Summary: Humility - how do you get it - find it at the cross
Stewardship begins at the cross
Philippians 2:6-8 (Jesus), being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!
There are places you can go that completely change you. The TV show "The Biggest Loser" pictures a place like that. A person isn't happy with their appearance - he wants to lose weight - and so he goes to a place that completely changes him. His body changes, his mind changes, and he leaves that special place a brand new person.
Is there something you would like to change about yourself? That's one of the purposes of Lent, is to look at yourself in light of God's Word, and to see what you need to change, and then, by the power of God's Holy Spirit, to make that change. What is it about your relationship with God that you wish was better? What is it about your relationships with others?
And if there is something to change - how do you change it? Is there a special place Christians go? There is. Today, as we enter Holy Week on this Palm Sunday, there is a place you can go that shows you what you need to change, and there in that same place God changes you.
And that place is the cross of Jesus Christ. Sometimes, when we go to the cross, and we see Jesus there, and it's so common to us, that we get bored. We say to ourselves, yes, Jesus dying on the cross for my sins, I get it. Amen. What's new?
This morning, I'd like you go to the cross with me. It's where Jesus was riding toward on Palm Sunday. It's right around the corner for us on Good Friday. There God will shed light on our sins, and shed light on how our Savior can change us.
What do we see in Philippians chapter 2? At first glance, Jesus looks pretty plain - a human being nailed to a piece of wood. There is the crown of thorns, there is the blood. But that Bible says that there is more to see, than just that. It says that this person on the cross, "being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped." This human being riding on the donkey on Palm Sunday and hanging on the cross on Good Friday is, in his very nature, God. Inside that person is the same God who made the world in Genesis. The same God who calmed storms and healed diseases. This is who is riding the donkey and hanging on the cross. How is that possible?
Because of this: he "did not consider equality with God something to be grasped." What do we call that, when someone is grasping to be equal to God? It's the oldest sin in the history of the world. It's the sin of pride. Pride is the poison that stops people from glorifying God, and causes people to glorify themselves.
Jesus didn't have that poison of pride inside of himself. Even though he was God in nature, he wasn't grasping to make himself equal to his Heavenly Father. No, he lowered himself. First he lowered himself to the level of a human being, with all of its limitations. He lowered himself when he rode that donkey. And then "he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even death on the cross."
Humility. What is it that holds you back from passionately honoring God and serving others. Could it be a lack of humility? Do you have any pride floating through your veins? Have you ever said "That's below me" when a chance to serve God or others came your way?
Pride affects how you live your life, your decisions, everything. The story is told Mohammad Ali was on an airplane, and the airplane was starting to experience turbulence - it was getting pretty bumpy. Would everyone please fasten your seatbelts, the captain said over the loudspeaker. Everyone did, except for Mohammad Ali. The stewardess came over and said to him, "Sir, would you please fasten your seatbelt?" and Ali responded, "Superman don't need no seatbelt. And the stewardess, without missing beat, responded to him, "Yes sir, but Superman don't need no airplane. So buckle up."
Pride affects the way you think, and what you say. Is the poison of pride holding you back from glorifying God with all you've got? Is the poison of pride keeping you from serving others, like Jesus has served you? Could this be the one thing you need to change about yourself?