We do not revisit topics because of a lack material, but, because we come to church, we listen to lessons from Scriptures to hear relevant messages from God's Word that will help us, grow us, correct us and inspire us where we are now. That means honest discernment of what we read in God's Word and hear from His Spirit, as They apply to our lives, our attitudes, our views, our walk. That means we discuss a topic until it is no longer relevant and needed. That means we will discuss this topic until we get it—we will make this as practical, relevant, and direct as possible because Humbleness in our thoughts and actions is literally the foundation—the requirement for becoming a Christian: Matthew 5:3. The requirement for intimacy and blessings from God: James 4:6,10. And the requirement for growth and achievement as a Christian: Matthew 20:26-28. As a matter of fact, not one person was ever used of God in a positive and powerful way in Scriptures unless he was humble or made to be humble first.
Jacob was an arrogant deceiver—God had to humble him by trapping him in another's deception and causing him to fear for life. Joseph was an entitled little brat who was too confident in himself—God taught him how quickly he could become nobody and taught him how to serve rather than expect to be served. Moses was overly confident in his education and power to do God's work—God had to take away all of Moses’ own attributes before he could be used. Peter was arrogant in his own courage and faithfulness—God showed him how frail his courage and faithfulness were without the Spirit. And with all of this proof, all of these warnings, within our culture, humbleness is the least possessed, least coveted trait for which a man or woman could strive. Paul, who wrote 2/3 of the New Testament, gave up his life in service to Christ, suffered horribly, and died a martyr's death, yet still considered himself to be the "chief of sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15) and the "least of the apostles" (1 Corinthians 15:9). Sermons on pride today are always the hardest sermons to possibly teach because everyone who needs to hear it is usually so prideful, they feel the sermon is surely for someone else. Many who need this sermon today have probably already decided who they hope is listening right now so they can learn something.
So, our first big objective this morning is to recognize where a lack of humbleness is apparent in each of our own lives—where pride shows itself in our own thoughts and actions.
Do you feel no one could replace you, or do what you do when you are gone? In God's ministry, work or elsewhere. Do you focus more on your performance and ability than on God's work through you? Or even than the people your ability helps? Does a major portion of your media outreach include nothing but pictures and information about how special you are? What you are doing and how good you are at it? Does much/most of your conversation with others have to reflect back on self? What is going on in your life? What your accomplishments and experiences are/were? What your struggles may be? What all of your views, feelings or OPINIONS are, whether requested or hurtful? To the point you rarely hear, ask or care about their world? Do you spend more time intellectually contemplating the Great truths of God, than you do ever living them through love and serving? Are you quick to defend, quick to anger, or quick to find fault in retaliation if you are questioned or constructively criticized? Do you stay frustrated, hurt, offended or annoyed with people around you? Do you base your schedule and activities on what you want and desire, and then fill the remainder with what others may need, if possible? Do you even include others in that schedule? Do you lift yourself and your own abilities and accomplishments up so much in front of others, they don't have the chance to lift you up? Do you respect and submit to spiritual leaders, work supervision, coaches in sports, etc.? Do you find it hard to apologize or admit wrong? Do you find it impossible to be done even slightly wrong without coming out fighting? Without wanting the world to see your injustice and righteousness? Do you stay angry at God for how He works in your life? Do you worry more about your kids being offended or corrected by others, than you do teaching them respect for others? Do you have to be the one giving the advice, words of wisdom and correction in all situations?
If some of these symptoms are a part of your behavior, you are walking in pride, instead of humility. And if you are honest about it, this is the way it is affecting some of you in your lives. You are constantly having power struggles, arguments or very few close relationships with those around you: Proverbs 13:10; 2 Corinthians 3:5 ; Philippians 2:13. Your attitude of thankfulness for being used by God is probably non-existent: 1 Timothy 1:12-13. Your desire to work in a capacity to serve others is very low, because your time and talents are too valuable: Philippians 2:3-4. You have very little compassion and love for others because you are more focused on the compassion and love you should be shown. You spend much more time judging people than you do reaching out or changing people. You live with the constant competition and threat that someone will do well in your area of ability, rather than share and trust in your calling. You lose much of the reward that you could be accumulating from God for your actions because of the motivation: Jeremiah 17:10. You lose the power and intimacy of God in your life because He resists your attitude and turns from your prayers.
What will it take to make some of you realize that your every thought is about how you look, what people think, and especially how good or smart you are? How can you hope to serve and love God with this mindset? (Because pride is not the actions- but heart) You will never have the heart God desires. You will never be able to hear or discern God's will. You will never have a true desire to serve other people. You will never experience true love that brings sacrificial action.
As long as you are driven by self-focused pride. So many people in this church are disgusted by the “big” sins of society and even some of the church (homosexuality, adultery, drugs/drinking, etc.) But you need to put some things into perspective: Proverbs 16:5; Proverbs 8:13; James 4:6; Proverbs 16:18; Proverbs 18:12; Proverbs 16:19; Proverbs 6:16-17; Matthew 23:12; 2 Chronicles 7:14; 1 John 2:15-16. It doesn't matter how the world acts, or how you were raised, or what you think you have to offer that is so much better—you have God's Word—which is overwhelmingly expressive about His extreme hatred of pride; which calls pride not only a sin, but an abomination. You have the common sense to compare self to Truth. You have the Spirit to convict your heart. You have the humbleness of Christ to show the way. You have enough mercy and forgiveness given to you, to make you humble for eternity. If you are a Christian, and you still choose not to humble yourself before God and others you can be assured of two things in your future: 1) Separation from God in intimacy and power 2) Hard correction from God coming when you least expect it because He loves you too much to allow it to continue. And He loves the ones you are hurting too much to allow it to continue.
Here is the request—the challenge—be hungry enough for God, and honest enough to admit your pride. Pray for God to help you change. Take literal, physical action to help you change as you renew your mind through the Spirit. Stop talking about self, and genuinely be interested in other's lives.
Debate God's Truths all you want, but debate in sincere desire for Truth, not for intellectual prestige, and focus first on living for and loving on His people in the humbleness taught by His Word. Stop using social media to brag on yourself,
show yourself off, get glory and recognition, and tell of nothing but your opinions in life. Focus on Glorifying God and truly helping His people in your ministry, or get out of ministering because it is hurting you, them and God. Get over your feelings of irreplaceable worth in your field or ministry. Stop bragging about it; stop with the condescending attitude for others less skilled. For your own sake, stop thinking God's work will end if you aren't there. Stop disrespecting elders, supervisors, coaches, and authority in general. God says you don't have the right. Teach your children they are subject to, and respectful of authority. Stop forcing your opinions and preferences on other people if they are not Biblically based, just because you are special. Make yourself clearly see and understand once and for all that we are all equally loved and adored by our Lord; and that each person you see, was worthy in God's eyes, of spilling His own Blood to save; and that you are a broken, lost, selfish, evil person yourself without the love and power of God. Understand that your glory and exaltation in God's eyes is not determined by your skill, intelligence, or looks, but literally by your humble desire to love and serve others above self—exactly as Jesus Christ exemplified for us: Philippians 2:5-11. Every day that you go on in your arrogance and pride you hurt His Kingdom, yourself, and others, and you are headed for a big piece of, humble pie. You have to realize where you are, and make a conscious, radical change. Humbleness is literally real love in action. If you have no humility, what are you really lacking? It’s no wonder God calls it an abomination. Moses was one of the closest to God because he was humble. Can you start with the humility to admit your need?
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