Summary: This sermon speaks to the encouragement of Jesus to live a life of humility which in the presence of God raises us above the norm and exalts our name.
Humbly Exalted – Matthew 23: 1 - 12
Intro: A Texas rancher met up with a Wisconsin dairy farmer. The two men began talking about their land & the dairy farmer told the rancher that he operated his business on 125 acres. The Texas, not to be outdone said, “Yankee, that ain’t nothin. On my ranch I can get in my truck at sunrise and I won’t reach the fence line of my property until sunset.” The dairy farmer snorted, “Shoot, I used to have a truck just like that.” ( “Panorama of Parenting,” Howard Hendricks, Dallas Theological Seminary) Not exactly the effect the Texan was after!
I. This passage is really about the expectations Jesus had for his followers in living their daily lives.
A. VS. 3 – “So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”
B. Hypocrisy is saying one thing and doing another. – The Pharisees taught truth but did not live according to it.
C. St. Francis of Assisi – “Preach the Gospel to all the world and if necessary, use words.”
II. Jesus does not refute the teachings of the Pharisees or even say they are too harsh. What he does say is that the Pharisees don’t do anything to help the people with the burden they bear.
A. VS. 4 – “They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to life a finger to move them.”
B. Take a moment to think about those who have had the greatest influence upon you. Would you agree the reason you hold them in high esteem is because of what they did for you?”
C. Your influence is measured by your willingness to serve others --- God is not interested in how great you are, Jesus is interested in how great others are as a result of your influence.
III. To be exalted, lifted up above the norm, raised in rank, one must live in true humility. – HUMBLY EXALTED.
A. Humility is not hanging our head, belittling our selves, putting ourselves down or even putting ourselves at the end of a line or letting others go before us. Humility isn’t something you do; it is the attitude with which you live.
B. Humility is aligning our lives completely with the will of God and trusting God’s ability to lead and direct us. Humility is to depend on God and it results in trusting and obeying God.
C. VS. 12 – “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
St. Vincent de Paul once said, “If God is the center of your life, no words are necessary. Your mere presence will touch hearts.”
Dwight L. Moody said, “The measure of a man is not how many servants he has, but how many men he serves.”
Mother Teresa said, “Let no one come to you without feeling better and happier when they leave.”