A People of Humility and Honor
Last week we saw perhaps once of the worst Presidential debates that this country has ever seen. To me it was quite sad because we saw an evening filled with arguing, dishonor, immaturity from each of the opposing sides. This night was supposed to help inform us on who we should vote for and why, but honestly many Americans walked away probably thinking more along the lines of “What just happened? What was that? How can we pick between what we saw”?
Tonight however, I am not going to tell you who you should vote for. For one, that isn’t my business, and two I think it is illegal for pastors to officially endorse someone. But what I am going to suggest to you is that what we saw on the stage last Tuesday night from the debate is really just a reflection of where our culture and society is at right now.
Everywhere you turn whether it be your social media feed, your news feed, or somewhere else, it seems like people are just tearing each other apart. If someone disagrees with another, it isn’t just a disagreement; it is war. It seems that people are not satisfied with being right or even having their viewpoint held up, there is a desire to smash the other side. To cancel them. To discredit their whole life and humiliate them. Though we may think the debate on Tuesday was out of left field, it truly is only what has been happening on our social media feeds, except this time it was on National television.
This isn’t anything new. This is not an exclusive problem to America in 2020. History if filled with example after example of entire societies or people groups being discredited and mistreated for the sake of a power figure or idea. Human history is full of stories of people (or peoples) trying to jockey for position of power and authority, to dominate a narrative, and to silence anyone who doesn’t agree.
So the question we should ask ourselves as Christians is this: Isn’t there a better way?
There has to be a better way than just participating in the way of the debate last week or what we have seen on repeat for 1000’s of years of history, right?
I believe the Bible does give us a better way and interestingly enough Jesus Himself actually confronts this attitude and heart posture in his disciples:
Luke 22 - Context: Jesus just finished with the last supper and the first communion declaring what this new covenant would be. But he said that someone was going to betray Him, and then they started asking and questions on the one who would betray Jesus would be:
“A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” - Luke 22:24-30
You see, Jesus saw the way of the world. He saw what power in the natural world led to, and he could see the seeds of that kind of teaching and world discipleship in His discipleship. It is striking that Jesus had no time for it. He didn’t let it persist, but instead nipped it in the bud immediately. He said the great among you will be like the youngest, they will serve, who doesn’t flaunt power or use it for personal gain.
They way of Jesus indicates that there is a better way than what the disciples had experienced and I would suggest it is the same way we can experience in our world today. It is the way of humility and honor.
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, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
- Philippians 2:1–8
Humility and honor are central the life of a Christian. Without it, the world will never see the way of Jesus fully. This is because Jesus Himself was the very embodiment of humility and honor. So Paul is so wise and correct to direct us in this way. This is the final message in our community series and if want to be a people who have the Christian community that is described in Scripture, then we must become a people of humility and honor. Let’s look closer here at Philippians 2:1-8:
Chapter 2 starts with “Therefore”, and a good tip when reading the Bible is when you see that word, go back to the passages before that and make sure that you understand why the “therefore” is there for.
Chapter 2 is starting off right after a call for the Christian in Philippi to live according to the Gospel. The church had received a call to strive together and remain united in their faith even if suffering comes. And Paul continues that thought with the first few verses of chapter 2. Be one in spirit and one in mind. Paul is writing from prison and the thing that seemed to make him more encouraged than anything was to see a church who’s people were united and serving each other.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (v.4-5)
Philippians 2:4-5 says to do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
The Greek word used here for selfish ambition is actually a term used for electioneering. It means to show partisanship or a fractious spirit.
The world for Vain conceit just speaks of groundless or empty glory.
Paul is saying don’t elect your way is THE way. Don’t do anything out of self preservation or to fuel your ego. Don’t do anything for reward or glory that won’t last.
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Instead Paul reminds us of the better way. The way of Jesus. The world their for humility is a word that actually is better translated “in humility of mind”. The Greek carries this idea of: being aware of our own littleness or to have a deeply modest opinion of ourselves.
Humility is hard because it is a heart posture. It’s an attitude of the heart. It’s not about actions we do or don’t do. We can look like we care for people, or even serve people out of a heart that is full of pride. One scholar suggests that pride is the original sin we see in the Garden with Adam and Eve. It was a conscious choice saying that we know better than God, and chose apart from God.
“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice” James 3:16
Pride is fundamentally opposed to God and His kingdom. James here says that every evil practice exists and has potential to take root when envy and selfish ambition or pride is at hand.
This is why Philippians 2 and the way of Jesus is so important.
I think from the earliest age we were taught not be selfish. I think we intrinsically know that. To live selfishly is to not live in the way of Jesus.
However, our great temptation is just to treat everyone the same as us. To treat them as just as important as us. But this actually isn’t they way of Christ either.
The true way to live in the way of Jesus is value people MORE than ourselves. To rank their needs and them as people high than ours. This is the way of Jesus. In Christ we have the freedom to live differently than the world around us at large. We don’t have to live in a way that just looks outs and cares for ourselves. Because of Jesus and His Spirit and His promise of life eternal, we can lookout for the interests of others because we know that God will provide for all of us, and has plenty.
