We can be tempted to swallow the ways of the world and become proud. God in Christ showed us the power of humility as He came to serve. Learn to live in lowliness as Jesus did. (Proverbs 23:1-7; Proverbs 29:22)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon # 11722
11:00 AM on 7/28/2019
Wasn’t that a good song? There’s none like you Jesus. Everlasting, everlasting. Nobody is like you. No one is like you. He is God. We are here worshipping God. Halleluiah! Praise the Lord! It’s all about God. Who is God? Who is God? Just think about it. We worship God. None like you. No one like you. I have one thing before you sit down.
Ps 142, it says I looked on my right hand – this is David saying- but there was no man that would know me. Refuge failed me. No man cared for my soul. What a statement. Say that with me. No man cared for my soul. Have you ever had a friend you trusted and thought they would cover your back and they don’t show up? No man cared for my soul. Did that happen to Jesus on the cross? His mother was there. Praise God for mothers. They got our back. They do. In our nature, we don’t know about this. This loyalty, this trust, this care. I was thinking of Cheryl Bogardus and P. Mark and Sandrine and people in the Body. Cheryl is in Africa for a month and Harold is here. How easy it is not to care. David said nobody cared for our soul. I believe that’s true with us and God. We don’t care so much what God cares about. Us and Jesus, us and our wife and family, us and our church. If you say I’m not that way, check that out. We have that possibility. Christ came into the world and he cares for your soul. Christ came here and he cares for your soul and he’s still here. He’s in you. And he’s in me and we care.
So before you sit down, I want you to do something. Look around the room and see someone you don’t know and tell them – I don’t know what you will tell them. I do care for your soul.
Good morning. Thanks P. Steve. Very good music.
Turn in your Bibles to Prov. 23. Good summer. Have you had a good summer? I wonder what that is, actually. We are people of the Spirit so the weather, the season, the time in our life we are always looking for and enjoying our peace that comes from God in our relationship with God.
This morning, I want to speak about humility and pride. Maybe in the course of the message, we will have those “Selah” moments. You know what those Selah moments are? Ever see that in the psalms? The psalm is written and then it says that. Meditate, pause, chew it, rest there and think about it. In preaching, that happens. Something is said and we should stop there and think about it. God said something to our hearts. I ask you sometimes to talk to your neighbor or we just sit there for a minute and realize what was said. The world is – let’s look at the proverb.
Prov. 23:1, here we have pride. When you sit to eat with a ruler – have you ever done it? Have you ever sat with a ruler? Give me the profile of a ruler, the position of a ruler. Governor, president of a university, a general, a teacher, a head of a hospital, a head of a country, president, prime minister. When you sit with a ruler, it’s a privilege. You’ve been given a privilege. Pride is all over us. It’s in the world. Pride is our very nature. It’s our world about us. The world of me. How much we can look at life through my self-interests, my life, my rights, my privileges, my benefits, my profile, my degrees, my money, my looks, what people say about me, my reputation. Life is so filled with us. Vs. 1. You have to have a mind when you sit with a ruler and know who you are, what you want and what you don’t want. A ruler has influence over you. A ruler has power. He has maybe what you want. He has the ability to make your life or destroy your life, hire you or fire you. One of the greatest things – by the way. This was not a virtue in the ancient world. It was weakness. The gods and goddesses in ancient Rome, in pagan Rome and Greece were proud gods, powerful gods, gods of war and peace and love. They were not humble. Humility was not a virtue. They were leisurely looking for pleasure, something like people. So the gods are like that.
This changed with Christ coming into the world. When Christ came, something changed. When people believed in Christ and the Spirit of Christ came in us, we found something we did not have, which was humility. God is first. There is a human love connected with pride. It’s a bit twisted. It’s not a high-quality love. When a man is proud, he is loving himself and what is happening in his life. This is a twisted love. God’s love is deeper. We read it in 1 Cor. 13 with this word AGAPE. It’s a very important word for us. God is love. God is humble. God is not first though he’s first. But because he is God, he is also able to be low. In ancient literature, there is the use of this word for “humility” with the Nile River. When the Nile River was low in its level, they said it was humble. Or the river was running low. The idea of being low is a good way of thinking about this. It’s not low in regard to things and people but low in regard to God and his rights and his plan and his nature. Jesus doing the Father’s will. Your will is more important than mine.
