PHBC November 21, 1999

Series: First Peter, Sermon #83

PILGRIMS, THE WAY UP IS DOWN


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

INTRO: I stated last Sunday that we would consider verse 7 in the message today. But, I want to go back to verse six and speak to you on the subject, Pilgrims, The Way Up Is Down. Perhaps that title sounds too simplistic. But it is a great truth that is often illustrated in the word of God. Jesus set this marvelous certainty forth in his scathing message to the religious leaders of Israel who were always seeking their own exaltation. Matthew 23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

It is difficult for me to preach such a message for I battle my ego constantly. It is natural for the old man to seek exaltation. Pride and the lust for power and prestige lurk in the heart of all men. David said, Psalm 73:6 Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. It was what prompted Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit. Genesis 3:5-6 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

A long time ago someone wrote a sermon, tract, or booklet called The Seven Deadly Sins. I read it over 30 years ago and if I remember correctly, the first and basic sin lying at the base of all other sin they listed as Pride. There is nothing more repulsive to our great God and creator than pride and arrogance in the created being.

I. THE WAY DOWN IS UP

A. The root cause of all disobedience to Godís word is pride.

1. God warned Israel that they would be severely punished if they forgot his law. Leviticus 26:15-18 And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: 16 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. 17 And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. 18 And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.

2. He strongly infers that their disobedience is the result of pride. Leviticus 26:19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass.

3. He tells them how he will break their pride and bring them down off their self-exalted position. Leviticus 26:20-25 And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. 21 And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. 22 I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate. 23 And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; 24 Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. 25 And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy.

B. Hezekiah almost died because of the pride of his heart, a sin of which he repented. 2 Chronicles 32:26 Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.

C. David wrote of the sin of pride. Psalm 10:2-4 The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined. 3 For the wicked boasteth of his heartís desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth. 4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

D. God sees to it that those who are lifted up with pride are eventually brought to shame. Proverbs 11:2 When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.

E. We often talk of the sin of Jonah in disobeying God when God told him to go to Nineveh and preach but what we sometimes fail to mention is that at the seat of his disobedience was pride.

1. He did not want that Gentile city to repent.

2. When they did repent he was upset because he had preach that God was going to destroy the city and when God did not do it Jonah got angry.

F. Pride on the part of one or more people is usually at the seat of family problems and church problems. Proverbs 13:10 Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

G. Pride and haughtiness precede destruction. Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

H. Pride will bring us low. Proverbs 29:23 A manís pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

I. Judah was the tribe of Jesus and Jerusalem was his chosen city but pride caused him to severely chastise them. Jeremiah 13:9 Thus saith the LORD, After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem.

J. We are all familiar with the pride of Nebuchadnezzar which caused him to be brought very low, even to living like an animal but listen to him after God raised him back up. Daniel 4:37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.

K. Hear Danielís recounting of what God did with Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel 5:18-21 O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour: 19 And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. 20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: 21 And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.

L. Every young preacher faces this evil of pride. 1 Timothy 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

II. THE UP IS DOWN

A. It is the poor in spirit to whom the kingdom of heaven belongs. Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

B. It is the meek who shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

C. It is those who humble themselves before God who shall be great in the kingdom of God. Matthew 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

D. When we are cast down so that we are humbled before God then we can expect a lifting up. Job 22:29 When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.

E. Those who humble themselves get Godís favorable attention. Psalm 138:6 Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.

F. Humility always precedes the honor which God gives. Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.

G. It is better to be humble with lowly people than to divide the spoil with the proud. Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

H. It is those who are of low degree that God exalts. Luke 1:52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.

I. Those who humble themselves God will surely exalt. Luke 14:11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

J. God exalted a lowly publican who would not so much as lift his eyes to heaven. Luke 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

K. It is the humble to whom God gives grace. James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

L. Let me close this point with an admonition from the pen of James. James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

III. THE EXALTATION OF THE HUMBLE COMES IN GODíS OWN TIME SO BE PATIENT

A. God has a time for the exaltation of the humble and each will be exalted 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. When the Holy Spirit inspired chosen men to use this expression due time he did not have in mind the idea that sooner or later it would happen.

