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Lessons In Humility - Part 5

David Wright


David Wright

Lead/Senior Pastor, Hendersonville SDA Church


  • February 29, 2020
    12:30 PM
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This morning I have this very simple question to ask you Have you ever been burned you see there to pieces of toast I don't know if you've ever forgotten a piece of toast in the toaster I know for a time we had a toaster when I was growing up that never would click off so you had to watch your toast and if you ever got stolen away you would come back to find you know alarms going off the whole kitchen smell like smoke some drama obviously windows open and then these 2 charred pieces of breakfast they say charcoal is good for you but I just not so sure about this form of charcoal Perhaps you have been burned at one point in your experience maybe you were taken advantage of someone twisted the truth and if we really want to be dramatic they stab you in the back in some such an experience can lead to bitterness let's be honest or some feelings of resentment feelings that they will never trust or depend on anyone at anytime ever again it can lead to this idea that I will do things on my own from here on out have you ever said the words if you want to have something done right do it yourself don't depend on these people that led you down and I was the one that was stupid enough to depend on them again no I'm going to be a self made man I'm going to do it myself I don't need any help we have other ways that I'm going to post myself up by my bootstraps most of you didn't have any but yet this morning I think on both of those can you put a finger in and pull him up I don't that's my best guess that means I'm going to do it myself I'm not going to depend on anyone yet we don't find if you look to your Bibles from cover to cover we don't really get this idea from scripture do we rather we find quite the opposite that we were in fact created for community to help one another too in. Courage one another to love one another and not to depend on self but to depend on God In fact such an independent spirit is really an exiled Taishan of humanism if we really want to follow the path in which it is leading it was a typical Wednesday April 19th 1995 on that particular morning a 26 year old veteran of the Gulf War drove into Oklahoma City the time was 8 50 in the morning just 5 days earlier he planted a getaway car just a few blocks away the license plate was taken off and a little note was scribbled that that he placed on the dash it said not abandoned Please do not go will move by April 23 needs battery and cable so with his getaway car in place and traveling now into Oklahoma City at 8 57 am a camera caught a picture of the Ryder rental truck and at that very same time Timothy McVeigh lit up 5 minutes fuse while still driving the truck 3 minutes later and still a block away from his destination he lit another 2 minute fuse moments later he parked the Ryder truck in a drop off zone situated under the building's day care center McVeigh exited and locked the truck as he headed to his getaway vehicle dropping the keys to the truck a few blocks away and then at 9 o 2 am the 4800 pounds of explosive material detonated devastating the entire front 3rd of the 9 story Alford p. Murrah Federal Building later it was determined that 168 people were killed that morning 19 of those being babies and children in fact I could show you pictures of firefighter. With babies in their arms but I have chosen not to beyond those that lost their lives 680 were injured up until this point this was the deadliest terror attack in the history of the United States only to be outdone later by $911.00 and it is still considered the deadliest domestic terrorism in our country's history and the ground was left a 30 foot wide 8 foot deep crater the blast so powerful that shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings the explosion itself was felt as far as 55 miles away within just 90 minutes the explosion McVeigh was stopped by Oklahoma Highway Patrolman for driving without a license plate forensic evidence quickly linked McVeigh and basic training friend Terry Nichols to the attack along with 2 other accomplices and the motive it was expressed as simply anger at the federal government for their handling of the Randy Weaver and the Waco seeds McVeigh was eventually sentenced to death by lethal injection yes throughout the entire ordeal he maintained this eerie calm composure not once showing even a shred of remorse or regret defiant. Proud he excepted his fate as a martyr for his demented cause when asked how he could face death which with such stoic resolve he stated he was unafraid When asked why he said he controlled his own fate maybe you've heard those words before later on McVeigh cited this entire poem by William Ernest Henley an avowed atheist the poem goes something like this out of the night that covers me black as the pit from pole to pole I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul that's what Invictus means by the way unconquerable in the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud under the bludgeoning of chance my head is bloody but unbalance beyond this place of wrath and tears looms but the horror of the shade and yet the minutes of the years finds and shall find me unafraid it matters not how straight the gate how charged with punishments the scroll I am the master of my fate I am the captain of my soul you get the tenor of the poem no one's going to be the boss of me my soul is unconquerable I'm in control of my own destiny Now granted it has a ring of hero ism but its counterfeit form of courageousness but I would submit to you it is misdirected Now many in the Bible were courageous we have a whole long list I mean Moses stood up to Pharaoh the 3 Hebrews stood up to never can as are Daniel faced a lion's den Stephen went before