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The Verdict / John Munro
The Truth Network Radio
September 19, 2022 12:42 pm


The Verdict / John Munro

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I'm flamboyant.

Figures throwed into a court of law and took the witness stand. He was asked to state his name. He said, I am Frank Lloyd Wright.

Occupation? He said, I'm the world's greatest living architect. Afterwards, a friend said to him, Frank, how could you say that?

The reply was, well, I was under oath, I had to be honest. Well today in our series on the seven deadly sins, we did the introduction last Sunday, but today we begin with the first deadly sin and that is pride. Augustine said, and I agree with him, that pride is the beginning of sin.

C.S. Lewis says, pride is the one vice of which no person in the world is free. Now, pride comes in all shapes and sizes, doesn't it? Sometimes it's obvious with the arrogance and the hubris that we see in others, but more often that pride takes all kinds of subtle forms. And it's true of this that with pride, it's much easier to see it in others than to see it in ourselves. But pride is the universal sin. All of you here are proud. Now, by the deadly sin of pride, we're not talking about acknowledging and being thankful for the gifts, the abilities, and the talents and the achievements which God in His grace gives to each of us. We sometimes say to others, particularly perhaps to children, I'm proud of you. And by that we mean that we're pleased with their endeavor, with their attitude, with their achievements. We're not talking about that.

We're talking about the deadly sin. The sin of pride is an inordinate, ruthless preoccupation with self. Pride says, I'm here. Have you noticed me?

I'm here. Maybe 3,000 people, but pride says, look at me. It is selfishness. It is self-focus. It is self-absorption. There's the old Bedouin saying which says that the jackal is a lion in his own backyard.

And you may think you're a lion in your own backyard. When we're proud, we see ourselves as superior to others. When we're proud, we put down others.

When we're proud, we can't receive any valid criticism or correction. When we're proud, we always turn the conversation to ourselves. When we're proud, we talk over other people. When we're proud, we want all the credit.

When we're proud, we refuse to apologize when we know that we're wrong. When we're proud, we're upset that no one has asked our opinion about something. When we're proud, we use our position of power or influence to make others feel inferior. Pride makes ourselves the object of worship. Pride makes us think that the rules don't apply to us. Pride makes us think that we are special.

Pride makes us think that in the workforce, there may be a hundred others, but we deserve that promotion. Pride makes us think that we deserve a bigger compensation than others. Pride makes us think that people exist to make life more comfortable for ourselves. Pride is patronizing and dismissive of others. Pride is very, very destructive in our relationships. Pride is the universal sin. Pride is a deadly sin. We want, first of all, to think what God thinks of pride. Secondly, to think of an example of the opposite of pride, and then some responses when faced with our own pride. First of all, God's view of pride. When you turn in your Bibles to Proverbs, Proverbs, first of all, chapter 8, and we will see that God hates pride.

You notice the word, hates. God hates pride. Now we're going to be using our Bible a lot this morning. I hope you've brought your Bible. We are a Bible-believing church.

We believe that this book is the inerrant, inspired Word of God, and on any subject, doesn't matter what I think, or in a sense what Calvary Church thinks, is what the Word of God says. So I want you to open your Bible and turn to Proverbs, about the middle of your Bible. Proverbs 8, and we'll look, first of all, at verse 13. Proverbs 8, 13, the fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.

Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. God is speaking, and God says He hates pride and arrogance. Last week in the introduction to this series, I said that at the top of the list in Proverbs 6, of things which the Lord hates, the first one was haughty eyes. Turn over to Proverbs 16. Proverbs 16, verse 5. Psalms, Proverbs. Proverbs 16 verse 5, everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord.

Be assured he will not go unpunished. Does that surprise you? That in fact it is an abomination to the Lord? You may think of some sexual sins as an abomination to the Lord, and you may think you're free of these sexual sins, but here is a statement that everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord. Verse 18, the familiar verse, often misquoted. Proverbs 16, verse 18, pride goes, not before a fall, pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Pride goes before destruction. In the New Testament, 1 Peter, that's towards the end of our Bibles, 1 Peter, one of the apostles, writes on this subject of pride, the last chapter of 1 Peter, 1 Peter 5, verse 5, likewise you who are younger be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility towards one another.

