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God’s desire for submission in our live; the way we were born rebellion; and the ultimate sin of pride, which is what disqualifies us from rewards at the judgment seat of Christ is what as we’ll see in our class, as we go through the pages of Proverbs, makes life difficult. What we see is, Proverbs is all about living life God’s way or man’s way. God’s way is wisdom. God’s way is entered through submission. He saves us and we choose to clothe ourselves with humility. However, man’s way, which is our fallenness. Which is actually Satan’s way, because there’s only God’s way or Satan’s way. All of humanity is fallen and becomes a part of Satan’s domain, is foolishness, rebellion, headed toward destruction, living in pride.
There are 31 chapters in Proverbs. So, if you want to, you could read one chapter every day and if you really want to grow in wisdom, you could read Proverbs through every month. We’re exploring the book of Proverbs.
In the next slide, pride was the first sin as Lucifer challenged God. Pride is the ultimate sin and listen – all conflicts, all fights, all troubles that we have in life flow downward from pride. That’s why this is so important, that’s why our study is so crucial.
Let’s turn our Bibles to Isaiah 14. I want to show you, before we read our theme verse in Proverbs, I want to show you the connection that pride has to Satan. Isaiah 14 and we’re going to start reading in verse 12,
“How you are fallen from Heaven. O Lucifer, son of morning! How you were cut down to the ground. You who weakened the nations! For, you have said it in your heart: I will ascend into Heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also, I sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north” verse 14, the fourth I will, “I will ascend above the Heights of the clouds,” number five “I will be like the Most High.” Verse 15, “‘yet you shall be brought down to Sheol.”
Lucifer, the greatest, highest, most intelligent, powerful, creative being of God become Satan. God’s adversary. Now listen, the Bible says that we can go from Satan’s domain. Jesus said this in the gospel of John, you are of your father, the devil, and the lust of your father, you will do. When we are born into this world, we’re born into Satan’s family and we are hardwired to be like him. That’s called our fallen, fleshly nature. We are rebellious against God. Anyone that rebels against God is headed toward destruction. The characteristic that drives us and flavors all of our relationships is pride. But the new creation we are in Christ, our regeneration, our salvation, instantly at the moment of salvation, Jesus Christ moves into us and we become the wisdom of God. We have His wisdom. We want to submit to Him and resist the rebellion. We want to live out our salvation. The longer act like we’re headed toward destruction, life doesn’t matter. We clothe ourselves with humility.
The next slide tells us, only in Christ is true relief found from pride. His mind is that of a bond servant and His confession was written down. John chapter 4 and verse 34.
It says, “Jesus said to them,” He’s talking to those who are questioning Him. “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me.” To do the will of Him who sent me, that submission. Jesus submitted to the Father. A servant does the will of another. Jesus said I am a servant to God the father, as God the Son.
Look at chapter 5, verse 30. “I can have myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is righteous, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the Father who sent me.” I do not seek my own will, that’s humility. But the will of my father who sent me, that seeking God’s glory. Jesus embodies the only relief that we could ever know from our fallen sinful pride that we were born with.
One more, John chapter 6. If you’re following along in your Bible, I have all these marked because I need constant reminders. That I didn’t come here to do what I want to do, I came to do the will of my Father in Heaven, of my Lord, and of my Redeemer. And Jesus said this in John 6 and verse 38.
“I have not come down from Heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me.”
Jesus is the one who leads us into the humility that pleases God.
In the book of Proverbs there are four words, four different Hebrew words for pride. So, in English, pride occurs seven times in the book of Proverbs but if you were reading the Hebrew Bible, you’d find there are four different words.
Now let’s go through and I’m going to read to you those verses you see on that slide. 8:13, 11:2, all the way through. Listen to these.
“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil.” Proverbs 8:13 says, but “pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth…” God says, “I hate.”
