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Blessed Humility

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
September 18, 2022 7:00 pm

Blessed Humility

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew

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September 18, 2022 7:00 pm

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We have your Bibles with you today.

Turn with me, if you would, to Mark chapter 9, and we're going to start out verses 30 through 37. They were afraid to ask Him. They came to Capernaum. When He was in the house, He asked them, What were you discussing on the way?

They kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And He sat down, and He called the twelve, and He said to them, If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all. And He took a child, put him in the midst of them, and taking him up in his arms, He said to them, Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me. And whoever receives Me, receives not Me, but Him who sent Me.

Let's go to the Lord in prayer. Heavenly Father, we live in a look at Me society. We see pride oozing out of football players, movie stars, rock band members, politicians, and TV hosts. We also see it in preachers, and elders, deacons, and laymen.

We Christians try a little harder to hide it, but we know it's there. We know humility in the present is tough. Lord, our prayer is this. Jesus was a servant, a suffering servant. May He always be our example. May we think of Christ when we are tempted to boast or have our ego stroked. May we truly learn that the greatest among us is the servant. Help me to preach this morning in a way that would exalt Christ and serve this congregation. For it is in the precious and holy name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.

You may be seated. These verses that we have just dealt with were not written in the Word of God to coddle us or to give us the warm fuzzies. These verses were written to break pride in us and to help us develop godly humility.

Now I want you to listen. I've got just a few verses I want to share with you. I want you to ponder these verses. In Isaiah chapter 66 verse 2, God said, But to this one I will look, to him who is humble, who is contrite in spirit, and who trembles at My word. Micah chapter 6 verse 8, What does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly before your God? First Peter chapter 5 verse 5 says, God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. And James chapter 4 verse 10, Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up. Now I want you as I go through this passage today to keep those verses in mind and just let them ruminate a little bit because this whole section that we're looking at today has to do with our pride and God's desire to turn that pride into humility. I've got two points I want to share with you.

I know you're not getting off easy today and going to leave early because I've got five sub points under the second point. Point one, model in humility. Look at me at verses 30 through 32. They went on from there and passed through Galilee and He did not want anyone to know. For He was teaching His disciples saying to them, The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men and they will kill Him. And when He is killed after three days He will rise.

But they did not understand the saying and were afraid to ask Him. For over two years Jesus has primarily been speaking to the multitudes. He has been preaching His heart out. He has been healing the sick, casting out demons and even raising people from the dead. And the disciples have been walking with Jesus during that time. And they have grown spiritually exponentially. They have grown. Jesus has even sent them out two by two.

And what have they done when they went out? They preached the Word, they cast out demons, they healed the sick when Jesus wasn't even there with them. But as Jesus' popularity has grown, the jealousy and the antagonism of the religious leaders got worse and worse. Jesus knew what their plans were. Their plans were to take Him and nail Him to a cross. Jesus knew that was the will of God. Jesus knew that this was His destiny.

But now His destiny is quickly becoming a reality. So Jesus purposely brings His public ministry to a close in order that He might spend more time focusing in on the disciples. He knows in just a few months the day of Pentecost is coming. And when that day comes, the disciples are going to be filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

And they are going to go out into the world. They are going to go from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria and to the other parts of the earth. So what does Jesus do? He moves away for the most part.

He's still going to do a little bit. But for the most part, He moves away from His ministering to the multitudes so He can spend a lot of time with the disciples. On this same subject in Luke's Gospel, in Luke chapter 9 verse 51 is a great verse of Scripture. And it says this, that Jesus set His face steadfastly toward Jerusalem.

Now what does that mean? It means that Jesus knew exactly what the will of God was for Him. And that will of God was the cross. He is saying in this verse, or Luke is telling us, that Jesus is totally committed to obeying His Father and He's going to the cross and all hell can't stop Him. It is so important for us to see what that verse says. Jesus is looking toward Jerusalem. He is committed to obeying His Father. He's going to the cross.

Nothing on this earth or in heaven and hell can stop Him. Philippians chapter 2 verses 5 through 8 is a very powerful passage. Theologians call this the kenotic passage. It comes from the Greek word kenosis and that word means the emptying. For those 33 years where Jesus was here on earth, He emptied Himself. Of what? Did He empty Himself of His deity?

