Summary: If we truly want to grow in our relationship with Christ, we must allow Him to deal with the issue of pride.
I. I would like to begin this morning, by asking you, “What is the most difficult thing you have every undertaken to accomplish?”
A. As you think about that question, maybe your mind goes to,
1. The workplace,
a. Maybe a difficult task that your boss gave you, or
b. Maybe even training and preparing for your vocation, or maybe you are thinking
2. Raising children,
a. Certainly training and raising children is not picnic at times.
3. Maybe it is in your role as a husband or wife.
B. Now let me ask the question in another way; “What is the most difficult task you have undertaken in the spiritual realm?”
1. Maybe some ministry that you thought was beyond your abilities.
2. Maybe it was in the area of exercising faith,
3. Maybe it was when you anticipated that God was going to do one thing in your life, and it actually turned out that something else happened.
II. For me, one of the most difficult things I have had to do in the “spiritual” realm was to pray for the people and the ministry of my former church.
A. I had spent almost 5 years in that place, believing God was going to build something great.
B. For six months, during the “honeymoon” phase, things seemed to go well, and then for the next 4 or so years, I often felt as if that church was inhabited by everyone except God.
C. In my humaness and pride, after I resigned, it was very difficult to not hope that that church would lock it’s doors.
1. Who were they to treat me that way?
2. Why couldn’t they see what God wanted to do in the middle of Levittown; through them?
3. Well, if they were going to resist God that way, they deserved to close.
4. Then God said,
a. “Pray for them.”
b. “Desire that I bless them.”
c. “Pray most especially for those that were the most negative towards you.”
D. What? Pray? Desire to see them blessed.
1. That was not easy to do,
2. It was almost as if I didn’t want to see God recognized there.
E. Today, that church still stands.
1. From what I understand, it’s not a lot different than it was those years ago, BUT,
2. In fact, I went back there a couple of weeks ago for a funeral service for the father of a member there.
3. From time to time, I still pray for them.
III. Pride can be a terrible thing.
A. Pride be the cause of a gnawing, dissatisfaction with life.
B. Pride can be the cause of loss of relationship.
C. Proverbs 16, verse 18 says that pride sets us up for an eventual fall. - “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
IV. I believe our passage this morning is teaching that
A. It was a lack of pride that allowed John the Baptist to honor Christ, first.
B. In fact, verse 22 seems to be saying in part at least, “Pride is one of the first things that Christ dealt with in his disciples.
C. And this morning, I would like to share with you how to deal with the issue of pride, and grow closer to Christ in the process.
Become a Disciple of Christ
22 After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He was spending time with them and baptizing.