GET EMPTY (Kenosis) - Part 1 - Emptied for Fullness

 In our study on Philippians 2:1-8, we dive into the biblical and theology principle of kenosis (κένωσις) or self-emptying, as we discussed what it means that Jesus "made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness." (Philippians 2:7) In this talk at the Link, Fr. Michael Sorial taught on how "There Must Be Self-Emptying Before There is Fullness."



[Music] last week when we discussed kenosis we were talking about how God empties himself and in so doing he doesn't cease to be who he is he never his humanity never parts from his divinity it doesn't cease to be God he doesn't cease to have glory even though those who were present couldn't perceive that glory or couldn't see it he gave up in a sense of the rights to draw attention to who he really was and one of the examples that I gave y'all last week was when he goes to be baptized until himself to be baptized for our salvation among sinners amongst prostitutes sinners tax collectors he doesn't go and he doesn't point out to them and say hey by the way I'm doing this for you by the way I'm being baptized but I don't really mean baptism you're the one who needs my baptism he didn't thought who he was over those who were present he simply did it on his on their behalf he emptied himself right and became obedient to death even the death of the cross and he does this for our sake so this week we're talking about how he transitioned from this place of self-emptying to filling or self-fulfillment last summer last summer we as a family we took a family vacation down to the shore and it was the the first time we had done this we invited both sets of grandparents had a great grandmother there a great uncle there and aunt it was it was a was a full house okay there was like 11 or 12 of us in this house it was packed it's not like I don't usually do a lot of people in small place although I may be doing that I will be doing that again in July on a church mission trip we'll be going on but it was a full house in every sense of the word there was it was awesomely chaotic there was lots of food lots of laughs lots of joy lots of excitement it was a full full house but as we approach the end of the week on Friday night we start prepping our bags because the guy tells us thing I renting from told us by Saturday at 11:00 a.m. you have to be completely cleared out of the house the house has to be empty it needs to be the fridge has to be cleared out all of your belongings have to be taken why it needed to be empty so that it could be cleaned so that the next people that were coming in could fill the house okay and in order for that house to be filled it first needed to be emptied which was that happen for us he said listen when we said can you give us an extension to like 12:00 or 1:00 o'clock or maybe 5:00 o'clock I was like listen just as you found the place empty and clean we need to make sure that we leave it the same way for the next person right and what soon as you said that I said all right fair game let's get all our stuff ready Friday and pack everything up so we can maximize our time on Saturday in order for us to maximize our life we first have to empty in order to find fulfillment okay and that's what we spoke about last week but that said we are not left with the inevitability of living an empty life okay sometimes we hear this word self emptying or empty oneself and we think that just means that I'm gonna live a impoverished week empty life for the rest of my life in Philippians 2:7 we said that Jesus made himself nothing by taking more thing that were taking the very nature means that he morphed into this image he didn't just morph as in like an outward image but he literally united himself to as God to our humanity okay he takes that on himself and he became he made himself in human likeness he didn't just have this thoughts that he wanted to become a human but he actually moved to do it and we spoke about how can gnosis this self-emptying this humbling that he did is uncomfortable okay it required him to empty himself and for us we said what it means for us is that we empty ourselves of our own will and that we become entirely receptive not only to God but to his will okay and I would say to both really okay for us to empty ourselves we are saying that we are we want to become receptacles vessels if you will of his will we want to do what he calls us to but we want that doing to come out of our union with him we want to be vessels of him personally right we empty ourselves so that he can fill us up and as a result of being filled by him we can now do his will okay we become receptacles of his will it doesn't happen the other way around by the way okay sometimes we think I'm just gonna do his will as as a law we saw how that worked in the Old Testament as a law and that'll naturally lead me to being filled by God but not necessarily okay it should happen the other way around we get filled by the Holy Spirit and as a result of being filled we live out a life that's reflective that reveals and shows what it looks like that I'm filled by the Holy Spirit that's why in Galatians 5:22 st. Paul says he speaks about the fruit of the spirits okay and he contrasts it with living according to the law now the fruit of the Spirit if I'm