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May 14, 2020 10:00 pm
BJU President Dr. Steve Pettit continues a series entitled “Wisdom From Above.” This series is from the book of James. Today’s scripture passage is James 4:7-10.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina.
The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services today. That tradition continues with fervent little preaching from the University chapel platform today on The Daily Platform. Dr. Steve Pettit is continuing a study series entitled wisdom from above, which is a study of the book of James. This study was preached to Bob Jones University students in chapel during the first few months of 2020. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The student body went home but students continued to take classes through online delivery to keep students connected to the school. Dr. Pettit decided to continue preaching the James series through Lifestream chapel services.
Let's listen to today's message were Steve will show us humility and action from the book of James. Booker T. Washington was a renowned Christian African-American educator and an outstanding example of humility, he became the first president of Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1881, just 16 years after the ending of the Civil War.
One afternoon he was stopped by a wealthy white woman. While walking through an exclusive section of town, not knowing the famous Mr. Washington by sight. She ask if you would like to earn a few dollars by chopping wood for her because he had no pressing business at the moment. Pres. Washington smiled, rolled up his sleeves and proceeded to do the humble sure that she had requested when he was finished he carried the logs into the house and stacked them by the fireplace and then a little girl recognized him and later revealed his identity to the lady.
The next morning the embarrassed woman went to the office of Pres. Washington at the University and she apologized profusely. He replied by saying it's perfectly all right Mdm. Occasionally I enjoy doing a little manual labor.
And besides, it's always a delight to do something for a friend while she shook his hand warmly and assured him that his meek and gracious attitude had endeared him and his work to her heart.
Not long afterward, she showed her admiration by persuading some wealthy acquaintances to join her in donating thousands of dollars to the Tuskegee University, Booker T. Washington, when known to be the leader in the African-American community in the United States of America. Between 1890 and 1915 God delights to honor his people who are truly humble. Proverbs 1533 says the fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility.
We have been studying from the book of James chapters 3 and four on the theme wisdom from above. What is a wise person like a wise person manifests their wisdom and the way they handle things with the meek spirit we seen as we go through our studies how it is that the human heart is sinful and depraved and has its own desires for self exaltation, and last week we learned that when God's people are worldly. That is, they let their desires, their sinful desires control them. We learn that God responds in the spirit of jealousy because he loves us and he responds with an attitude of grace. So this morning I'd like us to look at James chapter 4 verses seven through 10.
This is a two-part series, so will do half this week and half the next week, we see here where James is leading us to a place of grace, a grace that is conditioned on his people choosing to be humble.
So the question to be asked is what is it what is actually required in being humble. What is if you could say this way, humility and action, and I'd like to read this morning. James chapter 4 verses seven through 10. Notice what the Scripture says, submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Drawing I do God and he will draw an IDU. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded be afflicted, and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to morning and your joy to have heaviness. Humble yourselves in the side of the Lord and he shall lift you up. He begins this section of 10 specific commands with her. Therefore, submit yourselves therefore this is the proof. This is the beginning of the practical commands or the practical steps one must take in being humble. God resisted the proud. We read in verse six but he gives grace to the humble. So what James is doing is he's telling us the steps that we need to take the 10 specific commands to humility this morning.
We will look at the first and the last command and next week will look at the other eight commands that are in the middle between command two and command nine. So why are we looking at the first and the last command because it's it's almost like their bookends. The first command is the introduction. The last command is the summarization of the overall truth that is found when one is humble when a person is a humble person. What do they look like one of the basics.
One of the specifics and we see those two commands this morning. The first command. The introduction command. You could say the foundation, the basis is the commandment to submit yourselves therefore to God.
The primary action necessary to us to receive grace to show humility is to submit yourself to God. The word submit is the Greek word that is used as a military term. It describes a soldier who enlists in the military swears allegiance to his country, and then he subordinates himself to the authority of his commanding officer I went to military school here in South Carolina called the Citadel. My freshman year I was immediately placed into a rank or an authority structure. I was placed into a cut a company and that company was in a battalion for companies to a battalion in my company there was a company commander there were there were lieutenants.
There were sergeants there were corporals and I was a private in the first thing that I learned is how to respond to authority and I was given three answers in those three answers are the only answers that I could give to an upperclassman.
When asked a question and those answers were sir yes sir, sir no sir and sir, no excuse, sir. Any other answer was unacceptable to an upperclassman and so from the very beginning you learn the importance of submission submitting to orders submitting to directives to submit to God means this that you are putting yourself completely under God's authority and God's control over your life. You are saying that I will do what God wants me to do.
I will be what God wants me to be. I will go where God wants me to go. I will say what God wants me to say I will have what God wants me to have. I will live where God wants me to live and by the way, should God not expect us as his children to submit to him. Think about it is not all creation completely submitted to God.
Colossians 116. All things were created by him and for him and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. Everything is held together under him. Hebrews 213 God put everything in subjection under the feet of Jesus and now in putting everything in subjection to Jesus.
