It is Saturday evening. I have thought a lot today about what I will speak on tomorrow at the church gathering. With it being the first Sunday of the year, I will encourage my church to embrace one major theme for this year. I have prayed and thought about this for several months now. A few months ago, I was thinking I would exhort the church to pursue holiness. Then, I thought about focusing on suffering. After, I moved into the direction of trusting God, or faith. But, as December began, something hit me.
The last Sunday of November I finished a series through the epistle of 1 Peter. I was happy because I wanted to start a new series in the gospel of Matthew the first Sunday of December which was perfect timing for the Christmas season. But, it was like the Holy Spirit inside me was pushing to go back and focus on one particular topic that Peter talks about at the end of his first letter. He talks about humility. Thus, that is my subject for tomorrow’s sermon and our theme for 2015.
The more I ponder on the importance of living with biblical humility, the more I get excited about sharing this with my church family tomorrow. Pride is a deadly sin, and often it creeps up in our hearts and minds unnoticed. Like a slow leak in the crack of a foundation, it slowly but surely destroys us. Our walk with God becomes like the condition of our heart, dull and hard. When we let pride overtake us, our quest for holiness simply becomes a pursuit of doctrinal superiority over others. Our willingness to suffer for the gospel becomes an effort to offend people so that we can feel the thrill of being rejected.
The devil uses all sorts of vices to pull people away from a thriving and close relationship with God. But, he does not really need all those vices. He simply needs to deceive us by getting us to think too highly of ourselves than we ought to. It worked in the Garden of Eden, and it works today. God absolutely detests a prideful heart, yet He gives much grace to the humble of heart (1 Peter 5:6).
A person cannot enter the kingdom of heaven unless they humble themselves before God (Matthew 5:3)
Followers of Jesus cannot walk in holiness without humility. One cannot walk close with God and have a prideful heart at the same time. Jesus spoke of this often in the gospels.
It is truly a prideful statement to say that one believes in Jesus, yet rarely or never opens His word, does not serve and fellowship with His church, and lives in clear habitual sin. There simply cannot be any hope of salvation for that person unless they humble themselves, admit, confess, and repent of their sin and change they way they live.
A Christian who refuses to forgive others simply makes no sense. How can we rightly believe that God has forgiven us from the severe rebellion we have committed, yet not at the same time forgive another person? Not only does it go against all human logic, but it kills any meaning to the grace of God we see in Scripture.
There is so much more I could consider. Our complaining, grumbling, lack of generosity, casual worship, demanding respect, wasteful living, pity parties, showing off, etc. etc. etc. It is all pride and we are all guilty and God is against it all.
Humility. That is what I need to talk about because it is what I need myself. I want to know Christ more now than I have in a long time. But, I know that it will require constantly reminding myself of who I am, who God is, and how much I depend on Him. I want it for me. I want it for my church. I want it for all believers.