Now look up from your side for a second. Think about this. Do we want to be involved in anything God hates? No. We love Him. We want to serve Him. We submit to Him. So, the book of Proverbs is how to be living God’s way, that’s what we’re exploring, and the contrast to live life God’s way or man’s way. That’s what the whole book is about.
The second verse, Proverbs 11:2, “when pride comes, then come shame; but with the humble is wisdom.”
The apostle John said this, I don’t want to be ashamed before you at your coming Lord. That was what motivated the apostle John, let me not be ashamed before you’re coming. Why would I be ashamed before the Lord Jesus Christ’s coming? Proverbs 11:2. If pride is in my life, shame will follow, why? Because, we saw in our second class, that anything I do without humility and not in submission to the Lord, He burns up. It’s good for nothing, because I’ve done it in my own strength for my own good, for my own glory, instead of for His.
The third one, Proverbs 13:10. “By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom.”
Again, pride is at the heart of all struggles. We have relational struggles, personal struggles, going through life and having all these things that go wrong, why? Pride is underneath all of those and they flow downward from pride.
Number 4, Proverbs 14:3. “In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride.” That means they go around hitting everybody with their mouth, “but the lips of the wise will preserve them.” Wow.
Proverbs 16:18. This is our theme verse for this lesson. Pride goes before destruction. Now think about it for a second. God said that Satan fell from being the highest created, most powerful, intelligent being in the universe that He made, down to becoming the adversary of God, which is what Satan, śāṭān means in Hebrew. Why? Look at verse 18, “pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” The fall of Satan, which issues into the fall of all humanity as he leads humans into rebellion against God, was because of his haughty pride – found in his heart.
Number six, Proverbs 21:24, “a proud and haughty man – “scoffer” is his name; he acts with arrogant pride.”
Then the last time pride is mentioned in the book of Proverbs is in chapter 29, verse 23. “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.”
What happens when we’re proud? Well, look at this next slide, I’ll read it to you. Pride makes me… now think with me as I read this list. In my own life, whenever I have felt these ways and if I pause and think about it, I know that this is not prompted by God. Here’s the list.
Pride makes me:
- Resentful when corrected
- Hurt when disappointed
- Impatient when hindered
- Greedy when choosing
- Critical when speaking of rivals
- Jealous when seeing others advancing
- Untruthful when confronted
- Distant when slighted
God does not want me to be proud. God’s will revealed for my character is this, back to chapter 16 and verse 18 in the book of Proverbs. I want to encourage you again. I’m actually doing for you right now one of the devotional studies that you could do. I just gave you all of the verses. You can do a topical study of pride and just have the word pride and what I’m doing for you. I’m showing you how to apply these precious versus as an encouragement. Those of you that want to get the full benefit of this course, you need to start a devotional journal, like what is in what I call the film zero. There are 10 classes, but there’s one, the very first one in the playlist is a zero. That’s a preparatory one and that one is all about how to do the devotional journal. For those of you taking this for credit, you have to do it. So, why not make the most of it? What you do is, perhaps even what I’m showing you here and enlarge on it and your journal, but look at 16:18, again. Again, it should be marked in your Bible. If you have an electronic Bible, you can get that highlighter in there, so it jumps out at you. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Now look at this slide. God wants to make me humble, not proud. Now, look at what it says at the bottom of the slide. There are nine manifestations of pride described in Proverbs.
Next slide. Look at this, Manifestations of Pride. How do we know we’re proud? Let me go through these one at a time with you and we’ll read the verses together. I want you to just underline this in your minds.
