08 How to Rise to the Height of Lowliness

Audio: mp3

Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name [is] Holy; I dwell in the high and holy [place], with him also [that is] of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

When we speak of the character development and elevation we desire to go upwards. The Bible says we are to add to our faith virtue, knowledge and temperance. This addition will always find a higher experience. It has been in the mind of many people that heaven is above us. But we know that depending on what side of the world you are in it could be below you. We are speaking of the plurality that heaven is above us and hell is beneath. We are to strive to enter in at the straight gate. This striving is the same sort of striving if you were climbing a mountain but gravity is against you. The pressure of this world is against you and you have to climb. When we speak of a back sliding Christian and of someone who has gone down in moral attainments, we see that as going down in gravity, travelling down. These thoughts have been embedded into the human race. Today we want to consider we actually don’t have any appreciation of up and down.

Luke 13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: 26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.

Here is a class of people that desire to go upwards who actually went down. They expected to enter into heaven. It was their expectation, it was their hope. There are many a people that have a false hope not knowing that it’s false and they hope that they would be in heaven. Everything told them around them they would have entrance into heaven and when the Lord shut the door, they said Lord, Lord what’s happening? We have something here and we have eaten and taught in thy streets, we have had fellowship together. There appears to be something wrong. But the second answer comes – I don’t know you, depart from me. What a perplexing experience to expect the door to be open and it’s not. There are two classes of people, one class have a false hope. They expect to enter into heaven, they even have a religious context but the door is shut.

Hope is important but it must be true hope. It must be true hope coupled with humility. Many people have hope but become proud and puffed up. Many people have charity but it is not puffed up. They have a hope but the hope is full of air. It reminds me of a blow fish. It makes itself look like its big but it’s full of air. It’s not too big at all. If you were sorting fish out you would put it in the pile of big fish. Love is not puffed up. It has a humility coupled with a true hope. Many religious organisations have a hope and in this hope it develops into a puffed up experience that we are God’s church and everyone else isn’t. If you engage in our role, then you are part of God’s church.

A False Hope

In the time of Christ there were people with false hopes but there were two types of people walking with a false hope but they had humility. Two people walking on the road to Emmaus. They had a hope that was crushed as they realised it was false.

Luke 24:21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.

They had a false hope and it didn’t work out. They had the ability to realise their hope was wrong. They had the ability from God to learn again and to pick up the true hope. Jesus expounded from Moses and all the prophets. There are two classes of people.

Isaiah 66:5 Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my names sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.

Can you see here an expectation? Let the Lord be glorified, we are doing God’s work but yet this expectation will turn into the bitterest wail ever heard on this planet. There are a people that tremble at God’s word and they have brethren. What does it say these brethren have? Did they enter into love? It says your brethren that hated you. That is the opposite extreme to love. These brethren that had hatred still engaged what they deemed the service of God. When God came, they were ashamed. These are the two classes of people. The Bible also gives another picture of two classes of people in a religious context.

Luke 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

One is higher than the other. The Pharisee looked down upon the publican. We can see this elevation aspect that one is higher than the other. Aren’t we seeking to be higher? This class of people have made a grave mistake. What class are we in? How is such a mistake made? How can someone expect to be in heaven and all of a sudden find themselves in hell? How can the expectation be to find yourself in one place but find yourself in another? When people are walking and they go in the wrong direction, it testifies of their inability of navigation. They have no direction of north, south, east or west. They go forth thinking this is north but its south. How is this mistake made? There are people who think themselves deserving of eternal good. We want to understand today how this mistake is made.

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

3:2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which [is] in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

What is that? It’s a lie.

Genesis 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make [one] wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Was the tree good for food? It wasn’t good for food. What is food? Something you eat and God says this is something not to be eaten. God said this is not good for man, don’t eat it. Every good gift comes from the father of lights and this tree was not good for food. The scripture says and when she saw it was good for food, she ate it. Before then she didn’t see it, she saw it as the forbidden tree. Her mind saw something that was not. Satan said if you eat this you will be as Gods. Is that up or down? It’s up. We can go higher and she went lower. All because of a lie, something that wasn’t true. The truth has an opposite and it is a lie. Isaiah 16 connects a lie with an attitude that we are to avoid.

Isaiah 16:6 We have heard of the pride of Moab; [he is] very proud: [even] of his haughtiness, and his pride, and his wrath: [but] his lies [shall] not [be] so.

