Go

Contact Us

  • Phone: 949-599-4760
  • Email: 
  • Mailing Address: 21986 Mae Circle, Lake Forest, CA 92630

 

 

Walking Humbly

Dec 21, 2016

Passage: Micah 6:8

Preacher: Rev. Dr. Alfonso Espinosa

Category: Advent, Wednesday

Detail:

Micah 6:8: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Ephesians 4:7, 11-16: “7But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 11And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Coming Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, when we see the word “walk” in God’s Holy Word it refers to a way of life. Your “walk” is how you live. Tonight’s part of Micah 6:8: “to walk humbly with your God” is about how you live, but it also says “with your God”…so this part of Micah 6:8 is concerned with our way of life towards God specifically. How are we living towards God? The Word of God says we are called to “walk humbly” towards our Great, Glorious, and Gracious God. Live in such a way towards God that your way of life towards Him, to Him, to His glory, in relation to Him is humility. That is how we are to be towards God.

So we need to be clear on “humility” then. This is not an easy concept to define, but is basically “making oneself low.” If you make yourself low, then you automatically make someone else around you higher. You put yourself down. Not in a way for false humility; not to be manipulative; not to carry on acting like you’re humble to get something out of someone. True humility is rather a quality of genuine faith. You put others before yourself. In other words, you lower yourself so that you can lift-up someone else; serving their needs, putting them first.

This kind of ‘walking humbly” rejects the world’s way of “looking out for #1,” and instead – by grace alone – chooses to be a servant to others. You make yourself low so that you can live out your faith. It is the lowly ones who love the best. Because they are already in the process of extending themselves to others. Such lowliness does not need credit, or reward, or recognition, or even a thank you, or anything…such lowliness is already there because it is inspired by the One who is their Savior. But understand, I am not using the word “inspired” in the sense of having read a book or watched a movie that put you in a good mood, I mean the work of the Holy Spirit-inspired. And what does He do? The Spirit leads us to Christ and shows us that when the Lord made Himself low He gave us His life. His life for our life so that we know our old life is crucified, our old life is buried…that old life that desperately needs to live in pride has died with Christ. And the life that the Lord has given to you is His life…and His life is humility. It is the wonderful insight that we are not here for ourselves. It is the conviction that life is full and blessed when we live for others. And to live for others is to live for God, because Jesus is known and seen in our neighbor!

See the picture of humility which is true worship of God: “And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that [Jesus] was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment (Luke 7:37-38).” She was full of love, and it was easy to make herself low, because she knew how much Jesus had given to her…these were tears of joy; this was a service of lowliness that Jesus magnified when He said of the woman: “her sins, which are many, are forgiven (Luke 7:47).”

Which is to say that true humility, or the ability to make oneself low comes from our Lord Jesus Christ. Humility in the heart of the Christian is formed by the Holy Spirit through the knowledge that the King of Kings, our Great God, the richest and most powerful One in the universe, the Creator: actually and truly made Himself low for everyone of us here. That is, God has already given you the greatest gift you could ever receive. He made Himself low for you in order to serve you; in order to save you; and in order to gift you with His eternal love and everlasting life.

To know this, to hold it in your heart, to cling to it is to quite simply be inspired to share such humility.

We know as revealed in Holy Scripture that Jesus “being found in human form…humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8).” He made Himself low for you, to save you. He made Himself low for you so that His kingly blood would cover your sins. He made Himself low for you so that you would not be condemned. He made Himself low for you to take your punishment for sin. He made Himself low for you so that you would have eternal life.

The Word of God shows Jesus’ lowliness for us in His words and in His actions. In His words when He taught, “For even the Son of Man came not be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).” And we see His humility for us in His actions: at John 13:5 Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. Imagine that, the King of Kings, the Creator, the Savior who deserves our lowliness beyond measure, made Himself low and showed His great love by washing the feet of His disciples.

When my mother was dying, my siblings and I wanted to show our love to her, so one of the things we did towards the end was to put lotion on her feet and to rub her feet.

I’ve shared the witness of Art Edwards with you before. I tell his story, because it is to this day one of the greatest examples of humility and marital love I’ve ever seen. It is one thing to speak the vows: “for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish until death do us part,” but it is another thing to live it out. Many will run away before they lower themselves. Many would rather break their vows. Not Art Edwards. His dear wife Shirley had ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease. She was paralyzed from her neck down. Every single day Art put himself down and put his wife first. Getting her out of bed into her wheelchair; taking her to the restroom to be cleaned; back to the bedroom to be clothed, to the kitchen to be fed; to the living room to enjoy the day; to the special lift in the van to take her out now and again to see the sights…and he did it with a smile…he lowered himself and put her needs before his. An amazing light in this world. This was walking humbly towards God as Art understood the words of Jesus: “whatever you did to the least of these, you did unto me (Matt. 25).”

But we cannot snap our fingers and make ourselves walk humbly with the Lord. Such humility must be given to us. Today is also the remembrance of St. Thomas, Apostle. He gets a bad rap as “doubting Thomas.” This is unfair because all of the apostles were full of fear and doubt. Thomas was not the only one. Still, that doubt which marked all of the apostles is the example of our lack of humility. In fear, we cannot imagine putting ourselves low for the Lord. What will happen to us? Will we too have to give up our lives? In hard-heartedness and with lack of humility, Thomas spoke for all who have a sinful nature like you and me: “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe (John 20:25).” We too know this sin: “Unless God does x, y, z, and not until then, will I believe!” We have our conditions for God. We do not want to humble ourselves before Him. We want to call the shots. We want to be lifted up high. We want to be in charge. This is not humility, but pride.

But Jesus was compassionate upon His doubting and fearful people…He still is. He comes and after speaking to Thomas and giving Him His peace, Thomas answered Jesus: “My Lord and my God (John 20:28)!” Thomas finally – by the grace of Christ – made himself low; he humbled himself and confessed the Lord, and confessing that He is the only One worthy of being above all else.

When this happens, when the Word of Jesus fills our hearts, the Holy Spirit takes poor sinners who strive desperately to put themselves above others; and fills them with the confidence that they are given all things (even the very Kingdom of God) and then fear is gone, they can let go. Then they willingly serve others, then they willingly make themselves low. This is the work of God. And this is the testimony of the epistle assigned to St. Thomas, Apostle.

In the face of our pride and resistance towards humility, grace is given to us “according to the measure of Christ’s gift (Ephesians 4:7).” And the Lord gives His Word through His appointed servants like my pastor who put his hand upon my head last week to pronounce holy absolution over me to equip me to be what I could never make myself to be: to be equipped like you to be a saint, a holy one of God. So that you would no longer be as a child, tossed back and forth like a wave upon the sea, but rather speaking the truth: that Christ has come and is coming again and in Him we are made to be His body; His people so that we are built up in love. And what does love do? It walks humbly with God. It lowers oneself to confess the truth: to confess our sin and then to confess our Savior, the exalted Savior who once lowered Himself so that we would be saved.

Be low people of God and walk humbly with the Lord. And when that part of you is raised that doesn’t want to, then return to your baptism and drown it, kill it, crucify it, smash it and then see what remains: you in Christ and Christ in you. His life for your life. His humility for your pride, so that it becomes nothing to put yourself down, because you’ve already died and Christ is your life.