Someone said pride is all about its central letter: “I”. Its caused the fall of nations and individuals. Are you suffering from a pride problem? In this lesson, Robert shows us the meaning of pride and how to remove it from our hearts.
ROBERT >> Are you a prideful person? I don’t mean do you have a normal self-respect and a dignity about yourself that we all ought to have; I’m not talking about being happy for the success of others like a parent is proud for his child; but I’m talking about an inflated sense of worth or importance, thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, as Paul warned about in Romans 12:3.
I love how one missionary translated the word to a tribe he was working with as, Ears being too far apart. Yes, pride is having the big head. Or as Abraham Lincoln put it, He who sings his own praises usually gets the pitch too high. What does the Bible say about this other problem of the heart, pride?
SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.
ROBERT >> Somebody said, People are strange; they want the front of the bus, the back of the church, and the center of attention. Yes, it’s true that many of us have a pride problem. Somebody said, “Pride is the only disease that everyone around you suffers from except yourself.” Isn’t it hard sometimes to see that we have a pride problem when it’s so easy to see that in others?
Another said, “The mental cases most difficult to cure are those people who are crazy about themselves.”
Yes, pride can come into our heart, and we might not even know it. And it could be that this is a problem that you’re dealing with in your heart, in your life today, and you don’t even know it. Let’s consider what the Bible has to say about it.
What is wrong with pride, and how can we deal with this and root this out of our heart that we might be the kind of people God wants us to be? Well, first of all, let’s look at the Proverbs, because the Proverbs are filled with information that will help us with this very problem. In fact, I want us to notice four warnings from Proverbs concerning pride. Let’s look first of all at Proverbs 11:2. Here we find inspired messages of wisdom.
And he says, “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.” Yes, wisdom doesn’t come from pride, but shame. Wisdom comes from humility, rooting out that pride.
How many times has pride caused you to embarrass yourself? Doesn’t it keep us from maturing spiritually in our knowledge and in our understanding? Only when we set pride aside and humble our hearts are we going to be able to learn and to grow in the Lord. So we need to be warned that pride brings shame and not wisdom.
But here’s another warning from the Proverbs. Look at Proverbs 13:10. “By pride comes nothing but strife; but with the well advised is wisdom.” Yes, not only does pride keep us from growing in wisdom and keep us from understanding and knowledge and cause shame in our life, but pride also brings strife. How many times has pride caused you to get at odds with others? Doesn’t it keep us from enjoying so many blessings of God? I look over in Proverbs 28:25, and here the wise man writes to us, “He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife; but he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered.” So let’s take pride out of our heart. Let’s humble ourselves. Let’s put our trust in God and not in ourself.
But there’s a third warning from the Proverbs concerning pride. Look at Proverbs 16:18. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Yes, it’s true that pride often gets us into trouble. We shame ourself, we stir up strife, and it ultimately brings destruction to our heart, to our soul, to our life, to our families, to our nations.
Somebody said, “The higher you stand, the harder you fall.” Yes, pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. As Paul warned us in 1 Corinthians 10:12, take heed to yourselves. He says, “He that thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.”
Just about the time we get to thinking that we cannot fall, that we have arrived spiritually, that nothing could ever happen to us, that’s when we fall, because we’re not on guard. We’re no longer careful about how we walk and puffed up in our pride. That’s what brings our destruction.
Still there’s a fourth warning from the Proverbs that I want to remind you of, Proverbs 29:23. Here it says, “A man’s pride will bring him low; but the humble in spirit will retain honor.” Yes, pride can humiliate us. It can bring us low. It will cause us to be shamed, embarrassed; it will cause us to stir up strife and get at odds with others; it will cause us to fall on our face; it will bring us low.
Somebody said, “People who sing their own praises do so without accompaniment.” The person was emphasizing the fact that we might think we’re something else, and we might brag about ourself and boast about ourself, but if we truly want to be honored by others, we need to humble ourselves.
In Luke 18:14, this was the message of Jesus, especially towards the religious leaders of his day who thought they were better than everybody else, who looked down on others. He said here in this passage, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Yes, this man in this passage was the man who would not so much as look up into heaven, but he beat his breast and called out for God’s mercy because he was a sinner. When we humble ourselves before God, then we’ll be lifted up.
