Love Is Not Proud
Series: Love Is
The big idea of our passage is Love is not proud. Since pride is that vice that we most readily see in others, but most rarely see in ourselves, we are going to spend significant time diagnosing our own pride before we move to the hope for humility. This morning we’re going to explore 1. The heart of pride. 2. The words of pride. 3. The actions of pride. 4. The hope for humility.
1 Corinthians 13
Jonathan Edwards – Charity and It’s Fruits
Phil Ryken – Loving as Jesus Loves
Ray Ortlund – The Gospel
David Garland – Baker commentary on 1 Corinthians
Thistleton – New International Greek Commentary on 1 Corinthians
Before we open God’s word together, I have some incredibly exciting news about re-gathering our church here in Manayunk and in Plymouth Meeting. Our services having been incredibly rich in Plymouth Meeting and by the grace of God both of our services are completely full. Therefore, on Sunday October 18 we will start a third service in Plymouth Meeting at 6pm. Even more exciting, on Sunday October 18 we will begin re-gathering here in Manayunk starting with a single service at 10am. We will be utilizing both the first and third floors here in Manayunk at 10am and will follow all of the social distancing, mask wearing, and extensive cleaning protocols that we’ve been using in Plymouth Meeting. Of course, we will continue to provide an online option for those of you who are not yet comfortable meeting at one of our buildings. Friends, I am overwhelming thankful to God and excited. More information will be coming to you via email this week, so watch your inboxes or text hello to the number on your screen so that you can sign-up to receive our weekly emails. Let’s pray and jump into God’s word.
Brian Regan has what I consider to be one of the greatest comedy sketches of all time about people who are always one-upping your stories. Regan says that you can spot these me-monsters at any social gathering because they’re the person who responds to any story you tell with some version of the phrase “that ain’t nothin.” “That ain’t nothin,” and then they proceed to tell their superior story. The reason we laugh so hard at Regan’s sketch is because we’ve all had a run-in with a me-monster, but what is it about the human condition that makes people act that way? The answer is pride; thinking too highly or just too often about yourself. In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote that “There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves [than pride].” So, we laugh because we don’t realize that in one form or another, we are all the “me-monster.” The reason why I bring up pride is because this ministry year, Citylight Manayunk is focusing on strengthening our gospel culture. A gospel culture is a church learning to love one another as Christ has loved us. Pride is the opposite of love. Pride is a sinful response to my success or significance love knows how to respond to success to the glory of God. That’s where the Apostle Paul takes us next in 1 Corinthians 13:4-5: …Love does not…boast; it is not arrogant or rude. The big idea of our passage is Love is not proud. Since pride is that vice that we most readily see in others, but most rarely see in ourselves, we are going to spend significant time diagnosing our own pride before we move to the hope for humility. This morning we’re going to explore 1. The heart of pride. 2. The words of pride. 3. The actions of pride. 4. The hope for humility.
THE HEART OF PRIDE
The heart or mind-set of pride is captured by the word “arrogant” in 1 Corinthians 13:4. What is arrogance? Arrogance is fundamentally a heart disposition or mindset of self. Arrogance is thinking too highly of self, too often of self, or both. And since pride is essentially competitive, arrogance is a heart disposition of comparison; comparing oneself favorably in one’s own mind to others and feeling a sense of one’s great importance or superiority.
Why is love opposed to arrogance? Arrogance thinks highly and often of oneself and love thinks highly and often of God and others. Love is when others are dear in my heart, but arrogance is when you and I are competing in my heart. Love cherishes high thoughts of the importance of others, but arrogance cherish inflated thoughts of its own importance (Thiselton). Ok, let’s begin to diagnose the heart or mind-set of pride in us…
Who are you giving your heart to? Do you think highly and often about yourself or the glory of God and the interests of others? Now remember, a prideful heart is easy to see in others, but rare to recognize in ourself, so let me describe some characteristics of a prideful mindset.
