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Worship Series: The Promise
Worship Theme: The Humility of Humanity
Lesson & Sermon Text: Micah 5:1-4 (NIV)
Music: CW 23 Oh, Come, Oh, Come, Emmanuel, Change My Heart, O God, Broken Beautiful, Confession of Faith, CW 3 Lift Up Your Heads, You Mighty Gates (in worship folder)
Kindergarten: The Birth of Jesus and Away in a Manger
Message Notes & Growth Group Questions
Watch the livestream beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday. After the livestream is finished, the video will be available to watch at any time.
Message: The Humility of Humanity
Pastor Jon Enter
Have you ever been humbled by a test? I’m sure all of us, at one time or twenty, have taken a test and walked out the classroom thinking, “I nailed that one! I aced it! Three cheers for my brain! I’m pretty much a genius!” And then, when we got our test back, we suddenly didn’t feel like cheering anymore. We were humbled by our bad grade, maybe even humiliated.
Well, today’s your chance to totally redeem yourself! Today’s your chance to show off your brain waves, to flex your intellectual muscles! Get ready; get set for today’s pop quiz! How long did the Hundred Years War last? Everyone answer together... Oh, I’m sorry. 100 years is incorrect! The answer is 116 years. Which country makes Panama hats? Oh, I’m sorry again. Panama is wrong. The correct answer is Ecuador. Want to try again? Suddenly, you are a bit shy to answer. Why’s that? In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution? Did you say October? Oh, so sorry. Not correct. The actually answer is November. Final question. What was King George IV’s first name? Sorry, George junior, junior, junior, junior is incorrect. Well, obviously, King George IV’s first name was Albert. Doesn’t everyone know that? Ah, yes...aren’t you glad you’re out of school?! After that test, are you feeling proud or feeling humbled? Tests often times can be humiliating.
Most schools are on Christmas break right now and most of you are “dun gree-tuatud” with school, you are not done being tested. Your life is one constant test. Your life is filled with pop quizzes; small decisions you have to make that can have big consequences when you make the wrong choice. Your life is packed with large exams, large life choices, that you have been studying for years to get right. How have you done with the pop quizzes and big tests of life? Did you ace every test life threw your way? Or have you failed a few along the way?
If you’re like me, and I’m quite certain you are, there are a few life tests you’ve failed that haunt you. Now, I’m not talking tests in school. I’m talking about those times when you made rash, spiritually dumb life decisions. The ones where the mere thought of what you did causes you to shutter in humiliation. How many times have you spiritually failed? Do you feel like you’re failing right now?
Does that sound too harsh? Does it sting a little bit to hear that we fail at life? I’m not saying it. You are. When you are in that pit of despair, angry at yourself over falling flat-faced into sin again and again and again, you feel like a spiritual failure. God’s Word is also calling you and me a failure. Do you know what filthy name God calls us being frustrated with our failures?
The degrading name God calls us is...Sheep!
“Sheep? Really, Pastor Jon? That doesn’t sound too bad. I’ve been called much, much worse.” We’d think if God wanted to compare the sinful, selfish human race to an animal, he wouldn’t pick a cute, cuddly little sheep. But being a called a sheep isn’t very flattering. Don’t be duped into thinking of sheep as the fluffy fur balls that gently jump through our minds drifting us off to sleep. Wake up, people! God calls us sheep and he didn’t mean it as a compliment. “For you were like sheep going astray.”
Sheep cannot clean themselves. Some animals such as a cat can clean themselves, but not sheep. Likewise, we are unable to clean ourselves from the filthiness of our sins.
Sheep cannot defend themselves from predators. Many animals have a defense system, such as skunks, porcupines and blowfish, but sheep do not. We have no ability to defend ourselves from the predator, the devil.
Sheep cannot find food and water for themselves. Sheep depend upon their shepherd to lead them to water and green pastures, as stated in Psalm 23. We depend upon the Lord for our spiritual food and water.
Sheep easily get lost. Sheep have no sense of direction and cannot find themselves back along a route they just walked. Some animals have this sense. If you feed a crocodile at 3pm, it will come back to that same spot at 3pm the next day. Sheep do not. When we fail in life and fall into sin, we get ourselves so spiritually backwards, we don’t know how to get out.
Sheep, when they fall and land on their backs, can’t turn themselves over. A sheep’s back is flat and they get stuck upside down. Again, when we fall into sin, we can’t pick ourselves back up again. We need help!
Sheep are not intelligent. As believers, neither are we when it comes to the things of God. We mess up. We sin. And we vow, oh how positive we are, that we will never do such a stupid, spiritually dumb sin again. And what happens? We sin the very same sin again!