This pride, this very proud haughtiness, but his lies shall not be so. The blow fish is a lie. It is not as big as it looks. It shall not be put in the pile of big fish. Why? Because it’s not, it’s not a big fish. Its only full of air. This is the deception that we see things, we feel things that are not true. With the Pharisees, we saw the two classes of people and the Pharisee who said I’m glad I’m not like these people. What did Jesus say to the Pharisee?

John 8:44 Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

8:45 And because I tell [you] the truth, ye believe me not.

How does this class of people make the mistake of expecting to be in heaven when they are not at all. They are actually the furthest from heaven than ever. How can we make that mistake? Only through lies. They wouldn’t believe the truth and they saw the truth as a lie and they saw the lie as the truth.

The field into which Satan led our first parents is the same to which he is leading men today. He is flooding the world with pleasing fables. By every device at his command he seeks to prevent men from obtaining that knowledge of God which is salvation. {8T 290.4}

What field did he lead Eve into? The field of a lies, seeing something that wasn’t true. He is flooding the world with pleading fables. He doesn’t want people to know the truth. He is giving these pleasing things. If you were to know the truth, wouldn’t you want it to be pleasing?

We are living in an age of great light; but much that is called light is opening the way for the wisdom and arts of Satan. Many things will be presented that appear to be true, and yet they need to be carefully considered with much prayer; for they may be specious devices of the enemy. The path of error often appears to lie close to the path of truth. It is hardly distinguishable from the path that leads to holiness and heaven. But the mind enlightened by the Holy Spirit may discern that it is diverging from the right way. After a while the two are seen to be widely separated. {8T 290.5}

Two paths and they appear to be very close, almost indistinguishable that you can’t tell the difference but the end is so extreme. This is where we can end up in and expect to be in heaven and yet be furtherest away from it. All because of a lie. That which is a lie and not believed is harmless. If that lie becomes truth to you, it is the worst thing possible.

Matthew 6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

6:23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great [is] that darkness!

We consider that we have come through the dark ages, the ages of persecution. The people did outright blatant things that were not right. Today, we are in the darkest ages as everything appears to be clear but it’s all a lie. In relation to our personal walk;

Galatians 6:3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

What do you think about yourself? What are your thoughts about you compared to everyone else? To desire to travel upwards towards heaven, Satan will implant pride. How does pride feel? Do you feel like you are going up or down? Pride feels like you are going up. The truth of the matter is you are going down. Pride is a lie. Pride is a feeling, a sense of my abilities and my abilities compared to others. Comparing ourselves with ourselves and we get elated. Everything around us says we are going up. Isn’t that the way we want to go? Everything around tells us we are going up so of course it appears we are going up. How do I know if I am going up or down. Pride sometimes doesn’t even get detected. How do I know if I have pride. How do we know we are in the truth? Can we say we are Christians and if Christians, doesn’t it mean we have the truth?

Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

What is someone coming in Christs name called? Christian. Many with the name Christian saying, I am Christ’s body, I am Christ’s church, I represent Christ.

Matthew 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

24:25 Behold, I have told you before.

Behold = look at this, consider. Name and rank and station mean nothing. It’s how much love you have. Love is not measured by how much you give yourself to be burnt or you give yourself to the poor or how well you can speak. It’s how much you love Christ. Christ likeness. Just because we profess to be Christians doesn’t mean we are not deceived. How do I know? If I can’t, my profession, my church, the name I put to myself, what can I trust? Here are people that are deceived and why?

2 Thessalonians 2:9 [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

They don’t love the truth. If we don’t love the truth, God will give us a delusion that we will believe a lie. What is the truth?

Psalm 119:142 Thy righteousness [is] an everlasting righteousness, and thy law [is] the truth.

Do you love God’s law? Many people that claim to be Christians don’t love God’s law, they seek to destroy it. Thy law is the truth. The scripture also declares;

Psalms119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

This is to help us know if we are in a deception or not. How do you feel if you are crossed by someone? Are you offended? Those who love God’s law won’t be offended because what they love is unchangeable. Such a rock and that produces peace and when the peace is in the heart, offence doesn’t exist. You love God’s law. Here it gives a clear understanding of the proud.

Psalm 119:85 The proud have digged pits for me, which [are] not after thy law.

119:86 All thy commandments [are] faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me.

What are the proud doing? They are setting traps. These beliefs, a trap is a lie, a deception. If a trap wasn’t deceiving, no one would go in it. Thos people that cancel out God’s law, what is the characteristic of those that keep the law?

Psalm 119:86 All thy commandments [are] faithful: they (THE PROUD) persecute me wrongfully; help thou me.

