Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Bethany Bullet - Week of May 14, 2017

Sermon: “God’s People…Humble”
Text: 1 Peter 2

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Oh Lord it's hard to be humble
When you're perfect in every way
I can't wait to look in the mirror
Cause I get better looking each day
To know me is to love me
I must be a hell of a man
Oh Lord It's hard to be humble,
But I'm doing the best that I can

Have you heard that song before?  It’s one of those ear worms that I can’t seem to get out of my head. 

The song was written and sung by Mac Davis and released in 1974.  Of course I became aware of the song when Mac Davis was the guest start on the Muppet Show in 1980. (See link above)

Mac Davis was a prolific song writer and wrote many of the hits for Elvis Presley and Nancy Sinatra to name a few. 

Now, I’m not a huge Mac Davis fan, but I could not get that song out of my head this week as I spent time in 1 Peter.

Last week Pastor Kevin started off our time in 1 Peter as we looked at what it means to be God’s People. 
Last week it was Holy, this week it is Humble.

Scripture teaches that we are made holy because of what Christ has done for us! 

Often times though, we find it hard to be humble because our sinful nature believes that this life is all about us. 

Remember what we saw in chapter one, “Be holy, because I am holy” says the Lord.  We have been set free from the sinful life of this world and made holy by the payment of the precious blood of Christ. 

Therefore since we are a chosen people and a royal priesthood and a holy nation we have been called to live that out.

And today we look to 1 Peter Chapter 2.  I’m going to start with verse 21 and I’m reading from God’s Word translation.

“God called you to endure suffering because Christ suffered for you.  He left you an example so that you could follow in his footsteps.  Christ never committed any sin.  He never spoke deceitfully.  Christ never verbally abused those who verbally abused him.  When he suffered, he didn’t make any threats but left everything to the one who judges fairly.  Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross so that freed from our sins, we could live a life that has God’s approval.  His wounds have healed you.  You were like lost sheep.  Now you have come back to the shepherd and bishop of your lives.” (1 Peter 2:21-25)

As God’s people, our lives are not absent of suffering.  Following Christ Jesus comes with picking up a few crosses along the way.

We are able to humbly follow in the footsteps of Jesus only because He went first.

His example is pretty lofty. 
·        He never sinned.
·        He never spoke deceitfully.
·        He never verbally abused others.
·        He didn’t make threats. 
These are the very things that separate us from holy, humble living.

I have sinned, I have spoken deceitfully, I have verbally abused others and I have made threats.  All of this separates me from God. 

Humans, including you and me, often struggle with living humble lives.  As Mac Davis’ song reminds us, we “can’t wait to look in the mirror” because we believe we are “perfect in every way” even as we live lives “…doing the best that we can.”

I hate to break it to you; your best is not good enough.  You may not be as humble as you think. 

Many have heard of Muhammad Ali's boast that in the boxing ring he could "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee". He knew how to brag to psyche out his opponents.  Early in his life his pride was mighty.  But on one particular flight across the country, he says in his book, The Soul of a Butterfly, that the flight attendant asked him to put his seat belt on. He said to her, "Superman don't need no seat belt". She smiled at him and said, 'Superman don't need no plane, either.'"

In the Old Testament book Proverbs, chapter 16, we find a very well known verse.  “Pride precedes a disaster, and an arrogant attitude precedes a fall.”  (Proverbs 16:18)

It was the fall in the garden that got us into this mess and we have been stumbling and bumbling our way through life since. 

But let’s get back to our text from 1 Peter, “He left you an example so that you could follow in his footsteps.” (1 Peter 2:21b)

The life of Jesus is a life of humility.  Jesus came not just as an example; He came as the antidote for your pride. 

Listen to how the Message Translation describes the humility of Christ found in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, the second chapter.

“He [Jesus] had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what.  Not at all.  When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human!  Having become human, he stayed human.  It was an incredibly humbling process.  He didn’t claim special privileges.  Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.”  (Philippians 2:6-8 The Message)

As God’s holy people, as Easter believers, we look to Christ, we see what He has done in His defeat of death and we find that our shortcomings and our pride are wiped away. Unlike Mac Davis’ song, it’s not about knowing me but to know Jesus is to love Him; He’s the one who keeps us from the fires of hell and in Him we find freedom in the Good News that Christ is Risen! (He is Risen indeed!)

In that freedom, we can live truly humble lives.

Samuel Brengle who was an early Salvation Army official was once introduced as the, “Great and wonderful Dr. Brengle” to a group.  He later wrote in his diary, “If I appear great in their eyes, the Lord is most graciously helping me to see how absolutely nothing I am without Him, and helping me to stay humble in my own eyes. He does use me. But it is not of me the work is done. The axe cannot boast of the trees it has cut down. It could do nothing but for the woodsman. He made it, he sharpened it, and he used it. The moment he throws it aside, it becomes only old iron. O, that I may never lose sight of this.”

May we all strive to be God’s people, holy because of Christ and follow in his footsteps as humble children of God as he uses us each day!  

 -Pastor Seth Moorman


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