God Calls Us To Humility!
Luke 18: 9-14; James 4: 6-7; Isaiah 57:15
One of the greatest hindrances of the church of Jesus Christ today is pride.
With this being true, one of the greatest need is humility.
We need to learn what God's attitude is toward pride and humility.
Here are some things the Bible says about pride.
In Psalm 138: 6: " Though the Lord be high, he has respect unto the lowly,
but the proud he knows afar off."
This Psalm says God knows the proud afar off.
In Proverbs 6:16: "These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
a proud look, a lying tongue
This verse says that a proud look is an abomination to God.
Proverbs 8:13: "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil, but pride and arrogance and the evil way
and the froward mouth do I hate."
This verse says that God hates pride and arrogance.
Proverbs 16: 5: "Everyone that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord."
When God has an attitude toward pride, we should take that seriously.
Everyone that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord
Proverbs 16: 18: "Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall."
The Old Testament clearly reveals God's response toward pride.
Now, let us look at the New Testament.
In James 4: 6: "But he giveth more grace.
Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble."
Then in 1 Peter 5: 5, we read of God's position about pride:
"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.
Yea, all of you be subject one to another and be clothed with humility:
for God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble."
This is God's response about pride.
We also need to see what God's position is toward humility.
In the Old Testament, God says in 2 Chronicles 7:14: "If my people which are called
by my name show humble themselves and pray ..."
God puts a premium on humility.
In Isaiah 57: 15, we read: "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity,
whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite
and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."
So again, we see in the Old Testament that God puts a premium on humility.
Now look at the New Testament.
In Matthew 18: 1-4, we will see exactly how God speaks about humility.
"At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus saying,
'Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?'
And Jesus called a little child unto him and set him in the midst of them and said,
'Verily, verily, I say unto you except ye be converted and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest
in the kingdom of heaven.'"
This is God's position about humility.
"Whosoever will humble himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
We can look all through the New Testament and see what God has to say about humility.
In Luke 18:14, we see where the Pharisee and the publican went to the Temple to pray.
Jesus said the publican who humbled himself went home exalted.
In James 4:6, we read that God gives grace to the humble.
In 1 Peter 5:5, we read that God gives grace to the humble.
So we can see how God deals with pride and humility.
The question is: "How does God respond to pride and to humility?"
God hates pride.
God loves a person, but God hates his pride.
In James and 1 Peter, we read that "God resists the proud."
When a lost person is proud, or when a Christian is proud, when the church is proud,
they cannot expect God to bless them.
God will resist them.
It is one thing to be resisted by man, but it is serious when one is being resisted by God.
The God who created this world.
The God who spoke the world into being out of nothing.
The God who is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing, and always present.
The God who created us and who holds us in the palms of His hands.
He is God, and there is no other.
It is dreadfully serious to be resisted by God.
Now look at what God has to say about humility.
The Bible says that God esteems humility.
Remember that Jesus said: "Whoever shall humble himself as a little child,
the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
The Bible also teaches that "God gives grace to the humble."
Grace is God's undeserved love.
Grace is God's undeserved mercy.
Grace is God doing for us what we could never do for ourselves.
So, on one hand, God is resisting the proud, but on the other hand,
God is giving grace to the humble.
If you want to live a proud life, you will live your life being resisted by God.
But if you live a life of humility, the Bible promises that God will pour out His grace on you
-- His undeserved love and mercy upon you!
It's important that we really define, pride.
Pride is when a person is high on himself; and is haughty, and brags a lot.
But pride goes much, much deeper than that.
Pride refuses to admit its need.
When you look at Luke 18:11-12, we see that a prideful person will not admit
that he has a need of God.
"The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee that I am not
has other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess."
This man never admitted that he had a need.
There are many who attend Sunday services who also refuse to admit that
they have a need of God.
They believe what is preached is for everybody else, but it's not personally for them.
They are not willing to admit to God their own personal need.
The very root of pride manifests itself when a person fails to admit that he has a need of God.
He will not admit that he is poor and needy.
This Pharisee had no idea about his real needs.
He was thanking God that he was not like other men.
Not one time did he say, "God, I need you in my life."
Are you honestly willing to admit your needs before God?
All of us are desperately needy before God.
There are those who have a need in their lives, but refuse to admit that need.
In that case, they are guilty of the sin of pride.
Look at the person who is without Christ as Saviour.
Listen when they speak either verbally or non-verbally.
"I don't need Jesus, and I don't need the church."
That is what they are revealing about themselves.
That person is proud, and the Bible says that God resists the proud.
A proud Christian also refuses to admit his need.
Many Christians can say, "Well, Lord, I know that other people in my church
have a need. They need revival.
If they will get right, we will have a revival."
But if you don't see your needs as a Christian, you are guilty of the sin of pride.
Pride is a refusal to admit your need before God.
Humility humbly lays its needs out before God, unashamedly confessing it's needs.
Now look at such a picture in Luke 18:13:
"And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift his eyes unto heaven,
But smote upon his breast saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner.'"
This man recognized his need.
He was not afraid to admit his need.
Here is how a humility sounds in a lost person.
Humility confesses, "I am a sinner, I need Jesus Christ as my Saviour,
I need God to forgive me, I need to become a Christian."
When a lost person becomes humble before God, that person is going to be saved.
The Bible says, "God gives grace to the humble."
