Psalm 113.6: "Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!"
1. This morning I would like you to make your way in Godís Word to the 113th Psalm, which is just about half way between the first book of the Bible, Genesis, and the last book of the Bible, Revelation, if you count the pages.
2. As with last weekís message, which was really an introductory message and a cursory look dealing with the fact that you have to understand to be converted, this morningís exposition and the sermon that will follow have to do with humility. O, how profoundly important humility is to God, and how necessary for the sinner who wishes to avail himself of the grace of God.
3. If you have found the 113th Psalm, please stand for the reading of Scripture:
1Praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.
2Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.
3From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORDís name is to be praised.
4The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.
5Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high,
6Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!
7He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill;
8That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.
9He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.
4. It is important for us to look at humility, because it reflects an attitude of the mind and heart that is at the same time most pleasing to God and most beneficial to man, though being humble is very difficult for any man.
5. Before my sermon, let us consider humility as it relates to God, as it relates to the Son of God, as it relates to Satan, and as it relates to sinners like you and me.
1A. First, GOD AND HUMILITY
1B. My Friends, We Learn From Isaiah 6.1 That The LORD Is High And Lifted Up. We Find, In Job 37.22, That "with God is terrible majesty." In Psalm 97.9 We Discover That The LORD Is High Above The Earth And That He Is Exalted Far Above All Gods. And In Psalm 47.2 We Read, "For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth."
2B. Throughout The Bible We Find That Words Such As Almighty, Majestic, Terrible, Fearful, Exalted, Dreadful, And Awe Are Associated With The Glorious And Great One Who Is Our God.
3B. How, Then, Are We To Understand The Concept Of Humility In Connection With Him? Humility Has To Do With Low, But God Has To Do With High. Humility Has to Do With That Which Is Of Low Estimation, But God Is Perfection In All His Attributes. Humility Has To Do With One Who Is Poor, But He Owns The Cattle On A Thousand Hills And The Wealth In Every Mine.
4B. My Friends, God Is So Highly Exalted, Is So Great And Glorious, So Far Beyond Our Comprehension, That Poetry Is Required, And Still It Is Impossible To Do Justice To Him. My Text Is The Example I Will Leave You With Before Moving On. Psalm 113.6: "Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!"
5B. Imagine! God Is So Exalted, So High And Lifted Up, That He Must Lower Himself To Behold Things That Are In Heaven, And In The Earth.
2A. Second, JESUS AND HUMILITY
1B. Though God Is, Himself, High And Lifted Up, He Greatly Values And Appreciates This Virtue Called Humility. He Delights In Those Who Rightly See Their Low Station In Life In Comparison To His Own, And He Graciously Shows Such Men How To Obtain More Grace.
1C. James 4.6: "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."
2C. James 4.10: "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."
3C. First Peter 5.6: "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time."
2B. Humility Pleases God. Humility Delights God. Since God Is Good He Appreciates All That Is Good, And Humility Is A Virtue, A Goodness, That God Treasures And Highly Values.
1C. Which is one reason why He humbled the children of Israel in their wilderness wanderings, Deuteronomy 8.2-3: ". . . 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. 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." So, humility was a means used by God to teach spiritual truths.
2C. God treasures humility, even in the wicked. First Kings 21.29: "Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days."
3C. He treasures humility in the godly. Second Kings 22.19: "Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD." This was Godís response to the humility of good king Josiah when he first heard Godís Word.
4C. And He particularly treasures humility in His chosen nation, Israel, Second 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."
3B. Folks, Humility So Pleases God, Is A Virtue That Is So Stellar In The Constellation Of Other Virtues, That Godís Son, Jesus, Humbled Himself When He Became A Man
1C. Philippians 2.8: "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Jesus lowered Himself to submit to the penalty and punishment of a sinner.
2C. This makes the words of the Savior all the easier to understand, does it not? Matthew 18.4: "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Did not the Holy One of Israel condescend to become a little child in a manger? And is He not the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
3C. Matthew 23.12: "And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted." What better example of humbling oneís self is there than the Savior?