Why should we do that? For God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. If you want to go through life with God against you, with God opposing you, be proud. God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. Paul says in Romans 12, verse 3, don't think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. He writes in Philippines 2, verse 3, we are to do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, count others more significant than ourselves.

Do you do that? Do you count others more significant than yourselves? Paul is saying that's what we should do. Isaiah 66, verse 2, this is the one to whom I will look. Who does God look for?

One who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word. See, the humble person trembles when God speaks. The pride person says, well, that's just the Bible and who believes the Bible nowadays. Pride puts ourselves center stage.

Pride puts ourselves under the spotlight. Pride forgets that every single thing you have and every single thing you are comes from God. Robert Hildebrand, when he was baptized a few minutes ago, quoted from 1 Chronicles 28, when David is preparing all of the gifts which are going to be used for the building of the temple, which his son Solomon is going to build. The last chapter of 1 Chronicles chapter 29, David, as the people are bringing the gifts, says, all things come of you and of your… of thine own have we given you. You gave an offering to God, this morning a trust, a tithe, an offering to God.

You are not able to give that unless first God's given you the energy, the opportunity to make money. There is nothing that you can give to God that you have not received. Pride forgets that. Pride says, this is what I have done. Pride separates us from God, and pride in fact defies God. Biblical examples of pride, there are many. Turn to Isaiah 14 for the outstanding example of pride. Isaiah chapter 14, told you you were using your Bible today. Isaiah 14, here is in a sense the first sin, pride. Who committed it? Our great enemy himself, Satan.

If you want to think of the example of pride, think of Satan. Here it is, Isaiah 14 verse 12, how you are fallen from heaven, O day star, son of dawn, how you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low. You said in your heart, I will, notice the I wills, I will ascend to heaven above the stars of God. I will set my throne on high. I will sit on the mind of assembly in the far reaches of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, and here it is. I will make myself like the most high, but you're brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit. Where is our enemy going to spend all of eternity? We're told in the lake of fire, which burns forever and ever. This great, beautiful, highly intelligent creation of God, this angel that we now call Satan is cast down. For what reason?

For pride. He's going to ascend. I will make myself like the most high, pride, a deadly sin. Let's think of another example from the book of Daniel. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel.

One of the things we want you as you come to Calvary is to know your Bible, and you'll never know your Bible unless you actually use it. So get a Bible and read it. Daniel chapter 4, this man called King Nebuchadnezzar. He's a great warrior, very successful man. In fact, he's the leader of the superpower of the day. He's the king of the Babylonians. Verse 28 of Daniel 4, all this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar.

At the end of 12 months, he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king answered and said, is not this great Babylon which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty? Look around. You see it? I build it. It's built for me, for my majesty.

Look at me. No one greater than I am. God casts him down in a very unusual way that this mighty king is reduced to eating grass like an animal. Verse 37, the end of the chapter, as he's humbled, he says, now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the king of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just. For those who walk in pride, he's able to humble. God is well, well able to humble those who walk in pride.

Nebuchadnezzar, not enough that he's blessed. He wants everyone to know how important he is. That's right.

T.S. Eliot said, most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important. Just think of that. Think of all the trouble in lives.

Homes, businesses, nations, governments, churches, friendships are shattered over who is the most important, who is number one, who is calling the shots, who is the greatest. Here's another example, one which I find comes from 2 Chronicles 26, the king Uzziah, the one who died, it was in the year that he died that Isaiah goes into the temple in Isaiah 6. But this king, Uzziah, is the king of Judah for 52 years, and he's a great king. And you know why he's great?

The Scripture says that God marvelously helped him. Life has gone well for you. You're very successful in your career. You've got a great skill, a great ability.

Things are going well. Just remember, God is marvelously helping you. And at the pinnacle of his power, he's really at the top of the heap, he had a tremendous fall. It began when he fell in love with himself, and he forgot it was God who helped him. Isn't it easy to do that?

Isn't that true? You work hard, things go well, God's blessed you. And how easy it is to forget that God has helped us. This was a good king, a mighty king, a spiritual king. And the text says, 2 Chronicles 26 verse 16, when he was strong, he grew proud to his destruction. A haughty spirit goes before a fall, pride going before destruction. He thought he was special as a king, he didn't think the law of God applied to him, so he goes into the temple and he wants to offer the incense, and the priest says, no, king, you can't do that.

