THE KEY TO GREATNESS

 

The Kingdom

 

·         The prophets foretold it.

            - Set up by God

            - Everlasting

            - Consume all others (Daniel 2:44)

 

·         John the Baptist announced its imminence.

·         Jesus preached it.

            - The Lord’s Prayer begins and ends with kingdom of God

·         The apostles preached it.

·         ¹  Impractical theological

·         Ž It’s important that we understand it!

 

Definition of the Kingdom – What is it?

 

·         Kingdom of God is the sphere of God’s rule or dominion.

·         The realm where God’s will is carried out without any interference.

·         Where there is acknowledgement of and submission to that rule.

·         God establishes His kingdom through willing obedience:

            - Significant message from Ulf Eckman

            - Obedience is follows humility ie,  humility precursor to obedience.

 

·         As a believer you are already citizens of the kingdom of God.

·         Kingdom of God begins with Jesus Christ – small beginnings like the mustard seed.

·         God purposes that we are in the kingdom of God and church be the place on earth where kingdom of God manifests:

            - Righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17)

·         Church is the place ordained where God exercises His authority.

·         Kingdom of God manifests in our lives in proportion to our faith and obedience.

·         God uses many methods to teach us obedience:

People:       Parents, Teachers, Government officials, Leaders in the church

Events:       Wilderness, Consequences

 

·         Kingdom of power not words (1 Corinthians 4:20)

 

·         God’s Plan to Advance the Kingdom:

1              Jesus Christ – the revelation of King of Kings, Lord of Lords

2              Individuals – recovery of man from loss of relationship with God, rulership under God

3              Church – present focus, personal and partial

4              World – Revelation 11:15

 

·         The kingdom within you (Luke 17:20-21).  The spiritual reality and dynamic available to everyone who receives Jesus Christ as Lord.

·         To receive Him is to receive His rule in your life and through your life and by your life (service).

·         Obedience of Jesus Christ – temple tax, Caesar (poor stewards of God’s authority).

·         Through our obedience the kingdom of God is expanded.

 

 

 

Humility

 

Matthew 18:1-4

 

·         In Luke 9 it says the disciples were arguing over who was the greatest.

·         Worldly thinking concerned about position.  Position = power.

 

·         Go to a party, social evening, work function:

Ž People position themselves as to who is important and who isn’t.

Ž Who’s a director, manager and who isn’t.

Ž Who drives the best car, lives in the best area determines the value of the person.

The biggest game on earth is he who has the most toys when he dies wins! WRONG!!

 

·         Jesus turned the game upside down.

·         Greatness in the kingdom is related to a thing called humility!

·         A completely radical concept!  So radical in fact the word wasn’t even recognised or used by the Greeks.  Concept despised as weak, inadequate, lacking dignity, worthlessness.

·         To emphasise His point, He took a child as an illustration:

-     Weakness

-     Insignificance

-     Unworthy of time or recognition

 

·         Unless you humble yourself like a child:

-     Entrance to the kingdom only through humility – simple trust and dependence.

-     No other way!  Unless you become born again – can not enter kingdom of God.

 

·         Whoever humbles themselves as a child Ž becomes great.

·         Greatness in the kingdom related to childlike humility!

 

 

So What is Humility?

 

·         Sometimes helpful to describe what it isn’t.  The opposite of humility is pride.

·         Pride is an addiction to self, arrogance, self willed, self important, self confident, self loving.

·         An overwhelming self confidence and inflated ego that results in:

Ž   An unwillingness to submit to God.

Ž   An insensitive disregard for others.

Ž   Associated with self will, stubbornness and unteachability.

 

·         Pride talks with a big ‘I’, small ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘they’.

 

 

Illustrations:

 

Mohammad Ali                          Seat belt

Governor Masc.                        Chicken

Survivor

 

·         Sounds tough on pride – so was Jesus, He hammered the Pharisees for their religious pride.

 

 

 

·         Pride manifests in a number of areas:

-     Personal talents/giftings (ironic – gifting, where did it come from?).

-     Physical strength/beauty.

-     Material wealth.

-     Spiritual:           Pharisees, fasting, praying, giving.

                              Works based.

-     Intellectual.

 

·         The book of Proverbs details seven things that God hates – top of the list is pride (Proverbs 6:16).

 

 

So What Does Humility Look Like?

 

·         Some think it is the beaten down doormat look!  WRONG

·         Often associate humility with humiliation and defeat – not biblical.

·         Humility is not walking around with your head low, a soft voice and a religious look on your face.

·         Humility is a personal quality that shows dependence on God and respect for others.

·         Humility is a freedom from arrogance and self exaltation that grows out of a recognition that all that we have and are comes from God.

·         Humility is not a belittling or putting yourself down.

·         It is a focus and priority of putting God and others first.

·         Humility talks with a small ‘I’ and small ‘me’.  Big ‘God’.  Big ‘us’ and ‘we’.

 

 

Illustrations:

 

Mike Pero Mortgages – under promise and over deliver – humility in the market place

General Norman Swartzkoff

Winston Churchill

 

·         Humility the key to entering the kingdom.

·         The key to greatness in the kingdom.

 

 

The Example of Jesus:

 

Philippians 2:3               Attitude of pride – selfish ambition, conceit.

Philippians 3b-4             Attitude of humility – lowliness of mind, considering others.

Philippians 5-9               The example of Jesus

 

·         Out of heaven:

-     Didn’t need to hold tight His equality to God.

-     Privileges, power of heaven.

·         Into earth – Middle East 2000 years ago.

·         Entered as a child – powerless and despised.

·         Working class family.

·         Learned and worked a trade.

·         Took the role of a servant.

·         Willing to die.

·         Willing to suffer the pain and indignity of a criminals death.

·         Soft and weak?  I don’t think so!  That’s humility in action.

 

Example of Life:                       ‘Good to great’ – Jim Collins

 

·         Examined 1400 plus companies to find some that turned from average (good) to stunningly great and stayed that way.

·         Out of hundreds they examined they only found 11 that made the grade.

·         Every one of the 11 lead by a ‘servant leader’.

·         Incredibly humble people – not weak, humble.

·         People far more concerned about their mission than themselves.

-     Sacrificially giving.  One gave 5.5m of his final payment to a charity for low income housing.

-     Giving credit for success to everyone but themselves.

-     Taking responsibility for every wrong turn themselves.

-     Never boastful or arrogant.

-     Avoiding public attention and praise.

 

·         These men had discovered part of the truth of the Proverb 22:4.

 

 

Practically Speaking:

 

How is humility demonstrated in life?

 

·         Obedience in basic principles ie, repentance, faith, baptism.

·         Dependence on God – prayer.

·         Putting God’s priorities first – fasting.

·         Getting wild about worship – 2 Samuel 6:14; 20-22.

·         Consider others – put them first.

·         Make your life open for others to speak into.

 

 

Blessings of humility

 

·         Riches, honour and life – Proverbs 22:4.