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THE SON, OUR MASTER
Please open your Bibles to Philippians 2.
In 1977, Maria Rubio (no relation to Ralph Rubio of taco fame) of Lake Arthur, New Mexico, was assembling a burrito when she noticed that the skillet marks on one of the tortillas resembled the face of Jesus. Excited, she began showing it to family, friends, and neighbors who all agreed that it bore the familiar and iconic resemblance to the Roman Catholic image of Jesus. Their priest blessed the tortilla, and she and her husband testified that it had changed her life.
They took it home and built a little frame with piles of cotton to make it look like it was floating on the clouds. Mr. Rubio made a special altar for it to sit on, and placed it in a small shack in the backyard and opened it for visitors. Within a few months, more than 8,000 people had come to see the Shrine of the Jesus of the Tortilla. Within two years, over 35,000 people had made the trip. For the next 28 years, people would continue this pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Jesus of the Tortilla. Then in 2005, Mrs. Rubio’s granddaughter took the tortilla to school for show-and-tell, and it was accidently dropped and it shattered. The shrine was closed permanently.
While this sounds ridiculous to us, the image that many people have of Jesus Christ is similar to this. Jesus has been seen in the toppings of a pizza, in oil spots on a garage floor, and even in the brown blotches of a banana. It is amazing to me that people would come from all over to worship these objects thinking they are worshipping Christ. It is a sad reality that they do not know or understand the Jesus of the Bible, and therefore their worship is in vain. In order to worship Jesus Christ, you must know Him. In order to know Him, you must go back to the one place He has revealed Himself–the Bible. And you must understand who He is, and how He desires to be worshipped.
This morning we are going to look at a passage of Scripture that clearly tells us who Jesus Christ is. It brings us to the lowest point of His humiliation, and then catapults us to the highest point of His exaltation. He is not a porcelain figurine, He is no longer a baby in the manger, and He is certainly not in a tortilla. He is God very God, resurrected from the dead, and seated at the right hand of the Father–and He is the Lord of all. He has put a demand on your life. That’s right–He is calling you to bow down to Him as Lord and worship Him. Whether this is the first time you have ever darkened the doors of a church, or you have been a Christian since you were a fetus, there is truth here that you need to hear and respond to. In our time together, we will look at three reasons why you must submit to the Son as Master.
Let’s read the text together. Although our focus this morning is verses 9 to 11, we will begin reading at verse 5 to give us a little context. “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
1. Jesus bought you with a price
Let’s look at verse 9, “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him.” He was exalted for this reason–this is a therefore. This is a phrase to tell you to look back to the context of this passage. What is this reason, why should you submit to Christ as Master? It is verses 5 to 8. The reason that you are to submit to Jesus Christ as Lord and Master of your life is because of His cross. He humbled Himself, He became a man, He died. In short, He bought you, Christian.
It tells us the story of an infinite and eternal God, who existed outside of time and space–eternal, all powerful, a God who needs nothing, who is perfectly happy in Himself. This is the description of Jesus Christ in verse 5. He was in the form of God. He is God. We don’t have time to defend the deity of Christ here, but I put some verses in your outline to help you on this topic. Mark this, if you get the deity of Christ wrong, you get everything wrong. In the sovereign plan of God, laid out in eternity past, the second member of the Trinity took on human flesh. He emptied Himself, laying aside His privileges.
Imagine pouring the ocean into a Dixie cup. That is what it is to pour an infinite God into a human frame. And yet that is what Jesus was–all God, all man and all grace, all truth. The Creator became one of His creation. The Lord of glory became an ant. And it would have been one thing if that was it. But it goes so much farther than this–He humbled Himself beyond this. He was treated as a criminal–they saw Him as a rebel, an outcast, a lunatic, an insurrectionist, a religious zealot. God came and He was rejected–the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him” (John 1:10 to 11).
The one who would sit on David’s throne, who would rescue the people of Israel, their very Messiah comes, and instead of putting Him on the throne and bowing down to worship, they put Him on a cross and killed Him. You can imagine the scene in heaven, all of the holy angels watching, standing with their toes on the edge of heaven looking down in bewilderment. They are watching God die. They are waiting for the word, waiting for the Father to dispatch them to go and rescue the Son. In the garden Jesus said, “If I wanted, I could send legions of angels—tens of thousands—to come to my rescue.”
