Bible Pins For Puffed Up Christians

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 515 views
Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

I CORINTHIANS 4:6-21

“Bible Pins For Puffed Up Christians”

           I. The Tough Word

              A.  An Attitude To Be Rejected - Spiritual Pride                       1. It Is Unscriptural

                  2. It Is Unspiritual

                  3. It Is Unsociable

              B.  An Attitude To Be Reflected - Of Submission To                                                                                                                                       Jesus

          II. The Tender Word

              A.  Remember Your Birth In Christ

              B.  Remember Your Behavior In Christ

     Paul describes these believers in Corinth in a very graphic way. Three times in these verses Paul says to them, you are puffed up, and it is indeed a very graphic description. It’s the picture of taking a bellows and inflating it with air. It’s exactly what a frog would do just before it got ready to croak. So Paul says you’re just like a swollen frog, you’re walking around so filled with yourselves, you think you’re so wonderful, you think you’re so great. So Paul, in these verses of scripture, is going to use some Bible pins to prick their spiritual pride and bring them back down to size. I don’t guess there is anything that is more distasteful or unnecessary than is spiritual pride on the part of a believer. It is totally unnecessary and yet pride seems to be the inherent sin in every human being. It is pride that changed angels into demons. It is pride that robs us of the humble spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ. So pride is never to be a characteristic of a child of God. It is totally unwarranted and it is totally unnecessary. I heard about a young lady in a church one night in revival meeting who came forward and she said to her pastor, “Pastor, I have come forward to confess the sin of pride.” And he said, “Well, young lady, what do you mean?” She said, “Well, when I look in the mirror I think I’m beautiful.” He said, “Young lady, that’s not a sin, that’s a mistake.” And the fact of the matter is most of the time when we are filled with pride, it is not on the basis of sound consideration but it is really a mistake.

     Now I want you to look at verse 14 and then down at verse 16 and notice that Paul gives two different kinds of words to these Corinthians believers. Notice what he says in verse 14, 16.

In other words he says I want to give you, first of all, A TOUGH WORD, and then secondly he says I’m going to give you A TENDER WORD. That is always the way the gospel is. The gospel has a stern word and yet the gospel has a very gentle word. The Lord Jesus Christ came and He came not only winnowing the floor and blowing away that which was not right but He also came gathering together. The Bible says, Behold, therefore the goodness and the severity of the Lord. Sometimes we have to have that tough word from God, sometimes God has to confront us with the sin that is in our life in a very severe and in a very difficult way. And then sometimes God gives a tender word, a pleading word, an encouraging word. So what I want us to do as we take some Bible pins and puncture spiritual pride.

     In verses 6 down through verse 14 Paul first of all shares with us an attitude to be rejected and he’s simply saying that we as believers are to reject the attitude of spiritual pride. Now he uses several Bible pins. One of the pins he uses is this: he points out that spiritual pride is UNSCRIPTURAL. Look at verse 6. He says don’t think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. In other words, when we allowed pride to get in our lives we never got that attitude from the Word of God. Everywhere in the Bible the Bible warns us against the danger of pride. In Proverbs the Bible says pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. In the book of James the Bible says God will humble those who exalt themselves. So, you see, all through the Bible we are told that there is no place, there is no basis for pride in the life of a believer.

