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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Adrian Rogers » Adrian Rogers - The Problem with Pride

Adrian Rogers - The Problem with Pride

Adrian Rogers - The Problem with Pride

Find Proverbs chapter 16 and then verse 18. And we're going to look at that in just a moment, we're going to be speaking today on the problem with pride. How many of you have a problem with pride? All right, I'm going to be preaching to you today, but I'm specially going to be preaching to those who didn't acknowledge that they have a problem with pride. In all seriousness, pride is a problem that all wrestle with, and those who think they don't have it probably have more of it.

Proverbs 16 verse 18, "Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall". There is a sin, a very dangerous sin, that in my estimation is doing more to hold back revival than any other sin, doing more to destroy homes than any other sin, doing more to ruin this nation than any other sin, causing more Christians to live in failure and defeat than any other sin, and that is filling Hell more than any other sin, and very frankly, it is the sin of pride. Now, we're going to speak about that in a moment, but just put it down, it is a dangerous sin. And the worst thing about it, it is such a deceitful sin. Many people who are infected and infested with pride have no idea that they are. There is at least a benefit and a bliss to being a drunkard. The drunkard knows he's a drunkard. The thief knows he's a thief. But many times, the proud person does not recognize that he or she is proud.

As a matter of fact, the proud person is often very proud of his humility. It's kind of catchy, isn't it? The Sunday school teacher was teaching that lesson in the Bible about the Publican and the Pharisee. In Luke 18 verses 9 through 14, the Publican would not even lift his head to Heaven, but he bowed his head and said, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner". But the Pharisee, the Bible says, stood and prayed and he said, "Lord, I thank You that I'm not as other men are. Why, I fast and I tithe, and I do all of these things". And Jesus said that, "One man went home justified rather than the other". The Sunday school teacher was teaching this lesson and she had done a wonderful job, but when she finished she beamed and looked out at her scholars in her class and said, "And children, aren't we grateful we're not like that old Pharisee"?

Now you see, she was proud of her humility. It's a very dangerous thing. The Bible has a lot to say about pride. Now we need to learn what pride is not. Pride is not having a good self-image. Don't get the idea that if you have a good self-image that you're proud. Not so. I want to tell you something. In Jesus, you're somebody. You are somebody. Jesus is not ashamed to call you His brothers and His sisters. That means we're next of kin to the Holy Trinity. Now you say, "That's megalomania". No, it's Bible truth. I hear people talking about the fact that they're just sinners saved by grace. Well, that technically is true, but that's not the Bible description of you. The Bible description of you is in Second Corinthians 5:21, "The righteousness of God in Christ". That's what the Bible calls you and you are somebody.

Jesus, read John chapter 13 verses 3 through 5, the Bible says, "Jesus, knowing that He came from God, and went to God, laid aside His garments, took a towel, girded Himself, and washed His disciples' feet". That is humility. Not thinking lowly of Himself. He knew that He came from God. He knew that He was going to God. But knowing all of that, He washed His disciples' feet. Pride is not a good self-image. Humility is not thinking lowly of yourself; it is not thinking of yourself. Pride is not gratefulness for a job well done. We say about an individual, "He takes pride in his work". We're not talking about the kind of pride that I'm talking about right now. You ought, if you sweep the floor, sweep out the corners also. Do a good job. That's not the kind of pride we're talking about.

When a job is well done and you get recognition, or when you're grateful for the grades that a grandchild or child makes and so forth, that's not what we are talking about when we're talking about pride. What is pride? Let me give you three things that'll sum it up before we get into the message. And, by the way, I'm going to give you, this morning, five ways that pride will ruin and devastate your life. Pride is the most destructive thing in the universe. So don't, don't check me out now. This pertains to you. What is pride? Number one, pride is an attitude of independence from God. "I don't need you, God. Stay out of my life. I can handle it myself". A spirit of independence from God. The man who wrote the poem, Invictus said, "I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul". I feel like saying, "Captain, your ship is about to sink". An attitude of independence from God.

You say, "Well, I don't have that". Well let me ask you a question: do you pray regularly? You say, "Well, I don't pray as much as I ought to". Do you know why you don't pray? Your prayerlessness is not your great problem; your great problem is, you don't feel the need to? Come on, listen, you don't feel the need to. You say, "Well, I can handle it. Everything's going fine". Our prayerlessness is really a spirit of independence from God. And if you're wrestling with prayerlessness, may I tell you that what you're really wrestling with is pride. Pride is a spirit of independence from God, an attitude. And following along with that is a spirit of ungratefulness to God when God has so blessed us. We have so many things. We act like we deserve it and we have earned it and it is ours. Paul asked this penetrating question: "What do you have that you've not received"?