And so they stand there–armed, waiting, looking to the Father, “Just say the word God, and I am there.” But then a nail is pounded through His hand, then the other one, then His feet. Finally, the cross is hoisted up and falls into its 8” deep hole, and Jesus’ whole body shakes violently dislocating His shoulders and tearing at His hands and feet. There He hangs, suspended between earth and heaven, dying . . . God was dying. The Giver of life, the Maker of the heavens and the earth, the One who had made the very tree that He was hanging on was dying.
And all along, the Father is silent. He doesn’t go to the rescue of His Son, but instead He turns His back on His Son. All of heaven now witnesses something profound. He pours out His furious, unbending, unwavering, infinite wrath upon His Son. The sky goes dark, the earth shakes, rocks are split in half as Jesus bears the weight of the sins of the world. And so, Jesus died. God died. Imagine the day that the Creator was killed by His creation–what a sad day.
Look up–this is what your sin required, this is what my sin required. How evil must sin be? How devastating. Jesus Christ went to the cross for you, dying so that you might have life, becoming sin so that you might be made righteous, giving up all of His rights and privileges so that you would be rewarded in heaven. All of this was because He loved you. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son” (John 3:16). “But God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8. “He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sin” (1 John 4:10).
So here is the point, back to verse 9–the reason that Jesus is exalted is because of the cross. It was for this reason. And we as Christians, as those who have willingly submitted our lives to Him, come to Him as master, and with grateful hearts swear our allegiance, and we live for Him. And it is not duty, it is not obligation–it is not because we want to live moral lives or because we want to robotically follow the Bible’s lists of do’s and don’t’s. No, on the contrary, it is because we love the one who loved us first. We offer ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice because He sacrificed it all for us. “And He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (2 Corinthians 5:15). “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20). If you are asking, “Why should I give my life to Christ, why should I submit to Him as Master?” It is because He died for you, and that is more than enough. The second reason to submit to Jesus as Master is . . .
2. Jesus is sovereign over you
Look back at verse 9, “For this reason, [the cross] God highly exalted Him.” Because of His work at Calvary, Jesus is highly exalted–the Greek could be translated as “super-exaltation”. He is exalted to the highest place. Who is it that exalts Him? His Father, the text says, highly exalted Him.
Let me illustrate this. My father used to run track. He ran in high school, college, and professionally. I remember him telling me about the first real race he won–it was a high school cross country meet, and as he came around the final turn, the tape was up and he won it. He received a ribbon for the win.
The 800 became his chosen form of torture in college, and he won race after race, accumulating medals, trophies, pins, and believe it or not, a world record. He was a two-time NCAA champion, and was a very decorated athlete. In fact at my grandma’s house, there used to be a wall devoted to him, covered with his awards, newspaper clippings, etc., but if you ask him what is his most prestigious award, the one he values above all others, it is the bronze medal he won in the 1968 Olympics. You see, the greater the accomplishment, the more valuable the reward, the more prestigious, the higher the honor, the greater the recognition. What we have in this passage is the greatest accomplishment the world has ever seen. This is the highest honor that can be given in the universe.
In Isaiah 42:1, the Father says that His soul delights in the Son. First Peter 2:4 says that Jesus is choice and precious in the sight of God. After Jesus was baptized in Matthew 3:16 the Father said, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” This is the Father not just saying to Him, “Well done,” but this is Him heaping praise and adoration upon Him, lifting Him up with exceptional honor, above all others.
“And bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,”–His exaltation is completed when He is given a new name. The word “bestowed” means graciously given, or even better, wholeheartedly given. The Father gives Him a new name, an exalted name. And look at what the text says next–He is given a name which is above every name. Hebrews 1 tells us that He has a better name than the angels.
Revelation 19:12 says, “He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.” And “[He is] far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:21). So the question is, what is this name that is above every name? Most people think it is the name Jesus–but is that accurate? Is Jesus the name above all other names?
Like the song, “Jesus, name above all names, beautiful Savior, glorious Lord.” Or, “Jesus, your name is like honey on my lips.” Most people think Jesus is the name, because verse 10 says, “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue confess.” But notice that it doesn’t say “at the name Jesus,” but “at the name of Jesus.” What is the name of Jesus? That is the name above all names.