     But then notice also he says not only unscriptural but it is also UNSPIRITUAL. Look at verse 7; he says, who makes you to differ from one another? Now of course there is the admission there that we are different from one another, none of us are the same, we’re all different, all of us have different gifts, we have different abilities. His question though is who makes those differences? who is responsible for those differences? And the answer of course is God. And then he says what do you have that you did not receive? and the answer to that question is you don’t have anything that you did not receive. You see, whether God’s endowments of creation or God’s endowments of grace, everything comes from God. For instance God’s endowments of creation: there are some things that you have simply because of your existence and God has created you that way. You may be attractive, you may be a very beautiful, or a very handsome person. In fact you might have been Miss Watermelon of 1945. Well, you see, that is no basis for you to be proud, because if you are physically attractive you didn’t have a thing in the world to do with that, you were born that way and God created you that way. You might be extremely intelligent, you might have won a spelling bee contest one time; well you don’t have anything to brag about if you’re an intelligent person, because that gift of God’s creation is something that you can take no credit for whatsoever. So, you see, there’s really no room for us to be filled with pride on the basis of natural endowment. And then the same thing is true in the spiritual realm, God’s endowments of grace. The Bible says by the grace of God I am what I am. If you’re a Bible teacher and people are blessed by your Bible teaching it’s not because you’re anybody it’s because God made you that way. Everything we have we have due to the grace of God. So he says why then do you glory as if you had not received it? So spiritual pride is not only unscriptural but it is also unspiritual.

     But then I want you to notice in verse 8 it is also UNSOCIABLE. He says, using a little sanctified sarcasm, he says, now are you full (and he’s simply saying that they are filled with a self-sufficiency), now are you rich, (they are filled with self-satisfaction), now have you reigned as kings without us (they were filled with self-superiority). What he’s simply pointing out is their attitude was detrimental to their fellowship with other people. They were filled with pride and Paul punctures their pride with the Word of God. So there is the attitude that is to be rejected.

     But then I want you to notice he moves on and he talks about an attitude to be reflected. The apostle Paul lays before us in these verses of scripture what is supposed to be the attitude of the believer as he moves in this world. God’s child, a Christian believer, is to have an attitude of submission to the Lord Jesus and is to live a Christ-controlled life. Now a Christ-controlled life means, first of all, that there must be PERSONAL HUMILIATION. Look at verse 9. Now, you see, that was in such a contrast to what the Corinthian believers were doing. They were walking around filled with pride, proud of themselves, swelled up in their imagined superiority. That was so contrary to the spirit of the believer that God intended. That was so contrary to the spirit of the apostle Paul. Paul says we are made a spectacle unto the world. It’s a graphic picture that the apostle Paul paints here, it is actually taken from the coliseum. In those days thousands of people, sometimes as many as fifty thousand people, would gather in the coliseum and they would witness the athletic games. And as the games continued they would become more and more violent. At the end the captive slaves would be brought out and these captive slaves would engage in games that would ultimately result in their death. Now the apostle Paul pictures believers as these captive slaves. Sometimes in the center of that coliseum they would have a cross and that cross would be there to mimic, and to make fun of, and to ridicule believers, and many a faithful believer was martyred for his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ before the gaping eyes and before the hostile stares of an unbelieving world. That’s all Jesus has ever promised us to expect in this world. Jesus has never promised us that we can expect self-congratulation or that we can expect the applause of men. In fact you can almost put it down, friend, if you live close to the Lord Jesus Christ you’re going to be an object of the scorn and the ridicule of this world. So here were Corinthian believers filled with pride, and yet Paul says I’m made a spectacle to the world, I’m just made something that people gaze upon and laugh when I’m dead. So, you see, here’s an attitude of self-humiliation.

     But then in verse 10. You see, Paul is contrasting their attitude of haughtiness and pride with the attitude that is to be characteristic of a believer. Do you see what he says? We are fools for Christ’s sake. People think you’re a fool if you live for Jesus. Fool for Christ’s sake. You see, ladies and gentlemen, this world doesn’t think you amount to much if you live for the Lord Jesus Christ. Fools for Christ’s sake. Weak: that’s what the world looks upon us as. Despised: that’s what the world looks upon us as.

     But then verse 11. Now you’ve got to keep in mind that the apostle Paul was in line to be the great teacher of the Jews. There are those who believe that he was next in line to succeed Gamaliel the great religious authority, the great religious leader. When Paul surrendered himself to the Lord Jesus Christ, at that point in time, Paul put himself in a position to experience nothing but physical, emotional, and mental deprivation.

