TV Transcripts

“True Humility” Part One
Broadcast #1628
December 17, 2023

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1628 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

Phil: Well, praise God! Good to see everybody this morning. And obviously this is a time of year when much of the world is conscious, at least in some measure with Christmas and with the birth of Christ. Obviously, Santa Claus gets a lot of licks in there too, but I’m thankful for that truth of what God has done for us.

And I’ve had some thoughts and I’m just praying the Lord will take my weakness, which I’ve got bookoos of, and help me to share a thought this morning that really gripped my mind and my heart. And I believe there’s something in it, not just as a doctrinal thing, but as something that really should make a difference in our lives.

There’s a word that we are familiar with and we see repeated in the scriptures many times, and it’s an exhortation to humility. And that doesn’t sound like it at first, it has anything to do with Christmas, but I believe it does more than we realize.

You know, when we think of humility or being humble, in the first place, oftentimes we are thinking in terms of somebody who is more important than we are, somebody who perhaps has a position of authority and we need to, you know, somehow humble ourselves and submit our wills a little bit and not just fight against that.

And that’s certainly an aspect of it that is absolutely true, and it has its place. God wants us to not have this assertive, self-willed human spirit that comes from human nature. Every one of us have our own desires, our own self-will that just longs for expression. And obviously if we are in a position where we’re under somebody, there is that part of us that fights against that and wants to.

But there’s an aspect of humility that I think God wants to emphasize to me and to all of us this morning. And one good way to introduce it would be to turn to Philippians, chapter two. And let’s just begin there with a familiar scripture. But there is an expression in there that is really, I think, crucial to our understanding of what God desires out of us.

Anyway, Paul is exhorting the believers there, and he says, “Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves.”

Yeah, think about that. Have you ever thought about humility in that sense? It’s not just, I’m supposed to be humble unto this person and I’m, you know…. A lot of times there can be self-will in that and self-interest. If you’re around somebody important and you know in your own self-interest you need to kind of kowtow to them and a lot of times it’s an act. But boy, there’s no act involved here. This is something that God is looking to build into the character of his people.

And there’s a reason for that. It’s because it comes from His own nature. And that’s what’s the amazing thing that just really gripped me as I thought about this. Here he’s telling us, first of all, this is a virtue that I want to see from you.

One way that people react is self-will and self-seeking and looking for a way to advance myself. Selfish ambition, vain conceit, what’s that? You got ideas about your own importance, but they’re just fantasy. It’s a vain, it doesn’t make any sense.

Now you think about Isaiah, when he met the Lord, I know he had ideas probably naturally that he was somebody in God’s order of things and then he saw the Lord and that kind of changed his perspective just a little bit. And I’ll tell you, all we would have to do is get one glimpse of God’s glory and all of our self importance would vanish in a puff of smoke. And we’d see ourselves as we truly are. Thank God, the amazing thing is that He sees value in us and loves us in spite of all of that.

But anyway, so here’s Paul. And under the inspiration of God’s Spirit, calling on them to have a humility. And what does that humility result in? How does it cause us to think and therefore act in accordance with that thinking? Value others, rather, value others above yourselves. Now, there he is not just talking about submitting to somebody up here, but he’s talking about a horizontal thing that can have all kinds of ramifications in life.

You know, one of them you see in some of the epistles where one of the writers will say, you know, suppose somebody comes in, they’re dressed in fancy clothes, and if somebody else comes in and they’re obviously down, you know, down in a bad place and they’re poor and they’re nobody, no importance in the world, you know, would you say to the fancy guy or the guy dressed up in fancy clothes, “Here, sit in this honored place,” and the other guy, “Yeah, you sit over there on the floor?”

See, there’s something wrong with that. We’re not valuing others. We’re not seeing people as God sees them. And so here we are in a place where it’s not just what I do with respect to authority over me, but it’s what I do even with respect to people that the world would see as beneath me. And yet God calls on me to have a humble spirit and to value them above ourselves. That’s amazing, isn’t it?

Okay. So how does Paul want to illustrate this? Is he just gonna go out in society and give these kind of earthly examples? How does he do it? He says, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” Now he’s using Jesus as an example of humility, of what genuine, what real humility is about. Here’s Jesus Christ as the prime example of humility.

And bear in mind that Jesus Christ was a perfect expression of the Father. So we’re talking about humility, not just as a human virtue that we need to recognize was above us, but rather it is God’s own heart. You wanna know Who the most humble being in the universe is? It’s God himself. That sound crazy? Am I way off here this morning? There’s a depth to this that I believe God wants us to see in a special measure this morning.