That's for us. And he's angry. And right there in the temple, God cuts him down, and he's leprosy. And for the rest of his life, he lives isolated, alienated from his people. He's a leper. Pride leading to destruction, pride is opposed by God and it's deadly.

Now, do you understand that? I think we have to understand that this is, I must confess, it's difficult for me to understand how much God hates pride until I remember this, that God is God, supreme over all. We are his creations and we are his creatures and we are to bow before him. What's the opposite of pride? Humility. Let's think of a supreme example of humility.

Where's it found? It's found in our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul writes, Philippians 2, verses 6 through 8, our Lord Jesus was in the form of God, he was God. He 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.

God incarnate. When he comes into our world, he comes in the form of a servant, in the form of a slave, and is obedient to his Father, a sign of humility. We don't want to obey.

We've talked about people who took a long time in getting baptized. This obedience, we don't want to obey. Obedience is a sign of humility and our Lord is perfect in his humility and his obedience to the Father. Yes, obedient to death, even death on a cross.

What does that look like? Turn to John chapter 13, New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, John chapter 13, and we'll see a wonderful example of humility, the opposite of pride. John chapter 13, verse 2, during supper when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him.

What's the scene? The Lord is with the twelve in the upper room, Jesus and his disciples. Notice how Satan himself had infiltrated the band of the twelve. Verse 27 of John 13, after he'd taken a morsel, Satan entered into him that is Judas. Remember last week as we thought of Genesis 3 verse 15, the Lord said, he, the coming Messiah, will bruise the serpent on the head, but the serpent will bruise him on the heel. The serpent is there, right in the inner circle.

Isn't that interesting? But what happens? Verse 3, Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands and that he had come from God and was going back to God. He knew that.

He knew he was going to rise from the dead. He rose from supper, he laid aside his outer garments and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

You picture that? God incarnate, the Lord of glory, is washing the feet of proud men. Here is humility in action. They're there, they walk, they're dirty, they're sweaty. This was not some ritual. This was not something done to impress other people.

No, quite the opposite. They come into the room, the twelve, and in the custom of the day, a slave, a child would be there to wash their feet. It was needed, they were sweaty, they were dirty.

They wanted that comfort of their feet being washed, but no one was there. One would have thought that Peter, the leader of the twelve, would have done that, wouldn't you? Andrew, he's quieter. What about Philip? Surely? Bartholomew? Nathaniel? No, none of them are there to wash their feet.

In fact, we know from the Gospels that before this, they had been arguing as to who is the greatest. I mean, the least is going to wash their feet. That's done by the slave, it's done by a child, it's done by a woman. It's not done by a grown man.

No one is there. And so the Lord takes that towel, puts it around him, and stoops and washes the feet of very proud fallen men. And the angels of heaven who do not serve the Lord apart from veiling their face must have looked on in amazement that the mighty God, the eternal God, the Creator of the heavens and of the earth is bowing and washing the feet of fallen men. That's humility, isn't it? In one of his few self-designations, our Lord says, I am gentle and lowly in heart. Paul refers to the meekness and gentleness of Christ, 2 Corinthians 10 verse 1. What's the answer to our pride?

We've been singing about it. The cross of Christ. Paul says, God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. See, being an authentic follower of Jesus Christ, we learned this through our study of Matthew, must always be seen in the light of the cross. When we come to the cross, when we survey the cross, that's the end of our self-promotion, self-seeking, self-focus, self-indulgence, and provides the model and the motivation for true humility.

My riches gain, we sometimes sing and will sing, my riches gain I count but loss and poor contempt on all my pride. Where do we, above all places, pour contempt on our pride? At the foot of the cross. John Stott writes, it's there at the foot of the cross that we shrink to our true size.

Anyone want to compete with Christ at the cross? We're singing unto Him, unto Him is the glory. Not to us, but to Him. He receives all of the glory. We're puffed up with our pride.

We think we're important, and we shrink to our true size at the cross of Christ. I'm going to suggest four responses to our pride, four words. First of all is confess.

Confess. Are you proud? Or are you one of these people who are always pretending to be humble? You give this persona that you want people to think of you as humble. You think of yourself as this nice kind, as very humble people. Other are proud, but not you. You're this humble person.