You say, "Well, I worked for it". Who gave you the ingenuity to work? Who gave you the strength? Who gave you the energy? Who gave you all of that? Did you create that? No. You don't have one blessed thing that you've not received. Say, "Amen". You know that is true. What is pride? Pride is also esteeming yourself better than other people. Do you think because you've achieved certain things or have certain things that you are better than somebody else? No, pride esteems one's self better than others. Well let's see if we can just tighten the focus a little bit before I tell you these five terrible things that pride will do to you. Let's just take a test and see.

Somebody's given this list of indicators of a proud person. A proud person becomes irritated when corrected for mistakes. Hello? Number two, a proud person accepts praise for things over which he or she has no control: beauty, talent, abilities. Those are gifts. When you begin to accept praise for things over which you have no control, that's pride. Pride will not admit mistakes. Always an excuse, always an alibi, an attempt to justify one's self. And pride says, when there's a disagreement, "All right, I can get along without you". You ever feel that way toward somebody else? What that is, is really pride. Pride refuses to take counsel and to learn from other people. Pride has an ungrateful spirit for all that God has done. Pride often shows itself in competition with other people. Pride does not want more; pride wants more than somebody else.

C.S. Lewis has said this, and I want to share it with you. I copied it down. He said, "Pride gets no pleasure out of having something; only out of having more of it than the other man. We say that people are proud of being rich or clever or good looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer or more clever or better looking than others. It is the comparison that makes you proud, the pleasure of being above the rest". Now, we've talked about what pride is. We've talked about how it manifests itself. May I give you now, five things that pride will do to ruin and devastate your life?

Number one, pride defies God. Pride is a fist in the face of God. Now we're going to be in the book of Proverbs, and so if you want to just stay there in Proverbs, we're going to go back and forth through the Proverbs, because the book of Proverbs gives us some wonderful lessons on the problem of pride. Look, if you will, in Proverbs chapter 6 and verses 16 through 19, "These six things doth the Lord hate; yea, seven are an abomination unto Him; A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren". Those are seven things that God hates. Number one on God's hate parade is pride: "A proud look". Why does God hate pride?

Proverbs 16 verse 5 says this, "Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord". That's strong language. If you're proud, you are abominable to God. Why does God hate pride so much? Friend, listen to me, it was pride that created the devil. It was pride that turned Lucifer, the son of the morning, into Satan, the father of the night. The national religion of Satan's kingdom is pride. That's what Satan's kingdom is built on. No wonder pride defies God. When Paul was giving young Timothy the standard for a preacher, one of the things he said for a minister is this in First Timothy 3 verse 6, "Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil".

One of the prime requisites for a preacher, young or old, is humility. A wise man said, "Nothing will keep a minister more out of the devil's reach than genuine humility". And, the Bible says he cannot be a novice, that is, just new, untrained, unseasoned, "Lest being lifted up with pride he fall under the condemnation of the devil". The same thing that made the devil the devil. Why does God hate pride? It made the devil the devil. Why does God hate pride? Pride ruined the human race. In the Garden of Eden, when Satan came to tempt Eve, do you think that the temptation was to taste a particular kind of fruit? Good night. The Garden was full of fruit! That wasn't the temptation. The temptation was Genesis 3:5, "Take this and you will be as God". It was the same thing that caused Satan to fall, the same thing that ruined the human race and brought sin into the world. No wonder pride defies God.

Friend, look at all heartache, all tears, all sorrow, all war, all strife, all pain, all agony, all shame, and you can say, "Pride did it, pride did it". Pride has wrecked the human race. I'm saying that God is against this matter of pride. Again let me quote C.S. Lewis. C.S. Lewis said, "As long as you're proud, you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people. And as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something above you". The man who's looking down on others is not looking up at God at the same time. Pride defies God. Now, I said we're going to stay in Proverbs, but here's an ancillary Scripture we cannot pass. First Peter chapter 5 and verse 5. The Bible says, "God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble".

Now grace is both the desire and the ability to do the will of God, and we all need grace. But grace and pride are antithetical and, "God resists the proud". It is not that God merely doesn't help the proud. God lines Himself up in battle array against the proud. "God resists the proud". Is that what you want God to do to you? First Peter 5:5, "God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble". That's the first thing pride will do to destroy your life. Pride defies God.