Number one, Proverbs says that when we’re proud, we become deceitful. We cover our sins. We hide our faults and mistakes. Now, here are the two verses to read in Proverbs 11:2, “When pride comes, then come shame; but with the humble is wisdom.” Wow. When we’re proud, we don’t want anybody to know our weaknesses. We don’t want anybody to know our mistakes. What does the Bible say that Christians are to be characterized by? Confess your faults, one to another, and pray for one another. We’re supposed to be sharing our burdens, weaknesses, and needs with other believers. So that, they can encourage us. Hebrews chapter 10 says the primary purpose of gathering and fellowship with other believers is to exhort one another as we anticipate the return of Christ. How do we exhort? We say, pray for me, I’m struggling at work. Pray for me, I’m struggling in this relationship, or in my role as a father, or a husband, or a wife, or a mother, or a child to my parents and I need prayer. That’s an evidence, look, of humility. Pride says, I don’t want anybody to know that I’m imperfect. Now, we all know we’re all imperfect but our pride, we’re hard wired with from birth, always makes us want to be like Satan. That is to be full of ourselves, and haughty, and proud, and saying I will, and I want my way. God says no, humble yourself, be submissive to me. Wisdom teaches you, number one, to not be deceitful.
Now that slide, look at number two. When I’m proud I don’t have close relationships. This is what it says in Proverbs 18:1-2, “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment.” So, he doesn’t want wise people around him, critiquing his life, and helping him get better. No, he rages against that. Verse 2 “A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart.” So, a manifestation of pride, number one, is being deceitful. Number two is having no close relationships. We don’t have anybody close to us. Now, remember what the book of 1 John says. 1 John 1 says, if we walk in the light, we have fellowship with people around us. What does that mean? We’re all open. We’re all seeing each other in the light, the light of God’s word, the light of God through His Spirit shining down illumining us. Therefore, we have fellowship, partnership in Christ.
Number three, Proverbs 10:17 says, that another manifestation of pride that goes before destruction and it’s part of a haughty spirit, before a fall is this, “He who keeps instruction is in the way of life, but he who refuses correction goes astray.” A lack of admitting when we’re wrong. Now, one of the greatest things to do is to quickly confess and forsake sin spiritually. We’re supposed to be constantly, as soon as we’re aware that we have disobeyed God, fallen short of His standard, we’re supposed to be confessing our sins. If we’re very quick to confess to God, we’re very quick to confess to those around us. Confession to God is a humbling thing. It’s a submissive thing, of saying I’m helpless, I need your help. You have died in my place and thank you for already forgiving my sins. Now cleanse me from the effect of that sin. That’s what 1 John talks about, chapter 1, verse 9.
Let’s keep going. The next one, number four on our slide is, an evidence of pride is a person that Proverbs 10:19 says this about. “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lip is…” what? “His lips is wise.” So, a foolish person talks all the time, but a wise person restrains their lips. Talking too much is one of the evidences of foolishness, not wisdom. Remember, it says a wise man holds his tongue and everybody thinks he’s really wise and smart, but a fool just spouts out. One of the ways that God says we grow in wisdom is just learning as it says in the book of Psalms, to set a watch at the door of our mouth. To put a gate there and say, I’m not going to speak until I’ve paused to think what is a wise and godly thing to say. Do you remember those WWJD bracelets people used to wear? This isn’t one, this is to remind me that at my old age, taking blood thinners, I bleed a lot. But I remember those WWJD bracelets and what it is; what would Jesus do? How about WWJS? What would Jesus say? See, that’s what wisdom tells us.
Number five is connected to number four, talking too much about yourself. Proverbs 27:2 says, “let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.”
Number six, another word from the Lord in wisdom about how to avoid pride is, it says in Proverbs 13:1 “A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.” Do you know what number six and an evidence of pride is? Being devastated or angered by criticism. One of the wisest things I ever heard was by a person I deeply admired, a spiritual leader. I used to see them facing criticism, attacked, people angry at them and I used to watch them. They would stand up in public meetings, and they would have their Bible and they would stand. You could tell whoever was talking, they would look at them and they wouldn’t say a word. They’d look at them and there was just a tranquility about them, which was hard to understand. They’d look at them and wait until the person was completely done with whatever they were accusing or saying. Then they always said the same thing, they’d go, thank you. Afterward, at one of these meetings I said, how do you act that way? They said, in every criticism there’s always a grain of truth and I’m always standing there trying to have the Lord help me to sift through everything they’re saying and find that grain of truth. What does Proverbs 13:1 say? “A wise son heeds his father’s instruction.” There are times when, we as children don’t like to hear what our parents say, but a wise son sifts through. A wise person sifts through instruction and criticism and seeks to find that grain of truth and say thank you. If you listen long enough to your critics, to those attacking, they will say something that is that grain of truth. As I heard when I was a Dallas seminary, even a broken clock is right once a day. So, even a horribly motivated critic will have some grain of truth.
