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Cultivate Humility and Kill Pride

Introduction

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9–14 ESV)

Here are the results of pride:

  • Feeling like your life or the world is out of control
  • Frequent conflicts with others
  • Impatience with others, or frequent anger with others
  • Seems like others never live up to your standards, which seem quite reasonable to you

Christians should humble themselves because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

I. God Opposes the Proud, but Gives Grace to the Humble

A. God opposes the proud

What does it mean to oppose something? It is to cast a negative judgment on something. It’s to say, “that’s wrong” or “I don’t like that." It is working to prevent or stop something.

Illustration

  • Ukraine opposing Russia
  • Many people are opposed to Elon Musk buying Twitter
  • Pro-choice people opposing SCOTUS ruling on Roe vs Wadehttps://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-monday-after-roe/

Explanation

  • If God himself is opposed to something, we want to know what it is. We don’t want to be on the wrong side. What is it that God opposes? Proud people.
  • Pride is:
    • Thinking of yourself more highly than you ought to think
    • It is self-exaltation above others and above God
    • Pride puts you in the center of the universe instead of God
    • It is very possibly the first sin that led Satan to rebel against God
    • Pride is evil and dangerous
    • Pride opens your eyes to its existence in others, but blinds you to its existence in yourself. If you don’t think you have pride in your life, that’s a dangerous sign that you are proud.
  • God hates pride

Proverbs 6:16–17 “There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes…” (ESV)

Proverbs 16:5 “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.”(ESV)

Argumentation

  • Why God opposes the proud: 2 great commandments
  • Managers, how would you like it if someone you manage tried to start bossing you around?
  • Parents, how do you like it when one of your children tries to act like he or she is in charge instead of you? Or when one of your children stubbornly refuses to obey?
  • Children, if you have siblings, how do you like it when one of them tries to act like a parent and boss you around?
  • Everyone, how do you like it when others ignore you?
  • We don’t like it when others ignore us, disobey us, or try to do our jobs for us
  • God doesn’t like those things, either. When we do them to God, it’s because of pride!
  • Master of fate, Captain of soul
    • There can be only one captain: you or God
  • God is a jealous God

Illustration

  • How does God oppose proud people?
  • Biblical examples of God opposing the proud
    • King Uzziah grew proud. He did something he shouldn’t have done in the temple, and God struck him with leprosy. He remained a leper until the day of his death. His pride led to his destruction. (2 Chronicles 26)
    • God humbled Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4)
    • God scatters people who are arrogant in the thoughts of their hearts (Luke 1:51)
    • God’s angel killed Herod

Acts 12:21–13 On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.

For your own good, avoid pride!

B. God gives grace to the humble

Explanation

  • Just like there are few sins more ugly than pride, there are few virtues more lovely than humility
  • Humility affects other virtues—love, patience, peace, etc.
  • Humility promotes harmony and teamwork
  • Humility helps make a healthy family, a healthy company, a healthy country, a healthy church

What is humility?

  • Humility is thinking of yourself with sober judgment
  • Putting interests of others ahead of your own
  • Jesus’s example of humility in Philippians 2

Philippians 2:5–8 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (ESV)

  • Christology passage is ethical

Explanation

  • Jesus made galaxies
  • He humbled himself to save proud people from their sin
  • Grace is God’s unmerited favor or blessing
  • Humility does not merit grace
  • How God gives grace to the humble

Argumentation

  • Why humility doesn’t earn grace
  • Why God gives grace to the humble

C. Application

Make it your aim this year to kill pride, to weaken it, to see it lose its power in your life. We’ll talk about how soon, but start with making a commitment to kill pride and cultivate humility.

How do you know if you’re proud?

  • Ask others
  • Ask yourself how much you talk in conversations. Too much or too little could indicate pride.
  • How much do you pray? Prayerlessness is a sign of pride, unbelief, or both.
  • How much do you try to draw attention to yourself?
  • When bad things happen in your life, how much do you resist God’s choice to providentially bring or allow that bad thing? How much do you chafe against his discipline?
  • How aware are you of your pride?

II. Humble Yourselves before Others

A. Everyone: clothe yourselves with humility

  • The Bible offers a wide variety of good motives. Ultimately, do things to glorify God. However, it’s fine to seek to avoid pain!
  • God cares about your attitude and actions and words towards others
  • We’re to put on humility as clothing
  • In life, every occasion has a dress code. (Beach, race)
  • ​​Imagine being underdressed for a formal occasion.
  • That’s inappropriate clothing for a formal occasion.
  • When you show up to church with pride, it’s like inappropriate clothing.

