June 30, 2010 David Balzer

Philippians 2:1-11: What Do You Give The Man Who Has Everything? Christmas Day, 2005

What do you give the man who has everything?

It’s the age-old problem at Christmas, isn’t it? At least for MY DAD. What do you give the man who has everything.

He loves CHRISTIAN BOOKS. And he loves TOOLS AND GADGETS. So I COULD buy him THOSE for Christmas. But the problem is/ for the REST of the year whenever he SEES something he wants/ Dad just BUYS it. He gets the Koorong catalogue, or Bunnings catalogue, and he’s circled 3 or 4 things to buy. Then he just orders them – whacks them on the credit card.

So whenever I find something he’d LIKE, he’s normally already GOT it.

Last Christmas I bought him “Going the Distance” by Peter Brain. It’s a book about how to last the distance for a lifetime of ministry without burning out. We both started reading it over the next few days. It wasn’t until Dad had FINISHED it that he went into his office. And found that he’d bought the same book himself a few weeks earlier. But he’d FORGOTTEN.

So I ended up with Dad’s copy! It’s a GOOD BOOK!

What do you give the man who has everything?

I want to take a moment with you this Christmas morning, though, to reflect on the Man who really DOES have everything. That’s JESUS. And ask the question, what are we meant to give HIM for Christmas? And, after all, it IS HIS BIRTHDAY. So it makes sense to ask, what we can give JESUS for Christmas.

Because according to the passage we’ve just read, Jesus Christ is in fact… THE MAN WHO HAS EVERYTHING.

It’s the point that’s made in verse 9, And it says this:

Therefore God EXALTED him to the HIGHEST PLACE and gave him THE NAME THAT IS ABOVE EVERY NAME.

You can get some PRETTY FANCY JOB TITLES. And often they make a boring job sound WAY BETTER than it really is.

A Subway food preparer becomes a ‘SANDWICH ARTIST’

A Street Sweeper becomes a ‘HIGHWAY COSMETIC MAINTENANCE TECHNICIAN’. And a window cleaner becomes an OPTICAL ILLUMINATOR ENHANCER’

But Jesus has the best JOB. AND the best job DESCRIPTION. He’s at God’s right-hand. And he’s KING of the UNIVERSE. RULING OVER IT.

If you took a street poll in Australia today, that’s not the answer most people would give. “Where’s Jesus NOW? What happened to him after he died?” Plenty of people would say that when Jesus died, his body was sealed in a tomb – AND THAT WAS THE END. And so Jesus is a powerless irrelevancy. A historical relic.

But that’s not the story of the Bible when it talks about Jesus’ . It tells us about A BEGINNING, not an END. A CROWN, not a SHROUD. A THRONE, not a TOMB. That’s the “highest place” it says there in v9. A king’s throne.

Eph 1 fills out the picture a bit more. V20.

God exerted his mighty strength in Christ when he raised him from the and SEATED HIM at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,

There’s no-one who compares. No one who’s title, or job, or position, or power can measure up. No president, or queen, or sportsman, or diplomat, or major general, or CEO. He’s above them all.

Even in the SPIRITUAL realm. There’s no one who can hold a candle to him. Spirits, angels, Satan himself.

God raised him from the . And seated him on a heavenly throne. Which is where he is NOW. Ruling the Universe. Jesus really is THE MAN WHO HAS EVERYTHING.

Which should have a HUGE impact on the way we live NOW. For most Aussies, who think Jesus is AN IMPOTENT IRRELEVANCY, they’re treading on very thin ice.

Gave Everything

He’s the king who rules over you and me. Over EVERYONE.

Perhaps it’s worth asking/ how do you GET a job like that? What do you need to DO to be appointed to that sort of position.

I’ve never really got into the show, but “The Apprentice” is about a group of young, hungry, ambitious business people who’ll do ANYTHING to score that top job with Donald Trump. To get that executive position at Donald’s right hand.

It apparently makes good ratings to watch them back-bite, and undermine, and out-perform each other. As they seek to lift their OWN profile and position. At the expense of those around them.

Climbing the corporate ladder, ruthlessly treading on those beneath them as they climb. All so they can hear the wonderful words from Mr Trump – YOU’RE HIRED! I really hope it makes them happy when they GET THERE!

