The Humility of Christ (pg. 4)

“And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death,
even the death of the cross.”
Philippians 2:8

“It is the sinner dwelling in the full light of God’s holy, redeeming love ~ in the experience of that full indwelling of divine love, which comes through Christ and the Holy Spirit ~ who cannot be anything but humble. Not to be occupied with your sin, but to be occupied with God, brings deliverance from self.”

“Have full assurance that where He is enthroned in the heart, His humility and gentleness will be one of the streams of living water that flow from within us.” Humility Andrew Murray 

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) John 7:37-39

Dear Father, by your grace, reveal your Son who humbled Himself for us. Make us to know the indwelling of your divine love so that we are no longer occupied with sin and self but with you. Make us to know the Spirit’s power of Christ’s humility and gentleness in and through us ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen
Fran

Free ebook: Humility ~ the Beauty of Holiness Andrew Murray (free audio)
A Broad Review of Andrew Murray’s Humility

The Starting Point for Happiness

A sermon may put you to sleep. It may pass over you without leaving its mark — or it may very well pierce your heart, lodge within your soul, humble you and change your life. Such was last week’s message from our pastor as he began Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Mount.

If you have studied Jesus’ Sermon recorded in Luke’s and Matthew’s Gospels, you may know that the word Blessed is a description of a true follower of Christ.

In the Christian language Blessed translates Happy. Jesus’ teachings were radical in His day and in ours to show by His own life and His Words that the kingdom of God begins in the hearts of those who are humbled before Him.

This sermon serves to awaken again the desire to share what I have studied and written about the subject of Humility. It has been a constant study since 2014 through Andrew Murray’s Humility ~ the Beauty of Holiness; when I posted A Broad Review of his book — a chapter every month that year.

Since then, I have been using that Broad Review, (published in 2017), with its main points, to saturate my mind, to meditate, ruminate and perpetuate the truths of God’s Word concerning the character of humility that is desperately needed in our hearts and lives. The humility of Christ within us is our blessedness and happiness.

Please watch ~ more importantly ~ listen to this sermon and visit with us this week for snippets of the reality of Humility that you may have never known or heard.  May the Lord bless your week. Fran

A Bloody Crown, a Bloody Cross, a Bloody Sacrifice

After posting Three Crosses, Two Crowns, One Sacrifice I  wanted to do this follow-up. In that article, images depicted everything clean as if the cross of Christ was never used. The crowns were those of earthly kings. The precious sweet lamb was untouched, alive in the green grass.

As the church plans to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ next Lord’s Day, I am reminded that we seldom think about the events that led to this celebration. Too often we skip the crucifixion and the tomb, forgetting the suffering and the sacrifice that made our salvation sure. Some people can look at blood and gore and are insensitive to it. I, like others, avoid it at all costs. Even the sounds of violence from a distance make me cringe.

Still others will not consider their need for a bloody Savior. The rich man of the South who said, “I don’t need anyone to die for me,” didn’t know his own heart.

Understanding how we are reconciled to God through the blood of His own Son is necessary ~ if we are to experience the power of His love and grace working in and through us.

Even as I continue to study the humility of Christ, I desire the Lord to give me a deeper understanding of His sacrificial atonement. I pray that you, the reader, will receive something of what He is showing me; to know the love that was in the blood that was shed for us; to let that love fill us so that we love Him even more.

And as Paul spoke to the Roman church, let us pray that we are so humbled by His mercy that we respond by offering ourselves as “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1-2) for our God, “who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.” Ephesians 2:4

A Bloody Crownimages

Charles Spurgeon said in his sermon The Bloody Crown:

Beloved, I always feel as if my tongue were tied when I come to talk of the sufferings of my Master. I can think of them. I can picture them to myself. I can sit down and weep over them, but I know not how to paint them to others! Did you ever know pen or pencil that could? A Michelangelo or a Raphael might well shrink back from attempting to paint this picture! And the tongue of an archangel might be consumed in the effort to sing the griefs of Him who was loaded with shame because of our shameful transgressions.

“Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. John 19:2

And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium;
and they call together the whole band.
And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns,
and put it about his head,
And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews!
And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him,
and bowing their knees worshipped him.
Mark 15:16-19

Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s Gospels record the scourging and mocking right before Jesus was led away to be crucified. But John’s gospel records (and he was an eye witness) Pilate bringing him before the chief priests, the elders, and the crowd before He was led away.

Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! John 19:5

What did Pilate mean by doing this? He may have thought that all the blood would discourage the Jewish leaders and the crowd, but no ~ they wanted more. What they saw from Jesus’ beating and the thorns on His head was not enough. They must have his life. They must see Him destroyed; no matter how much blood it took.

They could not know how powerful that blood would be to save His people ~ and to condemn them. The envy, the anger, the hatred, the malice from the enemy was the very reason that Jesus had to endure such suffering.   God knew what was needed to accomplish our redemption ~ an innocent Lamb, a holy man, Himself in human form. He knew that in the presence of sinful men He would be massacred.

At any point, amid the pain and the humiliation from Pilate, the soldiers, and the Jews, Jesus could have shown His power and position as God. Even in His physical weakness He could have spoken the word, or called down heaven and destroyed all or part of Jerusalem. (That would happen later.) But, all that happened was part of the plan for our redemption. Jesus could not turn back now. From the sweat drops of blood in the garden, the betrayal of Judas, the forsaking of the disciples, the mocking of the soldiers, and the crown of shame, He was well into fulfilling the new covenant.

He was revealing the necessity for blood, the reality of atonement through His own blood. To endure all for our sake was the true manner of humility revealed to us.

The pain which He had endured from the scourges caused Him to throb with exquisite anguish—but we read neither of tears nor groans—much less of angry complaints or revengeful threats. He does not seek pity, or make one appeal for leniency. He does not ask why they torture or why they mock. Brave Witness! Courageous Martyr! Suffering exquisitely, You also suffered calmly! Such a perfect frame as His—His body being conceived without sin—He must have been capable of tortures which our bodies, corrupted by sin, cannot feel. Charles Spurgeon

Bloody-Cross-600x450A Bloody Cross

For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Leviticus 17:11

The beatings and the blood on His head did not faze Jesus. He was the central figure in this greatest event in history. It is His story of redemption. The cross, saturated with His blood, is the main scene ~ the turning point for humanity and the gateway leading to eternal life with Him. In the last decade, I have given up watching mere men do this role in plays and movies. It is but an act. No man but Jesus Christ has done this part. It is better to read and meditate on His word for this reality in our own hearts than to see an imitation.

The cross was the means that God had chosen; that Jesus knew He must bear; it was a revelation of God’s love and grace. It is the symbol for us to remember. We wear crosses around our necks.   Most of them are gold and silver. None are bloody. But we must remember the blood of the cross of Christ; His life that was shed for us.

That blood was the blood of the new covenant. The beatings and the bloody crown were only the preludes to our own lifeline. Without the blood of His hands, His feet, and His side, there would have been no reconciliation and peace between God and us. I use the words ‘God and us,’ instead of ‘us and God,’ because He is the initiator and the fulfillment of the covenant. We must see the blood, even as He had to see the blood, and therefore passed over our sins.

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:11

Mark his brow-they have put about it a crown of thorns, and the crimson drops of gore are rushing down his cheeks! . . . But turn aside that purple robe for a moment. His back is bleeding. ..They lift up the thongs, still dripping clots of gore; they scourge and tear his flesh, and make a river of blood to run down his shoulders! This is the shedding of blood without which there is no remission…They fling him to the ground; they nail his hands and feet to the transverse wood, they hoist it in the air…Blood from his head, blood from his hands, blood from his feet. . They pierce his side, and forthwith runneth out blood and water.   Charles Spurgeon