Beware self-righteousness and being judgmental

  • Distracted during sermon
  • Not raising hands during singing
  • Kids are not behaving well
  • Not dressed as modestly as you’d like
  • Too fat
  • Too skinny
  • Wearing a mask
  • Not wearing mask

Illustration

  • Self-righteousness and humility don’t go well together.
    • It’s like wearing a coat and tie on top, and shorts on the bottom.
    • It’s like wearing an evening gown and pool floaties.

Application

  • Be very careful about self-righteousness when you post on social media
    • It’s appropriate to identify when something is wrong
    • It’s appropriate to decline to participate
    • But for the grace of God, go we

Titus 3:3–7 “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (ESV)

  • Christians, you are what you are because God is in the process of making you like Jesus
    • People who don’t follow Jesus, we’re glad you’re here.
      • Give gospel presentation.

B. Younger people: submit to elders

Is it “the elders” or “older people”?

  • “The elders”
    • ESV, Holman Christian Standard Bible, NET Bible, NRSV
    • The modern commentaries I read
  • “Your Elders” (older people?)
    • NIV, NKJV, NASB
    • John Calvin
    • A few other commentators mentioned in the commentaries I read
  • Explanation for one versus the other
  • Both have support in the Bible
  • “The elders”: Hebrews 13:17
  • “Your elders”: Leviticus 19:32; Ephesians 5:21 (submit to one another)

Illustration

  • Let’s say that the pastors request a change to the way your children get taught, or the length of the service, or what kind of music we sing, or instituted a dress code.
    • People can get real bristly when that happens.

Argumentation

  • The Bible says a lot more about submission to authority than it does about personal liberty

Application

  • See authority and submission as good things
  • Obey your pastors cheerfully. Don’t grumble about them.
    • I’m not a pastor.

III. Humble Yourselves before God

“Mighty hand of God”

  • God doesn’t have physical hands
  • OT context - usually refers to events of the Exodus
    • Opposing ancient Egypt, rescuing God’s people
  • Imagine God…
    • Turning the water of a river into blood
    • Causing a locust plague
    • Bringing darkness for three days
  • If God can rescue over six hundred thousand people of Israel from a country that enslaved them, a country much mightier than Israel, he can fight for you
  • You can trust in God. He is mighty!

“That he may exalt you at the proper time”

  • That’s our goal: “that he may” indicate purpose.
  • In the context of 1 Peter, this refers to the day of final judgment and salvation.
    • Cf. 1 Peter 1:5 (in the last time); 2:12 (day of visitation)
  • Then, God will turn the scoffing of proud people into shame, and he will turn the shame of his people into honor
  • Proud people are like a child who is disobedient at home while the father is away at work. “Wait until your father gets home.”
  • It may sound lame to you to wait, but your humiliation has a definite time limit
  • We should not put our hope in this life, primarily.
  • 1 Peter 1:13 “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Explanation

  • Means: casting your anxieties on him
    • NIV puts this in a separate sentence.
    • This participle shows how we are to humble ourselves before God.
  • Anxiety is often rooted in pride.
  • Not casting our anxieties on God is a sign of pride.
  • I struggle with anxiety more than most people.
    • In home group with Wes
    • Last night, couldn’t sleep well
    • I can sympathize with you if you struggle with anxiety.
  • I don’t want you to leave church discouraged this morning.
    • I recognize that anxiety causes suffering
    • I realize some of you have been suffering greatly for years because of anxiety.
  • Important to see the connection between pride and anxiety, though.
    • Leaving God out of our struggles with anxiety is pride.

3 Ways of Casting

  • Casting a boomerang vs casting a fishing rod vs casting a trash bag into outdoor trash can
    • Trash bag illustration is from Alistair Begg
  • Why cast our anxieties on God?
    • He cares for you. If you had a friend who loves you, and could help you, why would you not turn to that friend for help?

Concluding Thoughts

We recognize that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

​​We know we need to humble ourselves before others.

We know we need to humble ourselves before God.

Action

  • If you don’t know Jesus, trust in Christ fully.
  • Start every morning by listing out everything that is going to cause you anxiety that day
    • Pray about each one. Give it to God.
  • At the end of the day, thank God for what He has done.
  • Be very careful about self-righteousness when you post on social media

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