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  • William Earnhardt

From the Couch to the Park Bench: Downward Mobility (sermon notes)


Philippians 2:5

"You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had."

BIG POINT: All anyone can do to have the attitude of Christ Jesus is to receive it and accept it. No human being can start having this attitude on their own.

APPLY IT: Pray for and receive the attitude of Christ Jesus.

What does it mean to move from the couch to the park bench?

To move from the couch to the park bench can be a literal movement, but most likely this represents something more personal. It means to move from your comfort zone (wealth, status, position, familiarity, etc.) to a place of discomfort (strangers, service, unfamiliarity, etc.). It is a movement in obedience to God, in the context of this message.

What was the attitude of Christ?

Philippians 2:6

"Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to."

It is likely better to say, “Jesus did not think of His equality with God as something to be robbed, or to guard from being robbed.”

BIG POINT: Jesus was secure in who He was: God-the-Son!

Who are you?

John 1:12

"But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God."

Galatians 3:26

"For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus."

APPLY IT: Be secure in who you are--Children of God!

To be secure in who you are--your identity as a child of God--is the first move "from the couch to the park bench!"

Philippians 2:7-8

"Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross."

BIG POINT: It was Jesus's attitude to embrace downward mobility--from the crown to the cross!

APPLY IT: Follow Jesus's example and embrace downward mobility.

Possible Examples of Embracing Downward Mobility:

... a husband submits to his wife and does something to relieve her stress. ... a wife submits to her husband to lighten his load. ... a student sits next to the loner during lunch. ... a boss takes a subordinate to lunch just to get to know him better. ... someone volunteers to tutor at the nearby school. ... a church member volunteers to serve a homebound church member, a single mom, to help out with the kids ministry, or to contribute more to functions such as fellowship dinners.

Philippians 2:9-11

9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Therefore is a big word. It means that what follows is preceded by (and caused by) what came before.

What did Jesus do before? He did not guard His equality with God as something to be robbed. He embraced downward mobility--crown to cross!

What came as a result? Elevation to honor. Name above all names. Worthy of worship. Glorfying of God.

Jesus's progression: Crown, to cross, and back to crown.

Mark 10:41-45

When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

BIG POINT: Jesus's honor, and God's glory, was the reward of Jesus embracing downward mobility for us!

APPLY IT: You may never receive a reward on earth for taking on the attitude of Jesus--embracing downward mobility. Being like Jesus can and should be enough reward. But while we can't expect earthly reward, we can anticipate heavenly reward!

Revelation 22:12

12 “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds."

SUMMARY: To accept Jesus’s attitude is to be secure in who we areas His children. It is to embrace downward mobility, moving us from our "couch" to our "park bench." In doing so, we glorify God without expectation of earthly reward, but with anticipation of reward when we are with God!

What might my next step be with this message

  • Today, pray for the attitude of Jesus Christ.

  • Today, be sure of who you are: A child of the living God!

  • Today, embrace the possibility of downward mobility for Jesus.

  • Think through: What does my sofa (comfort) look like in my life?

  • Think through: What does my park bench (discomfort) look like in my life?

  • What "downward mobility" is God calling me to?

  • How will I give all the credit and glory to God for whatever results from embracing Jesus's attitude and embracing downward mobility?


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