2023 Worship Guide

Page 18 2023 Worship Guide LINCOLN DAILY NEWS December 2023 Pastor Ray Pepple, First Baptist Church, Lincoln You know, it is one thing to say Joseph and Mary came down to Bethlehem; Mary had a baby; the baby was born in Bethlehem; the baby was laid in a manger, wrapped in cloths, because there was no room in the Inn; going on to tell about the shepherds that came, go on a little later and hear the story of the Wise Men and so forth. That is the earthly view. That’s the narrative. That’s the historical story. But the real story of the birth of Jesus is to see it from heaven’s perspective. What was really going on there theologically? That’s what you find in Philippians, chapter 2, more clearly than in any other passage of scripture. So, Philippians, chapter 2 is the theology of the incarnation, whereas Luke 2 is the history of it. Philippians, chapter 2:6-11 is the classic text on the “kenosis”, the self-emptying of Jesus. That is the classic text on the theology of the incarnation – what was actually going on there when that little baby was born, what was going on from heaven’s vantage point. There is a sequence here, and I would like to share the five steps that occurred in the incarnation; five steps as God became man, as God entered the world to be born in Bethlehem. We could say this is the real Christmas story. So, step one – God abandoned a sovereign position. The second person of the Trinity abandoned a sovereign position. Verse 6 says, Inside View of the Incarnation “Although He existed in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself.” Jesus had all the privileges. No question. All the privileges of glory. And He chose to use the privilege to become a servant to the Father and a Savior to sinners for the sake of sinners and the sake of the glory of the Father. He is like a king who takes off his robes, takes off his crown, comes down off his throne, and puts on the rags of a slave. Secondly, not only did He abandon a sovereign position, He accepted a servant’s place. Verse 7 says, “Having emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant.” He didn’t just look Philippians 2:6-11 Continued --