New Wine for New Wineskins September 2019

By , September 1, 2019 8:27 am

Humility (x2)


Romans 12: 1 – 2

1 I beseech [urge…appeal to] you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service [and spiritual worship]. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. That’s a powerful statement – but what does it mean?

1 Corinthians 2: 16

16 For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and purposes) of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart.

So what does a renewed mind really look like?

Philippians 2: 5 – 7

5 Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:] 6 Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained, 7 But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the form of a bondservant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being.

This is humility (x1).

Jesus, the eternal Son of God came into the world he had created and he showed up as a little baby in a smelly stable to grow up as part of a blue collar family in a rural backwater of the Roman empire called Nazareth. When Nathanael heard that Jesus came from Nazareth he asked Philip if anything good could come from Nazareth.

Jesus is the King of heaven and yet he came as a servant. The Greek word is doulos which means “a bondservant, a slave, a person in a permanent role of service, and holding no right to leave his place of service.”

In most of Paul’s letters he begins by referring to himself as a servant of Christ Jesus. James and Jude who were half-brothers of Jesus both refer to themselves as Christ’s bondservants and Peter called himself a “servant and apostle”. Despite proclaiming a message of freedom from sin these guys were dedicated to Jesus as their one and only master – they were servants who could never leave their master for another.

The belief and understanding of the believer as a bondservant who couldn’t just quit and walk away also reinforced the faith of the early church when they faced persecution.

Jesus had called his disciples to follow him.

Mark 8: 34

34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”


34 “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.”


34 “If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself [forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests] and take up his cross.”

Wow! That is some transformation he is talking about. He also told them:

Matthew 10: 24

24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master….”


Luke 22: 25 – 26

25 Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ 26 But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.”

Matthew 20: 26 – 28

26 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. 28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus is God and yet he stripped himself of all of his Divine privileges and became a man.

This is a message that I have brought in seed form a number of times over the years but it hasn’t really been embraced or readily and eagerly received. But some of my life experience over the past year has helped me get a better understanding of some things. One of these things is the nature of humiliation.

In the world humiliation can be a very negative and painful and shameful experience, but in the kingdom it can actually be a very positive and life-transforming experience.

humiliation = embarrassment, mortification, shame, indignity, dishonour, loss of face.

You don’t have to be much of a wordsmith to figure out that humiliation is obviously related to humility, which in turn is from the root word humble.

humble = having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance.

The word humble comes from the Latin word humilis [low, lowly] which derives from humus or ground.

What was man created from? The answer of course is the ground. And so what is man without an attitude of service and worship in spirit and truth? He reverts back to the ground, regardless of how highly he might think of himself.

CS Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

John Bevere says, “True humility is absolute obedience and dependence on God.”

Hebrews 5: 8

8 Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.

What did he suffer? I believe he suffered humiliation.

As I have already stated, he is God – but he came as a man. He has been God from all eternity and so he knew how to do the God stuff. But he didn’t come to do the God stuff, he came to do the man stuff – as a man in perfect submission to Father God, just like man had been originally created to live.

Adam and Eve were deceived by the devil when he brought a lie to them attached to a true statement that was an addition to the truth that God had given them to keep them free. And so, the lust of the eyes [the desire to acquire], the lust of the flesh [the desire to indulge], and the pride of life [the desire to impress] took them out.

Genesis 3: 4 – 6

4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

It was true that God didn’t want them to know good and evil – because they weren’t equipped to deal with that knowledge. All that they had ever known and ever needed to know was good in order to be obedient to their remit to extend that goodness across the earth as light overcame the darkness.

It is the same for us as kingdom people, and so we are not to become obsessed with the evil in this world, but we are to extend God’s goodness across the earth – the light overcoming the darkness.

Ephesians 5: 8 – 13

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.

When God created us in his image and likeness he didn’t make another God – he didn’t make us gods – he made man.

That’s why Jesus didn’t come to earth as God to do the God stuff. He came as a man to do the man stuff. He didn’t come to show us how to do the God stuff, he came to show us how to do the man stuff.

Romans 5: 19

19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

In the genealogy of Jesus recorded in Luke 3 Adam is listed as the son of God. Adam was the created son of God whereas Jesus is the only begotten Son of God – conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said that anyone who had seen him had seen the Father. He could say that because he had come to do the will of the Father, but he also said that the works were done by the Father himself.

When Jesus said that we will do the same works that he did and even greater works he wasn’t saying that we would get to do the God stuff. But if we will do the man stuff and obey the Father and follow the Spirit’s leading and direction then the Father will do the same works through us that he did through Jesus, and even greater works. It is when we think that we are here to do the God stuff that the problems begin.

Can you imagine how humiliating it was for Jesus learning to do the man stuff, knowing that he had stripped himself of all of his Divine privileges. For the first thirty years of his life there was no obvious God stuff going on – there was no opportunity to do God stuff in many circumstances where I am sure he would have longed to be back on the throne of heaven so that he could do something supernatural.

He had to deal with these feelings and these emotions because he was here to do the man stuff, to be our example and to show us how to live in perfect submission to the will of the Father – to be tempted in every possible way and yet never sin, never quit, and never give up.

When Adam disobeyed God’s instruction and sinned he became the god over his own life which was a role he was hopelessly inadequate to fulfil. He passed on that self-will to all of his seed and we are still demonstrating how pathetically bad we are at being the god over our own lives.

Everything from Adam [the man of dust] to when Jesus [the heavenly man] came was to demonstrate how messed up we and everything we touch gets when we determine to retain control of our own lives.

But the good news is that Jesus came to restore us to where we can successfully do the man stuff. Remember, Jesus condensed all of the law and the prophets into two simple commandments.

Matthew 22: 37 – 40

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Elsewhere he gave what is often referred to as the “Golden Rule”.

Matthew 7: 12

12 So then, whatever you desire that others would do to and for you, even so do also to and for them, for this is (sums up) the Law and the Prophets.

What is Jesus talking about? Love God and love your neighbour, and do to and for others what you would like them to do to and for you.

Love is expressed in service – serving the legitimate needs of others. This is true in the marriage relationship and in all other relationships.

Love God = serve God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.

Love your neighbour = serve your neighbour.

Jesus’ first disciples were obsessed with who was the greatest. They were as high as kites when they came back from their first trial run at what they probably perceived as doing the God stuff. But Jesus wisely brought them back down to earth by reminding them that the thing that will keep you excited for all eternity is knowing that your name is recorded in heaven.

Jesus said that the greatest will be the servant of all, and so we’ll look at that more next time in Part 2.

Humiliation is a part of the learning process – the discipleship process.

And so, in relation to humility (x1) we are not here to do the God stuff but we are here to do the man stuff, and as a result we will actually get to see more of the God stuff.

Does that sound good to you? It certainly sounds good to me. After all, is that not what we long for, to see more of the God stuff.

Here’s Jesus’ example of humility (x2):

Philippians 2: 8

8 And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further]
and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross!

More next time….

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