Intro: The protest in Wisconsin that has been going on for more than three weeks is getting more and more intense, especially because the elected state officials did what they believe they had to do. But some people continue to stake their claim to the right of the union to have bargaining powers. I hope this will not result in a confrontation that will be bloody as the protesters are not giving up. Their stand is that they have rights to bargain with their employer who is the government.
In 1970 I was also involved in a union conflict with management. Our Airline Pilot’s union protested and gave notice to strike on job security issue because our union president was terminated. But we were ordered by the court not to strike. Our lawyers instead gave us another avenue that we can go on a wildcat strike by resigning in mass but a few did not. We did and I lost my job. It may be that the 1,500 teachers and state employees given notices of termination for not showing up for work will lose their job.
That was a very sad event that happened in my life. I gave up a very promising career in which I missed flying the biggest aircraft the 747, which was every pilots dream and for what? But as I look back at the lost opportunity, I can honestly say now that was a blessing in disguise. My destiny changed and eleven years later I experienced a turning point in my life when by the grace of God He saved me from going to hell and got born again. It would have been difficult for me to see my need for a Savior if I had not joined the strike, especially because those below my seniority jumped up and got trained not long after as captains of the 747. The glory, the money and the pleasures would have been hard to give up. Now I can thank the Lord for the loss, disappointment for the bad decision because it made me see my greatest need, the salvation of my soul. What I lost turned out to be a blessing. The focus of this message is what God the Son gave?
“What did Jesus give up?”
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:16-18
When God the Son was sent down from heaven to earth what did He give up? “His rights as God.” It’s still hard to grasp and fully understand this truth by what was revealed by the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul.
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Phil. 2:5-7
I highlighted “made himself nothing” because this was his choice. God the Son chose to give up all the rights of being God. That of being “Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent.” He would be born with the nature of God but laid aside His attributes of being God. The nothing here means that what he was, and what he gave up. Another example of this is,
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” 2 Cor. 8:9
Paul was using this in the context of giving, to help Christians who were suffering in Jerusalem, to be generous as Christ was, as an act of grace.
God the Son who created everything in the world was even willing to be born in a manger instead of in a hospital bed with all its facilities. He went so low as to be born in a trough where animals eat and drink. After Jesus was born, he was dependent on his mother Mary to care for him. He could not even feed himself. I am sure he was breast fed so he relied in his mother Mary to feed him with milk. And as he grew up, he submitted himself to the authority of his parents when they should have submitted to His authority. As a young boy of twelve when the whole family went to Jerusalem to worship, Jesus gave importance to learning the Word of God and attended a Bible study at the temple. His parents went back when they found that he was not with them. They went back for him and found him after three days.
“Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Luke 2:51-52
Jesus was obedient to His parents in keeping the fifth Commandment.
As He was growing physically and in wisdom, He also grew in favor with God and men, because he was obedient and totally in submission to God as His Father and he being the Son of Man. He gave up His right to being self sufficient, independent but made himself totally dependent upon His Father.
When it was time for Him to start His ministry, he submitted to John to be baptized in order to fulfill all righteousness as willed by God. When one has been born again and saved, baptism should follow the example of Jesus to identify as being one with Him and His follower. After Jesus’ baptism, He was now filled with the Spirit of the Lord to empower Him to do the will of God. He submitted to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.” Luke 4:1-2a
Was it His will to go to the desert? No. It says he was led. It was God’s will.
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” Matt. 4:1
God willed it for a purpose so that Jesus will experience the temptations you and I are facing today. Jesus’ response to the temptation also determines whether He will overcome sin or not. He resisted the temptation because of His knowledge of the Word and victorious by the power of the Holy Spirit
Although He is the Word of God, the author of the Bible to reveal Himself and the true God, He submitted to His very words and obeyed every command that He set and lived a life without sin from a pure heart. This is what he said of those who did not believe Him as is written from the Bible.
“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” John 5:39-40
However, He did not have a will of His own to do whatever He wants to do but only did the will of His Father as was shown and revealed by the Spirit.
