the 30 Years’ war in Europe. It is Number 556 in our hymnal. During the war, he conducted as many as forty funerals a day, one of them was that of his own wife. Yet, he still wrote this beautiful hymn as a table grace to be recited by his family:

“Now thank we all our God,
With heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom His world rejoices
Who from our mother’s arms,
Hath blest us on our way,
With countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.”
War raged, personal heartache was his daily companion, yet, he still had a thankful heart toward God. And that is the right attitude. Ephesians 5:20 says, “Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18 adds, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Do you see? Whatever your circumstance, you must rejoice. You must live an attitude of gratitude. And you must praise God. The one leper who returned came worshiping and glorifying God, and that is what we must do.

Bruce Larson asserts: “It’s at the level of praise where I suspect God’s power can break through in the most dramatic way.” Do you think he might be right?

As we close, let me ask you, as Warren Wiersbe does: “How is your GQ? – that is, your Gratitude Quotient?” Psalm 107:8 says: “Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!”

That is what God wants. He wants us to be grateful. Are you? Jesus healed ten men of one of the most terrible diseases known to man. He gave them back their lives, but only one returned with thanksgiving. The other nine missed Thanksgiving. You be the one with the grateful heart. Don’t you miss out on Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Jesus, Both God and Man

Philippians 2:7-11
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
It’s impossible to over-estimate the importance of this portion of Scripture. It is of utmost importance because it tells us who Jesus Christ really is. Paul very carefully outlines exactly the essence of Jesus’ being, and he does so through the course of eternal time - he takes us back into eternity past all the way through eternity future. We get to follow Jesus as He leaves heaven, comes to earth in the incarnation, and is eventually glorified again in heaven.

Why is this so important? Because there has been a relentless effort on the part of Satan to confuse the issue. As we said last time: Jesus is God. But God has a lot of enemies, and His chief enemy is Satan. Satan is a liar, so lies and deception are his most common tactics of attack.

Yes, Satan is a liar. That’s what Jesus called him in John 8:44: “For he is a liar and the father of it.” Those who follow him follow that same pattern. They lie about Jesus and His nature. They either lie about Jesus being fully God, of one essence with the Father, or they lie about Him becoming fully man. Satan’s false teachers, planted within the church as wolves in sheep’s clothing, simply lie about Jesus.

2nd Corinthians 11:13-14 describes them:
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers [translate that as liars], transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
The easiest way to tell if someone is a false teacher following Satan is to check out what he says about Jesus. He will either lie about the deity of Jesus, or he will lie about the humanity of Jesus. Both heresies were rampant in the early church. The Gnostic heresy denied the true humanity of Jesus, while the Arian heresy denied his deity.

The truth is: In heaven in eternity past, Jesus reigned as the Son of God, the second person of the Triune Godhead, equal in form and substance with the Father; but He did not cease to be God as He came to earth to become a man. The truth we believe is that Jesus is 100% God and then became 100% man without the incarnation ever, in any way, lessening His godhood.

In our Church Constitution, we have the Apostle’s Creed printed, and it says:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.
That creed was born in the catacombs by the early church - probably not by the apostles, but by the persecuted church as they tried to distill the truth they were willing to die for and what beliefs really constituted being a Christian. But, the liars continued to spread their false teaching about Jesus while true disciples died for this truth. The onslaught was non-stop.

Since the Apostles Creed didn’t stop the onslaught, the Church convened the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 to settle the issue once and for all, they thought, and they adopted a new creed – the Nicene Creed. This creed basically followed the format of the Apostle’s Creed but strengthened the declaration that Jesus was eternal, not a created being and that He was God.

The pertinent part reads:
We believe . . . . . in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.
The argument between the two sides centered around a single letter of the alphabet. Was Jesus homoousios, of one substance with the father? Or was He homoiousis, of similar substance with the father? The difference is on little “i”, or the iota in Greek. But the “i” was left out. The church affirmed that Jesus was fully God with the same substance as the Father. The heretics could not affirm this doctrine and the church was protected from their lies. The council of Nicaea thought they had officially resolved that Christ was God, at least for those who believed the Bible.