the Sanhedrin we could go on and on Jesus was before pilot Yes there are many who suffered and died to self for the sake of others but self-centered self exalted courageous resolve I submit to you is not true greatness. But rather greatness perverted one could say and make the argument that Hitler himself was courageous that he was great but again his courage and his greatness were perverted I mean after all Lucifer himself stood up against God and said My head is bloody but it's unbowed you may be God but I am unafraid I am the master of my fate I am the captain of mine a soul Is that true greatness and courage or is that rebellion hatred a deluded claim to self sovereignty again it has a ring of here wisdom but it's counterfeit and when we see self supremacy for what it really is and where his lead people down through history we recognize it to be a delusion the simple truth of the matter is that we not only need the Lord but we need each other God made us that way and that need only intensifies when the winds of adversities blow hard against us we just heard a testimony this morning saying how much I needed my church family and they were there for me praise the Lord that is what church is about being there for one another we were created I believe for dependence not independence yes we celebrated Independence Day as a nation and all of that but why do we do that because it grants us the freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our conscience it protects our right to be dependent not on a man not on big government but dependent on God and His word nobody telling us that we can't be dependent on God but somehow the devil has shown the lie God helps those who help themselves but that line is nowhere to be found in this book the Bible teaches quite the opposite this true God waits. To assist he patiently knocks if you will and he's waiting to assist those who see their need he helps those who are willing to surrender and say you take over you give me the strength Proverbs 3 Verse 5 trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding Here's another one son 46 1st can be still and know that I am God Some 28 verse 7 The Lord is my strength and my shield my heart trust in him and he helps me about Joshua one verse 9 Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous do not be afraid do not be discouraged but here's the why for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go so the question this morning is do you have an independent spirit or a dependent one thankfully most people will never take an independent spirit to such hostile extremes we're not dangerous people yet the subtle influences of that sort of independent thinking counteracts our ability depend on the Lord and also each other and to do it on my own going to pull myself up we often like to think of ourselves as self-willed individuals when is the last time you told the Lord I need you Lord and I need your people I mean the world loves to promote the self-willed individual the independent spirit those that claim to be captain of their souls but I believe God is more interested in a time for just character in the person who is not strong in themselves but rather humble and broken maybe even bruised or crush and as a result are dependent fully and completely on him the world likes to spin that as weakness but friends let me tell you according to this book that is our only strength and hope this morning we're continuing our series on Paul really at this point he still thought all a. And of grace and grit and we learn that Saul was not immediately converted to Paul but rather the Lord took considerable time in forming his character it wasn't a flick of the switch but more of a long arduous journey and in our quick read through Scripture we're easily passing through those periods of time that are forming the character of God's leaders and we get to the good stuff to the meat to the heart of the thing but really before we get there we need to pay attention to this character formation that is going on time and time and time again because that is where you and I live last time we found Saul in Arabia for 3 years in solitude and communion with God and developing his theology and understanding his character so we may be quick to think that now Saul is ready to go so after radius all returned to Damascus according to Galatians chapter one and then he returned to Jerusalem and so if you brought your Bibles I hope you did we're picking up our story here in Acts Chapter 9 that's right where we left off last time Acts Chapter 9 I'll be reading from the New King James Version and we pick up our story in verse 22 Acts Chapter 9 and verse 22 read in there it says so Saul increased all the more in strings and confounded the Jews who dwell in Damascus proving that Jesus is the Christ verse $23.00 now after many days were passed the Jews plotted to kill him but their plot became known to Saul and they watched the gates day and night to kill him then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket so it's all comes back to Damascus again he is preaching and the Jews there are fed up so much with saw that they want him dead what often goes around. Comes Around here the hunter becomes the hunted perhaps those he inspired with his own zeal are now turning on him he is so effective that the Jews see saw as a threat and he has to go by God comes to the rescue and who does he use what is the verse say it simply says the disciples these aren't Jesus' disciples these are just disciples of the truth of the way they are unnamed they are unknown unidentified individuals other than the fact that they are disciples of God Now stop one right there for one moment can you imagine the saw all of Tarsus several years back the Raging Bull depending on no one and of all things fleeing by getting into a basket no way he was larger than life he was in charge he was going to depend on no one and no thing or anybody at any