Over the past few weeks we have been looking at some of the marks or identifying characteristics of a Christian. Paul carried the physical marks of Christ in his own body which identified him with the testimony of Christ. However, believers should bear some spiritual marks which identify them as well. Tonight we want to consider the mark of humility. Before Christ came into the world, the worst thing that could be said about a man was that he was humble. That was considered to be a quality of a slave, not a free man. Christ came teaching a new concept. The way up is down. To be exalted, men must humble themselves. He illustrated this principle throughout His life and ministry. One of the characteristics of this world today is selfishness and so few are truly humble. Today men can talk for hours about themselves and they are always the hero of their own stories. They never tell the tales about the times when they failed. A ball player talks about his home runs and tremendous catches that he made, but you don't hear about the strike-outs, errors, and fumbles. This attitude is also found within the local church and its members.
Much is said about what people do for the Lord, but little is spoken of what God has done for them! Humility is needed in our service to the Lord.
Read: Luke 14:7-11
I. The Meaning of Humility.
1. Not proud or haughty; not arrogant or assertive; a spirit of deference or submission.
2. It is recognizing that God and others are responsible for the achievements in my life.
3. Note: 1Co. 4:7
B. Humility is a modest estimation of one's self.
1. Note: Ro. 12:3, "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..."
2. That goes against the philosophy of this world doesn't it?
3. The world tells us that we must sell ourselves if we want to get ahead.
4. We must learn to be assertive or we will be walked on by everyone else.
5. Could it be that God's Word is wrong or maybe out of date now?
6. Must we resort to the ways of the world to be successful in this world at what we do?
7. Note: interviews with prospective candidates...strengths and weaknesses.
8. "If I could buy that man for what he is worth and sell him for what he thinks he is worth I could make a fortune!"
II. Examples of Humility.
A. The Apostle Paul.
1. He boasted about one thing and one thing only: the Cross of Christ.
2. He certainly could have boasted in his heritage, and in his service for Christ.
3. He said little about what he had done for Christ, but much about what Christ had done for him.
B. The Lord Jesus Christ.
1. He was the central figure in heaven, but He humbled Himself and took upon Himself the form of a servant.
2. On the night before He died He taught His disciples a tremendous lesson of humility as He began to wash their dirty feet as a servant.
3. His ultimate expression of humility is seen as "...He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross." cf Ph. 2:8
III. What does it take to develop humility?
A. Right attitude toward God.
1. Humility toward God is much like the fear of God; it begins with a high view of God's person.
2. As we see God in His majesty, awesomeness, and holiness, we are humbled before Him.
3. On every occasion in the Scriptures in which man is privileged to view God in His glory the result is humility.
4. We cannot begin to experience humility in any other relationship until we experience humility in our attitude toward God.
5. One young man we interviewed this past week made this statement about his prayer for a godly wife: "I said, God don't you dare give me a wife who will not be faithful to me!"
B. Right attitude toward God's Word.
1. A person who is truly humble before God will also be humble before God's Word.
2. Note: 2Kings 22:11-13
3. We should not treat the Word of God simply as a source of knowledge about Him.
4. We must recognize that it is an expression of His will for our daily lives.
5. As we search the Scriptures we must allow them to search us!
6. If the Lord Jesus Christ were to appear to us this evening and instruct us concerning the importance to go into all the world with the gospel we wouldn't hesitate to obey...if He instructed us on the importance of anything we would immediately obey Him...We must realize that He speaks to us this evening and every day of our lives through the Words of this Book!
C. Right attitude towards God's grace.
1. When a believer is truly humble before God and His Word, he will also be humble about his own gifts, abilities, and attainments.
2. He will realize and gratefully acknowledge that all that he is and all that he has comes from the hand of God.
3. We are quick to quote Ep. 2:8-9 concerning our salvation saying that it is all of grace, but often we want to claim some credit for what we have accomplished for the Lord since being saved!
4. Paul declared, "But by the grace of God I am what I am..." 1Co. 15:10a
Do our lives reflect this characteristic of Christ? Are we truly humble? The opposite of the spirit of humility is the spirit of pride. That doesn't come from God! Oh, how we need to learn humility! Note: 1Peter 5:5-6. Do we need to come this evening confessing before God and submitting to Him tonight?
If you are not a Christian, you need to submit yourselves to Him and receive His grace tonight for salvation. If your life is filled with pride and selfishness, you need to come and surrender to Him this evening. Let's be honest before God tonight.