Today’s Scriptures:

  • 5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”  1 Peter 5:5
  • 11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”  Luke 14:11
  • 13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.”  James 4:13-16

Introduction:

We only have 3 messages left in this series, and today we get to talk about something that I believe isn’t talked about enough anymore:  Humility.

There’s a lot of talk these days about boldness, confidence, and while those things are good and necessary to have…there’s also a missing ingredient to them that must be talked about just as often.  I believe when we add humility to boldness and confidence that keeps us from stepping over into being arrogant and prideful…and I also believe that there are a lot of arrogant and prideful Christians running around today claiming their being bold and confident.

As always, whenever you want an example…you always look to Jesus for the example.  Jesus was the perfect picture of someone who approached God the Father with boldness and confidence, but had the humility in Him to keep from being arrogant and prideful.  The boldness and confidence are what the disciples noticed the most about Jesus’ prayer life, but when Jesus taught them prayer the first thing that He taught them was to praise God…and not themselves.

So…I’m excited to talk about Humility because I believe that it’s a characteristic that is sorely lacking in the Church today, and I’m interested in making sure it’s a characteristic that I’m not lacking in…how about you…Amen!?!

Today’s Message:

If humility is not compliance with relativism and is not sophomoric skepticism, what is it? This is important, since the Bible says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5), and “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11). God has told us at least six things about humility.

We’re about to get into these 6 aspects of Humility, and we’ll do it like we’ve done with all of the lists John Piper has given us throughout this series.  We’ll post the entire list, and then we’ll take them all one by one.

I think it’s important to understand what true humility is, and I believe that’s what we’re going to learn today.  So, let’s see what we’re gonna be talking about.

1. Humility begins with a sense of subordination to God in Christ.

A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. (Matthew 10:24)

Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. (1 Peter 5:6)

2. Humility does not feel a right to better treatment than Jesus got.

If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household! (Matthew 10:25)

Therefore humility does not return evil for evil. It is not life based on its perceived rights.

Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps; . . . while suffering, He uttered no threats, but handed [his cause] over to Him who judges righteously. (1 Peter 2:21-23)

3. Humility asserts truth not to bolster ego with control or with triumphs in debate, but as service to Christ and love to the adversary.

Love rejoices in the truth. (1 Corinthians 13:6)

What I [Jesus] tell you in the darkness, speak in the light. . . . Do not fear. (Matthew 10:27-28)

We do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. (2 Corinthians 4:5)

4. Humility knows it is dependent on grace for all-knowing and believing.

What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? (1 Corinthians 4:7)

In humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21)

5. Humility knows it is fallible, and so considers criticism and learns from it; but also knows that God has made provision for human conviction and that he calls us to persuade others.

We see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

A wise man is he who listens to counsel. (Proverbs 12:15)

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men. (2 Corinthians 5:11)

6. Humility is to believe in the heart and confess with the lips that our life is like a vapor, and that God decides when we die, and that God governs all our accomplishments.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16)

I hope y’all weren’t hoping for a short message…because we’re going to have a lot to talk about today…and we’re going to get it all in before we close this message.  So…let’s get into these 6 Aspects of Humility.

1. Humility begins with a sense of subordination to God in Christ.

A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. (Matthew 10:24)

Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. (1 Peter 5:6)

This is where we talk about surrendering our lives to God, and if you need to know more about how to live a surrendered life…then you should check out our “Living the Surrendered Life” series we just finished before we got into this one by John Piper.

We are not above God.  We are to be submitted and surrendered to Him.  As I said in the introduction that if we’re to need an example then we should look at how Jesus lived.  Not that we’re ever going to live exactly like Jesus, but what we can do is see how He approached life…and try to apply it to ours.

Throughout the life of Jesus we see this first aspect in operation in His life at all times.  There wasn’t a time where we didn’t see that Jesus made Himself to be subordinate to God.  What does that mean?  I’m glad you asked.  Subordination is defined as:  “the act of placing in a lower rank or position.”

Listen.  We all know that Jesus was fully man and fully God at the same time, but what people refuse to acknowledge is that while Jesus was walking the earth He walked it as a man that was totally submitted and dependent upon the Holy Ghost and the Father to lead Him.  Wasn’t it Jesus who said that I do what I see My Father does, and say what My Father says?  Doesn’t He say that My will is to do the will of the One who sent Me?

