We RISE to Celebrate Jesus.

The fourth message in the series entitled RISE.
(Find the other messages from this series here)

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God loves a good party. In fact, He commands His people to celebrate on many occasions and the parties had pretty clear guidelines on just how epic they were supposed to be.

Just as the crowd rises to their feet to applaud a great performance, we will be driven to RISE in celebration when we look at God’s power and grace.

Deuteronomy 16:14-15

14And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates.

15Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord shall choose: because the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice.

Also in Deuteronomy Moses lays out guidelines that forbid anyone who had been married a year to participate in military campaigns- that for the first year the man was to stay home and be given free lodging- or a free place to stay.

Though the term “honeymoon” didn’t come around till after the King James Bible was translated- that’s what this was- it was a God ordained year long honeymoon.

Psalm 33:3 Sing to the Lord a new song; play skillfully, and SHOUT FOR JOY!!!

When Jesus lived among us he was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard and he was ridiculed because of the people that he partied with.

Jesus once told a story that went, the kingdom of God is like a man who prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations…

Jesus even told us about parties in heaven, he said that just like a shepherd rejoices when he finds his lost sheep and calls all of the family together to celebrate, there is celebration in heaven before the throne of God involving all the angels when a lost person is found by God’s grace.

Mark Patterson wrote a devotional on celebrating in which he quoted  pastor and writer John Smith

“The Irish know how to celebrate—with minimum resources and minimum reasons. The Church should feel something like an Irish pub—festive, music, participatory—with everyone welcome.”

This whole chapter has been about how Paul has made Jesus the center of His life because He is so wonderful. It is a celebration of Jesus and his excellence and wonder…

Let’s look

1Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

It’s no bother to repeat it, I love to. I love to repeat it again and again because it is so wonderful.
There are many things that we get tired of repeating, but there are some phrases and stories we love to say and tell- such as I love you or the story of how you met the love of your life or something wonderful new thing your children can do…

3For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:

Then when we come to the end of the chapter Paul points out, with a heartbroken tone that there are those who are enemies of Christ who instead worship their bellies and they mind mere earthly things, and who glory in shame…

Now the picture that he has just painted is one of people who do whatever they want, whatever feels good, who take great pleasure in whatever earthly pleasures are available to them- what Paul has referred to is a group of people that we see all of the time because they are portrayed to us in advertisements and media constantly- we are constantly shown people who are living it up and having an incredible time and doing what feels good, doing whatever makes them happy, they are people who live like there is no tomorrow, dance like no one is watching, and so on…

Paul doesn’t point to them with a grin, rather he points to them with a broken heart because they are missing out on the true wonder and glory. They are missing out on something incredibly beautiful- they missing out on the sacrificial, gracious, powerful Christ.

Paul is telling us that the people who “really party” in our culture are missing out on the greatest reason of all to celebrate. They’re missing out on Jesus.

They’re like a group of people partying on a hillside, unaware that just over the ridge is a breathtaking view of the grand canyon.

They’re like a group of people hanging out in a basement unaware that there is a breathtaking meteor shower happening in the night sky.

They’re like people who have gone to a beautiful resort and spent their whole vacation in the hotel bar and never walked out on the glorious beach or went for a swim in the crystal clear water.

In contrast, he refers to those who have placed their faith in Christ in verse 19 & 20.

He says,

20For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

21Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

This word “conversation” means talking in most uses today, but in the translation of the King James it meant conduct, identity, and in this case specifically it meant citizenship or belonging or membership.
The NASB and ESV both translate this as citizenship.

Our citizenship is in heaven and from it we also look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ who will change us and fashion us after his glorious body according to the working through which he will subdue all things to himself.

I told you early on in this series that Paul had made it clear that

Knowing Christ changes everything and therefore knowing Christ is more important than anything.

Knowing Jesus changes everything so knowing Jesus is more important than anything.

Throughout this Paul is celebrating the excellency of Jesus which he has come to know and he is just marveling at the wonder of Jesus. In fact, this passage that we read this morning John Piper once used on Easter Sunday because he said he wanted his people to marvel as Paul was but to truly marvel you must marvel with understanding,

He said,

If someone tricks you into marveling and makes you think they’ve done something great when they haven’t, your marveling doesn’t make much of them, it makes a fool of you. Only marveling with understanding makes much of the One who is true and beautiful.

-John Piper

The reason that Paul lived the way he did and celebrated Jesus as he had, is he had a deep comprehensive understanding of what Jesus Christ had done for him and he makes that clear in these verses, when he says in verse 20 we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. We RISE to celebrate Christ’s sacrifice.

“from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ”

The presupposition of this whole theme is what Paul tells us that Jesus did in chapter 2. That’s what Paul understood. He understood what Jesus had done for him. He celebrated the sacrifice of Jesus because he understood what it meant.

Let’s look back at chapter 2 and what he said.

5Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 

7but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 

8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 

Throughout the world the cross is a symbol of Christianity, but for generations leading up to Jesus it was a symbol of suffering, shame, and Roman political dominance.

Thieves and Terrorists would be killed on Crosses, often left hanging there dead and naked to make an example to the people that if you step out of line, this could happen to you.

When Paul said he became obedient to death, there’s a reason he said, “EVEN the death of a cross.”

So today this symbol is a symbol of hope but then it was a symbol of suffering and shame- Jesus changed that because for those who believe in Jesus they recognize that Jesus went to the cross on purpose for them.

The cross wasn’t an unfortunate ending to Jesus story, rather it was an essential part of His plan to redeem us.

What Paul saw in the cross was not the untimely death of a good teacher or the grotesque punishment of a heretic, rather he saw the Son of God laying down His life to save us.

So Paul calls him a a servant in 2:7 and a savior in 3:20 because He went to the cross for us to save us.

The highest accommodation that a member of the military can receive is the medal of honor. One Medal of Honor recipient from the war in Afghanistan was Floret Groberg.
Capt. Groberg was escorting a detail of several high ranking officials from the Forward Operating Base to a Governors compound. As they approached the bridge Groberg noticed a man who had suddenly turned directly toward the group and he had some sort of package bulging underneath his clothes.

He engaged the gentleman stepping in between the man and the convoy and pushing him back with his chest, shouting commands and pushing the man back. The man fell and his suicide vest detonated doing major damage to grobergk’s leg, breaking his eardrums, and giving him a mild brain trauma.

The detonation of the vest inadvertently set off the vest of another suicide bomber who was also approaching the convoy.

Groberg’s action without regard for his own life saved the lives of several others, including high ranking military officials which the bombers were targeting.

It’s fitting and appropriate that Groberg be honored for his heroism and sacrifice…

Paul was moved to celebrate Jesus, to call him excellent, glorious, to tell and retell the story because what Paul saw at the cross was a savior.

You might say, well Pastor Daniel I didn’t ask Jesus to go to the cross for me, it’s nice that he did and all, but I don’t even really see how that helps me…

I’m sure there were a few confusing moments that day as people in the convoy started to hear Groberg shouting commands and pushing this seemingly harmless individual, but when it became clear that they had all been in very grave danger, they were no doubt filled with gratitude.

Paul says in verse 21 who will change our vile body…

2. We RISE to celebrate Christ’s grace.

“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body”

Paul recognized that in him was no good thing, he saw himself as vile and broken, he saw himself as a sinner.

Paul was moved to celebrate Christ as a Savior full of grace because Paul had seen his own sin and brokenness clearly.

Paul had recognized that he was a vile sinner.

For many of you, you don’t find reason to celebrate Jesus because your pretty impressed with yourself…

You don’t realize the danger that Christ is attempting to save you from, you don’t see the emptiness and despair that awaits, you don’t see the just punishment that you deserve because you don’t realize the crimes you have committed.

However if you look around band think for a moment I believe you’ll see that our world is indeed broken.  

If we agree on nothing else this morning, I’m confident that we can agree that the world is not as it should be. Right? 

Why is that? Why is the world off? 

Because people are unjust and selfish.  

Life is unjust and life isn’t fair because people aren’t just and fair. 

So that speaks to the presence of something that isn’t right, but it also speaks to the presence of a sense of justice.  

We agree there is wrong in the world because we agree there should be right in the world, but where does that desire for what is right come from? Where does this desire for the world to be fair come from? 

Does it come from you? Are you the source of morality and justice? Do right and wrong depend upon you? Surely not because if they do you’re quite arrogant to say your the moral judge of the world.  

At one point Paul thought he had the right to judge others… 

He knew the world wasn’t as it ought to be and worked hard to make it fit his sense of fairness and his view of right and wrong, but then one day he realized that he was not the standard of right and wrong, God was and is… when Paul saw that, he saw himself differently. He saw himself no longer as a judge of right and wrong but rather as someone who was very much in the wrong.  

Paul says our vile body as though he were totally disgusted with himself and completely transfixed by the goodness of Jesus… 

Mark Batterson once wrote that the reason we don’t celebrate more as christians is because we’ve lost sight of or never fully grasped how hopeless we were without Jesus.  

Removing the port after coming home from haven’s surgery.  

She didn’t realize how close we were to having to do surgery again…. 

I had this profound sense of relief… 

Looking back I do have a sense of pride that in that moment I remained calm and got the job done.  

Paul knowing his sin, having a full grasp on how broken he was, was quite amazed at the grace of Jesus to be willing to change him the power of Christ to be able to change him. 

3. We RISE to celebrate Christ’s power.

“according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

Paul knowing his sin, having a full grasp on how broken he was, was quite amazed at the grace of Jesus to be willing to change him the power of Christ to be able to change him.

Paul celebrates the power of Christ to subdue all things to himself…

Subdue means to put into submission, it means to take full

Power over, full authority over.

Paul doesn’t list which things Christ can and wil subdue, he simply and straightforwardly says, all things.

He does this through the same power with which he over came death.

There are many ppl who have demonstrated incredible feats of strength and had power over what was seemingly uncontrollable, but no one has demonstrated a power over death. No one but Jesus. There have been many who have proven they are skilled at cheating death, eluding death but none that have power over death….

Jesus subdued death, He overpowered death. If he can overpower death, there is nothing that he can’t overcome.

He has power over everything.

When I was a kid I wrestled with my uncles when we would visit my mom’s large family. I remember they would make you “say uncle” to acknowledge that they had you whipped.

I thought that was just what they made me say cause they were my uncles… I didn’t realize to later on that’s what you made someone say when you had them pinned.

Jesus made death cry uncle because He subdues all things to himself.

In chapter 4 Paul speaks of going through the best and worst of times. Facing plenty and poverty, bounty and starvation, acceptance and rejection, 

I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Because I can do all things through Christ.

Dedication and commitment and ambition might carry you for a while, but 

a deep and comprehensive celebration of Christ can and will carry you through anything with an ever present joy.

Adam Jeske – Missionary who wrote an article about how FUN it is to serve in God’s kingdom
My friend James Miriago from Kenya is the best picture I’ve ever seen of this. He was our student at the seminary we taught at in South Africa, and we visited his home in Kenya. His home has dirt floors. He invested an incredible amount of money to get to South Africa to study the Bible. He regularly wanders by foot to other countries without money, in order to tell people about Jesus.

But the man has on Jesus’ yoke, and it is easy. James constantly wears a smile bigger than many of us have every produced…”