Learning From The Kings, Pt. 2 (Uzziah): Pride and Position

Scripture: Revelation 1:5-6, 2 Chronicles 26:1-23
Date: 09/04/1999 
This is the second part in a continued study called "Learning from the Kings." Pride is the number one sin and we see in the lives of the kings of Israel how this leads to a downward spiral. Since we become royalty when we become adopted into God's family we can learn from the kings. This sermon looks at King Uzziah.
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[Music] coming to you from the capital city of California, Amazing Facts presents, "the everlasting gospel." We're gathered with God's family of faith at the Sacramento central church. Together, we will explore the Bible with teacher, author, evangelist, pastor, Doug Batchelor. In the atmosphere of heart-felt prayer to our Savior and lord, moved by songs of love and praise for God and his amazing grace and inspired by the dedication and personal witness of our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. We will study the timeless everlasting truths of God's Word. From messages which inspire us with the hope and freedom we have in Christ to practical down-to-earth sermons which give us the tools to live Godly lives in a secular society as well as messages that give Bible answers to our spiritual questions and look at what God says about the future.

There is sure to be something for everyone. So we invite you to join our family and experience the transforming power of God's Spirit in your life. Will you please stand for Scripture reading? Micah 6:6-8. "With what shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, ,000 rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, o man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" May you please bow your head for a prayer? Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the Sabbath day. Will you please fill Pastor Doug with your Holy Spirit as he preaches your holy word today.

In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen. I'd like to welcome everybody. We're continuing, this morning, a study we began last week dealing with learning from the Kings. Much of the Bible, old and new testament, deals with lessons that can be drawn from the experience of a whole variety of monarchs.

Last week, we were learning the lesson about backsliding from some of the Kings. Our message today is gonna be dealing with pride and position. Pride and position. Next week, we'll continue the series; be talking about pride and possessions. This week pride and position, next week pride and possessions.

There's so much in the Bible about this that it's gonna take at least two messages to talk about the corrupting influence of pride. Now, why is this such an important issue for us to understand? It's the number one sin. It's the sin that led to lucifer's rebellion. It's the sin that makes laodicea feel its complacency and no need of God. Now, pride is a deadly poison and we can see what happened in the lives of the Kings.

We learn from king Saul that while he was humble in his own eyes, God blessed him. He prospered. When he became self-sufficient and proud, that was the beginning of his downward spiral. David, on the other hand, was a man after God's own heart because in spite of his success, he never lost his sense of humility. Kings tend to be proud.

Matter of fact, I was gonna share a list of oxymorons with you. I've got a growing list of oxymorons and one of them is "humble king." That just doesn't seem to go together, does it? A humble king. Typically, you think of a proud monarch, and we don't usually rebuke a monarch for being proud. We think they've got the right, but not in God's kingdom. Now why is this important to us? Why are we studying the lives of the Kings? Revelation 1:5-6.

Revelation 1:5-6. "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead and the prince of the Kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood and hath made us Kings and priests." The Bible says, we are a royal, kingly priesthood. We are Kings and priests. The counsel that you read in Proverbs is the counsel of a king to his son who becomes a king.

And that's why it's applicable for you and me is because we become royalty when we're adopted into God's family. Amen? So can you see it's appropriate for to us need to learn from the Kings because you're to be a king? And the same way the Kings fell back there then, we can be inclined to fall. Well, our study this morning is going to focus on a couple of different monarchs, prophets, priests and Kings. We're gonna begin with king uzzah, or uzziah; turn with me to 2 Chronicles verse 1, chapter 26. Chronicles, that's after 1 Chronicles, 26:1.

Now I'm gonna read a little record here. I want you to get the background because I think that's important. "Now all of the people took uzziah, who was 16 years old, and made him king instead of his father and amaziah. And he built eloth and restored it to judah after the King rested with his fathers. Uzziah was 16 years old when he became king and he reigned years in Jerusalem.

His mother's name was jecoliah of Jerusalem." Now there's only one king who reigned longer than king uzziah. We studied him last week. What was his name? Manasseh reigned 55 years. The second longest reigning king was uzziah. "And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord according to all that his father amaziah had done.

He sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God. And as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper." Do you underline? I'd like to remind those of you that underline, there are good places to underline. There are promises you can claim. There are principles that still apply today. Here's one for you, "as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.