The word “humble” in the word of Augustine is connected with the word “obedience.” When someone is humble, they are obedient even if it hurts. I’m obedient becomes I’m submitted to him and his will. We cannot see it more clearly with Christ going to the cross. If we use this verse, thanks for keeping it up, vs. 1. Let’s put in here Pilate and Christ. Jesus when you meet Pontius Pilate, consider diligently what is before you. It doesn’t fit exactly because it’s really about food. The whole picture of what it is and the banquet table of food and don’t be bought by the food. Put a knife to your throat it says. Deny myself. Because that ruler can take you out. That ruler can compromise your life. Go back to the verse. Maybe it will get clear here.
Vs. 2. We have appetites. Appetite for pride. I don’t know Tom Brady. He’s the quarterback for the New England Patriots. Phenomenal quarterback, foot ball player with all the trophies and titles. If he became proud – I don’t know if he is – whenever someone does succeed, we can internalize that and become proud about it. We have an appetite for the pride. We have an appetite for our self-life. Of course we do. But there is something the average person doesn’t know and it’s that God has great regard for the humble. He has great regard for people willing to say not me, not the table set before me here. Not all the food or fame or success but I’m actually submitted to God who is higher than all of it and my delight and joy is living with him. I’m actually denying myself and finding humility or obedience to God. That’s what I want. I consider – go to the previous verse. Vs. 1. Long before I sit at the table, I want to think about it. Long before I sit there, I want to know what I’m looking for. That ruler cannot buy me. He can’t talk me in and out of things. He can’t buy my soul, my interests. He cannot do that because we have been sitting at another table. We have been receiving from another ruler. We have found God. Jesus is with the Father and this is the same with you and me. We have been born again and found the Spirit of God teaching us love, a new kind of love, God’s love. With that love, we find obedience and submission to God and his will.
Vs. 3. The dainties, special meat, special sauces and special morsels, delicious foods, very special table. Don’t be desirous of them. They are deceitful. If I gain the world, what does it profit me if I lose my soul? One day everything is gone. What remains is you and I in Christ with the knowledge of God. Pride is everywhere. It’s in the cafeteria where you work, the lunch table, the business world, politics is filled with it, university campuses, everyday living, churches. Filled with pride. Us, filled with pride. It’s amazing how pride grows and multiplies and works in life. Here’s a message of our New Testament. God is humble. God can be nobody. God can come here as a servant and in a crowd, you couldn’t recognize who is God. Jesus is in the group and you cannot tell. They arrested him and needed someone to kiss him to make sure it was the right man. That’s how unassuming and common he looked. God blends in and does his work. I like to say slowly like under the radar but look out. It’s real powerful. God honors it. God honors the humble. God takes notice. He knows. That woman who gave the two mites, the last bits of coins. I saw that. The person nobody notices, I notice them. I know what is there. I want to say there is real humility in the lives of believers. That we have the Spirit of God and he is humble. He dwells in us and we can feel it as we grow and walk in faith. It is different from in the world.
The world, Augustine said, and I have it written here as a quotation from him about this…Machiavelli, Machiavellianism, writing a millennium after Augustine concluded…this view Machiavelli held that most human beings are not morally upright. They are moved by power, not virtue. People are moved by power. It’s true. Power. They look to be noticed, rich, successful. Many having influence in their neighborhood. Having power. It’s a thing about people. Some want it so badly they will steal for it. We should know this. There is another thing. It’s not power. It’s different. It’s love. It’s humility. This will give you something. God will give to your riches and honor and power, Prov 22:4, to the humble. The funny thing is if I have money and power, it’s immediate. When I have humility, where is my power? It’s not necessarily immediate. I have humility and I die on the cross like here humble as a sacrifice. Where is the power? You don’t see it. It’s coming. The honor coming to Christ is coming in three days. It’s coming. It’s great power. The power is coming because of obedience. The obedience is there because of humility. I don’t have a place to live. Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but I don’t have a place to live not even in the dumpster downtown. The Father is pleased with the Son. He is obedient. I’m hungry, thirsty and people are throwing me away. I can do that, Father, if that is your will. I am submitted to you, your will. The Father is pleased with the Son. The humility is the absence of the man’s life, interest, ego, protection, preservation, defense. The man is not defending himself. He is a sacrifice. It’s something different happening. This is a huge lesson for us. It’s not easy. It happens to you. It happens in your heart. You are known in heaven but maybe not in this world. You are not known in a public way but that is not your focus. Just like the prophet is saying. When you sit to eat with a ruler, what is your focus. It’s not the food on the table. I have a different focus. I want God’s will.
