February 26, 2023

Pride

Pride

TRINITY HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH

 

SUNDAY SERMON

26th February, 2022

Topic:                         Pride

Preacher:                   Reverend Ebenezer Olawuyi

Text:                           Daniel 4:29 – 37

 

MESSAGE

I welcome you to church this morning. I want to thank the drama group again for that short, powerful playlet and I am particularly glad for all our young people that are becoming responsive to the gift of God. I want to thank God for all of them finding their place in the house of the Lord. You know, when you begin to delight yourself in the Lord, the Lord also responds to you. My prayer is that the Lord will establish their feet in His house.

I want to thank you all, for those of you who responded to your conscience during the last election yesterday. The calling of God upon our lives is not about winning but about being faithful: about being faithful to your conscience and His Word, that is so important to Him and He tests us in little things. He who is faithful in that little thing, God is going to commit much into His hand. So, I want to thank all of you who went out and didn’t just keep complaining about Nigeria but responded. May the Lord bless you in Jesus Name.

I was in the polling station yesterday. My wife and I, we were there on a queue. At the stage, a man came to me and said, “Please, leave the queue, go and sit down”. I said, “No” but he insisted and I sat down. The queue was long and the INEC officials came late. After some time, when the queue was getting shorter, I came in again but he said, “No. Go and sit down. When it’s time, I will call you.” When it was getting nearer and closer to my position, I came in. As I was on the queue with just about seven people in front of me… there was the males’ and females’ queue, my wife was on the females’ queue. One man who was in front of me called one Alfa and a man who were not on the queue to the front and spoke to the INEC officials to allow him to vote. So, he came up, bypassed all of us and went to the stage. I just stood there on my queue, not knowing that someone was also observing me. Another man got to the stage and challenged the INEC officials, he said, “We have a pastor there, you didn’t call him yet you called someone else. Why?” The INEC official was afraid and quickly said, “Where is he? Let him come up”. They called me up but I told them not to worry. This man insisted that I come up but I said, “Don’t worry”. I waited and the INEC Official was just looking at me, “Who is this man that I said should come but didn’t and people were fighting for him?” They called two persons at once, two males and two females. When it was my turn, I was the third to the next person because two people were in front of me. My wife had done hers and had gone, waiting for me. The INEC Official called the two men in front of me, so normally, I should wait for the women to be done so that I could be the first of the next two males to be called. She looked at me and told me to join them as the third person. I said, “No” and she just kept on looking at me, “Who is this man?” When I gave her my voter’s card, she looked at the number, studied it well and looked at me again. I wonder what was going through her mind but the message has been passed. Everywhere you go, you are a marketer, you are selling something. By your words and actions, you are selling something. You are preaching a message. You are a message to people. Be careful the way you live your life.

That brings me to the story of Tancredo Neves, I shared it in the devotional of yesterday. In 1980, he contested for the presidency of Brazil and while he was contesting, he said, if only I could have 500,000 votes from my party, even God can’t stop me from becoming the President. He got the 500,000 votes, he won as the president but the next day after the election, he died. One man sometimes ago built the Titanic, I’m sure you have heard about that mighty ship. He said, “We’ve perfected this work, we’ve been on it for days and for years, not even God can sink this ship”. They were out on the ocean, suddenly, the ship hit an iceberg, a big mighty rock, the ship started leaking and it sank. You either humble yourself or you stumble. You either humble yourself or you sink.

Pride is the first sin. Lucifer was changed to the Devil through pride. When God started listing the seven things He hates in Proverbs 6:16 – 17, “These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood…” If God tells you, “I hate something”, hate it! For example, He says, “I hate divorce”. Don’t love what God hates, if not, you will become an enemy of God. Out of this list, the first one (v. 17) is a proud look.

James 4:6 says, “…God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble”. The proud is an abomination before the Lord. The way to the top by man is overestimation of yourself but the way to the top by God is humility. Philippians 2:5 says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God.” You know what Isaiah says concerning him? He says when you see Him, He has no comeliness. There is nothing in Him to desire Him. When you see Him, you cannot even see anything that looks like God in Him. This is contrary to our time of pomp and show. He made Himself of no reputation in taking the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:8 – 9, “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore…” That is, as a result of this, in consequence, because of what I had just discussed with you, “…God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name.” Exaltation comes after humility. Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 18:12, “Before destruction, the heart of a man is haughty, and before honour is humility”. Proverbs 11:2, “When pride comes then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom.”

