Our Example of Humility

Our Example of Humility

Christ: Our Example of Humility

[Reading: Philippians 2:1-11]

Introduction:

There are so many reasons to love this passage.

We talk quite frequently in regards to apostasy or a falling away and I look at this passage and compare it to my experience of church in times past and the message I see promoted in modern churches in particular.

It is one of: 

Self-esteem [which is pride]

Self-entitlement [which is covetousness]

Self-importance [which is idolatry] 

 Under this premise there is the belief that as believers 

(a)we should not suffer 

(b)that prosperity [financial] is a matter of fact. 

(c)Every disease and sickness should be healed and if it isn’t then it is because you don’t have enough faith.

This passage turns this notion on its head!!!! 

The message contained in this passage is very much the opposite of what the modern church teaches. It presents a message of unity through humility and esteeming others before ourselves. And it presents a message of consolation in our suffering and not the avoidance thereof. 

That doesn’t mean that as believers we are not blessed; on the contrary: when you realize that God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ your perspective  automaticallychanges because you realize that the blessings we seek are spiritual ones and not material ones. 

SADLY: AS APOSTASY DEEPENS INSTEAD OF HUMILITY AND HOLINESS 

WE SHALL SEE AN INCREASE IN PRIDE AND THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE. 

There is no delight in exposing this error; the reason I do so because God’s word tells us that we are living in perilous times. I know this because my own testimony affirms this. 

I struggled for many years as a believer under this system: thinking that the Lord had passed me by and was so far from me [rather I was far from him which is more to the point].

There tends to be this expectation in many modern churches that as a believer you must attain to some level of “super-spirituality”; this usually meant believing God for things that he never promised AND the need to experience “signs and wonders” and other EXPERIENCESon a daily basis. 

This was constantly being confirmed by outrageous stories: e.g. God told me this, God told me that. 

NOT TO MENTION THE PERCEIVED FINANCIAL BLESSINGS THAT PEOPLE WERE RECEIVING  IN RETURN FOR EXTRAVAGANT GIVING. 

Spiritual growth, it seemed was handed out in a prayer line and the only way to experience God was through contemporary worship music. The music itself has the ability to evoke emotions: both elation and depression [which you are taught to believe ushers in the Spirit of God and touching your heart]. 

In reality this kind of music appeals to the flesh and not your spirit. 

For me, all this resulted in low self-esteem of the worstkind; since as an unbeliever I had come to hate my life and this was the impetus for coming to Christ. The joy and peace that I  had first experienced when I came to Christ was gone. I knew that I couldn’t get it from the world [and yet at the same time I wasn’t receiving any benefit from my faith in Christ] 

Rather than being given the keys to a victorious Christian life, the counsel which is often given is this: “just keep your eyes on Jesus”. In the end this becomes a vacuous or empty cliché because our natural tendency when you are distant from God is to commune with our own heart, rather than looking to his word: 

AND THIS IS THE KEY: if we are to look to the Lord is must be through his word. 

Clearly the focus of the gospel is Christ. 

When the gospel is preached and his word is faithfully taught and his word diligently read: our natural concern will be for others and NOT ourselves.

Furthermore: the state of our heart will tend toward humility and NOT pride. We will be constantly reminded that we have nothing in which to boast [as the hymn writer so rightly says] save in the death of Christ our God. 

The truth is that my main struggle and the root of my problem [as I suspect it is with many believers in such churches]; wasn’t self-esteem BUT SIN!!

Rather than self-esteem, the chief pursuit of the Christian ought to be Christ-esteem. 

The symptoms of low self-esteem can be masked of course; particularly if you are heavily involved in ministry. The heart being deceitful as it is, gains esteem from self-importance. 

More and more these churches are living according to the maxim “I am rich and in need of nothing”: not even the Lord. 

This message serves as a warning to us all; and particular where our focus ought to lie. And especially as more and more people get their truth from the internet. 

Notwithstanding any of what I have just said, we are commanded to walk humbly; this is what God requires of us. 

THIS IS WHAT DEFINES A MATURE CHRISTIAN!!!

1. Christ: The Mind of Humility

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If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind

Philippians 2:1-2

It is obvious that Paul loved the church of Philippi and dearly wished to encourage them: Not only DESPITEthe suffering he was enduring [remember this is a prison epistle]but also BECAUSEof it; since he knew that those of Philippi could expect to suffer similarly. 