Absolutely not. He never ceased to be God. He emptied Himself of the privileges of deity. Now, I like to look at Luke chapter 9 verse 51 in connection with what Paul says in Philippians chapter 2 verses 5 through 8. Luke chapter 9 verse 51 says that Jesus set His face steadfastly toward Jerusalem. Then in Philippians 2, 5 through 8, Paul said, Let this mind be in you, which is also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made of Himself of no reputation, took upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man.

And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. As Jesus and the disciples are traveling to Galilee, He explains to them what's going to happen. He says, I'm going to the cross. Wicked, evil men are going to take me. They're going to nail me to that cross.

I'm going to die. They're going to take my body down, place it in a tomb, and three days later, I will rise from the dead. Now, the Scripture says something interesting here, that the disciples did not understand, and that they were afraid to ask Him about what He meant about the cross. What do you think would have happened if they had humbled themselves, come before Jesus, and said to Jesus, Lord, we don't get it. Please explain the cross to us. I believe with all my heart that Jesus would have done what He did to every single person who ever came to Him with an honest question. In a humble spirit with an honest question, I believe that Jesus would have answered their question.

And I think Jesus would have said something like this. I'm going to the cross for very important purposes. Number one, the cross, my death on that cross, will be a substitutionary atonement. I am going to that cross that I might take the sins of my people and give them my righteousness, that I might take their hell and give them my heaven.

That's what I'm doing. He says not only will it be a substitutionary atonement, it will also be a propitiation. My death will appease the wrath of God against their sin. Thirdly, it will be a reconciliation. That my shed blood will do something very special. It will reconcile a holy God to a sinful people. And then thirdly, my death, Jesus says, will be a redemption.

He says I'm going to shed my blood on the cross in order to pay the sin debt for my people to purchase them out of the slave market of sin. Listen, if you have a legitimate question as a child of God, what should you do? Here's the answer. Ask. Ask. Jesus said, Ask and it shall be given to you. Seek and you shall find.

Knock and it shall be opened to you. Here's a personal example. I'd been pastoring in churches for about seven years and a man started talking to me and started challenging me about the doctrine of God's sovereignty over our salvation.

I had never really dealt with that very much. And so I was intrigued by it and I went to the Lord in prayer. I said, Lord, I want to know this. I want to have it right. I want you to show me.

What does this actually mean? Show me. And then as I prayed, I went to the scripture. I was absolutely shocked at what God did show me. I thought there might be a couple of unclear verses there about the subject of God's sovereignty over our salvation.

How wrong was I? All of a sudden God began to show me just one scripture after another. I went from Genesis to Revelation. I found over 600 direct or indirect references to God's sovereignty over our salvation. I saw that the scripture was teaching us, teaching us that man's will is not just a free will. It is a fettered will. It is a will that is fettered by our sin. We are born with a sin nature.

We are dead in our trespasses and sins. But God, who is rich in mercy, hath quickened us and seated us in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, as I started seeing that, God gave me a new Bible and I had a bigger God. He did wonderful works. He broke pride in my life and just showed me truth and squashed my pride. Helped me to depend on Christ more than I ever had before.

I'd been depending way too much on Doug and not near enough on Jesus. What would happen if the disciples had gone to Jesus and said, Explain to us the cross I think that he would have? So how did Jesus model humility? He, as the Son of God, emptying himself, took upon himself the form of a servant and was obedient even unto death. All right, that takes us to point two, teaching humility.

Got five sub points. A, lack of humility destroys unity. Look at verse 33 through 34. And they came to Capernaum and when he was in the house he asked them, What were you discussing on the way? But they kept silent. For on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. They went to a house in Capernaum.

Every commentary that I looked at said that this house was surely Simon Peter's house. So they're in the house, they're talking with each other and Jesus says, Guys, I got a question. What were you talking about on the road to Capernaum? Did they answer? Nope. They kept it quiet.

Why? They were ashamed. What had they been talking about? They had been talking about who was the greatest. John MacArthur had a great statement here. He said this, This was a disturbing and potentially disastrous development.

These men were the first generation of gospel preachers and would be the leaders of the soon to be founded church. With so much rioting on them and so much opposition from the hostile world, they needed to be unified and supportive of each other. The danger revealed here is that pride ruins unity by destroying relationships. Relationships are based on loving sacrifice and service, on selfless deferring to and giving to others. Pride, being self-focused, is indifferent to others.

Beyond that, it is ultimately judgmental and critical and therefore divisive. Because of that, pride is the most common destroyer both of relationships and churches. It plagued the Corinthian church, causing Paul to ask, For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly?

And are you not walking like mere men? Knowing that pride is the wedge Satan uses to split churches and split our relationships, the Lord stressed to the disciples the crucial necessity of humility. How many churches have split over the last 2,000 years? Not over doctrinal issues, but over the inflated egos of preachers.

How often has that happened? Where there might be 3 or 4 preachers in a particular church, and all of a sudden it's like there's competition there. Who's smarter?

Who has the most gifts? Who is the most popular in this church? Folks, that's nothing but stinking competition. And we shouldn't have competition in the church.

Folks, we're on the same team. And what happens if, because of pastors' inflated egos, if a church does split, what happens to the sinners in that community? They look at that and guess who wins in that situation? Satan wins.

Alright, point two. Pride steals honor. Look at verse 35. And he sat down and he called the twelve and he said to them, if anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all. Less than a year ago I was talking to a young man who had just finished, graduated from seminary. He had been called by a particular church. And he was kind of aggravated as he was in that church, and he shared with me, he said, the people in this church just don't respect me. I asked them to call me reverend or to call me preacher and they won't do it.

They just call me by my name. And he said, doggone it, he said, I worked hard on this theological degree and I deserve their respect. And I said to him, listen, the most important title that you have as a preacher is this, servant.

Servant. If Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Second Person of the Trinity, if He is the suffering servant, then how much more should preachers be? And how much more should the people of God be servants? 1 Corinthians 4, 1, the Apostle Paul said, this is how one should regard us as servants of Christ. So what's the problem with proud people? I think part of it is that they think in the temporary instead of thinking in the eternal.

Now think about it. Who were the least humble and the most proud people in Israel in Jesus' day? It was the religious leaders, wasn't it? Who were the greatest enemies of Jesus? It was the religious leaders. And why was there so much animosity? Why did they hate Jesus so much? It was pride that was immersed in jealousy. So what was going on? Well, for years all the common people, lay people, had come to them when they had needed advice or when they needed counsel. All of a sudden they weren't coming to them anymore. Now they were coming to Jesus.

The disciples hated the pride that they saw in the religious leaders, but they cherished the pride that was in their own heart. What does a servant do? He puts others above himself. William Booth was the founder of the Salvation Army. He was on his deathbed.

He was in a hospital. And the hospital was in a city where the Salvation Army was having their annual convention. So the Salvation Army sent two messengers over to talk to him on his deathbed.

And they came over and they said, We need a message from you. You're the one that started this organization. What can you do to help us be successful as members of the Salvation Army?

He said, Go back and give them this one word. Others. Others. And folks, that's why the Salvation Army has been successful for all these years. They put others above themselves. Moms and dads, one of the most important things that you can do for your kids is to develop in them a servant heart.

It needs them to put God first and others second. We think showering children with material things, building up their self-esteem, is what's going to make them happy. That won't make them happy. That'll make them proud.

It'll make them selfish. My dad was one of the most unselfish people that I've ever known. And he taught us what the Word of God says about putting others above yourself.

But not only did he teach us by word, he also lived it by example. I was taking him to the dentist about a year before he died. My dad and I go to the same dentist. I've been going to Dr. Bullard for years and years.

I have a lot of respect for him. But dad went in, he got checked out, and when Dr. Bullard came out in front of me, he began to share with dad. He said, you've got a space back here in the left part of your mouth. And he said, that needs an implant. And you need to get that implant in or it's going to be really too hard to chew. And my dad looked at him and he said, how much is it going to cost?

And Dr. Bullard said, well, it'll be probably around $2,500. Dad said, I think I'll pass. We got in the car, we were headed back home. I said, dad, he said, you needed that tooth.

