“The Submissive Savior”
July 2, 2006
To be like God we must be submissive to one another and speak well of the submissive.
I. Submit to Your Equal (Matthew 3:13-15)
II. Submit to the Spirit (Matthew 3:16)
III. Speak Well of the Submissive (Matthew 3:17)
MessageWe all have neon moments in our lives, moments that define who we are. My greatest defining moment only second to trusting Jesus for my eternal destiny was when I was married to Shawn. Just on appearances one might not think this was a neon moment because of all the disasters of that day. For example, Shawn's brother, one of the groomsmen had a seizure shortly before the wedding. In the chaos of that moment Shawn's other brother accidentally picked up my wallet and put it her other brother's bag. The photographer locked her keys in her car. The person who was to do Shawn's hair didn't show. There was an accident on the causeway bridge over Lake Pontchatrain, which blocked the Pastor who was to perform the wedding and blocked most of Shawn's family. And the list goes on. Yet none of these things made it a neon moment. It was a neon moment for me because I was united to the one my soul longed for.
Jesus had many neon moments in his life. Defining moments that manifested who He was when he did or said something. This summer Bob and I, mostly Bob, will preach messages on some of those defining moments. These neon moments, if we allow them to, will become defining moments for us, which in turn will change our lives.
So, let's take a look this morning at the neon moment that begins Jesus' three and half year ministry. Let's read Matthew 3:13-15. Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.
Jesus came from the little town of Nazareth in the Roman province of Galilee. Nazareth probably was considered "Hickville or Hill Billy Land," hence it was inconsequential. Nazareth, some citified people would say, is like Alvin, Texas. But if you are from Alvin you can tell those city slickers that Jesus had more in common with Alvin than Houston, TX. If you are from Alvin, you can now say, Amen.
So, this country boy from Nazareth walked up to His cousin the wild desert preacher, John the Baptist. I think the conversation may have gone like this. "Howdy, John. Do you remember your younger cousin?" John said, "Of course I do, Jesus." Then they gave each other a hug and kissed each other on the cheek. Almost abruptly, Jesus said, "John you need to baptize me." John knowing him and his reputation, replied, "Jesus, you need to baptize me. I am not worthy to baptize you, because you never sin. No, Jesus, I won't." Jesus answered, "John, you must do this, it is God's will. It is right for you to baptize me." John said, "Oh, all right."
So there was a little tension in the conversation. Now you ask, what did Jesus mean in verse 15, "to fulfill all righteousness?" You are all brilliant because you all thought of that question, right? The answer is that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies, which said the Messiah would submit Himself to God; He would be God's Servant, hence he completed all righteousness.
Let's read Isaiah 42:1 "Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.
Jesus' baptism represented His submissiveness to God the Father. John's baptism of repentance represented the people's submissiveness by believing in God's Son. Of course Jesus' baptism was different from those who underwent John's baptism because Jesus never sinned.
Amazingly, Jesus voluntarily submitted to God the Father, when He was baptized. He submitted to His equal. Yes, Jesus is God too, although He is a different person than the Father. Paul quoted a very early creed of the church in Philippians 2:6-8 which sums this up well: Christ himself was like God in everything. But he did not think that being equal with God was something to be used for his own benefit. But he gave up his place with God and made himself nothing. He was born to be a man and became like a servant.8 And when he was living as a man, he humbled himself and was fully obedient to God, even when that caused his deathdeath on a cross. Jesus, who was in his very nature was God, voluntarily submitted to his Father, and died on the cross for our sins.
The Apostle Peter told us, To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. (1 Peter 2:21) Therefore, we need to act like Jesus did in his relationship to God the Father. The Scriptures say that husbands and wives are equal in the Lord. One is not superior to the other in value or worth in God's eyes. Yet, God tells wives in Eph. 5:22 to voluntarily submit to the husband's leadership. Is there a lady struggling with this? It is not easy. Remember Jesus in the garden. He didn't want to suffer, but He did the Father's will.
The Scriptures in Hebrews 13:17 teach the church to voluntarily submit to the leaders. Do you ever dislike decisions that church leaders make? (Good no hearty amen's). Remember Jesus had the very nature of God, but became a servant, and voluntarily submitted to the Father.
This applies to employee and employer relationships. How well do you voluntarily submit to your equal?
How many kids here today love to submit and obey their parents? Let me say to the youth, your parents are not superior in the sense that they are more valuable to God. In that sense you are equal. But God has made them superior as far as being boss in your relationship. If you want to be like Jesus you must submit to your equal.
Thus, Jesus submitted to baptism. He submitted to God the Father, His equal in very nature, to fulfill all God the Father's righteous plan. In addition, He also submitted to someone else. Matthew 3:16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.
John baptized Jesus. It appears that Jesus was dunked at His baptism. Matthew described part of Jesus baptism as coming up out of the water. So, I would suggest this to be the normal practice for our baptism.
