Summary: A textual sermon on 1 Corinthians 4:7 (Material adapted from Dave Swavely's book, Who Are You to Judge?, chapter 6 "Pride Questioned and Convicted)
C.S. Lewis said that the worst evil is pride. “According to many Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea bites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.”
3 times Jesus says in the gospels: “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12, NIV.
James and Peter both say, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”” James 4:6.
In these verses, Paul singles out pride and subjects it to a harsh interrogation. In vs. 7 he gives us 3 questions that should convict us of our pride. Like a criminal, our pride needs to be convicted, but also like a criminal (especially one with a good lawyer), it can be rather slippery and difficult to bring to justice. The difficulty with pride can be illustrated by a story from the life of the preacher Harry Ironside. When Harry was a young man, he realized that he had a problem with pride. So he went to the elders of his church and asked them what he should do about it. They suggested that he make a big sign saying, “Repent or Perish,” and walk up and down the busiest street in Chicago all day long, holding the sign. So Harry did what they suggested, and after enduring a whole day or mockery from the crowds, he thought to himself, “Hmmm, I’m a cut above many. Not everybody would have done that!”
If we do not win the fight with pride, we will likely become the kind of person who goes beyond what is written, because we will think too highly of our own opinions, and place them on equal footing with the Scriptures.
Thesis: Let’s look at these 3 questions of Paul in battling pride
For who makes you different from anyone else?
ESV says this: For who sees anything different in you?
Can be something like: Who in the world sees anything special in you? Who do you think you are? In modern slang Paul might say this: You think you’re so great? NOT!”
By the way this is sarcasm. Who regards me as superior? Only myself. Ask others around us and we will find that they do not hold the same opinion. Ask spouse to list weaknesses and we will not longer has illusions about our superior character.
Bob Dylan sang these words in his song “Positively 4th Street.” "I wish that for just one time, you could stand inside my shoes, and just for that one moment I could be you. Yes, I wish that for just one time You could stand in my shoes; You’d know what a drag it is to see you."
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Romans 12:3, NIV.
What do you have that you did not receive?
Now, wait a minute. I do have gifts and talents that are better than some others? okay.