Summary: Jesus addressed three kinds of pride: personal, social, and spiritual, any of which will hinder our spiritual life.
The Enemy Within: Pride. Prov. 16:18, 19
INTRO.: ILLUS.: The Monroe Chamber of Commerce has apologized to Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco after auctioning off a dinner with the governor at the governor’s mansion. "This was not a reflection of the chamber’s or the business community’s attitude toward the governor," said Chamber president Sue Edmunds. It’s not that they didn’t have permission to do the auction as a fund-raiser; the problem was, the bid only reached $1. (Shreveport Times) ...And that was still contingent on the governor picking up the tab.
That’s a pride-buster. If Gov. Blanco had any pride at all, it was dealt a fearsome blow.
The Bible also deals harshly with pride. Pride is a serious hindrance to spiritual life. I want to suggest the Bible deals with three kinds of pride of which we must beware.
I. Personal pride: Matt. 23:11, 12
A. The Pharisees and teachers of the Law:
1. They knew the Law well and forced it on others.
2. All they did was done for men to see.
3. Wanted men to honor them as “Rabbi” & “Father.”
4. Expected to be seated among honored guests.
B. We often want to achieve greatness and be recognized for the good we do.
1. We should be recognized and rewarded.
2. But, that should not be our motive and we should not feel bad when it doesn’t happen.
3. We should not brag about what we have done as some are prone to do.
C. God has a different perspective.
1. He says true greatness comes from serving.
2. Men do not honor servers for serving. It’s what they are expected to do. God honors servants.
3. I Jn. 2:16 God disapproves of boasting. “For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world
4. James 4:16 “As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.”
II. Social pride: Luke 14:7ff
A. Jesus was in the house of a prominent Pharisee.
1. Probably invited just so His host could find fault.
2. These Pharisees are proud people and seek out the seats of honor.
3. So Jesus tells a parable exalting humility. 8-10.
4. He presses His point home in verse 11. “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
B. Where they sat made a statement.
1. “We are better and more important than the others.”
2. It is still an honor to be seated “at the head table,” but, we usually don’t take it to mean we are better than others.
3. ILLUS.: at our widow/widowers dinner, we usually have a special table for “honorees.”
4. At a wedding reception, I was told, “We have a seat for you with the wedding party.” I was honored.
C. But, when we think we are better or more important than others, it can lead to embarrassment.
1. We may be called down to a “lower seat.”
2. It’s better to be discovered than to be found out.
3. The Christian should know better than to think himself better than others. In God’s sight we are all equally loved. Phil. 2:3
III. Spiritual pride: Luke 18:9-14
A. Jesus told this story to “those who were confident of their own righteousness.”
1. They looked down on everybody else. That’s pride.
2. The Pharisee in the story tried to impress God with his righteousness. Tried to justify self before God
3. The tax collector, aware of his own inadequacy, relied upon God’s mercy.
4. Learn this: Only God can justify and He does it through Christ.
B. Spiritual pride is the worst kind of pride:
1. It claims to be as good as God. To keep His Law perfectly.
2. It does not acknowledge the need for forgiveness or a Savior.
3. This kind of pride will not allow one to come to Christ.
4. It cuts one off from God, because without a Savior, we can’t be in God’s Presence.
C. People with this kind of pride say:
1. “I am better than most who go to Church.”
2. “”I live a good life, give to the poor, etc. I don’t need to worship God.”
3. “I worship in my own way. I am wise enough to know what is acceptable to God.”
4. “I’m so smart, I know there is no God.”
5. “I’m so good God will make an exception for me.”
6. If not with their lips, then with their lives they say it.
CONC.: 1 Peter 5:5-6 All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble ." Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
If you need something of which to boast and be proud, here it is: 1 Cor 1:31 “Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."