2. The expression means "in oneís own time," and since it is God who is going to do the exalting Peter is saying that God will do that exalting in his own time.

B. God promised us eternal life before the world began but manifest that through the preaching of his word in his own time. Titus 1:2-3 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; 3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour.

C. Jesus came and died and was preached as the ransom of his people all in Godís own time. 1 Timothy 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

D. Christ died for the ungodly on Godís own schedule. Romans 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

E. Let us humble ourselves before the face of our exalted God and his exalted Son for in their own time they will exalt us.

1. God has exalted us in his eternal purpose. Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.

2. God has exalted us be raising us up and making us sit together in heavenly places. Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

3. He has seated us in the heavenly places where Christ is exalted. Ephesians 1:20-21 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come

4. He has exalted us by making us accepted in his beloved Son. Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

5. He has exalted us by making us kings and priests. Revelation 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

6. But, even great exaltation lies in our future.

a. When he appears we will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

b. When he comes in his glorified state, we will be like him in our glorified state. 1 John 3:1-2 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

c. When he comes to get us he will change our vile bodies and fashion them like unto his glorious body. Philippians 3:20-21 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

d. When we are buried because of death, our bodies are buried in dishonor but they will be raised in glory. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

e. We have born the image of the earthly but then we will bear the image of the heavenly. 1 Corinthians 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

f. When he calls us before him at his judgment seat his saints who have humbled themselves before him and obeyed his word and will, shall surely hear his "well done."

g. On this earth we have born reproach and rebuke but that will all be taken away. Isaiah 25:8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.

h. And then we shall reign with Christ right here on this earth where we have born his reproach for a golden thousand years. Revelation 20:4-6 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

CONC: Let me close with some timely words from the pen of Charles Spurgeon.

Then pride is a protean thing; it changes its shape; it is all forms in the world; you may find it in any fashion you may choose, you may see it in the beggarís rags as well as in the rich manís garment. It dwells with the rich, and with the poor. The man without a shoe to his foot may be as proud as if he were riding in a chariot. Pride can be found in every rank of society ó among all classes of men. Sometimes it is an Arminian, and talks about the power of the creature; then it turns Calvinist, and boasts of its fancied security ó forgetful of the Maker, who alone can keep our faith alive. Pride can profess any form of religion; it may be a Quaker, and wear no collar to its coat; it may be a Churchman, and worship God in splendid cathedrals; it may be a Dissenter, and go to the common meeting-house; it is one of the most Catholic things in the world, it attends all kinds of chapels and churches; go where you will, you will see pride. It cometh up with us to the house of God; it goeth with us to our houses; it is found on the mart, and the exchange, in the streets, and everywhere. Let me hint at one or two of the forms which it assumes. Sometimes pride takes the doctrinal shape; it teaches the doctrine of self-sufficiency; it tells us what man can do, and will not allow that we are lost, fallen, debased, and ruined creatures, as we are. It hates divine sovereignty, and rails at election. Then if it is driver from that, it takes another form; follows that the doctrine of free grace is true but does not feel it. It acknowledges that salvation is of the Lord alone, but still it prompts men to seek heaven by their own works, even by the deeds of the law. And when driven from that, it will persuade men to join something with Christ in the matter of salvation; and when that is all rent up, and the poor rag of our righteousness is all burned, pride will get into the Christianís heart as well as the sinnerís ó it will flourish under the name of self-sufficiency, teaching the Christian that he is "rich and increased in goods, having need of nothing."

My dear and beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, Let us humble ourselves and walk before God in all humility and obedience. Let us rid our hearts of pride. And let us ever remember that humility, when we claim it for ourselves and claim ourselves humble, is the worst kind of pride.

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