This is a ‘live-blog’ of the third session at EQUIP South Africa 2012. Again, it’s not a word-for-word transcribe but just my rough notes.
Session 3 – Bruce Benge – humility.
William Temple: Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gift – humility is not thinking about yourself one way or the other at all.
Leading a local church in some way reformed for 25 years, I’ve seen really good people rise and fall. I’ve seen some great gifts but only to be revealed of double standards later.
It’s a joy and responsibility most of the time.
Hebrews 13. In the same breath of making it a joy for those that lead you, there’s also a hey we’re responsible for God.
1 Peter 5: 1 – 11.
The Word is the Light and life of man. This book is life and is full of life; it’s full of God’s story.
We see instructions coming through here – elders towards the flock, young men towards the others. Some key points we need to note:
- God opposes pride in people. When pride begins to well up in our heart God opposes that. It’s also good news, as God’s approach towards us is for redemption. He still leads us to our own decisions.
- I’m going to give grace to humble people – God. Great news.
- God will use His mighty hand to exalt the humble in due time. In the process of life, He is going to exalt you in due time; elevate you; grow you; mature you; bring you into the fulness of everything that I planned and purposed for you.
- He will use his mighty hand to care for the hunble in the interim. He is going to open the opportunities of life for us. In the meantime, He is going to continue to care for us.
Let’s look at Peter’s story, Luke 22: 31 – 32. The request.
What’s the lead up to this? Verse 21 and 24. The last supper, here Jesus has just told His disciples that someone’s going to betray Him. Verse 21 – 24. The lead in.
Then the disciples’ discussion jumps to a whole new tone – then they began to argue about who would be the greatest among them. In the midst of a crisis of a friend, first of all they’re saying “It’s not me” then the tone changes and chests start to be poked out. Accusations start flying. Self-promotion starts coming into the context. Then that leads up to verse 31.
Isaiah 14 is a prophetic picture of Lucifer, prior to the creation of mankind, as one of the three arch-angels. He was the charismatic one. Then you read he had aspired to make himself greater than God – pride came in. That pride led to His expulsion from heaven and he was persuasive, taking the third of the angels with him. And he fell.
So Satan is listening in the conversation of Jesus and his friends and He hears something going on and recognises it – aha, they’re just like me, they like their own greatness. He knew that pride comes before a fall. And he heard this and then requested that they be put on. In the lion, witch, wardrobe when the queen rides into the camp and demands the blood of the young Edmund. She demanded it because she had a right, a law had been broken and on the basis of that she could make an appeal.
Satan heard stuff going on in the hearts of these leaders and knew there was grounds. So he requests to sift them as wheat.
Let’s take a weight of Peter’s shoulders. Verse 31 – Satan has asked to sift each of them. Not Just Peter.
We know Peter goes on to deny Jesus three times as per the prophecy. It wasn’t that he was a wimp. Something had gone into him. He wasn’t a wimp – he cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest. He got out the boat and walked on the water. He was no wimp. But pride began to unstabalize the state of grace. And in the moment when He should have risen up, he failed.
I love Terry’s picture of dad in the prodigal son. I love the song we sang about worthy is the lamb and he was slain before the foundation of the earth.
A standard greeting in NZ is they go ‘tanakwe’ – it means, “I see you”. God saw us before the foundation of the earth. And isn’t it great that we have a need to see us (came out last night).
There’s a redemption process, you see in John 21, Jesus was risen from the dead. But where was he? Back on the beach looking for his boys. Our saviour, redeemer and king. The boys on the road to Emmaus and in their conversation there’s a sense of earnest longing and Jesus couldn’t hold himself back but had to come reveal himself to them. He doesn’t leave us lost and broken.
You see in John 23, Jesus speaks to Peter. Jesus had prophecied life over Peter before. Acts 3:12. Peter defers any sense of responsibility on himself but gives glory to God. He was no longer pushing for greatness but acknowledging the greatness of God. 2 Peter 5. He says God’s given us everything we need to live a godly life. You see this parrellel between the fruits and gifts of the spirit living in people. Then Peter says if you can grow and develop this stuff and press into the life of who God is and do life with Him… that’s the whole thing about the Gospel, it’s not about serving in ministry, it’s about doing life with Him. God invites us to join Him, not the other way around. So how do we do that? By participating. And by participating you escape corruption in this evil world.
