Tag Archives: humility

Impact session 11: Russell Hohneck – The highway of humility

If you’ll forgive the incomplete sentences, these are my hastily scribbled notes from the Impact conference session 11 by Russell Hohneck. As always with notes, an exactly accurate representation of the sermon isn’t always possible, so this may not summarise his entire message perfectly. I think the full sermons will be available eventually from Riverbend Bible where the conference was held – would have to check back on that.

(UPDATE: Download the messages from the conference here: Impact 2010 messages)

– Cheryl

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Subject: Philippians 2:5-11

[5] Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, [6] who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, [7] but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. [8] And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. [9] Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, [10] so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, [11] and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

1. When we’re out in the world like dispirins in a glass of water, we get a bit theologically fuzzy around the edges – this conference has been great for hardening them again.
1.1. (Last night, I said that you don’t get credit for this conference. I take that back – because Jesus already gave you an A!) God’s taken all of our fail marks and put them on Jesus, and taken his pass mark and put it on all of us. And now the assignment is to live out what we’ve been made.
1.2. The author describes other sins beside sexual: matters of unity (ch1), of considering others before ourselves (ch2), and of specific people arguing in the church (ch4).
1.3. They are not “gross sins,” but they are still sinful.
1.4. Jesus steps down to the deepest depths of hell to cover even the smallest sins.
1.5. Paul wanted to attain (3:10) the actual resurrection body – he wanted to know Jesus so much that he wanted no sin.
1.6. An overview: Paul writes of the highway of humility. It’s the low way, but it leads to glory – how to walk with one another. This overview unfolds into everywhere in Scripture to give us an understanding of holiness.

2. Jesus stepped down from glory
2.1.1. Christ eternally existed in the form of God (form – morphe) – not external but the inner and essential nature of the being, ie, Christ’s preincarnate state, which was essentially God.
2.1.2. This is a statement about the divine nature of Christ. God exists in Christ. Christ is therefore God in the flesh.
2.2.1. However, he did not regard equality with God somethign to be held close.
2.2.2. Compare how Satan viewed the Godhead as a prize to be grasped and taken. In contrast, divinity already belonged to Jesus in the first place. In Satan there was no humility, but Jesus in his humility was willing to let it go.
2.3. Willing to step down that we might step up.
2.3.1 How? We should put aside security in the bank account, security in friends, security in power… Anything we hold higher than Christ, we should let go, and be humble.

3. He stepped into lowliness
3.1. He emptied himself of his existence in a manner-equal-to-God. He didn’t give up his divinity, but gave up his right to express himself in glory. He clothed himself in humanity.
3.2. Took on the form of a bond-slave. He didn’t take on a mask but had the inner nature of the bond-servant. No discrepancy between his external actions and internal heart attitudes.
3.3. “and being made in the likeness of man” – He takes on the outward appearance of man. Unesteemed.
3.4. Ps 22:6-8 – [iʃ] – man, meaning noble man. “I am not a [man]” – I am not a noble man. Despite that he is actually the highest of men, he becomes the lowest and worst of men. Christ was shamed that we might not be.
3.5. Ps 69:9

4. He stepped into death – the lowest death.
4.1. He suffered at the hand of men.
4.1.1. There is no greater pain we can face that Christ has not faced.
4.1.2. Accursed of God – sorrow upon sorrow. He was separated from God, on our behalf.
4.1.3. Ps 22 – “poured out like water” – this is referring to the Saviour.
4.2. He also suffered from the hordes of hell. We know this because Satan and his minions have a continuing & eternal hatred for God.
4.2.1. At Jesus’ crucifixion, his lowest point, even lower than his temptation in the desert, even more would he have been surrounded by all demonic powers.
4.2.2. Jesus did not summon angels to his aid.
4.2.3. In the upper room: “Where I am going, you cannot come”
4.3. He suffers at the hand of God
4.3.1. His father forsook him. Martin Luther exclaimed, “God has forsaken God!” Left him destitute in his hour of extreme need, that we might never be failed by God.
4.3.2. Because of this, He will never leave you nor forsake you.
4.3.3. Jesus became sin & thus had to be separated from God. He is the sin-bearer.