Listen.  You can’t get any more subordinate that Jesus the Son of God humbling Himself into the form of man (even though He was fully God), and having to rely solely upon the Holy Ghost to lead Him…like we do.  He was totally and completely subordinate to the Father and to the Holy Ghost…and the amazing thing of that to me is that He was God the whole time.

Do you know that any time He wanted to…He could’ve just decided to not go through with what He was doing?  He placed Himself at a lower rank and position for us…to show us not only that He was here to redeem the lost, but how to live a life filled with Humility.

2. Humility does not feel a right to better treatment than Jesus got.

If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household! (Matthew 10:25)

Therefore humility does not return evil for evil. It is not life based on its perceived rights.

Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps; . . . while suffering, He uttered no threats, but handed [his cause] over to Him who judges righteously. (1 Peter 2:21-23)

If Jesus had to be completely submitted to the Holy Ghost…why shouldn’t we have to be?  If Jesus endured persecution…why shouldn’t we?  If Jesus endured suffering…why shouldn’t we?  Why do we think that we don’t deserve to go through some of the same things that Jesus did?  I’ll tell you why…PRIDE.

Listen.  If anyone ever had the right to not have to endure hardship, persecution, suffering, and the rest of what He endured…it was Jesus…but He went through it all…didn’t He?  So…that begs the question…why is it that we think we are entitled to an easier life?  Why is it that we feel we’re entitled to a persecution free life?  The answer and truth are we’re not entitled to anything of the sort.

Listen…if Jesus had to endure it…we are going to have to endure it as well.  If you want to know What Would Jesus Do…then take a look at what Jesus did…and then you’ll know what kind of things we can expect in our lives…Amen!?!

3. Humility asserts truth not to bolster ego with control or with triumphs in debate, but as service to Christ and love to the adversary.

Love rejoices in the truth. (1 Corinthians 13:6)

What I [Jesus] tell you in the darkness, speak in the light. . . . Do not fear. (Matthew 10:27-28)

We do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. (2 Corinthians 4:5)

Whoa!  A mouthful has just been said here…hasn’t it!?!  I don’t think I have anything to add to this point.  It’s clear enough that I don’t think I need to expound at all.

I do have one point to express.  Love to the adversary.  We just talked in the previous message about loving our enemies.  We said yesterday that our motivation for everything ought to be out of love…and the only way that we can love those who persecute and hate us to be humbly submitted to His Lordship…and through being surrendered to what we feel we’re entitled to.  I am not entitled to anything the world is entitled to because I don’t belong to the world…and neither are you.

Listen…we aren’t entitled to anything in this world.  I hate this “sense of entitlement” that is rampant throughout the world…and even in the body of Christ.  We’re entitled to spend eternity in hell, but instead of getting what we’re entitled to…we get what Jesus is entitled to.

So…the next time you get to thinking the world owes you something…you actually have it wrong.  YOU owe the world something…and it’s Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

4. Humility knows it is dependent on grace for all-knowing and believing.

What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? (1 Corinthians 4:7)

In humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21)

Do you know why this is such an awesome adventure for me?  It’s because I am completely dependent upon God for His grace, and the ability that He’s given me to express myself in writing.  I have no right or reason to boast at all about this ministry that God’s given me…nor the gift of being able to write that God has given me.  I’ve no reason to boast about being a pastor or having a ministry or even having people following along…because it’s all about Jesus.

Listen.  I have probably said this in the majority of my messages, but it bears repeating yet again that this ministry, these messages, and all of the people who choose to follow Christlike Ministries NWA…none of this is mine…it ALL belongs to Jesus…period.  You aren’t my sheep…you’re God’s.  Christlike Ministries isn’t my ministry…it’s Gods.  These messages aren’t my messages, but they’re God’s messages to you.

I need God’s grace every single solitary day of my life because there are many, many days where I completely miss God, and I screw things up all the time.  I am not getting a 100%, and I don’t believe I ever will.  I don’t want to reach some plateau where I feel like I’ve arrived some where because I haven’t arrived anywhere.

God’s grace and mercy saved me, and it’s God’s grace again that allows me to be in ministry.  It’s God’s grace that gets me through many nights at work, and keeps me going.

