After nearly three months of preaching First Corinthians I’m convinced that enemy number one to the gospel is pride. The number one enemy of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is pride. The number one enemy of my family is the laziness that pride produces. The number one reason that keeps the Lord’s people at odds with each other is because we are too prideful to acknowledge we have pride ruling our lives.
The apostle’s relentless message is the that pride must be destroyed, and that man is not capable of defeating this foe. And further reason why he makes it his only duty to preach the gospel, always putting the cross in front of the church. The sermon I preach to myself must always be with the cross, the death and the resurrection in sight. If not, I give hope to pride.
Pride is a relentless monster that blinds all of us from seeing what God wants us to see. Pride causes us to be offended when a brother calls a brother out for his sinful action rather than see the offense we are to God. It even causes us to justify our actions and preferences as pleasing to God.
If you don’t believe me, take a simple self examination of your Facebook, Istagram, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest etc…
Did you do it? If so, did you see how infatuated you are with yourself? Most of us have no idea what kind of monster we are dealing with here. Unrestrained, unchecked, uncorrected, unprotected… you are one failed bridge away from a train-wreck. You post your moral compass one moment, a favorite music video with questionable content the next, quote a Scripture verse here, then post your provocative invitation with your sultry glance into the lens as you instantly post the self portrait. Then… some stranger, neighbor, family member, coworker, classmate, church member, predator is lurking around on his/her keyboard waiting with baited breath for that next picture posted of any nearly-dressed person in the bathroom mirror.
As a father of boys, they didn’t have any online account without my full access. If I were a father of teenage girls, I would monitor their computers, phones, and social accounts like a guard of the most treasured resource on the planet, because someone is waiting for a moment to devour her innocence. As a husband, I am interested in every public and private conversation my wife has. Not because I don’t trust her, but because I don’t trust the rebel of God in the heart of man that leaves his life open to the control of pride.
Wow, that’s not even the point of my post this Friday evening.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend an organization I have a lot of respect for (National Center for Family Integrated Churches) posted a video of a panel discussion that nearly instantly provoked a civil war within Christendom. Like some, I thought some of the comments by the panel were out of order and inappropriate. But this was a very small representation of the topic of the conference so I listened with awareness of what was going on. Some of the comments were clearly not seasoned with grace or displayed a lack of integrity (panel discussion). But what was being said about them (the brothers on the panel) by some, was equally lacking of grace or integrity. All of this was unfolding while a watching world watched professing followers of Christ turn on each other and even hearing believers speak with disdain against each other.
Just yesterday, James White hosted a video podcast to further the conversation. I thought the conversation was helpful. This kind of discussion should happen more often. This will likely help bridge and begin healing some unfortunate damage done among brothers. (if you take the time to listen in, pay close attention to Voddie Baucham and Shai Linne)
With all of this debate, little attention has been given to the humble apologies from the panel guests who offended many. Here, Scott Brown offers as clear of an apology as has been offered in recent years. Christianity is not marked by music style. Christians, rather, are labeled “ambassadors of reconciliation”. Some of the most humble apologies I’ve ever heard uttered from brothers have come out in the past few days. Yet most want to continue to fight for their right to be offended. Many can’t even hear the humiliation being spoken because they are still feeding the monster of pride ruling their lives. The fight against the gospel message is still waged. Salvation may have come, but liberty from the old man is yet to be tasted. Mainly because we have not yet put to death the pleasures (personal preferences) that wage war. (see James 4:1-3) Harder than genuinely apologizing, is genuinely forgiving that humble apologizer.
At some point we all have to realize that worship of God is regulated by righteous God. He is the one who regulates what he calls acceptable worship or unacceptable. He is the one who declares someone a mighty warrior or a “disobedient coward”. If He doesn’t do this then we will always battle the “worship wars”. I can only know the mind of Christ when I’ve been concurred by the gospel. Until then, I’ll always attempt to defend what I think is acceptable and not even see that I may be offending God.
Obviously believers are far from perfect in speech and action. Case and point, I turn to exibit A “PAUL THOMPSON”, That’s all that needs to be said about exibit A. It gets pretty ugly after we just mention exhibit A.
Oh that my old man might finally be slain. This public shame is proving to be a great teacher of reconciliation to this man who is always wrestling with pride. (Oh, be careful little tongue what you say…)
For now, I have some evaluating to do of my social networking activity.