filled with the spirit the way that looks is that I'll have love joy peace all of these things goodness kindness gentleness faith that the whole song that hopefully you guys have heard and memorized at some point in your childhood that these things would be flowing out of my life in 2nd Timothy chapter 20 st. Paul speaking to young Timothy he speaks to him about being this vessel that can be used by God he says in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay usually when someone who is like a a purse that is a VIP shows up to your house you pull out your China you're golden you're silver right but then other time from day to day you use the the ordinary stuff the wood and clay our China is still up in the we hope it's somewhere up in our attic we've never pulled it out of the box I'm waiting for the Pope himself to show up to my house I'll pull it out when he does all right that is the first time we'll use it all right maybe that'll never happen who knows okay he says some for honor and some for dishonor therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the ladder he says if we cleanse ourselves from dishonor from sin from unrighteousness then we will become a vessel for honor we become China we become gold and silver okay we become that precious the other stuff is useful but not really okay you would only use it for perhaps this one dishonorable and now I'm not talking don't take the analogy and say like day-to-day living is dishonorable don't like don't don't extrapolate the analogy okay but what he's saying here is if we cleanse ourselves if we empty our self of sin if we empty our self of sin then we become a useful vessel of God the first thing that we when we see what kenosis self-emptying it's emptying self of sin and unrighteousness okay the dangers of emptying oneself that were not being filled is that if I empty myself if I let's say I have this sin that I've been struggling with it I stop doing this in and I quit and I give it up and I walk away but I don't become filled by something else what happens if I don't become filled by but by that which is pure by by the pure water living water of Christ what happens that vessel has to be used for something I may take that vessel that gold and silver vessel I may take it and use it as a shovel in the backyard to scoop up dirt I may use it to put my keys in okay I'm using it improperly and this is what often times happens you have this empty vessel it needs to be used by something and if I don't fill it proper with that which it's supposed to be filled by it'll eventually get filled and this is what happens in our lives when we empty from a sin or a struggle or something that we've been tempted with and we don't fill ourselves with Christ the his Holy Spirit then what happens is we will find something else I'm sorry seven demons exactly good so we will find something else to fill it with and the the passage it tries is referencing Jesus talks about this this house that when it's been cast out this demon has been cast down it leaves he says if you don't fill it with one who's stronger then seven more will come and fill it right and he tells us that the one who's in you is stronger than the one who's in the world and this is what happens in our lives right if we don't if we're not filling ourselves with God we will fill ourselves with something and when we fill ourselves with the wrong thing we quit moving years ago we took I believe it was an O for Oh for more and I had just been married for a year we took a trip with a group to Germany and Italy and once we landed Germany we caught up with this group we flew over to Italy short trip but we were driving through the countryside between I believe it was Venice and Milan along the way and I'm driving and I'm we're excited I was one of the that the chaperones who's there and I'm driving this this in Europe I'm excited and we stopped at the gas station fill up and keep going along our way and we pull up to our stop for the evening and we're like half a mile from our stop and the car starts cluttering start stopping it's stalling and I'm and I'm like it stops and I go to start it back up and it starts and we go about 100 yards and fight this kept going over and over and over again so we finally got to the monastery destination for the evening well we got there for the night and we're trying to figure out what's going on and someone's saying like maybe it's the engine they're checking every part of the motor and everything the fuse box every part of it and then we're walking around looking and and I kind of looked down at the gas tank and I said I think I know what the problem is and they said what's the problem I said this says diesel on it well here in America you put regular unleaded gas right when Europe most of the vehicles were our diesel okay I put the wrong fuel in the vessel right and so as a result of putting the wrong stuff in that vessel good perfectly good vessel but when I filled it with the wrong stuff it ceased functioning properly okay now thankfully the car company was very kind and understanding they brought us another car and we were about our way and thank God we got the insurance on the vehicle all right at the very beginning of the passage that we started last week in Philippians 2 1 it says therefore if you