TUTTLE SERMON - January 12th 2020

The past few years we have had a secret santa at Ada-Borup.  Someone comes in during the night and leaves a present at each student’s locker in grades 6 - 12.  This year it happened again and I went around to see their reaction.  I asked various students if they were going to post a thank you and they just had a blank expression.  This was a little discouraging to me because someone went out of their way to do something nice for them and it did not seem like they appreciated it.

That evening, I was filming the choir concert when I noticed there were some special needs students in the high school choir.  You should have seen them sing.  They were so excited and were enjoying themselves.  At the end of the concert, a big tall student named Caleb who rocked back and forth as he sang said, “Thank you Mrs. Kemper.  This was my first choir concert.”  Out of all those students, I finally saw someone who was thankful and willing to say it out loud.  I was profoundly moved.


1 Corinthians 1:26-28 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,

LET US PRAY

Today, I’d like to share with you four aspects of the Christian life:
Humility:  Humility is a true perception of self.  We realize and admit we are wrong and helpless to save ourselves 

Gratitude:  Grateful people realize God gives above and beyond what we could ever imagine.  We realize that we’ve been given more good things and spared more bad things than we deserve.

Generosity:  We give more than expected because our LORD has given more than we could ever repay.  Generosity flows from a grateful heart.  

Encouragement:  Encouragement gives voice and action to our gratitude.  It is our faith in action.


Paul tells the Corinthians to consider their calling and reminds them of who they were before they were saved by the finished work of Christ Jesus

Not many were wise according to the flesh
Not many mighty
Not many noble

God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise
God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong
God has chosen the despised, the things that are not to nullify the things that are

God does not choose according to the world’s standards.  When we form teams for whatever purpose we naturally look for wise, strong, and noble people.  However, that is not how God does it.  Instead, He chooses the foolish, weak, and despised to nullify the things that are.

To nullify is to make legally null and void; invalidate.  make of no use or value; cancel out.

God chooses people who are lacking according to the world’s standards to make the world’s standards null and void.  By choosing those who have nothing to offer, He puts the world to shame.

Why would God do such a thing?  It makes no sense.  At least to mankind it makes no sense.  Notice that he chooses nobodies to not only prove the world wrong, but put the world to shame.  Shame is a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.

God chooses the weak, foolish, and despised to bring a painful feeling of humiliation to the world.  Few people like to feel ashamed.  It hurts.

I’m going to read those verses again:
1 Corinthians 1:26-28 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,

Why does God waste his time with the foolish, weak, and despised of the world?  Why not use the wise, strong and noble?

Ezekiel 22:30  I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.

God searched all of Israel and found no one.  Not one man was able to further God’s plan for the redemption of mankind.

Revelation 5 
I, John, saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it. Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it; and one of the elders *said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.”

God searched all of heaven, earth, and under the earth and found no one worthy to further His plan for the redemption of mankind.

Why does God choose the foolish, weak and despised?  That’s all He has to choose from.  No one in heaven, earth, and under the earth is wise, strong and noble.  We are all foolish, weak and despised.


Why does John weep?  He sees that mankind is lost with no hope of redemption.  He also sees how inadequate he is because God did not choose him to open the scroll.

Who did God choose?  He chose the only one who was worthy.  God Himself. 

Philippians 2:8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

The only one worthy to redeem fallen mankind was the God Man Jesus Christ.  Since no one else was able to save mankind, God chose Himself to do it.

Back to our opening text:
1 Corinthians 1:26-28 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,

Another thing to notice is God is the One who chooses.  We don’t choose God, He chooses us.

John 15:16 Jesus said “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

Since God chooses the foolish, weak and despised...those He chooses have nothing to boast about.  God chooses the humble.





HUMILITY:
Proverbs 11:2  When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom.

Isaiah 66:2 “For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord. “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.

Matthew 23:12 Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

Humility is a true perception of self.  Pride is a false perception of self.  Pride comes before a fall because pride is based on a lie.  Humility precedes exaltation because humility is based on the truth.  

The truth is that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God….we deserve wrath and are helpless to save ourselves.  Yet, in Christ we receive what we could never earn and are forgiven a debt we can never repay.

I think I am right in saying that God will only choose the humble for salvation.  Look at the heroes of the Bible.


Numbers 12:3 Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.

Who wrote the book of Numbers?  Moses did.  Moses had to write that he was more humble that any man who was on the face of the earth.

That might actually sound proud but it is not.  Moses was not proud of his humility.  His humility was based on the truth of who he knew he was and the truth of who he knew God to be.

Moses was the last person the world would choose to be a saviour for the israelites.  He was a murderer.  He ran away from his responsibility.  He was too old.  Yet God chose him.

Numbers 12  Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married and they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?” And the Lord heard it. (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.) Suddenly the Lord said to Moses and Aaron and to Miriam, “You three come out to the tent of meeting.” So the three of them came out. Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the doorway of the tent, and He called Aaron and Miriam. When they had both come forward, He said,

“Hear now My words:
If there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, shall make Myself known to him in a vision.
I shall speak with him in a dream.
“Not so, with My servant Moses,
He is faithful in all My household;
With him I speak mouth to mouth,
Even openly, and not in dark sayings,
And he beholds the form of the Lord.
Why then were you not afraid
To speak against My servant, against Moses?”


Moses was the most humble man on earth because he knew God better than anyone else.  If you want to grow in humility, grow in your understanding of God.

