Summary: Gleaned from several sermons at this website. Pride, envy, jealousy are hungry worms that eat us from the inside out.
A feast for Worms.
Point: We have heard it said “Pride comes before the fall.” It literally happens in this scene. The time is about 46 AD. This chronology might fit between the time Paul goes to Antioch and sending the famine relief to Jerusalem. Agrippa grew up in the Imperial family, his mother was Bernice. He is the grandson of Herod the Great, his father was Aristobulus.
Illustration: Look what I did.
Prideful people take credit for something others have done. Our text is about old King Herod, who, no doubt, thought he was high and mighty. Consider these thoughts about the high and mighty of all ages: 1- They throw their weight around 2- They portray themselves as great and they seek the praise of men 3- BUT...They are no match for God
Point 1. They throw their weight around.
A. Agrippa is in power as a favor to Claudius
B. His family were consummate politicians
C. He orders the execution of the guards.
He tries to win over the favor of the Jews in Jerusalem by having James executed and Peter imprisoned. People who like to throw their weight around are not concerned with justice, just how it makes them look.
Illustration: Farmer and the Police officer.
Point 2. They think of themselves as great and seek the praise of people
a. Agrippa is very egotistical
b. Higher than the Law. (illustration Pro Athlete and the Law)
c. Think about themselves, Talk about themselves, Listen greedily to what people say about themselves, Insist on consideration and respect, Demand agreement with their own views on everything, Sulk if people are not grateful to them for favors shown them, and never forget a service they may have rendered. Be sensitive to slights, be jealous and envious, and never forget a criticism.
d. Agrippa goes to Caesarea to be appeased, his ego had been mortally wounded.
a. He can manipulate these people
b. He can complain about how ungrateful the Jews in Jerusalem are
c. He did have James executed, but that was not enough
d. They may have helped Peter escape just to show him up.
It is all about them. They have the attitude, “enough of me talking about myself, you talk about me.”
In all this time, the worms were getting in place. Herod was being eaten from the inside out by pride, jealousy, envy and the like and did not know it. People filled up with Pride and Envy are rotting from the inside and don’t know it, or even care. When it is all about them their hearts are hard. When it is all about them, they go where they can get their ego stroked, they look for the places of honor. It is all about what they have done.
Steve Covey in his book “7 habits of Highly Effective People” says we should seek to understand instead of being understood. Highly Effective people put others first, seek the good of others before their own good, and they are successful because they become a people person. In the church, it is not about us it is about God, it is not what God can do for us, but what we can do for God.
The Bible tells us, if our attitude to be praised of men, we have already received our reward.
At Southeast Christian Church Leadership conference Bob Russell addressed the class by talking about the leadership at SCC. He talked about the teamwork the leadership had. He talked about the commitment they had to each other. He basically told us that Southeast was built by teamwork and by the grace of God. Pride would have him say “Look what I did here in Louisville” but humility tells of what God did through them. Agrippa pointed to himself.
Point 3. They are no match for God
A. Herod took the praise of men and turned himself to a god
B. He dressed the part.
C. He looked great on the outside, but inside he was rotten
D. Like burying a corpse in an Armani.
Pride comes before the fall. Pride has us eaten from the inside out without our knowing it. We may look good on the outside, but it is the inside that matters.
Instead of Peter being killed by Herod, Herod is struck down by God.
How can we protect ourselves from these worms?
1. Seek God first
2. Make everything about us to be about HIM
3. Focus on HIM
4. Give God the credit he deserves, take nothing for ourselves.
5. Seek God’s praise.
One Christian put it this way “When I die I will not be asked, ‘Why were you not like Peter or Paul or another great leader in the church?,’ I will be asked, ‘Why were you not yourself?’ ”