Julius Hovan

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)


We welcome you to this broadcast of Words of Life.  Think of what it means to receive words that bring life. What a joy it is for us to be able to bring these words of life about our wonderful Lord Jesus, about his Church, about the Word of God, and of those who served him in centuries past.

If you are at all familiar with the Bible you are familiar with the writer of many of the letters or epistles or books of the Bible as we call them, the apostle Paul.  He was a very strict Jewish man, believed the Jewish religion, was actually a persecutor of Jesus and persecuted Christians, but was brought to Jesus through a very miraculous event and became a staunch believer and follower of Jesus.  He became, then, a man who wrote much of our New Testament, started many churches throughout the Roman Empire, and we are going to talk about him to introduce this morning this passage of Scripture from the book of Philippians.

Paul was a pain in the neck, we would say in the South, to this person Satan. He caused the devil constant trouble. First of all, when the devil got him locked up, Paul witnessed the gospel to the jailer in Philippi and his whole family. Paul witnessed to the Roman soldiers that were chained to him and won many of them to the Christian faith. So the devil didn’t defeat him at all.

It was while he was in jail, because he had time in there to serve without being bothered very much, he wrote many of these letters, including the book of Philippians from which we are going to read.

When they finally had to turn him loose, we read that he turned the world upside down.  He was strong and had such great courage and faith. He won so many to the cause of Jesus Christ that, indeed, he changed that part of the world.

Paul’s death would only fulfill the promise of his promotion to glory. And all of his personal inspiration to others would then come to the front.  Others looked at his persecution, others watched him in jail and it inspired them to be followers of Jesus and to also themselves undergo such persecution.  What a mind this great apostle Paul had, what a life of faith.   We will do well to learn from him about our Lord Jesus. Paul wants us to recognize Jesus as Lord as he knew him to be.

I am reading in the book of Philippians in this message today, chapter two and verse five and following:    Have this mind in you which also was in Christ Jesus. He existed in the form of God, but he did not count being on an equality with God a thing to be held on to or grasped, but he emptied himself and took the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men and being found in passion as a man, he humbled himself. He became obedient even unto death, the death of the cross.

Paul begins by introducing us to the person of Jesus Christ.  This is not some mirage. This is not some myth.  This is not just some other religious creature that we concocted. Jesus Christ was a very real person. There had been a long wait for the coming of the promised Messiah. The Jews longed for it and he came. Unfortunately they crucified him, but he was raised from the grave on the third day.

In Matthew’s gospel, if you will read it, you will see Matthew describe this person of Jesus as a descendant of David. David was a man. Jesus was a man. The wise men came looking for the king of the Jews.  We are told the sign said this man on the cross is the king of the Jews.  He was shown to be equal with God.  Matthew shows us this child Jesus who grew to be the king.  John reveals him in his gospel as the Son of God. That gospel of John which is so beautiful picks up the name Jehovah, the great I am, as he spoke to Abraham and as he told the same to his leader Moses. This unpronounceable name that the Jews would not even say, this name, that is who he is, the great I am. This baby born is the beginning of a new life and person. Jesus existed as God, as a Spirit prior to that physical birth and his birth is a demonstration of God in the flesh, the person of Jesus.

Mark’s gospel gives us the picture of Jesus when he says, “Behold my servant.”  Jesus, as Mark records it, went from doing one thing to another. I have come to do thy will, oh God.  God had never been served like this one, Jesus, served him. We don’t find any ancestry about Jesus in Mark, because nobody cares about a slave’s ancestors.  What mattered is what this servant does and how well he does it. He came, we are told, not to be ministered unto, but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many. And he did give his life both in service and in sacrifice.


What a precious gift we have in the person of Jesus, the King in Matthew, Son of God in John, the servant in the gospel of Mark and in the gospel of Luke, the man Jesus, the person. Luke, the physician, in the book of Luke, is with Paul and he writes these words for him and goes back all the way to Adam to string out the lineage of the Lord Jesus. God made this perfect man in his image and likeness. He did that with Adam, but that man failed in the Garden of Eden. But now there is a second man, the person Jesus, and he is fully God in image and in character. And God looked at him and said, “That is what I had in mind with Adam, someone who would do all my will.”

God plans to populate heaven with those who love this Jesus, as he is presented there in the four gospels. Paul introduces us to the person, the man, God in the flesh, the Lord Jesus. But we note in that eighth verse we read that he humbled himself.  Paul introduces us not only to the person of Christ, but to the passion of Christ.  For he humbled himself even to death on a cross. That is the passion, that is the suffering, that is the scourging, that is the stretching out and the nails driven into his hands and into his feet.  That is the crown of thorns upon his brow. That is the spear thrust into his side from which came out blood and water.

They wonder. How can this be the Messiah? How can this be the Christ if he dies on a cross?  The Jews believed that cursed is anyone, everyone who hangs on a tree like that.

