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From Pride to Humility

Building Christ-Centered Relationships God's Way  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Pride is one of the most loathed sins in God's sight and so it should be for the child of God. Relationships must be built with humilty and where pride exists, there can be no humility.

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Introduction

A preacher, an Eagle Scout, and a computer expert were the only passengers on a small plane. The pilot came back to the cabin and said that the plane was going down but there were only three parachutes and four people. The pilot added, “I should have one of the parachutes because I have a wife and three small children.” So he took one and jumped.
The computer expert said, “I should have one of the parachutes because I am the smartest man in the world and everyone needs me.” So he took one and jumped.
The preacher turned to the Eagle Scout and with a sad smile said, “You are young and I have lived a rich life, so you take the remaining parachute, and I’ll go down with the plane.”
The Eagle Scout said, “Relax, Reverend, the smartest man in the world just took my backpack.
Pride is very dangerous isn’t it?
Pride often fools us and blinds us into thinking that we deserve more or better than we are getting, that our needs are more important than those of anyone else, and pride can cause us to make foolish and rash decisions that can impact more than ourselves.
Pride is the destroyer of relationships. Because of pride, marriages end in divorce, the parent-child relationship is strained or eliminated, close friends become arch-enemies, and the list goes on simply because one or all parties involved wanted their way or thought their way was the only way.
Conflicts in relationships can be easily resolved by people choosing to show a little or a lot more humility in considering others more important than themselves.
That has really been the purpose of this series…Building Christ-centered Relationships God’s Way…because God created us a relational people…He never intended for us to live on an island by ourselves without interaction with people.
What makes our relationships with people difficult is this ugly thing called sinsin in our life and sin in their life.
Because of sin, there are going to be times when those relationships get a little dirty…or a lot of dirty…they break down and need repair…the presence of sin in this world and in our hearts makes conflicts in our relationships inevitable.
So we have to know what it takes to fix them and make them better.
The keys to stronger relationships are found in how we choose to build them.
We’ve got to recognize that God has called us to a life that is different than the culture around us…we’ve got to think differently than our culture, we’ve got to act differently than our culture, especially in the way we choose to build relationships and solve conflicts.
Ephesians 4:1 NASB95
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
Living worthy of the gospel means to some degree that we are making the gospel attractive and alluring…that is why we need to build Christ-centered relationships God’s way.
The Christ-centered relationship is going to built with grace.
The Christ-centered relationship is going to built with encouragement.
The Christ-centered relationship is going to built with faithfulness.
Everything we talked about so far in this series has been counter-cultural…the world around us doesn’t have the foggiest idea of how to build relationships with grace, or how to effectively encourage, or even how to be faithful...
that is what the gospel calls us to be…counter-cultural…not conformed to the world, we are transformed by the Spirit.
Our mission as a church is to win people to Christ and teach them how to think and act biblicallythat means that you and I on an individual basis, must be doing our part to think and act biblically…in all facets of life…especially in how we build relationships…the reason our culture does not build relationships with grace, encouragement and faithfulness because God’s people are the only ones who truly know and understand grace, encouragement, and faithfulness because we have experienced them first hand from God in Christ.
So if we are going to accept the responsibility of thinking and acting biblically, then our lives are going to be different, our choices are going to be different, our marriages are going to be different, our parenting is going to be different, our relationships are going to be different…both inside the church and outside the church…
But here’s the problem…when we stop thinking and acting biblically we allow our pride to take over and then our relationships with each other are far less than what God desires or intended them to be.
Why would anyone want what you have, if it is not any different or any better than what they presently possess?
Churches across our country, and even here locally, are not as effective as they could be because God’s people are not modeling what Christ-centered relationships look like and act like, well enough.
Today we are going to add another essential trait to build into our relationships…this is to some degree a follow up from last week in the sense that what keeps us from being all in for God and in other areas of life is the exact opposite trait of pride.
We’re talking this morning about building relationships with humility...the difference between applying humility verses responding in pride is astounding…
Who here does not want a stronger relationship with your spouse, your children, your co-co-workers…by learning what it means to put off pride and put on humility in our relationships can often be the difference between years of heartache and separation of close friends or strengthening the bonds that unite us together…not saying your relationships will be conflict free, but when conflict does arise, the person who chooses humility can find themselves at greater peace and enjoyment.

Main Point: The child of God must put away pride and build relationships with humility.