Now, has anyone wondered what it means, "heaven was opened?" Great, a couple of you are really smart. In the Old and New Testament "the heavens opened" expression manifested someone about to have a vision. So, John and Jesus see something that others do not see. They see the Holy Spirit coming down on Jesus in the form of a dove. Here again we see Jesus fulfilling the Scripture we read earlier, which predicted the Messiah to be completely led and empowered by the Spirit. Let's read Isaiah 11:1-2. A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him--the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
Jesus' empowerment and submission to the Spirit is exactly what we see in the gospels. In the very next verse after this passage Jesus is led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Jesus submitted to the Spirit's guidance and was empowered with the Spirit. Once more Jesus submits to an equal because the rest of Scripture clearly reveals the Holy Spirit is God. The Holy Spirit is eternal and has all the attributes of God.
Recently, Todd Cobbs and I shared the gospel at some apartments with a lady who was very open. I think she trusted in Christ for eternal life. When I was sharing the gospel with her I felt the Holy Spirit empowering me with the right words to say. It definitely was not me. Yet many times I don't have the right words or boldness. Why? Because I have not been walking close to God the Holy Spirit.
With that said the Scriptures teach that all believers have the Holy Spirit in them. Jesus told the apostles in Acts 1:8 that God would give them the power to witness boldly. Do you have boldness from the Spirit to share the good news? God the Spirit loves to give boldness for sharing the gospel. Will you believe God's Spirit to give you boldness to share the gospel in Operation Canning Hunger, handing out water at the July 4th parade, bringing up spiritual things with a neighbor or friend, or even going door-to-door? The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Pray that the Lord of Harvest will send out laborers including you.
So in this Neon Moment we see Jesus submitting to the Father and now the Spirit. Now let's see what the Father has to say about His Son. Matt. 3:17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.
Matthew did not explicitly identify whose voice it was speaking from heaven. However, it is obvious when the voice says this is my Son' that the one speaking is God the Father. This Father-Son relationship is not the same as a father-son relationship that we know. In our culture we only think of the physical relationship, a son is the physical offspring of a father. However in the biblical culture there was another father-son relationship. If a king had someone as his vice regent (president) the vice regent was called his son and the king was the father. This is the kind of father-son relationship God the Father has with God the Son. They are both eternal, never created, co-equal, but the Son is the Father's King. The Son takes that role in their perfect relationship.
Now I hope you have noticed the three different persons in this passage: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are three different persons although they are not independent of each other, but they are interdependent. The wonderful thing about the Trinity is it shows that the triune God is a personal God, who loves.
God is love because each person in the Trinity has perfectly loved the other two persons from eternity past! The God of Islam, Allah, or any other single person god cannot be a God of infinite love because before they created man they had no one else to love. This truth about the Trinity is why I must denounce T.D. Jakes who comes on DayStar, a local Christian T.V. station and his books are found in local Christian bookstores. T.D. Jakes, bishop of the Potter's House in Dallas, has tens of thousands of people in his church, 19but his church's doctrinal statement says that God is one God in three manifestations, not One God in three Persons. This is the heresy of modalism. Other modalists are the Christian band, "Phillips, Craig, and Dean," that I have heard played on a local Christian radio station. They are all pastors of Oneness Pentecostal churches, which believe in modalism. Modalists violate the essential doctrine of who God is, the Trinity. They are worshiping a false god.
They believe that God is one person who manifests himself in three different modes or manifestations. They do not believe God is one God in three distinct persons. It frightens me that many people in evangelical churches and maybe even some here this morning will describe God in this manner. The passage we have looked at this morning clearly reveals that the Father, Son, and Spirit are different persons. Otherwise, in this passage you have God manifesting Himself in three different manifestations with one of the manifestations telling the other manifestation how much he loves the other manifestation. This understanding is non sensical. The sensible truth is that the Father, whose role is leader in the Trinity, praises the Son and tells Jesus He loves Him.
That reveals the very personal and loving relationship that the Father and Son have. It is the example we must follow in our own lives. So what about your marriage? Husbands, do you praise your wives publicly? Do you treat them like the equal they are? I would like to put this in practice right now. Everyone needs to know that I am well-pleased with my wife, Shawn. Shawn, you are loyal, faithful, compassionate, always building me up, very kind, considerate, generous, and extremely beautiful. I love you and I am very pleased to be married to you. Thank you.
Parents, how well are you praising your children? Have you been telling them that you love them? Children, have you been praising your parents? Do you tell them that you love them? You see if we want to be like God we must speak well of each other, including those who submit to us.
So, lets' be like Jesus and submit to the Father and the Spirit. And let's be like the Father who praises the submissive Son.
I would like to close this sermon with some praise for a group that is submitting themselves to Christ by going to Mexico to serve. They will be leaving this weekend. So right now I would like for them to come down to the front for a commissioning.