Monday, January 26, 2015

Every Knee Shall Bow and Every Tongue Confess

Philippians 2:9-11
9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Who are these people worshipping Jesus? It sounds universal. It’s not happening now, nor has it ever happened since the curse, so it has to be at some time in the future; perhaps during the Millennial Kingdom, but at least at the Great White Throne Judgment.

So those in heaven have to be the good angels and all those who have died in Christ and have already gone to heaven because of their faith. Those on earth would be all who are alive at that time. But those under the earth? Who are they? People say that those under the earth are the devil and his demonic hordes. Yes! That would be true. But, those under the earth has to also include those who died apart from Christ. They are the lost who were judged for their sin and consigned to hell.

Harry Ironside writes:
“The lost will never be reconciled. Heaven and earth will eventually be filled with happy beings who have been redeemed to God by the precious blood of Christ . . . . But under the earth will be those who have their part in the outer darkness, the lake of fire. They flaunted Christ’s authority on earth. They will have to own it in hell! They refused to heed the call of grace and be reconciled to God in the day when they might have been saved.”
So the lost sinners are consigned to hell. But, even in hell, they must recognize the Lordship of Christ. Every knee and every tongue means every knee and every tongue without exception. The entire universe will declare that Jesus is Lord. That has been God’s purpose from the beginning. God wanted to exalt His only begotten Son.

But now here is the real thriller. Look at what Jesus promises in Revelation 3:11-12:
11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
Wow! Jesus shares with us His glory. He shares with us His name. He’s going to write on each of us His own name. When Jesus redeemed us, it wasn’t just to spare us from the penalty of our sin. It wasn’t just to keep us out of hell. It was to share with us His exaltation! That is the payoff of the Christian life. We will be exalted with Jesus.

But never forget: Jesus is our Lord too. Acknowledging that is part of our salvation. We are the willing who bow at the name of Jesus and confess that He is Lord.

Romans 10:9-10 declares:
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
W.H. Griffith Thomas, a cofounder of Dallas Theological Seminary, wrote:
“Indeed the Lordship of Christ over the lives of His people was the very purpose for which He died and rose again. We have to acknowledge Christ as our Lord. Sin is rebellion, and it is only as we surrender to Him as Lord that we receive our pardon from Him as our Savior.”
That is God’s truth! Jesus Christ is Lord so we must obey Him. We must live lives that are surrendered to Him - to His will, to His Word. But it is so worth it. If you are a believer, you will have the glorious privilege of spending eternity in praise and worship of our Lord.

Johnson Oadman Jr., wrote a hymn, and the chorus begins this way:

“Holy, holy is what the angels sing,
And I expect to help them make the courts of heaven ring;
But when I sing redemption’s story, they will fold their wings,
For angels never felt the joys that our salvation brings.”
We have a special reason to praise Jesus. He saved us from destruction. He saved us from our sin.

But, be careful about calling Jesus your Lord, if He isn’t.
Matthew 7:21-23 shows Jesus’ response to those who don’t:
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
He’s not your Lord unless you obey Him.

But, do you see the flow of this passage? Jesus humbled Himself by coming from heaven to earth only to be exalted by His Father in heaven, and restored to even greater glory - all because He came to redeem us.

In his book, Miracles, C.S. Lewis wrote:
“In the Christian story, God descended to re-ascend. He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity . . . But He goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world up with Him. One has the picture of a strong man stooping lower and lower to get himself underneath some great complicated burden. He must stoop in order to lift, he must almost disappear under the load before he incredibly straightens his back and marches off with the whole mass swaying on his shoulders.”
Isn’t that what Jesus did? He came to earth to rescue us so that He could take us to heaven with Him. There we will join the throng of heavenly host exalting God’s Son as Lord. But, you will only be a part of that joyous throng if you now, on earth, receive Him in faith and confess Him as Your Lord.

Have you? Will you be part of that heavenly throng? Or will you be those who are forced to bow in hell with no chance to rectify your eternal decision. Trust Jesus now! Receive Him today as your Lord and Savior!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Payoff of Humility

Philippians 2:9-11
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Christ humbled Himself, even to the point of death. But why? Because He looked beyond the pain and humiliation of the cross to see the exaltation on the other side. Because of His willingness to humble Himself, God exalted Him.

How did the Father exalt His Son? The first step was the resurrection. When mankind had its final say by burying His body, God took over, and raised Him from the dead. Our bodies will also be raised and glorified someday.

Following the resurrection, Christ ascended into heaven where He is seated at the right hand of God the Father where He holds all the power of deity in His hands. He told His disciples in Matthew 28:18 - “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

William Hendrickson writes:
“As King, having by His death, resurrection, and ascension achieved and displayed His triumph over His enemies, He now holds in His hands the reins of the universe, and rules all things in the interest of His church.”
Part of that authority is the right to judge. Jesus said in John 5:22-23 –
22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
The one who saved us is the one who judges us

A great summary passage would be Ephesians 1:19-23,
19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Do you see? What God did was restore to Jesus everything that he emptied Himself of to come to earth, In John 17:5, in Jesus’ prayer to His Father, He prayed: “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” Everything He’d given up to come to earth was returned to Him, plus even more exaltation is given Him because of all that Jesus accomplished on the cross.

In Revelations 5:11-13, the scene is in heaven during the Tribulation time, and the throngs of heaven are worshipping the Son – Jesus Christ:
11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
His exaltation in heaven, because of the cross, exceeds His exaltation before He came. Not that there is any difference in His God-hood except that now He has redeemed a throng of people who are now His. Now the redeemed can join in His exaltation.

But specifically, back to our passage: mankind giving Him a name of scorn and ridicule, God gave Him a name that was highly exalted. Philippians 2:9 reads, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name.”

What name? I guess we aren’t specifically told, but we can figure this out. Jesus was given the name Immanuel in the Old Testament. Isaiah 7:14 reveals, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Immanuel means God with us, and refers to the incarnation.

Then when the angel came to Joseph in Matthew 2:20-23, we read:
20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
Jesus means savior. Because Jesus was Immanuel, God with us, He could be Jesus, our savior. And as the next verse says (Supplying immediate context) we read:
Philippians 2:10-11 - “That at the name of Jesus [that’s the name] every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess [Confess what?] that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
His name is Jesus, and He is Lord. All creation will bow before Jesus and confess that He is lord. The whole universe will worship Jesus, some willingly and some by compulsion. But worship they will. Lord is a title of majesty, honor, authority, and sovereignty. This Jesus, who was born of a virgin and laid in a manger; who was rejected by men, and crucified - this Jesus is Lord; He is king of Kings, and Lord of Lords; He is master of all He created, and He demands to be obeyed as Master.

God had promised that this would happen. He promised it all the way back in Isaiah 45:23, “I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath.”

Jesus will one day be acknowledged as the Lord of the Universe by everyone. He humbled Himself to become a man and die on the cross so that He could be exalted by His Father God to supreme position in the universe – King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Do you bow before your sovereign?