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Preach Like Your Sermon Can Change The World

Johnson shows how we can drive home the glory of God's word each and every Sunday.

The Self-giving Servant Father

We were created out of a servant love, for a servant love.

I invite you now to come with me into the very center of the Christian faith. And I invite you to do so through a text of Scripture with which you are, no doubt, very familiar. Just before my family and I left the Philippines and returned to the United States, this text opened up for me in an explosive way. I had, by that time, studied and taught it for nearly 20 years. But it was not until November of 1988 that the text's fundamental affirmation finally opened up to me. Why I had not seen it before, I do not know. It's all so obvious to me now, and so very humbling.

As a result, this text has become my interpretative center of life. I judge all things against it, and in light of it, everything needs to be interpreted. I look for any excuse to study and preach it, although I feel more and more woefully unworthy to do so.

The text is Philippians 2:5–11. Because of its rich vocabulary and poetic and rhythmic style, many scholars argue that what we have in this text is an early Christian hymn. Dr. Ralph Martin, with whom I had the privilege of first studying Philippians, wrote a 364-page book on this text entitled, Carmen Christi: A Hymn to Christ.

Philippians 2:5–11 is not the only hymn in the New Testament, as you know. We hear a number of them in the Revelation of Jesus Christ—hymns that help us fix our eyes on Jesus. In Revelation 4:8, for example, the living creatures surrounding the throne of the universe do not cease singing, day and night, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come." In Revelation 5:9, the living creatures and the 24 elders sing to Jesus Christ, ...

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Darrell Johnson has been preaching the Gospel since 1968. He has served as Senior Minister for a number of congregations; in the United States, the Philippines, and Canada. He has taught preaching for Fuller Theological Seminary, Carey Theological College in Vancouver, and Regent College in Vancouver, where from 2000 to 2009 he served as Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology, now serving part-time as Teaching Fellow. He has authored eight books, including The Glory of Preaching (IVP Academic) and Discipleship on the Edge: An Expository Journey Through Revelation.

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I. Key Terms

II. Jesus' pre-earthly decision highlights what it means to be God.

III. The gospel writers understood the divinity of Jesus' self-emptying love.