1. A prideful mindset rarely thinks about God outside of set prayer or devotional times. From the moment a prideful mind wakes up it is so filled with thoughts about my schedule, my priorities, my projects, my career, my kids, my desires, my future, my finances, and my problems that God simply doesn’t have a place in my mind. But it’s ok, he understands and feels privileged to get any space in my very important life. A prideful mindset rarely has room for God.
2. A prideful mindset is characterized by comparison. A prideful mindset can create a person who feel superior to others or self-pitying because superiority and self-pity both flow from a mind-set of comparison. So, whether you go to Citygroup and feel superior to others because of your comparative doctrinal-righteousness, commitment-righteousness, responsibility-righteousness, hard work-righteousness, or financial righteousness, or you go to Citygroup and feel horribly inferior because of your comparative lack of doctrinal, commitment, hard work, or financial righteousness, you’re living in a prideful mindset that is characterized by comparison and self.
3. A prideful mindset is characterized by over-sensitivity. A prideful heart is like a bloated organ, it’s very fragile and when its bumped bad things happen. Prideful over-sensitivity makes us stubborn about the importance of our preferences, defensive when others correct us, and overly uncomfortable when others disagree with us. In short, a prideful mindset often lives inside an angry person.
Pride truly is miserable. Where do you see pride in your heart? The Lord Jesus tells us in Luke 6:45 that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. So, let’s turn secondly to the…
THE WORDS OF PRIDE
In 1 Corinthians 13:4 “boasting” describes the words of pride. What is boasting? Boasting is speech that draws attention to me rather than God and others. Boasting is speaking highly of oneself, drawing much attention to one’s own gifts, accomplishments, or resources to achieve a sense of superiority or importance over others.
Why is love opposed to boasting? Love uses its words to worship, adore, or tell others about God and love uses words to honor others because they are dear to us in our hearts. Boasting is using what we say or don’t say to provoke others to envy me or think about me. Personal question…
Who are you using your words for? Do you use your words to draw positive attention to God and others, or do you use them to draw attention to yourself to achieve a sense of comparative importance? Again, since prideful words are so easy to spot in others and so rare to recognize in ourselves, let’s look at a few of the characteristics of prideful words.
1. Prideful words are attention seeking. Prideful words may come out in talking too much and dominating conversation, interrupting and one-upping, rarely asking questions and listening, or being overly reserved and non-reciprocal in conversation because these are all manifestations of attention and self-seeking words.
2. Prideful words are excuse making and blame-shifting. A mind-set of self will almost always show itself in rarely our words to honestly confess our sins and take responsibility for our mistakes. Instead a mind-set of self will usually use words to subtly or overtly shift blame to or speak negatively about others.
How do words of pride come out of your mouth? Words of pride are so devastating for a gospel culture because they leave little room for a central characteristic of a gospel-culture: encouragement. A gospel culture is one where we see the grace of God in each other’s lives and then speak about it so that everyone is encouraged. In a gospel-culture our words build but boasting inevitably tears each other down. And these prideful words, invariably, lead thirdly to…
THE ACTIONS OF PRIDE
In 1 Corinthians 13:5, Paul tells us that the fundamental action that flows from pride in the heart is acting rudely. What does it mean to act rudely? When Paul uses the word “rude” in other passages in his letters to the Corinthians, he uses it to describe disregard for community standards. To make it plain, rude actions are those that proceed from the heart that says, “I could not care less what people think of me, themselves, or God. I’ll do what I want.” C.S. Lewis describes rude actions as flowing from the worst kind of pride. I’m going to read a lengthy section from Lewis because it’s so helpful in understanding the rude actions of pride: “The real black, diabolical Pride, comes when you look down on others so much that you do not care what they think of you. Of course, it is very right, and often our duty, not to care what people think of us, if we do so for the right reason; namely, because we care so incomparably more what God thinks. But the Proud man has a different reason for not caring. He says ‘Why should I care for the applause of that rabble as if their opinion were worth anything?’” When pride fully flowers, we act rudely because rather than others being dear to us, their opinions about us, themselves, or God mean nothing to us. Where in your life has your pride flowered to the point that you just don’t care what others think? Pride truly is dark. Do you see it? Do you see it in your heart, your words, and your actions? Ok, you’re ready for…
THE HOPE FOR HUMILITY
In a gospel culture growing strong we look to gospel-doctrine for hope in the midst of our problems. How do we apply the gospel to pride so that we can become a humble people by the grace of God? What is the gospel? What is the essential message Bible-believing people rally around? Ray Ortlund puts it this way: God, through the perfect life, atoning death, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, rescues all of his people from the wrath of God into peace with God, with a promise of the full restoration of his created order forever – all to the praise of the glory of his grace. The gospel is the power of God to make prideful people increasingly humble by the grace of God in three ways.