But, the question remained as to whether He was also truly man, and whether it was even possible that He could be both God and man. To answer this heresy, in 451 AD, a council was called in Chalcedon. The Council of Chalcedon was a gathering of 600 Bishops from across the church, and they met to search the Scriptures to see what they said concerning the humanity of Christ. What they published was a statement known as the Chalcedon Definition that affirmed again 1st, the full deity of Christ, and 2nd, the full humanity of Christ. That is what the church believes, because this is what the Scriptures teach. This is the truth we believe, preach, and stand on. Jesus is fully God and fully man.

No doubt, one of the principle places the bishops looked was Philippians 2 which declares both. If the heretics had only taken time to study this passage, they could have been straightened out (But only if they were willing to be taught by Scripture).

Already, in our study of this passage, we’ve learned that Christ was eternally God. We read this in Philippians 2:6 – “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God.” We’re not going to rehash the last sermon, but if you were here, you remember, that the word “form” is morphe, a word, in Greek, that means the essential form that never altars. The essential form that Jesus has always had, and always will have, is God. But when Christ was born in Bethlehem, he took upon Himself the flesh of a human in order to die for our sins. All the while, He never gave up being God. That is truth.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Willing to Give It All Up

Philippians 2: 5-7
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

As this verses teaches: when Jesus came to earth to be born in a stable in Bethlehem, He never diminished or forfeited His absolute equality with God. The word “equal” in verse 6 refers to exact equivalence. The incarnation did not change that.

Yet, as a man on earth, Jesus never used the perks of deity for His own personal benefit. He never used His power and authority independently of His Father’s will because He didn’t consider that power and authority things to be grasped. He would not use them for His own benefit.

That attitude was what set in motion the incarnation. He willing left heaven to be born into poverty knowing that the path He took would take Him to the cross. He took upon Himself all that humiliation and abuse willingly. At any time, Jesus could have called down uncountable multitudes of angels to rescue him from the cross. He could have appealed to His father to be excused from the mission. He could have independently used His power to annihilate His opponents. But He did not. And that demonstrates the mind of Christ.

For us to have this same attitude, we would have to stop clinging to everything we hold onto so dearly. We would have to be willing to give it up to God for His control even if He asked us to give it all away. That’s what Jesus did to the rich, young ruler in Mark 10:21 when he tested His faith. The young, up-and-coming ruler of Israel thought he was pretty good and that God should accept him for his works. But this is what Jesus told him, Mark 10:21:
21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
What would you have done if Jesus had asked you to do that? But the truth is, Jesus says the same thing to every one of us. In Luke 14:33, Jesus flatly states: “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” Being willing to forsake all to follow Christ is having the mind of Christ. He was willing to forsake heaven for you, even dying in your place on the cross. What are you willing to give for Him? You should be willing to give up our own life if He should ask you.

But all too often, even Christians grasp tightly to all that they have making things most important to them. And then they are so unwilling to die because that would mean giving them all up anyway.

No! We must have the mind of Christ. That will so liberate us to serve God and to serve one another.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Jesus - Being in the Form of God

Philippians 2:5-8
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Paul spent the first part of chapter two encouraging us to be concerned about the needs of others. We are to be concerned more for their needs then our own even. But how is that possible? It flies in the face of our human nature. Can we humans really do that? Yes! It is possible by having the mind of Christ.

Paul is encourages us to adopt the mind of Christ in verse 8. From the context of this passage, it would seem that the particular attitude of Christ that Paul wants us to adopt is the attitude of humility. You can see this in verse 8. But how did Christ demonstrate a humble attitude?

As the second person of the triune Godhead from eternity past, He condescended first to be born a human. Even in His birth, He wasn’t born as a king in a Caesar’s palace, but He was born into poverty as a baby in Bethlehem, born in a stable, to live a life of poverty on earth without anywhere to lay his head, and to die on the cross to provide redemption for you and I. And He did it all out of His great love for us.

If Jesus could do that, and we have His mind, why should we have this much trouble treating other people like we should? Why should we have trouble esteeming others better than ourselves and looking out for their interests? We just need to follow the example of Jesus.