" Anyone here want to prosper? Are you embarrassed to say you want to prosper? Is it wrong for a Christian to want to prosper? No, it's okay. What's supposed to be in stereo with your prospering? Seeking God. It says, "he had understanding in the visions of God." Meaning that during the time of a priest who is expounding the Word of God, he prospered. That also was the case with another king josiah. As long as jehoiada the priest was there to guide him with the Word of God, he prospered.

When jehoiada died, he went bad. "As long as you seek the Lord, you will prosper. You will search for me and you'll find me when you search for me with all your heart. Now he went out and he made war against the philistines and broke down the wall of gath." That was one of the capital cities. "And the wall of jabneh and the wall of ashdod and he built cities around ashdod and among the philistines.

" He's expanding his borders here. "And God helped him against the philistines, his enemies, and against the arabians who lived in gurbaal and against the menhuites. Also the ammonites brought tribute to uzziah. And his fame spread as far as the entrance of Egypt, for he strengthened himself exceedingly." It would have been nice to live during the time of the reign of king uzziah. He was a Godly king.

He was innovative. He was building. He was expanding the Kingdom. He was respected and it would have been a good time to be living as an Israelite then. God blessed him exceedingly.

"And uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the corner gate and the valley gate and the corner buttress of the wall. And he fortified them. He also built towers in the desert. He dug many wells: for which he had much livestock both in the lowlands and in the plains and he also had farmers and vinedressers on the mountains, and in Carmel. For he loved the soil.

" He was a man that he liked to build. He liked to farm. He had many interests. He was a brilliant man. "Moreover, uzziah had an army of fighting men who went out to war by companies.

" They used to raid their enemies' borders. "According to the number of their role has prepared by jeiel, the scribe, maaseiah, the officer under the hand of hananiah, one of the Kings captains. The total number of the chiefs officers of the mighty men of valor was 2,600. And under their hand was an army of 307,500 that made war with mighty power to help the King against the enemy. Then uzziah prepared for them, for the entire army, shields, spears, helmets, body armor, bows and slings to cast stones.

He made devices in Jerusalem and invented by skillful men, to be on the towers and on the corners to shoot arrows and large stones." You've heard about these catapults and war machines? Uzziah was one of the first, back then, who began to use this kind of ingenuity in battle. He was a farmer and dug wells and had cattle and a warrior and just a very fascinating man. Started out a king and he succeeded on every hand. "And his fame spread far and wide for he was marvelously helped till he became strong." The story changes at this point. Strong, rich, famous, successful.

He had a name, fame. Verse 16, that terrible word "but, but." You know, I watch for that. Sometimes I'll make a gospel presentation. Someone says, "you know, everything you're saying sounds really good and I'm inclined to accept Jesus...but." I heard someone say one time, "that's what separates the sheep from the goats in that parable in Matthew 25." The sheep follow the shepherd and goats butt the shepherd. And a lot of people would be willing to do the Lord, but they got all these excuses.

Well, the story changed. "But when he was strong--" another word there is when he became powerful. Ever heard that adage? Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. "Lucifer was the most powerful of the angels, but when he became strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction." Oh, how sad. "When he became strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar.

" Evidently, uzziah, you know, after Zechariah died he thought, "boy, I sure miss him. But, you know, if could do it, I could do it. God's obviously with me and after all, I'm king. I may not be a priest. I may not be a levite, but I am king and that makes me top dog.

" And he went Marching off into the temple. He took the golden incense censer in his hand and put some incense and coal in there and went to make it presented before the Lord. And the priests saw what he was doing and it was very proud and presumptuous for him to think that he could usurp the authority that belonged to those who had been chosen by God. God calls different people to different positions. He was not a priest.

When David needed something from the priest, he waited on the priest to fetch it. He did not go take it. One of the reasons Saul lost the Kingdom is because Samuel, who was a priest, said, "wait for me to come and make sacrifice." Saul got impatient. He said, "oh, a sacrifice is a sacrifice. It doesn't matter whether I've got the official position or not.

I'm the King. I can do it. The important thing is that the sacrifice is made. It doesn't matter who does it, right?" Wrong. Does God have people who are set aside for certain offices and they are supposed to perform their offices? Does it make a difference to God? Yeah.

