Spiritual Life of the Leader - Lesson 12

The Eight Deadly Sins (Part 4/4)

In the early church passion was seen as something that controlled you and out of control and leading you astray, not a positive motivation. John Cassion described vainglory as passion to take pleasure in our own qualities. The danger is that we take credit for what God is doing. In pursuit of being popular, we often sacrifice who we are at the core. Pride is the original vice from which all others spring. Pride can develop into functioning atheism. The cure for pride is to have the humility of Jesus in our heart. 

Stephen Martyn
Spiritual Life of the Leader
Lesson 12
Watching Now
The Eight Deadly Sins (Part 4/4)

The Eight Deadly Sins (Part 4)

I. Vainglory

A. In the early church, passion was not a positive term

B. Example from John Cassion

C. Narcissism is rampant in our culture

II. Pride

A. Providence

B. Submitting to ecclesiastical authority

III. Spiritual Weapons and Resources

A. Personal Example

B. He fights with thanksgiving and praise

C. Psalm 149

D. 2 Corinthians 6:7

D. How do I change?

E. 1 John 5:4

F. 2 Corinthians 10:3, 5

  • Dr. Martyn has surveyed church leaders around the world to understand their responsibilities and pressures. He aims to use his experience to help them develop a model of ministry that encourages spiritual formation, discipleship, and worship in a healthy way. His class is comprehensive on topics such as spiritual formation, discipleship, leadership principles, and worship. Listening to this class could benefit anyone regardless of whether they have an official leadership position or not.
  • Christian activism is Christians seeking to be involved in the issues and needs of the day and time. Wesleyans in the 1700's in England sought to minister to people that others didn’t care about. To be called by Christ is to be called into the body of Christ. A biblical model is that every member is a full-fledged minister of the gospel without distinction between clergy and laity. 

  • Mysticism can be described as the direct communication of your spirit with the Divine Spirit as taught and illustrated in the New Testament as a fundamental part of Christian belief. Receptivity means that I am open to what the Lord is saying to me through the revelation of his word, the magnificence of his son and the voice of his Spirit which is consistent with the written word. The church was emphasizing what they were doing for God rather than on first listening to what God wants us to be and then acting. Union with our Lord must come before any type of donation or work (kenosis) for our Lord. (Download the complete text of the sermon by clicking on the link on this page or under the Downloads heading on the class page.)

  • Which do you love more, the Lord or the projects you are doing for him? Is your goal to exalt the Lord or build a personal kingdom? Essence of anxiety is whether or not you can trust God. The question to ask when you begin having feelings of self-pity is, “Is you life going to be defined by how you think it ought to go?”  The blame-shame mindset is that you are unhappy because there is something wrong with the people around you. When you experience these red flags in your ministry, you should recognize it as time that it’s possible that the Lord may be prompting you to make a change in your life.The Mary in you must rest at the feet of Jesus if the Martha in you is to do her work.

  • Essence is who the Lord has created you to be. Biblically, essence precedes existence as oppose to Sartre's teaching that man is no more than what he makes of himself. God has given us the capacity of reception, to be able to hear God’s voice and follow it. The spiritual life that God calls you to live is based on what you receive from God, not on what you do for God.

  • How do you determine if your motives are right in your efforts to serve God? The more gifts and talents we have, the more susceptible we are to self-deception regarding our motives. Resist the urge to make pleasing people your primary motivation. You will never please everyone and in the process you lose sight of focusing on pleasing God. When people have expectations of you that don’t match what God has called you to do, there are times when you must, “let Lazarus die.”

  • God wants us to be faithful to the kingdom and his son and fruitful according to his metrics. What’s the goal and what condition do our hearts need to be in to understand the goal? The Mary in us needs to rest at the feet of Jesus in order for the Martha in us to do her work. Think about when you experienced renewal and think about when you were blessed. When you have received God’s blessing, how has that resulted in demonstrating his hand of mercy to someone else? How are your activities balanced?

  • A canal simultaneously pours out what it receives. A reservoir waits till it’s filled then discharges water without loss to itself. Today, there are many in God’s church that act like canals. The reservoirs are far too rare. So urgent is the charity of those through whom heavenly doctrine flows that they want to pour it forth to us before they have been filled. They are more ready to speak than to listen, impatient to teach what they have not grasped, and full of presumption to govern others while they know not how to govern themselves. High mountain lakes have one stream out and water level relatively constant throughout the year. How is the water level staying constant in your life? Depletion results in erosion of presence, and results in just going through the motions. 

  • The Lord desires that we live dispositionally. Important elements include loving God, living devotionally, relational strengthening, vocational serving (listening with the intent of following what I hear). Dallas Willard wrote, “If I am a disciple of Jesus, I am with him to learn from him, how to be like him." The primary calling of a pastor is to follow Jesus, within the calling of leading a church. 