You know, you see this contrast between those of pride and those of humility in Satan and in Jesus. I want us to think a little bit today about Satan and pride, about Jesus and humility. In 1 Timothy 3:6 we read about the pride of Satan, the devil. And this is given as a warning to elders. The apostle Paul reminds Timothy that men should not be appointed to be bishops or overseers of the church, that elders should not be brought in as pastors of the church that are novices, that are new converts, lest they be puffed up in pride. Here’s what it says, “Not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.”
This must have been Satan’s problem. He became too proud of his power and his position that God had blessed him and privileged him with. And that was the reason for his fall. There’s a few passages that seem to suggest this very thing in the Old Testament scriptures. In Isaiah 14:12-15, I want you to notice here what Isaiah has to say to the king of Babylon who had become puffed up in his pride. He’d been given power over all the earth as king of this great nation, but he would fall because of his pride just as Satan fell. And as we read this passage, can you not see the allusion to the fall of Satan and that Isaiah’s warning the king of Babylon that just as Satan fell, he also could fall?
Isaiah 14:12 says, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High. Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.”
When we begin to exalt ourself above God, begin to think that we’re greater than all, that we can do anything, that’s when we’re going to fall just like the devil.
There’s another passage with a similar teaching in Ezekiel chapter 28. Notice here this, too, is a prophet speaking to a king. In Ezekiel chapter 28 he’s talking to the king of Tyre, who like the king of Babylon had become puffed up in his pride. But again he compares his fall to that of Satan. Listen to what it says. “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord God: You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and the diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. And by the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; and therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you.”
Can you see in this passage that God created Satan beautiful and privileged and blessed, but he sinned; and as a result of that, he was cast from heaven. This is a warning to the king of Tyre, and it’s a warning to any of us who become puffed up in pride.
There’s another passage in Revelation the 12th chapter that also speaks of the fall of Satan. And the one writing the Revelation, the apostle John, reminds us of the fall of Satan as a warning to the Roman empire that was persecuting God’s church, that just as Satan was defeated and cast out of heaven, so would these servants of Satan, Rome, fall. In Revelation the 12th chapter we read about how that Satan tried to destroy the Christ child as he was born into the world. But he was unsuccessful. He was defeated. And then we see how that he tried to destroy the Christ child in putting him on the cross and not allowing him to be raised up and establish his kingdom; but of course we know again Satan was defeated.
Jesus was raised and ascended to heaven, and there he won the victory over Satan, over sin, over death. Now Satan is out to destroy the church, but he can never do that. As Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “I’ll build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
Satan is a three-time loser, and Satan will always lose when he comes against Jesus Christ. But I want you to see in the Revelation how that when John pictures Satan being cast out of heaven, he’s reminding us of that original defeat when he was puffed up in pride so that we not be puffed up in pride. In Genesis 3:1-8, the first temptation of that old serpent, the devil, Satan, had to do with this very problem of pride. You remember the woman was tempted by Satan to partake of that tree of the knowledge of good and evil that God warned her not to take of, lest she die; but she being deceived partook of that fruit.
You remember the temptation of Satan? Notice what he said here in verse 4. “Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die; for God knows that in the day you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ And so when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”
Yes, that desire to be like God, that desire to be powerful, to be great, a prideful reaching for that kind of position and power is what deceived the woman and caused her to die that day, spiritually become separated from God because of her sin, and the man also as he partook of that fruit.
We need to be warned as John said in 1 John 2:15-17 not to love the world and the things in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life because they’re not of the Father, they’re of the world.
But now having talked about Satan and pride, let’s consider Jesus and humility. Oh, the humility of Jesus Christ. How that Jesus, though he was in a form of God or an equality with God, did not think it a thing to be grasped or to be held onto, but he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. We read about that in Philippians 2:3 and 8. But you see, it’s Jesus coming to this earth, humbling himself that he was able to fulfill the mission of God in saving the world.
Having come and lived a perfect life, he was then able to offer that as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. But what humility, to give up the glories of heaven, to become one of us, to suffer, to be tempted and tried, to be rejected, to be crucified upon a cross. But Jesus was willing to do that to serve us. And it’s that kind of humility that will enable us to help others and to help others towards heaven and to please our God and ultimately to be raised to glory. As Jesus himself was raised from the dead and ascended back to glory, so we’ll share with him in that glory someday if we walk in humility.
