Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Humility and Suffering (I Peter 3:8-12)

(This message was preached Sunday, Dec. 15th 1996 at Leavitt Street Bible Church, Chicago and was the 1st sermon I ever prepared and preached.)

Theme: Even when we live as humble people for the Lord’s sake, we will encounter suffering. In a Nutshell - Humility does not prevent suffering.


Humility does not prevent Suffering.

Vs. 8-9  To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;  not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead;

        Lists of good and bad behavior like this are common in the Bible.

Gal. 5:19-23 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,  idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,  envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Eph. 5:9-12 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.

Eph. 5:18-20 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;  always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;  and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

Phil. 2:1-5 If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.

Phil. 4:8-9 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.

Col. 3:12-17 And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Col. 4:5-6 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.

1 Thes. 4:10-11 for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you; so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.

1 Thes. 5:12-22 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all men. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances.  But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.

1 Tim 4:12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.

Heb. 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.

Jam. 1:21 Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

1Tim 1:5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Our behavior is instructed.

Why do we need instruction?  Isn't it by grace we have been saved through faith?

When I was growing up I remember art class being one class I always looked forward to, even when I was an older kid.  One thing every one of us kids would make was something with clay.  Funny thing, we all made what we each desired.   Some made bowls, some necklaces, some made knickknacks and some made ashtrays.  I made a coffee cup for my Mom.  Isaiah 64:8 reads, "But now, O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand."  Paul says in Romans "On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, 'Why did you make me like this,' will it?  Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use, and another for common use?" (Rom 9:20)

Why do we need instruction?  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2:8-10)

Where do we accept instruction today?  From School, parents,     work, church, God's Word?  Are we willing to actually live by HIS instructive word? 

        It means accepting a certain kind of behavior.

We are to accept a certain kind of behavior for ourselves, as Christians.  But we should not expect non-Christians to follow us in this example.

        It means rejecting another kind of behavior.

At this point I need to speak to the point -- We are not to judge non-Christians.  God has already condemned them for their sin as he did you and I.  We ought to pray for them, care for them, love them, so that they are no longer our enemies.  The behavior we are to reject is to be within ourselves. Do you see this in your life?

        It means humbling ourselves before the one instructing you  and obeying the command or accepting the correction whatever the case may be. 


Your parents say go to bed at 10:00 pm

Your teacher says read through chapter 13.

Your boss tells you to finish this job by Friday.

Your God says Be Holy for I Am Holy. (I Peter 1:16)

Humility is accepting instruction.

Humility does not prevent Suffering.

Few of us really understand what this means.  Take as an example the movies.  Your Mom tells you she does not want or allow you to go to the movie "Brave Heart".  You might say to yourself, "O.K., she doesn't want me to be watching such a violent movie." But what if she told you not to go to the movie "Alice in Wonderland"!  It sounds ridiculous!

Would you HUMBLY accept such instruction...or would you complain, grumble, or even completely disobey her?

Humility is accepting instruction.

Zephaniah 2:3 says "Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD's anger.

Jesus tells a parable in Matthew about two brothers, who were asked to work in their fathers’ vineyard.

Matt 21:28 – 32 "But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go work today in the vineyard.' "And he answered and said, 'I will, sir'; and he did not go. "And he came to the second and said the same thing. But he answered and said, 'I will not'; yet he afterward regretted it and went. "Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The latter." Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you that the tax-gatherers and harlots will get into the kingdom of God before you. "For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax-gatherers and harlots did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him. 

Take heart -- The son who said he will not work was the one accepted into the kingdom.

Mark 9 22-24 "And it has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!" And Jesus said to him, "'If You can!' All things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the boy's father cried out and began saying, "I do believe; help my unbelief."

Humility Brings Honor.

Humility does not prevent Suffering.

How is this so?

How is this so when Proverbs 16:7 says "When a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him."?

Look at the example of Job:

Job  1:5  And it came about, when the days of feasting had completed their cycle, that Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, "Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did continually.

1:8 And the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil."

2:3 And the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to ruin him without cause." 

42:10-12 And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold. Then all his brothers, and all his sisters, and all who had known him before, came to him, and they ate bread with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought on him. And each one gave him one piece of money, and each a ring of gold. And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning, and he had 14,000 sheep, and 6,000 camels, and 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys.

In Job's situation Satan was at work actively, but that is not always the case.  There may be situations that Satan simply cannot be blamed for.  What about them?

John 13:14-18 "If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. "For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. "Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master; neither is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. "If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. "I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, 'He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.'

John 15:19-21, "If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. "But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.

 I Peter 3:9b – 12, "for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.  Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.  He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.  For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

Humility does not prevent Suffering.

Our Lord suffered throughout His life and especially in His death on the cross for our sins. He lived a perfect life of humility, accepting the instruction of God & parents.   He even told us we will suffer.

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