This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
I. Introduction. A. Orientation. 1. As we continue to seek the Lord for direction as a local fellowship, we need to continue to seek to be the kind of people He can use. 2. We need to continue to grow in our: a. Knowledge: more than factual, we need a life-transforming conviction of spiritual things grounded in Scripture. b. Faith: to trust in Christ, to see the reality of the unseen, and to give us the courage to move ahead. c. Love: to please the Lord, strong enough to lay down our lives for Him. d. Holiness: to become like Jesus in the world, to think, speak and act as He would. e. Servanthood: resign ourselves to His will, be willing to go wherever He calls. f. Hatred of sin: hate the sins of our heart and lives. g. Prayer: we must give ourselves more to Spirit-led, fervent prayer, directed at God’s glory. B. Preview. 1. Let’s consider one more virtue that will greatly help: humility. a. To be useful, we must be humble, truly humble, not just outwardly in our actions, but inwardly in our hearts. b. Anyone can put on an act, but God sees the heart. 2. This evening, let’s consider several ways we can test ourselves to see whether we are humble. Then we’ll consider some ways to become more humble II. Sermon. A. First, we can know we’re humble when we don’t think too highly of ourselves: “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment as God has allotted to each a measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3). 1. Bernard of Clairvaux called humility self-annihilation. 2. We are humble when we have lower thoughts of ourselves than others have of us. a. As David, when as king, he wrote, “I am a worm and not a man” (Ps. 22:6). b. As Paul, towards the end of his life, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all” (1 Tim. 1:15). c. To be humble, we must have a low opinion of ourselves.
2 B. Second, we can know we’re humble when we consider others better than ourselves: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3-4). 1. Not just because the Lord commands us. 2. But because we can see our own hearts and know our corruption. 3. Paul writes, “To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8). a. He was the greatest apostle. b. But he considered himself the least of all the saints. C. We can know we’re humble when we don’t think we’ve done our responsibilities very well. 1. The humble not only grieve over their sins, but over their duties – because they’ve done them imperfectly, or not at all. 2. Jesus said we should be ashamed even when we do our duty well, “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done’” (Luke 17:10). a. If this is true when we’ve done our duty, how much more when we fall short? b. Even our best efforts fall short which is why in humility we should want Christ’s works on the scales. D. We can know we’re humble when we continually grieve the sins of our hearts. 1. Humility isn’t complaining about our circumstances in life, but about the evil in our hearts. 2. John Hooper once wrote regarding himself, “Oh, this evil heart of unbelief!” “Lord, I am hell—but you are heaven.” a. Hypocrites tell themselves how good they are, believers tell themselves how bad. b. The same Paul who was blessed enough to be caught up into the third heaven to see things that he couldn’t express, said regarding himself, ‘O wretched man that I am” (Rom. 7:24). E. We can know we’re humble when we don’t boast about our knowledge or faith, but lament the weakness of both. 1. The more knowledge a humble man has, the more he sees how little he knows. 2. The more faith he has, the more he grieves over his lack of faith. F. We can know we’re humble when we don’t blame God for our circumstances, but ourselves. 1. Nehemiah considered what the Assyrians had done to Judah and Jerusalem, but he didn’t blame God, “However, You are just in all that has come upon us; for You have dealt faithfully, but we have acted wickedly” (Neh. 9:33). 2. We can know we’re humble when we can agree we don’t deserve anything better from the Lord’s hands, but something much worse.
3 G. We can know we’re humble when we can give Jesus the credit for every good thing we do. 1. Herod sought to steal God’s glory when he received praise for his great speech (Acts 12:22), and he was struck down for his pride. 2. When we can honestly say, “Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing” (John 15:5), when we can take the crown off our head and put it on Christ where it belongs, then we are humble. H. We can know we’re humble when we can accept blame for our own sins. 1. King Ahab hated Micaiah because he told him the truth (1 Kings 22:8). 2. David, on the other hand, blessed those who did, “Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me; it is oil upon the head; do not let my head refuse it” (Ps. 141:5). 3. When we can accept the blame or correction of others, even those who don’t mean well, then we’re humble. I. We can know we’re humble when we can rejoice in those who are better than we are, when we can say as John said of Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” 1. The only thing Jesus will allow us to outdo one another in is in trying to showing each other honor (Rom. 12:10). 2. If we’re humble, we won’t mind that Jesus uses someone else to glorify Himself. 3. Watson writes, “A humble Christian is content to be laid aside, if God has any other tools to work with which may bring him more glory” (Godly Man’s Picture). J. We can know we’re humble when we’re content with what the Lord has given us. 1. The proud complain that they don’t have more; the humble wonder why they have so much. 2. Jacob, when returning from Paddan-aram prayed, “I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant” (Gen. 32:10). 3. A humble believer looks at his sins and wonders why things aren’t worse than they are. He knows he deserves hell, but marvels that the Lord has instead given him heaven through Christ. K. Finally, we can know we’re humble when we’re more willing to embrace the lowest of Christ’s brothers, rather than the highest members of the world. 1. When you can honestly say that you’d rather sit at the gate with Lazarus than eat at the table of the rich man, then you are humble. 2. A humble Christian loves Christ and His people more, no matter how lowly. III. Application: A. Examine yourself by these things as you prepare to come to the Table. Are you humble?
4 1. With Paul, do you see yourself as the greatest of sinners and the least of saints? 2. Do you grieve not only over the sins you’ve committed, but also in what’s lacking in your obedience? Are you the unprofitable servant? 3. Do you grieve over the sins of your heart? Can you say with Paul, “O wretched man that I am”? 4. Do see how little you really know, and how weak your faith really is? 5. Do you blame yourself for your difficult times, rather than God or anyone else? 6. If you do something praiseworthy, do you direct that praise to Christ, rather than receive it yourself? 7. Do you receive the reproof of others when you sin and accept the blame, or do you shift the blame to others? 8. Can you rejoice when you see one of your brothers or sisters do something better than you? 9. Do you believe the Lord treats you better than you deserve? 10. And are you willing to embrace even the lowest of Christ’s servants as a brother or sister in Christ? B. If we are to be useful to the Lord, these things must be true of us. James writes, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). 1. The more grace we have the more useful we will be; but grace will only be found in the path of humility. 2. Watson writes, “It is better to lack anything, rather than humility. It is better to lack gifts rather than humility. No, it is better to lack ‘the comforts of the Spirit’ rather than lack humility. ‘What does the Lord require of you—but to walk humbly with your God?’ (Mic. 6:8).” 3. God delights in humility: “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isa. 66:2). C. How can we become more humble? 1. First, look to Christ’s example: being in the form of God, became man (Phil. 2:7). 2. Second, fix your eyes on God: see how small you are in light of God’s immensity and infinite purity. 3. Look at your heart: a. Let your sin humble you. b. Let your lack of goodness humble you. c. Let your lack of faith humble you. d. Let the fact that you are completely dependent on the Lord for any good humble you (1 Cor. 4:7). e. Let the fact that you fall short of what others have attained humble you. f. Let your mortality humble you. g. Finally, in your humility, come to the Table – there is grace here to help you to humble yourself more before the Lord. http://www.graceopcmodesto.org