time and never was he going to get into a basket and be lowered by somebody he doesn't know but here we have a different man allowing a nameless group of faithful disciples to rescue him down to an opening in the wall to entrust his life to others just imagine this man this great man so all of Tarsus now hunching over crouching perhaps in a fish basket dangling from a stone wall and slipping away in the night I'm as this is a humbling moment for soul the great independent now utterly dependent even this great man's soul needed the church often we think another no it's the other way around the church needed Saul or wow who we know him as Paul without Paul there'd be no church stop right there without the church there would be no Paul No we needed the support of those around him he needed to be rescued the axiom is true no man is an island we all need each other we all need some care. Some faithful friends that will come alongside us that will encourage us that will pray for us often like Saul we enter into the church with a little pump and pride in the spirit of independence but then God shows up in a kind and patient way and he helps us to see our desperate need of him and our need of each other he didn't form individuals single units he formed the body of believers the church not a building but people so verse 26 I was turned my page and when Saul had come to Jerusalem stop right there this is Saul's hometown so own to Jerusalem this is where he went to graduate school Saul knew this city backwards and forwards every alleyway every narrow passage every escape route and all Jerusalem is full of them and he knew them all he grew he needn't grow up there but he was in graduate school there he went he knew that entire city in fact we were there for just a few days and it doesn't take long to learn the old city and so here Saul is going home if you will and not to mention does he just know the topography and the area but he virtually knows every one of significance so how is this going to go down get the microphone's turn up the line Fair see turn Avengers now appearing at the central Jerusalem out of Tory and come in here is that how it goes Oh it's nothing like that Saul couldn't even get a hearing from the disciples let's finish the verse and when Saul had come up to Jerusalem verse 26 he tried to join the disciples but they were all afraid of him and did not believe that he was a disciple here we have Saul rejected again maybe he killed some that were close to them maybe even some of their own family members no this was a trick this was a set up have you ever had a bad track record so much so that nobody wanted to associate with you because. Of your baggage of the past soul knew what that was like but then verse 27 but Barnabas took him Saul and brought him to the apostles and he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road and that he had spoken to him and now he had preached both only at Damascus in the name of Jesus 1st 28 so he was with them at Jerusalem coming in and going out someone here now comes alongside Saul and said Hey Saul I'm on your team I mean out of nowhere comes this guy named Barnabas to encourage saw to be his personal advocate I mean his name literally means the son of encouragement I'm so thankful for the Barnabas is that God seems to place in every church aren't you those individuals who seek out the discouraged the tired the overwhelmed those with baggage and shame and they come alongside and encourage you and be friend them I'm so thankful of the Barnabus is of this church who are doing that very thing every Sabbath in fact I believe God has a Barnabas in every church every college campus every elementary school high school and every mission field standing ready to come to aid of someone needing encouragement and in this day and age who doesn't need some encouragement I wish we had a 100 more people like Barnabas you know our encouragement here is full you going to have to find another church we have too many viruses for that ever be the case When's the last time you were overly encouraged Well we don't want to give anybody a big hit Well that's true and I suppose we could do that but for the most part people get be that day after day after day you know they say human nature is you discard the complement as much as 7 times before you hear it but you get one negative and you hang on to that sometimes for a week isn't that human nature and so in our story Saul is willing to accept his assistance that's a healthy dependence I would say. So often 2 of them go and it says so he took them to the disciples and eventually they accept in verse $28.00 so he is with them at Jerusalem coming in and going out what made all the difference Barnabas made all the difference the simple question is who can you make a difference for what if there was no Barnabas in the story what if there was no Barnabas in this church what if there is no Barnabas in your place of employment what would have happened to saw what would happen to you and me in your experience can you remember a Barnabas that came alongside of you and said hey I'm on your team I want to be there for you I want to encourage you let me introduce you to some of my friends Barnabas made a huge difference and he helps all overcome his past continue now and then verse 29 and he spoke both only this is saw in the name of the Lord and disputed against the Hellenists but they attempted to kill him this time saw is debating with his fellow Greek speaking Jews he's attempting to convince some of his old colleagues if you will and he has some assumptions This is from x. the Apostles 129 ball is now in the city where many of his former associates lived and to these Jewish leaders he long to make plain the prophecies concerning the Messiah if I can just explain it just hear me out Paul felt sure that these teachers in Israel with whom he had once been so well acquainted were as sincere and honest as he had been