     Look at verse 12, 13. Now the picture there is of a clean-up crew. There has been a night of revelry and rioting and the streets are filled with debris and with garbage and with filth, and the clean-up crew has come in now and they’re scrubbing away the filth and they’re washing it down the sewers. And then there is that offscouring and they’re scraping that offscouring, that scum, off of the streets. Paul says that’s what we have become in the eyes of this world for the Lord Jesus Christ. Now that’s quite a contrast isn’t it? to the attitude of the Corinthian believers. Quite a difference isn’t it? You see, those who were followers of Jesus, as was Paul, were receiving all of the hostility, all of the animosity, all of the anger of the world, yet here were the Corinthians and they were wanting to be bragged on, they were looking for applause, they were looking for the praise of men. Let me tell you something, friends, that’s not what Jesus said we could expect. Jesus says we can expect persecution, we can expect ridicule, and we can expect scorn. Must I be carried through the skies on flow’ry beds of ease? while others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas.

     The early Christians had it and I’m going to tell you I believe we are headed into days where believers today, if they really stand for Jesus Christ, are going to have the same kind of attitude expressed and displayed towards them. You see, we really, in our generation, have been the benefactors of a heritage of Christian belief, we have been brought up in a time where there was a Christian heritage. When I was coming through school they had Bible reading. I can remember our high school principal in chapel opening up the Bible and would read a few verses from scripture, and he would lead the student body in prayer. And I can remember us singing hymns, and I can remember at revival time the visiting revival preachers would come to chapel and they would preach, and they’d give an appeal for people to come to Christ. No more. No more. And the heritage of Christian faith that you and I had enjoyed is rapidly dissolving. I can remember a time you used to go into the home of people and talk to them about coming to church and they would admit to you, even though they didn’t go to church, that going to church was a good thing. No more. It’s not like that any more. We are living in a society that is becoming totally pagan, and it may be, it may be that we’re going to find out really what God’s people are made out of in this kind of day. It’s going to mean something to live for Jesus Christ in the 1990s in America. There’s going to be a price to pay to take your stand for the Word and for Jesus and for the things of God in this day.

     Well, friend, there’s no room for pride, there is no place for God’s children to get all exalted in themselves. We must be willing to take the place that Christ has given unto us. Verse 14.

Let there be no spiritual pride in our hearts. Let us be humble before the Lord. Let us be willing to pay the price for Jesus Christ. That’s the tough word that Paul gives.

     But then I want you to notice he now changes. I can almost imagine there’s a change of tone in his voice. I can see that there is a different countenance upon his face, tears seem to well up in his eyes as he now says in verse 16, I beseech you, and it’s a tender word, it’s a brotherly word, it’s a word of entreaty, it’s a word of love. And what he’s trying to do now is to appeal to their hearts and to show them how inconsistent spiritual pride and arrogance is with their salvation and with the lifestyle that Jesus expects believers to have. Now notice what he says. Verse 15.

Now what he’s doing here he’s taking them back to their salvation experience, and Paul is reminding these believers that he had led them to faith in Jesus. Now what he’s saying is you’ve got a lot of different teachers, there are a lot of folks who’ve blessed you, there are a lot of folks who have given you the Word of God and they’ve taught you the things of God, but Paul says, I’m your spiritual father. Now, you see, when you lead a person to Christ, spiritually you become their father.

     For instance Paul had a young man, Timothy, he was his father in the faith. There came a day when Paul came to the hometown of little Timothy and, you remember, Timothy came to Christ that day and he became a spiritual son of the apostle Paul. He’s taking those Corinthians back to the time of their salvation.

     You know, that’s not a bad thing for all of us to do. I think from time to time we need to just go back down memory lane and we need to remember when we came to know Jesus, we need to remember when we were saved. I remember when I was saved, I was a 12-year old boy, that’s been a lot of years from now but I want to tell you it’s very vivid in my mind. Our pastor was not a great preacher but he was a wonderful man of God, he had a warm, tender heart and he loved lost people with all of his soul.