Let me give you a hint–the name above all names is not the name Jesus. It can’t be Jesus, because that is not the name that God gave to Jesus at His exaltation. It was the name He gave to Him where? At His birth–Luke 1:31, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.” It can’t be the name Jesus, because Jesus is an ordinary name. There are many Jesuses, and even some Jesuses.
So what is the name? Look back at the text. “At the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” What is the name implied in the context? It is the name “Lord”. “Lord” is the name above every name. “Lord” is the title of sovereignty. This is the name given to Him by the Father. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36).
This is the basic declaration of the Christian–Jesus Christ is Lord. This was true in our salvation, Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” And so, it is not enough to turn to Jesus as Savior only. Point one that we already looked at is great–the Gospel. Jesus died for me. I need to believe in Him and He will be my Savior, and that will rescue me from Hell and give me peace with God. And that is wonderful, but it is not complete.
We talk often about the Gospel in an incomplete way. Problems in life–the Gospel . . . struggling to find work in this economy–believe the Gospel . . . car is broken and mechanic ripped you off–the Gospel . . . want rock-hard abs–Gospel aerobics . . . I smashed my toe against the dresser–the Gospel.
But Christian, the Gospel is about more than just remembering that Jesus died and that your sins are forgiven. The complete Gospel includes a call to submit to the sovereign rule of Christ in your life. You cannot claim Jesus as Savior, and then reject Him as Lord. The two go hand-in-hand. And the way that you can tell if you are truly a Christian is not if you believe that Jesus died for your sins, but if He reigns in you as the Lord of your life.
He is Lord, and those who refuse Him as Lord cannot use him as Savior. Everyone who receives Him must surrender to His authority, for to say we receive Christ when in fact we reject His right to reign over us is utter absurdity. It is a futile attempt to hold onto sin with one hand and take Jesus with the other. (MacArthur)
Ask yourself–is Jesus Lord in your life? Does He own every part of your heart, every emotion, every desire, your passions, your free time? Is He Lord over your money, over your entertainment, over your mouth? Do you submit to Him as the exalted and sovereign Lord of all? Well, not only are you called to submit to Christ as Master because of His work on the cross, and also because of His sovereign name as Lord, but #3 . . .
3. Jesus’ rule is undeniable
Submitting to Jesus Christ as Lord is inevitable. It is an undeniable fact–and not just for Christians, but for everyone. All will do it. This is not a matter of if–it is a matter of when. Look back at the text, “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” Notice that at the mere mention of His name people bow before Him and confess Him as Lord.
The verse says that EVERY knee will bow, and EVERY tongue will confess. There is no one left out. There is 100% compliance. No one escapes this. No one is excused. There are no outliers–there are no people who agree to disagree on whether Jesus is Lord. On this day, there are no more atheists. There is no longer any confusion about who Jesus is–good man, good teacher, martyr. Every created being will bow before the exalted and sovereign Lord of all.
There are three categories of people listed in this text, and we will split each of these categories into two groups. Those who chose wisely and are in heaven, and this includes two groups–all resurrected and perfected saints from all time. This is every believer that has passed from this earth, from Abel, all the way until the Master’s College freshman who died three weeks ago after a tunnel collapsed on him at the beach six feet under, and by the time they got to him fifteen minutes later he was dead. He was a believer and is now in the presence of the Lord. Every Christian who has lived and died trusting in Christ alone for salvation is in heaven right now bowing before Him.
And all perfect and holy angels–this is Michael and Gabriel, and the cherubim and seraphim, and the four living creatures of Revelation 4, and every other creature unknown to us in heaven. These are the perfect angels who stand and minister in the presence of God and have served and worshiped since their creation. “Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.’” (Revelation 5:11-12)
Then there are those who can still choose–this is every person that is presently on this earth. And Christians alive today–those who love the Lord Jesus. There are those who willingly bow, in humble adoration, declaring that He is King and Lord. I am one of these people–are you? Many of you are. You are the redeemed–a people that were bought by blood, who stand forgiven and made right with God, and you willingly place yourselves under the Lordship of Christ. But if this is you, then there is no pride here. There is no cause for lifting self up, because you did not do this work. Salvation is God’s work from start to finish. No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). I love this!
