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The Seven Deadly Sins: PRIDE      


Text: Luke 1:50‑51 "His mercy extends to those who fear him,

from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds

with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their

inmost thoughts."

Theme:    Pride makes us independent of God.  It's appeal is that it

makes us feel that we are the master of our fate; that we run our own

life, that I call my own shots; and that I can go it alone.

A few months ago, I preached a sermon series on the Seven Cardinal Virtues. I told you then, that developing a virtuous life is important. It is God, after all, who calls us to righteous living and holds us to a high standard of moral excellence. While we will never be without sin in our life, there must be a constant forsaking of sin as we become aware of it, repent or it, and strive to live the Christ-like life.

As Baptists, we have developed over the last century our own hierarchy of sins that are to be especially avoided. The four greatest commandments in Baptist life have been, Thou shalt not drink, thou shalt not smoke, thou shalt not chew and thou shalt not go out with those who do! If you are really spiritual, you can add the next two commandments to the list: Thou shalt not play cards B except Old Maid B and Thou shalt not go to movies.

But seriously, there are some sins that must especially be exorcized in the believer=s life B sins that the early church considered deadly in that they can kill the Christ-like life within us. Those deadly sins include: Pride, Envy, Anger, Sloth, Greed, Lust, and Gluttony.

In any listing of the Seven Deadly Sins, you=ll always see Pride listed first. The others will be listed in a variety of orders, but pride will always have the primacy. The late Scottish theologian, William Barclay, said, APride is the ground in which all the other sins grow, and the parent from which all other sins come.@ Echoing that though, C.S. Lewis, a British philosopher, wrote: AThe essential vice, the utmost evil, is pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison. Pride leads to every other vice; it is the complete anti-God state of mind.@



ILLUS. It was through pride that the devil became the devil. It was

through pride that man fell from grace and lost paradise. Fundamentally, it is pride that keeps lost folks lost. Pride is the only disease that everyone around you suffers from except yourself.

1. there are few other sins so thoroughly condemned in the

Scriptures as is the sin of pride

a. it's opposite virtue is humility and there are few in our

society who seek to cultivate it in their lives

2. now let me hasten to say what pride is not:

a. pleasure in being praised is not pride

1) the child who is patted on the back for doing a lesson

well or making a good play . . .

2) the wife or young woman whose beauty is praised by

her husband or boyfriend . . .

3) the steadfast believer to whom Christ says,  well done

thy good and faithful servant' . . .

(a) find pleasure in that praise and take delight in it

(b) this is not pride

ILLUS. If you remember one simple rule about

receiving praise, you'll be fine. Praise is like chewing gum enjoy it briefly, but don't swallow it!

b. admiration of another's accomplishments is not pride

1) we often tell another >I'm proud of you' when they do

something noteworthy

(a) a father is proud of a son's achievements

(b) a teacher and mentor is proud of a prize student's

accomplishments as an adult

(c) a soldier may be proud of his regiment

(d) a student may be proud of his alma mater

2) what we really mean when we say this is that we have

a warm‑hearted admiration for these people or things

(a) this is not pride

c. a healthy sense of self‑love and personal worth is not


1) what is the second greatest commandment?

2) Jesus tells us it=s similar to the greatest commandment

Matthew 22:37‑39 "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love

the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

2) a healthy sense of self‑love and personal worth is 


3) when the Scriptures tell us to love ourselves it means

we must have a due regard to the dignity of our own natures, and a due concern for the welfare of our own souls and bodies because we are God's creations

(a) this is not pride unless it grows into what we call

narcissism which is excessive love or immoderate admiration of oneself

ILLUS. A poet wrote: "Who comforts me in moments

of despair? Who runs fingers lightly through my hair?  Who cooks my meals and darns my hose? Squeezes nose drops in my nose? Who always has a word of praise? Sets out my rubbers on rainy days? Who scrubs my back when in a shower? And wakes me at the proper hour? Who helps keep me on the beam?  And figures in my every dream? I do! That's who."

(b) I=m sure that poem was written by a narcissist



1. hubris is an overbearing pride that leads to presumption and

arrogance and a swagger in one=s walk

ILLUS. John MacArthur tells the story about a haughty young

man received the valedictorian's medal upon his graduation from school. The teacher who bestowed it heaped words of praise and accolades upon the student for his academic achievements and extra‑curricular accomplishments. Over the course of the next several weeks, the young man would proudly repeat the words to his family and friends with smug satisfaction whenever the opportunity arose. One day, while he was reflecting on the words of praise bestowed upon him, he asked his mother,"Mom, how many really great men do you suppose there are in the world today, anyhow?" The wise mother looked at her son and said, "One less than you think there is!"

a. this is hubris, a smug, vain, and overbearing ego that

leads to a pompous and haughty attitude

b. more of us have it than we are willing to admit     

               c. we loath it when we see it in someone else but thoroughly

doubt that we are ever guilty of it ourselves

d. lets be honest with ourselves this morning, what person

here today does covet the front of the line, the back of the church, and the center of attention?

