Luke Series #8

“Take A Seat” - Luke 14:7-11

I.        INTRODUCTION

A.        Humility

1.   Story of Robert E. Lee

a.   riding train to Richmond, seated in the rear of car with all other seats filled by officers and soldiers

b.   and elderly woman, poorly dressed got on at one of the stops

c.   no one got up to offer her their seat - so she trudged to the back of the car

d.   Lee promptly got up and offered her his seat

e.   immediately, everyone else began to get up and request that Lee sit in his place

f.    the general replied, “No gentlemen, if there is none for this lady, then there is none for me!”

g.   Lee was a committed and mature Christian who knew that humility demands consideration for all people, regardless of rank.

2.   We will be taking a look at the importance of humility in the life of the believer today

B.        Set The Scene

1.   Jesus making way to Jerusalem

a.   as goes - enters cities along the way

b.   healing sick, preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God

2.   In each town, a group of guys called the “Pharisees”

a.   a sect of Jews who were fanatics about the law

b.   not just the written law of God, but all the oral traditions that had risen around the law

c.   had reduced the Jewish faith to a set of sterile rules & regulations

d.   from the beginning, God had intended it to be a living relationship by faith, but they had opted for a dead form

e.   “Pharisees” = to separate

·        not only from sin

·        but from everyone else who was not a Pharisee

f.    elitist, superior; looked down their noses at everyone else

3.   Jesus in constant conflict with them

a.   while totally faithful to the Word of God -

b.   no time or interest in the mere traditions of men

c.   really - those traditions had buried the heart of the law =

d.   love and mercy

4.   So Pharisees constantly criticizing Jesus because He didn’t follow their rules

a.   washing hands

b.   other things

c.   biggest deal: Jesus healed people on the Sabbath

·        work prohibited

·        they defined healing as work

·        so a no-no

5.   So in each place, Jesus gained a great reputation with the common people but a seriously bad reputation with the Pharisees

6.   Here - Jesus comes to a new village

a.   invited to a Pharisee’s home

b.   not just any Pharisee - one of their leaders

c.   of course, he and his Pharisees buds have heard about Jesus

d.   they want to check Him out themselves

e.   so they invite him over

7.   Quite clear = a trap

a.   Jesus knew it was

b.   but he never declined an invitation

c.   whether from Pharisee or publican, friend or foe

d.   Jesus used every opportunity to show the love and grace of God to people

8.   So, He enters this man’s house:  Let’s see what happens next -

II.       TEXT

A.        V. 7a

7  So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places,

1.   One of traits of the Pharisees - their extreme pride and feeling of superiority

a.   not only over common people

b.   over one another

2.   Constantly trying to outdo each other in shows of piety and holiness

a.   praying - louder and longer

b.   giving - more, and bigger show

c.   fasting - longer, more wretched look

3.   They were hung up on position, rank, and status

4.   So, when they went to sit down at the table that day, all scrambled for the seats of honor

5.   Triclinium table

6.   Picture them squeezing into room

a.   pushing, jostling, shoving

b.   all trying to grab the best seats

7.   Jesus, the guest of honor, stands back top watch this ridiculous & immature spectacle

B.        Vs. 7b-11

[He said] to them,

8”When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him;

9 “and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place.

10 “But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you.

1.   How embarrassing it would be to have this happen to you

a.   you take a seat you think you’re worthy of

b.   then another guest comes in late

c.   the host comes to you and says, “:This guest is more important than you are.  Please move.”

d.   now, of course - you fell horrible

·        you’ve been insulted

·        also been shamed in front of your peers

·        we hate it when that happens

e.   what’s worse - everyone else has already grabbed the next places

·        so you have to go to the end of the line

·        sit in the seat of least importance

2.   Jesus says -

a.   rather than putting yourself in such an embarrassing position

b.   take the lowest place to begin with

c.   not merely a lower place; the lowest

d.   if you are in the lowest place, the only direction to go is up

e.   then the host will see you taking the lowest place and will honor you by reseating you where he deems fit

3.   After telling this parable, Jesus gives the abiding lesson in v. 11

 

