1941: Pearl Harbor anniversary this past week
*These people have several things in common…from the 1940s
*Pictures of these people…what do they have in common?
- Each was the “most” something in their decade
- Each is gone, likely few people think about them on any given day…most people in the world today would not recognize the pictures of these who were the “most” in their day.
-Most money…richest man in the world: Henry Ford
-Most popular female entertainer…Judy Garland
-Most popular entertainer in the world: Bing Crosby (sold 1 billion records in the 20th century)…also most admired man alive. In 1948 half of the hours allocated to recorded music on the radio was Bing…every other song.
-Most powerful: President Roosevelt (Franklin)
Here are the “most” from 2016…
-Most money: Bill Gates
-Most popular entertainer (man or woman) by money earned: Taylor Swift
-Most power: President Obama
*What do they have in common besides being the current “most”?
- They will someday not be the most.
- The day will likely come when no one on the planet will recognize them or think a thought about them.
*My point is not that these people are, or were bad because of their fame and success.
*My point is that human “mostness” is a historical “blink”
*The world’s “most” anything have been “blinks” and then they are gone, forgotten.
*The fact that from the “most” to the “least” we are all “blinks” should encourage us to think about ourselves, others, and God in very specific ways.
*This morning we will use two words that help describe how we are to think.
*Ourselves & others: Humility
*Read Ps 8
*Psa. 8:1, 8:9 This Psalm is “book ended” with the “Majesty of the Lord’s name.”
*What is majesty? Greatness. Fame. Mostness. “His or her Majesty” is singular…they are the “most” in their country.
*You can’t have more than the “most”. He is the “most” nobody is more.
*God is the most over everything…he is “majestic”
*Not for a decade or a century or a millennia…not for North America, or Africa…but from eternity past to eternity future…for the entire universe…he is most majestic
Rev. 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Rev. 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
*Alpha is first letter of Greek alphabet, Omega is the last.
*Creative way of saying that his majesty (mostness) is without beginning and without end…he will not lose his place, he will not be superseded, dethroned, or defamed.
*To “defame” is to damage the good reputation of someone.
*The prefix “de” means to remove, take away…de-fame…remove fame
*Bill Cosby…on Father’s day 2014…2 years ago, topped the list of the most respected Fathers in America.
*Two years later, his mostness is completely gone…except he may be one of the most reviled, or disrespected celebrities.
*But even that “mostness” is a blink…someone else will take his place there too as the most reviled…because he will be forgotten.
*God however will never be “defamed”…though many try.
*No one can “de” (remove) his fame…his mostness.
*In 2009 the formerly “most famous” atheist…Chris Hitchens wrote “God is not great: How religion poisons everything.”
*A ridiculous premise and conclusion…completely out of touch with reality.
*By the way…about that…in all branches of the military there are pillars of resiliency…keys to healthy human life.
*All branches include spirituality in their resiliency training…they have tried to work around it…but there is no model for human total health without the spiritual pillar.
*Air Force: (CAF) Physical, Relational, Mental, Spiritual pillars.
*Chief of chaplains of the AF said recently…Spirituality is inherently “religious” (some think you can separate them)
*Hitchens claimed religion poisons everything…yet our military, an overtly secular organization (and rightly so…I don’t want them to try to be a religious organization…that is what ISIS is)…understands that there is no model for total human health that does not include “spirituality”…religion.
*His glory is set above the heavens…it is a reality, not a human invention.
*We can try to breath water…but we will drown…we are not fish…never have been fish
*We can try to defame God…cut him down to size… refuse to live as if we are anything other than religious beings…but we die (like Hitchens) and God lives…and his majesty remains.
*We are made by God…so by definition…we are religious beings…made to worship, to serve him.
*To attempt to live otherwise is to try and operate outside our design specifications…trying to breath water.
*V 2…those who attempt to defame God are silenced by the voices of children.
*What a powerful word picture…the loud, proud opponents of God…silenced by the sounds of children.
*Chris Hitchens…argumentative, proud, loud man…silenced.
*Stalin…histories greatest destroyer of human lives…to strip humanity of religion…and yet he failed…his grave once a shrine, now desecrated and despised.
*He is gone, powerless, voiceless.
*All loud, proud declarations of those who defame God will end…they will be unsuccessful in undermining the majesty of God…in fact their voices are overcome by children…they will be silenced by babies.
*Word “silence” means to “put to end” they are “stopped” by the songs of children…even the happy gurgling of babies.
*When you hear a child pray, or hear them sing (Christmas eve) Jesus loves me…you are hearing more wisdom…wisdom that is eternal… than what comes from the mouths of the “most proud, loud” educated, powerful unbelievers in the world.
*The child…weak, small, and powerless…is in their simple way…declaring reality.
*With their childlike faith they are silencing those who try to defame God…they are demonstrating the Majesty, the “mostness” of God.
*Truth does not depend on our ability to defend it.
*No child could stand up in an argument to Hitchens…but the child singing “Jesus loves me.” Wins in the end.
