Here’s my outline for “The WHY of the Incarnation,” preached at Cross of Christ Fellowship on 12/18/22.
Phil 2:8 “The WHY of the Incarnation”
Intro: 2 year-old persistently (and annoying) asking WHY?
-Sometimes asking why is helpful: Why car make that noise? Why are neighbors taking the trash out?
-Some WHY questions changes us: Why do I exist? Why do I have desires that nothing on earth can satisfy?
-Today we ask: WHY the incarnation? Why did God the Son become a man? WHY?
-Christmas Sermon series in Phil 2:5-11. A great text to consider and share with others at Christmas!
-Last week: the FACT of the incarnation. We looked at 2:5-7
-Incarnation: God the Son taking on flesh, becoming a man. Jesus is truly God and truly human. (still a human!)
-It was the selfless love of Jesus that led him to come to Earth, he considered us and loved us! –THIS WEEK, we consider the WHY of the incarnation.
-Why did God the Son become a man? Why did this happen? Why the incarnation?
-Not just an interesting question, but deeply and personal VERY relevant an important.
–FOCUS in on v 2:8: Jesus’ earthly life and death in one verse.
*FIRST, some other PASSAGES that bring clarity to the WHY question: An angel, Jesus, and an apostle:
-Angel before the incarnation: Matt 1:18-25: (v 18 “he will save his people from their sins”)
-Jesus during his incarnation: Matt 20:28 (“came not to be served, but to serve and give life as a ransom for many”)
-Apostle after the incarnation: 1 Tim 1:15 (“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”)
SUMMARY: Jesus came Earth in order to save sinners from their sins by dying as a ransom.
-Remembering these passages helps us as we look at our passage. READ PHIL 2:8
1. The SETTING: God the Son as a human. And being found in human form,
The setting of a thing is where an event or action or situation takes place.
CHILDREN: What is the setting: Soccer? Swimming? Sledding? Baking a Cake? Judge giving verdict?
-What is the setting for God the Son saving a people from their sins and making them right with God?-The setting for Jesus’ ministry is his time on Earth as a human: And being found in human form,
-“human form” meaning truly human.
-Goes along with previous phrase “born in the likeness of men” -Remember Jesus’ true humanity: human body, mind, will, soul.
-People around him recognized and knew he was a human
-Humanity: got tired, hungry, slept.
CHILDREN: Did Jesus stay a baby?
-Jesus did not stay a baby, but grew up to full adulthood, and began ministry around 30 years old.
-The setting of his ministry was as a 30 some year old man in Israel.
-God chose this setting—the incarnation—to bring about salvation for his people.
–EDWARDS on Why God the Son Came to Earth and Became a Human:
-Human law to be fulfilled; Human sin to be paid for; Human realm where salvation was needed
2. Jesus’ HOLY HUMILITY: he humbled himself
As a human, the Son of God humbled himself.
-Though he was king of kings and truly God, he humbled himself by becoming a servant of His Creation!
-Jesus never sinned the sin of pride.
–Pride is thinking more highly of yourself than you ought.
-Leads to all kinds of foolishness (thinking too high of our understanding, not asking for help)
-Leads to all kinds of evil (we exclude others, we are mean to others we think beneath us)
-AUGUSTINE: pride is root of all kinds of sins.
–Humility is thinking rightly of yourself
-Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less!’)
-Jesus lived a life holy humility: Washed the disciples feet; Associated with the society’s outcasts
-“Humbling himself” here refers to Jesus willingly obeying the Father’s will for him.
–Matt 26:39 “not my will, but yours be done.”
3. HUMILITY OF JESUS EXPRESSED IN OBEDIENCE: by becoming obedient to the point of death
-A Humble person submits to God’s law and will for their life and depends on God’s strength.
-Humble acceptance that God knows best—even when obedience is painful and hard.
*QUESTION: is that true for you? Are you humbly submitting to God’s will for your life?
-Jesus humbled himself “by becoming obedient”
-God’s plan for Jesus would fulfill the Messiah’ ministry of Isaiah 53:4-6
-Jesus was obedient to this plan, a plan that included his death as a sacrifice for sins.
-NOTICE the EXTENT: Extent of obedience is shown in how far we are willing to go or do something.
-If I am asked to do something, how far or long I am willing to do it reveals something of my character
-If I give up when it is hard, or don’t feel like it…
-If a person continues on to the bitter end, it reveals something of their character and heart.
-Jesus, in the incarnation, was obedient to the “point of death”
-Death is the farthest point one can travel in obedience. Jesus, humbly obeyed to the point of death
4. The Kind of DEATH Jesus Died: even death on a cross.
Here we see the kind of death Jesus experienced: “even death on a cross.”
ROMAN CROSS: Most painful possible means of executing a person
-Reserved for the worst criminals. (Roman citizens were exempt from it)
-Jesus death, was death on a cross.
-Though he committed no sins, and broke no laws.
-His death was to pay the penalty for our sins: Rom 8:3-4
-NCC 24: Why was it necessary for Christ, the Redeemer, to die?
Since death is the punishment for sin, Christ died willingly in our place to deliver us from the power and penalty of sin and bring us back to God. By his substitutionary atoning death, he alone redeems us from hell and gains for us forgiveness of sin, righteousness, and everlasting life.
–A PAIN WORSE THAN PHYSICAL: Jesus took the guilt of our sins and bore the wrath of God (propitiation).
-Jesus experience a forsaking for us on the cross.
-The MARVEL of the CROSS: we see the love of Christ for us: John 15:13
*Gordon Fee: Here is where the one who as “equal with God” has most fully revealed the truth about God: that God is love and that his love expresses itself in self-sacrifice—cruel, humiliating death on a cross—for the sake of those he loves.
CONCLUSION: Why did God the Son become a man? So that, in love, he might die for our sins on the cross!
WHY DOES THE WHY MATTER? 3 REASONS
1. The WHY of the incarnation shows us our need to be saved
-Our sins are real. They separate us from God and lead us condemned before him.
-If we do not have our sins paid for and taken away, we will go to hell.
-Jesus’ death is the only solution to our sin problem.
-And it is a solution given to us in GRACE
-A solution we receive by FAITH in Jesus.
2. The WHY of the incarnation proclaims God’s love for us.
-Reject “hard thoughts” of God, and see his love for you.
-The extent a person is willing to go to help you shows his/her love
-See the extent of Jesus’ love for you: death on a cross.
3. The WHY of the incarnation gives us hope in the face of DEATH.
-Death is a problem that no money, status, or accomplishment can excuse us from.
-It is real, and at times very disheartened.
-But Jesus has really died and he shows the way to life beyond the grave.
-We can be comforted when loved ones die, knowing that Jesus has defeated death