If you want more room this year, one of the things that gives you favour before God and before men is humility. Humility brings favour. People will fight for you. People will speak for you. I didn’t know anybody at the polling station but someone knew me. Someone was fighting for me, I didn’t fight for myself. Humility brings favour while pride turns you away from God. Nebuchadnezzar was a man of pride but he learned in a very hard way. Friends, don’t wait to learn in a very hard way. God had to send him to the University of the Animal Kingdom to learn about His greatness. You don’t need to get to that level before you learn. Some people learn through sickness, humiliation, etc. but it is always better for you to humble yourself than for God to humble you. “Let this mind be in you, humble yourself in the hands of the Almighty God and he is going to lift you up.” Nebuchadnezzar was so proud, he said in Daniel 4:30, “…Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honour of my majesty?” Look at it – pride. In the last verse however, “Now, I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King od heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.” He has learned.

Solomon also learned late. He was a wise man but he learned so many things late. There was nothing he did not try and researched on. He researched on ants, elephants, leaves, trees, sky, moon, teenagers, women, married women, unmarried women. He researched on everybody and at the end of it all, he counted everything as ‘vanity upon vanity’. He married 700 wives, trying each one of them to experiment; he was doing research with all of the women. He was a great researcher but at the end of it all, he learnt in a very hard way. All the wisdom about adultery came from him but that after he had learned. Wisdom about adultery that it will reduce a man to a loaf of bread; that an adulteress will prey upon a precious soul and he would go after her like an ox to the slaughter and he wouldn’t know that it will cost him his life until an arrow strikes him. Solomon said, “I have learned and I don’t want you to fall into that mistake”. Nebuchadnezzar learnt in a hard way, he was in the animal kingdom for seven years. At the end of it all, he said, “God brings the proud down”. If you don’t humble yourself, you will stumble or sink.

In Daniel 5:20, when Daniel was telling Nebuchadnezzar’s successor, Belshazzar, he warned him and told him about his father, Nebuchadnezzar – “But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him.” You know, the problem with our generation is that we don’t learn from the past and from history. People don’t learn.

Humility will sustain even the grace that you have. That’s why every day, you must pray that God breaks you down and reveal yourself to you because it slips in, sometimes unknowingly. It just enters. In 2 Chronicles 26:16, the Bible talks about a great king, King Uzziah, he became a king at the age of 16, what an honour! A king at the age of 16 and he was doing marvellously well because God was helping him. The Bible says, “And he was helped by God”. He built machine guns, put them on towers; he was a great warrior who invented so much but in verse 16, the Bible says, “But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.” It slips in. Success sometimes can bring pride.

The same thing happened to Hezekiah. Hezekiah also got to a point when he didn’t acknowledge God in His life and God was angry. 2 Chronicles 32:24 – 26 says, “In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death, and he prayed to the Lord; and He spoke to him and gave him a sign. But Hezekiah did not repay according to the favour shown him, for his heart was lifted up; therefore wrath was looming over him and over Judah and Jerusalem.”

