Summary: This is about the dangers of spiritual pride.
There was a man who received a medal for his unusual humility. It was taken away when he wore everywhere.
Read Matthew 6:16-18.
The words “pride” and “proud” occur over 80 times in the Bible. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus spends considerable time on the matter of pride. He talks about pride in giving. He talks about pride in praying. We could have read 6:1-18. We see that the…
1. Piety FLAUNTING is FAKE
When we flaunt our piety it isn’t real piety. How do we flaunt our piety? We make a big deal about our offering. We make a big deal about praying. We make a big deal about our fasting. Piety flaunting is fake in that…
A. It is a FLIP
Fake piety seeks not the praise of God, but the praise of people. Our spiritual life is lived for God, not others.
We turn the tables when we fake our spirituality. We have to ask ourselves, “Who’s favor are we seeking?” If we seek the favor of others, our spirituality isn’t real. Only when we seek the favor of God is our spirituality authentic.
It is also a slap in the face of God when we seek the approval of people over him. We are so greatly indebted to God that it is the height of ingratitude when we don’t thank him. What do you do if someone gives you a car?
B. It is FOOLISH hypocrisy
In the original language, a hypocrite was used of an actor in a play. It is a “play-actor.” In those days, actors wore masks. A hypocrite is someone who puts on a mask. Those who fasted would put ashes on their head, that would fall onto their faces and beards and conceal their appearance so they wouldn’t be recognized.
People complain about the church being full of hypocrites. A hypocrite is someone who puts on a mask on Sundays. It’s not about how you act in church; it about how you act out there. Jesus called them hypocrites when they were acting religious. The truth about hypocrisy is that you can fool some people, but you can’t fool God.
C. It is FEARFULLY demoralizing
The fake lives we live quickly become the real lives we live. The whole thing becomes a lie. We cannot rise higher than our standard. When we seek the approval of others, we are making others our standard. That’s all the farther we will go. We must make God our standard, and seek to please him. If our standard is beneath us, we sink to that level.
This works in athletics. Athletes who compete against others who are better, quickly improve. Take for example the movie The Rookie. The kids got better because the coach was pitching at 90+ mph. Athletes who compete against lesser athletes see their ability decline.
D. It is FLAMBOYANT
Flamboyance is fine in pro wrestling or boxing. Flamboyance has no place in spiritual matters. Flamboyance often robs the needy. I like the idea of Christian TV, but when I see the extravagance I wonder, “At whose expense?” We always want the biggest and the best so we can stand out from the crowd. Mother Theresa never sought to stand out from the crowd. In fact, she deliberately sought to avoid that. There is no reason we should seek to stand out.
2. God FURNISHES us what we FANCY
You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” Sesame Street had a show a few years back where Elmo wished it would be Christmas everyday. It was disastrous. If we seek praise from God, what will we get? If we seek praise from people, what will we get?
A. True people have the FAVOR of God
If we are true to God, we will blessed by God. These are the “Blessed are”s of the Beatitudes. Those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” These are the ones who don’t really care what accolades they receive from others. In fact they are the ones who are embarrassed when they do receive recognition. These are the ones who give credit to everyone else, including God. These are the one ones who are cheerful about even the menial tasks. Are you this type of person? Why do you do what you do? Is it for recognition? Or, is it for God’s glory?
B. False people receive the FAVOR of their FELLOWS
This is the one who seeks praise from others. It is dishonest. It is praise that isn’t deserved, because nothing has been accomplished. When we seek the praise of others, nothing gets accomplished for the God’s purposes. The praise of people is fleeting, and will not last. Look what happens to coaches. When the team is good, the coach is a genius. When the same team is bad, the coach is a moron.