Number seven and on your slides, the seventh manifestation of pride is being unteachable. Proverbs 19:20 says “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days.” It’s tied to the last one, but what it is, it’s not just thinking of the moment. Being teachable means I’m thinking of the rest of my life. When a person is criticizing something, now it probably has nothing to do with me right now, but another grain of truth is, that’s something I should look for in the future. A proud person is unteachable. You can’t share anything with them. They go, I know, I know. I know. I know. A humble person, that’s living life God’s way, that has wisdom from above. Do you know what it says in James 3:17, “but the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, then gentle, then easily entreated.” That means you can reason with them and say what you’re doing troubles me. You say, I don’t want to trouble you. I want to listen to you. I want to know how-to live-in peace. As Paul said, as much as lies within us we live at peace with one another. That’s the opposite of number seven, being unteachable.
Number eight is being sarcastic, hurtful, or degrading. Two Proverbs, 12:18 says “there’s one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health.” Then verse 23, “a prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of a fool proclaims foolishness.” Now, sarcastic… have you ever heard the word sarcastic? That word sarx is the Greek word for flesh and it speaks of someone whose words go like harpoons, are like hooks into someone’s flesh. It’s actually attacking, you know what they call it ad hominem attacks. Ad is toward. Hominem is demand. It’s toward the person, you’re attacking the person. It’s not like you’re presenting a truth for consideration. It is attacking. Being sarcastic, being hurtful, degrading people is not Christ like. What is it? What did Peter say about Jesus when He was reviled? He didn’t revile again. What did Jesus enemies say about Him when He spoke? He spoke like no one ever spoke before. They came to arrest Him, and they couldn’t because His words were so gracious. What does Paul tell us? Let your words be seasoned with salt and grace by the Spirit of God, not sarcastic. A proud person is sarcastic, hurtful, or degrading, and they’re headed toward destruction and it’s a reflection of haughtiness.
Here’s the last one, the ninth manifestation of pride and it’s chapter 12:1. “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” That’s blunt, being defensive, or blame shifting. That is where our culture is. Everyone is a victim in American culture today and they shift the blame for their behavior on to where they live, or who raised them, or their lack of this or that. The Bible says, no, if you love instruction you love knowledge, but if you hate and deflect, and are defensive and fight back when someone is pointing out some weakness, or error, or mistake you’ve made, whether correctly or incorrectly. When we’re defensive and blame shifting, we’re headed toward destruction God says, and we’re not wise.
Let’s go to the next side. How do we cure the my way, pride problem? Now remember Isaiah 53 and verse 6 says, all of us at birth. “All we like sheep have gone astray.” What is the essence of what’s wrong with us at birth? “We have turned, everyone,” what? “To our own way.” God is in an all-out war against pride in our lives. He wants to stamp out pride in my life and in your life. We were born that way, our flesh. I’m a brand-new creation in Jesus Christ. My spirit, my internal operating system is from God, but the rest of the package is born of this world and there’s a constant war going on between my flesh, that’s who I was born as and my spirit that’s who I’m born from above. God is in a war against my flesh running my life. I should join Him in the battle. I should do all I can to say no.