Characteristics of a Proud Person

  1. He is a boaster: He boasts. You know, the Bible warns not to boast about anything. People who boast of their accomplishment, family, education, etc. that’s a sign of pride.
  2. He has confidence in the flesh: Jeremiah 17:5 – 6, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord for he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited.’” Paul said in Philippians 3:3, “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” We have no confidence in the flesh. In 2 Corinthians 5:16, Paul says, “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.” Paul was saying he does not seek to know anything about anyone in the flesh. He has known Christ and does not want to know anybody in the flesh any longer, but in the Spirit. It is about what you have accomplished in the Spirit and not your title. It is not who you are but what you are in Christ. He said, “I don’t want to know anybody in the flesh because I am dead to the flesh, I have no confidence in the flesh and from now on will regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, but now we know him thus no longer.” I don’t esteem anybody above others in the church and say because he or she is special, has one title or the other or because of money and position. No! We don’t know anybody in the flesh. All I know is Christ crucified. When you begin to see a man who has confidence in the flesh, that’s a sign of pride.
  3. He is Prayerless: A man who is prayerless is a proud person, because he feels he can do it himself. If you find it difficult to pray and seek the face of the Lord, prayer meetings become a burden to you, then you are proud. The Bible says concerning Asa also, you remember that king? He was sick, had problem with his leg but did not seek the Lord. He didn’t pray and didn’t find out from the Lord, instead, he decided to seek the physician. He didn’t bother to consult the Lord and say, “Lord, can you heal this malady?” A man who cannot pray is a proud man. A person who doesn’t have time for prayer, who just wakes up in the morning and jump out is a proud man. You don’t have time for God? You are a proud man. Trust not in your flesh. The arm of flesh shall not prevail. By flesh, no man shall prevail.
  4. He is unthankful: If you find it difficult to say “Thank you” for the benefits you receive. If you find it difficult to say “Thank you” when you receive benefits from others, you will do the same to God. Just like you have seen today in the little playlet. Hezekiah was unthankful and that was a sign of pride. The Bible says, “His heart was lifted up.”
  5. He refuses to submit to authority: People who are proud find it difficult to submit to authority. They find it difficult to be under an authority. You see a woman who is proud finding it difficult to submit to the authority of her husband. You see a man who is proud finding it difficult to submit to the authority of people ahead of him. You see a young boy who is proud finding it difficult to submit to the people ahead of him – his elders. In an organization, when you see people who are proud, they find it difficult to submit. And you know, that was the problem of Lucifer: pride. He rebelled against God. Rebellion is a manifestation of lack of submission. If you find it difficult to be under authority, you are not submissive.
  6. He seeks attention for himself: When you begin to seek attention for yourself and want to be recognised. Oh, in that queue, I would have shown to them that I am the Pastor of Graceland; I could have announced, “Don’t you know Graceland in Tanke?” Don’t seek attention for yourself. When they come to a place and they are not recognised, they walk out, that’s a manifestation of the flesh – pride. Proud people seek attention for themselves. They are self-centered. They are always thinking about themselves alone. They are never thinking about others. All their discussion is about them alone. They are self-centered.
  7. He seeks honour: Call a Senator and say, “Mr. this…”, he would tell you that he is a Senator, and you must not call him a ‘Mister’. Someone who is a Reverend and you say, “Pastor.” He would rebuke you that he is a “Reverend”. A Bishop and you say, “I want to welcome a Minister of God into our midst” without saying “Bishop this…” oh, anointing will not flow. Title! If you are conscious of title… ‘Chief,’ ‘Double chief.’ If you just call “Chief Olowoboriaye,” he would tell you that “No! He is Double Chief; High Chief”. Title! When you are crazy about title, that’s a sign of pride. You get angry when someone doesn’t use your title and fails to call you “Dr.”, “Professor”, etc.… even when the person is an Emeritus Professor and is introduced with “Professor”, he would tell you that he is an Emeritus Professor. You must put ‘Emeritus’. Thank God we have a Professor in the house, simply Pastor Bisi Olawuyi. I am sure she is not angry that I didn’t call her Professor but Pastor. She can’t get angry. She doesn’t even want to be addressed as such. Have you ever heard Baba Adeboye say, “Pastor, Dr., Prof. Adeboye”? You hardly hear it. There is nothing bad about having titles, that’s not what I am saying, right? There is nothing bad about being called a Dr., Bishop, but don’t let your life be attached to it, such that without it, you feel something erupt in you that you have not been honoured. That doesn’t say you should look down on someone and see someone who is a ‘Dr.’ then say, they have told us it’s a sign of pride to call them ‘Dr.’, so you call them ‘Mrs.’ You say, “Dr. Mrs. Adeoti, you are welcome, ma.” You don’t see Dr. Kolapo and say because they have told us it is a sign of pride, so, you say, “Dr. Kolapo for where?” and then say, “Mr. Kolapo, please, come up,” that’s wrong. Don’t say calling someone ‘Pastor’ is a sign of pride and then say, “Mrs. Rotimi.” I hope you understand the message. Don’t be crazy about title but that doesn’t mean we don’t call the right person with the right title. Praise the Lord!
  8. He refuses to seek help: Proud people don’t want people to know that they don’t know some things. They prefer to struggle to fail than to ask for help. A wise person said, “Borrow all the brains you have and use it, nobody will know where you have borrowed the brain.” Say, “I don’t know it, please teach me,” rather than struggling, saying, “How can people know that I don’t know it?” Pride! Nobody is self-sufficient. After being a graduate in the university – I spent five years and not four. Not because I repeated, because my course was five years – And after serving for one year and worked for almost five years, a primary school girl had to teach me the spelling of “Wow!” I was arguing, saying, “Wow” is spelt as “Whao”. She said, “Uncle, it’s not so”. I said, “What are you talking about? I have been a graduate for a long time. Temi, you don’t know anything”. She said, it is “Wow!” I was arguing with her until I went back to search in the dictionary. When I saw it, I said, “Temi, you are right.” There is nothing bad if I go to a secondary school student and ask him to help me edit something that I write. It could just be typographical error, not necessarily because you don’t know it. Humility! What you don’t know, you don’t know. From that day, I learnt and have corrected so many people who don’t know how to spell “Wow!” because I learnt. What you don’t know, you don’t know. People who are proud don’t seek for help.
  9. They are stubborn: Proud people will insist on what they want to do. Another way to describe stubbornness is ‘stiff-neck’. They are stiff-necked. Stubborn!
  10. They are power hungry and are always struggling for position.
  11. They have a sense of superiority: They feel they are better than any other person and they look down on others. I call them “Olowoeru”, they look down on others and feel they are superior to everybody. They want to take charge. That’s pride.
  12. They are critical of others: They are always criticizing others and are never seeing any good thing about others. You know, when you point a finger to somebody, how many comes back at you? Four. They say, “Look at him. Look at her.” They are never thinking about themselves. Pride!
  13. They are very argumentative: Proud people are always arguing. They refuse to accept correction. They never believe they can be wrong. They are always arguing. Is there anybody who cannot be wrong? Nobody. I hope you know that the only person who is error-proof is God; that’s the only One who can never fail nor make mistake.
  14. He believes that he is all-knowing: A proud person believes he knows everything. He is the Assistant-God. God is the only one who is all-knowing, the omniscient, but these ones believe they are all-knowing, they know everything. I was challenging somebody and said, “I don’t dabble into all areas. Whatever is not my field or area, I say, ‘This thing, I don’t know it, it’s not my area.’ I don’t dabble into all areas and claim I know everything or have an answer to everything, that’s pride.” Proud people believe they are all-knowing.
  15. They don’t acknowledge others: They only want to be acknowledged but not acknowledge what others have done because they feel their ego is being touched when you acknowledge others. If I bring a person out of the congregation and say, “This person has sung very well, come on, everybody, please clap, this is great.” They feel bad, “Why must it be she/he, and not me?” They feel their ego has been touched. They don’t want to acknowledge others, it must all be about them.

