Passage: Luke 14:1–14:14
†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Luke 14:1-14
Date: August 28th, 2016; Pentecost 15
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
In our Gospel lesson for this morning Jesus warns, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled” (Luke 14:11).
This really gets to the heart of our problem as fallen and sinful human beings.
This problem was part of the original sin.
The serpent tempted Eve with the highest exaltation when he told her, “You will become like God” (Gen 3:5).
As good as Adam and Eve had it in the Garden of Eden, they wanted more.
They took the fruit and ate it and then all hell broke loose.
No longer did they walk with God, they ran from him. They hid in shame.
Once they knew how to speak only words of truth to God; now they spoke lies and deception.
This original sin, inspired by a desire to exalt self, broke everything.
It broke their relationship with God.
It broke their relationship with the world around them.
It broke their relationship with each other.
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled” (Luke 14:11).
Nothing has changed. We still desire to exalt ourselves today.
We like it when we get the attention - the good grades, the promotion at work, the nice clothes, the new car, the new house. Check me out!
It’s hard not to exalt ourselves in this world that thrives on the survival of the fittest.
To be humble is viewed as weakness. Be strong. Get yours. Don't worry about anyone else but yourself.
But even for those who fight against this, there is still the danger of exalting yourself.
Instead of being exalted in your accomplishments and stuff, you become proud of your humility.
You brag, “I’m a very humble person.” You take pride in the fact that you aren't like the rest of those egotistical people out there.
In one way or another, it is such a temptation to exalt ourselves before others.
But even more dangerous is the temptation to exalt ourselves before God.
Look at me God! Look at how I open doors for people, at how I volunteer my time, look how I give to the poor.
Look at how regularly I go to church, at all the money I give, at all the work I do for the congregation.
We don't need his grace, mercy, and forgiveness. We have earned our salvation.
It almost seems to be our default to exalt ourselves before God.
That’s why we need to hear God’s Word over and over - so that we may know the truth of the matter.
We read in Romans chapter 3,“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
We read in Galatians chapter 3, “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse” (Galatians 3:10).
We read in Galatians chapter 5, “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace” (Galatians 5:4).
Some honest reflection helps us to see how true this is.
Sure, maybe we come to church regularly and give money and time – but do we always keep God first in our lives? Is he always the centre of our lives during the rest of the week?
Sure, maybe we are charitable, but have we done everything we can? There are still a lot of people in the world who go without.
What about those who have not heard about Christ our Saviour? Have we always confessed our faith when we have the opportunity? Have we given until it hurts so that God’s work can be done on earth?
Do we always say nice things about people and build them up? Or do we sometimes gossip and say hurtful things?
Examining our lives in the light of God’s Law will hopefully leave us humbled. It should.
But Jesus doesn’t just leave us there.
In addition to his warning - he gives us his promise. There’s a flip side.
Jesus warns, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled.”
But he then promises, “…and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Humbled by God’s Law, all we can do is repent and confess our sins.
All we can do is cry out to God for his mercy.
All we can do is pray that our hearts and minds be turned away from sin that we may walk in righteousness
Our sin wreaks havoc in our lives and in the lives of others. Our sin humbles us. It kills us.
But Christ Jesus exalts us.
He accomplished this for us not with his power and might, but through his ultimate humbleness.
Just think about that.
God, who created everything, controls everything, has power over everything - took on our flesh to save us.
He allowed himself to be disrespected, mocked, tortured, and finally be put to death by his enemies to set us free from our sin and its consequences.
God humbled himself to save you.
When Natalie and I lived in Edmonton we would try our best to get to one Oilers game a year.
The tickets that we could afford had us seated in in the rafters where the players looked like ants!
A moving company sponsored what they called “the move of the game”.
Two fans would randomly be selected to move from the nosebleed section down to the main level where they sat on leather recliners to watch the rest of the game.
At one of the games we attended, the people sitting right in front of us were chosen.
An usher approached them and said, “Come with me.”
The couple, filled with joy, made their way down to watch the rest of the game in comfort and style.
As we cling to Christ in faith, God graciously moves us from our sin and death and seats us in his heavenly kingdom.
He says, “Come with me. Come to the font and be washed in the baptismal waters and be joined with me.”
“Come receive the forgiveness of your sins and be reconciled with me and with one another.”
“Come hear my Word through which the Holy Spirit creates in you a clean heart.”
“Come eat and drink at my table for the forgiveness of your sins and the strengthening of your faith.”
Jesus has exalted you and says, “Come and take your seat at the heavenly banquet and live eternally in my kingdom.” Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.