If we were to study the first teaching on this, written down, we’d have to go to James. So, go with me in your Bible to the book of James. Now remember, James is the first New Testament epistle that’s written. Now, the apostle Paul is alive and working in his missionary journeys, but James, before Paul even got saved on the road to Damascus, James the brother of Jesus Christ, James was the pastor of the first church in Jerusalem. James is a monumental New Testament character and James preaches the word of God to this early gathering of those saved from the day of Pentecost. He became recognized as an early church leader and pastor of this group. In this first New Testament epistle, the earliest one written, James has 108 verses and 54 imperatives, those are commands. In chapter 4, you’ll see them. He is very, very direct in what he says, and this is how to cure the pride problem.
The next slide says it. How does pride rot me if it’s allowed to seep through my life? That’s the first thing that James teaches. Pride rots my life. It rots all my effectiveness, my fellowship with God, my relationship to others if I allow it in my life. That’s what James says in the first six verses.
In the slides, I’m going to go through these six points he makes. Now think about James, his preaching and his topic is what will pride do in my life if I leave it. This is what he says, and I’ll read these points to you on the slide, and then we’ll walk through the verses.
- Number one, pride will poison my relationships.
- Number two, pride will pollute my life.
- Pride will produce anxiety in my life.
- Pride will plunder my prayers of any effectiveness.
- Pride, this is the serious one, provokes God’s enmity.
- Pride will make God my enemy.
- The bottom line is, pride prevents my spiritual growth.
Now look up, take your Bible, and let’s walk through these. First of all, James chapter 4, verse 1. “Where do wars and fights come from among you?” If you’re not getting along with someone; if you’re having problems with your roommates; if you’re having problem with your parents; if you’re having problems with your partner, your husband, or your wife; if you’re having problems with your boss or your supervisor; or your neighbor from where do wars and fights come from among you? Pride poisons relationships. Never forget that. The more I clothe myself with humility the more I’m like Jesus Christ, that even His enemies didn’t know what to do with Him because he was so amazingly wonderful. He was meek, and lowly, and gentle. Pride poisons our relationships, makes us un-Christ like, is the best way to put it.
Look at the second part of the verse. “Do they not come from your desire for pleasures that war in your members?” See, pride pollutes my life. It makes the fresh clean water, when you pour a pollutant in to it, it ruins all the water. Pride pollutes my life. It makes the outflow of my life, my thoughts, my words, my attitudes, my actions, it pollutes them.
Next, look at verse 2. Pride makes me anxious. “You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you have not because you ask not.” What it says is that pride is making me anxious. I’m all worried about, I have this… I want more. Pride makes me always want more, never content. It produces anxiety.
Verse 3, James says this. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” Pride also plunders my prayers. Remember Jesus said, if you ask anything in my name, I’ll do it. But if I’m proudly asking, if I’m asking for myself, for my own pleasures, He says, I’ll not answer that. You’re not praying according to the will of God. Remember Jesus said, I always come to do my Father’s will. That’s the secret of prayer. If my prayer is… not give me, get me, I want, but my prayer is… not my will, but yours be done, what you want Lord, done in this situation then the Lord says there’s no limit to what I’ll do in answering your prayers. Pride plunders my prayers of power.
Verses 4 and 5 “adulterers and adulteresses!” Oh, wait a minute. What? I thought this was written to the church. I thought these were Christians? What does this talk about? Jesus said, you and I are engaged to Him and he is our bridegroom. We are His bride. We are betrothed to Him and we are to be keeping my single loyalty to Him. Pride makes me disloyal to the Lord and starting to live life for myself. That’s what spiritual adultery is, having others that we love more than God, more than God the Son, more than our Redeemer.
So, “Adulterers and Adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?” Whoa, pride provokes God’s enmity. What does that mean? If I have enmity, that means I am having a fight with you. I have enmity, hostility, I don’t live peaceably with you. I’m resistant to you. I don’t like to be around you. “Don’t you know, that friendship with the world is enmity with God.” This is the world, man’s way. This is God’s way. When I am proud, I am aligning with the world, I am not aligning with God. So, when I’m aligned with the world, I’m at enmity with God. God becomes resistant to my life.