These are all just simple characteristics of pride. There are so many of them but the lesson is that: God hates pride and if you want to receive favour and want more room this year, humble yourself. Learn to say, “Sorry”. People who are proud hardly say “Sorry”. You see a proud husband hardly say sorry to his wife and children, that’s pride. They feel that, “This is a slap on their face to say sorry”. Women who are proud also hardly say, “Sorry”. Even when they say sorry, they say, “I am sorry but it’s not my fault”, the “but” has swallowed the sorry.

Prayer:

Ask for grace to be humble. Wherever you go, in your relationship with others, ask for grace to be humble. Ask that the mind of Jesus Christ will also be your own mind. Like Jesus was humble, you will also be humble. If you want exaltation, be humble. A humble person will always accept correction.

 

A humble person would seek the salvation of God. He knows that he can’t help himself, he needs God to help him. He can’t save himself, he needs God to save him. So, he doesn’t struggle with his sin, instead, he says, “God help me”. Peradventure you are here and haven’t given your life to Jesus, can I pray with you quickly? Say, “Lord Jesus, I surrender to you today. I humble myself to seek your salvation. I receive you as my Lord and Saviour today, please save me and wash me clean. Thank you for saving me.”

I pray for everybody here this morning, I receive grace for you to live a humble life in Jesus Name. I pray you will not stumble. You will not sink in the name of Jesus. Anyone that glory will glory that he knows God, that will be your story. You will not glory in the flesh. Thank you Jesus. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.

 

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