How do you recall when someone else wants to do right? Someone in your family that wants to follow the Lord all the way and doesn’t say anything direct but lives out the law in display. Two brothers, Cain and Able, one wanted to obey God and one didn’t see the necessity. He had a lie, God looks after my vegetables. It was one thing to bring vegetables but it was another to persecute the one who did right. Do you love truth and do you persecute those who keep the truth? Or perhaps maybe you have not known the law. If you really want to find out what is in your heart, seek to find out every word of God and seek to pay attention. You will see what sort of person you are. What is the purpose of God’s commandments? They are truth.

Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? [is] the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

What does the Lord do to your being, to your understanding, your mind? What does it do? It reveals sin. The law is truth and its revealing sin. Does sin make you be elated or make you depressed? If I makes you depressed then I’m going down. If I’m going down then it’s not where I want to go, I want to go up. Without the sense of guilt and sin.

Romans 7:8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin [was] dead.

7:9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

7:10 And the commandment, which [was ordained] to life, I found [to be] unto death.

7:11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew [me].

7:12 Wherefore the law [is] holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

7:13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.

7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

All these bad things about me I didn’t know about. How does he know he is sold under sin? By the commandment of God. The commandment of God makes you exceedingly sinful. So much so that you are to die. Who wants to die when we are seeking for eternal life. Instead of getting rid of the sin, they get rid of the commandments which makes sin, sin. When the commandment is gone there is no standard of righteousness and we become elated and higher and higher and that is the way we want to go. It actually doesn’t lead higher. We have our lives upside down. We are going lower and lower, further away. The Pharisees were in a worse condition than the publication. They believed a lie.

Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

The commandment leads a person to realise they are nothing, sinful and full of wicked ways. At that point we find Jesus Christ. Grace. Every part of your senses tells you I’m going the wrong way. I’m going down in despair, grief and sorrow. I’m going down in all these feelings and I want to go up to heaven and you’re not. You feel like you are going down into hell. When sin abounds what else abounds? Grace abounds. How to rise to the height of lowliness. Lowliness is not down, it’s up, its high. But Satan has deceived us all and changed dour feelings and understandings of what is truth. When we feel we are going down in discouragement, praise God you are going up. Feeling is no gauge at all. Satan has successfully convinced us to see something that is not. And something that is thought of but doesn’t exist is imagination. This world is full of imagination. Cyber space. People can get so involved in this nothing. Put money into nothing. It’s all in the mind. Its deception. So we want not feeling but we want solid truth. The truth about me is I am nothing but the commandments are truth and will make me feel like I am nothing. The gates of heaven are open to such a soul yet there is no expectation. The mercy of Jesus is only recognised and appreciated at the base of human suffering.

Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin.

4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

When can you go to heaven’s door and expect to come in boldly? When you have nothing. Then you can go to heaven’s door and have hope, true hope. There is no plea at the gate of heaven. When we pray our plea is Lord, you are my only help. In that plea, God will not refuse. The law brings us to the point of our need in Jesus Christ. Oh, beautiful the law! How true is the law yet it makes you feel rotten and the whole world has rejected it. When you look at God’s law, does it make you feel how bad you are, chief of sinners? The law is the school master to Christ. The scripture admonishes us that we cast down imaginations that exalt themselves against Christ. Every thought that thinks yes I’m doing something good, I’m doing this and that. Its Jesus, we need to think of Jesus, that’s where our thoughts are. Those thoughts we can give to Christ. Lord, take these vain thoughts from me. Christ says come unto me all yet that labour and heavy laden.

Proverbs 11:2 [When] pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly [is] wisdom.

Proverbs 16:18 Pride [goeth] before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Can you see we are upside down? In your feelings go down and go to Christ and plead for his mercy alone and don’t consult your feelings. Be willing to the see the worst of your condition. Be willing to see how grotty you are. If you are willing to see that, then God can bless you. It is better to see how bad we are now than when we are in destruction for then we will certainly know how bad we are. Every single soul will come to the point of seeing their condition. Why not see it now? There is nothing to boast about. There is no puffed up experience. When Jesus catches the fish, there is no blow fish. The Bible says the fish will be sorted, the truth fish from the puffed up fish. Shall we pray with David, cleanse me from secret faults. Just because we don’t know them doesn’t mean they are not there. May Christ be all to us when we find ourselves at the base of human feeling.

Amen.

Posted on November 6, 2009, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons For Sabbath. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. too many typos i know needs editing!

  2. Very nice sermon! I read it in its entirety. Kept my Sabbath afternoon awake. Thank you for posting this and may God bless you.

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