Bow the Knee – An Introduction

Learning to Bow Our Heart before God

Psalm 95:6

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

DATE:  6 Jan, 2008  AM

PLACE: Bible Baptist Church of Ballincollig, Ireland


I.         Introduction (Psalm 95:6; Romans 2:28,29)


A.      We live in a time of a very Messed Up Christianity


1.        Many “Christians” are comfortable living sinful lives in direct disobedience to the word of God

2.        When they do worship, their “worship” is so full of themselves, and not of the Holy Spirit


a.        Wrong approach – showing off

b.       Wrong heart – hiding real issues and sins

c.        Wrong effect – a lot of heat and action, but no life change


3.        What’s Missing?


B.       The “Wall”


1.        People can fake worship of God – they do it all the time in all religions!

2.        Something is stopping people from true worship

3.        It is MORE than sin…

4.        It is our pride of self

5.        It is a very real wall! And it is killing Christians, in their homes, at Church, in their witness! It is like a disease, or a plague!


C.       The Spirit of God must change the heart. And the greatest proof of that change is a bended knee! Oh that we yearned to know and live this truth this year!


II.       Message – Bow the Knee – an Introduction to the Soft Heart


A.      Its Meaning – What are we talking about? Humility


1.        To GENUFLECT is to 'bow the knee'; to go down on one knee.


a.        It is the most profound and solemn form of bowing. The next most solemn form is a bow from the waist. Finally there is the simplest form in which the head alone is inclined slightly forward and down.

b.       In Great Britain anyone who has been in a courtroom will have seen how the officials have to nod, or bow the head to the judge or magistrate when they pass in front of him. The same is true of people who are introduced to the Queen; they curtsey or bow. In this way they are saying that what the person stands for, or represents, is worthy of their highest respect. How much more is God worthy, not only of our respect, but of the worship of our souls! And it involves more than just a casual nod!

c.        Not really talking about physically bowing our knees, but that is not a bad thing! It is actually very awesome to see grown men and women visibly humbled and yielded! But it must be an act of the heart!


2.        The word “humble” means to be subdued, be brought down, be low, be under, be brought into subjection.  The position of humility is found on one’s knees.  Why is that?  When one is on his knees, he is at a position that he can not really defend oneself.


a.        Bowing the knee means entire submission. Yielded, soft, flexible. Oh, it is a strange salvation that knows nothing about daily submission to Christ Jesus the Lord. Not this fierce, heady, stiffnecked, stubbornness that is the hallmark of our modern culture!

b.       Bowing the knee means willing service. The most outstanding conversion in the history of the church -- the great Apostle Paul -- is recorded in Acts 9. It is interesting to note his two questions in verses 5, 6: "Who art thou, LORD?" and, "What would you have me to do?" He was a willing servant.

c.        Bowing the knee means obedience. Jesus said in Luke 6:46: "Why call me Lord, Lord and do not the things that I say?"

d.       Bowing the knee means yielding, no longer resisting God, repenting.

e.        Bowing the knee means ownership. If He is my Lord He owns me lock, stock and barrel. When sinners bow to His Lordship they not only get saved but their pocketbook gets saved also. The Bible says we are bought with a price. He owns us (I Cor. 6:19, 20). 


3.        In simple words, to “bow the knee” means, having a soft, yielded, very flexible approach towards God – so that He need not push or prod you to do His will, His way! No matter if He is chastening you, or just instructing you, you yield and accept His work in your life!

4.        We all know how to bow the knee (PICTURE OF MAN COLLAPSED OVER LAPTOP THAT JUST CRASHED).

5.        The problem and challenge is to us to the place where we only bow the knee to Jesus Christ as Lord


a.        When you want to yield and give in to temptation – bow the knee

b.       When you feel depressed under life’s pressure – bow the knee

c.        When you feel like getting angry and staying angry, don’t yield to anger… bow the knee!

d.       When you struggle with memories and find it easy to just quit… bow the knee!