“For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;”  Philippians 1:29 

And so Paul sets the tone for the whole of the chapter; for one thing, in a biblically functioning church, if one suffers we all suffer: 

AND WE KNOW THAT JESUS SUFFERED MORE THAN ANY. 

Paul, because of his sufferings solicits their comfort and reminds them of their obligation to extend love and comfort to each other. 

And the reason or purpose for this is for the sake of our unity both in Christ and with Christ: 

In verses 1 & 2 we see this unity emphasized by these words: 

FELLOWSHIPLIKEMINDEDSAME LOVE, ONE ACCORD and ONE MIND.

Jesus in his “High Priestly Prayer” [John 17] prays for unity; and in doing so, that all believers would be ONE even as he and the Father are ONE. 

I don’t want to get side-tracked but the unity to which Christ speaks has NOTHINGto do with the Ecumenical Movement which seeks unity at the expense of doctrine. Jesus also prayed “sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth.Therefore any unity must be founded on the word of God. When we depart from sound doctrine none of these things are possible. 

Before we continue, I feel I should define the words [fellowship, likeminded, same love, one accord and one mind]from a biblical perspective and by so doing, hopefully bring out furtherhow these relate to the unity of which the bible speaks. 

Firstly: Fellowship is a relationship or association founded on a common belief or interest. For Christians it is more than this; it is a fellowship of, with and through the Holy Spirit. 

In Ephesians we see this truly emphasized:

There is onebody, and oneSpirit, even as ye are called in onehope of your calling; OneLord, onefaith, onebaptism, OneGod and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Ephesians 4:4-6

THIS IS THE TRUE BASIS OF FELLOWSHIP 

Being “likeminded” and of “one mind” are similar in meaning….but ultimately the mind that we are “at one” with is the mind of Christ [see 1 Corinthians chapter 2].

This is explained further in Romans 8 where we are given to understand: 

“For they that are after the flesh do mindthe things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”  Romans 8:5  

As this particular passage of scripture continues, it points out that because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; in our minds we desire to please God. Alternatively, for those who are not born-again: it is impossibleto please God. 

In contrast to being likeminded, the bible speaks of being “double-minded” AND and also having a corrupt mind.

Of double-mindedness in we read:

“A double minded man is unstablein all his ways.”  James 1:8

This refers specifically to the person who is constantly doubting God and his goodness; and particularly in the area of his or her prayer life.  We know that a strained relationship with the Lord translates to strained relationships with those around us. 

AND SO:

When it comes to the mind, we are to:

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”  2 Corinthians 10:5 

This is where our resistance TO THE DEVILhas to begin. We’ve been given a spirit of power and of a sound mind: 

WE NEED TO USE IT [by aligning our thinking with the word of God and by not entertaining every godless thought that enters our minds]

If we do this then it won’t be long before we are acting out the things that we are meditating on. 

We could possibly write a sermon on the next phrase:“SAME LOVE”

Interestingly: in our series on “The letters to the seven churches”, the next church is the Church of Philadelphia which means “The city of brotherly love”. 

Immediatelyit brings to mind  Christ’s command to love one another as he loved us; since we know that greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends it is reasonable to suggest that it is a sacrificiallove that Paul is referring to. 

And[what is more] it is this same love for one another that Jesus compels us to, and which shouldidentify us as his disciples. 

One thing we can say about love and it is this: Love is BESTcommunicated by the sacrifices we make: 

Whether it be an economic one 

Whether it be a sacrifice of our time

Whether it be a sacrifice of our desires

Jesus said it best when he prayed to the Father: “Not my will but thine be done”.

Keep in mind that in regards to a TRUEsacrifice: something has to die. And so in sacrificing our desires, we DIEto them and not simply SUPPRESS them. 

As followers of Christ we are called to take up our cross ANDthe crucifying of the flesh is only accomplished through the power of God’s word [read and studied diligently] in conjunction with the work of the Holy Spirit. 

What makes love all the more compelling is when it is undeserved; and we know that the Lord sets the standard with this also in that God commendeth his love toward us in that whilst we were yet sinners Christ died for us: 

He that is altogether lovely laid down his life for those who are altogether unloveable.  

Finally [in our list of definitions]:

The term “one accord” is an interesting one in that within this word we have the smaller word “cord”[although spelt differently] it gives some connotation of the musical term [spelt] chord. A chord is the sound produced by playing 3 notes at once; needless to say, it is harmonious. A cord [spelt] or rope is also multiple threads or string bound together to form one stronger string. 