Non-Christians alive today–there is a second group of people alive on this earth today, and this includes all people who reject the claim that Jesus is God, and that He has put a demand on their life. Is this you? You live as if there is no God, there is no accountability, and there is no future day in which they will give an account. It does not matter if you are the villager in South America or the FBC churchgoer who rejects the truth, all people everywhere will submit to the Lordship of Christ.
I am calling to you this morning to say that there is still time, while it is still called today, the mercy of God is extended to you. You can still choose to submit of your own free will to the Lord Jesus. Please don’t ignore this warning. You will not be able to avoid Him forever, nor can you outrun His judgment. A day is coming when you will be forced to your knees in submission. Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess. How much better is it to bow down willingly today, and accept His free gift of salvation, rather than face Him as a pitiless judge? Won’t you consider the state of your immortal, undying, eternal soul, and humbly bow before Him? Jesus said, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and yet loses his soul?” Won’t you come to Him this morning, cast off your sin at the foot of the cross, and submit to Him as Lord and Master of your life?
My wife, Tracy’s grandparents both passed away last year within 24 hours of each other, having been married for 50 years. Her grandfather was a baby Christian, having willingly bowed the knee to Christ at 87 years old, only two years before his sudden death. Tracy’s grandmother died a slow and painful death from MS. In the weeks leading up to her death, Tracy’s mom and aunt went to her with the Gospel, begging her to turn to Christ, imploring her to consider eternity and the condition of her eternal soul. They pressed her and pleaded with her to submit and bow the knee to Christ and confess Him as Lord. But in the literal throes of death, she said, “Stop saying that name, I don’t want to hear this anymore,” and asked them to be removed from her bedroom. “Leave me alone,” and she entered eternity with her fist in God’s face.
Listen carefully–every knee will bow. There is no escape. There is a fixed day in which God will judge this world. It is set on the divine calendar. Don’t delay. Some of you need to do business with God today. I encourage you to choose wisely.
Last, there are those who chose poorly and are under the earth (all demonic forces). This speaks of every demon, every fallen angel who chose to rebel with Lucifer and try to usurp the throne from God Himself. Ezekiel tells us that one-third of the angels were thrown out of heaven. Think about this–Satan is the smartest, strongest, most powerful created being in the universe. Outside of God Himself, there is nothing more powerful than Him. Now watch this–even Satan, who hates God and has spent every ounce of his considerable strength to oppose God . . . even His prideful knee will bow and his blasphemous tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet (Romans 16:20).
And it includes damned men and women–this speaks of every tormented and pitiable man and woman in Hell, all of the damned who are carrying out their eternal sentence of condemnation for their disobedience and rebellion against a holy God. This is every single human being from Adam that has gone to the grave rejecting Christ. Great or small, their earthly position now means nothing. The rich and the famous stand along with the poor and the lowly–men like Alexander, and Napoleon, Hitler and Bin Laden. Men who went for wickedness on a grand scale with the world as their stage and who died unrepentant at last.
This includes the small and insignificant people whose lives didn’t account for much, they lived and they died without much of an impact–maybe your neighbor down the street, or your Mormon friend at school, or the guy in the cubicle next to yours, or a family member that is not saved. This is every person from every part of history that has come and gone from this earth, and who even in this moment are in a Christless eternity. Think of this–every second three people on earth die–that is 180 every minute, nearly 11,000 every hour, one quarter million people go to Heaven or Hell every day. Three . . . six . . . nine . . . twelve . . . fifteen . . . eighteen . . .
People are showing up and going to hell right now. Imagine the shrieks and the groans of the damned all ceasing as they speak the name of Christ, acknowledging Him as Lord and Master, even from the depths of Hell. Grace is no more. Mercy has come and gone. Their opportunity has passed. And like the rich man who asked if Lazarus could dip his fingers in water to cool off his tongue, it is too late.
For to this end, Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord, both of the dead and of the living (Romans 14:9). This text is clear—“at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” Philippians 2:11 says that all of this, the end of it all is to the glory of God the Father–that is the end, that is the aim. That is awesome. God is glorifed when Christ is exalted, and when all of creation falls down and worships His Son.