As Paul Rees writes:
“Don’t forget,” cries Paul, “That in all this wide universe and in all the dim reaches of history there has never been such a demonstration of self-effacing humility as when the Son of God in sheer grace descended to this errant planet! Remember that never – that never in a million eons – would he have done it if He were the kind of deity that looks ‘only to His own interests’ and closes His eyes to the interests of others.”
Amen! Jesus was willing to give up living in the opulence of heaven, basking in the glory and adoration of myriads of angels who flooded His presence with adoring praise, existing as the second person in the Triune Godhead, all to become a man – AMAZING! He was born into a peasant family to be despised, and misunderstood, to be abused, rejected, cursed, and crucified. That is the ultimate in humility. And He humbled Himself willingly. And He did it fully aware of the outcome without any grumbling and complaining, but with sheer joy.

Hebrews 12:2 says:
“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
What an example for us to follow. And this is exactly what Paul has asked us to do. If you are a believer, Christ lives in you. So you can do this if you let Christ live in and through you.

Let’s look more closely at His example: First Paul starts with Christ’s condition in heaven before he came, and he forcefully conveys that Christ was God: Philippians 2:6 affirms Christ’s deity, “Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God.”

Now, some people try to say, “Oh, look, Jesus just had the form of God. He wasn’t really God. He just tried to look like God.”

Don’t be ridiculous! This has nothing to do with the shape, size or composition of God, nor of Christ trying to take on the form of something that He was not. Jesus wasn’t just sort of like God, He was God. If you have the form of a worm, you’re a worm. If you have the form of a man, you’re a man. If you have the form of God, you are God.

The word translated as “being,” or “existed,” in the New American Standard version, denotes the continuance of a previous state or existence. It stresses the essence of a person’s nature. It talks about that which is absolutely unalterable, inalienable, and unchangeable.

William Barclay writes that this verb refers to “that part of a [person] which, in any circumstance, remains the same.” Jesus, being in the form of God, is a constant, because Jesus was always God and always will be God.

The word “form” is morphe in Greek, as in metamorphosis – The changing of forms as in a butterfly. But whether the butterfly is an egg, a caterpillar, a chrysalis, or a butterfly, the thing is always a butterfly. It always has the same existence – the same DNA. The Greek word, morphe, refers to the essential form that never altars. Jesus is, always has been, and always will be God whether in His exalted state in heaven or His humble state as a man.

That’s the same truth that John wrote about in His Gospel. John 1:1-2 states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.”

And who was the Word? John 1:14 answers the question, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” The Bible affirms it - Jesus is God.

That’s why Paul was stressing the deity of Christ in verse 6, and why Jesus was fully aware of His deity. Philippians 2:6 asserts He “did not consider it robbery to be equal with God.”

Do you understand the meaning of this? If I tried to pretend to be something I wasn’t, like a king, a doctor, a lawyer, or something, that would be robbery. It would be trying to take something that wasn’t mine. Jesus didn’t have to “consider it robbery to be equal with God,” because He was God. You can’t steal what you own.

The New American Standard puts a different slant on this, and one that is almost harder to understand because it seems to be saying the opposite of what it should say. It translates this as, “did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped.” You might think that means that He didn’t dare try to grasp equality with God - that it would be too far out of His reach. But that’s wrong. This isn’t talking about grabbing something you don’t have, it is talking about letting go of something you do have. The word refers to clinging tightly to something.

The idea is, Jesus didn’t think that hanging on to that equality was something that He had to cling tightly to. He didn’t have to hang on to His position. There wasn’t any danger of His losing His place if he went on this mission to earth. There was no danger that He might not do a good enough job, or that there was a somebody waiting in the wings to take His place, like Michael or Gabriel just waiting their chance. Being equal with God was totally, irrevocably His because He was God. He always was and always will be. He didn’t have to go to school to become the Son of God, and he wasn’t promoted up from a lesser position. He was totally, irrevocably God.

That freedom allowed Him to participate in the incarnation giving up the prerogatives of heaven to come to earth because, face it, there is only one way for God to go, and that is down. But Jesus didn’t have to worry about that because He knew He was going back up.