Teaching Notes are Bible studies we taught before GraceLife Ministries began publishing articles online in 1995. Some were presented as sermons, others as group studies.
Our hope is that these older studies will be a blessing to you in your life and ministry. Please use them in any way God leads you.
These teaching notes are from a series of broadcast studies about faith.
[These notes are from a radio broadcast study taught more than 40 years ago.]
During the past couple of weeks we’ve been sharing with you about the subject of faith. Last week we started giving four reasons why Christians don’t live by faith. The first two were fear and worry.
Today, I’d like to get into the third reason why Christians don’t live by faith. It’s a little word called PRIDE.
A person’s pride can cause them to think they don’t really need God for everything. It’s the characteristic of an independent spirit.
It’s interesting how we look to God in a totally dependent way for salvation, but then become independent in how we live.
We say, “Oh, God, I’m a sinner. I’m lost and ask for your forgiveness. Oh, Lord, give me eternal life. I repent of my sins. I believe and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior. Amen.”
And then a few months later it’s, “Uh, sorry Lord. I’d really like to help you out at church or with my family or with lost people, but I’m really busy right now and just don’t have the time. Please call again later and maybe I can do something for you then.”
Or, “Thanks a lot Lord for giving me eternal life and as soon as I get to Heaven I promise that I’ll do everything you say. But right now I’ve got a life to live, so let’s not talk about obedience to your Word.”
Or, “Lord, I’m young right now and have a whole life ahead of me. I promise that when I get older and am about ready to die I’ll give you what time and energy I have left (if there’s any left).”
That may sound funny or silly, but that’s how many Christians live. It’s like saying, “Now, God, I know you’re the Creator of the universe and in charge and everything, but let’s admit it .. I do know how to run my life better than you do. I’ll tell you what, God, you just keep me safe from hell and reserve a place in Heaven for me and I’ll stop by your house every once in awhile and make sure things are going alright.”
Pride and the independent spirit are the cause for many Christians living by sight and not by faith. The Scripture has much to say about pride and an independent spirit.
“When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1 John 2:16
Jesus hit the whole thing right on the head when He said, speaking to one of the early churches –
“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” Revelation 3:17-18
Notice that Jesus said the people in this church thought they were rich and in need of nothing when, in reality, they were poor and in need of everything.
They were rich in goods and material things because that was their focus of attention and personal intent, but they were poor in spiritual things and in desperate need of God in their lives. Some of them were saved, but just barely it seemed – by the skin of their teeth we might say.
So many Christians think they know it all. Just ask them. “Well, I’ve been to such and such college or seminary and there isn’t anything more God could possibly teach me.”
We hear this often as we hold crusades across the country –
“Who? Me need revival? Pish-tosh! If there’s anybody in this country who’s revived, it’s certainly me.”
“What? Our church need revival? Why we’re the most revived people in this whole city.”
That attitude reminds me of the Pharisee who stood and prayed, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.” (Luke 18:11)
Many Christians believe they’re good with God because they don’t do the things on their DO NOT DO list. It doesn’t work that way. There is a lot more to being a dynamic follower of Jesus Christ than following a Do and Do Not list.
On this radio program, week after week, we’ve shared scores of testimonies from church members who said they did all the right things and looked like good Christians, when all the while they were vile and wretched inside.
Unfortunately, we’ve heard the terrible stories of deacons and youth directors having sex with teenage girls from the church. We’ve heard about pastors who have been caught having affairs with married women in their churches. On and on we could go with everything from fornication to adultery to incest to dishonesty to outright stealing and embezzling by church leaders.
We as American Christians have little to be proud about. It’s been the pride and independent spirit that’s caused our eyes to be blinded to the will of God in the first place. We get all puffed up in our own abilities and that’s just about the time we fall flat on our face.
We’re familiar with churches where the pastor “stepped out on faith,” only to get his church into deep debt because of unscriptural borrowing. What causes that? Is God squelching on deals He made with pastors? Does God call church leaders to step out on faith to do a particular thing, then not live up to His promises? That’s what it looks like to many unsaved people.
“Hey, did you hear about such and such church? They said God was going to provide a miracle, so they borrowed money to buy property and build a big building on it and now they can’t make the payments. What a laugh!”
Shame on us.
Why do Christian leaders do that? Why do we want things and tack on “it’s God will” or “God told me” to try to make our sinful pride and greed look respectable?
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15-16
It would seem that Jesus gets sick of our pride and conceit .. sick of the games we play with His Church.
It seems to me that unless Christians respond to God in humility and repent as Jesus said, He is going to spue out the American church and allow us to be controlled by an atheistic form of government. That’s just my personal belief, but I am concerned our days as a nation of free people are numbered. We need to do as Jesus said and repent of our sin of pride.
I’ll share more tomorrow about pride and how it affects our Christian walk, but here’s an important reminder as we leave you today –
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Revelation 3:19
[Thank you for reading these teaching notes from more than 40 years ago. My prayer is they will be a blessing to you and your ministry.]