            Oh, yes, we need to go back and we need to remember our birth in the Lord Jesus Christ. And I’ll tell you what, friends, if you’ve got spiritual pride you didn’t get it as a result of your new birth, you didn’t get it as a result of your salvation, you picked that spiritual pride up somewhere along the way and it is foreign, it is foreign to the family of God, it is extraneous to the Christian life. So Paul says, I want to give you a tender word, remember your birth in Christ.

     And then he says, I want to give you a TENDER WORD, remember your behavior in Christ. And look at what he says in verse 17. And what Paul is saying here is I just want to remind you I tried to live in front of you the way a believer ought to behave. I personally believe that Paul was probably the greatest mind ever produced by the Christian faith, I really do. I do not believe that the Christian faith, since the New Testament time, has had a mind like the mind of the apostle Paul. I mean under the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit here is a man who perhaps gave us as many as half of the books of our New Testament. I mean he was a brilliant man, he was a scholar, I mean here was a man who had all of the degrees, here was a man who could quote not only scriptural but secular sources, here was a man whose logic was as tight as a vise, yet when you look at the apostle Paul you don’t see a man like a peacock strutting around, you don’t see a man like a frog croaking, filled with his own air, but instead you see a man who is humble, who is walking the Jesus way, who is filled with humility, who has love in his heart for a lost world, who knows what it is to shed tears for souls that are dying and going to hell. When is the last time you shed tears for those who are lost and going to hell? Some of you folks have got so much pride in your hearts, you’re so filled with your own self you can’t even get a burden for lost people any more. Paul says I want to remind you of my ways which be in Christ.

     Now then, I want you to notice, he says down in verse 21, What will you? (you decided), Paul says, will I come to you with a rod? (do you want me to come with a big stick) or will I come in love and in the spirit of meekness? You see, the preacher will be what you let him be and your spiritual attitude and response will determine the approach that the preacher has to make as he preaches the Word of God. And, oh, my appeal to you, my dear Christian believers, is that there be no spiritual pride in our lives, that we be humble, that we be clothed in humility. You know, I guess if there’s a believer that had problems with pride it’s the apostle Peter, old Simon Peter. He had a pride problem like most of us do and yet when you read I Peter chapter 5 and verse 5 the apostle Peter says to us, he says that we’re to be filled with humility, and he says that we’re to be clothed with humility. Now where did Simon Peter get that? I think that Simon Peter was able to write that verse on the basis of something that happened in the upper room the night before Jesus died on the cross.

     Now you remember the foot washing scene there in John chapter 13? When the disciples came into that upper room with the Lord Jesus, according to the gospel of Luke, they had been arguing among themselves about who was going to be the greatest. I mean they were picking their places in the kingdom, they were deciding who was going to be number one in the kingdom. And that night they came in just swelled up with pride, all puffed up that night. Now in those days when you came in for a meal it was customary for someone to wash the feet of the guests, normally it would be a slave. In this instance there was no slave there so it was customary for someone in the number to wash the feet of the others. It wasn’t going to be Simon Peter, “I’m not going to wash the feet of this crowd.” It wasn’t going to be any of the others, they were all having a fuss about who was going to be the greatest, they were swelled up, they were puffed up in pride. Yet there sat the Lord Jesus Christ himself, the Lord of glory, the one who receives the praise and the adorations of angels and the heavenly beings, yet the Lord Jesus Christ, in the midst of that pride-filled group, laid aside His garment, girded himself with a towel, and began to wash the feet of the disciples. And I want to tell you what, it became a Bible pin that burst their spiritual pride and Simon Peter never forgot it, and he writes in his letter, Be clothed with humility. And, ladies and gentlemen, if we want to be like Jesus, and, ladies and gentlemen, if we want to be Christ-like, then we cannot walk around puffed up in spiritual pride, but we walk around with a spirit of humility in a spirit of love, understanding all I am and all I ever will be I owe to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more