His Body: Humility

This morning, we’re going to launch a new message series where we take a look at an analogy given to us by the Apostle Paul in how the church (us) is the body of Christ.

In it’s most simplistic form, the concept of the body of Christ is: all believers working together in unity as each one performs their specific role all under the direction of Christ (the head of the body) to be Christ’s physical presence here on Earth. It’s not just about one local church or denomination, but about all believers working together and serving their role.

There are numerous ways in which this analogy rings true and will provide us with great insight and revelation about how each one of us fit into the body of Christ and why serving God not just within the local church, but everyday in our lives, is so important for us and as well as to God’s heart and vision for us.

This morning, however, we’re going to take a look not so much at this concept itself, but at a critical aspect of this concept that is required by every part in order for all to function as God desires it to. This aspect has to be at the heart of all that we are and all that we do and is one that we need always check ourselves on and be sure that we’re moving in. It also stands in dark contrast with the attitude and way of our society. This aspect is humility.

Romans 12:3-5
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

We need each other and cannot be healthy without each part functioning properly. When one part suffers, the whole part suffers. None of the parts are better than the others or self-sufficient without the others. When one part is separated from the body – it dies.

This requires us to keep a proper perspective on ourselves. It’s not to say that we’re not important or that we should have no self-esteem at all. After all, the second greatest command is to love others as we love ourselves. What it is saying, however, is that we are to look to the head of the body (Christ Himself) for our value, purpose, and esteem and should view others as being exalted above ourselves – as critically valuable, necessary, and highly esteemed just as Christ sees them.

We should not think more of ourselves than we ought to, but should soberly judge ourselves and compare ourselves to Him – our standard.

It is impossible to work together in unity without humility. Where humility is lacking, pride, discord, and failures are sure to abound! In fact, pride and humility are exact opposites! When we choose to become prideful and puffed up, we’re standing in opposition to God Himself! This is how critical and incredibly dangerous pride really is.

James 4:6
God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.

Satan’s greatest downfall itself was pride! It was because of his pride that he was cast down to Earth and out of heaven forever!

Isaiah 14:12-14
12 How you have fallen from heaven,
morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
13 You said in your heart,
“I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.”

Satan had an ‘I’ problem – it was all about him and how great he was… Pride’s focus is on ‘I’, humility’s focus is on ‘U’!

God doesn’t take pride lightly! In fact, Jesus said in Luke 10:18that He saw Satan cast to the earth like lightning from heaven because of his pride! Like lightning; BAM! Gone!

When we begin to walk in pride, we begin to look down and judge the other members of our body and criticize them. We begin to divide our very own body and cut ourselves off from those whom we need and depend on. We know that a household divided against itself cannot stand, so God humbles the proud in order to keep His household together.

1 Peter 5:5-7 The Message (MSG)
But all of you, leaders and followers alike, are to be down to earth with each other, for—
God has had it with the proud,
But takes delight in just plain people.
So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.

In so many ways, the kingdom of God operates in the exact opposite way as our earthly kingdom does. For example, commonly in our society, those who exalt themselves in pride seem to rise and get promoted by others whereas the one whom humbles themselves and serves everyone stays in their lowly position. In God’s kingdom, however, the one who exalts themselves in pride gets knocked down and the one who humbly serves all gets exalted and lifted high above all others.

Of all of the men and women who have walked the face of the earth, only one had every right to look down on the others as He was perfect and truly exalted above all else. The God of all of the universe humbled and wrapped in flesh – Jesus Christ. However, we see the true heart of God revealed to us through how he lived his life – facing all of the same temptations as us, yet overcoming them all through humility and obedience.

Philippians 2:1-11
1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

As Jesus had stated: the first will be last and the last will be first.

Luke 14:8-11
8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

As we have the same attitude towards our relationships as Christ did – serving all and putting on complete humility – we put ourselves aside and lay ourselves down so that God is then able to work through us and glorify Himself through our lives.  He is able to mold us and shape us into the individuals that He intended for us to be.  It becomes all about Him and not about us.  He is able to release His power into our lives through our humility.

There’s probably no greater example of God humbling one who became prideful and then later restoring them than that of King Nebuchadnezzar.  He had a dream warning him about his pride which Daniel interpreted for him, however, he did not heed the warning and does not renounce his sins and do what was right in order to remain prosperous.  This is unfortunately what pride does:
     Hinders us from receiving all that God has for us
     Keeps us outside of God’s will
     Exalts us and robs God of His glory
Daniel 4:28-37
28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”
31 Even as the words were on his lips, a voice came from heaven, “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. 32 You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes.”33 Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like the ox. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.

34 At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.

36 At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

When we choose humility over pride, He is then able to have His way and His will in our lives – He is able to exalt us and do an awesome work in and through our lives.  He is able to draw us near to Himself as we cooperate with Him instead of standing in pride in opposition to Him.  He’s then able to launch us into ministry that we never dreamed possible and work miracles that we’ll stand in awe of!

In our lives, He also frequently needs to mold and shape us in order for us to fit where we belong in His body.  Through our lives, we have taken on hurts and burdens that He never intended for us to carry and we can’t bring these things in and force them to be a part of who He is.  We’re going to close with a video skit where God does just this as we choose to walk in humility.