About Us. Potluck and Bible Study

Dear Church family,

    Please join us for our Potluck today at 1:30 in the Fellowship Hall at Pineda Presbyterian Church followed by a short video lecture from Dr. John Lennox entitled: Science & God – The Two Mistakes We Make.  

With his Scottish accent and occasionally use of colloquialisms, Dr. Lennox can sometimes be difficult to understand. 😊 However, Fred Legg has taken the time to write out a transcript of his entire lecture, and copies will be available to everyone tomorrow as we watch the video. There will be time for a short discussion afterwards. See you there!

 

Your Pastor and brother,

Steve Schantz

lease join us for our monthly Potluck and Bible Study this Sunday, May 19th, starting at 1:30 pm in the Fellowship Hall at Pineda Presbyterian Church.

 

Your Pastor and brother,

Steve Schantz


Grace Communion Melbourne – 1st, 3rd, and 4th Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

 Meeting @ Pineda Presbyterian Church 5650 N. Wickham Rd


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James 4:6-10, 13-17 & James 1:5-8

The Eternal Wisdom of Humility

(or “The Humility of the Eternal’s Wisdom)

 

Scripture Readings:

 

James 4:6-10  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you…

 James 4:13-17 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.                                      

     Good morning, church and happy Mother’s Day to all of our Mom’s! This morning, we are in week 6 of our series from the book of James. And it would seem entirely appropriate for me as a Dad and as a Grampa, that when speaking on Mother’s Day on the topic of Humility, my words should be few. In fact, I should probably just shut my mouth now while I’m ahead!  But James has wisdom for all of us. Young and Old, Men and Women, Parents and Non-parents, Rich and Poor…His book is basically a form of wisdom literature cast in a New Testament setting. Here we are given so many practical gems wrapped in challenging instructions, and all of it pointing us toward the only one who can redirect the course of our thoughts, our words, our actions, and our lives.

       Some of you may remember from English Literature class a character by the name of Uriah Heep who Charles Dickens created to be a thorn in Davee Copperfield’s side in his novel David Copperfield from the mid 1800’s. (Not to be confused with the English Rock Band Uriah Heep from the early 1970’s.) In this novel Uriah Heep is an unctuous villain. He sneaks around behind everyone’s back making sure they come to ruin so that he can own them all in the end. The young Copperfield is wise beyond his years, and yet at times taken in by Uriah’s ingratiation, his false humility, and his manipulative scheming. But let’s hear for a moment from Uriah himself as he explains how his kind of humility has gotten him ahead:

 3265c4f9-e1da-443f-ab90-58628b83d383But how little you think of the rightful umbleness of a person in my station, Master Copperfield! Father and me was both brough up at a foundation school for boys; and mother, she was likewise brought up at a public, sort of charitable, establishment. They taught us all a deal of umbleness- not much else that I know of, from morning to night. 

 We was to be umble to this person, and umble to that; and to pull off our caps here, and to make bows there; and always to know our place, and abase ourselves before our betters. And we had such a lot of betters! Father got the monitor-medal by being umble. So did I. Father got made a sexton by being umble. 

 He had the character, among the gentlefolks, of being such a well-behaved man, that they were determined to bring him in. ‘Be umble, Uriah,’ says father to me, ‘and you’ll get on.’ It was that what was always being dinned into you and me at school; it’s what goes down best. Be umble,’ says father, ‘and you’ll do!’ And really it ain’t done bad!”

      Thank you Uriah! Well spoke! You have probably heard the expression that Pride is deceitful… From a biblical perspective, pride cannot grasp what humility is. In the same way that I can’t change my heart, or control my tongue, nor have wisdom without going to its source, of myself, I can’t be humble - and neither can you! So we find ourselves instructed from the scriptures to do something, to BE SOMETHING, which is impossible for us to DO or to BE without the power of the Resurrected Christ living in us! God loves to command His people to do things that only He can do for them and in them! Today’s text reminds us that humility comes to us by God’s Grace…. Like repentance, and like faith, it is the gift of God, and can only come from Him.  This is Big Idea number 1:

     Humility is not a self-imposed project. It can only be experienced where Christ is Lord.

     “Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you.” - Andrew Murray, Humility

       We don’t grow and overcome by self-absorbed and self-focused sin management programs, but rather by keeping our eyes on Christ! There is only one way to ‘humble ourselves’…As the Apostle Peter writes:  1 Pet 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God.

