Summary: the oldest sin, pride, remains our oldest enemy and is not confined nor limited to the unsaved but has crept its way into Christianity even to the precious, once revered, pulpit. It is pride that asks “what about me? It is pride that demands “do somet
WORMS WITH INTESTINAL FORTITUDE!
Or Man vs. God
What you just witnessed is a parody on pride. (I entered the sanctuary with "Eye of the Tiger" playing over the sound system, high-fiving a few members hands as I made my way to the pulpit)
This is not too far off of what is happening in many of our churches today. Every Sunday the “show” is grander: with music that rivals any secular concert, lights that are worthy of a Super bowl half-time show and preachers that are full of charisma, energy and wit. We are seeing more prideful entertainment in our churches today than we are experiencing humble worship.
While I took some liberties with exaggeration, the tragedy is that the oldest sin, pride, remains our oldest enemy and is not confined nor limited to the unsaved but has crept its way into Christianity even to the precious, once revered, pulpit. It is pride that asks “what about me? It is pride that demands “do something for me”. It is pride that proclaims “look at me”. It is pride that says “the people love to hear me sing” and pride that states “I am changing lives with my sermons”. And it is pride that coils back and attacks when it is rebuked with statements like “it is not about YOU!”
We have leaders in the white house, movie house, school house, police house and, tragically, the church house that have positioned themselves on a pedestal so high they are obsessed over and worshipped as gods. We have churches full of believers that think if the Holy Spirit ever resigned, they will be next in line to be a part of the Trinity. Folks walking around with resumes full of education and experience, with a cover letter written in pride, criticizing those who are working: throwing up the red flag when things don’t go their way and wresting over control and power while the church watches THE POWER write ICHABOD on the door of the church on His way out.
About 4,000 churches shut their doors each year. 53,000 church members walk out of church every week. 2.7 million Professing Christians who used to be faithful to church are inactive today. In 1900 there were 27 churches for every 10,000 people, in 2000 there were 11. And, 50 percent of churches in America have not seen any new members in over two years!
I believe that pride is at the very heart of this dilemma. And if you agree that pride is at the root of the issues of power and control struggles in church, then statistics would agree with me.
I was listening to David Dabbs the other day and he was saying that in the past churches he has been a part of the deacon ministry was about making decisions, having meetings, and conducting the churches business. He stated that he was excited to be in a church where the deacon ministry was primarily about ministry. A place, where as a deacon he was not burdened down with managing the people, but boosted up with ministry to the people.
I believe that much of the success and failures of our country and church falls in the laps of our leaders. Leaders, who are called to be an example, set the bar high, live with integrity, serve with humility and lead with boldness and courage.
That being said let us look at a leader that was swelled up with pride, a pride that ultimately brought judgment from God upon him.
Please turn your Bibles to Acts chapter 12 verses 20-24 and stand with me in reverence to the reading of the Word of God.
1. A Man Full of Potential (vs. 20): Up until now this man has done nothing wrong. I mean, while it may be rather eccentric to dress up in a silver suit of armor engraved with symbols, there is no difference, in my opinion, with having the money to wear an Armani suit and a Rolex watch. There is nothing wrong with having money it is when the money has you that it becomes a problem. He was not wrong in meeting with outlying leaders, playing the political game and employing his gifts of administration.
Of course I am isolating this incident, I am well aware of his agenda to exterminate Christianity, an agenda he held in common with Saul who later became Paul. And, as a man full of potential:
• People were Watching Him: Herod stood as a King with potential in that he had an eager audience of Jews that were counting on him to rid the world of the Christian threat and lead them out of any external governmental persecution. The people were looking for a great leader and boy did they bet on the wrong horse. Other cities, such as Tyre and Sidon, were impacted and influenced by what happened under Herod’s reign. Oh there were many people watching Herod. And, there are many people watching you and me today. Do not be fooled into thinking your actions, reactions and inactions are going unnoticed! I know of Christians who are walking around today, very pious, thinking they have a testimony of power and love when in reality that testimony was shattered by harsh words, ungodly deeds, unrepentant sin, bitterness, anger and un forgiveness. Do not be fooled, people are watching.