Summary: This is the second of a two-sermon series on Clean Living. This message focuses on the importance of humility to the Christian life.
As we look to Scripture today, we are going to pick up in John 13, where Jesus is washing his disciples feet and trying to make a point.
"When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. "You call me ’Teacher’ and ’Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him."
Today we are continuing the conversation we began last week about Clean Living. But I’m taking a pretty personal approach on this. That is, I’m looking for each of us to live the cleanest life...the best life, the most satisfying, the most God-honoring, God blessed life that we can, with God’s help.
And Christ provides great wisdom for us in how to do that.
How to live a life of veracity, humility, charity: Sociologists can also give us some clues. There are people who study people, study society, and what works and what doesn’t, and they have seen that the characteristics of clean living truly do make for a better world. One noted sociologist from Indiana University says that about every 80-100 years there is a clean living movement. Where the culture will clean up.
"Dave, is that what your are reaching for? A Clean Living Movement?"
1. Infiltrate over dominate
2. Positives over negatives
3. Inside over outside
Illustration: Johnny is told to sit down. "I may be sitting down on the outside, but I’m standing up on the inside."
Be the person God wants you to be so that you can do the things God wants you to do.
Clean living comes from the inside out and evidences three things. Last time we looked at veracity. This time we’ll look at humility. Veracity has to do with how truth is placed in our lives. Humility has to do with how our lives are placed in relationship to others.
With humility, we see a much greater gap between ourselves and God.
Humility < humus (ground). The humble man is one who lives, so to speak, on the ground floor. This is what’s different about Christianity. In Christianity there is and always will be a gap between us and our creator.
A pastor was told by a 10-year-old girl that she really enjoyed his sermon. The pastor said, "Oh it wasn’t me, it was God." The girl said, "It wasn’t that good!"
Hinduistic -- there are many gods
Buddhist/New Age -- you will become god
We see a much smaller gap between ourselves and everybody else
[I don’t want to act bigger than I really am. I didn’t feel a need to act big when I spoke at a conference.]
Humbleness is seeing that everyone’s path is as difficult as yours and as important.
Three rules in the boys clubhouse:
1. Nobody act big
2. Nobody act little
3. Everybody act medium
"I beg it may be remembered by every gentleman in the room that I this day declare with utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with."
"Gentlemen in other colonies have large plantations of slaves, and are accustomed, habituated to higher notions of themselves and the distinction between them and the common people than we are...I dread the consequences of this dissimilitude of character, and without the utmost caution on both sides, and the most considerate forbearance with one another and prudent condescension on both sides, they will certainly be fatal."
When the gap is too great, it is impossible to trust God and others.
It is impossible to exercise trust without humility. Why would we trust God? We are God! (Worship requires humility.) Why would we trust others? We are God.
Successful people often believe there is a link between what they’ve done and how far they have come (delusional) If you’re born on third base, you shouldn’t think you hit a triple to get there. It makes it difficult for God and others to relate to you
When you are arrogant, you will find that other people are going to pull away from you. When you are humble you will find that other people are drawn to you, there’s a magnitism.
Stephen Covey: Pride is the essence of scarcity mentality. It’s devastating to peace. It creates a false integrity of alignment with extrinsic things. And consider the cost. How much time and energy is spent worrying over who has the most, does the most, looks the best, lives in the best part of town, has the largest office, makes more money, does more work, is of the most value. When the cry of competition is louder than the whisper of conscience, what’s the impact in terms of really putting first things first in our lives?