In fact, it says, keep reading, “whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think the Scripture says in vain,” verse five, “the Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? The Holy Spirit is jealous of our attention, of our loyalty, of our focus of seeking Him first. In fact, I said in a previous class, some of you treat your I-phones or your Galaxy Samsung’s, whatever digital device you have… some of you treat that with more love and respect than God. You love your phone. You’re on your phone all day long. It takes away time in the word. It takes away time and prayer. It takes away time and serving God. The Lord says, do you think that the Holy Spirit who dwells in you isn’t jealous? Pride means I want to do my own thing. I want my time to be filled with what I like, and God says, no, no, humility leads you to submission, to my way. I want to do your will not my own.
Here’s the last one, look at verse six, right at the beginning. “But He gives more grace. Therefore, He says: ‘God resists the proud.’ “ The final evidence of the rotting that pride does in my life is, pride prevents my spiritual growth. Now pause for a minute. For four decades, I’ve led churches and I’ve had people say, I just don’t get anything out of my devotions. In fact, I don’t get anything out of the sermon. I don’t get anything out of Sunday School class. I don’t get anything out of small group. You know what God says? Pride prevents your spiritual growth. What’s an example of pride? That I want to do my way more than God’s way. God’s way is that I seek Him first. I seek Him most. I love Him completely. I repent, I confess, and forsake all known sin and I don’t want to go my own way. I want to go His way.
Now real quickly, look at the next slide. What happens when we resist pride? The answers right there below it. We humble ourselves.
Look at the next side. This is what happens the instant we humble ourselves. Now I’m going to read all five of these and then we’re going to walk through the scriptures again together. So, look at the slide.
- Humility prompts the grace of God.
- Humility provides the deliverance that God offers to us.
- Humility prospers our intimacy with God.
- Humility promotes cleansing from God.
- Humility, I love this, prompts God’s success.
Now look up from the slide and take your Bible again. Remember you’re looking at a sermon from pastor James, and this is what the original, what I call authentic Christians, we’re getting in church. The first century believers. This is why we talk about those amazing first century believers that stood against all the persecution of the Roman Empire and stood against the ostracism as culture just pushed them out. How did they stand so boldly and full of joy for Christ? Because they were humble.
Now let’s go through one at a time. These verses starting in verse 6, the bottom. Now we ended with “God resists the proud.” That’s God has enmity toward us, that we make God our enemy but look at the second or the last line of verse 6, God “gives grace to the humble”. Wow. Now, I have a marginal note in my Bible. You might have a Bible that has little notes or little letters and then at the bottom there are footnotes down here or maybe it’s in the center column. I have one, do you know what it tells me? That verse 6 is a quotation from Proverbs 3:34. What a tie? James is quoting Proverbs. James is applying Proverbs. James knew these themes. James, the pastor of the first church of Jerusalem had studied the Old Testament scriptures. He knew about the Spirit of God coming on, and the servant heartedness, and the selective choices and this submissiveness that battles against pride and he quotes this in his sermon.
Here’s lesson, number one, humility prompts the grace of God. Do you want to be showered with God’s grace? You know what grace is? It’s the divine power of God, to live out all the promises of God, to live the way the Bible talks about is only possible by grace. Practically, it’s like plugging in your computer or your iPad or your cell phone. It’s the power source. Grace is the Holy Spirit bringing about the will of God in my life. Grace is God giving me what I don’t deserve. How do I get that grace? It’s more valuable than money. How do you get it? Look at verse 6. “God gives grace to the humble.” Humility prompts the grace of God.
Look at verse 7, “Therefore submit yourself to God. Resist the devil…” and what does it say in verse 7? “He’ll flee from you.” Secondly, humility provides deliverance, from God. Do you want to resist the devil? How does that happen? Submitting to God leads to resisting the devil, causing him to flee from us. We don’t have to do some kind of incantation or claiming something that that we do. No, it’s God overwhelming the darkness of Satan, delivering. God delivers us from evil as we humble ourselves, get doused with His grace. Submit to God and just say no to the devil.
