This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is called “Developing Well”.
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We are talking about Developing Well. As people who have said yes to the question do you want to get well, now cooperating with the Holy Spirit to grow and mature in the Lord. We are looking at the beatitudes as the attitudes that are developed in us as we cooperate with the Spirit as citizens of the Kingdom. We talked about being poor in spirit, we talked about what it means to mourn, this week we are going to talk about meekness.
Psalm 37:1-11 (NIV)
1 Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; 2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. 3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. 7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. 8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret–it leads only to evil. 9 For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. 10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. 11 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.
Matthew 5:5 (NIV)
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
1. What does it mean to be meek?
So far as we have looked at the beatitudes we have looked at the reality that we are broken, and that in our own strength we are unable to be the people that God created us to be. In this beatitude Jesus introduces the idea of meekness. Meekness is a mixture of humility and gentleness that comes from realizing the truth about who we really are, how desperate we are for Jesus, and that we don’t have to keep pretending to be something we are not and that we can trust God in every aspect of our lives. I like what someone said to me after last week’s message, we are a beautiful mess. Jesus demonstrated what meekness looks like as He washed His disciple’s feet.
John 13:1-17 (NIV)
1 It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. 2 The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” 10 Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. 12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Jesus knew who He was. He knew where he came from and where he was headed, so He did not care about “position”.
It is important to know who you are in Him. That you are His beloved, His child, the apple of His eye, His workmanship (poema, His poem). You are loved with an everlasting, unconditional, amazing love, by your heavenly Papa. You are indeed His beautiful mess.
This is the essence of meekness. It allows us to be settled in His love for us so that we can stop striving to try and be something we are not. In the peace that comes from stopping the striving we can begin to thrive and find real life by living in and for Jesus. Let’s look at what happens when Jesus goes to wash Peter’s feet.
John 13:6-8 (NIV)
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
We know from Luke 22 that during this last supper the disciples were still arguing amongst themselves about which one of them was considered to be greatest.
Luke 22:24 (NIV)
24 Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.
Here is the deal, the wash basin and towel were sitting there, and they needed to have their feet washed, but that was the job of the lowest of servants. The disciples were all sitting there full of themselves, and so Jesus gets the towel and the bowl. Peter’s response is, Jesus, I don’t want you to wash my feet, I want one of these other guys to do it. Knowing who you are in Him allows you to thrive, to live, instead of striving to be something, that even if you achieved it would still not be life giving.
2. The meek will inherit the earth
This statement really contradicts what we would say to be correct in terms of our culture. Culturally it is to the strong goes the spoils. The culture thinks in terms of power, ability, self-promotion, aggressiveness. The more you push and assert yourself the more likely you are to succeed. But Jesus says the opposite. In this beatitude Jesus is paraphrasing Psalm 37, which was our scripture reading. The Psalm tells us that instead of striving in our own strength, we need to:
Psalm 37:3 (NIV)
3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Psalm 37:4 (NIV)
4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:5 (NIV)
5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
Psalm 37:7 (NIV)
7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
The Psalmist goes on to say that living this way results in “inheriting the land” and “living in great peace”. Inheriting the earth means that you don’t have to be afraid of anybody or anything because God is in control.
You can settle in who you are and in His love for you. You don’t have to strive, you can thrive in His rest and peace. Life isn’t found in circumstances, it is found in living for Him. You can trust in Him to take care of you and then you can experience life as you live for Him.
When you are meek, you stop being consumed with living for yourself and you start living for Him, and that is where you experience the full and abundant, now and forever life that Jesus came to give us.