We should avoid the sin of pride, which can lead us to build
our own kingdom rather than the kingdom of God.
Here's Dr. Gene Getz to explain:
If you go to Genesis chapter 11, you have now, the earth being repopulated.
And you have the people who are repopulating the earth coming to a point where they said,
"Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower
with its top in the sky."
In other words, pride takes over.
Sin once again begins to permeate the world.
"Let us make a name for ourselves..."
Boy does that sound familiar.
That's man's human temptation, isn't it?
If you begin to look at all the abuse and all the problems. The abuse of power in the
world today, as we've seen among leaders wherever you go.
From autocratic societies to democratic societies.
The abuse of power, which relates back to pride.
And we see that so frequently.
This is a repeat.
This all began back here, following the flood, after God dealt with that sin that permeated the earth.
But it came again, and again, as we'll see in time of Abraham.
"Let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise,
we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth."
In other words, let's take control of the situation.
"[And] then the LORD came down to look over
the city and the tower that the men were building.
The LORD said: 'If, as one people
all having the same language,
they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan
to do will be impossible for them.'"
Namely, God points out the potential of human beings who are made in the image of God.
And what they will do that is evil.
And what they'll do as a result of pride and arrogance.
And so God says,
"'Come, let Us go down...'"
Who? Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
See the trinity has always existed, the eternal community.
Let Us. Remember in the beginning of Genesis?
Let Us create man in our own image.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
"'Come, let Us go down there and confuse their
language so that they will not understand
one another's speech.'
[And] so the LORD scattered them from there
over the face of the whole earth,
[and] they stopped building the city.
[And] therefore its name is called Babylon,
for there the LORD confused the language
of the whole earth, and from there the LORD
scattered them over the face of the whole earth."
This was a judgment on pride.
And that is no surprise because Satan himself is the author of pride.
If you go to Isaiah 14, Lucifer was cast down because he said he would like to be like the Most High.
And that's when God judged Satan-- 'Lucifer' he's called.
And he came to tempt Jesus.
And if you look at all of the temptations, the three temptations there in the wilderness of Jesus,
they're all rooted in pride.
Pride is the root of these temptations:
To turn stones into bread.
To demonstrate His power.
To throw Himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple.
And God will take care of it, but won't hurt Him.
Root of pride.
To fall down and worship Satan in order
to have-- what?-- control of all the
kingdoms of the world.
The root of that is pride.
And so Satan, you see, has been active ever since he was cast out of heaven because of
his own pride.
Trying to lead us to do things because of our own arrogance, our own pride.
And so, God sent His Son to give us victory over pride because of Jesus' example.
And in Philippians chapter 2, verses 3 and 5 we read,
"Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit..."
Why does God say that through Paul?
Because that's our temptation. Right?
But in Christ, we don't have to do things out of rivalry or conceit,
"...but in humility consider others as more important
than yourselves. Everyone should
look out [for] not only for his own interests..."
And let me just say here, we all have our own interests.
God acknowledges that. But we're not to
look out only for our own interests,
"...but also for the interests of others."
Honoring others above ourselves.
Looking to what we can do to help others
rather than trying to put others down and elevate
ourselves for reasons of pride and arrogance.
And then he says,
"Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus."
And of course, Jesus illustrated this when He came.
And so we have a principle that comes from Philippians:
If each one of us is to live a life "worthy of the Gospel,"
[which Paul says we should,] we must live in harmony
with one another, demonstrating Christ's attitudes
of unselfishness, [of] humility and self-sacrifice.
And you see, that leads us then,
to the Reflection and Response question:
In what specific ways did Jesus Christ model humility for all of us?
Well, look at this.
After Paul says let your attitude be
that of Christ, he says this:
"who, existing in the form of God..."
If anyone has the right to elevate Himself,
it's God and who He is.
But in Jesus Christ, when He came,
though He existed in the form of God,
"...did not consider equality with God as something
to be used for His own advantage."
It's for us He came.
He put us first, above Himself,
the God of the universe in Christ.
"Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the
form of a slave..."
He existed in the form of God and took on the form of a slave.
"...taking on the likeness of men."
That's a step of humility.
"And when He had come as a man in His external form,
He humbled Himself by becoming obedient
to the point of death--even to death on a cross."
And so we have here, in this passage, an answer, a beautiful answer to this question:
In what specific ways did Jesus Christ model humility for all of us?
Well, He tells us that we are to love now as Christ loved us.
And you can apply that in so many specific ways.
I remember when I became engaged to Elaine, and we were looking at the Scriptures,
and thinking about marriage and what that's all about.
And my mind was drawn to this passage of Scripture
where I'm told to love her as Christ loved me.
Now, this passage in Philippians applies to all believers:
Let this attitude be in you,
which is in Christ.
But in Ephesians, God had a special message for me looking forward to marriage.
I am to love my wife as Christ loved me.
And I went back to that passage and then,
what popped out of that
passage, it says Gene, you need to love her as Christ loved you, which means humility (Eph 5:25-26).
Which means being a servant.
Which means even being willing to die to give everything for her.
Now, we're all to do that for each other, but as a husband I had a special challenge.
Because later in Ephesians, Paul really underscores that for husbands. To love as Christ loved.
That's a whammy. That's a big one.
And that involves if I'm going to love her as her head, I am also to submit to her as
He that is greatest is servant (Mt 23:11).
And so you can take this passage, you can apply it in so many ways.
As parents, as brothers and sisters in Christ, as pastors and spiritual leaders.
As pastors and spiritual leaders, we are to serve.
We're not to elevate ourselves.
Obviously we are to honor each other.
Honor to whom honor is due (Rm 13:7).
But that's not elevating ourselves over other people.
We're servants of the Lord.
So it has many applications, and I'd encourage you to think about those applications as it
relates to your own specific situation.
So, the principle again:
We should avoid the sin of pride which can
lead us to build our own kingdom rather than the kingdom of God.
That grows certainly out of that passage, here in the Old Testament: the tower of Babel.