But this passage turns that sort of thinking on its head. Because Jesus has got to the top spot – not by his RUTHLESSNESS – but by his humble service. In fact, it’s BECAUSE of his humble service, not IN SPITE of it.

It’s really the essence of the Christmas story, isn’t it? Humble beginnings. It’s kind of an ironic twist. The one who HAS EVERYTHING/ is the one who GAVE everything. Instead of grasping at power, he made himself nothing. Look at it there in verse 6. Jesus Christ…

Who, being in very re God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but MADE HIMSELF NOTHING, taking the very re of a servant, being made in human likeness.

The one who in his very essence, in his re was God… doesn’t clutch onto his position. But GIVES IT UP. And becomes man. But not just a man – not a ruler or a king… but a SERVANT man. Born in a filthy barn. Put to bed in an animal feed trough. In a dusty village. In a backwater of the Roman empire.

And then growing up to spend his life wandering around those dusty roads. Never earning money. Or building a career. Or an empire. But SERVING.

And it goes further. How low can you go? The next verse. Not just a servant man. Jesus humbles himself to … . And not just ANY . ON A ROMAN CROSS. The ultimate symbol of humiliation and shame.

Read what it says:

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to – even on a cross!

And yet somehow it’s BECAUSE of that… that God raised him. And said “sit with me”. Your name is the name above every name. It’s all yours. It’s the word “therefore” at the start of verse 9… because Jesus made himself nothing and gave his life on the cross, God exalts him in heaven.

THEREFORE God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.

The one who was infinitely humbled… is now the man who has everything. The greatest turn-around in history. The ultimate rags-to-riches story.

What YOU should give him

So the question. What do you give to the Man who has everything? After all, he doesn’t NEED anything. There’s nothing we can give to Jesus that’ll make him MORE COMPLETE. Add to his collection. Or accomplishments.

I’m not talking about your Christmas shopping list. He owns the Universe, so a few gifts or dollars isn’t going to cut it. I’m talking about what it would be appropriate for YOU… to give the most important man in the universe.

There’s an appropriate GIFT SUGGESTION in verse 10. And another we’ll come back to in the FIRST few sentences of the passage as well.

If you take the point that God has given Jesus the name above every name, here’s how we’re meant to respond. Read along into verse 10.

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 CONFESS THAT JESUS CHRIST IS LORD, TO THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER.

What do you give to the Man who has everything? You give him your ABSOLUTE ALLEGIANCE. You say to him, hail to the chief. You bow the knee. Because God has taken him from the lowest place… born in a stable as a human being… the life of a servant… the d nailed on a cross. And put him in the highest place.

GIVE HIM YOURSELF. That’s the ONLY gift that Jesus wants this Christmas.

Is that something you’ve done? Is that something you DO? An attitude you take on everyday?

Giving Jesus YOURSELF means, in practical terms, taking on board the sort of attitudes in verses 1 to 5.

See, it’s a fascinating thought. What’s it mean to bow to the one who’s the master of humility? It means MASTERING HUMILITY YOURSELF.

And if you think about it, these sorts of things really hit home AT CHRISTMAS TIME.

Mastering humility means you’ll do nothing, verse 3, OUT OF SELFISH AMBITION OR VAIN CONCEIT but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

So instead of looking out for number one, verse 4 says, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

You’ll REJOICE when someone gets better presents than you. Because they DESERVE them. You really WILL enjoy GIVING more than RECEIVING. You’ll RUSH from the table to be FIRST to the washing up.

Because in the words of verse 5, “your attitude… should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Who made himself nothing.”

Friends, can I put that to you as a Christmas challenge?

Jesus is the name above every name. And ultimately, at the name of Jesus every knee will bow. And what do you give the one who has everything? You give him your own life… dethroning your selfishness. And learning to serve.

Learning what it means to actually look to the interests of others – NOTICING. I mean, it’s so obvious when you’ve got a need of your own. But how easily do you SEE the needs of SOMEONE ELSE. Look around. Take an interest. And do something about it.

Make helping OTHERS your new year’s resolution. Not SELF-help.

It’s easy to be driven by selfish ambition. Much harder in humility to consider others better than yourself. It’s a lot to give up. But in the end, that’s exactly what you’re called to give… to the Man who has everything.

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