3A. Third, SATAN AND HUMILITY
1B. You Are Probably Wondering What Possible Connection There Is Between Satan And The Virtue Known As Humility. There Is No Connection Between Satan And Humility. And Thatís The Point That Needs To Be Made To One And All, Since Many Do Not Appreciate This Fact.
2B. Satan, You See, Is All About Pride And Self Exaltation. He Is The Epitome Of Self-Promotion And Selfishness. He Was The Creature Who First Authored Sin, And He Did So By Means Of A Proud Attempt At Self-Promotion.
3B. Listen As I Read The Pronouncement Of Godís Judgment On Satan, Once Known As Lucifer, From Isaiah 14.12-17:
12How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
16They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;
17That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?
4B. How Very Opposite Is This One Who Exalted Himself To The One Who Humbled Himself. How Very Different Is This One Who Made The World A Wilderness, Who Destroyed The Cities, Who Opened Not The House Of His Prisoners, From The One Who Sets The Captives Free. The One Is Very Proud, The Other Is Meek And Lowly.
5B. Satan Is The Perfect Image Of All That Is Hateful And Repugnant To God. Having No Humility, But Proud, Self-Promoting, Striving To Be Independent And Autonomous, Arrogant And Unconcerned About The Damage To Others That His Selfish Attitude Causes, He Is Nothing Like The Kind And Tender Savior Who Humbled Himself. Satan Really Is Despicable, While Christ Truly Is Altogether Lovely.
4A. Finally, SINNERS AND HUMILITY
1B. God Resists The Proud, But Gives Grace To The Humble. God Hates The Proud Look, But Delights In The Countenance That Is Meek And Humble. How Foolish Sinners Are, Then, Who Strut And Posture, Who Boast And Brag, Who Display The Arrogant Manner That God Despises And Has Promised To Judge. What Folly To Imitate Godís Enemy, Satan.
2B. Listen To What Jesus Said In Luke 14.11 About The Person Who Has No Humility: "For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased." And Again In Luke 18.14: ". . . every one that exalteth himself shall be abased." My Friends, Manís Way Up Is Down. Pride Leads To Destruction.
3B. God Demands Humility Of Even The Most Exalted Men. In Exodus 10.3 We Read What Moses Said To Pharaoh: "Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me?" Humility Is Demanded By God Of Every Man, Because God Is Sovereign.
4B. Remember Nebuchadnezzar, The King Of Babylon, A Man Of Great Pride And Arrogance? Warned In A Dream That Was Interpreted For Him By Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar Was Told By God To Humble Himself Or Face The Consequences. He Did Not And Godís Judgment Fell Upon Him And He Became As A Beast Of The Field, Completely Losing Him Mind. Let Me Read To You The Lesson Nebuchadnezzar Learned From God Through That Experience. 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."
1. My friend, it is the natural and sinful tendency of every man to be proud, to think of himself more highly than he ought to, and to be blind to his low estate in comparison to God.
2. From Nebuchadnezzar we learn that God is able to abase, that is He is able to bring down, anyone who walks in pride, including you.
3. God was profoundly merciful to Nebuchadnezzar, in that He abased that wicked man in this life only, just as He had done to wicked king Manasseh, king of Judah, Second Chronicles 33.12: "And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers."
4. My opinion is that both of these evil kings experienced the grace of God in a saving way after their humility before God. But most who are abased by God do not get saved. Most are abased by God, are brought down by God, in death and Hellfire.
5. Does God save some people because they are humble? No. Salvation is by grace and is not, therefore, earned by anything a sinner says or does. So, no one gets saved by being humble.
6. But itís a blind man who doesnít realize from Godís Word that there is a very close association between that man whose eyes are opened enough to be humble before the great and terrible God almighty and the salvation of his wicked soul.
7. Now, before my sermon, brother Isenberger comes to lead us as we stand and sing.
1. Jesus gave sight to the man who was born blind. That man who was born blind illustrates the spiritual blindness of every sinner, who needs Jesus, the Light of the world.
2. Jesus healed the man with the withered hand. The man with the withered hand illustrates the spiritual helplessness of every sinner, who needs Jesus, the Great Physician of souls, to heal him.
