Christ's Example of Humility (Philippians 2:5-8)
Topic: Philippians Scripture: Philippians 2:5–2:8
First Scripture Reading: Isaiah 52:13 - Isaiah 53:12
Second Scripture Reading: John 13:1-20
Sermon Text: Philippians 2:5-8
The glorious passage in Philippians 2:5-11, known as the Carmen Christi or Christ-hymn, reveals the depths of Christ’s humiliation and also the heights of his exaltation. Reading this passage is like looking at the stars in the sky. We can see them, we can read about their mass, and brightness, and heat, but our minds cannot truly grasp the reality of those astronomical numbers. In much the same way, we can understand something of the reality of what we read in Philippians 2:5-11 as we are given insight by the Holy Spirit, but the truths that we read are more glorious than we could ever understand in this life. These are truths into which even angels long to look (1 Peter 1:12). And yet as glorious as these truths are, Paul’s intention is thoroughly practical as he connects the Church’s unity and our humility with the example of Christ.
1. For review, read Philippians 2:1-4. What do we learn about church unity from these verses? What is the connection between verses 1-4 and verses 5-8?
2. Read Philippians 2:5. What does it mean that Christ “was in the form of God”? What does it mean that Christ “made himself nothing”?
3. Read Westminster Larger Catechism Q/A 46-50, and consider each state of Christ’s humiliation. Try to think of specific examples from Christ’s life that reveal the depths of each state.
4. How does tracing the depth of Christ’s humiliation help us grow in humility and grace?
5. Consider our Second Reading from John 13:1-20. What was Jesus teaching his disciples by washing their feet?
6. In preparation for next week, read Philippians 2:9-11. What do you think is the significance of “Therefore” at the beginning of verse 9? What are the states of Christ’s exaltation?