“I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” John 5:19
Jesus knew as he grew in wisdom and knowledge the will of God and what He was destined for, to offer Himself as the sacrificial lamb of God so that God can be justified in saving many sinners in the world. He knew what He would have to go through as prophesied by the prophet Isaiah,
“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Isa. 53:7
Jesus knew that he was not guilty of any sin or crime to be punished and be hanged on the cross but He knew what He had to do to accomplish the will of God. To us that would be unfair since he was innocent but to God that was His will and Jesus surrendered to the will of His Father. In fact he was so obedient to His Father as a testimony to the world of His love for Him.
“But the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” John 14:31
What if we are unjustly charged of doing something wrong and did not do it. How would we respond? Most likely we would protest and clear ourselves. In the account of Joseph when he was tempted by his master’s wife but did not fall in the temptation to go to bed with her and out of her frustration she accused him of wanting to have sex with her, how did Joseph respond?
“When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.” Gen. 39:19-20
Joseph accepted this injustice as God’s will because he trusted in God that He knows what he has done and that God is just and will vindicate him. We see later that this was God’s plan for him to be in jail so that God can promote him to the highest office in Egypt second only to Pharaoh.
But let’s not forget and consider this, Jesus knew what he was to go through to accomplish what He came for in advance and even told His disciples.
“We are going to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.” Mark 10:33-34
I thank God that He does not reveal to me in advance what I may have to go through in life or the suffering I will go through. I need only trust Him that He knows whatever He allows that it is for His glory and for my good. Jesus knew exactly how He would suffer that’s why on the night He was to be betrayed He prayed to His Father three times and this was His response.
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matt. 26:39b
Then He prayed again the second time because the answer was no.
“My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Matt. 26:42b
Notice that the first time he prayed, He was asking if it is possible. He was not demanding that His request be granted because He believed. He was just presenting a request but left it to His Father to do as he pleases. Then after he got no as the answer He prayed again. If it is not possible, meaning that He was ready to accept His Father’s will and now in total submission that His will be done. Notice that He even said “may” meaning that this was now His request without any resentment or complaint for what He will go through. There is no name it and claim it and no demanding.
When we go through any kind of trial, could we pray the same way as Jesus did? Like, if it is possible, please heal me or deliver me from this hardship with the willingness that God’s will be done. And if God does not answer can we accept it with an attitude of thankfulness for the privilege of suffering for Christ’s sake accepting it as the will of God.
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess. 5:18
We can only have the attitude of being thankful when we trust the Lord with all our heart and by faith submit to His Sovereign will. What Jesus went through was for Him to pay for our sins. We cannot pay for our own sins because we already deserve God’s punishment. Only Jesus can pay for our sins by giving up His life and give up His right to live. But here is what God has promised those who have already been redeemed.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jer. 29:11-12.
What if we come to God calling upon Him and complaining because of what we are going through, do you think God will answer? Here’s the example of the apostle Paul when he was afflicted with a disease or sickness,
“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassing great revelations, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor. 12:7-10
Was Paul suffering as the consequence of his sin? No. Just like Jesus, he was faithful to his Master but because of what God has revealed to him, it was for his own good that he would have a weakness in his body and not just a cold or headache but some ailment that would torment him. God allowed this for his good because if he was in perfect health he could fall into the sin of pride. God revealed to him mysteries beyond that of any man. God made him experience to see heaven while alive and then come back to earth.
“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know – God knows. And I know that this man – whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know but God knows – was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.” 2 Cor. 12:1-4
I believe Paul was referring to himself but was not allowed to describe what he saw and tell what he heard. So be careful of those who claim to have gone to heaven and came back. We have the Scriptures that describe what heaven is like as was shown to the apostle John and written in Revelation.
Every born again believer of Jesus Christ is a co-heir with Christ. What Christ was entitled when He was on earth we also share. The rights He gave up we also ought to give up. I believe this is the only right that we have.
“Yet to all those who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12
And as co-heir of Christ this is also the privilege that we have for His sake.
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Rom. 8:17
We are to live as Jesus lived, in full submission to the will of God, in total dependence to the Holy Spirit and if we suffer let it be to the glory of God.
“To this you were called , because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 1 Pet. 21-22
That glory will be in heaven when we will receive a rich welcome by the Father when He says “well done good and faithful servant.” But while we live here on earth we live for the glory of Christ.
Is there anything you are holding on and have not given all to Christ. He gave us His all, what do we ought to give Him in return?