Pastor Weise’s Sermon – Humble Yourself

Pastor Weise's Sermon - A Good Neighbor

Pastor Weise’s Sermon – Humble Yourself

Ephesians 2.1-10/St. Luke 18.9-14

Trinity XI/September 1, 2019

Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd/Good Shepherd Community Chapel, Sauk Rapids, MN

Rev. Keith R. Weise, pastor/chaplain

LISTEN TO SERMON

TEXTS

Prayer of the Day

Almighty and everlasting God, always more ready to hear than we to pray and to give more than we either desire or deserve, pour down upon us the abundance of Your mercy, forgiving those things of which our conscience is afraid and giving us those good things that we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

 

Ephesians 2.1-10

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

 

St. Luke 18.9-14

Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Invocation    In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

I          Let us pray.

 

Dear God,

I thank you that I am NOT like any of these people.

 

I am younger than they are.

I am healthier than they are.

I am smarter than they are.

I am holier then they are.

And

I am more dedicated to you than any of them.

Thank you, God.  Amen.

________________________________________________________________

 

II         What?

No “Amen” from anybody?

 

Ok.

I didn’t mean any of that.

And

I never really pray that way.

 

III       But The Pharisee in Jesus’ story in the gospel did pray that way.

 

God, I thank you that I’m not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess. 

(St. Luke 18.11-12)

On and on and on he went—

all about himself.

 

But in fact—

he wasn’t really praying to God

Jesus says he

prayed thus with himself.                                                     (St. Luke 18.11)

 

IV        What the Pharisee did—what I did at the beginning of the sermon—

is—in truth—

no prayer at all.

 

The Pharisee was bragging.

He was showing off.

He stood before God and told him what a great and wonderful person he was.

 

He was doing lots of things—

but he was not praying.

________________________________________________________________

V         The tax collector on the other hand—

shows us what true prayer

actually looks like.

 

He lowers his eyes—

not even daring to look up to his God.

 

He beats his breast—

trying to subdue his sinful flesh.

 

And he only has one thing to say—

God, be merciful to me—a sinner!                                                                 (St. Luke 18.13)

 

VI        Yes, the tax collector talks about himself—

but unlike the Pharisee—

he is honest about himself.

 

He does not brag.

He does not show off.

He does not lie to God about how wonderful he is.

 

He begs—

HE BEGS(!)

for mercy—

because

he knows what he is

and

he knows who he is—

He is a SINNER!

 

VII      In Jesus’ story—

the tax collector is the one who goes home justified—

not the Pharisee.

 

He goes home right with God—

because he is honest.

 

He is honest with himself

and

he is honest with God.

 

                                    He’s honest

about who he is

and

about what he needs.

He is a SINNER in need of the MERCY of God.

________________________________________________________________

 

VIII    That’s who YOU are!

That’s who I am!

 

Like that tax collector

we are ALL sinners

who stand in great need of the mercy of God.

 

And Jesus promises

that those who share that humble honesty

with God in their prayers—

WILL BE BLESSED.

 

Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, he says, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.                                                                                                               (St. Luke 18.14)

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

IX       So how do you pray?

 

Do you pray more like the Pharisee?

or

Do you pray more like the tax collector?

 

Do you brag and show off and pray thus with yourself?

or

Are you humble and honest before the Lord—

pleading for his gracious mercy?

 

How do you pray?

 

X         The truth is—

sometimes

we all pray more like the Pharisee than the tax collector.

 

Who hasn’t thanked God that our problems aren’t as bad as our neighbors?

We thank God our kids turned out better than our neighbor’s kids.

We thank God we still have our health when our others don’t.

We thank God our memories are still good while others’ memories are failing them.

 

We all need more humility in our prayer life.

 

XI       So humble yourself.

 

When you pray—

admit to God in your prayers

who you really are.

 

 

Tell him all the

horrible

sinful

reprehensible

things you have done.

 

Bow your head

in fear of Almighty God.

 

Beat your breast

and bring your sinful flesh into submission to the most holy God.

 

Tell God who you really are.