When Adam and Eve dropped the seed of disobedience in the stream of life, we all inherited that curse.  And it is that most important thing to which Paul now begins to deal. He introduces us to the person of Christ and his passion, he who comes to help us deal with the evil, the sin, the wickedness which is our very nature. When Paul saw the person of Christ and he understood the passion of Christ, it was easy to recognize and accept the position to which Christ is to be exalted.  Let’s deal with that just momentarily. But would you think about it as we look at this person we call Jesus Christ, the Son of God?

At first Paul did not believe in him. Such has been the case with many people down through the years. Many learned men, genius men who did not believe the Bible and did not believe in Jesus, but when they looked at the facts, the facts of his life, the proof of his resurrection, it was undeniable that this, yes, is the Christ.  He is the Son of God. And so as Paul placed his faith in Jesus and he said, “Lord, what would you have me to do? Lord, what is it?” He became a bond servant of the Lord Jesus.

So has been the story of many down through the years. Very likely listening to my voice this day are those who have come through the same road of denial. But somehow God revealed himself to you. Many are seeing visions of Jesus and it is a way of introducing him to them. And if you are one of those  under the sound of my voice and maybe you have seen a vision of this great person, this great being God you find a Christian person, a Christian missionary or minister, a God believing, Bible teaching church and let them tell you more about the person and passion of Jesus and what he will do for you.

The person of Jesus, God came in the flesh.  The passion of Jesus, he died a sinner’s death at Calvary. But Paul brings this passage of Scripture to a marvelous, climactic conclusion as we begin reading in verse nine.

Wherefore, referring back to what he just said, because Jesus left glory, because he being God left that glory behind and came and took the position of a man, became a servant, even to death, and the terrible death of the cross. Since that is true, what is going to happen? God has highly exalted this Jesus and has given him the name above every name. What is going to happen: That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven, on earth, under the earth and that every tongue should confess Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Wherefore, suffering is followed by glory.  The apostle Peter had a great deal to say about that in several passages. One verse, 1 Peter one and verse 11.   There were those searching what time or what manner of time the spirit of Christ that was in them did point unto—that is the Old Testament prophets. They didn’t understand all about the coming of the Messiah, about Jesus and about his sacrifice. But listen to what it says.  It testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that should follow. In this passion of Christ we have referred to his sufferings, yes, but the end comes and this is the part that so many of those did not understand, even in the Old Testament.  They did not understand the glory that would follow. At that time, Paul says in this passage, every knee shall bow. That is you, my friends, not just your knee, but your head and your heart will bow before this one. Your tongue then if it has not done it beforehand will confess, yes, this person Jesus who underwent such passion at Calvary, he is Lord.

If you have not confessed this, you will do it one day. Now you can do it willingly. Then you will be forced to do it.  And it will be a sad day.


There was a man in the Old Testament by the name of Joseph.  He is pictured as a type or someone like Christ. He was hated and sold by his own brothers just as the Jews hated the Lord Jesus. He was unjustly judged and terribly mistreated just as Jesus was.  Joseph came under the sentence of death, but through the providence of God he was exalted to the highest position, second only to pharaoh in the land of Egypt. So it was with the Lord Jesus.  From what is recorded in the Old Testament, we can but imagine what follows. What might it have been when pharaoh elevated Joseph, the slave, to become the second highest in that entire great kingdom of Egypt.  Where do want to go, Joseph, pharaoh might have said. I would like to go to the prison where I used to be imprisoned. And there he arrives with a great entourage, this great one Joseph and the jailer is called out, the one who had mistreated Joseph and he had to acknowledge Joseph as the man elevated to such a position.

Anywhere else you want to go, Joseph? Let’s go to the slave market where I was sold as a slave and I want the auctioneer to see what I am today.  Anywhere else, Joseph?  Oh, to Potiphar’s wife, to his house. Potiphar’s wife who lied about me, and Potiphar who had me put in jail. I want them to know that I was not the person that they thought that I was.

All of that is a picture of what happened to Joseph. But we must say today a greater than Joseph has now ascended to the right hand of one greater than Pharaoh. He is in the position of the greatest authority in heaven from whence has come this decree we have just read. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess.

My desires for you today and the purpose of this Words of Life radio broadcast is to let people just like you choose and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior now.  You may understand the necessity of understanding that he is Lord, of knowing that he wants you to be saved. If you will confess with your mouth Jesus Christ as Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you are in a position to be received into glory, for the Bible says when we are baptized into Christ, we are raised to walk in a new life, a life with eternal quality.

Too many do not allow Jesus, this man Jesus, this passionate one Jesus, this top one Jesus, the rightful place in their lives. The greatest horror of hell, someone has suggested is a that a person will have all of eternity to confess the Lord as the one who could have been his Savior.

Who is Jesus to you? What is his passion to you? What about that sacrifice he gave?  Are you willing to receive it by faith, to recognize him as Lord in your life? Don’t wait too late for that all important decision. You can come to him today in a simple act of faith. Find a Christian. Find a Bible and read it and find someone who will lead you in making that full commitment to Jesus.

Thank you for tuning in to Words of Life today. God bless you is our prayer.


                                                                 Julius Hovan is minister of the Bohon Church of Christ, Kentucky.