2013 EasterSermon

DISCLAIMER:

            I make no claims as to the originality of this sermon.  For the most part I plagiarize the Apostles and every writer of the Holy Bible to some extent.  I pass on what I have read heard and thought all given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for you to use as you see fit in proclaiming God’s message to God’s people. May something here inspire you to improve upon! It was put together over the years of study and prayer but also from listening and reading sermons, materials and books of others.  Where appropriate I have attempted to give credit to others.  Illustrations are sometimes from my life experiences but at other times ones I have heard or read.  I cannot always recall from whom.  So I thank those whom have inspired me and pass this on to you.

Paul Burwash

 

 

TITLE:                          Easter Ambition’s

TEXT:                           Philippians 2:5-11

DATE:                           3.31.2013 Preached at Fairlanes Baptist Church Borger, TX

MESSAGE:

The Lord is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed.  Easter is the most holy of all Christian holy days.  We have come today to worship a living Savior.  We come because of who He is.  Jesus is both the Lion of the tribe of Judah but also the Lamb of God.  We come because of what He did.  He laid down His own life that we might live.  We come because of what He has been given.  He has been given power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.  We come because of where He is.  Jesus is not on the cross and He is not in the tomb but He is seated at the right hand of His father in heaven.  We come today to worship the risen savior, Jesus!  What are your ambitions’s for Easter this year.  In other word’s why are you’re here?  It must be something more than just Easter.  Paul gives us a clue in Philippians 2:5-11.  Read along with me.  “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5–11, NIV)

The first ambition for Easter is….

1.Losing your mind.               V.5

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:” (Philippians 2:5, NIV)   

There was a letter written that went like this

Dear Sis,
I thought I’d take a few minutes to write this letter to you.  I hope you are doing well.  I think I’m losing my mind.  The other day, I was standing at the bottom of the stairs in the house.  When I thought about it, I was not sure whether I had come down the stairs for something or was going up to go to bed.  Then, I was standing in front of the refrigerator.  I’m not sure whether I was getting something out of it to eat or putting something back.  It really got bad when I found myself standing in front of the bathtub wondering whether I was going to take a bath or if I had just finished it.  Well, anyway, I am standing at the mailbox to mail your letter, and once again I’m mixed up.  I’m not sure if I came to get the mail or mail your letter?
Signed, Your Sis, losing my mind.

Well that sounds familiar doesn’t it?  What scares me is if that is the criteria for losing one’s mind I lost mine a long time ago.  I recon the majority of the people sitting in this room have lost their minds.  You see if you judge by the world’s standards you have lost your mind if you claim to be a Christian.  So praise God I hope everyone here has lost their mind.  In a spiritual sense, to be the kind of Christian that God wants you to be it is necessary for you to lose your mind.  The Apostle Paul told us to “have the same mindset as Christ Jesus”.  The King James Version says it this way “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”.  Paul is telling us to lose our mind and take up Christ’s mind.  It is impossible for us to have the mind of Christ while having minds that are filled with other things.  This is what it means to be Christ like.  We must be willing to relinquish your attitudes so you can take on Christ’s attitude.  To be called a Christian means we act like Christ.  If we don’t act like Christ we are just phonies.  The second Easter ambition is …

2.Losing your “self”.                       V. 6-7

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:6–7, NIV)

The empty tomb is our symbol of victory.  When Jesus resurrected He conquered death the grave and Satan.  The essence of our faith rests in this event.  Jesus’ life was a series of conundrums.  The way to become first was to be last.  The way to go up was to come down.  The way to be exalted was to be humbled.  To be greatest you must be least.  Here Paul explains it that even though He was God he became man.  The original language literally means the Jesus “emptied Himself” of all of His divine privileges without giving up His deity.  He imposed upon Himself limitations so He could be one of us.  All God yet fully man.  That is why my second point is our Easter ambition should be to lose our self.  The mind and attitude of Jesus was totally selfless.  If we are to be like Him we must become selfless.  As humans we are totally self absorbed.  We want what we want when we want it.  The next Easter ambition really is a continuation of losing self.

3.Losing your life.                            V.8

“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8, NIV)

The ultimate loss of our self will be found in death.  Jesus submitted to His Father’s will by becoming a man.  It would be the most humble of situations.  Being the creator of the universe and then becoming man and then allowing what He created to kill Him.  He submitted to the will of His Father which led to mocking, ridicule, torture and death, all because He loved what He created.  Our ambition should be to humble ourselves like Christ.  As followers of Jesus we are asked to take up our own crosses as Christ took His.  The cross was the symbol of death.  Only when we die to ourselves can we live to Christ.  Lastly Paul says after we have lost our mind our self and our life we will find our place.