Now again, think about, of course, he says, “Who being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage. Rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant.” You know, the world or many people at least are celebrating the birth of Jesus. And many times we’re just looking at the human aspect of that and we’re rejoicing and here he is, he’s walked among us and people got to know him and all that.

But let’s talk about who this is that actually came. I mean, who is this? Who was it? April, the other night mentioned in prayer meeting, she was drawing attention to the fact that in the garden, there was, you know, Adam and Eve and the Lord came down and walked with them. But who was that? Whenever we see a divine figure in scripture, who is it that we’re talking about? Who are we talking about? Yeah, we’re talking about Jesus the son.

How do you know that, by the way? That’s it. Because no one, that God himself is a spirit. He is immortal, He is invisible. No one has ever seen Him. No one ever can see Him. So how do we know anything about him? Because Jesus Christ is the express image of the invisible God. So if we’ve seen him — Jesus said, Who’s ever seen me has seen the Father. He is the one who perfectly represents the Father.

And so when God set out to create this present creation, how did He do it? He did it through His son, didn’t hHe? So who was it? When we had the words recorded, “Let there be light,” who said that? Yeah, the son of God uttered those words. And you know, you go to the fourth day of creation and you see, I believe that’s the day they had the sun and the moon and described them and all that. And He created the stars also. And look at what the scientists are discovering about the immensity of the universe, the number of stars.

Just think for a minute who this was that was walking around with a couple of naked people who didn’t realize they were naked at the time. I mean, you talk about humility, you talk about valuing somebody that, by every human measure of this corrupt world, that makes no sense at all. Why would somebody that incredible be walking with them and showing an interest in them?

And then he gives Adam the charge to name the animals. And he goes by and whatever Adam called ‘em, that’s what they were. There he is completely involved in them and their welfare and their future and all of that. And he gave them instruction, which they sadly didn’t follow.

So what happened when they sinned? Immediately their eyes were open, they were ashamed, yes. But when God came calling, when the Lord came calling, and again, who’s this? When Jesus came calling in the garden and said, Where are you? They weren’t looking for him. They were trying to hide out of shame. Did that stop him from being interested in them? It didn’t, did it?

You think of the heart of God that was expressed in this being who could spit out stars and galaxies, this incredible being who’s walking down there and walking in the garden and saying, “Adam, where are you?” And then he just doesn’t wipe ‘em out. I’m disgusted with you, this is all over. This was a mistake. Why should somebody as important as I am be interested in you? None of that, was there? He made perfect and complete provision for them to be able to go forward. Yes, there were consequences. We’re still suffering them today, but there was a heart that was still reaching out. My God!

And you see other manifestations of the son of God as people encountered him, of course. Was it Moses who encountered him in a burning bush? He didn’t see a figure then, but there he was. And coming right down, Moses, take off your shoes. You’re standing on holy ground. He wanted him to know, wanted him to respect his person. But yet there he was coming down.

Why did he come? Because he had heard the cry of slaves and he remembered his promise. What an amazing, I mean, and the people, the way they turned out, he knew all about that. And yet there he was reaching out, coming down, a person of such immense glory and power coming down to rescue and to pay attention to people like us. That’s incredible! You talk about what real humility’s about, that’s the picture of it, isn’t it?

And other times when he met with Moses, but the one I referred to a while ago was the one that’s so striking, and that was in Isaiah six when the Lord, when God caught Isaiah up into a high place and he saw the Lord high and lifted up. Again, who was he seeing? This was Jesus. This was the son of God. He wasn’t named Jesus yet, that came later. But this was the son of God. This was the same one who’d been the creator, who’d walked with Adam in the garden, Adam and Eve, walked and talked with Moses, and now there he was.

And all of a sudden, the prophet got a whole different perspective on everything. And his first reaction was, Oh God, I have no hope here. No way can I fit in with this scene. I’m undone. Oh God, help me. But what was the Lord’s attitude in this? Remember, it was the Lord that brought him there. Did he bring him there to wring him out and tell him to straighten up and fly right? Or did he bring him there to show him mercy, to give him a commission?

And yes, there was a need. Absolutely there was a need. But the Lord focused on the need. There was a coal that was applied to his lips and said, I’ve cleansed you. What a heart! What a heart that we have of this one that we’re talking about being born, his heart toward us. Why was somebody that’s way up there, the top of the heap? I mean, God made him the ruler over all of creation and there he is. Why would he pay attention to somebody like me?

You wanna know what real humility is? That’s somebody who’s putting my interests, unworthy, utterly unworthy that I am and yours even above his own. He’s making those his whole interest, his whole focus. And so there he is, and we see the anointing upon the prophets and all that God had unfolded.