1 Corinthians 1:26-28 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,

Humility is an honest assessment of who we are.  When we realize that God chooses us in our weakness and that we have nothing to offer Him.  When we realize just how sinful we really are and how there is nothing we can do to save ourselves.  When we humble ourselves before Him something amazing happens.  We become grateful.
GRATITUDE:
Gratitude:  Grateful people realize God gives above and beyond what we could ever imagine.  We realize that we’ve been given more good things and spared more bad things than we deserve.

Colossians 2:7  having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

1 Timothy 4:4  For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude;

Hebrews 12:28  Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;

Psalm 138 I will give You thanks with all my heart; I will sing praises to You before the gods. I will bow down toward Your holy temple And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name. On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul

Gratefulness is based on truth.  Bitterness is based on a lie.  Humility will lead to gratefulness.  Pride will lead to bitterness.  Grateful people realize God gives above and beyond what we could ever imagine.  Bitter people think that God is holding out on them.  They deserve better.

I really like the song by Anthony Brown called Deserved.  Let me share with you the lyrics

I just want to thank Him for His grace
Thank Him for His mercy
I just want to thank Him for his love
And thank Him for being patient with me
Cause I ain't been that good
I don't deserve to be here today
And if you tell the truth
You know, that it should've been another way
But aren't you glad God never
gave you what you deserved,
Cause I'm so glad God never
gave me what I deserved

Gratefulness is an honest assessment of what you have received from God.  Want to be more grateful?  Grow in your knowledge of what God Almighty has done for you.  

Humility leads to gratitude which leads to generosity.

GENEROSITY

Generosity:  We give more than expected because our LORD has given more than we could ever repay.  Generosity flows from a grateful heart.  


Generosity is showing a readiness to give more of something, as money or time, than is strictly necessary or expected.  Generosity flows from a grateful heart.


Proverbs 11:25 The generous man will be prosperous, And he who waters will himself be watered.

1 Timothy 6:18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share

Psalm 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.

Colossians 2:7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

Generosity is based on truth, since we have been given so much, we want to share with others.  Stinginess is based on a lie, since we feel we have been robbed by God, we cling to whatever we have.


You’ve heard it said that no one can out give the LORD.  That is so true.  People seem to be looking for miracles from God.  I would say that every breath and heartbeat is a miracle.  Jesus holds the universe together.

Colossians 1:17 Jesus is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.


Looking beyond ourselves we see that Every star, every planet, every galaxy is held together by Jesus.  Looking inward we see that Every atom is held together by Jesus.

Have you ever thanked Jesus for holding your body together?  Ever thank Him for your breath?

God is not stingy, but generous.  No one out gives God.

Another thing to consider about the generosity of our LORD.  He did not have to make the world beautiful.

Imagine if God was not interested in beauty.  Imagine is He only made things that serve their purpose and nothing else.

God could have made light with no color.  He did not have to make a sunset beautiful.  He could have just made a bright light in the dark sky and turn it on and off.  Harsh white light and harsh black darkness….no color.

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Want to know more about the generosity of God? Just look at the things He has made.

He did not just create things that work.  He made things beautiful.  He went above and beyond.  If a fallen world has such beauty, just try to imagine what heaven will be like.  If there is beauty now in our present darkness, there is unfathomable beauty which lies ahead of us.




ENCOURAGEMENT

Encouragement:  Encouragement gives voice and action to our gratitude.  It is our faith in action.


Philippians 2:1-3 
Be Like Christ
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;


Humility leads to Gratitude which leads to Generosity and Encouragement

Luke 6:45
The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

Encouragement gives voice to our gratitude.
Encouragement is based on truth.  Discouragement is based on a lie.  From a heart overflowing with gratitude comes encouragement.  From a heart choked by bitterness comes discouragement.


Encourage is a verb, it is an action.  You can never encourage someone passively. Encouragement is a choice and most often is reflected in spoken words.  Thoughts and prayers sound nice, but spoken words of encouragement have a far greater effect.

Encouragement is not flattery - excessive and insincere praise, given especially to further one's own interests.  

Encouragement is given to build up others not ourselves.



One Friday night, my friend Chris told me about how his wife’s family celebrates birthdays.  Every person will say one thing they like about the guest of honor.  At first, he was really uncomfortable with it, but then he asked himself why.  Why is it so hard to say positive things to people we care about?  Why is it so hard to receive positive things said to us by people we care about?  Why do we wait until a funeral to share how much a loved one means to us?

Want to grow in encouragement?  Consider what Jesus has done for you.

I have given you four aspects of the Christian life:
Humility:  Humility is a true perception of self.  We realize and admit we are wrong and helpless to save ourselves 

Gratitude:  Grateful people realize God gives above and beyond what we could ever imagine.  We realize that we’ve been given more good things and spared more bad things than we deserve.

Generosity:  We give more than expected because our LORD has given more than we could ever repay.  Generosity flows from a grateful heart.  

Encouragement:  Encouragement gives voice and action to our gratitude.  It is our faith in action.

Back to that choir concert.  Caleb was probably not the most wise, strong or noble of the group of students, but his heart was humble and grateful so he said thank you and brought encouragement to others and glory to God.





Hymn #4
O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
And when I think of God, His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing
He bled and died to take away my sin
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And lead me home, what joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow with humble adoration
And then proclaim, my God, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art





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