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The Importance of Humility in the Local Church: 1 Peter 5:5-7

05 Apr

Occasion Sunday Worship 29th March 2015

Illustration: Jonah teaches us that you cannot fight against God and win. And that even a true prophet of God can become so proud that he will refuse to take God’s message to those who need it. God can do and use anything He chooses to accomplish His sovereign purposes. He used and storm, a great fish, a tree, and a worm to reveal how He uses His creation to accomplish His purposes in the world.  We see from the life of Jonah, that fighting against God in pride and rebellion is futile. You cannot prevail.

Text: 1 Peter 5:5-7

Purpose: Since a properly ordered church is the best environment for young believers to grow, Peter commands the church to seek peace around truth through humble interaction.

Proposition: God wants you to be a humble Christian.

Interrogative: What truths will help you to be a humble Christian?

Truth 1: God resists the proud: 5:5 God resisteth the proud…

  • What is pride? Viewing yourself higher than you ought to think

Romans 12:3 I say to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.

Illustration: Satan Isaiah 14:12-14 Thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will be like the most High.

    • Arrogant self-esteem: You really think you are something special.
    • Self-focused: Your own interests are your primary concern.
    • Self-promotion: You will do whatever it takes to get noticed and promoted.
    • Self-reliance: You trust and depend on no one but yourself.
    • Self-pleasing: Your own desires are your focus
    • Self-governing: You see your own mind as the final say on everything.
  • What does he mean by resists?

Illustration: Picture two brothers, where the older brother runs and hides behind the door to the house.  When the little brother pushes against the door, he cannot move it because he is being resisted by his older and stronger brother.  This is how many people live before God.   

    • Literally, God will become your opponent, and will fight against you.

Psalm 89:6-9 Who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD?  God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.  O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?  Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.

Truth 2: God gives undeserved favor to the humble: 5:6 And giveth grace to the humble.

  • What is humility? Viewing yourself Biblically.

Illustration: How would the chairman of a certain department at UCC view a first year student correcting him incorrectly? A humble student would never dream of acting so proudly.

    • Your confidence is not in self, because you know what you are before God, but rather it is in God’s grace given to you in Christ.
    • Your focus is on God above everything else, and then to your fellow man.
    • You let God promote you, rather than seeking to promote yourself.
    • You are dependent upon God’s providential care, not upon your own strength, wisdom, and plans.
    • Your greatest desire is to glorify and please God not self.
    • You bring yourself under God’s rule, and everything you do is filtered by a fear of the Lord.
  • In what ways does God favor the humble?
    • Salvation: You cannot be converted without the humility that accompanies genuine repentance.
    • Promotion: God lifts up those who do not lift themselves up.
    • Protection: God defends those who do not defend themselves.
    • Fellowship: God communes with and reveals Himself to those who are humble.

Application: Five biblical responses to this text

  • Show proper honor to those who are older than you in the Lord: 5:5 Ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder…
  • Hold your opinions gently: 5:5 All of you be subject one to another…

Illustration: It seems that every family has at least on controversial member, that one uncle who always has to have the final word. When his mind is made up, you might as well close the meeting, because no other view will move him. Is this the way a Christian should behave in the church?

    • Never compromise on truth.
    • Be quick to compromise on personal opinion for the sake of unity in the body.
  • Have a humble interaction with other members of the body: 5:5 Be clothed with humility…

Illustration: When a visitor comes into the church and sits in your chair, the chair you have sat in week after week since the first day you came to the church, what thoughts come into your mind? Are you irritated and offended? Do you think things like: Who does this person think that they are?

    • How do you speak to other Christians?
    • How do you speak about other Christians?
    • How do you relate to other Christians?
  • Humbly let God exalt you: 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time…

Illustration: The scriptures are full of men and women, who were humble and came from lowly places, but God chose and used in remarkable ways for His own glory.

  • Give your anxiety to God: 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you…

Illustration: Do you ever lie down on your pillow at night with your mind racing and overwhelmed with worry and fear. Your life seems out of control and you do not know what to do. Is this the way a Christian should live his life? Does this kind of thinking please God?

    • Worry is rooted in two serious sins:
      • Distrust of God: God is not able or God is not good
      • Pride: I must be in control of my circumstances

Conclusion: Let us take a moment to reflect on what we are before God: we are morally bankrupt, without any hope of salvation apart from God’s work for us. Every spiritual blessing that we have is ours by the work of Christ alone. Every good gift that we have is from God’s kind hand. How many times has He held back His anger from us, and showed us mercy. Let us see ourselves as God sees us, because then we will be able to walk before God and men as this passage commands us to walk!

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