Number two, pride defiles man. Pride, it comes out of the heart and it defiles the very heart of man. And the seat of pride is the heart. Proverbs 16 verse 5 speaks of, "Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord". And then, Proverbs 21 and verse 4, "A high look, a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked is sin".

That is, a man who would plow his field without giving God thanks for the sun and the germinating qualities and for the rain, he's proud. He's self-sufficient. And so the Bible says that if you have pride, even when you plow a field, that it is sin. It just defiles man. Where does this pride come from? Friend we were born with it. Pride comes out of the heart. Mark chapter 7 verse 21 and 22, "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride". That comes out of the heart.

Little children are born with pride in their heart. You don't believe it? Take a little child; surround him with toys, more than he needs. He's not playing with them. Let another mother bring her little baby and put him on the floor. And that little baby go over there and pick up one of those toys. Your sweet little baby will leave the toys he's playing with, go over there and bop that other kid and take that toy. Children are born with pride and ego and selfishness in their hearts. I hate to tell you, folks, but it is true. It comes out of the heart. You think these things are learned. They're not learned; they're part of human nature. Jesus said, "They come out of the heart".

I've often used this illustration. If you see an apple with a worm hole in it you know, the old saying, "What's worse than finding a worm in your apple is finding half a worm". You see that worm hole. How did that worm get into that apple? I read this, it's very interesting. The worm did not bore into the apple; the worm bored out of the apple. The egg was laid in the blossom. The worm was hatched inside the apple and made its way out. And the pride that has come out of us, folks, it was in the blossom. It was on the inside and it just makes its way out. "Out of the heart," Jesus said, "these things come". And so, pride defies God. Pride defiles man. And that's the reason every person in this building, if he's not been saved, needs to be saved and born again, because when we're born the first time we were born with a nature that is inclined to pride. I hope you understand that.

Number three. We're talking about five things that pride will do to you. Number three, pride divides society. It defies God, it defiles man, and it divides society. I'm going to tell you something, and you may disagree with me for a moment, but there has never been an argument, there's never been a war, there's never been a divorce, there's never been a church split that pride was not the major factor. Let me say that again. There's never been an argument, never been a war, never been a divorce, never been a church split where pride was not the major factor. "Pastor, can you prove that"? Yep. Proverbs 13 verse 10, "Only by pride cometh contention". "Only by pride cometh contention". Proverbs 28 verse 25, "He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife".

That's obvious. If, "God resists the proud," then the proud man is out of fellowship with God. And any man, woman, boy or girl that's out of fellowship with God is going to be out of fellowship with other people. It follows as night follows day. And so pride divides society. Have you ever gotten into a discussion with your wife? You know the way I'm using the word discussion, one that can be heard by the neighbors; a discussion. What's that all about? It's about pride. Your arguments, they're about pride. The arguments that you have with your mate are ego against ego. There are no problems too big to be solved; there're just people too small to solve them.

If you'll put the problem out in the middle and attack the problem rather than one another then you can solve the problem. But we're not trying to solve the problem; we're trying to win the argument. You know it's true. And that is pride. "Only by pride comes contention". When Joyce and I have a disagreement, I go back and lick my wounds a while and sull a while and sulk a while, and try to pray a while, and then finally I say, "Okay, let's analyze it". Do you know the problem? My pride, my pride. That's it. God says, "Adrian, you are proud".

Doesn't matter whether you're right or wrong. I might be right, and I'm still the problem because of my attitude, which is pride. And, boy, it hurts and feels so good at the same time to go and say, "I was wrong, and I am sorry, and forgive me". And were it not for the grace of God, I couldn't do that, because of the natural inclination of a human heart for pride. "Only by pride cometh contention". Any contention in your home ever? I wonder if one of your children could come up here and give a testimony right now. Any contention in your home, put it down big, put it down plain, put it down straight, pride is the issue. "Only by pride cometh contention".

Again I want to remind you that the problem is ego against ego. And if you take ego off the throne and put Jesus Christ on the throne of your life, and your wife or your husband takes ego off the throne and enthrones Jesus Christ in his or her life, then the Jesus in them is not going to fight the Jesus in you. And the Jesus in both is going to be able to take care of the problem. Pride is the chief cause of misery in society. What is the problem between races? I can put it down in one word: pride. Racial pride. No matter what color you are, that is the problem and God is dead set against it.

Now, number four. Here's the fourth thing that pride does: pride dishonors life. Let me tell you a great irony. Do you know what the proud person is wanting? Praise, honor, esteem. That is the very thing he wants. And what does he get through pride? Dishonor! Pride dishonors life. Notice Proverbs 11 and verse 2, "When pride cometh, then cometh shame". Does anybody here want shame? No. What does the proud man want? He doesn't want shame; he wants honor. But he doesn't get it. Put down Proverbs 15 verse 33, "The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility". Humility comes before honor, not pride. Put this down, Proverbs 18 verse 12, "Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honor is humility".

Put this one down, Proverbs 29 verse 23, "A man's pride shall bring him low". Is it not ironical, I say, that the proud man wants to be praised, petted, vaunted, honored? And the very thing he wants is the very thing that he loses: the admiration of others. And what he ends up with, the proud person always ends up not with admiration, but contempt. Somebody said, "Conceit is a disease that makes everybody sick except the one who has it". But the truth of the matter is, he's the sickest of all, full of conceit. Now, Jesus taught us, very clearly and very plainly, that the way up is down and the way down is up. Remember I told you that God hates pride, it's number one on His list? Why does God hate pride?

Let me tell you how to devil became the devil. I'm going to read to you from Isaiah 14 verse 13 through verse 16. God is speaking to Lucifer, "For thou hast said in thine heart, 'I will ascend into Heaven.'" I want you to listen to the perpendicular pronoun I now, "'I will ascend into Heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north. I will ascend up above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.' Yet thou shalt be brought down to Hell, to the sides of the pit. And they that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee". That is, "They're going to have to squint in order to even see you". "And consider thee, saying, 'Is this the man that made the Earth to tremble, and did shake kingdoms?'"

Here is Satan saying, "I am going to be like the Most High. I'm going up, up, up, up, I, I, I, I, I". And God says, "You're going down, down, down, down, down, down, down, down". One day we'll look and say, "Is that the devil"? "I can hardly see him". "That's him? That's him"? What is our Lord saying? Our Lord is saying, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought Himself not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, took upon Him the form of a servant. And God hath given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:5-9.

Listen, when you follow Jesus Christ in genuine humility, rather than Satan and his arrogancy, you're going to be given in the days to come, don't let this go past, you are going to be given in the days to come a greater position than Satan had before he fell. Probably didn't get in because I didn't hear anybody say, "Amen". You follow Jesus Christ, I am telling you, listen to me, you follow Jesus Christ, and God is going to give to you, His saints, a greater position than Satan had before he fell. The Bible says in First Corinthians 6:3, "We will judge angels". Satan is a fallen angel. "We will judge angels". The very thing that people want, they lose. Pride dishonors life.

Let me tell the boys and girls a story, a make-believe story. Once there was a frog in the cold mud of Minnesota, and he saw some Canadian geese. And he said, "Where are you guys going"? They said, "We're going south for the winter". That frog said, "I want to go with you". And they said, "You don't have any wings". He said, "But I have an idea". He said, "Let's take a twig and this goose will put a twig in his beak and this goose will put a twig in his beak, and I will take my mouth and grab that twig and hold on, and you can fly me south". They said, "Do you think it'll work"? He said, "Let's try it". And so one big Canadian goose over here, another big Canadian goose over here with a twig between them, and that frog got hold, and they're flying south. Over Indiana, a farmer looked up and saw two geese with a stick and a frog. And he said, "Would you look at that. That is the most amazing thing I have ever seen. I wonder whose idea that was"? And the frog said, "Miiiiinnne"!

Pride dishonors life. Last of all, and here's the fifth thing that pride will do, pride destroys souls. Pride, friend, populates Hell. Pride ultimately destroys all that it controls. It is the road to ruin. Proverbs 15 verse 25, "The Lord will destroy the house of the proud". Proverbs 16 verses 18 and 19, "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall". Proverbs 18 verse 12, "Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honor is humility". The seeds of destruction, eternal destruction, are in pride. Now, no one can be saved apart from the grace of God, but the Bible says, "God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble".

