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A Lesson in Humility (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
July 29, 2020 4:00 am

A Lesson in Humility (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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July 29, 2020 4:00 am

Today’s culture often considers pride a virtue—but God’s Word calls us to display a different attitude. Study along with us on Truth For Life as Alistair Begg explains how to develop a humble spirit.


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Were often encouraged to take pride in who we are. The Bible calls us to develop a different attitude today on Truth for Life will hear Alastair Begg speak to an audience of college students about the biblical virtue of humility part of a very practical series called lessons for life.

May I invite you to take your Bible and turn to Romans chapter 12 there were going to turn from there to first Peter chapter 5, if you put your finger into Romans 12 to begin with.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is is good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measured of faith God has given you. And if you turn over to first Peter chapter 5 Peter writing in the same vein, says young man in the same way be submissive to those who are older all of you clothe yourselves with humility towards one another because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Amen.

What I'm tempted to say that I'm very proud of the message that I'm not about to bring to especially when you realize that the subject matters humility. I think that to deal with this subject is as challenging as any in my own life. It is an important principle of preaching and teaching those who have been called to such a task would first of all be recognizing that the first place that the word of God needs to come with impact and with change is to the life of the individual who in turn becomes the proclaimer of that news. I want to say to you than on each occasion as I have the privilege of opening up the Scriptures. It is my perspective that, although I happened to be the voice that is talking.

I do believe that God would speak both to the speaker and to the listeners, put his hand upon areas of our lives that are in need of correction and direct action and change and renewal and that is nowhere that is more obvious in my own life than in this quite telling area regarding the express need for a humble heart for Paul and for Peter to address the matter of humility in their day was to introduce a subject which was largely disregarded by their contemporary cultures. It was rather that the prevailing pattern of the time in which they were both writing was marked by self-assertion and by self-aggrandizement, no notion amongst the pagans that humility was the key to anything at all.

Indeed, if it is any place in a person's life. It merely served to exemplify their weaknesses. You don't have to be particularly bright to realize that not a lot has changed. When we scan the bookshelves of contemporary stores. We realize that there is a tremendous absence of any kind of literature given to the issue of humility of any kind of tall.

I've had the privilege of speaking to a number of teachers in-service days in some of our public high schools in Ohio.

And as I have not only spoken but had the opportunity to listen to some of the surrounding material and to observe their curriculum and agenda for the day.

It is been quite striking to realize that that is an obvious absence and almost total disregard for the idea that humility is a foundational element of a person's character and is essential to one's self discovery and her usefulness. It has not always been this way.

I think there have been times and generations and people who obviously have been marked out by an approach which is none other than humble some of you will enjoy the literature of the gentleman who wrote for example, far from the madding crowd and tests of the Derby Vos, etc. Thomas Hardy, Thomas Hardy growing up as a young man long very much to be a successful writer and novelist and he began by sending little articles to the newspaper with little bits and pieces of observation of the countryside, etc. and then of course he had his first great success and was within a relatively short period of time, able to command vast sums of money for the books that he was writing and yet it is regarded in biographical material that when he submitted, perhaps a letter or an article to a newspaper, even after the height of his success. He always scented with a stamped addressed envelope in case it should be set aside by the editorial staff and regarded as not worthy of inclusion in the newspaper. Of course they wanted everything that he wrote if he had written merely his address down they would've published it in the newspaper and it was a testimony to a humble heart that he genuinely anticipated the possibility of his material being rejected and so he displayed it in that way. Today we are surrounded by people who are frankly proud we are surrounded by children who are little rascals and vagabonds and and in brackets and apparently have been led to believe by their ill advised parents that the more they can develop this strange quirk in their personality, the better able they will be to make their way through life so we come across statements on people's doors like I'm humble and proud of it or the fellow who wrote across the door on his University hall of residence. No I am not conceited and then underneath that he put although I have every right to be so. The fact of the matter is that the preoccupations of our culture have far more to do with the self-assertion and focusing on who we are and being out on person selling ourselves and promoting ourselves and making ourselves out to be greater than we really are then evident has to do with responding realistically to what the Scriptures have to say concerning this matter of biblical humility. Nowhere has it reached the Senate more in the world of contemporary song and I used contemporary for the last 40 years than in that song, which is popularized by old blue eyes himself the grandfather of crooning as he sings with great frequency and boldness concerning how he's lived and laughed and cried and had his fill in shade of losing. But now, as the tears subsided. He finds it also amusing to think. He says that I did all that and may I say, not in a shy way. Oh no oh no, not me.

