If I had only one sermon to preach it would be a sermon against pride.-GK Chesterton
How dare they bring that up? Who are they to point that out to me? I thought we were friends. I bet I could come up with hundreds of things that they are doing wrong. As a matter of fact what about that issue we had to bring up with them a few months ago? Jesus wasn’t even in the picture of their life then. How about the continual things they struggle with? They bring this up to me, no way!
All of us who live around the house of the Lord have probably had thoughts like this cross our minds or have heard them from others when we are challenged about something. This is especially true if you live around a church environment that is serious about spiritual maturity.
One of the things we know about God’s design for his house is that there should be an atmosphere of growth and maturity. None are perfect, but we are all in the same boat. Jesus is working in us to bring about a mature bride (Eph 5:26-27). Hebrews 13:20-21 God equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ..
A Family of Disciples
The church is God’s House and it is to have a family atmosphere, but we must not lose sight of another important aspect of that atmosphere. We are a family of disciples. The clear call of the Matthew 28 Great Commission is, “go and make disciples… teaching them to observe everything I’ve commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20). Our calling is to both make, and be made disciples (followers are learning to obey Jesus). If we are moving in that calling the church will have an environment of discipleship in the context of family.
We see this very clearly in the church at Antioch. Acts 11:26 And they were with the church there for a year, teaching the people; and the disciples were first given the name of Christians in Antioch. The church was a family of disciples who were given the name Christian. God’s family is not just a family of Christians, it’s a family of disciples. If this is embraced as a important foundation, then an overriding characteristic among it’s members is a motivation grow up to please Jesus in every aspect of life.
The church should be known for discipleship in the context of family. This has a wonderful side of it in which we are encouraged, affirmed, loved, and valued. We have the wonderful security of a family that accepts us and loves us for who we are in spite of our many imperfections.
The other aspect, that is just as important, is that there are fellow family members who walk beside us and sometimes bring faithful challenges. This is what the Bible says Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. Many great men and women of God in the Bible where the recipients of this side of God’s grace through fellow family members such as the 12 disciples from Jesus, David from Nathan, and Peter from Paul.
Many times in my own life I have been challenged by the fellow family members in areas that I initially found unpleasant yet necessary. Why does God choose to do it that way? Why can’t it be just between me and Jesus? After all I have a real personal relationship with God. Why does someone else have to get involved?
An Important Thing God is after in Relational Challenging
It was pride that changed angels into devils–Augustine
It was pride that changed angels into devils–Augustine
There is something very important that needs to get cemented in our mind that will help us be more open to embrace the challenges from friends. One of the deadly traits that was created in the heart of Satan when he was part of God’s family was called “pride.” Pride was the thing that caused him to be removed. “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee” (Ezek. 28:15). This beautiful, powerful, intelligent, and gifted being fell from his perfect state when his heart was lifted up (aka pride) because of his own beauty and brightness (v. 17). No longer was he willing to be a servant to the Creator. Staggering pride in the heart (the propensity towards “I will”) was to blame for the tragedy in heaven. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! … For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne … I will sit also upon the mount … I will ascend above the heights…I will be like the most High” (Isa. 14:12-14).
Since that event he has tried to generate his nature of pride inside of everyone. This made angels into devils (Rev 12:3-9). Pride is the root nature of the Satan, and the root nature of every sin. It is the direct opposite of the root nature of God’s kingdom that Jesus says is humility. “Blessed are the humble for theirs is the kingdom” (Mt 5:3). This is why God clearly says He hates, and is opposed to pride in every form.
- Proverbs 8:13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil. I hate pride, arrogance, evil behavior, and twisted speech.
- Proverbs 6:16-17 Six things are hated by the Lord… (17) Eyes of pride…
- James 4:6 Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” (1 Pet 5:5).
When God sends his faithful challenge through fellow family members, besides the issue there is a corresponding challenge to any pride that has gotten inside of us. There is a degree of humility we have to embrace to receive the challenge and not react in a childish, self-centered, and prideful way. The nature of pride is self exalting competitiveness with others. In the faithful challenging of family members God is both correcting behavior and challenging pride.In the faithful challenging of His family members God is both correcting behavior and challenging… Click To Tweet
Local churches are to live out a discipleship environment in the context of family. It is a good thing to remember when you receive both the encouragement and the challenge of friends that God is not only correcting things, but also rooting out the nature of enemy, pride. We are the body of Christ and as such we are to display the nature of Jesus through our lives.
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