In Matthew the 20th chapter, Jesus wanted to teach his apostles this very thing because they were arguing about who was the greatest among them, they were fighting for great seats in the kingdom on his right hand and on his left hand. But he wanted them to know that that’s not what his kingdom was about, and that kind of pride is completely opposite of the humility that Jesus displayed in his own life, that that kind of pride is not true greatness.
Listen to these words in Matthew chapter 20 and let’s begin in verse 24. “And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them; yet it shall not be so among you. But whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant; and whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.'”
Oh, the ten were displeased with the two, James and John, whose mother wanted them to sit on the right hand and the left hand of Jesus, because you see, they desired those same kind of seats of power and position and authority. They wanted to be great like God. But Jesus said to be great like God is to be not first, but last, is to be not served, but a servant. For He Himself came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many. Yes, the very heart of the gospel is the teaching of humility, of sacrifice, of giving.
As Jesus was with his apostles before going to the cross, at that last Passover meal, you may remember they had all gathered there to eat, but no one had washed their feet. Coming in off the dusty roads of Palestine, it was their custom to wash their feet before they would go on in the house and continue to eat the supper together. But no one had been washed. I suppose that they might have been thinking, you know, it’s somebody else’s turn to wash our feet, and certainly I should not have to wash the feet. But it was Jesus Christ who got up and who took the towel and the water and went to each one of them to wash their feet.
He was setting them an example to do for each other what he had done for them, to be a servant, to love others, to give to others, to sacrifice for others. And that takes humility.
Pride will always cause us problems. Let’s remember the warnings of the Proverb, that it will bring us to shame and embarrassment, that it will cause all kinds of problems with others, that it will bring our destruction, it will bring us low. But it’s humility that will bring us in favor with God so that he will lift us up and he will reward us and he’ll bring us home to heaven to be with him someday.
I’m no so thankful to God that he’s made a way for me, a sinner. One lost without Jesus, I was in desperate straits. Needing his salvation, needing his forgiveness, knowing that I could never obtain it on my own, I put my trust in the one who came to save me, who humbled himself, who became obedient to the death of the cross. I realized there how much God loves me and how awful my sin is, that it cost the blood of that perfect one. It was in humility that I decided to turn away from my sin and to live for Jesus, to give myself to him. I remember walking the aisle at the church building, confessing the name of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, my Lord, my Savior, and then being immersed in the waters of baptism so that my sins could be forgiven, and then raised up out of that water, cleansed, pure, whole a child of God, a new start, a new life.
It’s in humility that each of us who have made that same decision, who have come to Christ in that same way, who have been cleansed, who have been forgiven, who have been saved, it’s in humility that we must continue to walk before our God, to be honest about ourselves and who we are, and continue to strive to follow Jesus Christ, always trusting him, knowing that he can bring us home to heaven. God bless you with the humility of Jesus. And please, let us know how we can help you towards heaven today.
SINGING>> Great is thy faithfulness, oh God my Father.
There is no shadow of turning with thee.
Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not.
As thou hast been, thou forever wilt be.
Great is thy faithfulness, great is thy faithfulness.
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed thy hand hath provided.
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.
Great is thy faithfulness, great is thy faithfulness.
Morning by morning new blessings I see.
All I have needed thy hand hath provided.
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.
ROBERT >> I hope that you found today’s lesson helpful. And to help you in your continued study, we’d like to offer you a free copy of today’s lesson. Thankfully, members of churches of Christ make these materials available to our viewers absolutely free of charge. And all you have to do is contact us and let us know the name of the program that you’d like to have a copy of. You can see the title of today’s program on your screen. Let us know the format in which you’d like to have it. You can have the program in the form of an audio CD or a DVD or a written transcript. You can have any of these formats, again, free of charge. It won’t cost you a thing.
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SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace, from the toils that bind me it will bring release. Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so, showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow. Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam. Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall, sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all. Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go. When my heart is weary, when the day is long, sing to me of heaven, sing that old, sweet song. Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam. Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall, sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.