This sermon was originally written for and presented to the Mill Creek church of Christ in 1994.
I remember a distinguished professor of music from Abilene Christian College well for his teachings about people who are BIG and people who are little on the inside. I remember far more about his teachings about Christianity than what he taught me about music. 'Fessor Frye's practical exhortations about livng humbly before God make much of the basis for today's lesson.
I. Abram was big--Lot was little. See how they resolved a problem.
A. Genesis 13: 2-18. Abram chose a place where he would not be so
tempted by his surroundings while Lot pitched his tents toward
Sodom. Later it would be by the extreme mercy of God that Lot
would escape Sodom with the clothes on his back.
B. Abram was big in that he chose the things that were really important--not just temporal, material things like rich pastures.
II. Moses was big--Pharoah was little. Obedience was the key difference.
A. Obedience was not easy for Moses. By faith he overcame his fear
of public speaking and did what God commanded.
Exodus 4: 1-17. See how hard it was for Moses to obey. Yet he
did, being the big man that he was. Moses has been called the
meekest man who ever lived.
B. See how a smaller man met God's demand to "let My people go." Exodus 5: 1-9. The smaller man, Pharoah, could not bring himself to let go of part of his kingdom under God's command. Pharoah was weakened with hatred of what was good and with love for being master of a host of people. He could not let go and be a servant. Jesus would later say [Matthew 20: 25-28]. This is what makes a person great.
III. Elisha was big. Naaman and Gehazi were little.
A. See II Kings 5: 8-27. Naaman expected a big administrative
production--fanfare, ego-building, titles, honors, lots of
bowing and scraping. Instead Naaman was told to go dip
in muddy water. We see the bigness of Elisha in that the
remedy he prescribed highlighted the greatness of God who would
give the gift of healing and minimized his own role in this.
We see Naaman's littleness in that there wasn't fanfare about
how it was done. Yet the pride of life is one of the three
types of sin of I John 2: 15-17.
B. Elisha refused a material reward. But Gehazi stooped to littleness in asking for it. He paid for it with his health.
Luke 20:45 And in the hearing of all the people he said unto his disciples, (ASV) >p> Luke 20:46 Beware of the scribes, who desire to walk in long robes, and love salutations in the marketplaces, and chief seats in the synagogues, and chief places at feasts; (ASV)
Luke 20:47 who devour widow's houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater condemnation. (ASV)
IV. Don't let pride make you little! God has a way of cutting people down
to size. See Luke 14: 7-14. Now you're big!
V. Be big enough to love the unlovable! Luke 6: 27-36.
VI. Be big enough to take some abuse without making a fuss.
I Corinthians 6: 1-8. What did Jesus do about those who were killing Him? "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do?"
VII. How big will you be?
A. Jesus taught how to be truly big. Matthew 16: 24-27.
B. Will be big enough to submit to Him? The sign is wrong-- God will not be your co-pilot. He will be your pilot or he will be no one.
C. Will you hear? (Bigger than Pharoah) Believe? (Bigger than Naaman) Repent? (Bigger than the scribes) Confess? (Bigger than the authorities of Jesus day, who believed in him but would not confess because they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God, John 12: 42-43) Be baptized? (Bigger than Felix of Acts 24: 25 who trembled but did nothing more) Be big enough to put God first!
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