B.       Its Master (Philp 2:5-11) – The Lord Jesus Christ


1.        In Philippians 2:5-8, Paul gives us the steps of our Lord's humiliation


a.        From deity, to poverty

b.       From heaven to dirt

c.        From all praise to public rejection

d.       From miraculous works, to bruised and torn flesh

e.        From heaven’s glory, all the way down to servanthood, and then to rejection, and then to torture, and then to death – even the death of the cross!


2.        And then in 2:9-11 he speaks of His exaltation.


a.        Silent Resurrection

b.       Empty tomb

c.        Alive for evermore

d.       Ascension back into heaven

e.        Raised up to the right hand of God’s majesty

f.         His name now reigns – no greater name than that of Jesus! Greater than Alexander, Stalin, Eamon DeValera, Augustine, Plato, Socrates, Descartes, Charles Darwin, Stephen Hawkins, Albert Einstein, Amelia Earhart , Peter, Moses, Daniel, Adam, Bono, Nero, Motzart, Beethoven, and certainly greater than Bart Simpson!


3.        We are assured in Philippians 2 that all men will bow the knee and that every tongue will confess -- confess what? "That Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." Please note the words "every knee" and "every tongue". Won’t that be a great day?

4.        Truly, whether people will admit it or not, Jesus is Lord! He is the ONLY PERSON WORTHY of bowing and yielding to! And one day, all will admit it!


a.        At our Lord's birth the angels announced Him as LORD. Luke 2:11: "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour who is Christ the LORD." He is not only Saviour, he is LORD!

b.       The New Testament preachers preached Him as LORD. 2 Cor 4:5: "For we preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus the LORD." See the book of Acts, the sacred manual of evangelism. The word "Saviour" only occurs two times and "Lord" 92 times and "Lord Jesus Christ" 6 times and "Lord Jesus" 13 times. This should tell us something about their evangelism.

c.        In the New Testament sinners received Him as LORD. Col. 2:6: "As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the LORD so walk ye in Him."

d.       The dying thief accepted who He was -- Luke 23:42: "LORD remember me..."

e.        The adulteress woman in John 8 found bowed to He was. When Jesus asked her "Where are your accusers?" Her answer tells us clearly who He was: "No one, LORD."

f.         Doubting Thomas finally accepted who He was in John 20:28. He said, "My LORD and my God."

g.       Jesus Himself confirmed this point in John 13:13: "Ye call me Master and LORD and you say well for so I am."

h.       Paul tells us that the very reason Jesus died and rose again is that He might be LORD. Romans 14:9: "For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be LORD both of the dead and living."

i.         The first apostolic sermon should settle the question. Acts 2:36: "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." Peter makes it clear in no uncertain terms that Jesus is LORD by God Almighty's decree.


C.       Its Importance (1Peter 5:6)


1.        Bowing the knee allows the Lord to work, unhindered by YOUR will


a.        Jesus intends to be Lord of your home – that means YOU have to step down from that position! Stop being angry, and stop demanding your own way, and stop making life revolve around you, and instead lift up the Lord Jesus in your home-life

b.       Jesus intends to be Lord of your experiences – that means quit complaining, and giving up because life isn’t happening like you planned. Let Jesus take over. Give Him all authority to do what HE thinks best. Let Him prove Romans 8:28 really works!

c.        Jesus intends to be Lord of your purpose and plans – that means ask Him what to do tomorrow. That means allow Him to change your plans. Find your value is His purpose for your life!

d.       Jesus intends to be Lord of your failures and defeats. We love it when God leads us to victory, but is He not Lord enough to also lead you to defeat? The Bible says he is, and He has a perfect reason for it too! Bow the knee to Him even in the midst of loss and failure.


2.        Bowing the knee allows the Lord to bless you and your life unhindered by your efforts – no pride

3.        Bowing the knee allows the Lord to protect you. You are depending on His power, not yours. This is how you find the secret place of the most high! The first step to experiencing His protective power, is you bowing your knee, not the showing of your strength! And believe me, you need HIS strength!