A Bloody Sacrificeimages

                “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:7

After that tremendous struggle, the strength of Love mastered the weakness of Manhood—He put that cup to His lips and never shrank—He drank right on till not a drop was left! And now the cup of wrath is empty—no trace of the terrible wine of the wrath of God can be found within it! At one tremendous draught of love, the Lord drank destruction dry, forever, for all His people. Charles Spurgeon

The blood on the crown of thorns and the stain on the cross was the blood of Jesus Christ. The pouring out of His blood on the ground was more than a sprinkling and spoke better things than that of Abel. (Hebrews 13:24) There was life in that blood, the life of the Son of God who lived for one purpose ~ to lay down His life; to shed His blood for us.

“It is finished.” It was done according to His everlasting covenant. He was the bloody sacrifice for His people. We don’t have to look at a bloody cross anymore, but we must remember it. Nor do we need a crucifix with a figure of a man with no bloodstains.

He left us with two ordinances to remember His sacrifice; baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We need but to be baptized into His death once, but His sacrifice is to be remembered when we come together for worship. Blessed are we who celebrate the resurrection and remember His death with the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s Day.

Peace Through His Blood
Jesus is no longer a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger, or a man on a cross, or wrapped in a linen shroud lying in a tomb. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords living today and forever as our merciful and faithful High Priest; sitting at the right hand of God, having offered the oblation of His blood for His people; making reconciliation for us; and now, as our mediator, interceding for us.

We would be blessed today and tomorrow to read and meditate on the crucifixion of our Lord, so as to come to worship and celebrate this Lord’s Day with a deeper sense of His mercy and grace.

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,
through sanctification of the Spirit,
unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
1 Peter 1:2

The blood is one of the strangest, the deepest, the mightiest, and the most heavenly of the thoughts of God. It lies at the very root of both Covenants, but specially of the New Covenant. The difference between the two Covenants is the difference between the blood of beasts, and the blood of the Lamb of God! The power of the New Covenant has no lesser measure than the worth of the blood of the Son of God! Your Christian experience ought to know of no standard of peace with God, and purity from sin, and power over the world, than the blood of Christ can give! If we would enter truly and fully into all the New Covenant is meant to be to us, let us beseech God to reveal to us the worth and the power of the blood of the Covenant, the precious blood of Christ!  The Two Covenants Andrew Murray

Dear heavenly Father, just as we cannot paint the picture of Christ, your Son, for others, neither can we put into words our praise and gratitude for so great a salvation, performed as planned and executed in your timing and place.  Let the blood of Christ, that is efficacious, doing all that you planned it to do, work in us the power over sin.  Cleanse us and keep us always looking to Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith. In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.
Fran

Images: Google

 

Humility and Death to Self ~ Chapter 10

In this Year of Humility we have been learning from Andrew Murray’s Humility (PDF) the meaning, the means, and the working of humility in the Christian life. In this tenth chapter we come to the aim of humility, the end goal, and that is, death. Let us remember where humility originated, and follow its course to the effect it has in our own lives.

Humility began in heaven with God. In Jesus He condescended to the human level, so that He might save us from our sinful state. Christ, in humility and obedience to the Father’s will, with no plans of His own, gave up His position of glory to live a life here on earth, a life that He would share with us. For Him to accomplish this act for our salvation He had to humble Himself in order to die.

climber_offering_help_h_27770948_stdWhat if, in a very strategic situation, you need help? Someone offers, but you refuse, because the terms of the one who is able to help you are not to your liking. You die because you refused what could have saved your life.

What if, in a life-threatening position, you have the opportunity to live, but you cannot let go of something that you are holding on to.

These are both cases that are analogous to refusal of the salvation that is offered in Christ.

Again, think of life that is promised if we not only let go of things that we hold dear in this life, but to give up our own life. Death to self is the only means of true life. And humility is the only means of coming to the end of self. Without humility there is no promise for life.  True humility leads us to die to self. In all this we see that the true life is the humble life that is ours in Christ; now and for eternity.

“Whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
Matthew 16:25

Revelation, Desire, Prayer, Reality
I speak from experience, as I say that humility is not a human trait, but that gift from heaven, through the Spirit of Jesus Christ, given to men for the abundant life that He promised those who come to Him. As much as I desire to live the humble life it seems still a supernatural life that I look forward to and pray for. As soon as I think I have a little humility, the oppressive spirit of the enemy assaults, and pride rears its ugly head.
(Oppression is a subject that I am studying and hope to write about.)

In Paul’s letters to the Romans and the Galatians he teaches us that the flesh and the Spirit are at war against each other. The hope (another gift) that we are given keeps us in prayer and more watchfulness against the wiles of the devil. He wants us dead, but not to self.

These truths are revealed to us by the Spirit, regenerating us with a new heart and a new spirit; so that we, seeing our ignorance and pride come to repentance and faith, our first step of humility toward growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. One step leads to another as we desire this humility, pray for it, and by His working, humble ourselves, deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him.


God Uses All Things for Our Humbling
Every time I read this book I come away with the same impressive statement Murray makes in this chapter. It is similar to Romans 8:28-29. It has made a difference in my life to see everything under God’s sovereignty working through everything whatever He wants to do in my life.

“Accept every humiliation, look upon every fellow-man who tries or vexes you, as a means of grace to humble you. Use every opportunity of humbling yourself before your fellow-man as a help to remain humble before God. It is by the mighty strengthening of His Holy Spirit that God reveals Christ fully in you.”

“But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”
Romans 8:25

Dear Father, you knew when you started all this, that we would need everything from you to make it work to your glory. All that you expect from us is supernatural and beyond our doing; but you have put it into our hearts and promised us, that you are exceedingly abundantly able to do more than we can ask for or imagine, by the power of your Spirit working in us. Thank you for coming down to us that you might bring us up to yourself. Enable us to die to self; to raise up by your divine power to live in praise unto you.
“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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Humility and Faith ~ Chapter 9

Who of us, born of flesh and blood, could honestly say that we don’t care what other people think of us? There is a healthy attitude of how we ought to appear to others as far as our manner and conduct. Our desire should be to reflect the image of Christ. In this chapter of Andrew Murray’s Humility (PDF) he is speaking of the pride of man that seeks the honor and glory of men, instead of the glory of God. This concern is not for what God thinks or approves, but what makes us look good to other people, winning their honor and praise. He even goes so far as to say that a lot of our service in the church is good, but done for the wrong purpose.

Again, he gets to the point of pride, especially as it concerns our faith.

True faith cannot manifest itself where there is pride, but is birthed in humility; and so, does it live and grow. The higher Christian life that is spoken of here is out of reach to those who continue in their pride. He uses the illustration of this life as “compared to objects in a shop window — one can see them clearly and yet could not reach them. If told to stretch out his hand and take, a man would answer, “I cannot; there is a thick pane of plate glass between me and them.” Likewise, Christians may clearly see the blessed promises of perfect peace and rest, of overflowing love and joy, of abiding communion and fruitfulness, yet feel that there is something in-between hindering the true possession.”   Pride keeps us from reaching or grasping the blessings that God has provided for us in Christ.

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In Jesus’ words, “How can ye believe which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?”  He is showing the limitations of faith while we are seeking honor from other people instead of God.

Faith is described as what grace bestows in our dependency.Humility is simply the disposition which prepares the soul for living on trust. Even the most secret breathing of pride —in self-seeking, self-will, self-confidence, or self-exaltation—is just the strengthening of that self which cannot enter into the Kingdom or possess the things of the Kingdom, because it refuses to allow God to be what He is and must be—the all in all.”

Seeking to See
Can we, without humility,  even see what is in the window?  Nicodemus came to Jesus privately because he had heard Him speaking of the kingdom.  He was looking for something from Jesus.  Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be born again to even see the kingdom. We all must be born of the Spirit, receiving the new heart, spirit, and life of Christ with new eyes to see Christ and the kingdom.

