The deadly sin of pride

Here are the notes from the sermon I preached a couple of weeks ago. (My first attempt at not reading from a script, so you may not be able to get the whole gist of it…

Pride

1 Seven deadly sins

2 Pride

3 Childhood

• “Take pride in your appearance”. School: “take pride in your work”. Handwriting…
• Not the same as the sin of pride. Opposite of carelessness.
• Confusing as word can refer to a virtue or a vice.
• Actually originates from a Latin word meaning to be useful. We’re not concerned today with the virtuous meaning.
• Maybe also to recognise that when we were children we thought as children, but now it is time to lay aside our childish ways.

4 Pride manifests itself in many ways

• Pride in physical appearance. Classical view. Vanity. Vainglory. Not too concerned.
• Pride in possessions. Defining yourself by what you own. c/f Greed, so leave for another day. What does our Church have pride in? Buildings? Heard this morning about the level of poverty in the world. Only when we have nothing can we realise that God is everything.
• Pride in own abilities. More interesting. Western world is so well educated, so able to fend for itself that reliance on God is lost.
• Pride in own views and opinions. What I’m really thinking of as the sin of pride. Otherwise called Spiritual Pride.
o Pride that says “I know best, not my parents” “I know best, not my wife” “I know best, not my Minister” “I know best, not my God”
o We value our own opinions so highly, can never see others’ points of view.
o End up valuing our own position and view over God’s. Denominations fighting.
o STORY – Richard Rugg on gap year.
o This is the accusation we must make against the proud: “Just because you’re you, it doesn’t mean that you are right”
o This is the form of pride which means we never back down from our positions in arguments.
o Don’t want to lose face.
o [Dare I say that this is the form of pride which says “We have made a decision, and now we are going to make it right…”]

5 Pride extremely dangerous – 1

• Constant reverence of own opinions, beliefs and abilities naturally leads to SELF WORSHIP.
• Danger of this cannot be emphasized.
• This is idolatry! The most heinous sin for the Jewish people, and hence Jesus.
• The first two of the ten commandments from Exodus 20:
o “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

• These idols include us!
• Danger for those in the church. STORY from Tony Campolo (p.79, 3rd para)

6 Pride extremely dangerous – 2

• Pride also extremely dangerous, as it leads to delusion. Delusion that we don’t sin and delusion that we don’t need to repent.
• STORY of Spurgeon.
• We are all slothful, lustful, quick to anger, envious, gluttonous and greedy, but unless we can recognize that we are also proud, we can never conquer those sins.
• Again, the danger cannot be emphasized.
• From John’s first letter:

o “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

7 What to do?

• The way to conquer pride is humility.
• Recognize that the only thing that makes us wonderful is not how clever we are, how much money we earn, what sort of clothes we wear, but how much God loves us. Wonderful Richard Rohr quote “God loves us, not because we are good, but because he is good!”
• Nothing we can do to make God love us any more than he already does.
• Follow the example of Christ. Bible reading last week about Christ humbling himself as a slave and suffering death, even death on a cross.
• What about Jesus’ baptism? The one who doesn’t need to repent of any sins undergoes baptism. John objects. But Jesus, as our representative shows us what we need to do.
• Even if we THINK we don’t need to repent of our sins, we do, because the One who was without sin went ahead of us and showed us the way to go through the waters of Baptism.

Sanctification

• Luke talked last week about the process of sanctification, the process of allowing God’s Holiness to somehow rub off on us, infecting us with his Holiness.
• Orthodox church: threefold path of sanctification.
• First step is catharsis. A clearing away of things standing between us and God, so that we may grow in His light.
• What we might call repentance.
• Step even before this is overcoming our pride and recognizing we have a need for catharsis, a need for repentance.
• Are we prepared to be honest with ourselves?

One thought on “The deadly sin of pride

  1. Indeed.
    Another sort of spiritual pride: what C S Lewis called chronological snobbery – we must be right because we know so much more than people did in the past. Which may be true about computers but isn’t true about God’s love.

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