5. For this reason, God highly exalted him.
5.1. “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”


syndicated from www.chongsworship.com

Broken to be made holy

This morning I woke up freshly irritated by a couple of sins I’d already committed in the first few seconds of consciousness. As God would have it, this occurred around 4:00 am. So, I had at least two hours before dawn, to stew on my/others’ shortcomings, which eventually boiled into those of the last few weeks as well, whether real or suspected. By the time William woke up, I was thoroughly resentful, belligerent, helpless and depressed, and apparently obsessed about all the ignorant, frustrating or hurtful behaviours of others and myself. I knew that this was a bad sign, and I knew that I had to repent and trust in Christ – but could not even stop thinking about all that weight of sin, could not even repent.

Although I couldn’t explain to him exactly what the problem was, William prayed with me anyway before he left for work. An hour or so later, after being roundly humbled, de-hysterics-ised and convicted by the first third of Proverbs – 2:3-5 “yes, if you call out for insight … then you will understand the fear of the LORD…”, 8:4 “O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense”, 10:19 “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent” – I managed to get on with the rest of my day, remembering that faith is for things you haven’t actually seen yet.

Later on in the day, my friend Dawn (GraceVisions) shared this excerpt from J. C. Philpot, “Spiritual Times and Seasons” (1841) on her dA journal:

As pride rises, it must be broken down.

As self-righteousness starts up, it must be brought low.

As the wisdom of the creature exalts itself against the wisdom of God, it must be laid prostrate.

The way in which the Spirit of God works is to lay the creature low, by bringing it into nothingness, and crushing it into self-abasement and self-loathing, so as to press out of it everything on which the creature can depend.

Like a surgeon, who will run his lancet into the abscess, and let out the gory matter, in order to effect a thorough cure; so the Spirit of the Lord thrusting His sharp sword into the heart, lets out the inward corruption, and never heals the wound until He has thoroughly probed it.

And when He has laid bare the heart, He heals it by pouring in the balmy blood of Jesus, as that which, by its application, cleanses from all sin.

In the common absence of really being confronted with my sin, I’ve often admired the spiritual greats and their humility and submission to His work in their lives, as with the passage Dawn shared with me. However, admiration of those who point to God is not actually the process of refining. For that, I need the Physician Himself.

Though only briefly, I thought I came to such a place this morning, when it felt like my sin was so great that I did not even have access to the throne. It was only later that I started to realise how deadly to faith is a skeptical or critical perspective on life, because it is rooted in pride – where I (subconsciously) must be in control, or bridge my salvation, or be able to somehow deserve this grace … and down the slippery slope it goes.

No, instead I must recall that the clay does not mold the jar, the rock does not sculpt the statue. Comfort comes only when we rest in God, knowing that ‘He who began a good work in [us] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.’

And we must praise Him, for His Gospel is sure, and not mourn, for the victory is already won.

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– Cheryl

On John Piper’s sabbatical

John Piper

John Piper, preaching pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN, announced his upcoming sabbatical from all public commitments and explains why:

“Noël [John’s wife] and I are rock solid in our commitment to each other, and there is no whiff of unfaithfulness on either side. But, as I told the elders, “rock solid” is not always an emotionally satisfying metaphor, especially to a woman. A rock is not the best image of a woman’s tender companion. In other words, the precious garden of my home needs tending. I want to say to Noël that she is precious to me in a way that, at this point in our 41-year pilgrimage, can be said best by stepping back for a season from virtually all public commitments.”

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As a naïve husband on the opposite end of the age and ministry spectrum, I need to take note. John is humble in saying that even 40 years into their marriage, there is work to be done, and there are needs to be tended to. That is something I can only glean from older, wiser followers of Christ.

Who are we to haughtily assume we won’t be drawn to similar challenges in a later season of our marriage?

Who am I to brazenly throw around platitudes like “our honeymoon doesn’t have to end”, as if by being just over a month into our marriage we’re at an elevated level of sageness? It is foolishness for me to think so.

Who am I to be proud of having a marriage I don’t deserve?

For those who care for us, please hold us to account on this issue. Don’t let us get carried away in our married pride.

That’s right, knock us off our prideful perches and tell us how to be more humble, more Christ-exalting.

And most of all, pray for us, that we would continue to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matt 6:33).

– William

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