Let him know how badly you need his mercy in your life.

 

XII      You won’t surprise him—

I promise.

 

God already knows

all the sins you’ve done.

the sinner you are.

 

He knows

the outrageous thoughts that run through your mind.

the detestable words that flow from your lips.

the inexcusable deeds that stain your hands with the filth of sin.

 

God knows!

And he knows how you pray.

—————————————-

God also knows

how much

and

how badly

you need his mercy.

 

SO TELL HIM!

 

Rustle up as much humility as you can muster—

and pray as honestly as you can to the Lord you’re God—

and he promises—

HE PROMISES

THAT YOU WILL BE EXALTED!!

 

XIII    When you pray with honesty and humility

God will lift you up from the pit of your sin.

 

He will raise up your thoughts

to think with the mind of Christ.                                                              (I Corinthians 2.16)

 

He will set a guard before your lips

to speak with the words of God.                                                                        (Psalm 141.3)

 

He will guide your hands and feet to do the holy works

he has already prepared for you to do.                                                        (Ephesians 2.10)

 

And

He will sanctify your prayers.

God will put his words in your mouth.

He will put his will in your heart

and

He will pour his holy humility down upon your soul.

 

AND EVEN MORE—

He will raise you up to live a holy life here in humility—

and

He will raise you up to live an everlasting life with him in eternity—

because—as St. Paul says—

God is rich in mercy.                                                                             (Ephesians 2.4)

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

XIV     The proof of God’s rich mercy—

The reason we can pray in honesty and humility—

is Christ on the cross.

 

On the cross

God shows us his mercy—his everlasting love—

in the sacrifice of Christ—

his only-begotten Son.

 

Jesus—

who had no need to humble himself—

who had no need to beg God for mercy—

Jesus—

who never bragged about himself

who never showed off—

who never lied a single time—

Jesus—

the perfect—

the eternal Son of the living God—

paid the price upon the cross

for all the times

we pray like that Pharisee in his story

and

for all the times

we

think

and

speak

and

act ourselves

out of God’s grace

and

into his condemnation.

 

Jesus paid for your sins

with his own life.

And he did for a very, very special reason.

 

XV      Jesus died on the cross

to raise you up from the death of sin

and make you alive again with him.

 

Jesus died on the cross

to set you free

from the curse of death

that says you must return to the dust from which you were made.

Jesus freed you from that curse

and raises you up to live with in the blessedness of heaven.

 

Jesus died on the cross

to reserve your place at his heavenly banquet table

so you can sit together with him

in the heavenly places

and enjoy a share in the exceeding riches of his grace.

(Ephesians 2.5-7)

 

Jesus humbled himself—

Jesus offered himself—

Jesus SACRIFICED himself—

FOR YOU—

            and for your salvation.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

XVI     So take Jesus’ story about the Pharisee and the tax collector and their prayers

to heart today.

 

Do as St. Peter says—

. . . humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in

due time.                                                                                                                   (I Peter 5.6)

 

Do as St. James says—

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.       (James 4.10)

 

Do as JESUS says—

HUMBLE YOURSELF—

                                    AND YOU WILL BE EXALTED.                                                    (St. Luke 8.14)

 

            Humble yourself

because

by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.                       (Ephesians 2.8-9)

 

XVII   When that truth sinks in—

That by

humbling himself

and

dying on the cross

and

rising from the dead

Christ has forgiven your sinful thoughts/words/and deeds—

 

That God has given you faith in Christ to receive his forgiveness—

 

That your eternal life with Christ

is

totally

completely

purely

a gift of God so you have nothing at all to brag about—

 

When that truth sinks in—

there’s nothing left to do

but what the tax collector did in the story Jesus tells us today.

 

Bow down your head and lower your eyes.

Beat your breast and mortify your sinful flesh.

And

In heartfelt humility

pray to the Lord—

God, be merciful to me, a sinner.                                                       (St. Luke 18.13)

 

And for Christ’s sake—

that’s exactly what God will do.

 

Praise God.  Amen.

 

Invocation    In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Hymn of Response:  Create in Me.

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