  • The eight deadly sins are in the order that Satan uses to try to get us and in the order in which we need redemption. Gormandize means you are overdoing it and being a slave to flesh. Fornication refers to a wandering heart and seeking to devour others. Avarice is the love of money and sometimes is a fear of not having enough. Anger is a rancorous spirit. The spiritual cancer of depreciation is looking at the vast horizon of God’s goodness in his creation and my life and depreciating it, only seeing what’s wrong. Psalm 51:10-12, create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.

  • When you experience a difficult situation, how do you begin to turn your focus away from the negative and on to what God is doing? How do you respond when you are working closely with people that don't like you? What do you do as a leader when there is a person that is angry with you and disagrees with how you are leading?

  • The sin of acedia is, “I don’t care anymore.” The sin of tristitia is sadness, wrongly processing suffering and loss, allowing the soul to close in on itself and refuse instruction from God. Tristitia is neither a result of other people or of our outward circumstances. Satan wants to get us off the track in stupid presumption or in sinful carelessnenss. God redeems the hurt that evil has done.

  • In the early church passion was seen as something that controlled you and out of control and leading you astray, not a positive motivation. John Cassion described vainglory as passion to take pleasure in our own qualities. The danger is that we take credit for what God is doing. In pursuit of being popular, we often sacrifice who we are at the core. Pride is the original vice from which all others spring. Pride can develop into functioning atheism. The cure for pride is to have the humility of Jesus in our heart. 

  • Is there a sin that's not deadly? To what extent can you worry about something before it becomes a sin? What does it take to overcome gluttony? The minute you make an exception for yourself, you either presume on the grace of God or break a known law of God. Admit what you are feeling and submit it to God to have faith in him in the situation, then do your part.

  • Instead of gluttony, we see temperance. Temperance means living a balanced life. Chaste love is extending love to others, not preying on them. Poverty of spirit rather than greed. Cultivate meekness to deal with anger. You have been forgiven much so you should be willing to forgive others much. Cultivate faith, hope and love to deal with hopelessness. Cultivate humility to deal with vainglory. Evangelism in the first 300 years a result of the quality of the lives of disciples as they lived in a hostile environment. 

  • A transcendent crisis is yearning for the “more than.” “Is life meaningful?” “Is God good?” Can I trust my life to God or have I been abandoned by God? An idolatry crisis happens when you run after a passion rather than pursue God. Each person in your sphere of influence is going through crises in their own lives. God can use a crisis to help something in us die so we can experience and share the light of Christ.

  • To feed the 5,000, the disciples had to rely on Jesus because they didn’t have the resources. Jesus walked out on the water to comfort the disciples with his presence. The disciples thought they were going to die a terrible death. If you choose to think your situation, the church and others are hopeless, it results in ego desperation, or hopelessness. You see what’s wrong, you think you have exhausted your resources and you see no way that it’s going to get fixed. If you allow the crisis to take you into the life of Christ and dependence on him, it will not destroy you. 

  • It's important for us to understand how our relationship with God is affected by being born at a certain period of time and in a certain society. The vital is the physical dimension of the human life. Vitalism is where your physical pleasures become the priority in your life.  Functional is the roles, tasks and responsibilities we take on. It’s a problem when we allow our roles and responsibilities to define us, which is functionalism. Transcendent is the longing for the “more than.” Pneumatic/Ecclesial level is the capacity the Lord has given each of us to hear and respond to the Holy Spirit, God’s voice. When ambition gets separated from the leading of the Spirit, it can become self-promotion. Functional Transcendence is you using the things of God for self-gain.

  • It's important to keep Christ at the center of who you are. Interiority includes memory, intellect, will. Augustine says will is most important.In addition to our personal thoughts, we exist in community with others who are submitting their lives to the will of Christ. The Lord has placed us in a certain place and time and wants you to live a life of obedience in that context every day, not just one day a week. The Father is seeking to form your life into the image of Christ as you were meant to be. Through our experiences, God forms you into a unique person. On the relational side, this results in compassion for others because we love others with the same love we experienced. God gives us confidence that he has given us the gifts and resources we need to live out the calling he has given us. Competence that our ministry will be effective. Our courage comes from trusting in the strength of the Lord. Community, the work of God’s Church is a work done with others. Confirmation comes internally from God and externally from the community of faith. 

  • If you are following Jesus, you have a role as a leader. If a spiritual leader does not understand what their task is according to scripture, then their spiritual life is not going to have the focus the Lord wants them to have.  Worship is a response of the love that has been shown to us. Worship involves our all aspects of us and is enabled by God’s Spirit. We worship God because of who he is. By looking at Jesus, you see who God is.

  • The Church needs you to present what Scripture says, not your own ideas. Worship means to kneel before someone out of respect or honor. We owe it to God as an act of service to sit at his feet and worship him. Spiritual worship is to place our physical bodies at God’s disposal. Are we leading people to worship God, or just providing religious goods and services to them? Solid biblical teaching is important. Structure follows purpose. We are failing to dig down into the revelation of God and let the revelation of God set the compass. If you are not careful, your program sets your agenda.

  • Movements in worship: 1. kneeling in acts of loving worship. Kneeling in submission before God to acknowledge that you are dependent on him. 2. Exalting God by declaring his worthiness 3. Receiving God’s life symbolized by the sacrament of communion. 4. Empowers us and encourages us to go out and serve. We participate in the fellowship and life of the Trinity. We need to immerse ourselves in relationship to God and let that inform and empower what we do so that our worship service is more than creating an experience or transmitting information. Be explicit about your purpose in worship and include prayer.

  • The elders fall before the throne, they worship the Lord and they cast their crowns before him. Falling before the throne represents an acknowledging of God as absolute deity. What is going to happen in the future tells us what we should be doing now. When we fall down before the throne, our heart condition is inward humility and submission to the Lord. Then they raise up and exalt the Lord by proclaiming his worth. Inward love results in proclaiming what is right, good, just and holy. Taking of crowns is an outward expression of placing everything we have under the Lordship of Christ and an inward movement of total abandonment of everything we are to God.

  • The call of Jesus to, “follow me” is the call to redirect everything in our lives. A disciple is one who seeks to fulfill the will of the father by actively following Jesus the Son while continually depending on the Holy Spirit for guidance and strength. Faith is my trust in Jesus as well as the content of the Gospel. Practice is putting it into play. Catechism is the content of the faith, and catechesis is how you express it. Cheap grace is not biblical because it allows for justification without ensuing discipleship. Primary purposes of the church are to proclaim the Gospel, worship and make disciples. In addition to knowing the content, you must live it out. Clergy need to learn how to make and train disciples. Laity must be fully committed full-time ministers of the body of Christ.

  • Movements that are necessary for the church today to fulfill what God is calling them to do. For the clergy, 1. moving from pastor as the primary minister to each believer fulfilling their calling as full-time ministers in their spheres of influence; 2. Moving from preaching only to not only appropriate sermon preparation time but also discipling a core group; 3. Moving from a priority on numbers to staying with a process that results in mature disciples; 4. From solo leadership to team leadership. Discipleship should not be optional. Old Christendom model is breaking down but confusion on who and what we are called to be. “Is my first aim to make disciples, or do I just run an operation?” For the laity, 1. From going to church to being Church; 2. From expecting benefits from Christianity requiring no sustained effort to being intent on being disciples; 3. From being passive observers to full-time ministers. Primary purpose of leader is to equip the people of God to do the work of God.

  • The sermon is a critical part of the discipleship process. The “through” movement is the process of the “from-to” movement. Each of these steps must be contextualized to your situation. We are aiming for maturity in Christ. As a leader, you love the whole but you only disciple the few. Don’t neglect public proclamation but don’t see that as the end of your ministry. Daily pray, read scripture, weekly services, small groups acts of service, fasting, giving. Discipleship is helping people integrate the word of God into their lives.

  • Tozer says we don’t have the right of choosing Jesus as Savior and postponing our obedience. Dispositions are something that’s part of your daily life. Christian disciplines help us to love God and love our neighbor. Encourage people to seek God’s direction for where he wants them to serve. The biblical model is that mature Christians will live as disciplined followers. Make it a goal for pure love to fill your heart and govern your words and actions.

What do you think the priorities should be for a leader in the Church? How do you cultivate your personal spiritual life in a way that keeps you emotionally healthy and helps you avoid choosing sin? What is your measure of success for your church? How does that compare with a biblical measure of success? What is a disciple? What should the process of discipleship look like? What principles can you learn from the way Jesus interacted with his followers that will help you to encourage spiritual formation of the people in your sphere of influence? What are sins that people in leadership have commonly struggled with over the past 2,000 years? How do you recognize them in your own life and what are some practical ways to avoid them or repent and recover from them? What is the essence of worship? How do you live your life so you are worshipping God authentically in everything you do? How do you lead worship in a group setting in a way that encourages others to worship authentically? 

These are a few of the questions that Dr. Martyn poses to begin a conversation regarding the subject of the spiritual life of the leader. As a pastor for more than 20 years, Dr. Martyn asked and answered these questions in the context of loving and serving people personally. As part of his current position of teaching future pastors at Asbury seminary, he and some of his colleagues have conducted extensive surveys of church leaders throughout the North America and the world to get a better understanding of the responsibilities and pressures that church leaders face every day. His goal is to be able to understand biblical principles and use his experience to help leaders develop a model of ministry that helps them develop their personal spiritual life and give them a model to disciple and encourage the people they work with in a way that is healthy and encourages their faith and practice. 

Whether you have an official leadership position or not, you will benefit from listening to this class. It is one of the most comprehensive classes on spiritual formation, discipleship, leadership principles and worship that you will ever hear. If you listen and reflect on each of the lectures from beginning to end, you will be glad you did. 

Dr. Stephen Martyn

Spiritual Life of a Leader


The Eight Deadly Sins (Part 4/4)

Lesson Transcript


[00:00:01] What I'd like to do in this session is just quickly fill out vainglory and pride in that. These were the seventh and eighth deadly sins. And I also must say that I owe these power points to a stellar student of mine who did this as a advanced project. His name is Nathan Weaver. Thank you, Nathan. He's given me permission to use these PowerPoints. I ought to give him full credit for them. Good. In the early church, the word passion Never, never, never was a positive term. Now, let's talk about it today. Today it's an okay term. I mean, when someone says I'm really passionate about doing something, we know what they're saying and we're good with that. It's absolutely fine. Means they're really committed to it. They love doing it. It has good, positive connotations. But with the early understanding of the word passion, passion is something. It's like a ring in your nose with a big chain on it and somebody just clamps it there and just is yanking you. It's something that's controlling you. It's something that's out of control and it's something that is it's something that's leading you astray. So it just helps to understand some of the language, particularly the language that John Cashin, who articulated all of these things. So Vainglory, Cashin said, is passion to take pleasure in our own qualities, whether real or imagined, a passion to take pleasure in our own qualities. You know, this is like the some of the people that I've known who really, really felt called to music ministry. However, it was obvious they did not have the gifts and the graces to do music ministry. And so there was a little bit of self-delusion in all of that. And that's some of what what Cashion is, is is bringing up here.


[00:02:37] So vainglory is that in order to get the word in order, it means it's just over the top. It's, it's it's out of control. It's it's it's looking back when something went really well. But it goes out of control at that point in that you begin to take credit for credit for it. Now, why is this dangerous for people in ministry? Because, you know, we want the I mean, we're asking the Lord to bless. We're asking the Lord to lead us. We are very much interested in God's name, receiving praise in people's lives being transformed. Those are good things and those are right things. So when things do go well and when people bless us and and and when the name of the Lord is is is lifted up, we want to give thanks for that. But the danger is the danger is that we will start drinking it. You know, we'll start we will start focusing more on what we've done to pull this off on how we have made this happen. And we'll take some joy in it. Some in ordinance, pride in it. You'll see it. I've I mean, you'll see this happen when when you put people forward, for instance, and get them in a good position. And you you know that you know that you had a hand in helping them get to that place in their life and or even to land in that ministry position. And then you start talking in terms of, Wow, that was my person. I got her there, you know. Well, you've just slipped into vainglory. You know, of course, the Lord used him maybe in a small way, perhaps in a much smaller way than you thought. But any thought that you are the prime mover, that's where it's that's where it starts to get into vainglory.


[00:05:07] Now, I think John Cassian had a wonderful, wonderful, balanced attitude here in that he he said, look, you can receive compliments. That's okay. You can receive them. He said, but but he said, you've got to really pray in a specific way so that you don't take the credit for the good that went that transpired. He gave a funny illustration. He told this story, was told about a young man trying to figure out all of this in his mentor said, listen, I want you to go to the graveyard and I want you to stand on the wall of the graveyard and I want you to abuse all of the dead with language, in other words. And so the young man thought was really strange. But anyway, he goes to the graveyard and he abuses verbally abuses the dead. Then the young man comes back to his mentor, and the mentor says, All right, now tell me, how did the dead respond? He said, I want you to remember this said, When you are abused, when you are when when you're taken advantage of or when people speak ill of you, I want you to remember what the dad did. And this is how ought to pray. I want you to praise Psalm seven, the verse verse one, Psalm 70, verse one. Here's how Psalm 70 verse one goes, depending on your translation. But anyway, Psalm 70, verse one Be pleased to God to deliver me. Oh, Lord, make haste to help me. So when you are abused, when people abuse you verbally, you lift up the prayer. Be pleased to God to deliver me. In other words, deliver me from any kind of anger, from any kind of retribution, from any kind of warning to get even be pleased to God to deliver me.


[00:07:36] Oh, Lord may case to help me, help me to keep my focus on you and not get derailed by this. Help me to be like the people in the cemetery because my focus is going to stay on you. Now here's where the vainglory comes in. In like manner, Cashin said. Now, in like, manner, I want you to go to the to the graveyard. I want to stand on the wall. And I want you to praise the dead. So a young man goes to the cemetery, stands on the wall, speaks all sorts of glorious accolades about the dead, comes back to the old man, The old man said. And how did they respond? And the young man said, Well, they didn't say a whole lot. And the old man said, Now, here's how you do pray. And here's how I want you to think when you are praised, when you are thanked. And, you know, I'm translating here. But but Carson said, look, receive the compliments. But immediately lifted up to the Lord in an act of prayer, in an act of Thanksgiving, in praise. And so pray the prayer, be pleased to God to deliver me. What are you asking to be delivered from vain glory. You receive the compliment. You're blessed by the compliment. You give thanks to God for for the compliment. But you also at the same time praying, both in trying in harsh times and in good and stable times. Be pleased to God to deliver me, you know, deliver me from any sense of thinking that I pulled this off because of my natural goodness, know it was Christ at work in me who allowed that. Be pleased to God to deliver me what from vainglory. Oh, Lord, make haste to help me, to help me keep my focus on you and on your love.


[00:09:44] So vainglory is a dangerous, dangerous thing for anybody. It's especially a dangerous thing for those who highly succeed in ministry, because you can get back from it and you can start talking using pronouns. In other words, you can start talking in language that belies or opens up the true place of your heart. You can start talking about my ministry. My influence that did all of this. You can start talking about my buildings. And really one of the greatest issues we we do and I have been totally guilty of it. We start talking about my church. Dear friends, Lord, have mercy. It's not your church. You're not the head of the church. You're only a representative figure. You're only under Shepherd. Under the great shepherd. The church belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the head of the church. It's his body. It is his bride. I merely have the privilege of assisting him with being a co laborer with Christ in all of this. So vainglory is a touchy deal. That's why we're praying, we're praying scripture, praying scripts, you know, deliver me, Lord, from any sense of holding on to these things as if I am the originator of what transpired here. Yes. The Lord used you. Yes, the Lord worked through you. Yes, the Lord bless you. Yes, you're doing great things for His kingdom. But we're keeping it really, really straight without you. Oh, Lord, nothing would unfold. Nothing would be done. This is. This is nuts. Because what happens then? If I lapse into vainglory, then it starts becoming my kingdom come, my will be done. You know, my glory be. Now this is my work. And then remember the words I put up here Severe mercy. God will love us with a severe mercy When when we lapse into that type of thinking.


[00:12:30] Now what does it look like today? Narcissism is rampant in this culture at this point in you know, I wish I had a selfie stick for those of you who may be in parts of the world where you don't know what I'm talking about. Selfie stick is a long stick and you put your cell phone on the end of it. You point it back towards yourself so you can start taking pictures of yourself. I mean, does that not wrap it all up? One of my grandchildren came home one day holding her selfie stick with her little cell phone. And there we go. This is this day and age. Goodness, narcissism in our contemporary culture. You know, once again, you are what you make of yourself and it's all blown up. Social media's followers likes. I mean, this is nuts to have sermons and messages out there. And you've got 486 likes and, you know, however many this light, Lord, save us from this this thing about being persuasive and having massive crowds. That's not what we're and that's not what we're called to do. Though the Lord may use us to have crowds that are unimaginable, that's his business. But that's not the point. That's not the point. So when we place value in these things, we bow ourselves down to the idol called idolatry of what? Vanity in pursuit of being popular or interesting, we often sacrifice who we are at the core. Here's Carson's cure for vainglory. Admit it in face it squarely. Instead of trying to keep it hidden by vain efforts to eradicate it when those efforts are themselves prompted by vanity. Look, this is this is both the make person and the transparent person. This is why the woman, the God, the man of God is this is why we are called to be in community in such a relationship that we are allowing others in the body to speak into us.


[00:14:59] So for Pastor seriousness, I mean, you can't do this with everyone, but you can have a group of people who will coach you, who will love you, who will speak this type of word into you, who will bless you, who will be a blessing to you. You know, we're called the Find the Deep Cause is the roots of vanity. And sometimes in this solitude is a help. Because you know how when you get caught up in a me centered, egotistic, vain, glory, narcissistic life, then you always got to be reaching out. You always got to be connecting. You always got to be calling. You've always got to have other people affirming you doing like in their in your life, in with your media posts. Sometimes you withdraw for the sake of being with Christ and weaning yourself from this culture that will literally choke the life out of us. Whatever we do, we don't do anything for praise alone. And how do you how do you know you're doing this when you stick out or when you try to stick out and say, Hey, notice me, Look what I've done here. When you're highlighting yourself, look, here's the word for Christian leadership. You let others do any kind of highlighting, but don't do it yourself. You don't have to push yourself. Be humble. Be humble. Let your own work speak for themselves. What the Lord has done through you speak for itself. You don't have to promote it. You don't have to be in that kind of business. God will do it for you. Meditate on the fact that anything done for the praise of people results in loss of rewards before God. Boy, is that a whole nother one hour session that we're not going to have time to go for.


[00:17:11] But yeah, I want my rewards there. Not now. This is right out of the mouth of Jesus, you know. I want I want his acclaim and I don't have to try and push myself on others to get that. Now. Pride. The fight against pride is the supreme struggle, John Casson wrote in his text Institute's. The last and most difficult of all, because pride is the original virus from which all others sprang, he wrote on page 194. Pride is what got Satan. And ultimately, that's what Satan is going to try and get us with. So here you see the quote from C.S. Lewis Arrow. Any time I see a C.S. Lewis, my, you know, like asleep, my heart strangely warm. I love C.S. Lewis, in his words. Through pride, the devil became the devil. Pride leads to every vice. It's the complete anti-God state of mind seeing vain glory. You start taking credit for yourself and you start pointing toward yourself. But in pride, you just totally cut God out. And you live in an isolated, insulated world where you are both the subject and the object of the sentence. There is no place for God. And what's frightening is the functional atheism that really continues to be in God's church where people may come for religious goods and services. But in terms of literally being disciples who place all things before the Lordship of Christ, that's not even in them, in the thoughts, you know, of of so many people in the church today. Okay. James. But he gives all the more grace. Therefore it says God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves, therefore to God, Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Let it be one little words shall fail him.


[00:19:43] Martin Luther. Let it be. Let it be so. Pride is the belief that we can be successful through hard work on our own. You just pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. You work hard enough. Long enough, it will come. Oh, there's a movie which I did not see and have no intention of seeing about bodybuilders. One of my close friends is a bodybuilder. But anyway, there's a line in the in the movie about, you know, having this Mr. Atlas kind of muscle man of the world look or muscle woman of the word world. Look, if you think you deserve it, the universe will serve it. If you think you deserve it, the universe will serve it well. Okay. We'd say, you know, there's really a better way. It is the belief that we can manufacture happiness and prosperity without any credit given to God's providence. What is providence? This is Providence is one of the great theological issues that brings immense joy to our lives. Providence is simply saying, Hey, who's ultimately in control of history? Who's ultimately in control of your history? Who's sovereign? You know, I do like that side of reformed theology. I'm okay there. Who's sovereign in all of this? I love that God alone God alone is sovereign. And he's working his will out in human history, working it toward glorious conclusion. In the peruse here, you know, it's the placement of oneself into the into the part of the heart that only God can feel. You see, what I'm saying is it's saying I'm going to fill up that part. I'm going to be this. This is idolatry. I'm going to be the measure of my life. I'm going to set the standards of my life. That's an art Autarky view of of living autarky just simply means self-rule.


[00:22:11] And it's also an autonomous view of of rule of life. Autonomous simply means self complete. I am self complete. I don't need God and I am autarky. I will live the way I want to live. I will set the rules. Well, just turn on the news tonight. Go pick up any magazine. Popular magazine. Go look on popular social media sites. There you go. You're going to see very definitions of pride. The issue for us is not to put on our fingers it the society. We expect them not to get it right. The issue for us is where is this? Where is this getting root in my own life? That's that's what. And in and potentially even in the life of the local congregation I'm serving. I mean, you can have prideful congregations, too. Very, very quickly. Very quickly. The cure for pride is to have the humility of Jesus in our hearts. Purity of heart is a gift of God and not the rewards of our own efforts alone. This impurity of heart comes through sheer gift of grace. Sanctification is a gift. It's here by You think you earn this? Heavens, no. God graciously gives fruit to our lives. Who, in zealous effort, show that we try to correspond with grace? Grace is what brings the fruits. Now, am I called to cooperate with God? Yeah. My will is called to be in submission to the Lord. And if the Lord Jesus asks me to pray and says, Now when you go into your closet, then I want to be obedient to that. We'll go over some of these things later. But what are we already have gone over the means of grace. I mean, whatever he says for us to do, I heavens this.


[00:24:24] We cooperate with this. We say yes to this. We give him our will. We do our part. You know, God's not against us working hard. He but he is against us thinking that we're making it all happen. So there's also a very good, solid sense of submitting to legitimate ecclesiastical authority. In other words, if God has placed really solid leaders in our lives. Listen, that's a biblical call. I didn't make that call for those who are in authority over me. I, for instance, I'm a man under authority. And and when the elders who are over me in the institution where I work, I have I have two elders over me. Both of them are elders in the church. And if one of them tells me to do something, then I'm under authority by God to do that. You know, that's just how it is, and I'm okay with that. I'm so blessed that both of the elders over me in the institution where I work are godly men. Both of my dean is a man of God. My president is a man of God, for that matter. I actually have three elders over me. My. Provost is a man of God. So all three. I love these people. There's always safety in submission. There's a lot of danger, a lot of danger in self-will. Now, are there times when I should not put myself in submission and under others, you know? Oh, yeah. I don't submit to any process that asks me to break a known law of God. A man and a man. That's it. I do not submit to any process, nor to any person who asks me to break a known law of God. We don't even quibble about such things like that.


[00:26:35] So Merton wrote, Pride makes this artificial, puffed up, fecund, you know, plastic. But humility, Merton wrote, makes us real. I love that. So we give thanks for the goodness of God in our lives. And as we look now and look back on all of these deadly sins that that we have covered and and think about all these deadly sins, gluttony, fornication, avarice, anger, sadness. Acedia. Vainglory, pride. We want to take up spiritual weapons and spiritual resources. Let me give you a very real life illustration that took place for my wife and I a number of years ago. I've already mentioned that our youngest child. Join the Special Forces in the United States and went off to war. And we knew he was in war. We knew that he was in imminent danger. 24 seven. It wasn't long in this war where he was where he was with this little group of four men of special forces. They walked out of a building and just as he walked out of the building, the building vaporized from an Iranian Katyusha rocket that came his pulverized the whole the whole building. It wasn't it wasn't long after that that our son's best friend and partner in the military was killed in a mission where our son, he was killed right by our son's side. He came home in a box, as did a whole lot of people come home in a box. Now, it was at that point it was at that point that I realized I really, really had an inadequate prayer life. I mean, I just looked up at God. I said, God, but I'm not cutting it. You know, I know it's not about me, but, Lord, I'm just asking you to help me and to help my wife.


[00:29:30] I mean, we had everybody that we knew in Christendom worldwide praying for this kid, everybody. And I'd send out prayer letters and I was supported. We were supported in amazing ways. I had my son's picture up on my office door at Asbury Theological Seminary, and I had colleagues there who helped carry us in prayer, in prevailing prayer. But I said, God, how do you pray in a situation like this? How do you take up the weapons of righteousness? And through sheer grace, the Lord led me to Second Chronicles 20. I don't know if I just opened it. I don't know how I got there. I don't remember how I got there. But. But this was the time when the Moa bites and the ammonites and the flea bites. No, that's not it. There were a lot of bites in that day and time that they were all coming against Israel. Listen, that part of the world has kind of been in conflict since the beginning. You know, it's nothing new under the sun. So here my own is over in that part of the world, fighting people, shooting at him on a daily basis. So a great crowd is coming against the Israelites. An old, fat, fat Hosea Fat was the king in the host affair. And in verse three, it says He was afraid. And what did he do? He set himself to seek the Lord. Now, there would have been postures in that. You know, there's there's there's like falling down on your face time before God to seek God. So he set himself before the Lord to seek the Lord and proclaim to fast throughout all Judah to to assemble, to seek help from the Lord, from the towns of Judah. They came to seek the Lord.


[00:31:38] So he's bringing the body, you know, He's bringing the people of God together to ask for help in and to host the fair. Praise. You know, he he stands before the Assembly of Judah in Jerusalem, verse five, in the House of the Lord, and he says, Oh, Lord God of God of our ancestors, Are you not God in heaven? This is a a desperation, I guarantee you do. Do do you not rule over all the kingdoms of the nation? And it's okay, sometimes, I think, to remind God of his omnipotent powers. Do I hear a name in me? We do need do. That's does, of course, is for our sake, not for his. He doesn't need to be reminded of anything in your power or in your hand or power in mind so that no one is able to withstand you. Did you not? Oh, God. Drive out the inhabitants of this land before us. They have lived in it. And they've built a sanctuary for your name. You know the people of God here. If disaster comes upon us, the sword judgment or pestilence or famine, we will stand before this house. Know my house is a house of prayer. And he's going to the house of God. And he's praying in the house of God for your name is in this house and cry to you in our distress and you will hear and save. So this man is extending himself in faith. Now, keep in mind, faith is an absolute trust in the divine goodness and divine providence of God. He's extending himself and he's praying. And he concludes this prayer, verse 12 Oh God, will you not execute judgment upon him? For we are powerless against this great multitude that is coming against us.


[00:33:30] We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. This is like psalms of a sin. You know, the hand, the maiden is the handmaiden as it looks to her maid. You know, the servant looks to the master. Our eyes are upon you. So meanwhile, all Jesus, Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, their wives, their children, in the spirit of the Lord came upon the hazel. And the son of Zacharias sent a benign son to heal. You can please remember, West Texans can't pronounce Hebrew words in Son of Solon. In all of that, he said, Listen all to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat thus says the Lord to you. Now, here's what the prophet, the man of God, said. Here's what the man of God said. Do not fear or be dismayed at this great battle. Do you remember these words? You remember why? For the battle is not yours. But God's See, what he is doing is saying, Hey, there's resources that you can't even imagine here tomorrow. Go down against them and they will come against you. Don't worry about it. This battle is not for you to fight. Take your position. Stand for it. Paul Tillis, stand. Stay and stay and take your position. Stand. Do not fear. Be dismayed tomorrow. Go out against them and the Lord will be with you. Listen, if God is with you, there is nothing to fear. So the Fed bowed down on his down, bowed down with his face to the ground at all, to time. The inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord worshiping the Lord primary understanding of worship, both Old Testament in New Testament and the Levites and the Courtyards and the core.


[00:35:33] I stood up to praise the Lord. This is the choir man. They're standing up praising God, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice. They arose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness and they went out to house the fair steward and said, Listen to me. Oh, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, believe in the Lord your God and you will be established. Believe the prophets. When he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord. What does he do? He appoints people who are going to give Thanksgiving in praise. That's what he does. Here's how he's fighting. He's fighting with Thanksgiving in praise. It's a vocal act of worship. This is action. This is bodily language. It's it's it's got content and it's got an object. I mean, we're praise that we're thanking and praising God. So he appoints the people who were to sing to the Lord. And what does he do? As they went before the Army. Other words, he puts the choir out front. Who in the world puts the choir out front? He puts the people the puts the people of praise OUTFRONT in. Right then I knew the Lord had given me how I was to pray for my children, particularly my son, who was in trouble. But this would be for any child. I mean, what mother? What father doesn't carry a child in their hearts until the day they die. And so I and my wife and I picked up this, picked up this verse. And here you're coming to the to one of the great, you know, I think to the heart, part of the heart, at least of the Old Testament. So here it is.


[00:37:31] Here's what they were to sing. Give thanks to the Lord for his steadfast love endures forever. And you'll see this throughout the song, like Psalm 130 610, give thanks to the Lord for he is good for His steadfast love endures forever. So they're extending their sales in Thanksgiving to God for how he's going to work. I'll give thanks to the Lord. Then they're declaring the nature of God, for He is good, thoroughly good. And then they're declaring and singing about how the Lord works with us. So give thanks to the Lord for He is good. This is how he works with us. For his steadfast love endures forever. And we just we can't be ripped out of that steadfast love. That's not going to take that's not going to happen. He's saying he's encapsulating us in his steadfast love. Does that not? Does that mean you're going to be devoid of pain? Oh, my heavens. Get real here. Was Paul devoid of pain? No. There's a measure of suffering for the body of Christ. This list stay biblically grounded here. There will be some suffering. But what he's saying here is this is it. You're not going to be taken away from. From the love of Christ or ripped out of that steadfast love. This is huge. This is an immense word. Well, the battle was the Lord's that day. And we give great thanks for those who sing his praise. And here's where. Here's where I want you to go now to go to Psalm 149. You've been given the song of battle who give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for a steadfast love endures forever. Now go to Psalm 149. We're going to sing it in a different version here.


[00:39:35] Praise the Lord, sing to the Lord. And this song is praise in the Assembly of the Faithful. Let Israel at the people of God, Be glad in its maker. Let the children of Zion rejoice in their king. Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre, for the Lord takes pleasure in his people. He adorns the humble with victory. Just keep in mind, you know, I've heard preachers talk about how the Lord took pleasure in their lives. This is extraordinary. Unbelievable things happen to them. They kind of rip it away from the humble side of it, you know? Yeah, we want to keep the humble. Listen, the Lord loves to keep us humble. So that's just part of it. Let the faithful exalt jump up in glory, let them sing for joy on their couches. Verse six Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two edged swords in their hands. What is the sword? What's the one offensive weapon we're given? What is it? It's the word that's the offensive weapon. It's the word of God to execute vengeance on the nation, in punishment, on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles, with chains of irons to execute on them. The judgment decreed This is the glory for all his faithful ones. Praise the Lord. In whatever battle we're fighting, whether we're fighting a battle against the eight deadly sins. Also, there's all sorts of other deadly sins listed in scripture. Just go to the Sermon on the Mount. Follow through all of the Sermon on the Mount and get it. Get all of that clear. You know, look, look at the whole of the gospels. Look at the letters there. There's others.


[00:41:39] These are these are the eight we've pointed out are simply overviews. Whether we're fighting against the deadly sins, whether we're fighting against principalities rulers and principalities that are trying to work themselves into institutions, perhaps even into the congregations that you lead where there's an evil influence has gotten to you, whether we're having to stand against persecution. And I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that there are people listening to this in parts of the world where their lives are in danger for calling upon the name of Christ. I have students this very day from places like Northern Nigeria. I have students from other parts of Africa, from the Sudan, have Middle Eastern students listen to call upon the name of Christ is to place your life in danger. So whatever we're dealing with, if we're dealing with personal injuries where others have injured us, or if we're dealing with just simply the result of the fall where some disease has come upon me, we all take up the weapons of righteousness for this and we want to walk in the way that the Lord has asked us to walk. The Anglicans have these prayers that they have. For every Psalm. There's a prayer that kind of summarizes the Psalm part of the Anglican summary for Psalm 149 is this Give us hearts to praise you all our days and wills to reject the world's deceits that we may bind the evils of our age and proclaim the good news of salvation. Now, by that, bless that we may bind the evils of our age and proclaim the good news of salvation. What did Paul write in Second Corinthians six seven? This is what he writes. You know, it's it's the weapons of righteousness. For the left hand in the right hand was probably talking about a sword in the right hand.


[00:44:04] Probably talking about a shield in the left hand. He could have been talking about a smaller weapon in the left hand. But either way, you know, we're taking up the word of God and we're allowing the shield of the faith to keep us firm and steady. We're quenching the darts of the ill will. The Lord is quitting the darts of the evil, and we're standing fast. Now, think about first, John. Five, four. And this is the victory that conquers the world. Are you ready? You all know what the victory is, John says. Conquers the world. First, John. Five four. It's our faith, steadfast assurance and the love, the care, the power, the providential goodness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Then think about what Paul said. We do not wage war in second Corinthians ten, verses three and five. We do not wage war according to human standards. In other words, you know, we don't take up an evil response for someone who's done evil for us. No, we don't wage war according to human standards for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments in every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ. We're out of the valley of the eight deadly sins. We're triumphant in Christ and we proclaim with Sure, sure. We are over commerce in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, because of his efficacy in our lives. Listen, there's nothing but good news here. There's never there's never a reason that sense should overpower us unless we allow it. Never a reason. There's always, always substantial love and grace to carry us through every season that we have to go through.


[00:46:36] Blessed be the name of the Lord who's faithful to his people. Amen. Hey, man.