Walking Humbly with God
Walking humbly with God is living in the heavenly will of God.
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
2 February 2014
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Walking humbly with God is living in the heavenly will of God.
Do we believe in God’s Word, or do we believe in worldly myths?
Today is also Groundhog Day. This mythical tradition started in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, in 1887, and continues to this very day.
The tradition of this groundhog prognostication says that if the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, comes out of his hole after a long winter’s sleep and sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of bad weather, but if it is a shadow-less day so the groundhog cannot see his shadow, then spring is near.
So we have to ask ourselves, do we believe in myths such as a groundhog forecast, or do we believe in the word of God?
Believing in worldly myths may be fun, but they are not a part of our walking humbly with God.
In Psalm 15:1-5, David writes about how a righteous person should live.
1. O LORD, who may abide in Thy tent?
Who may dwell on Thy holy hill?
2. He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness,
And speaks truth in his heart.
3. He does not slander with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
4. In whose eyes a reprobate is despised,
But who honors those who fear the LORD;
He swears to his own hurt, and does not change;
We correspond with Godly people all the time who are confronted by these reprobates or evil people on nearly a continual basis, just as we are, and we mourn.
Following is one of these email exchanges:
“M” wrote to us thanking us for last week’s sermon, and how it helped her. Then she added the following part about how a reprobate or evil person is despised in her eyes, just as David wrote about in this Psalm:
“I still hope that God will not welcome these butchers of animals into his Kingdom even if at the end they try to repent. I feel there will never be repentance enough for what is being done to these innocent beings.”
“The workers who beat the animals are bad enough, but the owners, who are making billions off the backs of animals, are also the ones that I know I never would forgive, ever.”
“So they enjoy a beautiful life with all their luxuries from the torture of animals and when they are dying they ask God for forgiveness and that is it…do they get it?”
“If they do, I don’t think that is giving animals or people who commit atrocities any justice whatsoever; it would say to me go out and do anything you want and then repent and all will be well.”
“That part I don’t understand. Maybe you could explain that in one of your sermons, because I hear that a lot from people. The forgiveness of God and the infuriation people feel about these animal abusers is that there should be no forgiveness at all. They know what they are doing and they are enjoying the money they are making, and the sadistic workers are enjoying taking out their frustrations on the animals. They all know what they are doing.”
We responded to “M” about her comments as follows:
“We completely understand how you feel, but there are former animal abusers who did sincerely repent, including some present day animal rights activists.”
“As we are told in the Bible, we don’t see as God sees. God sees the intent of the heart, so God would know if their repentance was sincere.”
“This is why we feel that we have to leave such people in the hands of God.”
We are to despise the evil acts of people, but we are not to condemn those people, because that is God’s realm.
Let’s return to the conclusion of Psalm 15, and see the way a righteous person lives.
5. He does not put out his money at interest,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things will never be shaken.
In other words, if people live righteously in the heavenly will of God, they will never be shaken from the heavenly abode that awaits them.
This is walking humbly with God.
In Micah 6:1-8, we hear God’s condemnation of Israel because of her disobedience and failure to repent, and then we see the offer of God’s grace when people do sincerely repent and live in the heavenly will of God.
1. Hear now what the LORD is saying,
“Arise, plead your case before the mountains,
And let the hills hear your voice.
In other words, if you, Israel, can justify your ungodly behavior so that God doesn’t pass judgment upon you, then plead your case before the mountains.
2. “Listen, you mountains, to the indictment of the LORD,
And you enduring foundations of the earth,
Because the LORD has a case against His people;
Even with Israel He will dispute.
3. “My people, what have I done to you,
And how have I wearied you? Answer Me.
In His mercy, the Lord even asks Israel if He has done anything to bring about her rebellious behavior.
4. “Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt
And ransomed you from the house of slavery,
And I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
5. “My people, remember now
What Balak king of Moab counseled
And what Balaam son of Beor answered him,
And from Shittim to Gilgal,
In order that you might know the righteous acts of the LORD.”
Balak hired Balaam to curse Israel, but the Lord would not let him do so; instead he actually blessed Israel, but the king and Balaam still conspired together on ways to harm Israel, for which the Lord punished both of them.
