Summary: Easter message on the humility of Christ and how you and I must mirror that same humility as Christians.
Parts of this message were taken from Mark Driscoll’s sermon on the same topic.
This week is a very difficult sermon to preach. In the passage we will eventually look into this morning Paul will speak to us on the most difficult attribute for any human to possess, humility. I would just like to say that I do not preach this message from the belief that I myself have achieved humility. In fact I would say that if this message is for anyone in here this morning it is for me. As the leader of this church, elected by its members, I will admit pride and humility are always at war with each other in my life both personally and professionally. It is with great, for lack of a better word, humility that I stand up here and speak to you on a topic that I myself need much grace and forgiveness. I would say humility is not only difficult for one to obtain but it is impossible for anyone to fully achieve. Pastor C.J. Mahaney who wrote the book Humility: True Greatness, which is a wonderful book on this subject, says that none of us are ever able to become humble. Instead we are only able by the grace of God to pursue humility through out our whole lives. It is because we can never be fully humble that you ever hear anyone say, “I am proud to announce today that I have achieved humility.” Or “Now that I have achieved humility here are the 7 steps you can take to be humble like me.”
There is only one person who has ever embodied true and complete humility and that is Jesus Christ. Before I can go to the scriptures to speak of Christ humility and how we, by God’s grace, can know how to pursue humility and why we should pursue humility we need to look at humility’s greatest enemy and arguably our greatest sin, pride.
Pride (DEF)- Pride is excessive belief in one’s own abilities, that interferes with the individual’s recognition of the grace of God.
One of our early church fathers Augustine said that pride is, “The love of one’s own excellence.”
Medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas said of Pride “excessive self-love is the cause of every sin (1,77) ... the root of pride is found to consist in man not being, in some way, subject to God and His rule."
British Pastor John Stott once said, “Pride is more than the first of the seven deadly sins; it is itself the essence of all sins.
The deeper pride is rooted in us the farther we will push God away from us. A person who is gripped with arrogance and pride will begin to take hold of a false sense of invincibility. They will look at all they have achieved in life and arrogantly declare, “Look at what I have done. It is because of my abilities and my hard work that I have all that I have.”
Look at the culture around us. Look at our rock stars, actors, athletes and politicians. Do they give God the glory? Do they fall humbly, prostrate before the cross? Do they recognize God as the true-life giver? Do they worship him and give him honor for giving them their talents, social status and financial position? No. When was the last time you saw a music video exude humility or an athlete on TV who radiated humility. I can only think of one, Kurt Warner. Who is a sinner just like us but who humbly and with great thanks gave glory to Jesus Christ for allowing him to be where he was and to achieve what he had.
You don’t see that type of humility in most of our athletes, actors and politicians. Instead you see people who arrogantly hold out for 30 million instead of 25 million. You see people who arrogantly force their political agenda and beliefs on others and who attack verbally those who oppose their beliefs. You see those who with great pride and arrogance think they have all the answers to your problems. It doesn’t matter whether they are republican, democrat or independent they all believe they are the change you can believe in.
Now, I need to be careful because we as believers are not immune to such arrogance and pride. The church is also filled with great pride because it’s filled with sinful people who see only the sin problem of others and not themselves. We also push our agenda on the world many times through anger, hate and legalism. We, with great pride, live with an attitude that we are right and everyone else is wrong. We, with great pride, believe that our denomination and doctrine is right and yours is wrong. It is our pride that says there is only one way to worship, one way to dress, one style of music to sing on Sundays. It is because of the sinful pride in us that we compare our church to another. It is our pride that makes us ask someone, “How many are you running?” It is our pride that loves to see a pastor of a big church fall. It is our pride that causes us to make jokes about Baptist and their love of lunch buffets. We arrogantly speak down to the very people who worship the same Jesus we do. We hold to dogmatic beliefs, rules and rituals that Jesus himself didn’t hold to or believe in. No, the church is not immune to pride we ourselves are also declared guilty and even more so than the unbeliever because we know the Truth. There are many here this morning, including myself who need to repent of pride, repent of our judgmental attitude, repent of our false beliefs and ideals, jealousy, bitterness, envy and our arrogance that we know it all and that we have all the answers. We need to come to this cross on our face and with all the humility we can muster as humans beg for God’s mercy on us the greatest of sinners.