The Book of Proverbs

Lesson 5 - “The Worst of All Sins”

by Pastor Frank J. Cuozzo

Pastor Frank Cuozzo

We have been doing a study from the book of Proverbs. We’ve already looked at Solomon’s request for an understanding heart to rule God’s people, then we looked at “Help for Hotheads” the scriptural answer to anger management, we saw why we need to be “Mastering Your Mouth,” and how to find fantastic friends. Today we want to learn about the worst of all sins.


Introduction:

During the Middle Ages a group of monks decided to love God with all their hearts, minds, and souls, as Jesus commanded in the greatest commandment found in Matthew chapter 22. They wanted to know not only what drew them to God, but also what drew them away. They compiled a list of basic sins from which all other sins originate. These came to be known as "The Seven Deadly Sins." The worst and most dangerous of all sins is first on the list. Do you know what it is? Proverbs 6:16 & 17 tells us, “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look.”


God hates this sin above all others because it describes people who are so full of pride it shows in their eyes. Pride heads the list of the seven sins God hates most because it is the worst of all sins. To understand why, we will look at three things concerning this worst of all sins, the description of pride, the dangers of pride, and the destruction of pride.


#1) The Description of Pride.

Pride is the worst of all sins because it is the original sin. First of all, pride is not self-esteem. Pride is arrogance or having an exaggerated opinion of oneself. Webster’s says that,

-Pride is, inordinate self-esteem; an unreasonable conceit of one's own superiority in talents, beauty, wealth, accomplishments, rank or elevation in office, which manifests itself in lofty airs, distance, reserve, and often in contempt of others.

"Prideful" is the one word that best describes Satan. The essence of Satan is revealed in the heart of Belshazzar the king of Babylon, who was completely overtaken by Satan. In his heart the king said this in Isaiah chapter 14, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God... I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” He had an “I” problem.


The king of Babylon is an analogy of how Lucifer became Satan. Because of pride, Lucifer led a rebellion against God. Lucifer and a third of the angels fell from their heavenly position as Lucifer became known as Satan and the angels as demons. It was Satan who led Adam and Eve into sin by appealing to their pride, the same pride that caused him to rebel against God. God told Adam and Eve if they ate the forbidden fruit they would die, but Satan tells them in Genesis 3:4, Ye shall not surely die.” Then in the next verse Satan tells them that they shall be as gods. He is a liar and the father of it!

The very essence of pride is trying to be your own god. People who want to be God say, "I can make my own rules and live like I want. I can live by my own standards and morals." In other words, pride says, "I will be my own god, my own moral authority; no one is going to tell me what to do."


We've looked at the description of pride; now, let's look at...

#2) The Dangers of Pride.

Pride causes all kinds of problems in life and hurts us in at least four ways:

A.   Pride hurts us spiritually. Proverbs 16:5 says, “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD.” There is only one cause for not being close to God—pride. Have you noticed the middle letter in the words "pride" and "sin?" When we have an "I" problem, it pushes us away from God. Another word for pride is "ego," which someone has said stands for "Edging God Out."

B.   Pride hurts us relationally. Pride is the basic cause of conflict in relationships. Proverbs 13:10 says, “Only by pride cometh contention.” Every husband and wife should memorize this verse. When we have a problem with pride, we clash with family, friends, associates, etc. Pride makes us demanding and uncompromising. Pride causes parents to destroy their relationships with their children. Many parents make their children miserable by pressuring them to be "all-stars," either academically or in sports. Why do parents do that? They think their children's achievements make them look good. That's nothing but pride. Also, when we are prideful, we become obnoxious and rude. Have you ever seen prideful people in a restaurant? They are so impolite and demanding. Do you know why they are rude? Someone has correctly said, "Rudeness is a weak person's imitation of strength."

C.   Pride hurts us emotionally. Pride causes us to always try to look successful to impress others. Pride makes us want to keep up with the Joneses at all costs. Therefore, pride keeps us all stressed-out and miserable.

D.   Pride hurts us financially. Why is personal debt one of the greatest problems in America? Why is personal debt the number one contributing factor to divorce? Why, year after year, are we having record numbers of personal bankruptcies? The answer generally is pride. The average American is far more interested in looking successful than being successful. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”


We've looked at the description and dangers of pride. Now let's look at,

#3) The Destruction of Pride.

Only one thing can destroy pride in our lives, and that is humility. Humility can push pride out of our hearts. But how do we become humble? We must do at least three things.


A.   Recognize pride in our lives. The problem is that we are all amazingly blind to pride in our own lives. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Arrogant people don't know they have a problem with pride. Because our hearts are so deceitful, we need to pray, Search me, O God, and know my heart.” (Psa 139:23a) To recognize pride in our lives, we must ask God to show us any signs of pride in our lives, and then confess it as sin.

B.   Remember the Source of all our blessings. Everything you and I have comes from God. A man once told me, "I earned everything I have with these two hands, or I am a self-made man." You know what I wanted to ask him? "Where did you get those hands?" Who gave you your mind, your talents, and your abilities? James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

C.   Replace selfishness with service. The best way to eradicate pride is to get involved in serving others. Just hours before his crucifixion Jesus and His disciples observed the Passover which He transformed into what we call today, the Lord's Supper. As Jesus and the disciples were eating the Lord's Supper, Luke 22:24 says, “And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.” Over in the corner of the room, near the door, was an untouched jar of water and an empty wash basin. Hearing the prideful debate among the disciples, Jesus gets up from the meal, wraps a towel around His waist, and pours water into the basin and goes about to demonstrate true servant leadership and true humility.

John 13:4-5 says, “He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.”

Continuing down to verses 12-16, “So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.”

Can you imagine that the Creator of the universe is washing dirty feet? The Son of God is doing for them what they are too prideful to do for Him and one another. The disciples are astonished their Master is serving as a foot washer. I am so glad Jesus didn't have a problem with pride, aren't you? That's why as Philippians 2:8 says, “He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” The ultimate model of humility, which is the opposite of pride, is Jesus Christ. He didn't have to prove anything or impress anyone; therefore, He was free to serve others. Pride is a sign of insecurity, and insecure people can't serve others because they want to be served or be in the spotlight.

The fact is that pride is dangerous and hurts us as we have seen spiritually, relationally, emotionally, and financially. To destroy the worst of all sins, we must recognize pride in our lives, remember the Source of all our blessings, and replace selfishness with service.


Let’s pray.



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