We believe that this is the reason why this reference is included in this passage; it is a warning to Israel that the same thing could happen to them because of their disobedience to God.
So then Micah asks for the people’s benefit:
6. With what shall I come to the LORD
And bow myself before the God on high?
Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings,
With yearling calves?
7. Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams,
In ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I present my first-born for my rebellious acts,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
The simple answer is “NO!” The Lord doesn’t want any of these things. He just wants our humble and repentant heart, mind, and soul.
When we are walking humbly with God, we instinctively know that these horrible things could never be a part of God’s heavenly will.
Then Micah tells us what the Lord really requires, and has always required:
8. He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
Here, in this Micah passage, we have further proof that God never wanted any animal sacrifice, or other offering, and that none of it could save anyone, because none of it is done in lovingkindness.
These kinds of things are all part of the worldly ways of relying upon superstitions, myths, scapegoating, and just ungodly ways of living.
The Lord simply wants us to be walking humbly with God.
In Matthew 5:1-12, he tells us about the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and His description of some of the important ways that we are to live in order to be walking humbly with God.
1. And when He saw the multitudes, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.
2. And opening His mouth He began to teach them, saying,
3. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Those who are “poor in spirit” are not arrogant or full of pride; they are humble.
4. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Those who mourn have heartfelt feelings for every living being who suffers and/or dies, particularly when such suffering and death comes at the hands of our fellow human beings who live in the ungodly ways of this world, especially people who claim to be Christian.
5. “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
A gentle person would never deliberately harm any other living being or God’s beautiful creation.
6. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness,” are those who seek to bring justice to this earth as it is in heaven, which includes helping to free creation from its present corruption.
7. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
As with the gentle person, a merciful person would never deliberately harm any other living being or God’s beautiful creation, and in addition, a merciful person always has room in his or her heart to forgive a truly repentant person.
8. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
People who are pure in heart would never be involved in the worldly ways around us; instead, they seek to always walk with God according to His heavenly will.
9. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
True peacemakers always stand in the gap between good and evil, and without resorting to violence, they do everything in their power to restore or protect the peaceful way of living according to God’s heavenly will.
These are also the people who do everything in their power to free creation from its present corruption.
Peacemakers are always walking humbly with God.
10. “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Many righteous people have been persecuted because they live righteously according to the teaching of Jesus and God’s heavenly will, and because of this the Lord promises that they will receive the kingdom of heaven.
11. “Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.
This is very much like the others who are persecuted, but here the Lord adds the casting of insults, because we follow Jesus; and according to His teaching, we are not to listen to these insults nor are we to respond to them, but we are to remain at peace.
12. “Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
This should be the hope and steadfast confidence of all of us.
These blessings flow to people who are walking humbly with God.
As we look at 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, we hear Paul comparing the ways of God with the ways of the world.
18. For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Those who are perishing are the ones who live by the ways of this evil world with all its violence, pain, suffering, bloodshed, and death.
19. For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.”
This verse refers to those worldly people who are wise in their own sight, and not in the ways of the Lord.
20. Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
There are still a lot of people in the world who resort to various ways of finding peace and healing through the use of various amulets, chants, and other devices, and refuse to seek God for what they need.
We believe that this is all part of the foolishness of the wisdom of the world.
21. For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
And once we do come to truly believe and live by faith in God, we find that the Holy Spirit guides us away from the ways of the world into the heavenly will of God.
This is all a part of walking humbly with God.
22. For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom;
23. but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness,
24. but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
This is where the Holy Spirit directs and guides us into true Godly wisdom.
25. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26. For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;
27. 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,
28. and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are,
29. that no man should boast before God.
Boasting is a worldly way of self-aggrandizement before the people of the world, but it has no favor before God and His heavenly will.
We are to be humble and live as peacemaking children of God who seek to free creation from its present corruption, which was caused by the ungodly ways of the people of the world.
30. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
31. that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Boasting in the Lord is a way of praising the Lord for all He has done for us.
It is a way of giving God the credit for the praise we receive.
After all, it all really comes from God.
So, let’s resolve in our hearts and souls to live in the heavenly will of God by faith, and constantly be found walking humbly with God.
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