You need to know what your place and calling is in God's plan and then be content to be where God puts you. Otherwise, you're hammering a key into the wrong lock and all you're gonna do is jam the lock and break the key. He said, "'I'm the King. I can do what I want to do.' So he entered into the temple of the Lord, went into the holy place to burn incense on that altar in the holy place. Azariah, the priest, went in after him and with him were priests of the Lord who were valiant men.

" They're valiant because they're standing up against the King. A lot of the priests didn't want to stand up against king Saul. He killed those that did. "And they withstood king uzziah. And they said to him, 'it is not for you, uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord, but for the priests, The Sons of aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense.

Get out of the sanctuary for you have trespassed. You shall not have honor from the Lord God.'" Now, it was still possible for him to recognize his fault and humble himself and say, "you know, the Spirit is telling me you're right," and walk out. You know, even David, when he was confronted by nathan, said, "I have sinned." And if David had not said, "I have sinned," at that point, if David had done something to punish nathan for his bold honesty, David could--his whole dynasty could have been in jeopardy. But he got on his face and said, "I have sinned." He admitted it when he was confronted with truth. Uzziah, rather than humbling himself and saying, "you know, you're correct.

I am wrong. I'm not a priest. Nothing in office of king gives me the right to do this. I have no business doing here. I'm sorry, God forgive me.

" If he had humbled himself, there would have been hope. But, you know, some people when they're confronted with the truth, especially when you're outnumbered, become defiant. You know, what makes a person defiant? Pride. I see it in my kids. You don't have to be very old before a person demonstrates pride.

You're asking them to do something they don't want to do and they'll wait until you're not looking and then they'll try and do it. We took our kids and my grandson out for a walk last night. We tried to tell the kids to obey and as soon as we looked the other way, they'd do the very thing we told them not to do, to defy us because, "you're not in charge of me. I am my own master of my own destiny." That's how lucifer felt. "I am the most high.

I don't want to take orders from God." At the base of that is pride. Uzziah didn't like the idea that anybody had authority over him. Uzziah did not want to be accountable to anybody. Lucifer didn't want to be accountable to God. And instead of humbling himself and saying, "you're right.

I've sinned," the Bible says, "uzziah became furious and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense." There he was, censer in hand, in the holy place. He's got 80 priests. They're all convening. They're in the holy place and he's going in to burn incense, and they're standing him off and they're saying, "you might be the King but you transgressed. Get out of here.

" And he has a fit because he knows they're right. You ever seen someone get mad because they know you're right? And his only argument was a tantrum. The only eloquence he could offer was his fury. It's like the preacher who left his notes on the podium one day. A custodian came through and was cleaning and the custodian began to read the preacher's notes that he had left on the podium and it said--underneath one of the notes it said, "pound pulpit and raise voice.

This is a weak point." Sometimes when we know we're wrong when we don't have a good point, he become angry, just raise the volume. He became furious and the Bible tells us that he became furious. "And while he was angry with the priest, he was balling them out, telling them, 'I'm king. What right do you have to tell me what to do?' Leprosy broke out on his forehead before the priest in the house of the Lord beside the incense altar. And azariah and the chief priests and all the priests looked at him and there on his forehead, he was leprous.

So they, physically, took hold of the King and hurried him out. Indeed, he also hurried to get out because the Lord struck him." He's having his tantrum saying, "you don't have any right to tell me what to do. I'm the King. God's blessed me on every side and look at the evidence of God's blessing. And I am because I are," and he had all these arguments for why he had a right to do this.

And while he's ranting and raving, they saw before their very eyes in his forehead, the tone of the skin began to change and the texture and the color. And very vivid leprosy just began to pop out right there while he was in a rage. Now I have seen people's countenance change when they lose their temper. I've never seen them pop out with leprosy before. But what is leprosy a symbol of in the Bible? Sin.

Leprosy is probably the most vivid disease connected with sin, or as a symbol of sin, in the Bible. Jesus said to the leper, he said, "lord, if you will, you can make me clean." He said, "I will. Be thou clean," and he was cleansed by the Word of God. Naaman was baptized in the Jordan seven times and cleansed from his leprosy, symbol of sin, okay? What was it that make--and where did it stand out? His forehead. What's a forehead the symbol of? Where the Mark of the beast gonna be? Where's the seal of God? Where's the mystery of Babylon, where's it written? This is the seat of reasoning.

