Summary: A sermon using Spider-Man 3 as the sermon illustration.

Proverbs 11:1-3, 16:8; 29:23;

Psalm 10:4

“Pride Before the Fall”

Sermon Series: Spider-Man 3: The Battle Within

By: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor of Grace United Methodist Church, Soddy Daisy, TN

Pride, pride, pride…

…who of us have not had a problem with pride?

When we first meet Peter Parker in Spider-Man 3—a crime-free city is celebrating Spider-Man and awards him the key to the city—feeding Parker’s conceit and pride.

As the movie continues, Spider-Man learns the identity of his uncle’s killer—Flint Marko, who—by way of the usual freak accident has become a nebulous villain—The Sand-Man.

We’ll meet him a little later in the month of September.

When Peter Parker finds out who his uncle’s killer is—Mary Jane, Parker’s girlfriend becomes worried.

She comes to Parker asking if he needs any help.

“Okay. I get it,” Parker replies, “Thank you, but…I’m fine. I don’t need your help.”

To that, Mary Jane prophetically tells Parker, “Everybody needs help sometimes Peter—even Spider-Man.”

Immediately after that a black ooze attaches itself to Parker and his ultimate fall begins as he becomes infected by evil, giving in to a thirst for vengeance that threatens to take over, not only his Spider-Man suit, but his very soul.

Pride is the exaltation of self above others, and ultimately above God.

And it always leads to a fall!

But you know what?

The proud are often unaware of their condition.

When things start going really good…

…everything starts falling into place…

…it can be very easy to become prideful without even being aware.

And then, we do stupid things…

…at least I do.

I’ve made so many mistakes, tripped over myself so many times over the past six months it’s a wonder God still allows me to be a pastor.

I keep a journal, and I look back through it periodically.

In April of this year I wrote in my journal what I felt I heard God speaking to me about the ministry vision of this church.

I wrote down: “We seek persons with ‘messy lives’ and love them with God’s kindness, tolerance and patience which God shows to all.”

Later some of you folks helped me to reshape that vision statement a bit to where it is now: “We seek persons with ‘messy lives.’

Anyhow, just about a month to the day after writing down that vision statement a difficult challenge arose…

…and I was not able to deal with it correctly.

I blew it.

I was feeling so down on myself I could barely stand it, and I was driving my wife crazy with how down on myself I was.

We were headed out of town to my brother-in-law’s graduation from Asbury Seminary.

And that whole drive up there I was wearing what I call ‘my sackcloth and ashes’…that’s figurative not literal…

…It’s what they used to do in the Old Testament while in repentance—wear Sackcloth and Ashes.

Anyhow one of you called me while I was on that trip.

You knew I was having a rough time of it.

And this is what I wrote in my journal: The person I’m speaking about, “called me on our trip to Kentucky. She had called me yesterday as well.

She has strep throat.

I thought she was calling me about her situation.

She wasn’t.

In a marvelously grace-filled manner she was calling to see how I am doing (and in parenthesis I wrote down how I was feeling).

Thank you Jesus!,” I wrote that day, “You showed Yourself to me through one of Your disciples.

You let me know you love me through one who follows You!”

Pride comes before a fall, but the fall doesn’t have to go on for eternity.

For in Christ, it is my belief, that God allows us to be knocked off our high horse in order that we can learn better just how much we need to rely on God.

When I first told one of my colleagues about the ‘messy lives’ vision that person responded with: “Be careful what you ask for! If you are serious about this—you are in for one difficult ride.”

I have really been learning about just how ‘messy’ life can be!!!

And I guess that has to happen if I am going to be able to minister to others in the most effective way.

Sometimes people become proud of themselves even as they are helping others who are hurting or bound by some terrible burden.

Pride really is a slippery, creepy, and ugly thing!

In the 1997 film The Devil’s Advocate Keanu Reeves plays defense attorney Kevin Lomax who is defending a man, Mr. Gettys against a charge of child molestation in the small town of Gainesville, Florida.

During the trial, Kevin believes his client is guilty.

During a recess, Kevin looks at himself in the mirror and the entire movie is played out as if Kevin goes on and defends the man and wins…humiliating the young victim in the process.

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