*Someone can successfully “prove a lie” and disprove the truth…but in the end…Reality always wins.
*The child singing “Jesus loves me”…is making a declaration of ultimate reality that is profound and cannot be surpassed.
3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?
*Compared to God, the heavens are tiny, they are the work of his “fingers”
*The billions of stars in billion of galaxies…are his arts and crafts…finger paints.
*Compared to us…they are mind-boggling in their vastness…we are tiny.
*I love this picture…(called “pillars of creation) the pillar to the left of this “star factory” is about four light-years in length.
*Traveling 186,000 miles per second (current speed of light) you could get to the sun in 8 seconds.
*It would take you four years to travel the length of this pillar.
*When we compare ourselves to the stars…we are nothing…less than specks on a speck.
*Then when we compare God to the stars…they are nothing…works of his fingers.
*So…with those comparisons in mind…who we that God would be mindful of us “consider, remember” us.
*How could he even notice we are here…let alone “care” for us.
*He is really, really smart…I could see how he would know that these microscopic specks crawling around on a little blue speck circling one of a hundred billon suns in the Milky Way…I could see how he would know we are here.
*But “care for us”…who are we that he would care?
*The word for man here is a word that emphasizes our mortality, or frailty…our lack of “mostness”
5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: 7 all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.
*Pay attention to what is in these verses.
*All human “glory” “significance” is derived…given, bestowed…contingent on God’s majesty.
-You made him a littler lower
-You crown him
-You made him ruler
-You put everything under his feet.
*These are all declarations of stewardship…God owns all “mostness”…all that we are is derived from him.
*He makes, crowns, gives…enables us to live and enjoy some of his majestic life.
*Even those who do not believe in him…while they live…enjoy some of his bestowed significance…they are humans, made in his image…and their lives are possible because of him
*What does it mean we are made a “little lower than heavenly beings?”
*The word is Elohim…a word used for God…or spiritual beings.
*Most likely it is poetic way of saying…we are earthbound…as humans we are limited.
*We are lower than God, lower for now than the angels…but we are not just the stuff of earth…we have been endowed by God with eternal opportunity.
*But our potential for this “greatness”…is not inherent in us, it is derived from him.
*Our meaning is not “earth bound”.
*We should not attempt to find meaning from the fame we can obtain.
*Or from the stuff we can mine from this physical planet for our use and pleasure…our meaning is in him and from him.
*We are far less than God…but we are given stewardship here by God…the Lord has made us “Lords” over creation…not to abuse it, but to be stewards of it.
*As I said, the Psalm ends as it begins…with the “mostness” of God.
9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
*This Psalm points to the Majesty of God and the humility of men.
*It also points to the one who while remaining the majestic God became a humble man.
*I said two words are important: Humility and Majesty.
*In Christ Jesus those words come together…He humbled himself, he remains the Majestic one.
*Two passages from Hebrews: Heb 1,2, and Phil. 2…then application.
Heb. 1: 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
- When we see Jesus, we see who God is…Majestic
- This same Jesus paid for our sins…humbled himself.
- He became superior to angels.
*Remember Ps 8…we are made a little lower than angels.
*Jesus has eternally been superior to angels…
*But here it is referring to his becoming a man…dying to put away our sins and thus being deserving of the highest honor.
*His sacrifice declared in a new way his superior majesty.
*Superior is a favorite word of the author of Hebrews…he uses it 13 times…sometimes translated “better”
*The theme of the book of Hebrews is that Jesus is better…better than who or what?
*Exactly…he is better than all that have gone before…better than sacrifices, holy days, all attempts to get to God. Better than prophets and angels.
*He is just better…the most majestic.
*Chapter 2…Ps 8 is directly quoted…so we can see that Ps 8 both applies to us and pointed to Jesus.
Heb 2:6 But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 7 You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor 8 and put everything under his feet.” In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him.
*So the author of Hebrews quotes Ps 8 but shows us that our dominion is partial now.
“Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him.”
*So Psalms 8 was pointing to the future in terms of completion of who we will be as God’s people.
*This life is full of frustrations…we are the dominate species on the planet…however.
*Microscopic life forms can kill us…we are in constant warfare with disease.
*We are vulnerable to wind, water, fire, drought.
*So we see, “Yet at present we do not see everything subject to us”
*Man has been given a great stewardship…and we bear God’s image…but we are not as yet what we will be.
*We have been giving stewardship…we bear his image…but we are humble beings…we are not majestic.
*However…there is one man…who was and is eternally majestic, and who took on our humble status.
*We see from Hebrews that Ps 8 was pointing forward to Jesus.
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
*He was made a little lower than angels…meaning he genuinely became one of us.
*In order to lay down his life for us.
*Let’s go to Phil. 2 and then make application.
*I’m going to paraphrase and summarize part of this chapter.
- Paul begins with: If you are experiencing the reality of salvation in Christ…then show it by your life: your love, your ability to get along, your lack of selfish ambition, the presence of your humility.
*So your relationships with others ought to reveal that you have relationship with Jesus.