2. this kind of pride welled up in Lucifer's heart and made him

attempt to set his throne on high in proud independence of


Isaiah 14:12‑14 "How you have fallen from heaven, O morning

star, son of the dawn! . . . You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High."

3. pride was Lucifer's undoing and the prime means by which

he brings about the undoing of men and women still

a. pride always seeks to replace God's will with I will

4. as Satan sought to lure Adam and Eve into disobedience to

God, the Devil appealed to Adam and Eve's pride

Gen. 3:1, 4 "Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the

wild animals . . . He said to the woman . . .  God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'"

a. he offered them the chance to  be like God and in their

arrogance they presumed they could be

b. the result is that man's nature B your personality and my

personality B is infected with a vice called pride

ILLUS. C.H. Spurgeon, the great Baptist preacher of the 19th

century, said, AThe deomon of pride was born with us; and will not die one hour before us. It is so woven into the very warp and woof of our nature, that, till we are laid in our coffins, we shall never hear the last of it.@

c. pride is the master sin of the devil

5. it is as dangerous to the soul as cancer untreated is to the


a. in Proverbs 16:18 we are told "Pride goes before

destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall."

1) the word pride literally means swelling excellence

b. the Scriptures tells us that pride . . .

1) . . . leads to a contempt and rejection of God's word

and God's ministers Jeremiah 43:2

2) . . . leads to a contentious spirit Proverbs 13:10 "Pride

only breeds quarrels, . . ."

3) . . . leads to self‑deception Jeremiah 13:15

4) . . . leads to a boastful attitude about one's sin, a

persecuting spirit toward the weak, and a contempt for God and the things of God Psalm 10:2‑4 AThe wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor . . . the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth. The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts."

c. as believers we must never be proud of race, face, or




1. C.S. Lewis called pride a  spiritual cancer which eats up

love and contentment and even common sense

a. how many marriages have failed because one or both

                    parties were too proud to say, AI'm sorry?@

b. how many churches have split because someone would

not swallow their pride and admit they were wrong?

c. how many souls will wind up in hell because they were too

proud to admit that they needed God?

2. the great problem with pride is that it's so deceptive

ILLUS. When I was a freshman in college, I was a brand new

Christian. I was learning and growing and felt a little intimidated by the other believers around me who seemed to know so much more than I did about the Bible. Ignorance often leads to a humble spirit or at least the perception of it. One day a Christian friend took me aside and said, "David, I just want you to know how much I appreciate you. You're one of the most humble people I know."

Man did that make me proud! I walked around for a week being so proud of my humility.        

C.S. Lewis said, AA man is never so proud as when striking

an attitude of humility.@

3. pride is the worst of all vices and easily smuggles itself into

the very center of our religious life

a. even when we are trying to be self‑effacing, pride lies just

beneath the surface

ILLUS.  One of my favorite Peanuts cartoons is the one that                                    shows Linus and Charlie Brown talking together and Linus says: "When I get big I'm going to be a humble little country doctor. I'll live in the city, see, and every morning I'll get up, climb into my sports car and zoom into the country!  Then I'll start healing people . . . I'll heal everybody for miles around. I'll be a world famous humble little country doctor." 

1) it's easy to yield to the seduction of self‑

aggrandizement and then try to mask it with the foot-shuffling, down-ward-glance->ah shucks= response while at the same time our hearts are welling-up with pride

2) it's easy to assume that we are indispensable to our

employer, or our company, or some volunteer group we belong to

ILLUS. TV newsman Tom Brokaw tells about an

experience that taught him about true humility. He was wandering through Bloomingdale's in New York one day, shortly after he was promoted to cohost on the Today show. That show was a pinnacle of sorts for Brokaw after years of work, first in Omaha, then for NBC in Los Angeles and Washington, and he was feeling good about himself B even a little bit cocky. As he was shopping, he noticed a man watching him closely. The man kept staring at him and finally, when the man approached him, Brokaw was sure he was about to reap the first fruits of being a New York television celebrity.

   The man pointed his finger and said, "Tom Brokaw, right?"

   "Right," said Brokaw.

   "You used to do the morning news on KMTV in Omaha, right?"

   "That's right," said Brokaw, getting set for the accolades to follow.