they mean well and I'm going to help them to see that he had miscalculated the spirit of his Jewish brothers and in the hope of their speedy conversion he was doomed to bitter disappointment those who stood the head of the Jewish church refused to believe but went about to slay him again this great man Saul soon to be Paul is rejected the very same attitude they had toward Stephen I that it brought back memories of when he was. On the other side and how it fell on deaf ears then too and now the same attitude was being thrust at Saul very prophecy goes on to tell us he would have gladly lay down his life for the cause he felt like that was the noble thing to do is Stephen stood for the right I will do so help me until I'm gone but God has different plans and to piece this together we have to jump to a retelling of this very story as found in Acts 22 I'll just put on the screen for you verse 17 Now it happened when I returned to Jerusalem I was praying in the temple that I was in a trance and saw him saying to me make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly or they won't receive your testimony concerning me and so that's exactly what we have here they are attempting to kill him and to run him out of town verse 30 when the Brethren found out they brought him down to sensory and sent him out to Tarsus and I said before that Druce them was his hometown really Tarsus was his home town Jerusalem where he went to graduate school and further studied and so on and so forth but here's another humbling lesson for Saul and his need not just for a god but for others to survive and so again a bunch of unknowns help them escape Jerusalem we don't know their names you don't know who they are they're just church people but they're church people thought desperately needs and he boarded the ship bound for his hometown of all places Tarsus and if you see they're very tiny on the map Jerusalem kind of in the middle Tarsus up north from there can you imagine going back to where you grew up as a kid with that kind of track record like Saul had both sides when like you I would imagine why God chose to send him to Tarsus we don't know but I imagine it was in part to continue to teach Saul lessons of humility and dependence I'm going to go to Jerusalem I'm going to rock the world I'm going to town what when convince me they're going to change your mind everything's going to get turned upside down and the whole city was only 9. The but maybe not and he wasn't there in Tarsus for a few weeks or months even it's thought that Saul was there for 4 to 5 years I mean wait a minute this same chapter x. Chapter 9 God told him to night as earlier verse 15 go freeze a chosen vessel of mind to bear my name before Gentiles kings and the children of Israel I mean what happened has there been a mistake because again here is Saul and he's waiting he probably went back to 10 making as he waits for the Lord to show him what's next now I don't know about you but I don't like to wait I want to now for me a good day is when every light on the way that I'm going is green this is a beautiful thing don't give me red I hate red give me a green light every time we like to see progress don't we and after all don't the people need us and don't they need us now look at verse 31 in Acts Chapter 9 verse 30 Saul just went off to Tarsus 1st 31 then the churches throughout all Judea Galilee and some area had peace and were edified and walking in the fear of the Lord in the comfort of the Holy Spirit they were multiplied you mean without fall without fall. In fact the Church not only went on but it's basically is saying the church flourished without his help out folks the reality is this the secret to the blessing and health of any church is all mighty God Period it's not you it's certainly not me or anyone else you may think is indispensable to the cause why did Jesus say I will build My Church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it and I hear people say oh we need to finish the work and I understand what people mean when they say that there is a work for us to do but let's not forget for he will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness Romans 928 for going back to Saul was it a waste of great talent for God to put Saul on hold not if he wanted to prepare him to write the letter to the Romans not if he would have a lasting impact on the backsliding believers at Corinth not if you wanted Saul to mentor Timothy for a life time of strategic ministry in f. Asus those projects and dozens of others called for a depth of character forged through the lessons that taught him dependence both on God and on others the church didn't need Saul in Tarsus Saul had to learn that he needed them it wasn't about independence it was about discovering the value of dependence tragically some of never learned that most valuable lesson and you might be asking what is dependence look like well let's try and flesh it out real quick dependence means you number one value others we need to realize that we need each other folks to weather a storm for encouragement we were made for community and we can do more together than alienated into single. Atoms and parts just take the body for instance how far do you go with just as useful as the thumb is you just put that someone on the floor good luck to them I mean why did God raise up the church why did God raise up this church because he knew we needed each other for accountability for learning for encouragement for support for his plans for his purposes Jesus always sent out his disciples how to buy 2 in a similar fashion in the Marine Corps they teach in combat situations you dig a hole deep enough or big enough I should say for 2 better yet 3 Why because the battle can be hard and tiring and overwhelming Not to mention scary folks we need each other someone near us to keep as steady as a special meeting said holding our hand there's certain doctors office appointments I don't