Summary: This sermon says that Christ should be our example of humility.
THE DISCIPLE’S HUMILITY
Philippians 2:1–11 (NIV)
ILLUSTRATION Martin Luther reportedly told of two mountain goats who met each other on a narrow ledge just wide enough for one of the animals to pass. On the left was a sheer cliff, and on the right a steep wall. The two were facing each other, and it was impossible to turn or to back up.How did they solve their dilemma? If they had been people, they would have started butting each other until they plunged into the chasm together. But according to Luther, the goats had more sense than that. One of them lay down on the trail and let the other literally walk over him—and both were safe.
Christ’s followers should be humble just like Christ. Our humility should conform to Christ’s humility. Christ’s humility is different from the world’s perspective of humility. Therefore it is important that we understand the nature of Christ’s humility and as His followers, we must adopt it in our way of life.
Read Philippians 2:1-11.
1. The Need for Humility (vv. 1-4)
Why do we need humility?
In verse 1, Paul reminded them of their common experiences with Christ and the Holy Spirit such as “encouragement, comfort, sharing, tenderness, and compassion.”Then in verse 2, he told them that his joy would be completed if they would demonstrate unity by “being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.”
This teaches us that what Christ or the Spirit taught and did for us serves as the basis for promoting unity in the church. It is not our personal ideology and opinions but what Christ taught us and the works of the Holy Spirit are the foundation of our unity.
Ephesians 2:14–18 (NIV) 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
But the elements of unity such as “being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind” could only be achieved in spirit of humility (read verses 3-4). Paul noted that humility is giving value on others above self. When you think of pride, it always gives preference to self than others.
Psalm 10:4 (NIV) 4In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
Pride excludes God and has no room for God. If the proud person could do this to God then he would surely do it to his fellow humans.
Luke 18:9–13 (NIV) 9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
Don’t do anything for selfish purposes which result in creating a partisan spirit. “Vain conceit” is a groundless glory.
ILLUSTRATION The late Prof. Irwin Edman of Columbia University once had a chat with a French monk who bemoaned the fact that his order was not as famous as the Jesuits for scholarship or the Trappists for silence and good works. “But,” he added, “when it comes to humility, we’re tops.” —Leonard Lyons
1 Chronicles 29:14 (NIV) 14“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.
The Bible reminds us that everything we have come from God our provider. There is no basis for pride and arrogance. The antidote for vain conceit is to be humble toward one another and especially before God. Humility is one of the most important Christian moral attitudes.
The Greek moralist regarded humility as the subservient attitude of a lower-class person, an attitude of utter self-abasement. But in the New Testament, based on the example of Christ, humility acquires a positive meaning. It connotes the lowly service done by a noble person.