3. There were the lepers Jesus cleansed. The woman who had an issue of blood for twelve years, defiling her and making worship of God in the Temple impossible for her, was also cleansed. They illustrate the spiritual defilement of sinners in the sight of God, with Jesus the only One capable of cleansing us.
4. The woman was taken in the very act of adultery and brought before Jesus. The woman at the well had had five husbands and the man she was living with was not her husband when Jesus approached her. With both women the sins had already been committed. They were already dead in trespasses and sins. But Jesus granted to them forgiveness and life.
5. The 5000 were hungry and Jesus fed them. The 4000 were also hungry and Jesus fed them, as well. Jairusí daughter was raised from the dead and the centurionís servant was healed from far away.
6. These and all the other examples I could point to in the Gospels show the spiritual poverty of those Jesus dealt with, how very low they were spiritually. And isnít humility the realization of your own spiritual poverty and helplessness? Pride is blindness to your spiritual poverty, the delusion that you are capable and the lie that you are self-sufficient.
7. So, you will never become a Christian while proud. You will never be converted without humility. Not that humility earns Godís favor or Christís forgiveness. Not at all. Itís just that humility is observed in the Bible to be a fellow traveler with genuine conversion.
8. Let me see if I can explain it so as to make some sense to you. And please listen carefully. I am dealing with a subject that has too infrequently been a subject of my personal study.
1A. First, LET ME POINT OUT THAT THERE IS A PERSUASION THAT USUALLY PRECEDES CONVERSION
1B. The Bible Is Very Clear In Stating That A Man Is A Fool Who Does Not Fear God. The Bible Is Also Very Clear In Stating That A Man Has The Beginnings Of Wisdom When He Fears God. But A Man Doesnít Just Fear God. The Fear Of God Is A Persuasion. That Is, A Man Has To Be Convinced To Fear God. Or, At The Very Least, He Has To Be Convinced That He Ought To Fear God.
2B. But Notice What Happens When A Man Is Convinced That God Is Fearful. Proverbs 22.4: "By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life." The Point That I Seek To Make Here Is That The Fear Of God And Humility Are Associated, They Go Together. A Man Who Is Proud Does Not Fear God, But A Man Who Fears God Will Be Humble. These Two Are Compatible Virtues. Stated Another Way, The Wise Man Is Humble And The Proud Man Is A Fool.
3B. The Persuasion That Usually Precedes Conversion, Then, Is Fear. I Am Of The Opinion That Fear Always Precedes Genuine Conversion, Even Though Godís Dealings With A Sinner Sometimes Occur So Quickly That The Person May Not Have Taken Note Of His Fear Of God At The Time Of His Conversion.
4B. But If The Convicting Work Of The Holy Spirit Takes Place Slowly, And If The Sinner Is Dealt With From Time To Time While The Holy Spirit Is Convicting Him Of His Sin And His Need For Christ, The Fear Of God That He Is Being Persuaded With Will Precede His Conversion, Will Come Before He Comes To Christ.
5B. After All, It Is Oftentimes The Case That The Compelling Motive To Come To Christ Is The Fear Of God. And When God Is Feared Christ Is Sought As A Safe Haven And A Refuge From Godís Wrath.
2A. Next, LET ME POINT OUT THAT THERE IS A POSTURE THAT USUALLY PRECEDES CONVERSION
1B. If The Fear Of The Lord Is The Persuasion That Precedes Conversion, That Comes Before A Sinnerís Conversion, Humility Is The Posture That Comes Before A Sinnerís Conversion.
2B. Let Me Quickly Say That Sometimes The Holy Spiritís Convicting Work In A Sinnerís Life Proceeds So Rapidly That There Is No Consciousness Of Humility By The Person Who Gets Saved, Though He Really Is Saved. But When The Convicting Work Proceeds Slowly I Am Convinced That A Humility Toward God Will Be Detected In The Sinnerís Attitude, In The Sinnerís Posture.