This is your thinking. This is what you worship. He was worshipping himself. Here he is going into the altar, going into the temple of God with a censer and he has a fit. You know why? 'Cause God was not his God.

He had become his own God. And sin broke out in his forehead. And finally, they took hold of him to usher him out. And when he realized, they said, "you've got leprosy," and he felt the leprosy. And he saw--he probably looked at the golden wallpaper there on the temple and saw the leprosy on his forehead and it says, "indeed, he hastened to get out," because it had finally dawned on him how foolish he had been and that God had stricken him.

It doesn't matter if you're a king, you still are accountable. Everybody's accountable to God. You'd be amazed how many people I answer to. I had a little debate with one of my older boys a little while ago. He said, "dad, you know, because you're the senior pastor and you're the director of Amazing Facts, you're in charge.

" And he began to think that I didn't have to answer to anybody. He said, "so I need to tell you about you because you're in charge. No one ever tells you about you." I said, "trust me, son." I said, "I get mail every week. People tell me what my flaws are, what I'm doing wrong and faxes and e-mail." I said, "I've gotta answer to the Amazing Facts' board. I've got to answer to the northern California conference president.

I've gotta answer to the church. I've gotta answer to my wife. I've gotta answer to--" you know accountability's very important. Everybody needs accountability. When you start thinking you don't answer to anybody, you become proud.

Lucifer thought, "I'm in charge of the heavenly choir, and I'm the highest of God's creations. And the only thing I lack is the creative ability that God has, and I don't need anybody telling me what to do." You know something else I've discovered is when a person is blessed and successful, when they have position and power, they are inclined to think that they are not required to follow the rules. Are you aware that, technically, congress is not required to follow the same laws that they impose upon the people? That's right. They are not required to pay taxes the same way. They make the rules, but they've made a lot of the rules so they're not required to follow the same rules that they impose on the constituents.

There's a tendency to think that when you're in a position of power and prominence that-- especially when you're working for God, that you have a right to certain indulgences. Let me give you an example. Notice what happened, he thought, "because I'm a priest, I have a right." Well, the priests are accountable too. You know the Bible tells about The Sons of aaron. Turn in your Bibles to Leviticus 10:1.

Bible tells us, "then nadab and abihu, The Sons of aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and incense on it and offered profane fire before the Lord which he had not commanded them." Matthew henry in his commentary I read this morning, "there's reason to think they were puffed up with pride that they were heated with wine." Have you ever noticed when someone drinks, they become even more proud? It brings out the worst in people. After fire came out from the Lord and scorched nadab and abihu, because, you know, God had told them, "if you're gonna bring your censer, there's a way to do it. You're to take the coal from the altar, this is the fire of God, and you put the incense on that holy fire." They said, "that doesn't matter, that fire, this fire. We're the priests. We got position.

We've got authority. We don't have to obey those little minute details." And they went presumptuously and proudly before the Lord drunk. Fire came from God out of heaven. They're not the only ones. The Sons of eli were priests of the Lord.

Hophni and phinehas, Bible says--you can read this in Samuel 2, read-- matter of fact, turn with me, 1 Samuel 2:15. Samuel 2:15. And you can read here--no, I want to read verse 12. "Now The Sons of eli, hophni and phinehas, were corrupt. They did not know the Lord.

" You go to verse 15, "also they burned the fat and the priest's servant would come and say to the offering individual who was sacrificing, 'give me meat for roasting to the priest, for he'll not take boiled meat from you but raw.'" And if the man said they should really burn the fat first. See, God had instructed the fat was not to be eaten. Are you aware of that? The fat was not to be eaten. Incidentally, that's still a good policy to follow today. They were to burn that.

But evidently, The Sons of eli, you know, the Bible says eli was a big man and it could be his sons followed their father's tendency and they may have been gluttons. And they said, "we're not burning the fat. Give it to me and if you don't give it to me, we'll take it by force." And the Bible says, "therefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord. For the people of Israel, the men, abhorred the offering of the Lord." And the Bible goes on to say in verse 22, same chapter, "now eli was very old and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, how they lay with the women who assembled the door of the tabernacle of meeting. And he said to them, 'why do you do such things for I hear of your evil dealings?'" They thought, "we're the priests.