So there’s a process. So what’s the point? Jesus was dislodging elements in these leaders’ lives that prohibit the devil having grounds. As leaders we begin to lead and gather people, and then we fall, it’s just about us, God constantly challenges us – it’s about our city, community, others. There are always people waiting on the other side of our responses.
Peter writes that we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, belonging to God, that we may display the splendour of Him who has called us out of darkness. Why, because he had to acknowledge elements of darkness out of his own life (referring to Peter).
Remember we’re at spiritual war. Jesus came to kick hell out of our nations. The cross cancelled out sin and death and it brought victory. But we are in an age where evil and darkness still have some dominance over the nations because they get access to the human heart.
Story of guy who sexually assaulted his daughter and went to jail and it was a process.
The true secret of success is to be successful in a secret life. That’s been said before. Where does Satan live? He lives in darkness.
While I haven’t kept a sin habit I’m still challenged to live in the grace of God. There are plenty of opportunities for me during every day. I’m still a sinner getting saved.
Luke 11: 34 – 35.
If you deal with the corners of your room the rest of the room will take care of of itself. Jesus is saying, deal to the corners of your life, don’t hide, let the light penetrate into those corners. I get on the plane and go home tonight but this (the bible) doesn’t. The spotlight comes on. Then with no dark corners your life will radiate as if it were flooded with life.
Remember Jesus also talks about being salt to the earth and a city on a hill.
Let God put you together and in that in the process of God (we’re all a work of process).
Pride is a doorway to darkness. Gen 4:7. The brothers are fighting over whose gift is greater than whose. The heart of the matter is always the matter of the heart.
God comes and speaks and says in vs 6, why are you so angry? Who so disjected. If you refuse to do what’s right, sin is crouching at the door and you must subdue it and be its master. Cain heard the care and concern of the love of the father and went out straight away and murdered his brother. There’s a little bit of frank sinatra in each of us where we say we’ll do it my way.
There are different scriptures that are tempted beyond what we can stand and we come under the same temptation as everyone else. We become familiar with them. Dr Rabie, worth jumping on his website, he speaks about moral issues. Talking about porn he says in America that 40 percent of the clientelle that buy into porn are from the Christian community. From people that say I’m a Christ-follower.
My dad was a good businessman and in the building industry and then the government changed how they did stuff and in a stroke of a pen he lost 30 percent of his business. That 30 percent loss overnight impacted him so greatly that he ended up losing his business, because of the sudden-ness of it. Only 30 percent. IF 40 percent of people subscribing the industry that pollutes the soul and sucks our worship life, removes our platform and strength, if they can find some breakthrough. But it’s an industry where shame, darkness and secrecy thrives.
Jesus needs to rule in the heart of us as leaders. Here I stand but by the grace of God. I’m 50 and have run out of excuses. When we compromise it’s not just about me, it’s about others and the community and our wives etc. What I’ve realised over time is that if you really want to transform community you need a strong transformed community. Not just in mouth or outward appearance but in life and freedom. That can speak of the darkness with confidence because they’ve learned how to walk in the life.
Pride is the doorway that can take us out. Most of the guys I’ve walked with and in my own life, I’ve had opportunities to fall; but humility is the doorway to overcome. God gives grace to the humble. Perfectly placed for grace. God wants us to grow in this life but we’ve got to learn to break through some stuff. Saving grace is humility. Peter wrote about that in the scriptures we just heard.
The place where we stand and are firm is in Christ and God’s saving grace, his redemptive purpose in our lives. It’s in His light and His liberty. Peter wrote you stand there you’re less likely to fall. It’s not the things that shoot at us but the things that we’ve never taken out of our lives that get at us.
Marcus: we need to deal with those issues. If we want to see a future we need to be able to say that we’re a woman or man of unclean lips. Bruce’s statement that sums it all up is the devil has dominion over nations because he has access to human hearts. I don’t want it to be us. This was from the heart of God. There’s a challenge to us and a wake-up call.
Marcus is now going to interview Hennie and this is to give us the big-ness of this call. If there are those issues speak to your wife, speak to your accountability team, etc.
Bruce: There’s a bigger reason. There are people waiting for our response to Him. There’s a father waiting as well.
How do we keep clean hands and a pure heart? We come into the light as He is in the light; confess; have fellowship together.