Go to vs. 7. The ruler says eat and drink and he says I’m with you, but his heart is not with you. He wants something from you. I’m going to help you out, but this is what I want from you. Like buying and selling human beings. I’ll pay you to be with me, but his heart is not with you. He doesn’t have your back. He’s not really caring about you. He’s caring about himself. Pride is all about me, but humility is all about God. It’s very sacred thing to have a heart after God. If you have a heart after God and you do, if you live in it and walk in it, it’s a very sacred thing. You’re not like other people. You’re different. Andrew Murray says humility is perfect quietness of heart. It’s to expect nothing. To wonder at nothing that is done to me. To feel nothing done against me. To be at rest when no one praises me, when I’m blamed and despised.
Ps. 59 David said when Saul sent an army to go kill David at his home, his wife was Michal and she put an idol in the bed like David was there sleeping or tired and sick. But the soldiers were around, and David heard them like dogs wanting to devour him. They hated him and were after him. They were sent by King Saul to destroy him. He wrote this Psalm in that context. They crouch at the door like a predator wanting to get the prey. In the same way I am crouching before God and he will protect me. They are crouching like a wild animal to devour me. They are what they are, and God will deal with them. As for me, I have found this quietness and peace. He uses the word humility in there as well, vs. 10.
Men want power. God wants humility. When you find humility, then this is what you find. Though the Lord be high, yet has he respect unto the lowly. The Lord lifts up the meek. He will beautiful the meek with salvation. The wise in heart will receive commandments. With the lowly is wisdom. He that hearkens unto counsel is wise. Before honor is humility. Better it is to be of a humble spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud. Can you fill that in your heart. I rather be with the lowly and humble with very little than be with the proud with a lot. When I have a lot with the proud, I don’t know what I have. I have something with the lowly, I can be sure about it. This is us. This is ours. Fear not little flock; it’s the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. The world will crucify, and the Roman Empire is powerful but this greater than the Roman Empire. God is with the lowly. God will speak through the humble. God will teach you how to live and walk in humility with God. He’ll fill you with secret manna or hidden manna and build you up in your inner man. I don’t know by his standard what is going on but there is a secret place with the Lord Almighty. Ps. 91:1. Honor shall uphold the humble spirit. Prov. 29:23. Honor. The humble receive honor. Maybe the honor when God meets you in the back road. Remember the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. Jesus honored them by visiting them. If you have peace in your heart, peace in your home, it may be because God is honoring you. If you find something precious in the Bible that speaks to you, it may be that God is honoring you.
Couple weeks we had prayer for the prodigal sons to come home. I heard a number of reports. Thanks for those prayers. Good things are happening. God is answering prayer for prodigal sons and daughters to come back. God honors us. He does. Lord, my heart is not haughty nor my eyes lofty neither do I exercise myself in great matters or things too high for me. I wonder what that is. Things too high for me. Sometimes people share a problem and I say I don’t know. In my heart I say it’s too high for me. I don’t know how that goes. I love being part of people’s lives as much as possible, but I don’t pretend to know if I don’t know. We can pray and maybe God will give you an answer. There are some problems, – you know that phrase “above my pay grade.” Some problems are above my pay grade. I may not be someone’s solution. I am not able but on the other hand, if we learn humility, don’t you think God can help us in many areas of life. The hardest thing I’ve ever done is raise a family. I think it’s the biggest challenge filled with problems and questions. Keeping my marriage. This is a big deal in the world we live in. To keep my marriage and raise kids from 0 to 22 years of age and all that responsibility and money and how many people quit. They get out of it and abandon or leave or depart. They can’t handle it. I understand but I didn’t do that by God’s grace. I learned here in the church by the Spirit of God. If we can walk with God, we have a good chance of succeeding in some measure, in some way.