Now some of you, let me pause and say, some of you are experiencing the reptilian nature of sin. What I mean by that? Well reptiles, when you learn in biology class, that reptiles grow a little bit bigger every year. That’s why they go into the jungles and they find these massive, these gigantic reptiles that are in all these nature shows and everyone’s amazed at them. Do you remember dinosaurs? Dinosaurs got bigger every year. They were reptilian. Now, what does that have to do with us? Sin is reptilian. Any sin that we don’t do what Proverbs 28:13 says, which says we confess them, forsake, and God gets rid of it; when we leave it alone and overlook it or cover it up, it grows a little bigger. Some of you at your young age, you’re in college and you’re starting to be shocked at the hold that sin has on you. That it’s almost like you feel trapped, by maybe anger that you’ve cultivated over the years, or maybe anxiety, or maybe pride, or maybe lust/physical lust/sensual lust. Sexual desires are reptilian when they’re not kept in the banks. Sex is like a river, it’s beautiful when it’s in the banks, in the channel that God designed it. But when you let it overflow and flood, it’s very destructive. How do you get Satan to flee from controlling us through our lust? By humbling ourselves, submitting to God, and saying no.
You want to grow spiritually? Say no to your current sins that are besetting you. The ones that seem to over and over, you say, Oh I shouldn’t have done that, shouldn’t have done that. Well, first you say, Lord I want to humble myself. I wouldn’t be doing that sin if I wasn’t proud, going my own way and so I want to submit to you. I resist the evil one. If you could open your eyes and see from God’s perspective, you’d see Satan fleeing away.
Here’s the next one. Humility prospers intimacy with God. Look at verse 8, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” It’s very interesting, if we were in Greek class, I would say that there’s a different tense in those two words, draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
- The first one is, a once and for all attitude. I say, God, I want to draw near to you. That’s my heart’s desire. I might feel you. I might sometimes not act that way, but the choice of my life I want to draw near to you.
- Do you know what the tense is of the next one? God will ever be coming closer and closer and closer. He’s going to be drawing nearer and nearer and nearer. It’s a present, active, indicative. He is coming our way. All you have to do is open the door to Him by saying, I want to draw near to you. Here He comes. What does that humility prosper? Intimacy with God.
And it promotes cleansing from God. Look at the second half of verse 8 and verse 9. “Cleanse your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.” What is that? Thinking and talking and acting like sin, is what God says it is. It’s agreeing with God about sin. I sorrow, I have godly sorrow for my sin. In fact, I tell people I’m the worst sinner I know. I don’t know you. I’ve met some of you taking this class and I know others of you through texts or emails or messages or whatever comments you make but I really know myself. I know why I do what I do. I know when I do what I do, I know what I do. You know what? I know that I know so much about God, that I need to more and more submit to. I know that I’m hardwired to be a rebel and I know that pride is at the root of the me, that was born into this world. I have to be, all the time, saying no to it. So, I want cleansing from God. I say to Him, I don’t want that sin in my life, I repent of that sin in my life. What is repentance? It’s a change of mind, that issues into a change of behavior. So, cleansing from God is promoted by me humbly, repentantly as it says in verse 9, lamenting and mourning and weeping and sorrowing.
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 7, godly sorrow works repentance, but to sorrow the world works death. Worldly people are just sorry they got caught. They’re sorry that they have cirrhosis of the liver, they drank too much. Or they’re sorry they got an STD because of their immortality. But godly sorrow is not that I got caught, but that I sinned against God. I love Him. I want to serve Him. I want to submit to Him. I want to humbly receive His grace.
The last one, humility prompts God’s success. Look at verse 10, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the LORD, and He will lift you up.”
- The only medication that defeats pride is God’s grace. Wow.
- The only pathway to that grace is submissiveness.
- Grace enables us to clothe ourselves with humility. Wow.