Humility is the one character trait that really enables us to be all Christ wants us to be.
We could have started with this because we cannot show grace or be an encouragement or be faithful when we are filled with self…pride to a very large degree is our archenemy.
Yes Satan is our enemy…but he and his cohorts don’t have to look very hard at where to attack us...
The apostle John taught us that our sin falls under one of three categories...
1 John 2:16 NASB95
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
For us to truly be all that God wants us to be, and for us to have relationships that are truly Christ-centered, we must build them with humility.
Ephesians 4:1–2 NASB95
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,
Two truths to consider to help us walk more faithfully in humility.
The first truth to consider is that...

Pride and Humility Cannot Cohabitate.

Pride is one of the most loathed sins in God’s sight…where pride exists, there can be no humility.
Proverbs 16:5 NASB95
Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.
Even though we know how much God detests pride, it is still an epidemic among God’s people.
It’s not a matter of do you have it, it is really a matter of where it is and how much of it you have.
“We all have the tendency to think too much about ourselves and to much of ourselves.” Stuart Scott From Pride to Humility, Focus Publishing 2002
Chuck Swindoll once said “The world’s smallest package is a man wrapped up in himself”
Proverbs 26:12 NASB95
Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Pride is the root of every sinthrough out the Scriptures you see...
Pride of position — Matt 23:6
Pride of ability — 2 Chron. 26:15-16
Pride of achievement — Dan 4:22
Pride of wealth — 1 Tim. 6:17
Pride of possessions — Matt 6:19
Pride of knowledge — Isaiah 47:10
Pride of learning — 1 Cor. 8:1
Pride of spiritual attainment — Luke 22:24
Pride of self-righteousness — Rom 10:3
Pride of being esteemed or liked — Gal. 1:10
Pride of spiritual experiences — 2 Cor. 12:7
In our flesh we lean to our pride…that is why Satan finds it so easy to attack us…it is the worship of self and making sure self has what self needs and wants.

We need to gain a biblical understanding of pride.

Consider the Biblical terms

Six different Hebrew words are used for pride.
All of them convey lifting up, highness, magnification, presumptuousness, or rebelliousness of self.
In the Greek, the words for pride appear in two categories.
straining or stretching one’s neck (as if to hold one’s head up high because of what one thinks he has made of himself or accomplished), to magnify, or to be haughty
blindness and even suggests the idea of being enveloped in smoke
Both in Hebrew and Greek we find proud people are portrayed as having a high view of themselves and are blinded to the truth about God and themselves, and sometimes even reality.

Learn from Biblical Examples

Nowhere in Scripture will you find anything that communicates you have a low self-esteem, you think too poorly of yourself or you need to think of yourself more.
In fact, you find just the opposite…God gives many stories and warnings for us to discourage pride…Scripture tells us to STOP thinking of ourselves or on what we want…it already assumes we love our self (love your neighbor as yourself) and think too highly of ourselves (do not think more highly of yourselves than you ought to think)

The best example of pride in the Scripture is Satan.

Isaiah 14:12-14 turn
In Luke 10:18; Jesus refers to verse 12 to describe Satan’s fall which tells us this is more than just the immediate context of simply words of the king of Babylon…this words spoken are not only from the human king of Babylon who wanted to be higher than his pagan gods, but they originate in Satan who him.
We similar language in Ezekiel 28:12-17 regarding the king of Tyre and Satan behind him.
The point here in Isaiah is that Satan was filled with arrogance and that caused him to oppose God. We see in Genesis 3:1-5 how he even questioned and denied God’s goodness. (turn to Gen. 3)

Other examples

Uzziah2 Chron 26:16 — served God for many years and grew famous, prosperous and strong.
2 Chronicles 26:16 NASB95
But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the Lord his God, for he entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.
NebuchadnezzarDan 4:37 — allowed his arrogance to take over and God had to humble him by making him walk the earth like a beast of the field.
Daniel 4:37 NASB95
“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.”
BelshazzarDan 5:18-30 — did not learn the lesson he needed to learn from the example of what happened to Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel 5:22–23 NASB95
“Yet you, his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this, but you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which do not see, hear or understand. But the God in whose hand are your life-breath and all your ways, you have not glorified.
PhariseeLuke 18:10-14 ended up praying only to himself because he considered himself more righteous and superior.
Luke 18:10–14 NASB95
“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. ‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
King Saul1 Samuel 18:7-9; King HerodActs 12; Diotrephes3 John 9
The natural inclination of our heart is to lift up self in pride and forget about God or to be above God. Time and time again God warns us of this line of thinking and behavior.
Proverbs 16:18 NASB95
Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.
Philippians 2:3–4 NASB95
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Learn to recognize Pride

When someone is proud he or she is focused on self…it is a form of self worship.
Prideful people believe they are the center of the universe or that they should be the center.
they alone are the source of what is good, right and worthy of praise
they, by themselves, have accomplished or should be the accomplisher of what is worthy of accomplishment.
they believe they should be the benefactor of all that is good
In essence, they believe that all things should be from them, for them, to them, because of them, etc.
Pride is that competitive attitude that sets itself up against others, especially God.
Even self-pity is a form of pride.
Self-pity is just the flip-side of the same coin of pride…people consumed by self-pity are focusing on themselves too much.
they are not thinking about or concerned with the glory of God.
they are not thinking about or thankful for what God has given them
they are focused on the seemingly “raw deal” they recieved in life or that their life is not as good as the life of someone else.
They want to be good, not for the glory of God, but for the glory of self.
Don’t be deceived into thinking you are not filled with pride when you bemoan the fact that you are not want you want to be, which is elevated and esteemed.
Proud people want life to be all about them; their happiness, their accomplishments, their worth.

Pride is that mindset of self as the master instead of the servant…it is the desire to control and use all things for self.

Manifestations of Pride (from Stuart Scott’s book)

No need to talk in depth about them…give them as a challenge…instruct them to hand the list to someone whom they trust will be honest with them and to identify the top 5 they see being displayed in your life.
Complaining against or passing judgment on God — Rom 9:20
How could this happen after all I’ve done for God?
A lack of gratitude in general — 2 Chron 32:25
complain because they think they deserve better
ungrateful because they think they deserve what is good.
Anger — Matt 20:1-16
Seeing yourself as better than others — Luke 7:36-50
Having an inflated view of your importance, gifts, and abilities — 1 Cor. 4:7
Being focused on the lack of your gifts and abilities — 1 Cor. 12:14-25
Perfectionism — Matt. 23:24-28
Talking too much — Prov 10:19 — think what they have to say is more important than what others have to say
Talking too much about yourself — Prov 27:2; Gal 6:3
Seeking independence or control — 1 Cor. 1:10-13; Eph. 5:21
Being consumed with what others think — Gal. 1:10
Being devastated or angered by criticism — Prov. 13:1
Being unteachable — Prov 19:20
Being sarcastic, hurtful or degrading — Prov. 12:18,23 using unkind words through the excuse of jesting
A lack of service — Gal 5:13; Eph 2:10 not thinking of others or needing recognition
A lack of compassion — Matt 5:7; 18:23-35
Being defensive or blame-shifting — Gen. 3:12-13; Prov 12:1 won’t accept their fault and try to explain away their sin
A lack of admitting when you are wrong — Prov. 10:17
A lack of asking forgiveness — Matt. 5:23-24
A lack of biblical prayer — Luke 18:10-14
Resisting authority or being disrespectful — 1 Peter 2:13-17
Voicing preferences or opinions when not asked — Phil. 2:1-4
Minimizing your own sin and shortcomings — Matt. 7:3-5
Maximizing others sin and shortcomings — Matt 7:3-5
Being impatient or irritable with others — Eph 4:31-32
Being jealous or envious — 1 Cor. 13:4
Using others — Matt. 7:12; Phil. 2:3-4
Being deceitful by covering up sins, faults, and mistakes — Prov. 11:3; 28:13
Using attention-getting tactics — 1 Peter 3:3-4 drawing attention to themselves through dress, bizarre behavior, rebellious, always talking about problems.
Not having close relationships — Prov. 18:1-2; Heb. 10:24-25 have no use for close relationships, think they are more trouble than they are worth. self-sufficient and don’t need others.

In summary, God warns us against living with a heart filled with pride…having the constant focus on what self wants or needs is in direct opposition to what God really desires for us…lowliness and other’s mindedness…humility.

Humility is an endangered virtue.

Humility is rare because it is so unnatural to man…only the person who possesses the Spirit of God can learn and display genuine humility.

We need to gain a biblical understanding of humility.

Consider the Biblical terms

There are several Old Testament terms translated humility or humble…mostly they refer to the action of bowing low or crouching down.
In the New Testament, there are two words used;
servile, base, or groveling
gentile, meek, yielding
These were considered a negative concept in Greek culture, but Jesus’ teaching is always counter-cultural.

Follow the greatest example of humility, Jesus

Philippians 2:6–8 NASB95
who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
The very fact that Jesus voluntarily left heaven with all His glory, honor, pure worship, and majesty to take on the frailties of humanity, only to be despised and rejected, was an amazing act of humility.
Jesus described himself as meek and lowly in heart, but he certainly knew when to be firm and how to rebuke others for God’s glory — Matt 23

Jesus was completely submissive to the Father’s will, even though He Himself is God.

