Summary: This is the second of three sermons preached for the series "Reality Room." Using reality TV has a hook to talk about real issues, not contrived or assisted TV scenarios.
“HUMILITY IN A ME WORLD”
INTRODUCTION TO SERMON:
I want to start today by telling you a story. This story was told at a dinner party 2,000 years ago. Jesus had been invited to the home of a very prominent religious guy in the community known as a Pharisee. Now, the Pharisees were extremely religious and pious people, very proud of following all their rules and regulations. They primarily did it so that they could be seen by other people, so that others could applaud them for their goodness. So they loved the way people looked at them when they went through their long ritual prayers, when they wore their Gucci robes, when they flashed their season tickets to the synagogue, when they made a big deal out of their giving so others could see it, when they used their titles and their Rolex hourglasses to remind people that they were better than everybody else. Purposefully, created this distance between them and others.
So, this Pharisee had invited some other Pharisees and Jesus to join him for a dinner party in his home. Now at dinner parties in those days, the table arrangement was in a horseshoe shape. And it was the custom at the dinner party for the host to be seated in the middle of the head table and then the most honored guests were seated to the right and the left of the host, and the other members of the dinner party were seated on around the table in order of descending importance. So Jesus attends this dinner party, and he notices as people arrive, that there is this mad scramble to get the seats of honor up next to the host. They want to be seated next to the host; they want to be in the top spot, they want to be next to that place of honor. And when he sees that it prompts him to tell this story, this parable that we have printed for you in Luke 14. Jesus says in vs:8- “If you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t always head for the best seat. What if someone more respected than you has also been invited? The host will say, ‘Let this person sit here instead.’ Then you will be embarrassed and will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table!”
Jesus says to imagine that you go to a dinner party. You get there early and you make a mad scramble to get the seat of honor. You swoop past everybody else, get the place up there and sit down feeling real good, wave at all the little people seated out at the end of the table. A little bit later, after it begins, the host comes to you, taps you on the shoulder, and says, “Excuse me, I’m sorry. You’re in someone else’s place. I’m going to have to ask you to move.” And now all the other seats have been filled, except the place at the end of the table. How embarrassing! You’re not waving at anybody now! You are the little people! Then Jesus applies this to everyone who’s attending the party, saying in vs:10 “Do this instead - sit at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place than this for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. For the proud will be humbled, but the humble will be honored.”Reminds me of another saying: “He who gets too big for his britches will eventually be exposed in the end.”
Let me ask you: Why does Jesus make such a big deal about this pride issue? Why is it as you leaf through the pages of Scripture that you find over and over again that God feels and reacts strongly to pride? Pro. 16:5 says, “God can’t stomach arrogance or conceit...”(Msg) Psa 101:5- “I will not tolerate anyone with a conceited look or arrogant heart.”(GW) James 4:6: “God sets Himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble.”Why does God feel so strongly about pride, arrogance and ego, and why does the Bible consistently call us to the contrasting virtue of humility? I want to suggest to you this morning that the reason this is such a big deal to God is that he knows the ugliness of pride and the damage that it’s doing in business arenas, political arenas, educational arenas, in families, between friends, even in churches. So, let’s look at the burdens or harm that pride brings and then look at Jesus’ solutions.
I. BEARING THE BURDEN OF PRIDE:
First, the burden pride creates when we allow it to get out of control. I think all of us understand that pride wrecks relationships. In fact, let’s do a little survey. How many of you love to be around people with big heads? Just raise your hands. How many of you said today, “I can’t wait to go out to lunch after church with a conceited jerk!”Of course not! No one likes prideful people. And the Bible has been telling us what pride does to relationships for thousands of years. Proverbs 13:10: “Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” I know long time friendships that have dissolved into pieces because one or both parties can’t humble themselves and admit their mistakes. I’ve watched marriages break up because one or both of them has to win every argument, every decision. I know parents that can never admit that they made a mistake, and their kids grow up wounded and broken and resentful. I know people who silently struggle with a financial issue, a relational issue, an addiction issue, a moral issue, but they are too prideful to open up to somebody and say, “I’m in over my head, and I need help.” Pride. Pride. Pride. That kind of pride is destructive and kills relationships.