I did it my way. For what is a man, what is he God is not himself that he is not to say the things he truly feels not the voice of one who use the record shows. I took the blows I did it my way. I've always felt horribly uncomfortable with the singing of that song.

None more so than when I open my morning newspaper to discover that none other than Frank Sinatra had dropped down in a dead faint. In the middle of singing that song. I thought that was once I knew it was okay.

I thought it was really pretty humorous to tell you the truth and how the whole concert came to a grinding halt, wheeled out a chair. He put them in a wheelchair and they pushed him off the stage with the band still playing the melody line. I did it my way. I did it my way and I wondered if there was going to come up point if there will be a point when suddenly they expect classic awareness dawns both on the singers of the song and the listeners of the songs and those who aspire to that kind of selfish preoccupation the very breath that we breathe in the life that we live in all that we are and all that we have is as a result of God's grace and goodness to us. I put it to you young people tonight that we are all perhaps more in need of talk on humility than most of ours are prepared to admit.

While I suppose I could test it really why don't you put up your hand if you're a humble course. One taker who immediately put his hand down quickly.

The fight of the matter is that even with our best attempts at discrimination in relationship to who and what we are. We have a sneaking suspicion that all of us think we let more of ourselves and we really ought to humility is the heir in which all the graces of Christian godliness grow and URI may be possessed of great gift and wonderful ability and great aspiration and tremendous passion, and the utmost diligence and may even apparently be successful and useful and actually amount to very little for God. If at the court of our being. There is an absence of this issue of humility. This is not a particularly comfortable study. I want to let you know that so you can get used to it and ready for let me say five things concerning humility out of first Peter, I try not to take too long with them. Let me go to them and see if you can find them there in the text. If you can, you should probably just disregard the physical mean that I've made them up.

First Peter chapter 5 humility will be revealed in our relationships. Humility will be revealed in our relationships. Humility is not something that is discovered and then displayed in a vacuum, it brings itself out into life in our interpersonal relationships, and so it is that as Peter addresses young men, particularly in verse five he is addressing again something that he has made much already in his letter, the absolute necessity of a submissive heart, submissive on the part of those who are employees towards their employers submission that is there in relationship to the whole structure of living within the bonds of Christian marriage and submission within the family of God, to those who are placed in the unique position of leadership. And he says I want you as young men in the same way as you discover what I have already taught you to display within your lives in your relationships to and with one another. This characteristic of humility. You will notice in verse five he says all of you clothe yourselves with humility towards one another. In other words is relatively easy to think about being humble is quite a different thing in our interpersonal relationships to display it and that is a particular need here for young men in relationship to this that is largely why the Holy Spirit confronts young men not that young women are necessarily absented from the application but the fact of the matter is that young men are unhappily thrown to self-assertion into believing more of ourselves than we really should we tend to think that if we were in the position that another is and we would do better than that if they were only young like eyes instead of old and a little bullish then they would understand the way that we understand and so we are absent genuine respect, which is born of humility, you will realize how old the man I am and I tell you that in Scotland growing up as we sat in our classroom waiting for the schoolteacher to arrive in the morning as soon as he or she walked in the door. All of us in the class stood to attention at our desks. The reason we did so was as a mark of respect whenever a lady came into the room.

