Holy God Became Like Us

Philippians 2:3–8, Part 1


Why did Jesus take on flesh and go to the cross? To take away the sins of the world (John 1:29). But not only that. He also went before us as a spectacular picture of humble service and obedience. He lived and died, in every way, for the sake of others. In this lab, John Piper calls us to do the same by looking again at the wonder and mystery of Christmas.

Principle for Bible Reading

The most important idea in a passage is not always the main point of a passage. Sometimes the biblical authors use massive realities (God, sin, the cross, etc.) to support lesser, more practical realities (our forgiveness, obedience, love, etc.). Seeing the relationship between immeasurable theological truths and our lives is critical and glorious.

Study Questions

  1. Look at Philippians 2:3–4, and explain the lifestyle Paul is describing in your own words. What kind of person lives like this?
  2. List all the ways Jesus models humility for us from Philippians 2:3–8.
  3. Explain how Paul relates the description of Jesus in Philippians 2:5–8 with the commands in Philippians 2:3–4. What’s the relationship between those two sets of verses?
Piper: “Jesus humbled himself to the point of death for you so that you’d humble yourself for others.”

Introduction/Prayer (00:00–03:10)

Live Your Life for Others (03:10–06:08)

  • Philippians 2:3–4 offers the practical goal of this text.
  • Be a person for others. Live for others and not yourself. (Philippians 2:3–4)
  • Paul enables or inspires that kind of lifestyle by describing Christmas. (Philippians 2:5–8)
  • We live for others by looking to Christ’s love for us.

He Humbled Himself (06:08–08:30)

  • Jesus was in the form of God. (Philippians 2:6)
  • His mind was not set on keeping his power and glory. (Philippians 2:6)
  • Instead, he emptied himself. (Philippians 2:7)
  • He took the form of a servant focused on others. (Philippians 2:7)
  • He became a man, a real human being. (Philippians 2:7, Romans 8:3)
  • As a man, he humbled himself and obeyed his Father. (Philippians 2:8)
  • His obedience led him to death, and the worst kind of death imaginable. (Philippians 2:8)

Jesus Suffered for Your Love (08:30–09:17)

  • Jesus humbled himself so that we would not live out of rivalry or conceit. (Philippians 2:3)
  • He did it so that we would count others more significant than ourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
  • He did it so that we would wake up thinking of others’ needs and interests, and not just our own. (Philippians 2:4)
Piper: “Be the kind of person who lives for others and not yourself.”