4.Finding your place.             V.9-11

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9–11, NIV)

The resurrection gave Jesus His place.  Scripture say God exalted Him to the highest place.  A place of honor and glory and power.  A place where every knee will bow and tongue confess He is Lord.  When we truly and sincerely follow Jesus we find our place.  It is on our knees bowing before our God.

Monk Story
There is a story told of an old monastery that had fallen upon hard times.  It was once a great order, but as a result of waves of anti-monastic persecution in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the rise of secularism in the nineteenth, all its branch houses were lost and it had become decimated to the extent that there were only five monks left in the decaying mother house: the abbot and four others, all over seventy in age.  Clearly it was a dying order.  Things looked grim.  In the deep woods surrounding the monastery there was a little hut that a rabbi from a nearby town occasionally used for a hermitage.  Through their many years of prayer and contemplation the old monks had become a bit psychic, so they could always sense when the rabbi was in his hermitage.  “The rabbi is in the woods, the rabbi is in the woods again,” they would whisper to each other.  As he agonized over the imminent death of his order, it occurred to the abbot on one of those occasions to visit the hermitage and ask the rabbi if by some possible chance he could offer any advice that might save the monastery.  The rabbi welcomed the abbot at his hut.  But when the abbot explained the purpose of his visit, the rabbi could only commiserate him.  “I know how it is,” he exclaimed.  “The spirit has gone out of the people.  It is the same in my town.  Almost no-one comes to the synagogue anymore.”  So the old abbot and the old rabbi wept together.  They talked for a short while and then the time came when the abbot had to leave.  They embraced each other.  “It has been a wonderful thing that we should meet after all these years,” the abbot said, “but I have still failed in my purpose for coming here.  Is there nothing you can tell me, no piece of advice you can give me that would help me save my dying order?”  “No, I am sorry,” the rabbi responded.  I have no advice to give.  The only thing I can tell you is that the Messiah is one of you.”  When the abbot returned to the monastery his fellow monks gathered around him to ask, “Well, what did the rabbi say?”  He couldn’t help,” the abbot answered.  “We just wept and read the Torah together.  The only thing he did say, just as I was leaving – It was something cryptic – was that the Messiah is one of us.  I don’t know what he meant.”  In the days and weeks and months that followed, the old monks pondered this and wondered whether there was any possible significance to the rabbi’s words.  The Messiah is one of us?  Could he possibly have meant one of us monks here at the monastery?  If that’s the case, which one?  Do you suppose he meant the Father Abbot?  He has been our leader for more than a generation.  On the other hand, he might have meant Brother Thomas.  Certainly Brother Thomas is a holy man. Everyone knows that Thomas is a man of light.  Certainly he could not have meant Brother Eldred!  Eldred gets so grumpy at times.  But, come to think of it, even though he is a thorn in people’s sides, when you look back on it Eldred is virtually often right. Maybe the rabbi did mean Brother Eldred.  But surely not Brother Phillip.  Phillip is so passive, a real nobody.  But then, almost mysteriously, he has a gift for somehow always being there when you need him.  He just magically appears by your side.  Maybe Phillip is the Messiah.  Of course the rabbi didn’t mean me.  He couldn’t possibly have meant me.  I’m just so ordinary.  Yet supposing he did? Suppose I am the Messiah?  O God, not me.  I couldn’t be that much for you could I?  As they each contemplated in this manner, the old monks began to treat one another with extraordinary love and respect on the off chance that one among them might be Messiah.  Because the forest in which it was situated was beautiful, it so happened that people still occasionally came to visit the monastery to picnic on its tiny lawn, to wander among some of its paths, even now and then goes to go into the dilapidated buildings to meditate.  As they did so, without even being conscious of it, they sensed this aura of extraordinary love and respect that now began to surround the five monks and seemed to radiate out from them and permeate the atmosphere of the place.  There was something strangely attractive, even compelling, about it.  Hardly knowing why, they began to come back to the monastery to picnic, to play, to pray.  Its beauty drew them in.  They began to bring their friends to show them this special place.  And their friends brought their friends.  Then it happened that some of the younger men who came to visit the monastery started to talk more and more with the old monks.  After a while one asked if he could join them.  Then another.  And another.  So within a few years the monastery had once again become a thriving order and, thanks to the rabbi’s gift, a vibrant centre of light and spirituality in the realm.  The church can be an amazing place when it is working as it’s supposed to.   – when we are treating one another as if each person were Christ himself.  When we are following the command Jesus left – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself”. 

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