"I have but one passion - it is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can most be used in winning souls for Christ."

Friday, May 2, 2008

Sunday School Message #5

Introduction: Ok, let’s get started. We are studying together in this class “How to Think Like Jesus”. And we’ve already studied the first three points of this topic. The first was “A Heart for the Lost”. The second thing we need was “A Heart for Prayer”. And last week, we talked about “A Heart for God’s Will.” This week we’re going to study the fourth thing that we need to have in order to think like Jesus. That is “A Heart for Others”, a heart of humility. Let’s pray together and we’ll get started.

2. A Heart for Others – Humility
a. Matthew 22:35-40
I would like us to begin with this passage from Matthew this morning, because in this passage, Jesus tells us in one statement the importance of how we treat others around us. Note that in verse 35 one of the Pharisees, an expert in the law, asked Jesus a question trying to test Him. This was a common thing that the Pharisees would do to Jesus. He lived His life so perfectly and blamelessly that they were constantly trying to make Him say something wrong that they could use to accuse Him. This Pharisee asks Jesus, “Master, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Let’s read Jesus response in verses 37-40: “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” What Jesus meant in verse 40 is this: That every law written in the Scriptures is concerning your relationship with God or your relationship with others. Jesus says that if we will love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, and mind, AND if we will love our neighbor as ourselves, we will be obeying every law of God in the Scriptures. Think about that. Of all the laws in the Scripture, which we couldn’t even remember if we tried, we will obey them all if we love God and love others. It’s simple. So this matter of having a heart for others is indeed a very important aspect of our Christian lives. To think like Jesus, we must have a heart for others – a heart of humility.

b. Isaiah 57:15
Look now, in this next passage, at another motivation for keeping a spirit of humility. Somebody read for us Isaiah 57:15. What an amazing thought! God says that He dwells “in the high holy place, with him who is of a humble and contrite spirit”. When you live together with somebody, you learn who they really are, you learn how they think, you learn how they respond to different circumstances, and you learn how to be like them. This could be the key to our whole study! What better way is there to learn to think like Jesus than to live with him daily? And that can only be done, according to this verse, when we have a humble spirit.

c. Prov.6:16-19(17)
Now, I want us to take a quick look through the book of Proverbs and see a number of different passages that talk about humility. The book of Proverbs is all about wisdom. And God will only give wisdom to those people who walk humbly with Him. This first passage gives us a list of things that God hates. Notice – what was the very first thing that God hates? It is a proud look. Pride is something that God hates to see in our lives. We’ll talk a little bit more about what pride actually is in a few minutes.

d. Prov.8:13
This passage teaches us again that if we fear the Lord, we will hate pride, the pride that is in our own hearts.

e. Prov.11:2
These verses teach us that pride brings shame. When we have pride in our hearts, we will bring shame upon ourselves. But with the lowly, that is, with the humble is wisdom.

f. Prov.15:25,33
“The Lord will destroy the house of the proud… the fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility.” We saw in the last passage that pride brings shame and now in this passage that humility brings honor. God hates pride, but loves humility.

g. Prov.16:5,18-19
This passage teaches us that people with proud hearts are an abomination to God – that is the strongest word in the Scriptures for something that God hates – it is an abomination. And then in verses 18 and 19 we see that pride will lead us to destruction and the Lord says it is better to have nothing, with a humble spirit, than to be very rich with other proud people.

h. Prov.22:4
In this passage, we learn that the Lord will reward the humble. He says “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honor, and life.”

i. Prov.29:23
And our final passage in Proverbs speak again about the honor that God will place upon the humble – “Honor shall uphold the humble in Spirit.

