Summary: Pride is the enemy of every human being ever born; Jesus taught the topic without mentioning the word.
As we saw in Acts, the first generation of preachers, the apostles, were given power over disease, and power over death, and they were sent out with that power to authenticate the message of the gospel of the Kingdom that they brought. As a result, The Church grew in the Word and in fellowship as they depended on God and the Gospel message. That MESSAGE of the Gospel was never lost, and as it began in the Pentecost church, it continues today. God has never ceased to build His Church but there certainly are obstacles that the Church encounters, and we are going to take a few weeks to look at Gospel Humility.
Have you ever taught someone a concept, an idea, without actually using the word? Today, in Luke 17:1-6, Jesus is actually teaching “GOSPEL HUMILITY” without ever using the word “humility”. Today, in Luke 17:1-6, Jesus is actually teaching “GOSPEL HUMILITY” without ever using the word “humility”. If you look at the previous chapters, Jesus is speaking here for the benefit of the Pharisees and other religious leaders as much as for His Disciples and for us. One of the issues which Jesus continually warned them about is an issue that threatens the eternal destiny of every sinner, namely PRIDE. The Pharisees exercised hypocrisy artfully, wearing their PRIDE on their sleeves, they looked for honor from men. Their hearts and lives lacked humility before God and love toward the hurting and those they were called to serve. Listen to Luke 17:1-3 to begin:
1. Gospel Humility resists offenses to others.
1 He said to His disciples, "It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, (skandalon- the stick that holds a trap or the bait of the trap, a stone of stumbling. Jesus figuratively was a stumbling stone to the Jews because His life and ministry were so contrary to their expectations concerning the Messiah that they rejected him and by their own obstinance made shipwreck of their salvation. It is inevitable that temptations and TRAPS will come…) but woe (strong warning) to him through whom they come! (Don’t YOU be a stone of stumbling to someone; Don’t you be responsible for leading someone else into sin: Don’t you bring an offense that will cause others to sin.) 2 "It would be better for him (you) if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 Be on your guard!”
Jesus expanded a little on this in Matthew 18: 6-7, and this is his response to the disciples’ question after three years with Jesus about who would be the “greatest in the kingdom of heaven:” (Also in Luke 9: 46-48) “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone (a huge stone used to grind grain) hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!” –In other words, It would better for you to have a millstone tied around your neck and dropped into the sea than for you to be a stumbling stone to another believer.
Gospel Humility resists offenses to others: The world doesn’t care one bit about leading others into sin; the sinful world PROMOTES anger, division, jealousy, selfish ambition, abuse of authority- TURN on the news you’ll get loads of examples. But people who have bowed their hearts and lives to God in order to serve Him recognize that they have a responsibility to spiritual integrity and to speaking and acting out the Truth of the God in LOVE for the sake of the Savior and for others. We as followers of our Lord Jesus have a responsibility to teach what is true and to live what is right: Why? Because our calling is to lead others TO Godliness (to our Savior) in our speech, in our actions, our interactions, not AWAY from Godliness, while at the same time expecting and withstanding opposition.
We are called to share the TRUE GOSPEL of God’s Grace in Christ- pointing to any other way for salvation would cause a person to stumble. We demonstrate that our dependency is on God, on His Word, His Son and Spirit, not independent of Him. Instead of being a stumbling stone to others and having a stone hung around our necks, we demonstrate that we stand on Jesus, who is the ROCK of our Salvation. Gospel Humility reveals the Truth in love in teaching, talking and interacting with others. Humility is the ACTION of being brought low in your spirit, bowing to God and being obedient to Him. Humility before God is reality for the Christian.