He is left nothing outside of his control.
Jesus Christ rules and reign.
He is Lord over all.
He is preeminent overall Romans chapter 8, the apostle Paul tells us that the whole created world is living in submission to God under a curse, and that curses because of sin, but they groaned the creation groans and travails until the day when that bondage will be released the bondage of decay.
The bondage of death into the glorious freedom of a new heaven and a new earth, so all creation is living in submission to God, should you and I not be in submission to God the magic question was Jesus Christ not completely submitted to the father, Jesus the son of God, one with the father in perfect unity and complete equality but listen to what Jesus said in John six in verse 38 for I came down from heaven not to do mine own will but the will of him that sent me. Jesus submitted himself to the father all the way to the point of the cross where he died in obedience to God's command. If the sun is in submission. If creation is in submission should not you and I be in submission and then listen to what the Scripture says it says the church is completely submitted to Jesus Christ and he is the head of the body, the church and the church is subject unto Christ.
Ephesians chapter 4 and verse 24 so you and I is in any individual believer should be completely submitted to God. So how would you know if your submitted what are some of the evidence of that. Well I think first of all, you know your submitted to God when every area of your life has been completely surrendered to God's control. I love the story of the.
The general been hey dad who came to conquer King Ahab in Samaria and would be when been hey dad came.
He said these words you two King Ahab. He said your silver and your gold are mine. Your best wives and children also are mine and listen to the words that came out of King Ahab's own mouth and the king of Israel answered and said, my Lord, O King, according to thy saying I am dying and all that I have, to completely surrender to Jesus Christ is to say what Ahab said to been hey dad, I am thine, and all that I have when the apostle Paul met Jesus on the Damascus Road.
He asked them to questions. Paul said, who art thou, Lord, and secondly, what will you have me to do all that I have my whole life.
Everything is surrendered to God. I want to ask you, especially as a college student. Have you completely surrendered your whole life to God I came to the Lord in the spring of 1975 in the summer of 19 set 76. God did a major housecleaning in my life. It was about a year's process were God began to take away the idols of my life. The things that I loved and lived for desired and he brought me to a place of complete surrender my whole life and I remember very clearly coming to God is saying God I give you my future. God I give you my friendships.
God I give you my finances God I give you my future job in whatever you want me to do God I give you my marriage in the future who you want me to marry God I give you my health, my dreams, my hopes, my plans, my ambitions everything surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, so that I could say in Psalm chapter 73.
Whom do I have in heaven. But the and there is none upon earth. I desire besides the battle of the human heart is the battle of whether or not my desires will be wholly surrendered to God or as a Christian. I'll be double minded.
Living for the world and living for God so let me ask you the question is, every area of your life. Surrender to God. Secondly, are you living in submission to the authority that God is currently placed over you.
You see, the measure of your submission is seen in your relationship to authority you learn this is a child. Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. You see your obedience to your parents is your obedience to the Lord Jesus was described as living in submission to his parents and he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them and I think the fact of how many of you go home now in your living in a completely different situation than you did when you were in college here. What is your spirit and what is your attitude towards those who are in authority over you.
I me think of the sheer humility of Jesus the son of God, the creator and the maker of heaven and earth, who completely submitted to himself to his own fallible parents. We by nature want to have infallible parents.
But that's not the way that it is Jesus was obedient to the authority that was over him, so let me ask a question, do you blow all the rules and the restrictions of your of your authority as if they're irrelevant when you're corrected by authority do you receive it or you react to it. We learned earlier that meekness is not being reactionary, but it's being submissive to authority into circumstances. Do you look for the inconsistencies of leaders in this as an excuse for your own actions.
How does one know that they are living in submission to God is because they are living in submission to the authority that God has placed over them, whether it's their family. Whether it's the government whether it's the church where ever you are the facts and evidence signs of your submission to God.
So James is urging us if you want grace God gives grace to the humble.
How do we become humble by submitting ourselves to God and then secondly he says in the last command found in verse 10 that we are to humble ourselves before God. Verse 10 humble yourselves in the side of the Lord and he shall lift you up. Arthur Bennett has edited a wonderful collection of Puritan prayers. If you've never gotten the book at encourage you to do it. It's entitled skews me the Valley of vision in the introductory prayer by the same title. He writes this prayer.
Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up that to be low is to be high that the broken in heart is the healed heart that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit that the repenting soul is the victorious soul that I have nothing is to possess everything that to bear the cross is to wear the crown that to give is to receive that the Valley is the place of vision. The last commandment is directed towards us is individuals in our response. Not so much to authority, but in our response to God to humble yourself. The word humble means to live prostrate at the feet of a sovereign King. It's not just bowing the knee, but all the way to the ground you humble yourself. Humility is a sense of absolute unworthiness in the presence of the one who is absolutely worthy. Think about it. What was the response of Isaiah and Joe and Peter and Joshua and John when they all came into the presence of the Lord did they rise up know they fell down in the side of the Lord. That was their response to God. The Bible says to humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, we go back to the beginning of the book of James is his writing believers and he tells them to rejoice in their trials. How do you rejoice in the trial. You can only rejoice at a trial when you surrendered your life to God and you realize that the circumstances that have come in your life or for your good and for God's glory, you've surrendered to the Lord you humbled yourself before the Lord in us in this humbling process in the face of trials that I this that I developed a spirit of meekness, a sweetness of gentleness and kindness. Humble yourselves in the side of the Lord because he is absolutely worthy, let me also say that humility is a sense of absolute dependence on another because life has brought you into a low place. Humility is depending on another because the life that your living has brought you into a very low place. What is he say humble yourselves in the side of the Lord and he will lift you up. Something is brought you low a circumstance situation and you have chosen to embrace it in a position of attendance or humility before God.
You see, humility is not just seen in obedience but humility is seen in dependents and you are looking to God to raise you up one of the greatest illustrations in the Bible. When we use over and over is the story of Joseph.
Joseph was the chosen special son of his father.
He was the dreamer in his dreams.
He dreamed that not only his brothers but his own father would ballot down before him and what did God do to fulfill that dream.
He ballot Joseph down what happened to Joseph.
He was forsaken by his own family.
He was sold and the slavery he was falsely accused for trying to to seduce the wife of his own master. Then he was taken and thrown into prison and while he was imprisoned. He interpreted the dream of a Baker to Butler and one of them promise that when he got out he would he would commend Joseph to his king and he got out and totally forgot about it. Think of those three things, forsaken falsely accused forgotten all different aspects of being personally rejected. It would be so easy it would've been so easy for Joseph to feel like he had been rejected by God but God was not rejecting Joseph God was fulfilling his purpose and plan for his own people. God had a purpose and plan in the sufferings of Joseph and what was Joseph's response, he humbled himself in the side of the Lord. And what did God do. He lifted him up. He raised him up. He took him out of the prison, and he put them in the palace he went from being a servant and a slave tipping and second command to the most powerful ruler on planet Earth, Pharaoh king of Egypt. We humble ourselves in the side of the Lord and what will God do God will lift you up. So, if life is put you in a low place, then humility means to trust God to believe God will lift you up in his time. Perhaps you been put into a low place of disappointment, rejection, personal failure, maybe somebody has criticized you or misrepresented you.
Maybe you been misunderstood.
Maybe you have been forgotten, overlooked, missed treated.
Maybe your living in a low place where you are constantly being irritated or perhaps you are living with sickness, disease, maybe you live with daily stress that burdens you down your live living under pressure financial pressure physical pressure family pressure.
Maybe you face the tragedy the death of a loved one, a dream that's completely been dashed. All of these circumstances bring us low and that bring us low is an opportunity for God to lift us up Jesus was brought low on the cross and buried into a tomb and as we celebrated yesterday. He was brought up from the grave alive. God has said to us.
Humble yourselves in the side of the Lord, submit yourselves therefore to God and what we what will he do, he will lift you up number of years ago I read many of the books of the famous writer Andrew McMurray. Murray was a well-known pastor who lived in South Africa and he lived from 1828 to 1917 he began his ministry in 1848. And after 31 years of ministry stretched tragedy tragedy struck in his life when he became ill and he lost his voice for almost 2 years and during those years of silence God led Murray to a deeper humility and a greater love for God and Murray authored over 240 books but perhaps his most famous book is the book humility. I remember reading that book as a college student. It was very thin. Doesn't take long to read but I remember picking it up and being somewhat not skeptical but fearful about reading the book as you read through the book and you see the humility of Christ in the humility of and how God blesses those that are humble you come to the end of the book and at the end of the book, you make a personal commitment to be humble and I remember reading that in a prayer that you pray to God to say, God, I'm willing to be humble.
I miss you question. Have you ever prayed a prayer to God. God I want to be humble. Fact is, in the end the book.
He urges believers for one month to pray as often and as frequent as possible that God would make known to you, your own pride and bring you into a greater sense of humility. I'd like to encourage you to do that because God gives grace to the humble and wise people are meek people and the pathway to meekness is through being humble, may we pray together. Father, we thank you for your word. We thank you for your daily grace and your constant kindness to us, Lord, we realize we are not humble people. We are very proud and father you have promised us and you've told us that humility is one of the greatest virtues in the Christian life.
The Lord we lack it. So Lord help us to be humble, even in this time of covert, 19 we find that there are many acts of, or our experiences of humility, of being brought low God. We pray that you give grace to us as we seek to be humble before you in Jesus name, amen.
You been listening to a sermon from the book of James by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University.
For more information on Dr. Pettit series, visit our email@example.com where you can get a copy of Steve's study booklet entitled wisdom from above. The Kindle version is also available. Thanks for listening. Join us again tomorrow as we study God's word together on the daily