We've got position. We've got authority. And so we deserve these indulgences." Now, I haven't read it but remember jim bakker, the evangelist who fell through some sexual indiscretions as well as financial indiscretions? And after he got out of jail, he wrote a book. And the title of the book surprise, surprise is called, "I was wrong." And he was down at the nrb a couple of years ago when I was down there autographing books, I saw him. "I was wrong.

" And he'd try and make his way back into ministry, and he's not being very successful. But in that book, I read a quote. He, because he had so much success, millions were flowing into they're ministry. They had all these supporters. They had all these funds.

He was working frantically. He had come to the place where he thought that God owed him certain indulgences by virtue of his success. Because he was doing so much for God and for God's people, that meant that he had permission to disobey in these areas and that God would look the other way because God Judges with a scale. You know, if you do a lot more good than bad, then God's gonna wink at the bad. And I wonder if that's what happened to hophni and phinehas, nadab and abihu, uzzah and Saul? "I'm working for God, I'm king.

" You know, the devil, I've heard those echoes come in my own spirit. "Doug, I mean, look at all you're doing for the Lord. I mean, God's gonna understand these little indiscretions and compromises that you made because after all, you're working for God." When you're working for God does God indulge you or does he expect a higher standard? If you're a priest, and you know what? You're more accountable because of the position you hold. That's why it should make you tremble every step up the ladder of visibility you take because that's why James said, "my brethren be not many masters knowing you'll receive the greater condemnation." Positions of visibility like this, there's a tendency for pride but it's got an increased responsibility. I hope you're all praying for me.

I hope you pray for your pastors because the devil knows that if he can smite the shepherd, the sheep will scatter. And I think he intensifies his asSaults on those in positions of leadership, priests and Kings. Now you are, by virtue of your relationship with Jesus, you're a royalty too. Let's talk a little bit about pride and position. How do you measure success in the world? How does the world view a successful person? You get a good job at taco bell and everyone will envy you and say, "he's arrived.

" Right? Do you anyone who thinks that way? Is that how you Market success? You know, I am sincerely concerned because as I circulate from time to time, I speak at our colleges and our high schools and academies and I talk to some of these young people who are still choosing their life career. And I've got several children that are still in that state right now. They're sort of figuring out what they're gonna be when they grow up. I'm still working on what I'm gonna be when I grow up too, if I ever grow up. And in the schools, I'm noticing more emphasis on careers based on the financial payment, the position, the power that will accompany the position.

Whereas our Christian schools were originally instituted with the concept, if you're serving God and you're serving your fellow man, you are a blazing success. You might be in some obscure jungle in africa or south or central America where no one will see what you're doing. You won't get any fanfare or visibility, but God will view you as a success because you're seeking so uplift humanity and spread the gospel. That way of thinking is almost obsolete in many of the schools. Now forgive me, I'm not being critical.

I'm sharing a very real concern. The criteria that's become supreme in so many Christian institutions is, what will get the ferrari? What will get the nice clothes, the nice apartment? Because the kids, and even some of the leaders, are being bombarded with this false idea of what is success. It's the world's concept of success. When by God's standards, you can be a king and a priest based on your surrender to him, based on your willing to serve him. the Lord sees things completely different from the way that we see things.

I've resisted the temptation, so far. I'm saying it like that because it's just been so far. Out at Amazing Facts, we don't have a presidential parking place. Some of our people, you know, we just recently fixed the parking lot. It's a little easier now then it used to be, but I'd get there and there'd be nowhere for me to park out front and I'd park back.

Earlier this week I was aggravated because I was running into a meeting. I didn't want to park out back because I always forget my car's out there and I walk out front and say, "oh, yeah, the car's out back," and then I have to go out back again. And so our treasurer bought a motorcycle. I don't know if alan's here today. So his motorcycle only took half a parking place, so I locked his motorcycle in and I parked in front of it.

And some people have said, "doug, we'll get you a parking place. We'll just have one president, director, Doug Batchelor." I said, "no." I said, "that smacks of what the world does." Here at the church, you'll not see, even though pastor bailey painted all the curbs red, I have nowhere to park anymore, you'll not see--he needed to do that because we were getting locked in on Sabbath. You'll not see--i don't even know, do we still have the old pastoral parking place over here? No. We used to have one. I never used it.