 “Faith is the organ or sense for the perception and apprehension of the heavenly world and its blessings. As long as we take glory from one another, as long as we jealously guard the glory of this life, we cannot receive the glory that comes from God. Salvation comes through a cross and a crucified Christ. Salvation is the fellowship with the crucified Christ in the Spirit of His cross. The cross, the death, and the grave, into which Jesus humbled Himself, were His path to the glory of God. And they are our path.

 As we learned in previous chapters the nature of humility in us is the same as in Jesus. He told His disciples that they would have to take up their own crosses daily if they would follow Him (Luke 9:23).   The reality of His humility in us brings us in faith and repentance to sacrifice all that we are and have for the name of Christ and His kingdom.
He is the pearl of great price; which when we find will sell everything else.  Humility is the only means of seeing Him; and it is the means whereby we not only see, but we receive and enjoy the treasures that are stored and displayed in Him now and for eternity.

 “Let us gladly accept whatever can humble us before God or men — this alone is the path to the glory of God.”

 “Brethren ! nothing can cure you of the desire to receive honor from men, or of the sensitivity and pain and anger which come when it is not given, except giving yourself to seek glory of the all-glorious God to be everything to you. You will be freed from the glory of men and of self, and be content and glad to be nothing. Out of this nothingness you will grow strong in faith, giving glory to God. You will find that the deeper you sink in humility before Him, the nearer He is to fulfill every desire of your faith.”

“That the trial of your faith,
being much more precious than of gold that perisheth,
though it be tried with fire,

might be found unto praise and honour and glory
at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”

1 Peter 1:7

Dear Father in heaven, only you know our need. Open our eyes to see Christ, give us a new vision of the treasures of heaven which you have prepared for those who love you. Enable us to seek your honor only ~ for your glory and our joy.
“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Humility and Sin ~ Chapter 8

To benefit by all that Andrew Murray wrote on this subject we must each read this for ourselves. What I am attempting to do with this review of chapter 8 of Humility (PDF) is to combine this with Romans 5:12-21 after the preaching of our pastor’s August 31 sermon.

After studying Murray’s concerns for our humility we see the main purpose for his writing the book. He is trying to get us past our sin in Adam to our relationship with Christ in His gift of righteousness and grace.

We can never forget that we are sinners saved by grace but we do not continue in our sin, nor do we habitually draw attention to ourselves seeing only the sin side of man. If we understand Paul’s writing in the letter to the Romans we are reminded of the depravity of man by which the sin of Adam plunged the whole human race. But more, and far above this reality, is the continual teaching of the greater work and nature of the last Adam, Jesus Christ, in whom we are raised from death in Adam to life in Him.

Disobedience, sin and death came through the first son, Adam, even before the law; before God told other men what they should and shouldn’t do. We who live, after the fact and since the law was established, share in the life of another Son, an obedient Son; through whom forgiveness, and righteousness is ours. But do we believe this and by faith receive this gift; and after it is received know and live this life that is in Christ?

Grace and Humility
As Murray points out, using Paul as the example, true humility is not being humbled because we sin. True humility is living in light of the grace that has saved us from our sinning, while still remembering that we are sinners, saved by God’s grace. We are not saying that we never sin, but that we are no longer under its power. We do not continue sinning as if Christ has not saved us from it. When we understand this we will increase in faith and the humility of Christ.

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“The very essence of grace is to deal with and take away sin, and it must always be so. It is not sin, but God’s grace showing a man and constantly reminding him what a sinner he was, that will keep him truly humble.

I fear that there are many who have sought to humble themselves by strong expressions of self-condemnation and self-denunciation, and yet have to confess with sorrow that a humble spirit, accompanied by kindness, compassion meekness, and forbearance, is still as far off as ever. Being occupied with self, even amid the deepest self-abhorrence, can never free us from self. It is the revelation of God, not only by the law condemning sin, but by His grace delivering from it, that will make us humble. The law may break the heart with fear. But it is only grace that works that sweet humility which becomes a joy to the soul as its second nature.”