It is not surprising at the beginning of the church as documented in the book of Acts we see the term “one accord” [in the context of unity among the brethren] mentioned 7 times.  

The opposite of accord is discord [which is another way of saying disunity]

We see in proverbs is that disunity is one thing the Lord HATES

At this point I need to back track a little and examine the purpose of suffering [or at least one purpose]. 

 [I shall speak a bit more on the subject later]: 

Paul talks about consolation in his suffering [v1]

[Turn to]

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

What we see here is that when we endure suffering with the right attitude, we are able to comfort others who might be going through a similar trial. 

IF HOWEVER:

We go through our trials in bitterness, pride or anger, then the trials will have served no godly purpose or eternalbenefit to anyone: including the sufferer who is also the potential comforter. 

 What Paul writes about here was actually lived out in a Philippian jail. This is the wonderful thing about the bible; they are not just words on a page, they can be tested against reality [and indeed as reality] as we live according to his word. 

Again:

This is the blessedness of a biblically functioning church and whywe should strive to excel in this virtue. If this is indeed the case [that we desire to strive for unity] then it begs the question: How [both personally and as a church] do we achieve this?

We see a stark contrast to this in 1 Corinthians as Paul rebukes this church and charges them with having divisions among them. 

Interestingly their divisions were centred on 2 things which were supposed to unify believers; namely the ordinances of baptism and communion [or Lord’s Supper]. 

Since this point deals with the mind, then obviously it is the mind that needs to be changed or transformed. Indeed, we are commandedto be transformed by the renewingof our minds and this by the word of God. 

Therefore if we are reading his word and sufficiently that we are meditating thereon, the rest will follow supernaturally…that’s SUPERNATURALLY!!

This is the simplicity of our faith in Christ: it’s not rocket science and it’s not a secret: But we do need to be faithful in the small things [like bible reading] and the big things won’t seem so big. 

2. Christ: The Motive of Humility

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Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Philippians 2:3-4

In order to maintain the unity described in point #1 we are commanded to  examine our motives. If point #1 addresses the mind, then point #2 addresses the heart and in particularits motives and affections.

We are well familiar with these next verses but it is good to reflect on them often: 

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1Jn 2:15-16

Here in John’s epistle we are exhorted not to love the world; for in doing so we succumb to what he describes as THE PRIDE OF LIFE. 

This is best defined as self-will rather than God’s will. 

If pride is the result of a love for the world, then humility shouldbe the result of our love for the Lord. [REPEAT]

With this in mind it is easy to see the dangers  of wrong motives and why we are to avoid them. [And they are real dangers, not to be underestimated]

[Paul mentions strife in verse 3 of our text]

Strife by definition is an angry or bitter disagreement or contention and we are commanded that nothing be done through these means. 

James also speaks about the origins of strife or as he calls it “wars”

“From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?”  James 4:1

Strife or disagreements occur due to A WRESTLING of our fleshly desires or motives within us: and the only way to deal with this issue is to crucify the flesh.

The opposite of strife is peace and there is a distinct connection between peace and the righteousness of God. 

“For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”  James 1:20

Looking back at 1 John: the pride of life that John speaks of here, seeks admiration and it is the same pride which Paul refers to here in Philippians, as “vain-glory”

Vain-glory seeks to displace God as the object of our worship and to whom all glory and honour is rightfully due and to put ourselves in that place of honour. 

Thisis why we are charged with esteeming others better than ourselves.

It seems there is a perfect relationship between the natural remedy for pride and God’s perfect order:

By this I mean: God first, others second and ourselves a distant last. 

It is worth mentioning here that humility is not self-effacing [putting yourself down for the sake of it] nor is it self-flagellation [beating yourself up]; in fact this is actually a form of pride] and it is not self-pity. 

Conversely: pride does not mean that we cannot be confident in the Lord.

I love the English language and the word “esteem”is no exception.

It is derived from the same Latin word which gives us the word “estimate” which means to count, reckon, add up or evaluate. 

In keeping with this attitude we are to VALUEothers more highly than ourselves and this is summed up in Romans 12:3-5

[Turn to]

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Romans 12:3-5

On the other hand,if we want to see how NOT to live we need only to look at the Pharisees:

Therefore when thou doest thinealms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” Matthew 6:2

It is important to realize and as we see from our text: the esteeming of others begins with lowliness of mind. The opposite of this is to be “high-minded”, pompous or arrogant.

Remember: the goal of our faith is to be Christ-like; we see that the Lord is described [in Matthew 11] as being lowly of heart. 

This heart-mind transformation is only achieved by reading his word; it is only by being in his word that we get a proper perspective of ourselves. Because it is only his word that is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

[v4:Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others]

In verse 4, our motives are tested IN A VERY PRACTICAL SENSE; this being in our day to day lives. 

We are commanded not to be focused fully on our own affairs but also on the needs of others. I constantly have to tell myself, “It’s not all about me”. If we truly esteem others better than ourselves, then we are also naturally going to DIE TO SELF and look to the needs of others before our own. 

And so:

This is where faith without works is dead. James has much to say on this and it is always a challenge for me personally when I read James. Even more confronting however are the words of our Lord himself who tells us to give without expecting in return; even to the point of purposefully giving to those YOU KNOW cannot give in return. 

“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.”  Luke 6:35

Our most important concern in regard to the needs of others is of course one of an eternal nature; that being their salvation. This should be what ultimately motivates us. 

These are simple truths but given the tendency of our fallen nature to be selfish; they are not always easy to obey. Paul says it best when he says: I DIE DAILY. 

3. Christ: The Model of Humility

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:5-8

Purely and simply our model of humility is Christ. I could end my sermon there and if we just meditated on that fact long enough we would realize that we have a long, long way to go before we reach even our own expectations let alone the perfection that we are exhorted to. 

Yet if Christ is our model and the one to whom we aspire to be like, then we should look at this text and fully understand the level of humility Christ displayed. 

The fact is Jesus is God and it is inconceivable to grasp JUSThow far he condescended [came down to our level] by being born as a man. 

How do we even begin to describe the difference between God and man; considering he is perfect?  

It is Jesus who spoke this world into existence; through the incarnation he stepped into his own creation. 

But as we read in verse 7: “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant…”

In making himself “OF NO REPUTATION” Christ emptied himself of everything that could be looked upon as important: things such as status and prestige and other points of recognition. 

In taking on the form of a servant: Jesus made the role of the servant quite clear in some of his examples in scripture. 

They were to serve their masters first and before themselves; evenafter coming in from the fields. And for all this they shouldn’t expect any thanks since they were only doing their DUTY.

“But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?

And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do”. Luke 17:7-10

For us that would be the ultimate in humility. How often do we bow and scrape looking for recognition when we do someone a favour?

How often do we get offended when people show a lack of gratitude or respect?

And YETin many instances we see this of our Lord: 

 [Remember he is God]: 

He comes in the likeness of sinful flesh.

He endured the contradiction of sinners.

He knew no sin but  was made to be sin for us, so that we could be imputed with his righteous.

And if this wasn’t enough: Christ was perfectly humble, perfectly obedient, opened not his mouth to defend himself and endured the death of the cross.

Question Time:

How do we rate in terms of our suffering for Christ, remembering that his suffering is for our example.

If I was to answer truthfully, I have to say that I have endured ONLYa small degree of persecution and the contradictions of sinners but NOTHING  to the extent that our Lord endured. 

Regardless of whatever degree we do suffer, we MUST rejoice to be counted worthy: this is part of the Lord’s encouragement and consolation to us.

It should be our desire at any given moment to be able to say that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to compare with the glory that will be revealed in us. 

In regard to our Lord’s sufferings we read this in Hebrews: 

[Turn to]

Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; Hebrews 5:7-8

We spoke about one purpose of suffering earlier in the message and again here we see the Lord give us the perfect example; it was through SUFFERINGthat he learntobedience. 

Shouldn’t it therefore be the same for us. Yet within the body of Christ there are those under the same delusion as these that Peter addresses in the 1stcentury AD.

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 1 Peter 4:12-14

These [modern day] believers are under the impression that because of their position in Christ, they are exempt from suffering. 

NOTHINGcould be further from the truth. 

The consequence of  rejecting the truth [which is] that a believer ought to suffer for his faith has the oppositeeffect to which the suffering is purposed. Rather than producing humility and obedience, it produces pride and rebellion. In extreme cases it manifests in all sorts of crazy behaviours such as rebuking and binding the devil for their circumstances. 

The TRUTHis PLAINand CLEAR:

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”  

2Ti 3:12

If it God’s purpose [remember all things work for good to those that love God] that we be conformed to the image of Christ then [quite simply] this mustinclude the enduring of suffering.

