Sunday, July 6, 2008

We've Been Robbed!

Well not us but Carol’s Aunt. They broke into her house and stole the copper water pipes. They apparently broke in though a basement window and then proceeded to cut the pipe into smaller pieces with a bolt cutter. They cut them into pieces small enough to go inside a duffle bag and then walk out the back door leaving us a mess to clean up just a week before closing

Well there is a much more serious robber at work among Christians today. He is not stealing copper pipes but rather something much more valuable. He is robbing us of our joy. Paul addressed his joy-robbers in Philippians 4:2 Their names were Euodia (fragrance) and Syntyche (fortunate). For whatever reason they were not getting along, thus he appeals to them to agree or be of the same mind.

2Iplead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree (or to be the same mind) with each other in the Lord.

That mind, I think is the same mind or attitude that apostle Paul wants the Philippians to have is the mind of Christ, which is an attitude of humility, Philippians 2:5-8

5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross!@

But what does it mean to have an attitude of humility? I think it means three things. First it means to be selfless, v.6

6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,

Jesus who is God and was God from the beginning, was selfless and willing surrendered his position of authority and power.

Second, I it is being a servant, v.7

7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

This is the great Kenosis passage. The phrase “made himself nothing” here in the NIV is only one word in the original. It means to “empty, or “to abase.” “To neutralize or make no reputation”

That doesn’t mean however that he ever stopped being God, when he became man. It simply means that he “voluntarily surrendered the independent exercise of His divine attributes.” He never ceased to possess them all, but he voluntarily put Himself under the authority of God the Father and the control of the Holy Spirit. Then after he emptied himself of all that he was he became a servant.

Third it means to sacrifice, v. 8

8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!

Many people are willing to serve others if it does not cost them anything. But if there is a price to pay they suddenly lose interest. Jesus “. . .became obedient to death-even death on a cross.” Dr. J. H. Jowett has said, “ministry that costs nothing accomplishes nothing.” Warren Wiersbe said, “If there is to be any blessing, there must be some “bleeding.”

Mark Driscol perhaps explained humility best when he gave 10 practical ways we can walk in humility. They are not his, but rather from a friend C. J. Mahanney. Let me share them with you.

10 Practical Ways to Walk in humility

1. Follow the truth wherever it leads. If the truth leads to you’re wrong then follow it. Don’t try and defend yourself. Follow the truth wherever it leads.

2. Invite and pursue correction and counsel. Ask people to tell you when they see sin in your life. Let them speak truth into your life and confront you of sin. And then when they speak don’t argue. Don’t talk a lot. Don’t blame shift, don’t change the subject. Don’t defend yourself and don’t shift the responsibility to someone else.

3. Learn from everyone. Even your critics and enemies have something to give you and if you are humble enough to overlook their pride, you can receive the gift they have to give you, which may be painful but it’s helpful.

4. Repent quickly and thoroughly. Don’t turn it into an enormous event. Don’t require a large number of people to get involved. Don’t force others to pin you to the mat before you give up. Just say, “I’ve sinned, I’m sorry, I’m changing, I have no excuse.

5. Seek and celebrate God’s grace at work in other Christians. God is at work in the lives of other people, seek it, encourage and nurture it. “I praise God.” “I see this in your life.” “I see what Jesus is doing in your heart.” “I see the ways in which you are growing.” Encourage and nurture that in others.

6. Cultivate a spirit of thankfulness. Thank people and thank God. And thank God for people.

7. Listen to Scripture more than yourself. We have a tendency to lie to ourselves, deceive ourselves, whine, complain, blame. We need to listen to Scripture, more than ourselves.

8. Exalt the name of Jesus in all you do. Don’t ask, “what’s best for me?” but “what’s best for Jesus and his people?” “What will make Jesus look good because he is good?” What will exalt the name of Jesus? What will enable Jesus to be seen as glorious as he is? The right answer is always the one that makes Jesus look the best.

9. Laugh. Proud people have no sense of humor. They are so serious and they especially can’t laugh at themselves. “How dare you mock me!” Humble people can laugh and do laugh at themselves.

10. Sleep. Proud people don’t sleep well. They are worried. “How will this work out?” “What are people thinking?” “What are people saying?” “What are people doing?” “How are people perceiving me?” “How are they responding to me?” “What do they want from me?”

One other thing humble people do. . .and it is the most important thing you and I can do today. . .It’s found in Philippians 2:9-11.

9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The most important thing we can do to walk in humility today is to confess Jesus as Lord. Romans 10:9

9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him for the dead, you will be saved.

There is coming a day when everybody in heaven and everybody on the earth and everybody under the earth (that is the dead) will confess Jesus as Lord. You and I have the opportunity to do it today and when we do we have the promise of salvation.

1 comment:

Ira Williams said...

Pastor George, I was glad to see your posting on humility, especially because it has become such a misunderstood and underappreciated virtue. As Americans, I fear we've forgotten that we have a special calling to be humble in the manner with which we impact the world. I, for one, would like to see a revival of American humility. We have been blessed with unprecedented gifts as a nation, but it often appears that we're dead-set on squandering them because of our hubris.

If you have a moment, pls visit my site at I've written a book on humility in America. I would welcome your comments and feedback.

Thanks again!
Ira Williams