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Sermon illustrations

Meekness

A Defining Grace

Meekness is a defining grace, produced by the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian, which characterizes that person’s response towards God and man. Meekness towards God is a spirit of submission to all of God’s dealings with us, especially those which cause us sorrow or pain, in the settled conviction that in all of these he is graciously, wisely and sovereignly working “for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28).

Meekness towards man means bearing patiently with the hurtful actions of others and dealing gently with their failures, not only in the assurance that all of these are under God’s providential control, but in the knowledge that, left to ourselves, we have no claim to be any stronger than the weakest of our friends or any better than the worst of our enemies.”

John Blanchard, Right with God, Banner of Truth.

A Humble and Gentle Attitude

It seems important to note that in the beatitudes ‘the meek’ come between those who mourn over sin and those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. The particular form of meekness which Christ requires in his disciples will surely have something to do with this sequence. I believe Dr Lloyd-Jones is right to emphasize that this meekness denotes a humble and gentle attitude to others which is determined by a true estimate of ourselves.

He points out that it is comparatively easy to be honest with ourselves before God and acknowledge ourselves to be sinners in his sight. He goes on: ‘But how much more difficult it is to allow other people to say things like that about me! I instinctively resent it. We all of us prefer to condemn ourselves than to allow somebody else to condemn us.’

Taken from The Message of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7: Christian Counter-Cultureby John R.W. Stott Copyright (c) 1985 by John R.W. Stott. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Meekness Consists of…

According to the Puritan pastor Thomas Watson, Meekness toward other people consists of three things: the bearing of injuries, the forgiving of injuries, and the returning of good for evil.

Thomas Watson, The Beatitudes, Banner of Truth.

The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth

These ‘meek’ people, Jesus added, ‘shall inherit the earth’. One would have expected the opposite. One would think that ‘meek’ people get nowhere because everybody ignores them or else rides roughshod over them and tramples them underfoot. It is the tough, the overbearing who succeed in the struggle for existence; weaklings go to the wall. Even the children of Israel had to fight for their inheritance, although the Lord their God gave them the promised land. But the condition on which we enter our spiritual inheritance in Christ is not might but meekness, for, as we have already seen, everything is ours if we are Christ’s.

Taken from The Message of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7: Christian Counter-Cultureby John R.W. Stott Copyright (c) 1985 by John R.W. Stott. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Not Interested in Being Meek 

A friend of mine who is an entrepreneur was listening to a CD of a series of messages I had given on the Beatitudes. When he came to meekness, he told me, he skipped over it. He wasn’t interested in being meek. Like most Americans, he thought of a meek person as someone who is timid, spineless, unassertive, and easily dominated or intimidated. Some readers will recognize these traits as exemplified in a cartoon character of bygone years, Caspar Milquetoast, who has been described as a man who speaks softly and gets hit with a big stick.

Jerry Bridges, The Blessing of Humility, The Navigators.

The Principle to Persuasive Christian Communication

In a statement created by Christian leaders across the world, the Lausanne Willowbank Report calls for church leaders to return to the humility and servanthood that Jesus manifested in His earthly ministry:

We believe that the principal key to persuasive Christian communication is to be found in the communicators themselves and what kind of people they are. . . . We desire to see . . . “the meekness and gentleness of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:1). . . . There is the humility to take the trouble to understand and appreciate the culture of those to whom we go.

It is the desire which leads naturally into that true dialogue “whose purpose is to listen sensitively in order to understand.” . . . We repent of the ignorance which assumes that we have all the answers and that our only role is to teach. We have very much to learn. We repent also of judgmental attitudes.

We know that we should never condemn or despise another culture, but rather respect it. We advocate neither the arrogance which imposes our culture on others, nor the syncretism which mixes the gospel with cultural elements incompatible with it, but rather a humble sharing of the good news—made possible by the mutual respect of a genuine friendship.

“Willowbank Report: Gospel and Culture,” Lausanne Occasional Papers 2 (Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, 1978), pp. 15-16.

The Virtue that Lies Beyond Heroism

God intended man to have all good, but in . . . God’s time; and therefore all disobedience, all sin, consists essentially in breaking out of time. Hence the restoration of order by the Son of God had to be the annulment of that premature snatching at knowledge, the beating down of the hand outstretched toward eternity, the repentant return from a false, swift transfer of eternity to a true, slow confinement in time. . . .

Patience [is] the basic constituent of Christianity . . . the power to wait, to persevere, to hold out, to endure to the end, not to transcend one’s own limitations, not to force issues by playing the hero or the titan, but to practice the virtue that lies beyond heroism, the meekness of the lamb which is led.

Hans Urs von Balthasar, A Theology of History (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1994), 36-37.

See also Illustrations on HumilityKindnessThe Kingdom of GodObedience