4.        So humble yourself before God, and even in front of others!

5.        Know this – it won’t come easy!


D.      Its Enemies – Things that Attack Our Softness towards God (constantly stir up a hardness of heart and spirit)


1.        Self (Philp 2:3-5) The strength of SELF is unconquerable outside of collapsing. There is NO WAY for self to conquer and control self – it must be crumbled under the weight of a relationship with the LORD Jesus! God hates me taking credit for anything good in my life!


a.        Proverbs 6:16-19 “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

b.       Proverbs 16:5 “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD.”

c.        Proverbs 21:4 “An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.”

d.       Proverbs 8:13 “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”

e.        Proverbs 15:25 “The LORD will destroy the house of the proud.”

f.         These are just a few of the verses against pride in the Book of Proverbs only. 

g.       Pride in one’s life is like bad breath. You may be unaware of it most of the time, but everyone around you knows you have it.

h.       King Saul had this problem – stubbornness covered by his concern about what everyone thought – he wouldn’t bow the heart and repent

i.         King David almost had this problem with the sin in his life, but when confronted, he did crumble and bow not only his knee, but also his heart before God and repented!


2.        My Love of Sin stops me from yielding to God – so I usually go my own way, seeking my own pleasures and ignoring God’s commands and warnings

3.        Misunderstandings.


a.        Just because you get away with some things means nothing

b.       God’s longsuffering is not a good reason to continue in sin, and resist His dominion over you

c.        You WILL reap what you have sown – mark it down. God will honour your softness, or He will judge your stubbornness to His word!


E.       Its Effect – the effect of learning to Bow the Knee…


1.        It kills spiritual pride -- there will be no more so-called "spiritual Christians" as a super-class. None of us have “arrived” – we all bow the knee!

2.        It will exalt Christ back to His Throne, and give back to Him all His authority over us and our lives.

3.        It will encourage both saint and sinner alike, to know that as Lord, Jesus has power to save anyone, and the power to sanctify anyone.

4.        It will break sinners under the wrath of God, and bring them to Christ the right way – totally empty and devoid of any righteousness!



III.     Concluding Thoughts – there is so much more to come!


A.      Listen to these words from that Isaac Watts’ song, WHEN I SURVEY THE WONDROUS CROSS


When I survey the wondrous cross

On which the Prince of glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss,

And pour contempt on all my pride.


Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,

Save in the death of Christ my God;

All the vain things that charm me most—

I sacrifice them to His blood.


See, from His head, His hands, His feet,

Sorrow and love flow mingled down;

Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,

Or thorns compose so rich a crown?


Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were a present far too small:

Love so amazing, so Divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.


B.       People can fake worship of God – they do it all the time in all religions!

C.       Something is stopping people from true worship


1.        It is MORE than sin… It is our pride of self

2.        And it is killing Christians, in their homes, at Church, in their witness! It is like a disease, or a plague!


D.      The Spirit of God must change the heart. And the greatest proof of that change is a bended knee! Oh that we yearned to know and live this truth this year!

E.       We have looked at Its Meaning: Humility. To “bow the knee” means having a soft, yielded, very flexible approach towards God – so that He need not push or prod you to do His will, His way! No matter if He is chastening you, or just instructing you, you yield and accept His work in your life!

F.       We have looked at Its Master (Philp 2:5-11) – The Lord Jesus Christ, who humbled HIMSELF as our example.

G.       We have looked at Its Importance (1Peter 5:6). There is no blessing without a bended knee. Stubbornness, pride, hardness of heart have to be destroyed!

H.      We have looked at Its Enemies – Things that Attack Our Softness towards God (constantly stir up a hardness of heart and spirit) are our pride, our love of sin, and a basic misunderstanding that just because we get away with some things right now, means nothing – to bow the knee means to realise the sooner we get right, the less we have to answer for in the future!

I.         It all begins with the new birth, and it is maintained by yieldedness!


Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland