There’s no recording of the sermon this week as Lawson Rd had its annual Fall Fellowship in a park. But I presented the same material in the park that I shared on Friday at the Camp Hunt Men’s Retreat. (The recording is available HERE, along with the other speakers.)
The subject I was allocated for the Men’s Retreat revolved around the idea that Christians are called to be humble. Both 1 Cor. 1:26 and James 2:5 remind us that the world doesn’t think we’re better, smarter, or stronger because of faith in Christ. In fact, they regard us as foolish, lowly, and poor. While these passages also reassure the church that at the end of the day our faith will be vindicated, they also dismiss any suggestion that the ultimate vindication is any excuse for pride or arrogance in the present.
Many people outside the church seem to regard Christians as having a “holier-than-thou” attitude to them. Since this impression is so widespread, I expect it’s rooted in reality. Churches, and therefore by definition individual Christians, can easily fall into the trap of looking down our noses at people who are not as “enlightened” as us. We can even think less of other Christians who interpret Scripture differently or choose to express their faith in a different manner than we do.
Paul asked the Corinthian church to “remember what you were when you were called.” I wonder if we forget that too quickly. Or do we sometimes exaggerate our “goodness” before we accepted God’s grace? Do we expect people to clean themselves up before they show up at church?
Ephesians 2:1-10 also discusses this phenomena of Christians forgetting their total dependence upon God’s grace. Throughout this passage God acts to save people. God initiates and we accept his gift of salvation. Verses 8-9 provide a succinct summary, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Even here Paul warns of the dangers of pride, and the need for humility. It’s easy for us to take credit for our own salvation.
God does want us to boast, but not in our our abilities. “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:26; Jer 9:23-4) How would our churches be different if we did more “boasting in the Lord”, and less in our knowledge and behaviour? I’m also interested to hear how others think churches/Christians communicate pride? What would a humble church look like?