   Someone speaking from this pulpit once said: “It shouldn’t surprise us when the world acts like the world” … Our world runs on pride. A Hollywood Diva is handed the Golden Globe award and all the who’s who of acting and directing and producing movies in the audience begin applauding. Then there follows the awkward monologue of Thank-You’s where she credits everyone including an assistant stage-hand for all of her life’s achievements. We often hear the syrupy false humility just oozing. But occasionally, we see a movie or catch a line of script spoken by an actor containing some redeeming value. Some universal truth written into the actor’s lines.

   Some of our older movie fans may remember Clint Eastwood in the ‘70’s movie Magnum Force.  He’s in character as Sargent Harry Callahan. Hal Holbrook is playing Lt. Briggs, a nefarious crooked cop.  In the final scene, Lt. Briggs believes he is making a clean getaway, not realizing the trunk of his getaway car is loaded with dynamite. The car lifts off the ground in this massive explosive, and Lt. Briggs with it. Harry is standing at a distance, unfettered, eyes slightly squinted, taking in his enemy’s demise. And then, this universal truth comes from his pursed lips: A man’s got to know his limitations.”

     It’s true for all of us. Jesus, as God in the flesh, knew the limitations of His flesh… He was like tempted as each of us- yet without sin. But do we recognize our own limitations when it comes to humility? My corrupted nature conjures ideas of myself that are not objectively true. In fact, most of the thoughts we have of ourselves would be more accurately applied to God rather than to ourselves! Left to our own devices we tend to grow in pride and arrogance rather than in humility. Because pride doesn’t have a reverse gear, it has no self-correcting software! Pride cannot produce humility, even as death cannot produce life, without Jesus! Let’s consider for a moment James story as a half-brother of Jesus. Just a bit earlier in his life this same James, along with his brothers, could not grasp the kind of humility he is calling us to in this book. In the opening verse of John’s Gospel, chapter 7, we find Jesus traveling about in Galilee, but avoiding Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him. We pick up the story here as the Jewish Feast of Booths, or Tabernacles, is at hand.  Jewish families, including Jesus family, traveled together in caravan style for this 8 day festival. Donkeys were laden with their festival tithes and goods…10% of their annual agrarian income was saved up for these festivals. They were commanded assemblies. At a minimum, all adult males were to appear before the Lord their God. The Feast of Booths was the culmination of the Fall Festival season, timed after the Fall harvest. You can find the details in Leviticus 23:39-43 & Deuteronomy chapter 14. It was a joyous celebration. In fact, God commanded them to enjoy the choicest foods and beverages, and to share them with others! Reading from Deut 14:26 Use the silver to by whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice. 27 And to not neglect the Levites living in your towns, for they have no allotment or inheritance of their own.

    But Jesus held back because his life was being threatened. It’s a bit hard to celebrate when some of the local event planners want you dead!  His time had not yet come to pour out the wine of his blood for our sins. Reading now from John c

  John 7:3 So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. 4 For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly.  If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For not even his brothers believed in him. (ESV)

     But Jesus would not compete on the world’s terms for the Kingdom His Father would give him. But rather as humble, obedient, even suffering servant. Any man who would not seek a following of his own for his own purposes was foreign to his brother’s thinking. Jesus said, “I can do nothing of myself”  So his brothers were taunting him- challenging him: “Hey if you want really want to be somebody, let everyone know it! Common, throw your hat in the political ring - Go for it Jesus! Compete for it! You want the Kingdoms of this world to be yours, fight for them! IF this is who you really are.”  Jesus’ response in verse 6:

    John 7:6 Jesus said to them, My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. 8 You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.”

     The timing wasn’t dangerous for his brothers. His unbelieving brothers would face no opposition in Jerusalem. Thus, any time is good for them to go up. They were still conformed to the world of 1st Century Jewish life, not yet transformed by the risen Christ. The world doesn’t hate its’ own… Jesus’ brothers urged him to go along to get along. Because in the world, pride squares off with pride all the time. It’s the world’s universal language. We compete with pride, we do business with pride, we live with pride, and we die with pride! Verse 10 then concludes with, “But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private.”  Of course he would- just a bit later. It was a commanded assembly, and Jesus was an obedient Jewish male!  Sometimes I wonder where he was and who he hung out with when he arrived after the Festival had started?  Perhaps the writer of this gospel account, since he relates these details to us. So by the time James writes the book of James, the Holy Spirit has come to the Church, and James has learned humility from his risen Savior! The same man who said:

      Matt 11:29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

     So how do we get a handle on Biblical humility? In one sentence John Calvin describes five characteristics of humility. The first three are negative, and the last two are positive:

     “That man is truly humble who neither claims any personal merit in the sight of God, nor proudly despises brethren, or aims at being thought superior to them, but reckons it enough that he is one of the members of Christ, and desires nothing more than that the Head alone should be exalted.”  (Calvin’s Commentaries, Vol XVI)

    A humble person does not claim merit before God. He does not despise or look down on other brothers and sisters. He does not aim at being thought of as superior to them. He does find contentment in being a member of Christ’s body, and he does desire that Christ Jesus alone be exalted. Author and Pastor John Piper was asked about Godly humility in an interview in 2020, and he said:

 “I try to get on my knees once a day, just for ten seconds or longer, and say, “I just wanted to remind myself, Lord, I’m not God.” And I’m done. That may seem strange, but there it is. I think the very essence of humility is to speak and act in a way that says, “I’m not God.” That is the heart of humility for created humans. I’m not God; I’m under God.”  - (Interview with John Piper, “Is God Humble?”, April 2020)

   The development of Godly humility in us is necessary because the very nature of sin distorts our self-identity!   And so, we move into BIG IDEA number 2:

 Biblical Humility is not weakness. It is not shirking our God given responsibility, our calling, nor the authority and power God provides for us in living out our calling. Biblical humility has a bold side to it.   CS Lewis put it this way: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less.”

 There is wisdom here which shy’s away from pride and embraces humility. Let’s read our secondary text for today’s message in James 1:5-8

 James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

    Cowardice sometimes wants to hide behind false humility as a cloaking device.  Shirking or shrinking from our God given authority is not humility! Godly Humility Takes Courage! It is swimming upstream…It is yielding to God and obeying God’s no matter what anyone else thinks!

 A little over 40 years ago, 44-year-old Russian Lieutenant Col. Stanislov Petrov of the Soviet Air Defense Forces faced a personal crisis.

 A person in a uniform

Description automatically generated  Col. Stanislov Petrov – Soviet Air Defense Forces

     The date is slightly after midnight, Sept. 26, 1983. Tensions between the free world and the Soviets are already high as they had just shot down a civilian Korean jetliner as it passed over Soviet Air space, killing all 269 passengers and crew. On that September evening Petrov had settled into his commander's chair inside a secret bunker known as Serpukhov-15. The Soviet military upper echelon entrusted Petrov’s team with monitoring their early-warning satellite system. Suddenly - the alarms go off. Their system detected what appeared to be five approaching U.S. nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles. On the panel in front of Petrov a red button pulsated. One word flashed: "Start." (nechanet). Petrov was faced with a critical choice that had to be made in a matter of seconds: treat the warning as a false alarm, or alert his superiors, who would likely launch a counterattack. He had little time to think, recalling later, "for 15 seconds, we were in a state of shock. We needed to understand, what's next?"

    One report of a lone rocket launch would normally not go immediately up the chain to Krokus, the general staff and the electronic command system there. But it looked like a missile salvo was on its’ way, and data was coming in so quickly that an alert had already gone to general staff headquarters, even before Petrov could verify whether the threat was genuine. In the 1980’s the nuclear "suitcase" with a remote-control role for upper leadership decisions was still under development, so Petrov’s decision and timing would be critical… consoles are flashing – with a phone in one hand and juggling the intercom with the other, attempting to take in all the information at once. Later he said, “I had a funny feeling in my gut. I didn't want to make a mistake. I made a decision, and that was it."  Less than five minutes after the alert began, Petrov decided that the launch reports must be false.

     Later he would comment: “If the United States really were to start a nuclear war, it would do so with more than five missiles.” He was correct. The Soviet satellites had mistaken the reflection of the sun off clouds for attacking missiles. Was he praised for finding that their own systems had failed them? No - Petrov was reprimanded, allegedly for faulty documentation during the key moments. Soviet officials treated the incident as a secret until well after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

A person in a suit holding a statue

Description automatically generated The Man Who Saved the World

Dresden Peace Prize, 2013     Association of World Citizens award, 2006

   Before Petrov died in 2017, he received international praise, earning the 2013 Dresden Peace Prize and a 2006 award from the Association of World Citizens. In 2014 he was the focus of a documentary entitled “The Man Who Saved the World”.

