Prepare for Worship: Notes for services on February 15, 2015

Seven | From Pride to Humility

Corey Widmer on Proverbs 16:18 & Philippians 2:1-11

For meditation:

The list of the seven deadly sins begins with pride, often considered the root of all other sins. Perhaps the oldest form of evil within us, it is the earliest temptation that humanity ever faced: "You will be like God" (Genesis 3:5). At root, pride is an unwillingness to accept one's place as a limited, surrendered creature, and a misdirected love that should be oriented towards God but is instead oriented towards the self.  Pride is so insidious and pervasive because it is with us all the time, especially among those of us who are "good." Pride lurks even when we are obeying the commands of God and doing acts of love and justice and mercy. Pride is also difficult to eradicate because it is so often encouraged in the culture in which we live.  The only way to freedom from pride is through Jesus, who, as related in Luke 4, resisted the temptation that destroyed us by refusing the way of greatness and choosing the way of humiliation and suffering, instead. Escape from pride comes from returning again and again to our personal emptiness, admitting that we have nothing and need everything from the God who loves us.

The struggle with evil must begin with one’s soul.
— Martin Buber

Superbia (Pride), detail from the Table of the Mortal Sins and the Four Last Things by Hieronymus Bosch.

Our image for the week is Bosch's depiction of Pride (Superbia in Latin), which shows a fashionable woman looking at her own reflection in a mirror, which is held by a demon.  Around the room are traditional images that allude to the deceptive and passing nature of beauty and wealth, such as a casket of jewels and a vase of flowers.  Significantly, an apple sits on the window, alluding to the original instance of pride in the Garden of Eden. 

To see and read more about the entire Table from which this detail comes, click HERE.

Proverbs 16:18  

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before the fall.

Philippians 2:1-11

1So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2complete my joy by being  of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3Do nothing from  rivalry or  conceit, but in  humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4Let each of you  look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,  6 who, though he was in  the form of God, did not count equality with God  a thing to be grasped, 7but  made himself nothing, taking the form of a  servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

About the Series

“Seven | Finding Freedom from the Darkness Within” is a Lenten sermon series on Pride, Envy, Anger, Sloth, Greed, Gluttony and Lust, known for nearly 1500 year as “the Seven Deadly Sins.” A couple of factors make this traditional accounting of sins “deadly.” One is that our society has tended to glamorize these sins and even made them into virtues; another is how unspectacular they are. These are incredibly ordinary, pervasive propensities that are so rooted in our nature that we tend to not even notice them. Or if we do, we may rationalize them, such as calling greed “healthy ambition” or gluttony “a deserved reward.” These sins are the roots of so many other distortions that prevent us from living as the people Jesus died to make us become.  In focusing on these sins during the season of Lent, we are inviting Jesus to do some surgery on our souls, asking him—together—what darkness may be hiding in our hearts that we may be ignoring or rationalizing, and opening ourselves up to his transforming love.

For a full description of the series, including week to week schedules, click HERE.

The study guide will be available after the services on Sunday on the Sermon Audio page.  Click  HERE  or the image to go there now. 

The study guide will be available after the services on Sunday on the Sermon Audio page.  Click HERE or the image to go there now. 

Welcome, Alex and Allison! 

Our worship leaders for the 9:00 AM service this week are Alex Mejias and Alison Hurst. Alex has led worship at Third many times in the past, and Allison is a frequent worship leader at East End Fellowship. Please welcome them to our community!