John 4:34 NASB95
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.
John 8:28–29 NASB95
So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”

He was fully devoted to glorifying God

John 17:1 NASB95
Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You,
John 17:4 NASB95
“I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.

He became the servant of men — John 13:3-17

This mindset is completely counter-cultural today…in our society, the first or the one who is lifted up is the greatest…according to Jesus, the least is the greatest.
Mark 10:43–44 NASB95
“But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.
Remember Jesus’ washing the feet of the disciples…John 13:1-17…even though He is God, He wrapped the servant’s towel around his waist and cleaned the dirt and sweat off men’s feet…yet His greatest act of humility was suffering and dying for you and me. God himself volunteered to stoop down and serve us…in both life and death…by following the example of Jesus we need to rethink how we position ourselves with others.

Learn from other examples

Abraham giving Lot the first choice of land — Genesis 13
Moses — Numb 12:3 — was considered the most humble man on earth
John the Baptist — Luke 3:16 — did not consider himself worthy to unlace the sandals of Jesus
Mary, the mother of Jesus — Luke 1:38 — said whatever is your will to be done, let it be done.
The tax collector — Luke 18:13 — cried out for God to be merciful to him because of his sin
Paul — Acts 20:18-19 — served others often at great danger to himself

Recognizing Biblical Humility

Humble people are focused on God and others, not on self…their focus on others is out of a desire to love and glorify God, not what they will receive from it.

They do not need to be recognized or approved.
No competition between God and others.
They know they have been forgiven and have no need to elevate self because they recognize they don’t deserve God’s love.
Their goal is to elevate God and encourage others, no longer living for themselves...
2 Corinthians 5:15 NASB95
and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

Humility then is the mindset of Christ that seeks to serve God and others with a desire to recognize, exalt, and glorify God in all things and by all things.

Manifestations of Humility (from Stuart Scott’s book)

Recognizing and trusting God’s character — Psalm 119:66 — rehearses God’s character often
Seeing yourself as having no right to question or judge an Almighty and Perfect God — Psalm 145:17; Romans 9:19-23 fearfully and wonderfully made and have no qualifications to question God
Focusing on Christ — Phil 1:21; Heb. 12:1-2
Biblical praying and a great deal of it — 1 Thess. 5:17; 1 Tim. 2:1-2
Being overwhelmed with God’s undeserved grace and goodness — Psalm 116:12-19
Being thankful and grateful in general toward others — 1 Thess. 5:18
Being gentile and patient — Col 3:12-14
Seeing yourself as no better than others — Rom. 12:16; Eph 3:8
Having an accurate view of your gifts and abilities — Rom 12:3
Being a good listener — James 1:19; Phil. 2:3-4
Talking about others only if it is good or for their good — Prov 11:13
Being gladly submissive and obedient to those in authority — Rom 12:1-2; 13:1-2
Preferring others over yourself — Rom. 12:10
Being thankful for criticism or reproof — Prov. 9:8; 27:5-6
Having a teachable spirit — 1 Cor. 4:7
Seeking always to build up others — Eph. 4:29
Serving — Gal 5:13
A quickness in admitting when you are wrong — Prov. 29:23
A quickness in granting and asking for forgiveness — Col. 3:12-14
Repenting of sin as a way of life — 1 John 1:9; 1 Tim. 4:7-9
Minimizing others’ sins or shortcomings in comparison to your own — Matt. 7:3-4
Being genuinely glad for others — Rom. 12:15
Being honest and open about who they are and the areas in which they need growth — Gal. 6:2; Phil 3:12-14
Possessing close relationships — Acts 20:31-38

Lesson for Life — Be Humble or Be Humbled.

James 4:6–10 NASB95
But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
Pray for God to help you put off pride and produce humility in you.
Read the Psalms and Proverbs to gain a high view of God and proper view of self
Study Jesus in how he interacted with people in the Gospels
Ask others if you come across as proud in any way
Spend lots of time in worship of God
Practice the “one another” principles
Work at the level of your thoughts and motives
Work at the level of your communication
Work at the level of your deeds
Have the mindset that humility must be a way of life
(Scott, Stuart From Pride to Humility, Focus Publishing, 2002)
God is at war with those who are proud…Guess who is going to win...
like Spurgeon said… “you have a choice between being humble or being humbled.
Pride is that cross we all must bear…we must die to self daily…Building relationships with humility means we have to kill our pride regularly and consistently.
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