     This true story from recent world history because reminds us that Humility isn’t side stepping uncomfortable realities or tough decisions. It isn’t just adjusting our sails every time the wind changes, or caving in to what others think we should do. In much the same way the blessing of meekness is not the same as weakness. Humility is an attribute often summoned under the most stressful of circumstances!  Paul speaks to us about the man who really did save the world:

 Phil 2:8 “Being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

     From John Piper’s interview again: “… the God-man, in his perfect humanity, could be humble, and was. And in that sense, has taken the beauty of humility into the Godhead. For Christ, the God-man, will always be God and man forever.” – Interview with John Piper, “Is God Humble?”, April 2020

    Humility involves taking up our God given responsibility, our calling, as well as the authority and power God provides for us in order to live out that calling. From the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam & Eve a charge over this earth and the life on earth saying you shall “dress it and keep it”.  This was a command to be good stewards. God delegated a responsibility to them that had consequences. Even details like the naming the animals that GOd had created was given to Adam. In a different setting, another response that requires a committed bold humility comes to all who would be married.  “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church” - “Submit to one another in love.”  Those who are married know this humility is not passive, but active and intentional! Married men and women have this authority entrusted as a beautiful responsibility. As Christ followers we call on the help of our Heavenly Father to fulfill God’s desire for our families with the power of the Holy Spirit. On this Mother’s Day, just as on Father’s Day, parents are entrusted with their children’s welfare by God’s design.  We are to walk humbly, but we must walk the walk!

    The centurion who encountered Jesus in Matthew chapter 8 had servant in his household who was sick unto death. He didn’t need Jesus to come to his house to believe that the impossible was possible. This soldier did not care what his fellow centurions or those who served under him thought. All he sought was God’s approval, no matter who shook their heads at him. Jesus mattered more in that moment.  How often do we choose the favor and acceptance of others and let go of honest humility because it might be uncomfortable?

 But those who spent time with Jesus remind us that we can be clothed with this kind of humility, by God’s doing! This sermon is titled “The Eternal Wisdom of Humility”. But it could also be titled: “The Humility of the Eternal’s Wisdom”. The Apostle Paul writes to the church at Philippi, he writes to the Church at Ephesus, and he writes to the church at Colosse about the importance of Christlike Humility:

 Phil 2:3-4 “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

 Eph 4:2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.

 Col 3:12-14 “Therefore, As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved…. Clothe yourselves with….. humility”

       God develops humility in us as we depend on Him, become willingly vulnerable to others, and think of ourselves less. The natural result of pride is that a fall is coming… the unnatural result of Godly humility is that, by His Grace, a miraculous rise is coming – and Jesus will be the one raising the humble up! Matt 23:10-12 “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”



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Who We Are

Grace Communion Fellowship Group is a small group that meet to have bible studies, enjoy Sermons / Christian videos / Audios, have potlucks and enjoy one another's company. Are you looking for this kind of setting? Come join us.

Grace Communion International is a mosaic of churches and Fellowship Groups knit together in grace. Our goal is Spirit-led, life-giving relationships by which mature followers of Jesus are multiplied around the world.

We Believe

We believe that theology should be rooted in the Bible, especially the New Testament. The theology we believe is often referred to as Trinitarian Theology due to its emphasis on the relational nature of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

When The Holy Spirit Speaks the Church Must Hear Him

In the Book of Acts Luke shows a new chapter in the New Testament Church and that the Apostle Paul was not a renegade and started his own new religion called "Christianity", He shows how the Apostle Paul worked close with the Apostle at Jerusalem, love...

Plan Your Visit Grace Communion Fellowship Group is a small gathering that enjoys sermons, bible studies, videos, and audios ---encouraging group participation and communion with each other. 2nd Sundays we have a Potluck/Bible Study @1:30pm. Come join and grow with us. We will save a seat for you.

1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th Weeks Sunday 2:30 PM

Pineda Presbyterian Church
5650 N Wickham Rd
Melbourne, FL 32940-7333

 “We’re glad to share the ministry Christ has given us at Grace Communion Melbourne Fellowship Group through this blessing of internet technology. Grace Communion Melbourne Fellowship Group is a Christ centered fellowship Group which encourages believers to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to use their spiritual gifts for God’s service. We hold to the essential truths of the historic Christian faith in response to the Triune love of the Father, through the Son, and by the Spirit. For more information about our parent denomination, Grace Communion International, (GCI) please select this link. Grace Communion International (gci.org) I invite you to take a few moments and get to know us better. If you are traveling through the Central Florida area, please join us for worship. Thanks for visiting!”

 

On the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sundays - Worship Services at 2:30pm. Note: 2ndSunday a Potluck and Bible Study (1:30pm Potluck and 2:30pm Bible Study)

Communion Services 1st Sunday


Contact Us

 

Pastor Steve Schantz

(321) 759-7367


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