Listen…I don’t have anything that I didn’t receive from God…therefore I have no right to boast or brag about anything…but I do brag on my God…because there’s no One like Him…He’s one of a kind…and some how He sees me as His…and that’s amazing all by itself.  His grace and mercy made me His…and therefore I can’t help but enjoy doing this because this is about Him…and not me or my abilities…it’s all…always about Jesus.

5. Humility knows it is fallible, and so considers criticism and learns from it; but also knows that God has made provision for human conviction and that he calls us to persuade others.

We see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

A wise man is he who listens to counsel. (Proverbs 12:15)

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men. (2 Corinthians 5:11)

Here it comes again.  I am not perfect.  I do not belong in some preachers “hall of fame”.  I have done and still do things to miss God on a regular basis.  In fact, to be honest I probably miss God more than I don’t…but some how He sees me as fit and good…and none of that is because of me…it’s all because when He looks at me He sees Jesus…and I hope He also sees my heart.

I am fallible.  I know that, and will never claim to be someone who isn’t.  I will never be one of those who believes we can be without sin, and blameless because the only One I know that was perfect, without sin, and blameless was Jesus.  Everyone else falls short of that perfection…and I don’t care if it’s Pope John Paul or T.D. Jakes…no one is perfect, but Jesus…and we’re all fallible…and for those who think they aren’t…that is sin too…because that’s pride.

6. Humility is to believe in the heart and confess with the lips that our life is like a vapor, and that God decides when we die, and that God governs all our accomplishments.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16)

“God governs all our accomplishments.”.  You know.  I think that if we’d just remember that…we wouldn’t have such a problem with prideful and arrogant people in the church today thinking they’ve arrived or done something with their lives.

Listen.  If anyone ever had the right to be prideful and arrogant I believe that person would be Paul.  Look at all he knew, all he accomplished, and all that he did.  If anyone deserved to look at all of that and feel some sense of accomplishment…Paul would be that guy, but he doesn’t ever get that way does he?

In fact, it was Paul who described all he did and knew as rubbish compared to his desire to know Jesus more and deeper than he already did.  Listen…how many of us have had Jesus personally preach the Gospel to us?  Paul did.  How many of us have had the opportunity to see the third Heaven…the one that hasn’t even been built yet?  Paul did.  How many of us had the mystery of the church revealed to them?  Paul did.  How many of us had the privilege of writing two-thirds of the New Testament?  Paul did.

So…of anyone who had the right to boast and pump his chest and say “look what I’ve done for the people of God.” it was Paul.  He never did any of that…did he?  I’ll help you…the answer to that question is no.

So…that begs the question.  If Jesus didn’t boast, and neither did Paul…then what in the world are we so prideful about?  What makes us think that we’re entitled to anything that Jesus Himself wasn’t entitled to?  I guess the ultimate question is this one:  Why do we feel we’re entitled to what Jesus wasn’t?  I’ll help you with that answer too…pride.

Conclusion:

I can only speak for myself here, but for me I have come to recognize that everything I am and have is because of Jesus.  I know that apart from Him I am nothing, I have nothing, and I can do nothing…other than fall short of the glory of God.  All I have, all I am, and all I do today is because of God’s grace, God’s mercy, and God’s love…even this very message I’m writing today is because of God’s gift of grace…and the ability that I have to write…I have because of His grace.

So…I would encourage you to look at your heart…and the attitude within it.  Is it humble or is it full of pride?  If you look back at these 6 Aspect of Humility…I trust it will help you to see clearly which side of the spectrum you’re on…and if it’s on the prideful side…I would hope that you’d realize that’s not the way we’re intended to be…and seek God’s forgiveness.

Lord, how foolish we can be to think we’re entitled to things in our lives that You weren’t.  Lord…I ask that if there’s pride that needs to be shown in me that You would illuminate it, and help me to rid my life of anything that exalts myself above You.  I want to remain humble and contrite…and know that all I am, have, and do is because of You.  I ask that those reading would come to that same realization…and for those who may have need to be rid of some pride and arrogance…may You pierce their hearts with Your love…and bring them to a place where they realize…You deserve the glory for their accomplishments.  I give You all the praise, all the glory, and all of the honor for the things that I can do by Your grace and mercy…and I pray in Jesus’ name…Amen & Amen