Here it says we don’t want to be exercised in things too great. We have plenty to think about as it is. I have behaved and quieted myself as a child weaned of his mother. I have learned to settle into that low status. I have learned to be abased, that’s the low status, and abound. It means financially. I have been a wealthy man. I think he was at one time wealthy. But then he was poor. I have learned whatever state I’m in I can find contentment. Wow. How? Aren’t the true riches when we obey God. Let’s get the big points covered. I’m a believer. I want to trust in God no matter what. Trust in him with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. I need godly counsel and the advice that comes from God through a humble heart. The greatest thing we can do is sit and tremble at his word. He that fears me and trembles at my word. High regard for this book. So we pay attention and we are sitting with the Spirit of God. We are saying to God in the Spirit of God; I am available Lord. I’m just a servant. Jesus takes a towel and girds himself with a towel. He takes a towel and girds himself and gets down and washes the feet of the disciples. Do you see what I do. You may not understand now but later. Later Peter wrote this part. He said be clothed with humility. 1 Peter 5. When you are washing feet, you are not talking necessarily. It’s action and attitude. What can I do to help you? What can I do for you? It’s humble. It’s about him. That’s beautiful.
He said if you know these things, happy are you if you do them. Doing them. Wow. How does it work? I’m born again and I have it. We have this capacity. I’m listening as a worshipper and receiving. I’m acting on what I hear. I want to take what I hear and practice it and be patient. I want to take what I hear and take it home with me and apply it in my life. Almost all the time after preaching, I’m tested on the things I preach about. If only I could apply my message, I know what I need right now. I’m being tested on what I preached about. Do I hit the target? Maybe not. But it helps me know I believe God has a mind on this issue and that helps us. It says I’m like a child weaned of his mother. When a child is breast fed and he grows big enough to eat solid food and you put him down and he wants to be breast fed, you say no. Here is your food. It’s coming in ten minutes. It’s coming. You bring more solid food to him. And he’s crying. You’re in the kitchen and you say quiet down. Your food is coming. It’s ready in five minutes. Behave. Or one hour later, you are going to eat in an hour. What? An hour? A Christian is like that. Sometimes we want it now. Now. Now. But the psalmist said I have become like a child who had to grow up and realize I can’t have it right now, my way. I’m going to get it a different way. I’m going to be submitted, abide, show up. I’m going to go to the church. I’ll hear. I’ll have prayer in the morning, and I’ll start to develop a prayer life, morning, afternoons and evenings in a relaxed way. I’ll seek God and obey God. Humility is connected with obedience.
As we obey God, we find the blessing. Bring everything before God. Don’t just do things. Be submitted and humble before God. Don’t just make your own decisions about things. This is a form of pride. My life, my way. It’s my decision. Be submitted to God and say in wisdom before God, not my way Lord. Help me, teach me, show me. I want your advice, your counsel, your guidance. Show me the right way. He is our heavenly Father and he will. I think humility is a great conversation stopper. You are talking with a bunch of people and it’s all about politics or something. You say I have one word. What? Humility. They look at you two times. Everyone stops talking. What does that word mean? Someone shared with me they said humility where they are working, and they said what does that word mean? It’s not popular. It’s too often talked about, pride is, success, money, influence, success and all these beautiful things. The whole thing about life is humility. I think it can add to a lot of conversation. I don’t know how you proceed from there. God will show you. I went to church and heard about humility and I’m hungry for the subject. I believe it’s the answer for my life. I don’t know what it means exactly but I want to adopt that as a way of life for me. I want to learn about it because Jesus Christ was humble. The way he talked and lived and died he was humble. He said be a follower of me.
As we follow him, we may find that humility that comes from God. Don’t worry about it. I’m not a victim. God is taking care of me. I could be a victim but the whole thing about the victim mentality is so popular in our world. Change it. I’ve been born again, and I have something working and satisfying in my life. I have the message. The person of God, I found a new way. I found humility as a way of life. I found something the world doesn’t know about. They are hungry for what we have.
What we have won’t pass away. It has context and influence. When I am with a ruler, I’m not tempted by his dainties. We found truth that delivers us from sin and gives us a new way of thinking and living. Amen.
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