C.S. Lewis says, a man is never so proud as when striking an attitude of humility. We see that, of course, in others, isn't it? False, pretentious pride is one of the worst forms of pride. I read some time ago the autobiography of Golda Meir called The Lioness, the former prime minister of Israel, and there's a couple of great lines there. She used to say to people, don't be humble, you're not that great. Dealing with false humility. She writes of another Zionist saying, listen, my friend, you're not big enough to make yourself that small. False humility is deadly, isn't it?

Deadly. What are we to do? We are humbly, each of us, to acknowledge that we're proud. We're to come in humility before God, confessing our sin. Listen to Proverbs 28 verse 13, whoever conceals his transgression will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Don't conceal your sin is the point.

In particular, don't conceal the fact that you're proud. Confess it and you'll prosper. Despite humble repentance, there is no forgiveness. In fact, if you're a proud person, you don't pray much and you probably don't confess sin too often, because you're proud. The humble person through the work of the Spirit of God, search me O God and know my heart, comes and confesses their sin before the Lord Jesus. If we confess our sins, he's faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, 1 John 1 verse 9. Now, if you don't get into this practice daily of confessing your sin, your heart's going to become hard.

And such is the self-deception of pride that you'll hardly see the pride in yourself and will see it more often than others and become very critical of them. What does God look for? In our confession, Psalm 51 verse 17, a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. A broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Have you ever been broken before God because of your pride, your arrogance, your false humility, your deception? God likes that. God is pleased with that. Because God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. First then, first word is confess. The second word is worship. Worship. When we see the stars at night, we realize how small we are.

In a sense, it's a humbling experience, isn't it? You bear out at night and see the size of the universe and think how small we are. You really think you're this kind of big shot in the universe. You are tiny. And when we have a small God, we are proud. When I was at high school, went into the library one time, there weren't many Christian books, but there's one by J.B. Phillips, an Englishman, and he wrote this book, Your God is Too Small, and had a teddy bear on the front cover. And I checked it out.

And J.B. Phillips has these various figures of who God is, and he is saying, and rightly so, your God is too small. When I came back to check it in, the librarian says, no one else is ever going to check out that book, John. You can keep it. So I thought, OK. So I have it. And it's got the stamp of the school, Dunfermline High School on it, but I didn't steal it.

I was given it. Your God is too small. Yes, as a 17 or 18-year-old boy, I began to realize, yes, my God is too small.

God is huge, isn't He? And one of the things we try to do at Calvary as you come in is to give you a sense of how big God is. And so, I hope you listened to that prelude, God of grace and of glory. That God is a God of grace, that God is a God of glory, the orchestra was saying. We sang, behold your God, focus on God.

You're too consumed with yourself and your little agenda and your little disappointments and your little life and your little family. Think of how big God is, the eternal God who's huge, who is so immense He can't be measured, who's so big He's everywhere. That's the kind of God we want, isn't it?

A God that you're going to manipulate, an awesome God. And in the presence of this great God as we worship Him, something miraculous happens, is we begin to be reduced to our own size. It's called humility. You worship. Authentic worship produces humility. And have you noticed, as I have, that when you neglect your worship of God, if you come and just kind of sing without thinking, and if you go through the week and you're hardly worshipping God, you know what happens? You become prouder and prouder. You're less concerned with God and your view of God shrinks and your view of your own self-importance grows and you get worried because life seems out of control.

Why? Because you've got a small God and you've forgotten that God is big, that God is huge. And you're worrying because you've forgotten that He will hold you fast. And you're disappointed because something happened, because you've forgotten that God works all things after the counsel of His will. And so as we think about God and as we worship God, and as we worship God through the preaching and the teaching of His Word, we think less of ourselves. I mean, how proud can you be before a holy God? This great God in His mercy, we're thinking of this last Sunday night in Ephesians 1. This great God has planned my salvation before the creation of the world, that He sends His Son to redeem me, to buy me back. And not only does He forgive my sins, but He adopts me into His eternal family. And not only does He give me a little bit of grace, He lavishes me with grace. And He promises that through the Holy Spirit that this is His mark on me, that I'm sealed to the very day of my redemption. What a great God that gives me humility to realize I am His and He is mine, and it's all of His grace. You're totally undeserving of it. You do absolutely nothing for your salvation, all accomplished by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, so that we now in His grace can be saved, and that we now come as a people of God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-05 10:17:38 / 2023-11-05 10:28:32 / 11

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