This sermon is part of the series called ‘A Joy-filled Life’ and today’s topic is ‘Joy in Brokenness’. The Bible passage we will be looking at is Philippians 2:5-11.
If we are honest, we will all say that our hearts desperately yearn for a spiritual revival. I need one. For me, the last couple of weeks has been very rough, I’ve missed on my prayer & devotions, I’ve missed out on my scripture readings, and is feeling quite dry spiritually.
There might be some of you who are maybe going through the same feelings as I am. To overcome such feelings, we are seeking a revival that will get us back on track with our relationship with our creator God.
Now, whatever may be our experience of failure and barrenness, God, the maker of heaven and earth is never defeated. His power is boundless. And we, on our part, have only to get into a right relationship with Him through His son Jesus Christ, and we shall see His power demonstrated in our hearts and lives and service, and victorious life will fill us and overflow through us to others. And that is Revival in its essence.
If, however, we are to come into this right relationship with Him, the first thing we must learn is that our wills must be broken to His will. To be broken is the beginning of Revival.
Psalms 51:17 – The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
It is painful, humiliating, but it is the only way. It is being “Not I, but Christ” (Gal 2:20), and a “C” is a bent “I.” The Lord Jesus cannot live in us fully and reveal Himself until the proud self within us is not broken.
What today’s passage offers is a perfect example of what it means to be broken to our self. We see our Lord Jesus, our Saviour and our redeemer, the King of king and the Lord of Lords, our champion & our hero, setting us a perfect example of what it means to be broken, contrite & humble – To have a posture and an attitude that will please our Father in heaven and set us in a right relationship with him.
This passage is a portion of a letter that was written by Paul to the churh in Philippians. And if you read the earlier chapter you will to know that the church is going through a turmoil in their relationship with one another. And often times when our relationship with another hits the rock, its a good indicator that our relationship with God is also not going well. Both are interconnected. And they needed a Revival to get sorted.
And therefore, in verse 5 Paul is saying to the church “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus”. He is telling the church to imitate Christ and his posture of humility that will help maintian right relationship with God the Father.
We can learn three lessons from Jesus, which can be applied in our current situation as we seek revival in our hearts.
Jesus gave up his status & position
V6. though he (Christ) was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped
Often times, what keeps us away from a healthy relationship with God is the SELF in us. This simply means that the hard unyielding self, which justifies itself, wants its own way, stands up for its rights, and seeks its own glory is the biggest hurdle in our heart.
It doesn’t want to bow its head to God’s will, doesn’t like to admit its wrong, doesn’t want to give up its own way to Jesus, doesn’t want to surrender its rights and doest want to discard its own glory.
It is so often the self who even tries to live the Christian life, do Christian work. It is always self who gets irritable and envious and resentful and critical and worried. It is self who is hard and unyielding in its attitudes to others. It is self who is shy and self-conscious and reserved. No wonder we need breaking.
If we are honest, we can all see how much of this self there is in each of us.
As long as SELF is in control, God can do little with us, and therefore it has to be crucified.
It was the SELF that drew Adam and Eve to Sin against God. And when the SELF took over, darkness entered our hearts. The beautiful relationship we had with our creator God was broken. The whole human race is suffering the consequences of that fall.
But because of our fallen state, and because God so loved us, he sent His only Son Jesus to come to earth and live a life we ought to be living.
And here’s what Paul is saying about how Christ lived among us – Even though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.
If there was one person on this earth who had the rights to follow his SELF then it was Jesus. He could have easily chosen to abandon us and leave us in our sinful state, and there will be no questions asked. But what we see is He willingly gave up his rights so that he can redeem us back to the Father.
In our lives, ultimately it is God who is bending our will to His, but there is an active part we also have to play without which the process is incomplete.
And Jesus has set a perfect example for us to follow.
Brothers & sisters, let’s examine our heart and identify the areas where our SELF is dominant. Do we always lean on our wisdom and strength to achieve the goals of our life? Or Is it the wealth and possessions we have that determines what we want to become? Or Are we acting stubborn with God saying – “This is the way I want to live my life, so please grant me my desire”, “This is the only kind of girl/boy I’d like to marry, so pls throw him/her from heaven”, “This is the only kind of job I would like to do”, “This is the only way I want to ministry.”
If thats true, then we have to crucify the SELF and its desires so that we can enjoy our relationship with the Father.
Jesus emptied himself by taking the form of a servant
The second lesson we learn from Jesus is that he not only gave up his rights, but he emptied himself and took the form of a servant. He came not to be served but to serve.
To be a servant is not just mere superficial servanthood we are talking about here. Often times this word is misinterpreted by our society, especially by the people in authorities. People in authority often project themselves are the servant of the people, we hear politicians say that, entrepreneurs say that. Thats not the servanthood Jesus showed us.
He literally washed the feet of his disciples. The Holy God of the universe stooped down to the unworthy, unholy, undeserving insects like us and washed our feet.
When was the last time we served someone in this manner?
We don’t help our mother’s & wives at home. We think it’s the lowliest thing to do. It takes a lot of courage and dying to SELF to be able to serve others in this manner. It starts at home, then in Church and then to society at large.
Our act and attitude in serving others in this manner shows us how willing we are to be broken to our self so that we can draw near to God.
Jesus humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death.
Jesus not only gave up his rights and took the form of a servant, but he also humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death.
Jesus fully obeyed His Father in heaven, to the point, that to save us from the wrath of God, he took all our Sins, all our infirmities, and died in our place, paying the full penalty of our sins.
The suffering wasn’t an easy one. In the Garden of Gethsamane, right before he was supposed to be taken away to be crucified, his cries out to God in prayer saying “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
His humility by becoming obedient to the point of death is what gives us the privilege to become sons and daughters of God, as we repent and put our faith in Jesus.
Can you imagine what would have happened to us if Jesus never fully obeyed His Father in heaven? Our lives would have been devastated.
What is our excuse for not walking in obedience to God’s word?
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
THAT IS WHAT BROKENNESS IS ALL ABOUT!
Brokenness is not God forcing us into the image of Christ, so that in spite of my desire to sin He causes me to do what is right anyhow.
Asking God, “Lord, please make me a broken man!” is like praying, “God, please force me to love you!” God wants loving, obedient servants, not blindly obedient robots. He wants the willing, voluntary slave, not forced labor.
Many times, when in the midst of temptation, we would pray, “God, please help me!” (meaning, “God, please intervene and do something to prevent me from committing this sin!”)
God’s response over the years has been, “I already have helped you. Jesus died to set you free from bondage to sin. Go read Romans 6 again!”
We are without excuse! God is the sovereign Creator of the Universe – He gets to set the rules! It is my part to love and obey.
He commands, He expects love and obedience, but He also gives us encouragement, reminders, and the power of the Holy Spirit living in us to conquer the nature of sin that still plagues us!
Brother & sisters, if we are experiencing dryness in our heart & a detachment from God the Father this morning, it is not because God has kept a distance from us. It is because we are not letting our self die, not emptying ourself at the throne of God’s grace, unwilling to serve & not humble ourselves to the point of total obedience to God.
In Philippians 2:9-11 Paul continues to write
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The Father not just delights in a broken and a contrite man but he also rewards them. Just like he exalted his son he will also exalt us and pour out his Spirit over us and fill our hearts an overflowing joy and peace..
And the greatest joy he offers us is the privilege to participate in the final celebration when Jesus will come back again. We all get to see Him, bow down to him and confess Jesus is Lord. What a Joy?
Brokenness is not a one-time thing. To have a continued communion with God, we need to have continued brokenness in our spirit at all times.
Brokenness is a good thing it directs our hearts to God.