First, the gospel humbles us. The good news of the gospel begins in Genesis 1 with God, not Genesis 3 with us and our sin. The gospel is news that begins with the creator God and that in and of itself humbles us. There is an all-knowing, all-wise, all-powerful, all-good, un-needy person who created everything out of nothing with a word and that person is not us! We have been born into a universe that is the celebration of another. We don’t know it all and it’s not about us getting it all. The gospel further humbles us by telling us that there isn’t just an infinite gap between God and us when it comes to greatness, but also when it comes to goodness. He is truth, goodness, and beauty. We are mixed, wicked, wretched, false, and wholly deserving of God’s wrath. Our pride is treason against God that deserves the wrath of God. We truly are poor in spirit. And the gospel humbles us by showing us that we can’t solve our pride problem or write a resume of our own righteousness in order to reconcile with God. The gospel humbles us because it tells us that we can’t be righteous and we need to be rescued by the perfect life, atoning death, and bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Pride is comparative and competitive. The gospel tells us that before God we are worms. The gospel humbles by forcing us to admit that each and every one of us is actually “that guy.” We are the “me-monster” who have fallen short of living for the glory of God and our lives are fundamentally characterized self-worship rather than God worship. The gospel humbles us by showing us who we really are.
Secondly, the gospel shows us what true humility looks like. Philippians 2:3-5 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” In Christ Jesus we see humility personified. His heart was so set on the glory of God and the interests of others that he emptied himself of his heavenly rights, took on the weakness of flesh and dwelt among us, and he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross, therefore the Father has highly exalted him. His words were so humble that he said he only spoke with the Father gave him and would not testify to his own greatness but entrusted himself to the testimony of his Father. His actions were so humble that though he was God in the flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ never made a virtue out of non-conformity. And with his actions he never threw us off, but died and rose to bring us in because we are so dear to him. The gospel shows us true humility.
Finally, the gospel frees us to show love through humility. The gospel is the good news that by grace through faith, we prideful rebels have been forgiven of our treason, set free from the power and penalty of pride because Jesus conquered the power and took the penalty of pride at the cross. The gospel frees you to admit that you’re proud, which is the first and biggest step toward becoming humble. The gospel promises you the Holy Spirit who helps you cultivate the mind of Christ through the word. The Holy Spirit working through the word renews your mind so that you become more and more the kind of person that cherishes high thoughts of others and God, rather than yourself. The gospel so secures your identity in Christ, that you are free from needing to use your words to highlight yourself that you can use them to draw attention to God and honor people. The gospel frees you to care about the opinions of others without them becoming more important than God’s opinion of you. Friends, live in the gospel of grace. Use every resource to enjoy intimacy with the God of the gospel. Get lost in his beauty and grace. Let his love for his people fuel your love for them. Forget yourself and strengthen our gospel culture by setting your mind, words, and actions on the glory of God and the good of others.
C.S. Lewis describes the person becoming humble in heart, word, and deed by the grace of God this way: “Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call ‘humble’ nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not being about humility; he will not be thinking about himself at all.” The gospel provides hope that every proud person can become humble by the grace of God.