Summary: The fourth and final message in a series on the Apostles.
Ok, we got today’s very important birthday taken care of.... so let’s get started as we wrap up our series of messages today on what we have been calling the C-Team...or those guys that we have come to call apostles...the ones that followed Jesus around during the entire time he was on Earth...the ones that he tasked with being his witnesses and started his church...and the ones that we hopefully have learned this month that were really no different than anybody else.... they were very average people...in today’s world they would be the plumbers, farmers, and other blue collar workers...hence the name we have given them...the C Team.
Let’s quickly recap what we have talked about this past month...first we talked about Peter and how he has often been ridiculed by others for his lack of faith and all he often got wrong...but we also pointed out that he was the only one who wasn’t afraid to get out of the boat. The next week we covered Nathaniel or Bartholomew and how he questioned whether or anyone notable could come out of Nazareth.... and how his buddy Philip simply brought him to Jesus to make his decision.... and last week we talked about Matthias...the one selected to fill Judas’ spot and how fulfilled the basic requirements that God had to complete his roster and we also talked about how we should not raise or lower God’s requirements ourselves...and today we conclude with a look at the apostle Paul. Maybe the best way to describe our series is that Peter and Paul are the bookends...we started with a "major" apostle and then talked about two very unfamiliar ones...and now we end with the man who I think is the most important one in the New Testament after Jesus.
As we begin today I want to ask you...are you familiar with the so called "seven deadly sins?" These sins are ones that many have been elevated.... they are viewed as being worse in some form or fashion than others. Included in this list are gluttony, envy, greed sloth, and....pride. So, someone, somewhere, ranked all the possible sins that one could commit and ranked among these "bad" sins is pride.... so, can you guess what we’re going to talk about today...did I give it away? That’s right...pride.
Webster...he defines pride this way: an inordinate self-esteem, delight or elation arising from some act, possession, or relationship, and a reasonable and justifiable self-esteem. All these definitions are for the same word...so, that makes me ask the question...is pride always wrong?
Let’s take just a minute and answer that question...what can we be proud of? Well, me personally, you know one thing I am proud of...the fact that I am Suzy’s dad. Another thing I am proud of is that me, an ugly old country boy married a beautiful lady...I am proud of my son even though I haven’t met him yet...I am also proud of being the minister of this church. I am proud of being a United States Marine...I am proud of the fact that I graduated from college...my sister and I are the first generation in my mother’s family that both kids in a family graduated from college. My cousins are well on their way...but we were the first. This is just the tip of the iceberg...I have so much in my life to be happy and proud about...so...because I feel this way...does that mean that I am committing one of the so called "seven deadly sins?" Does the fact that I experience pride...does that mean that I am sinful?
Let’s turn this around a little bit...what in your life are you proud of? Some of you...your in the same boat that I am in.you have a child you haven’t met yet to be proud of...others you have grandchildren and great-grandchildren to be proud of. For others...it might be your job...or maybe its your house...your car...you education...I am willing to bet that everyone of us have something in our lives to be proud of. So, the question returns...if you are proud of those things.... does that mean that you are living a life of sin and you have to give up your pleasure in them?
We’re going to answer that question today and we’re going to start in Philippians. So, those of you that have your Bibles with you turn over to the third chapter. We’re going to read that Paul...he had a lot of things to be proud about...here was a man who had it all going for him...if he lived today there would be some impressive set of initials after his name. Maybe it would be CEO...PhD...or something else. This was a man who was on his way to the top...yet...today we will read about his attitude toward those things. Again, we’re going to be reading out of Philippians chapter three...we’ll start with verse one and end with verse eleven.