- Your attitude (fundamental approach to others) should be like that of Jesus…”Who”
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!”
*What is the very nature of a servant he took on? Human likeness.
*A description of our essential nature is “servant”…humble describes us.
*Here’s the outcome of his attitude (approach).
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, that every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
*Jesus: humbled himself…God exalted him to “mostness”…name above every name.
- Paul lays the theological foundation but then gets practical…in lieu of all this…here’s what you must do
*”Go do endless Bible Study and speculation on theological minutia.”
*Continue to work out (not for) your salvation.
*It is God who is at work in you for his good purpose…what is that good purpose?
Phil. 2:14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe
*Okay…he starts with grand, cosmic theology and works his way to…do what you do…putting others interests first…without complaining or arguing.
*This is what God is doing in you…this is his work in you, this is his purpose for you.
*Love others, serve others…do it with the heart and attitude of Jesus…and of course through the power of God’s spirit.
*But he doesn’t stop there…he gives some living examples of how this is fleshed out. Then he gives some examples of what this looks like
- Personal testimony: Paul…”I am being poured out like a drink offering”
- Timothy: “Hey, I am hoping to send Timothy to you…because he lives this kind of lifestyle…he takes a genuine interest in your welfare…while most are thinking only about their own.”
- Epaphroditus: “I’m also going to send our friend Epaphroditus to you…he has been serving me…I’m going to ask him to come serve you.”
*Get this…”He is distressed because you heard he was ill.”
*Because he was ill? No because they heard he was ill.
*He was worried about them…because they were worried about him.
*We don’t know the details…but he almost died because he was risking his life to help them.
*Then he heard they thought he was dead…so he is very concerned with them feeling guilty…because his brush with death was somehow tied to serving their needs.
*These are the examples he gives them…three people, putting the interests of others ahead of themselves.
*Notice he doesn’t mention how many verses they have memorized, how much they gave or know…how charismatic their personalities are.
*He gives us three examples…what do they have in common?…they were not the most famous, most rich, most powerful…they were most like Jesus in the fact that they were living self-sacrificial lives for others.
- Jesus is majestic…life is about him. The more we live this way, the more we are aligning with that is real…reality always wins.
- How we do this (make life about Jesus) is really pretty simple, and enormously difficult.
*We put the interests of others first…just as he did.
*Phil 2:21 For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.
*This is a figure of speech (everyone)…because he says Timothy is an anamoly…he is different.
*But notice what this verse implies…looking out for the interests of Jesus Christ is looking out for the interests of others.
- Serving Jesus, Loving Jesus is serving others, loving others.
SERVE AND LOVE
*Families split, friends split, churches split, nations split..over stupid things…self-serving things
*I know there are people you can’t get along with…Paul acknowledges that in Romans.
*Just be sure you are not that person.
*Jesus said Mark 10 “I didn’t come to be served but to serve and give my life as a ransom.”
*Spiritual maturity is not the amount of theological knowledge you have accumulated…my phone has memorized many versions of the Bible and can quote them verbatium…
*My phone is not spiritually mature.
*The person who only knows “Jesus love me this I know for the Bible tells me so” and then consistently (not perfectly) lives “I will love others because I know Jesus loves me.”
*That is a spiritually mature person…that is the direction we are to head with our lives.
*It always begins and ends with loving the person God has put in front of you to love right now.
*People have been confused at times over how to plug in at the church, how to make a difference here…or any church for that matter.
*Where is the secret door? Where is the hallway to being included in the ministry?
*Love God, love people…love God by loving people.
*Get to know people, be known by people…love, serve, put their interests ahead of yours.
*You will grow in faith, impact…this is it…it is really that simple and that difficult.
*It will feel normal, hard, not feel special or spiritual.
*It will be disappointing at times, people might rip you off, might not get any atta-boys or girls.
*But you will be living life as it was designed to be lived.
*Your essence is a servant…Jesus took on human form…the form of a servant…its what you were made to be…its how humans are designed…its water for a fish, air for a bird…service and love is how we are designed to operate.
*Its also why so many find happiness so elusive.
*They seek a form of Majesty…to be the “most” in their only little circle.
*Yet the Majestic one…Jesus…who was most…choose humility.
*In his choice of humility…his majesty was revealed even more.
*Be careful…as you read of, watch, are impressed by or intimidated by the “blink of an eye” muchness in others or in ourselves…we can get stupid very quickly.
*We can begin to believe…that we must make ourselves happy by serving our own needs.
*This doesn’t work…never has worked…its trying to breath water…you nature is humility…not majesty.
*When we make “much” of the one who actually is eternally majestic…then we will look around and see who he wants us to love and serve.
*We can move towards his Joy….Jesus, for the joy set before endured the cross.
*I don’t know exactly what it will look like for you..yet, I do know exactly what it will look like for you…serve, lay down your life for others.
*Refuse to be self-serving…when you are…mess up, fess up, move on.
*Don’t wallow in it…get back out there are love people.
*Do it for the joy set before you…and by the grace set in you through the gospel.