have any encouragement from being United with Christ when you hear that sentence where do you look where should you look when you read that sentence therefore tells you to look where therefore says look right before right if I say therefore then it means that I've just said something I've given you a principle some important stuff and now I'm telling you therefore now you do this ok so when he says therefore if you have any encouragement what he's pointing us to is Philippians chapter 1 the last two verses and he tells us in this therefore section it comes right after he tells us that we have been granted this special blessing to suffer for the sake of Christ now you are doing all of you are doing cartwheels right now because you're saying I too want to take the cross I want to be pierced with nails I want to suffer but actually in fact this is what Paul is saying to us he says see you has been granted on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him we all get excited we have faith in Christ he says you've not just been given that but you've also been given it's been granted to you on behalf of Christ to suffer for his sake having the same conflict which you saw in me and now here is and you hear that it's in me as well okay he's saying therefore these pointing us back here saying you have been granted to believe in Christ you've been granted to suffer for his sake okay the one who humbled himself and became obedient to death it's been granted to you to also humble yourself and become obedient to death and he's saying this shared conflicts he saw him at a shirt company saying you have the same conflict you feel my team okay he's saying you if you feel my pain and you are it's been given to you to suffer for the sake of Christ and to believe in him therefore if you have any encouragement okay and he's gonna give us four things if he's gonna say it four times and then after if there's always a what then if then right it's the there's this cause-and-effect relationship if you have this or any of these four things then and he's gonna tell us what that then is therefore if you have any encouragement from being indicted with Christ any comfort from his love any comment sharing any tenderness and compassion let's go through each of them one by one if you have any consolation that word consolation can mean encouragement if you have any encouragement from being United with Christ and of course you're saying listen of course you have encouragement and and this is a common theme that Paul speaks about throughout his letters in 2nd Corinthians 1 he says as the sufferings of Christ abound in us so our consolation consolation also aboundeth sheezus he says your your consolation your encouragement the reason that you allow yourself to suffer is because you have consolation that abounds through Christ he is your encouragement in 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2 he says our Lord Jesus Christ himself has loved us and given us not just consolation and encouragement here it's an everlasting encouragement it's an everlasting hope that we have this is the reason he says if you have any consolation any encouragement from being United with Christ and the answer is of course we do our encouragement hope the reason that we allow ourselves to suffer certain things and to struggle and to have this inner conflict sometimes and things that are like difficult we're like man it would just be so much easier to walk away or to deal with this differently and he says but you know what you have an eternal consolation you have a concern an eternal encouragement that you are united with Christ and so we accept these things and we take up our cross and we empty ourselves for that reason he says not only if that but he says if any comfort from his love in the passage that we read in 2nd Corinthians 1 where it says as the sufferings of Christ abound in us so our consolation abounds through Christ the passage right before that says blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ the father of mercies and God of all comfort who comforted us so that we might comfort one another and then he goes on with that passage for is the sufferings of Christ abound in us so our consolation or encouragement also bounce through Christ we're comforted by the fact that when we have difficulty in the world that we look who say but we when I feel empty and rejected and alone what great hope and encouragement I have in comfort I have and knowing that the father of mercies loves me and that he poured out his son for me and that he sent the Holy Spirit for me that every good gift he gives for my sake you want to talk about comfort of love we're not going to find comfort by living in Nice comfortable beds with nice comfortable houses with nice comfortable temperature control or convocation I mean that stuff is nice okay but that might be a temporary comfort but we might be physically comfortable but still internally at conflict and he's saying if you have any comfort from his love number three is if you have any commentary in the spirit if you have that word kunia common sharing it's fellowship he's saying if you have how do we have fellowship with the Holy Spirit he comes inside of us and lives inside of us he says if you have this common sharing this fellowship