- The evidence of, the grace of submission, is when we submit humbly to one another.
The attitude we need is in John 3:30 and the action we need to take is in Colossians 3:12. Now look up from the slide, John chapter 3, all of the 16th verse, right? Look at the 30th verse, this is what it says. “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Number one, the conclusion, this whole lesson of submission, rebellion, and the ultimate sin of pride is having an attitude. If you’ve never done this, this is the moment to do it. This is a moment to say, Lord, I want this attitude. It’s the most vital seven words in the Bible. Got it? “He must increase, but I must decrease.” That becomes my lifelong attitude. I want more of Christ, less of me; more of Him, less of me. It’s not something that instantly happens. It’s a lifelong process of saying, how is this choice going to make more of Christ or is it just going to make more of me? Is what I’m posting right now, going to point at Christ or make me struggle more with pride? You understand, this changes everything. Your social media, the entertainment you listen to, the games you play… is that making me decrease and Christ increase? That’s my attitude for everything, from now on in life. Now, this is the testimony of John the Baptist, but Jesus said John was the greatest human born of among men. He was the greatest human to that day. Well, Why? Because of that attitude, Christ must increase, I must decrease.
Now look in your Bibles, the second one is Colossians 3. “Therefore, as the elect of God,” what does elect mean? God picked us to be on His team. Election is that God eklektos. He calls us out. He says, come to me and He elects. We respond in faith and come to Him. “As the elect of God,” those who’ve responded to the grace of God, “holy, and beloved.” That’s how God sees me, no condemnation I face. God looks at me as a beloved member of His family. And holy because Jesus has cleansed me of my sins, even though I still sin all my sins have been put on Christ. Past, present, future. Verse 12 continues and the next word “put on” is an imperative. What’s that? It’s a command, it’s not an option. You go through the cafeteria line and they say, would you like ketchup or mustard on your hotdog, would you like salt or pepper? Those are options. This is not an option. Verse 12, “put on tender mercies, kindness,” there it is, “humility.” Pause. Think about this. The attitude God wants from me, to clothe myself with humility, is saying those seven words. He must increase, I must decrease. The action I take is Colossians 3:12.
Now see my bright fluorescent, whatever color this is, shirt? As we were walking into our little filming area my wonderful wife said, I wonder with all those bright lights on, that you’re filming with, are all those wrinkles are going to show. We just got back from six weeks of being on the road and teaching. We taught actually in three different locations in the United States. Up in the upper north central area, then the north east area, then down the south east area. Now we’re back to Colorado and this shirt’s been in and out of a bag so many times it’s all wrinkled. How did I get the shirt on? Did it attack me? Did it knock me and pin me to the floor and put itself on me? No, I walked in to where my clothes are, I picked that shirt, and put it on. That’s as clearly as Colossians 3:12, in the action we’re supposed to take you and I. As much as we pick our clothes that you’re wearing right now, every one of you picked out clothes that you’re wearing, we need to pause spiritually and obey the command of Colossians 3:12. Clothed ourselves with humility. How do you do that?
In the closing prayer, and here is the last slide, we’re to submit to God, not be rebels, and avoid the ultimate sin of pride. Now look up, how do we do that? This closing prayer. We clothe ourselves with humility. Let’s bow.
Dear Father, I right now again, repeat to you that I want you O Christ, to increase in my life and I want to decrease. I want there to be less of me and my goals, and desires, and plans and I want there to be more of you, in all of your beauty, and glory, and power, and majesty. So, I reach into the closet of your word and I know that you have said that humility is a choice. So, I take the action right now of saying, Lord clothed me with humility. I’ve taken it out of the closet. I pray that you would cling close to my heart, that choice of humbling myself and your sight. I just expect you to pour your grace upon me and upon every one of these students, that in their hearts say, Lord, I want you to increase, I want to decrease; clothed with humility so we can resist the evil one and you can pour your grace on us. In the precious name of Jesus we pray. And all God’s people said, Amen.