And then you see this one, as Paul said, although he was in the form of God, I think what the original words say, though he was in the form of God, yet he didn’t hang on to that. He came down and was willing to be born. Now you think about that. You think about the power of God coming upon a young woman and a single little cell that you’d had to take a microscope to see. And there’s the one who said, “Let there be light,” who created the stars. And he came down and at that moment, he was a single cell in a woman’s womb. Why would he do that? Why would somebody so important, so great come down?

You wanna know what humility is? He came down because that was the only answer. That was the only answer for my need and yours. He came down in such mercy and such grace. And the cell split and then it split again, it split again. And this little fetus grew and there he was, the creator of the universe, living in a mother’s womb, came out as a little baby, had to be taken care of, just like some of you have to take care and like we’ve all been taken care of, and all the usual stuff that goes with that.

And there he was and he grew. And, you know, one place that says specifically, he humbled himself to his parents or he submitted to his parents. Was subject to them, I think is the language. That’s a pretty good lesson, isn’t it? It’s what humility’s about. You know, when we humble ourselves to things that God puts us in the middle of, who are we really humbling ourselves to? Yeah, we’re humbling ourselves to Him.

And He’s seeking through that to reproduce His nature in us because we’re not humble. Oh, we got so much pride that wants to rise up and be somebody and be something. But oh, what freedom there is in just being what God made us. You know, embracing humility is not saying, I’m worthless. It’s just saying God has a better way for me to live and to relate to others than it all being about me. Oh God, set us free from that.

And so we see him living a normal life by all accounts. You know, you have the one incident where he was talking with the scholars in the temple and they were amazed and all of that. But I mean, other than that, until he was 30 years old, he was just living an ordinary life, building furniture, whatever the carpenter did in that time. And there he was just, you know, one of the guys going to the synagogue every week and, you know, obviously an unusual man in other respects, but there wasn’t any power about him. He just was a man among men.

Why would somebody that important? That’s the thing. Don’t ever forget who this is and how he made himself known in the Old Testament. Remember who this is that’s coming down and walking and living the life that you and I live, knowing what it’s like to live in this world. Oh my God!

And then, you know, finally comes the time. And you know, we would, by human measurement, expect somebody that important to come down with a chariot, with thunder, with power, with glory, and say, I’m the Lord. I’m the ruler of the universe. You need to bow down to me and straighten up. He would’ve come with some great fanfare.

Didn’t do that, did he? He just came, submitted himself to John who had a ministry ahead of him. I mean, just stepping right into the role that the Father had designed for him. And so, yes, he was submitted. I mean, the part of the humility that he had was, I’m here to do his will, not mine. So there’s a form of genuine humility, isn’t there?

But how did that humility express itself? He didn’t go around and hobnob with all the important people and just sort of, you know, push all these unimportant people aside. The very people that he sought out were the least likely for any other human being to have any association with.

What about the woman at the well? Boy, if there’s hope for the woman at the well, there’s hope for anybody. How many times has that been pointed out? Here was a woman who, in the first place, she was a Samaritan, so the Jews didn’t have anything to do with them. They would despise them, look down on them. Half breeds. Little bit of Jewish tradition to them, but a little bit of heathenism. There’s just a different people. They’re not part of us. They’re not one of us. We’re God’s people, they’re not.

So Jesus goes over there, but not only that, this woman was immoral to the point where her own society shunned her, had nothing to do with her. And in that culture, the very fact that she was a woman by herself would put her in a place where no respectable man would want to even be associated with her, to talk to her. But Jesus, led by the Father, what was happening came straight from the heart of God who saw a woman that he loved and cared about.

You wanna know what humility is about? That’s it. Jesus humbled himself to talk to that woman, to bring her to a place where she acknowledged her need, but he didn’t take that need and rub her nose in it. He came down with a message, not of condemnation, but of hope, of mercy, of love, to the point where when she was done with that, she ran to her people and told ‘em all about it. And he stayed there for three days with the people. You talk about humility, that’s a pretty good example of it, isn’t it?

And what about the woman taken in the act of adultery and all those religious people ready to stone her? Didn’t pay attention to the man involved, which they should have if they were gonna really follow the law. But there she was utterly caught in sin, despised, every reason in the world to shun such a person. Why should I, somebody of my importance, associate myself with that?

But he did, didn’t he? He said, Woman, where are your accusers? After he’d finished writing on the ground and they all left, he had said, “Let him who’s without sin cast the first stone.” Talk about divine mercy and wisdom. And he looked up and nobody was gone. Says, Where are your accusers? Has no one accused you? No, no one, Lord. Said, Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.

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