Humility isn’t denying one’s skill, talent, or ability but rather choosing to not use it for your own advantage
Humility Leads to Honor
Humility Leads to Honor
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
A deeply biblical principle is that humility leads to honor. The antidote for pride is not trying harder or busying ourself with service projects. The antidote to pride is to take our eyes off of ourself and fix them to loving God and loving people.
Philippians 2 follows up the call for humility with the example of Jesus’ humility that turns into honor from God. Jesus took on the nature of a servant. He didn’t demand for His rights. He didn’t retaliate with hate or slander or dishonor. He was obedient to the call of God and the direction from God all the way to death on a cross.
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus”
This is the mindset that Jesus lived with and the Paul calls us to as followers of Jesus to commit to: I will humble myself and serve everyone even unto death. But notice that is wasn’t for nothing. Jesus didn’t serve in vain. God exalted Jesus to the highest place of honor. No other name is above Jesus. His humility lead to his honor.
This principle is true for us as well. The way to gain honor in the Kingdom of God is not to take it or earn it. It is to humble ourselves and give honor to other people, then in return God bestows honor upon us.
“That is why Scripture says: God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” - James 4:6, 4:10
It is by humility we have access to God and His Kingdom, and pride excludes us from God and His Kingdom.
When we choose to humble ourselves before God, then he will lift us up. He will show us honor. Philippians 2 connects this humility with honoring and valuing others more than ourselves. However, our great temptation is just to treat everyone the same as us. To treat them as just as important as us. But this actually isn’t they way of Christ either.
The true way to live in the way of Jesus is value people MORE than ourselves. Showing Honor to one another is so important. We are made in the image of God, and to show dishonor to a human is to show dishonor to God.
Andrew Murray Quote
“It is easy to think we humble ourselves before God: humility towards men will be the only sufficient proof that our humility before God is real; that humility has taken up its abode in us; and become our very nature; that we actually, like Christ, have made ourselves of no reputation”
Something that we must ask ourself all the time is are we honoring those around us. Is the conversation I’m participating in causing me to honor my neighbor? Is the narrative that I’m believing calling me to love my neighbor? Who is benefitting from this decision more, me or my neighbor? Christian humility will always lead us to honor those around us.
“Here is the path to the higher life: down, lower down! Just as water always seeks and fills the lowest place, so the moment God finds men abased and empty, His glory and power flow in to exalt and to bless.” -Andrew Murray
What Do We Do?
What Do We Do?
Serve One Another
“But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” Luke 22:26-27
The call of Jesus here is for us to look to serve. Serve each other and the world around us. Here are a few ways we can look to serve:
Help with household chores or even just take the chores
Making food for people
2. Honor Each Other
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Romans 12:10
How can we honor each other? What does the word honor even mean? The word honor carries this implication that you are ascribing value to someone. It is where we get the word “honorarium”. An honorarium is a gift that give to someone for providing a service. Here in Chi Alpha we often give a honorarium for guest speakers who come to speak to the group. With an honorarium the idea is that you are giving an amount of money to the guest to show how much their service is to you.
But honor doesn’t have to be about money. Remember, honor is about showing someone how valuable they are or what they mean to you. Here are a few ways we can look to honor people:
Words of affirmation
Publicly affirming people to other people; speaking well of them
Personal notes or messages to people thanking them and affirming them
It’s impossible to look down upon people when we bow. It directs our eyes up.
3. Repentance: Examine Your Heart Often
As I said before, humility is a heart posture. It’s not primarily about things we do or don’t do. However, it is incredibly easy to become prideful while we pursue humility. We have to be sure that our heart doesn’t turn from humility to self-righteousness.
If you are familiar with the story of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15 it tells the story of two brothers. It tell’s the story of two brothers, one brother is a young, foolish man who squanders all his father’s inheritance on wild living and sin. The other son stays home, but becomes incredibly self righteous. The point of the entire parable of Jesus was that the elder son was just as lost and the prodigal son.
CS Lewis Quote from Screwtape Letters
“Your patient has become humble; have you drawn his attention to the fact?”
We need to examine our hearts often and ask God to show us the way of humility to avoid becoming prideful all over again.
Humility directs our eyes from looking downward towards people to bowing low and looking up to God. Then, God directs our eyes to those around us to serve and honor.
It is by humility we have access to God and His Kingdom, and pride excludes us from God and His Kingdom.
Invite the worship team back
We are going to respond to God tonight, and as we do let’s do so in humility and honor. Let’s remember our place before God. Let’s ascribe value and honor to God with our worship. But as we do let’s always ask ourselves the questions: How can I live humbly before those around me and how I can honor those around me. How can I show the value of those around me. Let’s be a people who build a culture of humility and honor, and form the kind of community where God dwells in our midst.