There's no pastoral parking place because you know what? That smacks of the special fringe benefits in my thinking that the world likes to bestow with the position. But in God's economy, those who have the authority and the position are the greatest servants, see? The best gifts, according to God, are the not on the highest shelves, you get them by kneeling lower. And this is what Jesus is trying to teach us. Well, as long as uzziah humble--incidentally, he died a leper. It was terminal.

He lived a few years beyond that. He was separated from the rest of his kingdom by his leprosy. He had to live in a house by himself, be fed through a hole in the wall or something, I don't know, 'cause they couldn't have contact with the lepers. He could never go to the temple again. Think about that.

Because of his pride. Pride separates. Pride separated lucifer from heaven. Pride separated adam from the Garden of Eden. Pride separated uzziah from the palace.

Pride separated king Nebuchadnezzar. Your know that story. We're gonna get to it later. Pride separated Nebuchadnezzar from the company of sane men. You ever have an argument with your spouse and you know the only thing that keeps the argument going is you're both to proud to apologize.

And even though you might even forget why you're mad at each other. A few days go by and you're still mad and you want to apologize and you don't remember what you're supposed to apologize for but you're just too proud to apologize. In counseling, and I don't do very much of it because it's probably one of the hardest things for me as pastoring is the marital complications that are involved in lives. They're so complex and the struggles in families, the devil is attacking families. And there are people better trained and so I recommend people with training in marriage counseling.

But from time to time, I do a little counseling. And, you know, without exception, in most cases, pride is at the heart of the rift in families. Pride separates. That's why it is the greatest sin. That's why it's the sin that the most offensive.

That's why it's the sin that God can't save us from. When Jesus was down on his hands and knees washing Judas' feet. Judas wanted to repent but it offended his pride to think that here Jesus, who was supposed to be king, is down at his feet. That's not your position. That's not where you belong.

And I want to live and reign with you. You know, the disciples first began to follow Christ for the wrong reason. They wanted to sit on his right hand and on his left hand in the Kingdom. Their motives were twisted up with pride and there may be some of us who are still serving Christ for the wrong reason. You know why prosperity preaching has become so popular? 'Cause it appeals to the carnal nature.

Do you know what I mean when I talk about prosperity preaching? It's a variety of doctrine. It even comes into our church and it's basically, "you'll be healthy, wealthy and wise if you've got enough faith. If you've got enough faith, you'll never be sick. You'll have lots of money. You'll get all the blessings.

" And there are Scriptures that do talk about God blessing us and there's elements of that. But there's a whole lot of Scripture that says, "if you follow me, you'll be forsaken and persecuted." There's also that aspect. But they're Marketing this false Christianity by appealing to people's selfishness in our naturally proud natures that we've got. Flattery, what does the Bible say about when we flatter each other? Is it okay to compliment a person? Yeah, I think it's appropriate. I think people need encouragement.

Is there a distinction between compliments and flattery? I heard someone say one time, "a compliment is like perfume. It's nice to smell it. Flattery is like drinking perfume. It's gonna make you sick." But, you know, sometimes when you flatter a person, what you're doing is you are paving the way for their fall. You heard me share one time that John knox, that great reform preacher, was visiting with the people at the doors.

They left after his sermon and one lady said to him on the way out. She said, "brother knox, you're the greatest preacher in all of scotland." He said, "I know, ma'am, the devil tells me that every day." You've gotta be careful what you say. A compliment's one thing. Flattery, you know, what a person is usually doing when they flatter? They're trying to get something from the individual they're flattering. They're either trying to get approval or acceptance or substance or something.

But flattering is very unbecoming. You know, we need to thank God for our enemies, our children and our spouses. They tell us the truth about ourselves when others flatter. Modesty is the triumph of mind over flatter. Flattery is a kind of artificial sweetener to be smelled like perfume but not swallowed.

It is wrong to want to be great? You're afraid to answer that. It's not a trick question. What do you think? Is it wrong to want to be great? That depends on why you want to be great. If you want to be great for God, that's good. I want to do as much as I can possibly do for God.

Incidentally, I want to thank doug and linda hill lent me a tape I listened to yesterday about expanding your borders. And I really appreciated the principles that were in there. God's people ought to pray for big things for God, great things for the church. If you heard the plans that bailey and I sometimes think about it. You know we said, "2,000 by the year 2000.