j. Matthew 23:1-12
OK, now everyone turn to Matthew chapter 23 and we’re going to see something very familiar that we have seen in almost every aspect of this study. Jesus teaches the people not to behave like the Pharisees. Listen to how Jesus describes the religious leaders: “Do not after their works… they say and do not… all their works they do to be seen of men… they love the uppermost rooms… and the chief seats… and being called Rabbi... he that is greatest among you shall be your servant… whoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled… whoever shall humble himself shall be exalted.” This was the one thing that Jesus kept returning to when He confronted the Pharisees – that they were clean and righteous on the outside, but dirty and sinful on the inside. The Pharisees knew the Law. They had it memorized. They went to the temple every day. They gave tithes of everything that they had. They would pray many times throughout the day. But the Son of God, who knows their hearts, saw that they were full of pride. In fact, the rest of the chapter is Jesus’ strong rebuke to the Pharisees for their hypocrisy.
Our battle with pride is one of the most difficult battles to fight. Pride is not an action; it is an attitude. We can have pride in about anything. We can be proud of our accomplishments. We can be proud of our abilities or talents. We can be proud of our intelligence. We can even be proud of our Christianity. If pride were an action, like many other sins, we could just say, “Don’t do that.” But since it is an attitude, we must always ask ourselves, “Am I doing this because of my pride?” Because of that, every person struggles with pride, some just handle it better than others.

k. James 4:6-10
Look next at James chapter 4. This passage tells us that God resists the proud people but give grace to the humble people. Now listen, when God resists a proud Christian, that doesn’t mean that we lose our salvation. Think of it this way. Our earthly father is a picture of our Heavenly Father. With my earthly father, it is possible for me to hurt, disobey or disrespect him. But when I do, that doesn’t mean I am not his son anymore. However, when that happens, we don’t have the close fellowship that we had before. This is the same with our Heavenly Father. When we as Christians have proud hearts, God resists us. We are still His sons, but He refuses to have fellowship with us unless we have humble hearts. And then listen to these verses: “Submit yourselves to God…resist the devil…draw nigh to God… cleanse your hands… purify your hearts… humble yourselves… He will lift you up.” That is the attitude of the humble. We must do nothing to promote ourselves. We must do nothing to make ourselves look better.

l. I Peter 5:5-6
The attitude of humility is one of submission. To submit yourself to another is to acknowledge their leadership over you, to voluntarily place yourself under their control. Peter encourages us to “be subject one to another, and clothed with humility”. And again we see that if we humble ourselves under the hand of God, He will exalt us in His timing.

m. Phil.2:2-11
And finally, I want to look at the most powerful passage on humility in all of God’s Word. Turn to Philippians chapter 2. As with every aspect of our study until now, we always finish by looking to our Savior and seeing a perfect example of how we should live. This topic is no different. Jesus Christ was the perfect example of humility. There is nobody who could begin with a higher position than He had and nobody who could take upon themselves a lower position than He took. Listen to this beautiful and powerful passage. “Fulfill ye my joy…” And we all say, “Amen” to that passage. Let’s think for a few moments about this. Jesus Christ is the Creator of the world. But He then became a human, one of us whom He created, in order to save us from our sins. But even in that, He did not come as a king, or a rich person, or even a normal person; He came as a poor carpenter’s son, a virgin’s son, and was born in a manger, because there was no room for Him in the inn. So then He went throughout His life and what did He do? He served EVERY person he met. He taught them. He healed them. He cast demons out of them. He fed them. He washed their feet. He loved them. He blessed their children. He raised them from the dead. And then, in the end, He gave His own life for them. He died for the very people who killed Him. His last words to His Father for them were, “Father, forgive them…” Until the moment that He died, our Savior Jesus Christ was our perfect example of humility. And what did God promise towards the humble. He said that in His timing He would exalt them. Verses 9-11 show us that God was faithful to that promise. “Wherefore…” That word means, “Because of all of that, God did all of this…” God raised up His humble Son to the most high position possible.

Conclusion: Therefore, if we are going to think like Jesus, we must have a Heart for Others. Jesus always considered others before Himself. Jesus always put the needs and desires of others before his own. Jesus was the most humble man who ever lived. If we are going to think like Jesus, we must think of others before ourselves. Let’s pray…

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