PHBC November 14, 1999

Series: First Peter, Sermon #82

EXHORTATIONS TO HUMILITY


TEXT: 1 Peter 5:5-6 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.

INTRO: As I began the preparation of this message and was meditating on this text one night in my hotel room in Texas, I recalled so many incidents throughout the past 42 years in which the teachings of this passage were violated, especially by young preachers. I met a young preacher in Texas who literally seemed to exude and radiate pride. He is going on the mission field though he has no pastoral experience. When he was given the opportunity to speak a few minutes, he spent as much time discussing his schooling and degrees as he did in telling us of his plans. As we were leaving he said to me, "Let me hear from you about when I can come and present my work to your assembly."

Since I got back home I received a call and a brother related to me that in a conference held recently a young preacher with only 3 years in the ministry and pastoral work took it on himself to reprove and correct the older preachers present and not present. For some reason, I can only give the credit to divine grace, I donít recall ever feeling the compulsion to do such a thing as a young preacher. I always held older preachers, especially those who had labored well, in high esteem.

The words of Charles Spurgeon would certainly serve us all well, especially young preachers and those who are young in the ministry. He wrote,

I am speaking to a number of young men who have begun to speak for Jesus Christ in the church: let me earnestly entreat them to take great notice of my text,- " Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God." Recollect, you cannot do any good except "the mighty hand of God" be with you; therefore be humble, and look to that hand for all success. Feel it to be a wonderful thing that the mighty hand of God should ever use you; therefore lie very low in that hand, and beneath that hand, for thins you may claim the promise that he will exalt you in due time. If you are willing to look after a few poor people in a village, and to do your duty thoroughly well among a lowly company, you shah have a larger sphere ere long. If you are satisfied, young brother, to stand in the corner of the street and talk about Jesus Christ to a few rough folk, you shall find hundreds of 545 hearers by-and-by. If you are willing to be nothing God will make something of you. The way to the top of the ladder is to begin at the lowest round. In fact in the church of God, the way up is to go down; but he that is ambitious to be at the top will find himself before long at the bottom. "He that exalteth himself shall be abased but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." Suffer, my younger brethren, this word of exhortation.

Our text for this message is probably not directly addressed to ministers, but they are doubtless included. I believe it is a call to all of Godís saints within each local assembly to voluntarily submit themselves to one another. So many problems would be solved in the Lordís churches if all the members were willing to obey the teachings of Godís word on this matter of mutual humility.

I. HUMILITY IS A DESIRABLE CHARACTERISTIC IN THE CHILD OF GOD

A. Solomon contrasted arrogant pride with humility giving us some very good advice.

1. I am sure that all of you have heard his warning about pride. Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

2. It is easy to forget the very next verse. Proverbs 16:19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

B. Pride leads to disobedience to Godís word but humility leads to obedience. Exodus 10:3 And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me.

C. Pride was the cause of the wilderness wanderings of Israel. Deuteronomy 8:2-3 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. 3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

D. Matthew Henry declared, "There is a mutual opposition between God and the proud, so the word signifies; they war against him, and he scorns them; he resisteth the proud, because they are like the devil, enemies to himself and to his kingdom among men."

E. When God brings humbling experiences into our lives they are designed for our good. Deuteronomy 8:16-18 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; 17 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. 18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.

II. IN SCRIPTURE THE EXHORTATIONS PROMOTING HUMILITY ARE MANY

A. God dwells on high but he also dwells with the humble in spirit. Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

B. Greatness in Godís kingdom is granted to the humble not the arrogant. Matthew 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

C. We are admonished to prefer others before ourselves. Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.

D. Before he admonished wives to submit themselves to their husbands, Paul admonishes the members of the church in Ephesus to submit themselves one to another which requires humility. Ephesians 5:21-22 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

E. We are admonished to esteem others better than ourselves. Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

F. All that God requires of us may be summed up in three duties, one of which is to walk humbly before God. Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

G. Church members are admonished to submit to the pastorís scriptural leadership. Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

H. I like what Matthew Henry says on this passage. "Humility is the great preserver of peace and order in all Christian churches and societies, consequently pride is the great disturber of them, and the cause of most dissensions and breaches in the church."

I. We are admonished to be clothed in humility. 1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

III. SOME NEEDED CORRECTIONS CONCERNING HUMILITY

A. A long, never smiling face is not necessarily a characteristic of humility.

B. Humility is basically the willingness to obey God regardless of the personal consequences.

1. The humble tremble at the word of God. Isaiah 66:2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

2. The humble obey the word of God. Deuteronomy 8:2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.

3. The humble seek Godís face. 2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

IV. GODíS PROMISES TO THE HUMBLE

A. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. 1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

B. God lifts up the humble. James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

C. Humility brings the smile and blessings of God upon us. Isaiah 66:2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

D. God gives grace to the humble. Proverbs 3:34 Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.

E. God will exalt the humble in due time. 1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.

1. John Gill wrote, "Or be ye humbled before God, and in his sight; quietly submit to his will; patiently bear every affliction without murmuring, repining, or replying against him; be still under the rod, and despise not the chastening of the Lord; mourn over sin as the cause, acknowledge your vileness and unworthiness, and stand in awe of his majesty, considering yourselves as under the mighty hand of God a phrase expressive of his omnipotence which cannot be stayed, and it would be madness to oppose it; and which is able to cast down the proud, and dash them to pieces, as well as to exalt the humble. His hand, upon men, in a way of chastisement, presses sore, and, in a way of punishment, presses down, and crushes to pieces; but to be under it in an humble manner is safe and profitable; such are hid as in the hollow of his hand, and are safe as in a pavilion, and comfortable under the shadow of his wings; and such humiliation and submission to him, and putting themselves under his mighty hand and care, is the way to exaltation: that he may exalt you in due time: the Arabic version reads, "in the time of exaltation": when his time to exalt is come, either in this world, or more especially at the appearance of Christ and his kingdom.

2. Warren Wiersbe says, "To be Ďclothed with humilityí (v. 5) means to be controlled by a humble spirit, to be a servant. God resists arrogant, self-seeking persons but gives grace to the humble (Prov. 3:34; James 4:6). "Be humbled under the mighty hand of God!" he exhorts. ĎAllow this time of suffering to bring you low before Him, and then He will exalt you when He sees you are ready.í The wonderful promise ĎHe cares for youí reminds us of the night in the boat when the disciples asked Jesus, ĎDo You not care that we are perishing?í"

CONC: God may put us through many things to bring us into subjection to him and to one another. Let us not despise his chastening for it is designed to humble us so that he may exalt us in his own time.

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