   "I knew it the minute I spotted you," the fellow said. Then he paused and added, "Whatever happened to you?"

b. in his letter to the Roman Christian, the Apostle Paul

warned that we should not have too high of opinion about ourselves: "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you" (Romans 12:3)


1. Jesus was very clear about this

a. he told his disciples and the crowds that only  the >poor of

spirit' will make up the kingdom of God

2. pride, on the other had, makes us arrogant and in that

arrogance the lost person seeks independence from God

a. pride says "I am the master of my own fate."

b. pride says "I can run my own life."

c. pride says "I can call my own shots."

d. pride says "I can go it alone."

3. but living independent of God is self‑delusion

a. you cannot got it alone

b. you do need help from other people

c. you cannot always rely on yourself

d. you can call you own shots, but sooner or later you=ll

most likely shoot yourself in the foot

4. God warned the people of Israel of this very pitfall

          Deuteronomy 8:11‑14 "Be careful that you do not forget the

LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God . . ."

a. there=s nothing like a little prosperity to make a person




1. let me read our main text to you again

"His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to

generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts." Luke 1:50‑51

2. this is obviously not a politically correct statement in a world

and a culture that regards pride as a virtue and humility as a fault

a. it may not be politically correct, but it is spiritually correct

3. the lost man is dependent on God for every breath they take

               and indebted to God for everything they have

a. if this is so than living independent of God is self‑


b. when you seek to live a life independent of God you are

actually pretending to be God

4. hubris is the pride of not letting God be God and is the sin

that will send all lost people into eternity without God

ILLUS. Augustine says in his work, The City of God that

everyone in the world belongs to one of two cities: the City of God, which consists of Aall who love God to the despising of self,@ or the City of the World, populated by those who Alove self to the despising of God.@

a. there are two kinds of people who will stand before the

Lord in the end

1) those who say to God, Thy will be done

2) and those to whom God will say, Thy will be done

5. pride is the greatest sin because it is the living heart of all


a. pride say to God My will be done

b. pride is not just an unattractive character flaw practiced

only by the Ted  Turners and Bill Gates of our society

1) pride is heinous sin that is at the heart of the spiritual

cancer that affects mankind

ILLUS. When Muhammad Ali was in his prime he was a

proud and haughty man. One time, as he was about to take off on an airplane flight, the stewardess reminded him to fasten his seat belt. He came back brashly, "Superman don't need no seat belt." The stewardess quickly came back, "Superman don't need no airplane, either." Ali fastened his belt.

6. lost men are just like this

a. the proud man says, AI don=t need God.@

b. but you do!


1. some of you here this morning may be saying to yourself,

APastor, I=m not a proud person, I=ve licked this pride thing. Oh yeah?

a. Pride comes in many forms:

ILLUS. There is the pride of being able to "spot a sinner" or                                    the pride of being able to "notice the hurting."

There is the pride at being "unbiased" or the pride of being "loyal."

There is the pride of being "perfectly honest" or the pride of being able to "get along with people."

There is the pride at being "on top of an issue" or the pride of having an "open mind."

There is the pride at all one has "acquired" or the pride over all one has "sacrificed." 

There is the pride over "how great our church is" or the pride of "knowing exactly what's going wrong." 

There is the pride of being a "victorious Christian" or the pride of being one who "struggles with God." 

There is the pride that says "I can stand tall" or the pride that says "I'm willing to get on my knees." 

There is the pride that says "our church is growing"  or the pride that says "we're staying faithful."

But pride is pride!

1. Christ Himself B in His Sermon on the Mount B told His

disciples that it is the poor of spirit who are to be congratulated for they are the ones who will see God

2. the poor in spirit recognize their spiritual poverty of heart

a. in other words, Jesus says that those who are most truly

happy in the Kingdom of God are those who have an absence of pride

3. when Jesus says, >happy are the poor in spirit= He is

referring to an inner state of being emptied of self

4. the poor in spirit are people who are characterized by . . .

a. first, a need to come to God for cleansing, forgiveness,

and strength because they realize that they are spiritually bankrupt in themselves

b. second, they perceive a lack of spiritual maturity and

have a desire to remedy the situation through Bible study, worship, and ministry

c. third, the person who is truly poor of spirit is one who has

permitted self and the pride of life to be crucified with Christ

ILLUS. Pride is a plant that doesn=t grow well in the shadow

of the cross!

5. how do we cultivate such an attitude?

a. by living in daily obedience to Christ

Luke 9:23 A . . . If any man will come after me, let him deny

himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.@ KJV

b. your prayer needs to be: ALord make me humble, and

when I am humble, don=t let me know it!@

Have you dealt a death-blow to pride by repenting of your sin and receiving Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord?

As a believer, are you cultivating humility in your life or has your pride led you to believe that you are indispensable to your company, or your family, or your church?

When a company takes over another company, there is often a sign placed outside the premises announcing, Under New Management.   No sign so accurately summarizes what takes place in Christian conversion. When Christ takes over a life, that life is literally under new management. Is God managing your pride?

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