Down is Up!
Intro: Aaron’s comment about checking his phone after we had been out of service for a couple days.
“I’ll turn my phone on to see if anyone cares about me.”
One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being
carefully watched. 2 There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body. 3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 4 But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way.
5 Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” 6 And they had nothing to say.
It was the climate of that place as Jesus went toward Jerusalem.
7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
They were carefully watching Jesus…
Jesus was watching as well.
7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable:
Obviously they were doing it the opposite way.
invited to a ‘wedding feast’ - (a place with a hierarchy)
Question: Who attends wedding feasts?
Bride and Groom, Parents of the couple, brothers, sisters, Maid of honor,
Best Man, Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, family, friends, and the help (the officiant, the kitchen people, camera people, etc.
This is a story about being “someone”.
a person more distinguished than you may have been invited
Let someone else determine your position.
Henri Nouwen shares about his experience stepping out of church leadership and moving into a home with mentally challenged males.
He did this because he was spiritually burned out even though he was at the top of his game as a highly respected priest.
He faced 3 temptations that had lead him to the spiritually dead place.
“Too often I looked at being relevant, popular, and powerful as ingredients of an effective ministry. The truth, however, is that these are not vocations, but temptations.”
~ Henri Nouwen: In the name of Jesus.
Bottom line to this parable:
11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Henri Nouwen chose to humble himself instead of the other way around.
Why would God humble people?
Because people naturally go the wrong direction. We all do.
He prays for humility, at times very earnestly; but in his secret heart he prays more, if not in word, then in wish, to be kept from the very things that will make him humble.
~ Andrew Murray
1. God humbles those who won’t do it themselves.
We don’t want what’s good for us.
Let’s look briefly at the story of Saul.
1 Samuel 15:17-34
Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel.”
God exalted Saul because, at first, he was humble.
Then he got a big head.
Saul thought he would decide what part of the word of the Lord he would obey.
He exalted himself as lord of his own life…
2. The desire for popularity is a sign of pride.
Examine your own heart.
What is motivating me?
Example: ‘I am a world changer!” Coffee Mug.
Back to Saul…
30 Saul replied, “I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God.”
“I have sinned. But…”
Is that repentance?
Repentance is a 180, not saying, “I’m sorry” and doing the same thing again.
Saul sinned for the men then and he was still living for their approval.
Jesus never sinned, but listen to this:
“Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him…”
3. God humbles people to teach obedience.
If I do not obey God, he disciplines or humbles me, so I can learn to obey.
The parable today is a good example:
If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you,
‘Give this person your seat.’
Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place.
Obedience takes the lower seat.
Example: If I walk out of here and seek honor for myself after hearing this today, I am walking in pride and disobedience.
10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests.
4. Humility comes to those who gratefully receive it.
“…nothing can cure you of the desire of receiving glory from men, or of the sensitiveness and pain and anger which come when it is not given, but giving yourself to seek only the glory that comes from God. Let the glory of the All-glorious God be everything to you. You will be freed from the glory of men and of self, and be content and glad to be nothing. Out of this nothingness you will grow strong in faith, giving glory to God, and you will find that the deeper you sink in humility before Him, the nearer He is to fulfill the every desire of your faith… Accept every humiliation, look upon every fellow-man who tries or vexes you, as a means of grace to humble you.
~ Andrew Murray
1 ) Remember personal success comes from God.
2) Obey the word of the Lord no matter what.
3) Be grateful for humility whenever and however it comes.