from the spirit what one of the the words that people church people like to use is the word fellowship they say we're gonna get together for fellowship and what that means is they're gonna get together they're gonna encourage one another they're gonna probably eat together they're gonna pray together they're gonna encourage one another they're going to lift one another up usually people like a feeling of good fellowship is that you leave feeling joyful and full and like you are you're encouraged you want to go back and do it again how much when we have fellowship with the Holy Spirit that encouragement that joy that we've been fed we've eaten with him we look forward to it again he says if you have that if you have any comment share or any fellowship in the spirit and if you have any tenderness and compassion okay he goes through a list of four things and he concludes with this last one and the word tenderness it's a really interesting word in in the King James Version it says if any bowels and mercy okay any bowels okay your bowels are you know if you have a sorry about movement you have a movement in your intestines right the Greeks understood your bowels and the Hebrews the ancient people understood the bowels to be this place where your emotions the seed of your emotions were now the Greeks believed your bowels were the place of deep passion like love or anger the Hebrews believed it to be the seat of the tender affections gentleness mercy kindness he's saying if you have any tender mercy and compassion if you have any sympathetic pity or concern for the sufferings of others he goes through these four things in Philippians two one and then the next verse he transitions then make my joy complete s-- make my joy complete it's like a mother speaking to her children and saying if you really want to make me happy if you really want to make me joyful I want to see you guys getting along right I remember my mom saying that to myself and my my two siblings we were like we were normal siblings we had a lot of like scraps I mean it was we had we had a fun time growing up okay and my mom would say on her birthday she's like if you want to give me anything for my birthday the only thing that'll really make me feel good and happy at my birthday is I just want to see the three of you getting along and stop fighting okay this is what he's saying here remember he's saying in your relationships with each other I want if you want to make my joy complete you like if you have all of these things make my joy complete s-- the word complete there or fullness Monica hit it on their head during the discussion of the question at the end to be joyful is to be full it's to be complete that's actually what the word in Greek chlorosis means okay the word in Flores is joy or cut rather completes my joy complete means to be filled or made full okay he's saying do me a personal favor make my joy full make my cup satisfied make me feel good the word it's the word fluorisis they're there those of you who are in the medical field may be familiar with the word chlorosis because it's an obsolete term for the regeneration of tissues following a period of muscular atrophy okay so you're you you're you've torn like when I tore my calf muscle last year my muscle my calf muscle atrophy okay pleura sis will be when the muscles rebuilt I went through physical therapy and they got stronger and they regenerated okay another image those of you have ever eaten in Europe that's like eating Canosa style right it's very few little pieces my first time eating in Europe looked like this okay this is kenosis chlorosis is a good Coptic feast on Easter all right you leave that place feeling full you're stuffed okay Saint Paul's saying I want you to make my joy stuffed I don't want you to make it empty I don't want it like this I want it like a Coptic feast plate okay I want it to be overflowing and he's gonna tell us what we need to do in order to accomplish that the reality is Christ Christ is our fullness and again you said that I think you one of you said Christ is our fullness okay he's the one who makes us full God is the one who fills our cup in Genesis chapter 1 beautiful how when God begins the creation says in the beginning God created the heavens in the earth now the earth was formless and empty and in Hebrew that word formless means it was a wasteland there was nothing there okay it was nothing there was taking this gold vessel that gold cup that we talked about in the beginning and using it rather than serving a person of Honor use it to dig dirt in the backyard it was a wasteland it was empty there was nothing that was there but CS Lewis suggests that God like a painter looks at this wasteland and He pours himself out he empties himself into his creation making this beautiful painting that we call the the entire cosmos all of creation not just the earth but all of creation all of the universe that we see the Scriptures origin says before Christ are empty but after Christ they're filled he says that drinking reading the scripture before the coming of Jesus is like drinking water after it's like having a glass of wine he says it is a filling Jordan and wine in Scripture always represents a joy it's a it's a it's a satisfying filling feeling the Holy Spirit fills the house on the day