Many I talk to are struggling in their faith and growth in the Lord. They seem not able to overcome their doubts and fears.  Some say that they are “hanging in there:” others say, “I am surviving.” Many are depressed and anxious about life.

Where grace abounds there is life, abundant life that overcomes sin and humbles us as we look to Christ, seeing His victory for us over sin. We should be thriving, even in the middle of the madness in which we live. I understand where these are. I too have struggled over the years, prayed, and waited. I am now, at the age of 75 seeing a tremendous growth of the power of God’s grace in my own life, more than I ever asked for; and it is astounding and phenomenal. As Jacob said to God, “I have waited for thy salvation.” It is ordered in His timing and in His way through His everlasting covenant for His people, who are brought to Him through Christ.

A New Level
A few days ago a friend made reference to her daughter’s piano teacher who is taking her daughter “to a new level.” Music students rate themselves as “beginner, intermediate, or advanced.” Not many go from beginner to advanced, but from one level to another as they are trained and practiced in what they are being taught. This can be applied to our lives as disciples of Christ. Does not our Lord Jesus Christ challenge us to a new level of wisdom and understanding of His grace? If so, we will find ourselves more humble than we can imagine. We will be filled and enabled to thrive on the abounding grace and the abundant life that He promised.

As we continue to see our need, to desire this abounding grace, to pray and believe as we wait on Him, He will not fail to fulfill His promises to us, in us, and through us.
Growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we now live, should be an ongoing process as we pray, read, study, meditate, and wait. We should be advancing in our faith to higher levels of knowledge and holiness. This is a process working in us that will not exalt us, nor of which we can boast, but rather one that will humble us more and more.

“It is the sinner dwelling in the full light of God’s holy, redeeming love ~ in the experience of that full indwelling of divine love, which comes through Christ and the Holy Spirit ~ who cannot be anything but humble. Not to be occupied with your sin, but to be occupied with God, brings deliverance from self.”


Dear Father, you, the God of all grace, have called us unto your eternal glory through Jesus Christ.  You do not leave us to grow by ourselves.  You know what we need ~ grace and more grace.  Work in us according to your own good pleasure that we may witness of the abundant life in Christ that humbles us and glorifies you.
“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name I pray and praise you.   Amen.  

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Humility in the Teaching of Jesus ~ Chapter 4

How important are the teachings of Jesus in the world today?

The writer of the book of Hebrews began with these words, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
Hebrews 1:1-3

On the mount of transfiguration Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (exclamation point!)
Matthew 17:1-13

How often are we like Peter, thinking of what we can do for God. He wants us to listen and hear and obey. Like Peter, our human nature of pride excludes our paying attention when we should.

Jesus is quoted in John 6:63; “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
He was the Word of God in human flesh speaking the words by which we needed to live. He was that seed planted in the ground, to die, to bring forth new life in us. That seed must be planted in fertile soil. The heart filled with the humility of Christ is the only medium in which His life lives and grows.

As important as Jesus’ example of humility are His teachings on humility. We skim over the things that seem less important, especially when they are not a main emphasis of the churches teaching. Andrew Murray points to this in his writings in Humility. (PDF)

In the fourth chapter we have the doctrine of humility spelled out very clearly by Jesus; and it behooves us to study these, to memorize them and to meditate on these until they are part of our daily lives. We will see that these teachings are not the usual things that we learn, even in church.

From last month’s study and our meditations on Isaiah 53 we should come into this chapter with grateful hearts for Jesus’ humility, His suffering and His sacrifice for us. We should be willing to daily look to Him as the author and finisher of our faith. If He is our Lord and Savior, having died to take our sins upon Himself, to make us righteous before the Father, we should be continually studying His words and His teachings. As is the master, so is His servant. If our faith is real we will be seeking His kingdom and His righteousness first and foremost in this life.