I'm telling you, pride is the road to ruin, whether it's national ruin, America is so proud, what a proud nation we are. And God says in Second Chronicles 7:14, "If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked way, then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land". National ruin, domestic ruin. There are congregations that have families that are breaking apart. Why? Pride, as I've already said. Financial ruin. Some of you right now are in financial bondage. Do you know why? I'll tell you. Your neighbors keep buying things you can't afford. And you think you have to have it in order to stay up. Emotional ruin. If you're a proud person, your emotions are going to be very thin because you are going to be controlled by circumstances.

If you don't have the right car, if you don't have the right clothes, if you don't have the right decorations, if you don't have the right this or that and emotionally it's going to get to you. But friend, primarily it is spiritual ruin and eternal ruin. Do you know the reason that some people cannot have their ministry blessed? They're too big for God to use. You can be too big for God to use, but you can never be too small for God to use. But pride destroys souls. Pride is filling Hell. Remember the story from Luke 18 verses 9 through 14 I told you earlier about Jesus, talking about two who went to the temple to pray, one a Publican, another a Pharisee? The Publicans were the IRS of that day. They were the tax collectors. But they were very, very crooked, very dishonest. Besides that, the Jews hated them because they worked for Rome, and Israel had been occupied by the Roman government and Roman law.

And so, to say Publican in that day was almost an epithet, a word of condemnation and scorn. And so this Publican went to pray and a Pharisee. The Pharisees were the religious of the religious. Oh, man, a Pharisee wouldn't even eat an egg that was laid on Saturday. I'm serious. If a mosquito was biting that Pharisee on Saturday, he wouldn't slap it because he would not go hunting on the Sabbath. Now hey, this is truth. If he got a tack in his shoe, he would always pull it out before Saturday, lest he be accused of carrying a burden on the Sabbath. So religious were they. And this Pharisee is praying and he's saying, "Father God, I".

The Bible says, and by the way, "He prayed with himself". That is, God wasn't hearing his prayer. He said, "God, I thank you I'm not like other men are. And I fast and I do this and I tithe, and I and so forth". And then he said, "And I especially thank you I'm not like this, this Publican". The Bible says the Publican smote himself upon the breast, would not even lift his eyes to Heaven. And he prayed and he said, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner". Actually, what he really said is, "God be merciful to me, the sinner". He saw himself as the chief of sinners. You know what Jesus said? Two men went to church that day. One went home dignified; the other went home justified. And everybody in this building will go home one of those two ways: dignified or justified.

I've been preaching long enough to know that when you preach and give the Gospel invitation, there are certain very nice people, very cultured people who will look around and see if any of those sinners are going to go forward to get saved, not understanding what the Bible teaches that, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God". Let me tell you about the grace of God. Remember, "God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble". The grace of God is sufficient for everyone today.

Now listen, listen to me carefully. There's no one so bad that God will not save him, no one. I don't care what you've done. I'll tell you on the authority of the Word of God, the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses from all sin. You can bank on it. If you want to be saved, God will save you instantaneously and keep you eternally. No one here so bad they cannot be saved.

Now, listen to the second thing. No one so good they need not be saved. About 8 billion people on the face of this Earth. If you were to take all 8 billion people and line them up, and go down the line and extract from each of those 8 billion people any so-called goodness that is in any of them, and take all of those qualities out of those 8 billion people, and combine them into one individual, that one individual would have to kneel at the cross to be saved. No one so bad they cannot be saved; no one so good they need not be saved. I'm going to ask you to make a wonderful decision. I'm going to ask you to lay your intellectual pride in the dust, to lay your moral pride in the dust, and I'm going to ask you, openly and publicly, to do what millions and millions have done, and give your heart to Jesus Christ. And come just as you are, without one plea, but that His blood was shed for you.

Would you bow your heads in prayer? Heads are bowed and eyes are closed. If you're not certain that you're saved, would you like to be saved, would you? Would you like to know that you really do have life? Jesus said, "I've come that you might have life". Could I lead you in a prayer? We'll call this prayer the sinner's prayer. And you can pray and accept Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. You can do it right now. Would you pray this prayer?

Dear God, I know that You love me. Thank You for loving me. And I know that You want to save me. Jesus, You died to save me and You promised to save me if I would trust You. Jesus, I do trust You. I believe You're the Son of God. I believe you paid for my sin with Your blood on the cross. I believe that God raised You from the dead. And now I receive You as my Lord and Savior. Forgive my sin. Cleanse me. Come into my life. Take control of my life and begin today to make me the person You want me to be. And Jesus, give me the courage to make it public. Help me never to be ashamed of You. In Your name I pray, Amen.

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