of Pentecost and you could say although there were people in the house on Pentecost the house was still empty because God wasn't filling the place John and Saint John the Baptist's speaking about Christ when he's approached by his disciples the very end he says he must increase I must decrease I have to empty and he has to be filled or he has to fill the place if you will this morning we read the Samaritan woman in the gospel and she comes empty at the well and she leaves full because of Christ she comes with her empty well her empty bucket to the well thinking she's gonna fill it she would have left just as empty but she leaves filled by Christ and it's that cup Christ that we drink from first Corinthians chapter 11 this divisive community Christ is saying to us it's it's his cup that we drink from because every other cup that we drink from there's no life and that's exactly the point Paul makes in 1st Corinthians 11 when he talks about the cup and the cup of demons the cup of Christ in the cup of demons he says the cup of Christ is the only thing that will fill you that will give you life and in 1st John 4:4 he says we write this to make your joy and some some manuscripts say our joy complete-- st. John goes through and says we're testifying to everything that we know about Jesus and we're doing it so that our joy may be complete our joy can have chlorosis or fullness let me give you one more example from the Old Testament in the in the Book of Ruth there is a woman by the name of Naomi she has a husband she has a good life two sons and this woman Naomi one of her sons marries this woman by the name of Ruth who the book is named after and Jerry at the beginning of the story at the beginning of in chapter 1 we find that her husband and her two sons died okay and in verse 20 and 21 it's she says the following she says do not call me Naomi but call me Mara now the word Naomi means pleasant and the word Mara means sorrow or bitter right she says don't call me Pleasant anymore don't call me joyful call me bitter for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me I went out full and the Lord has brought me home again empty she felt her life had been empty the word full there means with child she left with life inside of her and that word for empty literally means to find to have a cavity that has been vacated and it gives the impression that she has had a miscarriage right she's saying I have lost like if you've ever seen a grieving mother after she lost miscarried a child it's a heavy heavy thing to witness and she's saying that that that's what I'm feeling right now and what Naomi didn't realize what she didn't know was that she God had mysteriously filled her life with this seemingly insignificant Moabite woman named Ruth and Ruth becomes a blessing in her house and she becomes in the lineage ultimately of the Messiah okay so sometimes we perceive something to be emptying us but in fact God is mysterious mysteriously using that situation to fill us later in in Philippians 2 in verse 10 and 11 Paul is talking about this this idea after Christ has emptied himself and it's as a result of him emptying himself that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and those under the earth and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father the reality is there has to be self-emptying before there is fullness there has to be self empting before there's fullness we talked last week about emptying this week we're talking about fulness it's at the at that at the name of Jesus every one of us boughs down and the reason we bow down the reason we kneel before him is because he emptied himself on the cross we look at him say what kind of love is this like who does that who does that but we kneel before him we give him all glory all honor his name is the name that's above every name that's out there so much so that people when they talk about Jesus they oftentimes are uncomfortable just saying Jesus they will say Jesus Christ our Lord Jesus or or like it's his beat his name is so beautiful majestic and it's because he emptied himself and so we all kneel and bow before him if I can put it differently or let Bruce Lee first put it a little bit differently Bruce Lee said it nicely he said you have to empty your cup so that it may be filled okay we empty ourselves there's no fullness without emptiness without emptying rather of self and the risk of not self emptying one of y'all said it if we empty self and become full we live the life that God has intended us to live but the risk of not doing so is that we live in empty life we go through life collecting possessions and living a seemingly comfortable life but still empty inside not a fulfilled life not living that life of chlorosis or self fulfillment that's found in Christ let me just wrap up here with a couple final thoughts I want to give you some principles that we find epitomized in the Christian practice and the first one is sanctification sanctification I just want to go through four examples how we see this in church practice the first one is a life of being made holy Canosa sizz us continually self denying our own will and desire its emptying self so that we can experience this continual epiclesis or this continual being filled with the spirit you know during the Liturgy at one