If we are told that all that will live godly in Christ will suffer persecution. 

Then

We have 2 choices: either we live godly lives and expect persecution or we avoid persecution by living ungodly lives. 

It is only in emptying OURSELVES of OURSELVES that we will grow in our faith.

And

It is only as we grow in our faith that we will be able to endure any form of persecution.

The Lord poses this question to Jeremiah and it is a poignant one for us also:

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“If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?”  

Jeremiah 12:5

If we’re not living faithful lives in easy times then how are we going to stand when the times get truly tough?

4. Christ: The Humble Magnified

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Wherefore God also hath highly exaltedhim, and given him a name which is above every name:That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11 [Read]

God values humility and he values obedience: this is clear from Christ’s example; since God was glorified through it. 

This is particularly true since we see what was achieved through Christ’s obedience. The book of Hebrews tells us that it was for the joy that was set before him, that Christ endured the cross [scorning its shame].

In the book of Romans we see the reason for this joy and exactly what was achieved through his sacrifice. Chapter 5 out-lays Christ’s merits in attaining our justification through faith…and NOW believers have  peace with God through his atoning sacrifice. 

Verse 19 [of Romans 5] is central to the point of obedience that we are talking about; it says:

“For as by one man’s disobediencemany were made sinners, so by the obedienceof one shall many be made righteous.”  Romans 5:19

In terms of our own humility and obedience; not only in regards to persecution or suffering:

We see this important principle [which is what I alluded to in my introduction].

Jesus warns the Pharisees of self-aggrandizement and in doing so he warns us also:

[He says]

“And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”  Matthew 23:12

We see from Nebuchadnezzar’s example in the book of Daniel and Herod’s in the book of Acts: that God is well able to humble the proud; I am sure we all know this from personal experience:

He is also able to make the opposite true and this is the key to the issue of 

self-esteem.   

As Peter says:

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:”  1Pe 5:6

If humbling ourselves means suffering for Christ’s sake…and inevitably it will then we have some inspiring examples [affectionately known as faith heroes]written for our encouragement in God’s word:

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And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. Hebrews 11:32-40

The wonderful thing is:

If we live according to these passages of scripture we have an amazing promise.

“If we suffer, we shall also reign with him…”  2Ti 2:12

Conclusion 

As I said at the beginning of my message: this passage addresses the false idea of self-esteem and self-entitlement that is preached in many churches. 

What we find in the word of God is completely opposite; it is a message of self-sacrifice and humility. 

Apostasy shouldn’t surprise us: God’s word anticipates such a state within the church. 

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2 Timothy 3:1-5

As you can see, this is the complete opposite of what we have just expounded in our text today; there is nothing which indicates humility or a readiness to suffer for the sake of the gospel. In fact it was the power of the gospel which enabled the early Christians to endure martyrdom in the first place. 

Whilst it is hard to imagine the church sinking to the depths of apostasy as we see in 2 Timothy, what we do know is that the departure from godly values, corresponds to a departure from God’s word [both the individual and the church as a whole]. It is a case of not wanting to endure sound doctrine. 

Again, this is a warning to us all.

As a people of God, we have much to be humble about and it is God’s word which reinforces this truth. 

When our eyes are on the world and not the Lord 

When we saturate ourselves with worldly philosophies rather than being washed daily by his word.

When, either through the teaching of error or putting aside the discipline of reading: 

WE SIMPLY FORGET OUR SPIRITUAL STATE

For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. James 1:23-25

The word of God is like a mirror and reflects our true state; because of this we cannot help BUT be humble. 

I pray that this message has been a blessing to you and encouragement to you.

Finally:

The Lord says this in the Beatitudes:

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”  Mat 5:5 

Those who humble themselves and seek God NOW and not the pursuit of pleasures of THIS world, have their reward IN THE WORLD TO COME.

As believers we ought to be seeking the city whose builder and maker is God. 

If the Lord has stirred your heart and you know that you are not right with him I pray that you would truly humble yourself. It is pride that will prevent you from inheriting eternal life. 

You need to know that God resists the proud but give GRACE to the humble. 

As we read in our text: 

“…That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…”

The truth is that one day every knee WILL bow before the Lord. 

I pray that you will choose to bow the knee or more importantly “the heart”. 

Do it willingly and do it now. 

Let us pray….

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