At this present moment, who is the mightier? Caesar with his legions or Christ with His cross? We know who will be the victor before long–Mohammed with his sharp scimitar or Christ with His Doctrine of Love. When all earthly forces are overthrown, Christ’s Kingdom will still stand. Nothing is mightier than meekness. And it is the meek who inherit the earth in that sense.–Charles Spurgeon
This week I got to teach some of the little kids at my church, and had the opportunity to talk to them about what it meant for Jesus to humble himself, to go from His glory upon the throne of Heaven, to becoming a man of low status and submitting to a life of a servant, and an ignominious death. As I did I thought about this sermon I would be recording, and it seems that the text that lesson was based on is incredibly fitting to it, so I want to first read this passage:
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.—Philippians 2:1-18
Now of course, I didn’t exactly exegete this whole text for the 4 year olds, but rather I concentrated on the main points and tried to make it clear to them in a way they could understand and talk about with their parents later. This passage, however, is such a deep and rich one, that it truly deserves to be read alongside Jesus’ words of promise to the meek, as the way by which one who desires to have such a title attached to himself can achieve such a thing.
Christ the servant King
The Son of God gave up all, for the sake of glorifying God, for the sake of salvation for His people, and for the sake of showing the way by which one can walk in peace with God. It is in this way that the Christian shows his love, and it is by our love that we are known–love for each other, and love for God. There cannot be love without this heart of service, without meekness setting the tone of life.
On a personal level, to be quite honest, it is one of those things that drives me to my knees. I know exactly how much my heart does not want to be meek, how self-seeking I can be, and how much love I do not show. My desire is to put self-seeking away, and that means daily battle with the flesh. Many days I feel so very distant from that goal, and yet the Lord has patiently and lovingly led me along each day. He has heard my prayers and shown me grace in new ways every day. That, I think, is something every Christian can praise His name for daily.
Meekness, real humility, is something that a man on his own cannot fully appreciate. It is only in the great shadow of the throne of God that it truly reaches its greatest meaning. It is therefore incumbent upon all of us as Christians, to truly represent that attitude. It is humble, first and foremost, to go to God and wait upon Him in our greatest and least needs. It is humble to serve others with a loving heart, not expecting payment but wanting to benefit them. And it is humble to confess your sins, before God and before your brothers and sisters, and let them die of exposure nailed to the cross.
That doesn’t mean, of course, that every Sunday you need to get up before the pastor speaks with a laundry list of offenses. But as Christians, I believe that one of the deadliest things we can engage in is allowing any sin to take even the smallest root and be hidden away from anybody who can truly speak truth into our lives. God certainly knows, and He will not be mocked. Certainly we are seeing the results of God upending hidden sin, throughout the world and throughout the church, right now.
We need to be humble before God with our sinfulness, meek and gracious to others as servants, and yet also trusting to God for provision and for truth. I recently encountered a quote from one of John Piper’s books that has stuck with me hard: “Oh how rare are the pastors who speak with a tender heart and have a theological backbone of steel.” To be meek is not to be a doormat, it isn’t to be halfhearted or to refuse to engage in discussion. Too often, however, true patience, tenderness, and love seem to be absent by those who claim the name of Christ.
I will close with greetings to my brothers visiting my area for the SBC 2018 convention. Hard things have come to light and I implore you to heed the words of Dr. Al Mohler as you get ready to come together. Do not let Baptist politics or fear of losing face keep you from seeking after the Lord in obedience. Do not let a fear of liberalism infiltrating keep you from exposing sin to the light, and likewise, do not fall for the claim that because sin has been exposed, the antidote to it is biblical compromise. Heed the words of the apostle Paul:
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.–Romans 12:9-21