We also were called upon his men boys to stand. We grew up in an era when we knew that it is absolutely out of place to keep your hat on in a public building and so we did not attend church wearing crazy looking baseball hats. We did not sit in cafeterias wearing them either and that the reason was that it was an issue of respect. If you find yourself reacting to that and saying good is this Roscoe think he is coming in here and telling us about our baseball hats then listen, you've got a little problem with humility. Sorry to let you know because I merely illustrating from a previous year. I'm not mandating that you know the difference between a biblical mandate and an institutional preference, don't you just discovered my wife was telling me that she saw program. Just the other day I had something to do with Chinese immigrants in the Chinese lady had written to her family back in China who were coming to visit her in America and they had. She tried to prepare them for what it would need what they would need to do and how sensitive they would need to be to the culture and the lady wrote to them and told them you must wear baseball hats when you come it is part of their religion.

Now that was her conjecture. She had looked and seen so many people wearing these hats, but this is not a talk on baseball had you just do whatever you please with that. It is only an issue when we realize that in our relationships with one another.

Humility will come out.

Secondly, humility is primarily an attitude of mind. You will notice that humility is revealed in our attitude. And then in turn in our actions were not exhorted to feel humble were not actually exhorted to pray about being humble. We are exhorted to adopt an attitude of humility developed which he employs here is as descriptive as it is unusual. This phrase, clothe yourselves with humility. The Greek word end: bore my which is the verb which means to not something on our time something on tightly as a distinguishing mark.

It came expressly to be used of a slave tying on an apron so that when they put the apron on they were declaring their status and they were declaring that activity in much the same way that in some homes they have these in that the mother has an apron, which are when the father is called through for Judy. She puts it over him and ties around his back and he is in no doubt as to what he supposed to do now is to fulfill the role of a servant, and he ties on his apron as an illustration of that truth. Now this is the picture that is used here to be a humble person involves an action which emerges from an attitude.

If I cherish exaggerated ideas of myself. I will determine that there is no need for me to put on the apron. Someone else can put on the apron. After all, they're the folks who should be putting on the but not for me business out a little bit like John 13 and the disciples after the journey on the dusty road. Nobody washing the feet and then the Lord Jesus himself taking a towel and putting it around him as an apron as the end: bore my of the slaves activity and taking a basin and washing the disciples feet. Each of these characters revealing in their actions. The attitude of their minds as they lived along the role and said somebody can wash my feet, but I'm not washing your feet. Listen to how JB Phillips paraphrases the third verse of Romans 12 as your spiritual leader I give this piece of advice to each one of you don't cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a seen estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith that God has given to all of you don't cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance and attitude of humility things about serving rather than being served. It thinks about giving rather than taking things about responding to leadership rather than always commanding it thinks about fitting into the rearrangements of others rather than always demanding that everyone will fit into my arrangements. Humility is revealed in our relationships.

Humility will be revealed in our actions because it is primarily an attitude of mind thirdly will you notice that humility in the discovery of God's grace go hand in hand.

He says all of you clothe yourselves with humility towards one another and I want to tell you why he says because God opposes the proud but he gives grace to the humble. He's dipping into the book of Proverbs himself.

Proverbs in the third chapter and verse 34 reads as follows. God mocks proud markers, but he gives grace to the humble. I don't know about you but I find this very very difficult when young people come to me and they say to me, pastor, what some of the hardest things for you in your life really honestly I said pride, jealousy, thinking ill of others thinking more of myself falling foul of the contemporary notion that the way to get ahead is to make much of ourselves to cherish exaggerated ideas of who we are what we can do is never that way me tell you something.

There is no substitute for the genuine, honest soul, exposing deep, heartfelt cry to God that our pride may be crucified by those of us who think we stand, says Paul, take heed lest we are the very next one to fall down a lesson in humility.

That's the title of our message today from Alastair Bragg and this is Truth for Life.

Whether we're 18 or 81. All of us have to battle against the temptation of pride. One of the most important ways for us to fight that battle used by regularly refreshing, and renewing our minds through the study of God's word a Truth for Life. We consider it a privilege to provide clear, relevant Bible teaching for anyone who wants to listen without cost.

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