11  “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

D.        An Abiding Spiritual Principle

1.   This is an enduring spiritual principle we must learn

2.   Like so many of the things we have seen in Luke lately = difficult

3.   This is difficult because it goes totally against the wisdom of this world

4.   Everything we hear tells us to exalt ourselves - promote ourselves - assert ourselves!

5.   Humility is seen as weakness

6.   The only people who are humble are misfits; social outcasts

a.   people who have little or no nothing the world esteems as valuable or important

b.   strength, beauty, humor, wealth, power

7.   For the world, humility is not something a person seeks

8.   It is something thrust on them by society because they don’t fit in

9.   Humility and shame are synonyms in the eyes of many

10. Think about how hung up our society is on status and rank and climbing the social ladder

a.   labels on clothes

b.   athletic shoes

c.   vehicles

d.   snow-skiing

·        right colors and styles THIS YEAR

·        right skis; standing in the lift lines = checkin’ it out

11. Living in SoCal - even worse!

a.   one of the fashion and status centers of the world

b.   trends often begin here and spread across the country & world

12. Yet all these things are mere externals

a.   none of them say anything at all about who & what we really are

b.   except of course, if we wear all the right labels, drive the right car, and live I the right neighborhood, it reveals we are way hung up on status and getting honor from others

 

13. Why does the desire for status exert such a powerful pull on us?

14. Simply because we have an innate sense of value as human beings

15. As RC Sproul says, we could take a poll this morning of just those here and find vast differences on all sorts of issues

a.   political party

b.   conservative, moderate, liberal

c.   health reform

d.   economy

16. But one thing we would all agree on:  We all want to be treated with dignity

a.   we want others to respect us

b.   we long for the basic recognition of others that we, as individuals, have value!

17. We get this desire for dignity from our being created in the image of God

a.   God has placed within us the innate sense of the dignity of human life

b.   thus - there is a strong desire to be honored

c.   God originally intended us to seek that honor from Him

18. But sin has corrupted and marred the image of God in man

a.   our sense of dignity has been corrupted as well

b.   now, instead of seeking our honor & dignity in terms of our relationship with God -

c.   we grasp after it in our relationships with other fallen human beings & society at large

d.   and because the world defines life in purely physical terms - the drive for dignity devolves to fashion labels and name brands and vying for position and the best seats

19. But this is not the way to real honor

20. Real honor comes from only one person = God

21. If we seek the honor of the world, we cannot receive the honor of God

22. John 5:44  “How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?”

23. Jesus tells us how to obtain the only honor that will satisfy our longing for dignity:

a.   v. 11  “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

b.   the way up in the kingdom of God is down

c.   one bible teacher said it this way, “The road to heaven isn’t uphill; it’s downhill”

d.   rather than exalting ourselves

e.   we must humble ourselves

f.    In Rom 12:3 Paul says,  “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”

g.   to humble ourselves means that we must not allow our minds to be clouded by pride

h.   rather, we must see ourselves as God says we are

i.    and what God has called us to be, is servants

j.    Mark 10:44-45  “Whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

k.   you see, Jesus is our example

l.    Phil 2:5-11  “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

 

24. You see, we cannot grasp honor & dignity by our own efforts

a.   of sure - may enjoy the applause of the world for a time

b.   but then it will turn on you and cast you down

c.   the greater your fame, the greater your shame

d.   look at OJ

e.   our efforts at grasping honor and respect by exalting ourselves are like trying to hold on to a fistful of sand

·        the harder you grasp

·        the quicker the sand slips through your fingers

25. Rather, we must give up,

a.   let go the grasping after the world’s honor

b.   open our hands in surrender to God

c.   humble ourselves before Him

26. He is the One who gives honor & dignity that cannot be taken away

a.   Psa 75:6-7  “Exaltation comes neither from the east Nor from the west nor from the south.  But God is the Judge: He puts down one, And exalts another.”

b.   James 4:10  “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

c.   James 4:6  “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

d.   Spurgeon once said, “If you and I empty ourselves, depend on it, God will fill us.  Divine grace seeks out and fills a vacuum.  Make a vacuum by humility, and God will fill that vacuum by His love.”

III.      CONCLUSION

A.        A TEST

1.   How much of your life is determined by the opinions of other people?

2.   Do you make choices based on what other people might think of you?

3.   Or is your sole concern the opinion of God?

B.