point as everyone is bowing down the priest is kneeling down before the altar and he says he calls upon God he says send your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts up forth fill them fill them purify them and make them as a sanctification of you're saying he's saying fill not just the gift but fill us and these gifts okay our empty is a constant opportunity for God's filling us and that filling us is what makes us holy the second one is baptism baptism our kenosis is that were buried with Jesus were buried with Christ but our pleurotus are being fulfilled is that we receive new life by rising with them there's no rising with him until I'm buried no there's no receiving the Holy Spirit until I empty myself of my will the third is repentance we leave repentance renewed by the hope of forgiveness and renewal and absolution but we come our kenosis is emptying ourselves in confession we come to empty yourself and we leave with this renewal and absolution and fourth and final in Eucharist we offer our gifts to God we come emptying or something this is yours God take it and do something with it he invites us to share in him and he fills us with himself in the process do we see like in the church practice in our life we will experience fullness but that fullness always follows an emptying and offering a giving of self he says then make my joy complete right he says if these four things then make my joy complete and I want to conclude with this last thought the way he's saying make my joy complete is by being like-minded this whole talk today this whole premise today that Paul is talking about remember we said last week he says in this this mind that was in Christ let it also be in your relationships I told you last week that st. Paul's not just giving us this theological language like st. Paul didn't see himself as a theologian he wasn't a dogmatic theology I wasn't sitting there and formulating Dogma doctrine he was giving practical things that could help people and he was using the theology there too people understand how they should live their lives in Christ and specifically here he's talking about the relationships that we have with each other he's saying if you want to make my joy complete have the same mind have that same mind be like-minded having the same love being one in spirit and have one mind he's saying in your relationships with each other have the same mind of Christ who did what he emptied himself he died he became obedient to the death even the death of the cross if we want to look at our relationships our families our marriages our church community our friendships and want them to be filled what they experience that fullness that pleura psious it's got to start every single time with itself emptying with kenosis and he's saying what's at stake here is our own unity if we do this then our joy will be overflowing by being like-minded by our oneness by our oneness how do we be like-minded it's the cross it's the cross right I mean that that is exact the whole section is about he emptied himself and took the form of a slave being made in human likeness and took upon himself that death even the death of the cross he became obedient to death even the death of the cross how do we make that joy complete by being like-minded how do we become like-minded it's the cross it's not a fun topic but it's a necessary topic and it's not it's necessary for I would say in this case not just our personal salvation the salvation of our family of our community of our friendship wellthen times we think about our own salvation my own walk with Christ what st. Paul here is talking about he's saying be like-minded he's saying you find salvation in your community in your family in your marriages be like minded that requires humility he emptied himself guys and it requires a little bit of discomfort and suffering this is hard this is nada is not like your feel-good message this is a necessary message though and our marriages our families our church community our friendships are worth it's okay that's what this whole section is about all right next week we're going to begin by speaking of the first of the two items which st. Paul wants us to focus on I'll just tell you what the two are so you can kind of get yourself ready the first one he talks about dealing with our own self-promotion vain ambitions and the second one is conceits okay this is a fun series oh okay but this is a really really important topic and I think if we if we can grasp this and live it out and really take on that mind of Christ we will find it be a blessing to our families and to our marriages and to our church community and our friendship groups and you know what we'll find fulfillment in those places all right we're gonna transition now we're gonna just take 15 minutes we're gonna stay large group if we could today we're going to try it a little bit differently today and we're gonna just take this 15 minutes and discuss these two questions together all right in what ways you think we settle for a half full half full life and why and number two when we surrender all corners of ourselves to God he can fill us with His grace love power and mission what part are part of our lives do you think usually we most hesitate to surrender and why all right so let's start [Music]