You got the money, go for it. And dad said, Doug, I'm getting old. He said, I probably won't be around here too much longer. And if I don't spend that money on that tooth, then when I die, your mom will have $2,500 more to help take care of her needs. My dad was unselfish as he could be, but I will never forget that incident. It blessed my heart. And it was an example to me of putting others above myself.

Like Subpoint C, pride rejects deity. Look with me at verses 36 through 37. And he took a child, put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives not me, but him who sent me. Some commentators believe that this child that Jesus picked up and put on his lap was none other than the child, probably the son, of Simon Peter. It was Peter's house. I doubt seriously, while they had all the disciples there, if there had been other kids running around. So I think there's a very, very good possibility that that's right, and that this was Simon Peter's little boy. He had an incident that took place where Jesus picked him up, put him on his lap, and loved on him, that I'll guarantee you he thought about for the whole rest of his life. Now I'm going to throw a scenario out here.

You're not going to find it in Scripture. But as I thought about, if that's a possibility, then what was it like? And I think the principles are here. So listen very carefully.

Think about it. Peter's little boy grows up. About 30 years pass, he's 35 years old. Finds out that his mother and his dad have both just been martyred.

They've been crucified in Rome. And maybe Peter's little boy took after his dad and became a fisherman. And maybe he's on his boat and he's coming back in and he's getting ready to pull the boat up at the dock and he looks over there at the dock and there's his wife. And his wife is standing there and tears are rolling down her cheeks.

And he jumps out of the boat and he runs over there and he hugs her neck and says, Honey, what's the matter? And she said, A messenger just came by the house. And the messenger told us that your dad and your mom have just been crucified. They've been killed. They've been martyred for their faith because your dad, Peter, would not quit preaching the gospel.

She says, Praise God for that. And I can just see Peter's son, a 35-year-old man. Tears are rolling down his cheeks.

He's just broken about this. He thinks back 30 years before to that day that Jesus picked him up in his arms and put him up on his lap and then said these words to him. Whoever receives a little child like this receives me.

And whoever receives me receives not me but him who sent me. And he remembers how Jesus put his arms around his neck and the love of Jesus just emanated from his person. He remembered how he knew he'd never get over that. Then he thinks about his mom and his dad.

To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. He thinks about where they are right now and all of a sudden the tears turn into a smile. And he thinks to himself, Mom and Dad are with Jesus. They are worshiping him. He's probably already done to them what he did for me when I was five years old. He's probably thrown his arms around their neck and hugged them and just loved on them.

He's probably already said those words that I want to hear so desperately one day. Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter now into the joy of the Lord. John MacArthur said this, Jesus used young children several times as illustrations of humility. They have not yet accomplished or achieved anything.

They have no power or honor but are weak, dependent, and ignored. Rabbis considered it a waste of time to teach the Torah to a little child under the age of 12. Little children are analogous to believers, therefore, Jesus said, whoever receives one child like this and my name receives me and whoever receives me does not receive me but him who sent me. The profound reality is that how Christians treat fellow believers is how they treat Christ.

You hear that? How Christians treat fellow believers is how they treat Christ. Conversely, those who reject other believers reject him.

Matthew's Gospel, we'll give it a little more detail. Jesus said this, Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. How do we become like little children?

I think primarily by trusting. I remember when my kids were little, I'd take them, I'd pick them up, put them up on top of the refrigerator, I'd step back several feet and say, jump! And they never hesitated. And I called them. And they knew that I would catch them because they knew I'm their dad and I love them with all my heart.

I would never drop them. And they knew it. It's weird to be like little children. Little children are trusting. Little children are contrite in spirit.

Little children are humble. Remember what Isaiah 66 verse 2 says? God said to this one I will look to him who is humble, who is contrite in spirit and who trembles at my word.

Now think about it. What's the primary reason that people sperm the gospel today? What's the primary reason that people say no to Jesus and push him away? Say, no, no, I can't do that.

