Summary: After praying for a message for 2016, I'm bringing a word to beware of pride as described for the most part in 2 Timothy 3:1 but using supporting texts also.
Pride in the Last Days
Introduction: Usually its typical and appropriate to preach about new beginnings and resolutions during the new year. I've done so in the past and reckon I will do so again -in the future but this year is different, perhaps because the times we live in are different. But after thoughtful consideration and prayer for the Lord to give me the message for the new year, I believe the word for 2016 is this: beware of the sin of Pride in the last days.
In his book “Journey to Hell” John Bunyan describes the life of Mr. Badman through the conversation of two observers, Mr. Wiseman and Mr. Attentive. Early in the conversation Mr. Attentive asks Mr. Wiseman what he thinks of these times. Mr. Wiseman then says “why, I think, primarily, that they are bad times, and bad they will be, until men are better; for bad men make bad times.” “If people, therefore, would change, so would the times.” Isn't it strange that as society drifts further from God, some believe that the church should follow suit to "win the lost" the truth is simply rhis: we must change for the better if we don't want those around us to change for the worse. Matthew Henry says that sin is what makes the times perilous. Indeed! . . . and its difficult to be a Christian in sinful times.
The times would be so bad that the apostle Paul tells Timothy to make a special note about it:
“But mark this:” In other words 'keep this in mind' because this is something you can be sure of, then he says, “There will be terrible times in the last days.” 2 Timothy 3:1
The word terrible is also translated perilous, difficult, hard, grievous etc. In the original Greek it is
'Chalepos' (khal-ep-os) and the intention behind this word is that the times will be very hard to bear, the times will be oppressive.
Paul then gives Timothy a revelation of the dominant characteristic in people during the last days in the next verse “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,” 2 Timothy 3:2
Transition: We will be using the word 'Pride' and 'self love' interchangeably this morning, as we analyze Pride, by asking four relevant questions, lets first begin with the obvious question: what makes Pride so dangerous?
The danger of Pride
Let's note that all godlessness flows from self love. Self-love makes the times dangerous. Everyone loves themselves to one degree or another. If we didn't love ourselves how could we Love our neighbor as we love ourselves? Believe it or not the self -loathing person can be just as difficult to love, because they insist on reading the worst into every situation. As a result you feel that you have to carefully monitor everything you say around them for fear of being taken out of context. They are bitterly angry if you don't encourage them but they don't believe you when you try. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to encourage those who reject your support. How do you love someone who won't receive it? According to Psychology Today the self-loather doesn't handle praise well, instead of just saying “thank you I appreciate that very much.” they either reject it (“No, I'm not that smart.”) or minimize it (“I had a good day it won't happen again.”) or divert it (“sure, but look how much better you did.”) So before we begin I want to be clear that I'm not telling you to hate yourself.
But this scripture is speaking of an irregular sinful self-love. They love themselves ONLY. People in the last days will love their carnal selves more than their spiritual selves so as a result they will want only to gratify their lusts. They will be lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God When men are lovers of themselves, you can't expect anything good from them. When everyone is only looking out for their own interests, it tempts others to do the same. It becomes increasingly difficult not to want to join them. “Well if everyone else is only going to care about themselves, then I'm only going to care about myself.” as a result this selfishness causes everyone to be defensive and constantly standing on guard against their friends, neighbors and even their own family for fear of offending them.
How do you give love to those who either don't want it or want nothing but it all the time? People will be lovers of themselves, like sponges always looking to soak in the love from others, but when everyone is soaking in, no one is pouring out. The dead sea is famous for the fact that nothing lives in it, because all the waters flow into it but nothing flows out of it. When we are always receiving and never giving there is NO life! And that will make the times dangerous and the Lord has shown me it will make 2016 a difficult year to be a Christian. If others are already full of their own love there is no room for anyone else's. Its not only that people will be lovers of themselves Paul says they will be 'boasters' - its strange that they want to impress those they despise or want to gain the approval of those they feel superior to anyway, but that's the danger of pride. Pride causes us to be out of touch with our fellow man; it causes us to want to take from him but never to give back to him.