Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

AND THEY KNOW

Part 3

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”  – Philippians 2:3

          So far in this series we have touched on love and giving which is love in action. As God takes us through our “process” we all encounter “degrees” of both love and giving, not only on our part, but on the part of others. Some love, but only a little. Others love much, but sometimes find it impossible to love “that much” and the same goes with giving. We all have our “walls” and “lines” that either keep us hedged in while keeping others out, or lines that we refuse to cross and others know they dare not cross.

          Thus, the bottom line is, unless Jesus is LORD, and our All in All, our self-constructed “walls” and “lines” are built on the reinforced foundation of pride, fear and unbelief. King David knew this well when he wrote, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” Psalm 139:23, 24. He knew that if there was any wicked way deep down in his heart of hearts, it would manifest itself in his thoughts, and we all know that sins of commission or omission first take place in our hearts, or innermost being, before surfacing in conscious thoughts that are carried out in word, deed as well as the sin of inaction.

          Such was the sin of inaction on the part of Adam and Eve who, for whatever reason, took for granted and ignored the tree of life. Adam and Eve had two trees to choose from, and we have the choice of two ways (narrow or broad), two masters (God or Satan), two eternal destinations (heaven or hell) and two heart conditions—humility or pride. Bottom line, a person cannot be truly born again of the Spirit of God (saved) without humility, for humility comes out of brokenness over one’s lost condition, utter unworthiness, depravity, and unholy state in the eyes of God. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf: and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” Isaiah 64:6. Andrew Murray wrote, “The truth is this: Pride must die in you or nothing of heaven can live in you. Under the banner of the truth, give yourself up to the meek and humble spirit of the holy Jesus. Humility must sow the seed or there can be no reaping in heaven. Look not at pride only as an unbecoming temper, nor at humility only as a decent virtue: for the one is death and the other is life; the one is hell and the other is heaven. So much as you have of pride within you, you have of the fallen angel alive in you; so much as you have of true humility, so much you have of the Lamb of God within you.”

          No wonder Isaiah, who lived in the midst of great evil, as do we, cried out, “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” Isaiah 6:5. This was Isaiah’s moment of complete and utter humiliation, a point we all must come to if we are to find, enter and walk in the narrow way of life. James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” Without true humility we will never wait for the Lord to lift us up. Instead, we will beg and plead with Him to lift us up with all of our pride intact so we can go on living for ourselves, pleasing ourselves, pampering ourselves, providing for ourselves, and exalting ourselves. No such life can ever please God, see God, or spend eternity with God. Without true humility, such a soul is lost to God for the Holy Spirit cannot dwell within it, nor is such a one born again of God’s Spirit. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” Psalm 51:17.

          Consider that the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:5-12 are all humility based: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” To obtain the state of “blessedness” such as Jesus laid out for all people, there must be true contrition, desire for holy living that pleases God, prayer, and repentance of the self-interests of pride. This is what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote, “I die daily” in 1 Corinthians 15:31b. Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” Philippians 2:5-8.

          Humility is not a virtue in and of itself; rather, it is “the bottom line,” or root of every virtue. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” 2 Peter 1:3-8. How can we attain to the calling of God to “glory and virtue” if we are rooted in the pride of the self-life? Perhaps there may be an outward appearance of branches, but unless they are abiding in the Vine, they will be cut off, gathered and burned. (See John 15.) Make no mistake, it is impossible for a prideful branch to abide in the humble Vine of Christ.

          Concerning the days in which we live—days of the fulfillment of many biblical prophecies of the end times, and of the “falling away,” (see 2 Thessalonians 2:3,) the root for the Greek word apostasia means to depart, withdraw or remove. This departure and withdrawal from the “faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3b) is no secret as evidenced by not only church history, inspired writings of early Christians and martyrs of the faith through the ages, current statistics according to polls, but by the Word of God itself. The lack of reverence and humility, which has been replaced by the presence of lukewarmness towards God and His Word, lack of concern for lost souls, ear-tickling preaching, watered-down teaching, along with love for the world (and the “god of this world”), tolerance for sin, abominations, heretics and false prophets also give evidence of a departure from the true faith. Nicolatainism, legalism, liberalism, modernism, institutionalism, and a host of other demonic falsehoods are well tolerated in the mish mash of man-centered “harlot” churches of Revelation 17:5. No wonder there are so few true conversions, miracles, and moves of the Spirit these days within such man-centered, man-exalting organized churches. The Holy Spirit cannot rest and abide where true humility is missing, and pride and the flesh are reigning.

          We need to deny self, and humbly seek and pray for a greater measure of genuine, unfeigned love for God while living to glorify Him and blessing others. May we be aware of what is missing today in the harlot churches—reverence towards the Father (fear of God); the humility of Christ, (temperament); and the presence of the Holy Spirit (conviction, gifts, and power).  

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The Goal of Gentle Shepherd Ministries is to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to make disciples in compliance with the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19).

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