need you to say anything I don't need you to do anything I just need you there holding my hand the family is part of this community no question these Sabbath school classrooms and on down the hill that is part of a small group community that is part of it as well this local church is part of that community as well as God's global church that we're all a part of we are better together this idea of Church is his idea so don't let a stubborn spirit of independence rob you of the joy of sharing your life your weaknesses your ups your downs your failures your dreams with others if you're not part of a small group get up earlier 7 more and join us have a small small group I know there's a larger one that meets out here in the sanctuary and that's great but maybe doesn't fulfill the small group that you're looking for of 8 to 10 people that you can actually dialogue with maybe the Sabbath school classes you experience don't a concept for you to then form your own small group 234 individuals is all you really need to have us. Mulgrew when are we going to meet let's take God's word together let's also spend time talking about how's life going for you what are the ups and downs How can I pray for you How can I encourage you how can I just listen because when push comes to shove I mean Wayne was just up here a moment ago a list of 3 people folks that's a small group that's each other that's the church encouraging one another if you're not part of any small group start one if you're not part of a Sabbath school class join one if you don't like any of them maybe you can start a new class All right number 2 we need to keep going humble yourself pendants means you handle yourself I believe God is looking for broken vessels wounded hearts and humble servants even those with bad track records with scars. But humbly desire to serve in whatever capacity whatever role whatever the title that God sees fit don't promote yourself don't fight for your own titles don't protest for your rights don't push yourself to the front don't drop hints let God put you where he wants to put you when he wants to put you there to do what he's called you do humbly recognize that his timing is perfect humbly recognize that his work is not about us but it's always about him start to finish so humble yourself before God before the end and I ask God made Sin humble yourself in Arabia humble yourself in the lowering over the walls in a basket humble yourself when you're rejected by your colleagues humble yourself when you are told to flee to Tarsus humble yourself in your level waiting for another 4 to 5 years resist the urge to live live by your own understanding you'll have what you need to often were lured with the idea that I have to work harder so that my family is with the where we like to use only a comfortable but you and your family needs more than extra money in the bank more than impressive address or all the latest gadgets they need you to be right with the Lord that means you walk humbly. With your God They need your gentle touch acknowledging that he's the Lord of your home not you and that takes humility fathers as the best thing you can do the lord's in charge of this home Thirdly trust God rather than considering yourself indispensable even secretly remind yourself often this is the Lord's work this is the Lord's work this is the Lord's work this is the Lord's work to be done the Lord's way we should not follow impulse we can rely on the judgment of man we should not look to the revealed we should look excuse me to the revealed will of God and walk according to his definite commandment not matter of circumstances or whatever might surround us whatever the pressures are know what is the dust say of the Lord even if it's just stay there in Tarsus and wait with all due respect William Ernest Henley was absolutely wrong so is Timothy McVeigh our lives are not caught in the fell clutch of circumstance our heads are not to be bloodied but on back out you and I are neither the masters of our fate nor are we the captain of our souls we are to be holy continually and completely dependent on the mercy of God to do his work his way all had to learn that question is are you learning that if not today is a great time to start now is the time to humble yourself under his mighty hand you know in response to William Ernest Henley's poem Invictus meaning unconquered Dorothy Day wrote this lesser known poem and it goes something like this out of the light the devil's me bright as the sun from pole to pole I thank the God I know to be for Christ the conqueror of my soul since his is this way of circumstance I would not win snork. I allowed under the rule which man called chance my head with joy is humbly about beyond this place of sin and tears that life with him and his the aid that spite the minutes of the years keeps and will keep me on afraid I have no fear though straight to the gate he cleared from time to cement the scroll Christ is the master of my fate Christ is the captain of my soul dear Heavenly Father as we continue on in this journey with Saul we see that this great man of faith also went through some I would think very discouraging times times when he probably questioned times when he perhaps was confused times when maybe he thought God was done using him but as we know to be the case that was not true from the Eagles I view we see that you are molding his character helping him to see the value of others around him helping him to be humble and to be fully dependent on you lord those are lessons we need to learn as well help us in our own character formation prepare what you have in store for your own or your glory for your purposes your way that you're using the. Media was brought to you by audio a website dedicated to spreading God's word through sermon audio and much more if you would like more about audio. If you would like more service. W.w.w. audio 1st.


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