Does it make sense now why God calls us sheep? We fit the description very well. After hearing that daunting descriptions about sheep, you might wonder how any sheep survive. Many don’t. Many, many sheep die because they endanger themselves to predators, starvation, dehydration and situations that simply get them killed. The sheep that survive are those who are loved, protected and cared for by a shepherd.
No wonder why God calls us sheep. Not only do we fit the description of wayward sheep who fail in life but Jesus fits the description of a shepherd. Jesus protects us, provides for us and prospers us! Jesus saves us! And Jesus, our Good Shepherd, rescued us in a uniquely fascinating way. In order to free us sheep from the peril we place ourselves in, Jesus became a sheep like us!
Hundreds of years before Christmas, Jesus the Good Shepherd was prophesied. “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD.” (Micah 5:2,4) Jesus came to live among the sheep.
Many modern-day scientists have tried to do a similar same thing. Jane Goodall comes to mind. Dr. Goodall wanted to study and protect the primate (monkey) community. So she abandoned human interaction and lived with the chimpanzees of Tanzania for 45 years! She was accepted into the chimpanzee community as one of their own.
Jane Goodall knew the best way to study and protect the chimpanzees was to live, think and act like a chimp. With all of the ground breaking research that she did, there are still numerous unanswered questions about chimpanzees because Jane Goodall was still a human being. She could only observe and guess at what the chimps were doing and thinking.
Jesus doesn’t have to guess at what you are doing and thinking, he knows. Christ knows for two very important reasons. First of all, Christ knows because he is God Almighty. As Psalm 139:1-3 beautifully reassures us, “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.” Christ, your Good Shepherd, knows exactly what you need when you need it because he knows your thoughts, your emotions, your pains.
And Christ knows the tests you face because he became fully human. Jane Goodall, try as she did, could not become a chimpanzee. Jesus became a “sheep”. Jesus became a human. Jesus experienced firsthand the humility of humanity. He gave up heaven to live here among us!
We need to explore the humility of Jesus’ humanity further to see what our God and Savior was willing to do for you! Jesus gave up heaven for you. Think about that. Heaven! One moment Jesus is basking in the non-stop angelic chorus, reigning supreme in paradise and the next moment he is stuck within the confines of his mother Mary’s womb. And nine months later, birth! Earth in a way he never saw it before. As a baby. As a human. As a “sheep”. How humiliating to go from heaven, which is described as having streets of gold and special gems so rare we can’t pronounce their names, to being born in a barn, placed in a dirty feeding trough and lying in his own poop.
I don’t mean to be gross but that is what Jesus was willing to give up, to endure so that you can be brought to heaven and so that you don’t have to endure hell. Jesus passed on heaven and took on the humility of humanity.
What about Jesus the toddler years? Ever imagine your powerful Lord who calmed the raging seas and healed the sick and brought back the dead learning to walk and falling over? Learning to talk and spewing forth gibberish? The humility of humanity to go from heaven to earth!
What about Jesus the teenage years? Ever thought about Jesus struggling with acne? I’m certain it happened—especially living thousands of years ago before Clearasil, Proactiv and a hundred other face wash products. Do you think Jesus had straight teeth? Good looks? There is a passage in Isaiah that says there was nothing about Jesus to draw people to him. More than likely, Jesus was an average looking man, maybe even a bit unattractive? Once again, the humility of humanity. Jesus gave everything up, EVERYTHING, so that you would be free.
And Jesus took on all the weaknesses, the struggles, the humility of the human flesh not just to understand what we are going through as humans but in order to live a perfect life under the same circumstances and to die the death we deserve for our sins to save us! “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death” (Hebrews 2:14 NLT). Jesus broke the power of the devil by allowing his human flesh to be sacrificed on the cross.
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit saw the human race struggling with sin. The holy Triune God saw us failing at following his commands, failing at life. God did something about it. Jesus was sent to this earth to destroy the power of sin, death and the devil—forever! Jesus was sent into the game of life to win the victory for us!
If you have ever coached t-ball, you know it is both a rewarding and sometimes a frustrating job! It doesn’t matter how often or even how well you teach the children the basics of the game, they just don’t do it! Almost every t-ball coach will tell you they have coached games when their team was just getting killed out there on the field and they wished they could put on a uniform and knock the ball out of the park to win the game for the kids.
That’s what Jesus did for us! It doesn’t matter how often God reminds us of his commands for us in our lives, we still slip into sin. And we are getting spiritually pummeled by the devil. That is why Jesus put on the uniform of the human flesh, stepped onto the earth, took the cross as his bat and knocked the devil OUTTA HERE! Out of our lives! For good! Forever! Amen.