Humility in a Christian is when that Christian realizes that he has a great need for God in his life.
Humility in a Christian says, "God, I am one who needs your mercy.
I am one who needs your forgiveness, and I am one who needs to grow spiritually.
I am one who needs to give you all of my life."
So, look again at some things about pride.
Pride refuses to admit that it cannot meet his needs -- that is the very core of pride.
Not only does it have trouble admitting its needs, but it won't admit it can't
even meet its own needs.
So, the heart of pride is self-sufficiency.
Not one time did that Pharisee in Luke 18 imply that he couldn't meet his own needs.
He proclaimed, "I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I possess."
That Pharisee thought he was meeting every need that he had.
It did not occur to him that he had needs that only God could meet.
Do you realize that has also happened not only in the lives of lost people,
but also in the lives of Christians?
Not only do we have trouble and admitting our needs, but we won't admit that
we can't meet our own needs.
It is as if a person is saying: "I can straighten out my own life, I don't need outside help!"
That is pride!
Pride is refusing to admit that you cannot meet your own needs.
The root of that pride is self-sufficiency.
"I will solve my own problems.
I will work out my own difficulties.
I will fight my own battles.
I will accomplish my own goals."
This is, as if to say, "I don't need God or His help!"
Humility is just the opposite.
Humility constantly admits, "I cannot meet my own needs."
Humility falls on its face before God, and cries, "My needs will never be met unless you,
dear God, take care of them for me."
The difference between pride and humility is that pride looks to itself to meet its needs.
Humility looks to God to meet its needs.
The church of today is guilty of pride, for too often, the church looks to itself
to meet its own needs.
The plan is to get more money, more buildings, more programs,
then we could meet our own needs.
Humility confesses, "God, only you can meet my needs -- no one else and nothing else."
When we really began to believe that only God can meet our needs,
we will see God meeting our needs.
This is the attitude of the publican as he said, "God, the merciful to me."
He was looking to God -- not to himself.
He was humble before God.
Also, pride is more concern with what others think than with what God thinks.
I am convinced that many people would humble themselves before God,
but they refuse because they have an image that they must keep up before people.
It is as if they are saying, "I must maintain my image of being 'Mr. Spiritual'.
I cannot let anyone know that I have a serious need."
In Luke 18, the Pharisee knew that there would be a crowd of people there.
He walked in, stood up, and thought to himself, "they are listening and looking."
So he said, "God, I thank you that I am not like other men."
And then he went on to describe his goodness.
He was more concerned about what those around them thought about him
than what God thought.
But look at the publican.
The Bible says that he stood afar off, and that he wouldn't even lift his eyes toward heaven,
and he smote his breast,
He wasn't concerned about his image.
He wasn't concerned about what others might think of him.
He cried out, "God, the merciful to me a sinner."
When will we honestly admit our needs?
When will we become more concerned about what God thinks than what man thinks.
That will be humility!
Jesus said in John 5:44: "How can ye believe, who receive honor one of another,
and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?"
Jesus was saying as long as you are more concerned about what people think
than what God thinks, you are guilty of the sin of pride, and God resists the proud.
Another truth about pride is that pride always sees the faults of others.
Did you notice how the Pharisee prayed in Luke 18:11?
"I thank you that I am not as other men are -- extortioners, unjust, adulterers."
A proud person always sees the faults of others.
I have often been around people who are extremely critical of everyone else.
They are finding fault with everybody and everything.
It is clear that such persons are headed for a spiritual fall because they see the sins of others,
but they do not see their own sins.
Pride always sees the faults of others.
This Pharisee kept saying, "Lord, look at their faults," and not one time
did he ever consider that he had sin in his heart before God.
Humility always sees its own faults and sins.
In our scripture, the publican cried, "God, the merciful to me."
He saw his own sins, and asked God for mercy.
Humility sees its own sins, and confesses and forsakes them.
In 1 Timothy 1:15, Paul testified, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners;
of whom I am chief."
Humility sees its own sins, and its own needs rather than picking out the faults of others.
Pride always claims to be right.
Pride will go to any and every extent to justify itself and to defend itself.
If you see a person who is always right, and it never occurs to him that he could ever be wrong,
then you are looking at a proud person.
Humility readily admits when it is wrong.
Now here is an important question.
How can God help a person who will not admit his need.
How can God help a person who will not admit that only God can meet his needs?
How can God help a person who is more concerned about what others think
than what God thinks?
How can God help a person who is always seeing the faults of others?
How can got help a person who is never wrong?
That is pride!
God resists the proud.
But when a person comes in humility, admitting his needs, and confessing
that only God can meet his needs, then God will pour out His grace on that person
and on that church.
The blessings of God flow to the humble.
Will you answer God's call to humility?
The Bible says, "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God
that he may exalt you in due time."
"If my people, which are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray ..."
God gives grace to the humble.
We must humble ourselves before God -- now -- and He will give us grace.
There is a wonderful hymn entitled, "Take Time To Be Holy" written by
William D. Longstaff in 1882.
I have taken the liberty of substituting the word,"humble," for the word, "holy."
Then, the hymn would read like this:
"Take time to be humble, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God's children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
Take time to be humble, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
Take time to be humble, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.
Take time to be humble, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above."
We must humble ourselves before God, and He will use us greatly in His service,
and our lives will be filled with joy and peace.
Sermon adapted from many sources by Dr. Harold L. White