3B. Consider How Very Sensible This Is. When The Thoughts Of A Spiritually Awakened Sinner Are Directed Toward His Condition He Freely Admits His Spiritual Poverty, He Recognizes That He Is Morally Bankrupt, That He Is Destitute Of Spiritual Virtues In The Sight Of God. That Realization, Coupled With The Fear Of God, Results In What Posture?
4B. Even If The Sinner Does Not Physically Prostrate Himself Before God He Does Bow His Heart Before God. He Assumes A Posture That Reflects What He Perceives To Be True About Him And God, That God Is High And Lifted Up And That He Is Lowly And Profoundly Needy. Folks, Thatís Called Humility.
5B. Sometimes People Are Confused About What Humility Really Is, Thinking That Perhaps Itís Indecision Or Hesitancy. But A Person Can Be Profoundly Humble And Decisive, Profoundly Humble And Hesitate Not At All. Humility Has To Do With A Sinnerís Perception Of Himself Compared To God. If You See God High And You Low You Are Humble. And The More You Fear God The More Likely You Are To See God High And You Low, To See God Terrible And You Trembling, To See Godís Majesty And Yourself Mighty Small In Comparison.
6B. Such An Attitude, Such A Posture, Comes Before Conversion. So, When A Man Is Cocky, When He Is Arrogant, When He Is Puffed Up With Himself, When The Physical Posture Communicates Pride And Arrogancy, It Is Most Unlikely That Sinnerís Heart Is Prepared To Trust Christ, Because Heís Not Convinced He Needs Christ If Heís Got That Attitude.
3A. Finally, THERE IS A PLEA THAT USUALLY PRECEDES CONVERSION
1B. In Luke 18.13 The Lord Jesus Christ Contrasted The Posture Of A Hypocritical Pharisee With The Posture Of A Publican. The One Prayed Like A Peacock On Public Display And Showed An Attitude Of Self-Sufficiency And Manifested No Evidence Of Any Fear Of God Or Humility. The Publican, On The Other Hand, Showed Evidence For Both The Fear Of God And Humility When He Prayed. "And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner."
2B. If You Fear God You Will Fear His Wrath. If You Fear God You Will Greatly Fear His Punishment. If You Fear God You Will Be Powerfully Motivated To Seek His Forgiveness That You Might Escape The Punishment Of His Wrath. Therefore, If You Fear God You Will Seek To Escape, You Will Concern Yourself With Finding Safety, You Will Plead For Mercy. You Donít Plead For Godís Mercy? You Are A Fool. You Do Not Fear God.
3B. As Well, If You Are Humble You See God To Be High And Lifted Up And You See Yourself Very Low, In A Pit And In Need Of Rescue. But What Does One Do Who Is Stuck In The Miry Clay? You Want To Be Able To Say, With David, "He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings," Psalm 40.2.
4B. But What Must You Do When You Realize God Is High And You Are Low? What Will You Do If You Are Truly Humble? Psalm 40.1: "I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry." To Patiently Wait For The LORD Means You Cry And Cry And Cry For Help, For Deliverance Until He Hears Your Cry And Saves You. Patience Means You Donít Cry Out To God For Mercy Once And Then Give Up. You Continue Pleading For Mercy Until Jesus Saves You.
1. This message has been more abstract than I normally feel comfortable preaching to you folks. But I felt it necessary to lay some groundwork to clarify some truths in your mind and heart that most of you are already somewhat familiar with.
2. But for those of you who are not converted, recognize that humility is close companion to the grace of God. And recognize also that humility is the traveling companion of the fear of God, the beginning of wisdom. By that I mean, you will not get saved unless and until you are humble.
3. So, if you are not converted and you are considering the claims of Jesus Christ, be advised that humility will persuade you that you not only cannot save yourself, but will also persuade you that you canít figure out for yourself how to be saved.
4. Come and talk to me. Humility will also enable you to follow my direction as I seek to guide you to Christ. That same humility will position you to receive Godís grace. God gives grace to the humble. Amen? That thatís good, since itís by grace that you are saved.
5. There will be more messages from Godís Word on this topic in the future, but this foundation had to be laid to prepare for them. If you have any questions and want to address this issue of pride and humility in your life, please come and see me.
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