As we remember in previous chapters we are talking about relationship ~ relationship to God through discipleship in Christ.  Humility, as we have been learning, is the root of our life in Christ. Without it there is nothing to be gained by what we say and do. We must read, and we must remember what Jesus still teaches today through the written word of God.

The Doctrine of Humility
Jesus is the only true teacher. We cannot look to man for this doctrine, but only to Jesus Christ. Let’s examine the main teachings from Murray’s nine points in this chapter.

From Matthew 5:3-5 we understand that the “poor in spirit” may be poor physically, but the meaning has to do with the heart and the spirit of a person. This person knows that there is nothing good in him. He, unlike Simon Peter, (before He understood Jesus’ teachings) has nothing to give, but must constantly look to God for all things. The “meek” are not looking for anything for themselves, but all for God and others. God will give heaven and earth to these.

There are two examples that Jesus uses.
1. In Matthew 11:29 He is the example. It is in His own Spirit of meekness that He gives us rest for our souls. Peace with God is through our humility in Christ.
2. In Matthew 18:4 Jesus uses the example of a little child as the “greatest imagesin the kingdom of heaven.” This “little child” would have been quiet in the middle of these proceedings, listening; in awe of Jesus. “This little child” was still dependent.

There are examples of those who needed humility.
1. His disciples often disputed about and asked for the prominent places in His kingdom. The “chief among” them, and the “greatest among” them would be the “servant. Even as the Son of Man came to serve.”
His teachings were those of the kingdom of heaven. We who are His, His children, His people, are His servants. Our glory is to be His servant, as we practice servanthood here on the earth.

2. The Pharisees were used to the chief places. In Matthew 12:11 Jesus was emphatic; “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”   And in Luke 14:7-11, in the parable of the guest who would be invited to come up higher He said, “He that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” He spoke the same thing after the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. (Luke 18:14) “In our worship of God everything is worthless that is not pervaded by deep, true humility toward God and man.”

The doctrine of humility is all about the kingdom of God. Unbelievers live in their own worlds, but we are called with a holy, high, and heavenly calling to live with and for God, not for ourselves. The new heart that is ours in Christ is the new wineskin that receives the new wine of Christ’s life and His humility.  (Ezekiel 36:25; Luke 5:38)

Murray points out that we don’t think low enough; perhaps, that one may think humility is not becoming to a man. Can we be too humble? We must receive Christ as He is and live by His teachings here if we are to live with Him eternally. We understand by Jesus’ teachings that true humility is the only way and means to heaven; the reality is by being the servant of all.

Humility, as it is the mark of Christ the heavenly, will be the one standard of glory in heaven. The lowliest is the nearest to God.” If we think of any glory at all, it will not be until we enter the portals of glory with Christ; and then it will be the glory of being His servant.

“See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:” Hebrews 12:25

 “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

Jesus Christ is not only the mediator but also the means of all life. In Him we see our lack and need of humility; and more than this we see and receive from Him what He is and teaches us to be. God’s word came to us in Christ, and does not return to Him void, but fulfills in us His servants all that He planned in our creation and redemption. As we long and pray for His spirit of humility we look for its precious fruit according to His promises.

word-will-not-return-void“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

Dear Father, I praise you for your commands of what you planned for us to be, and for the promises that come with them. Rule in our hearts and give us such a longing for Christ and His teachings that we discipline ourselves by His words; knowing the authority of your word commanded in us by your Holy Spirit. Make us to know the joy of humility. In our service to you and others let nothing be too menial or vexing.

“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name I pray.   Amen.

 But drops of grief can ne’er repay the debt of love I owe;
Here Lord I give myself away; Tis all that I can do.
(Alas!, and Did My Savior Bleed ~ Isaac Watts 1707)

Related Article: Humility in the Life of Jesus ~ Chapter 3