Summary: Lessons in Humility - Luke chapter 9 verses 37-50 - Sermon by Gordon Curley (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request email:


Failure #1: – They Were Unable to Cast Out The Demon (vs 37-43)

Failure #2: They Were Afraid to Ask For Clarity (vs 44-45)

Failure #3: They Were Pre-occupied with Self & Position (vs 46-48)

Failure #4: They Were Cliquish & Exclusive (vs 49-50)



• He has one of the best names and he is a great villain;

• We meet him in the writings of Charles Dickens.

• And this unlikable character appears in the book David Copperfield,

• His name is Uriah Heep.

• If you have read the book or seen the film,

• You will know that he has a repetitive phrase that he likes to use again and again.

• When Uriah Heep first meets tells David Copperfield, he says:

• "I am well aware that I am the umblest person going”

• And he loves to tell him about living in an “‘umble” abode;

• And having picked up so much “‘umbleness” at school.

• TRANSITION: By talking and boasting about his ‘umbleness’

• He is simple displaying how unhumble he actually is!

• In fact his ‘umbleness’ was really ‘selfishness and pride’

Quote: Anglican priest and author John R.W. Stott said:

“Pride is your greatest enemy, humility is your greatest friend.”

• We know the idiom; “Pride comes before a fall”

• Having too much pride or confidence will cause one to make mistakes,

• That lead to a setback or failure.

• The phrase “Pride comes before a fall” is adapted from a verse in the Bible:

• A verse found in the book of Proverbs (chapter 16 verse 18).

• “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall..”

• In contrast to pride,

• True humility, will show us in our best light;

• And will make us a blessing to others.

The word “humility” literally means ‘a low estimate of self’.

• Now that does not imply self-deprecation.

• Sometimes we hear people putting themselves down.

• There are those who think "I can't do anything",

• But that is not humility, that is low esteem;

• Or a general feeling of insignificance or a lack of importance

• The other extreme are those people who use counterfeit humility,

• In the hope of getting a compliment or praise.

• i.e. A skilled musician who insists, “I can’t really play”

• i.e. A talented singer who insists, “I can’t really sing”

• i.e. A gifted preacher who insists, “I can’t really preach”


• Reminds me of the story of the preacher waiting by the door at the end of the service;

• A lady was leaving and said to him, “That was a lovely talk”,

• He replied with false humility; “Oh it wasn’t me it was the Holy Spirit”

• The lady replied; “It wasn’t that lovely!”

• TRANSITION: Humility is not low esteem,

• Humility it is not false self-criticism and putting yourself down.

• True humility is recognising God has gifted you in some way;

• But not boasting or being proud about that gifting.

• Rather using it to bless others and to glorify God.


• Humility is the absence of ‘I’

• Pride says; “I can….”

• Low esteem says, “I can’t….”

• True humility does not talk about ‘I’ at all.

• True humility is the absence of ‘I’

• Quote: C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity:

• “True humility isn’t thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.”

In Luke chapter 9 verses 37-50:

• The disciples of Jesus learn a lesson on humility.

• They thought they could do anything, they ended up humbled.

• What was that idiom we mentioned earlier?

• “Pride comes before a fall”

• Having too much pride or confidence will cause one to make mistakes,

• An example of that is in these verses ahead of us.

• We will see the disciples fail in a number of ways.

Failure #1: – They Were Unable to Cast Out a Demon (vs 37-43)

“The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. 38 A man in the crowd called out, ‘Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39 A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. 40 I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.’

41 ‘You unbelieving and perverse generation,’ Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.’

42 Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the impure spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.”

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