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Summary: Proposition: The humble make up the population of God’s kingdom.

Luke 14:7-35 (ESV)

Introduction

A. One of the delights of pastoring this church is the fact that few of us are considered to have come from the best part of society. Indeed, most of us at time belonged to the very worst segments of society. Yet, God chose to save us and to pour out His Holy Spirit into us so that those who know us can witness God’s mercy and goodness. God restores the sinner who repents. He gives blessings to undeserving people.

B. At the same time, I worry that we may forget that what we have has come from the Lord. There is a tendency to accept the blessings that might otherwise belong to deserving people, and accept the position of worthiness. People tend to become what they possess.

C. This sin is familiar to me. I don’t come from a family of well educated or well respected people, on either side of the family tree. I worked hard at my education. I involved myself with many causes. I did this in order that I could build up a resume of good deeds that would justify my place of importance in this world, and in God’s kingdom. For a long time my sense of importance came from knowing much, and having experienced much. Unfortunately, in so doing I sapped God’s ability to glorify himself through me. He can’t glorify himself through someone who self-glorifies. So I prayed that God could use me again. I heard the words of John speak, “He must increase, I must decrease.” And God responded by giving me a deep sense of His pre-eminence, and my unworthiness.

D. The tax-collector told us how to come to Christ, Paul showed us that the feeling never really leaves us if we remain spiritually honest. Church people must remain humble people.

Proposition: The humble make up the population of God’s kingdom. The passage of scripture being discussed tonight tells us how we know, why that happened, and how they got in.

I. The evidence of humility in the church

[7]Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, [8] "When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, [9] and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ’Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. [10] But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ’Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. [11] For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

A. The actions of citizens of heaven contrast those of the world. In the world, there are seats of honor and distinction that people strive to attain.

B. In the church, the citizens have a profound sense of unworthiness for honor. They sit where you would expect the servants to sit, the places of exposure, of presumed need.

Example: In a banquet, the places of honor are toward the front. The presumption is that the closer you are, the more important you are.

Example: In a church, the closer you are to the back, the more worthy you are and the less you are presumed to need what is being said. The people toward the front are the ones presumed to need what is being said.

C. The rule in the kingdom of God is: Be humble and the Lord will glorify you in the presence of everyone. Be exalted, be seen, honor yourself and the Lord will cause you to be humbled in the face of everyone.

II. Why the church is full of humble people

[12] He said also to the man who had invited him, "When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. [13] But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, [14] and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just."

[15] When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, "Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!" [16] But he said to him, "A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. [17] And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ’Come, for everything is now ready.’ [18] But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ’I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ [19] And another said, ’I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ [20] And another said, ’I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ [21] So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ’Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ [22] And the servant said, ’Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ [23] And the master said to the servant, ’Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. [24] For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’ "

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