I can't come to you. Is it not pride? The vast majority of the intellectually elite in America actually believe that they're too intelligent to simply trust in the so-called God, a so-called Jesus, that doesn't agree with their political and academic agenda. If they were to humble themselves and come to Christ and surrender to him, that would mean that they would have to walk away from their evolutionary theory, that they couldn't accept that. They'd have to walk away acknowledging that it was wrong. They would have to walk away from their idea that there are multiple genders where the scripture says there are not but two, male and female. They would have to walk away from the idea that there's really life after death.

Let me tell you something. When an unbeliever dies two seconds after that death, two seconds after that death, his pride will be broken. His doubts will be gone and all hope will be vanquished forever. Folks, pride rejects deity.

Subpoint D, pride creates exclusivity. Verses 38 through 40. John said to him, Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name and we tried to stop him because he was not following us. But Jesus said, Do not stop him. For no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. For the one who is not against us is for us. Let me share with you what the apostle Paul said about people are teaching false doctrines and heresies.

Titus 3, 9 through 11. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law. For they are unprofitable and they're worthless. As for a person who stirs up division after warning him once and then twice had nothing more to do with him. Knowing that such a person is warped and sinful, he is self-condemned. Then John, the same John that Jesus is rebuking here in this passage said this in 2 John. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. So both John and Paul warn us not to allow heresies or false doctrines to be taught. He said if you see that going on, then point it out, fight against it, warn others about it, and separate yourself from those people. Well, is that what the disciples are doing?

Absolutely not. This man has not been teaching heresy. He's not doing anything wrong. He has cast out a demon out of somebody else in the name of Jesus. So why did the disciples get upset about this? They got upset about this because that man was not lining up with them. That man did not come to them for help and for approval. That man was just doing something for Jesus' name by himself. They didn't like it.

They wanted the glory for this. So the problem is just jealousy. Yes, that's the problem. William McDougall said, McDonald said this, Jesus said to his disciples, Don't stop him. If he has enough faith in me to use my name in casting out demons, and if he's on my side and is working against Satan, he is inept to turn around quickly and speak evil of me or my enemy. Folks, if people love Jesus, if they have been born again by the Spirit of God, if they know and love the Word of God, then they're our brothers and sisters in Christ. Now, we have to be careful not to compromise on fundamentals.

But with the peripheral things, we need to be able to agree to disagree. All right, subpoint E, humility brings reward. Look at verse 41. For truly I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.

Even the smallest, kindest gesture done in Jesus' name will be rewarded. Richard Wernbrandt is one of my heroes. Richard Wernbrandt was a Lutheran pastor in Communist Romania. Fourteen years he was thrown into a prison in Communist Romania, and he was horribly persecuted. He was beaten so badly he had scars all over his body. One guard came in one day and was mocking what Isaiah said, and he said, Isaiah says that beautiful are the feet of those who take the good news to the world.

He said, you got beautiful feet? He took his shoes off, he took a baseball bat, and he beat his feet to the point where every bone in both feet were absolutely crushed. Finally, he was let out of prison.

What did he do? He went out preaching the gospel on the very day he was let out of prison. And he started, he was the founder of an organization called Voice of the Martyrs. I tell you, I think of Richard Wernbrandt, and I think of what he did, and I'll tell you, the persecution that man went through, I can't even begin to imagine.

I hadn't experienced anything like that. He's a hero of mine. He's just a great hero of mine.

I love what he's done. Let me tell you, when he died, when he went to be with the Lord, he was greatly rewarded for all that he's done. Let me tell you this. You will be rewarded, and I will be rewarded, if we give a cup of cold water in Jesus' name to a person who has need of it.

I think we're being told to think this way. Don't hunger for the praise of men. Don't long for your ego to be stroked, but deeply, deeply thirst to hear these words from the mouth of Jesus. Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter now into the joy of the Lord.

Let's pray. Heavenly Father, I thank You for the men and women who You've placed in my life to teach me the virtue of humility. I had a daddy who was humble and enjoyed putting others before himself. I've had pastors and elders and deacons who served God in me and gave me glorious examples to follow. But I thank You most of all for Jesus, who taught us perfect humility as a suffering servant, who gave us all so that we could live. May Jesus be the light that guides us into fellowship with God and with others. For it is in the precious and holy name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-15 08:22:08 / 2023-02-15 08:34:54 / 13

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