" And we may not reach that goal but, you know, I'm not one bit ashamed that we thought that. Because I think that we are not there yet, are we? Who knows. I think that we ought to pray big things and ask for greatness. And we ought to pray that God will maximize our gifts. The Bible says we ought to covet earnestly, the best gifts.

And I think that we ought to pray that we can be great for God. But here's the principle, why do we want to be great? So that he gets the credit or that we get the credit? Jesus said that the principle in the Kingdom is that we should want the gifts and the honor and the success to ricochet it back to him. Have you read everything the Bible says about humility and how dangerous pride is? You know why God entourages humility among his people? There is no pride in heaven. Now being proud of your children and satisfied and rejoicing in their successes, that's not the pride we're talking about. It's the self-sufficient arrogancy that God is talking about.

I think there's a reason that a butterfly starts out as a worm. It needs to remember his beginning. Matthew 23:11. I'm gonna give you a list of Scriptures. You might want to write these down.

I want you to think about humility for a minute. Matthew 23:11, "but he who is greatest among you shall be your servant and whoever exalts himself will be humbled. He who humbles himself will be exalted." Now you've got two choices. God's gonna humble you or you can humble yourself. Who wants God to humble them like he did uzziah? Now wait, notice this.

Don't want God to humble you. He can be pretty rough. The Bible says, we have the choice to humble ourselves. God gives us a freedom of will. You know, the Bible doesn't tell us that we should pray that God humbles us.

Are you aware of that? The Bible says that we should humble ourselves. It's a choice of the will. Now, when I'm tempted to be proud, which is every day and I'm not saying that to be funny. It's true the devil is always trying to tempt us with pride. It's the number one temptation.

This week, channel 27 had a board meeting and the Lord's blessing channel 27. It's wonderful. The progress and we're working still on getting it on cable. We're so thankful for what ken jackson's been doing for the station. We're now microwaving from the Amazing Facts' office and it looks like we're gonna be broadcasting net '99.

And it was really exciting to see the growth. And I'm on the board, so I feel a little part of that success. Then I came away from visiting with bill at angel's treasure, and we're making enough profits where it looks like it's gonna succeed and we're gonna be able to pay the debts. And I felt really good about that because I'm on the board. You know, and we had our church business meeting.

We gave the report of record offerings and we got record membership and this is all this week. And I feel a little part of that 'cause I'm on the board and walked out of the Amazing Facts' office Thursday night after the channel 27 meeting. And I looked around at our newly paved parking lot and our landscaping's in and got a new roof on the building and warehouse is bursting with things from angel's treasure and literature for the world. And I said, "is this not the great empire that I have built for my--?" No, I didn't say that. But the devil did start hinting those things.

And you know what I did as soon as he did that? I consciously chose to say, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, I didn't do any of it." It's not even humble. It's wrong. It's incorrect to take credit for it. God did it. And I drove away from the office that night and I said, "thank you, lord, for your blessing.

Thank you for blessing the church. Thank you for blessing this station. Thank you for blessing Amazing Facts. Thank you for blessing angel's treasures." I'm just praising God for all of his blessings realizing that I'm only one heartbeat away from the grave at any given moment. Now, this is a confusing principle for people.

Some folks feel like God is unfair because if we do something good, we give him the credit. If we do something bad, we get the credit. Have you ever wondered about that before? Be honest. A pious Christian knows when they do anything great, we give God the glory, right? If we make a mistake, we don't blame God, do we? No, we take it. That's right.

That's correct. That's the way it's supposed to be. Jesus said, "after you've done your master's will, you serve him first. You sit down you say, 'we are unprofitable servants. We are doing what was our duty to do.

'" You see, when you succeed, you are fulfilling God's plan for your life. He gets the credit because he's operating through you to do what you were designed to do. Of course he gets the credit. When you fail it's because you're saying, "I don't want to go along with his plan for me." It is appropriate to say, "I blew it." Now you can rejoice when God succeeds. See, when you're really converted, you're not worried about, "do I get the credit?" You want him to get the credit.

It's the unregenerate heart that's saying, "it's not fair that I get blamed when it goes bad. You get the credit when it goes good." When we're converted, we're delighted to give him the credit. Am I right? So it just a struggle we have. He already heard Micah 6:8. What is the bottom line? "He's shown you, o man, who is God and what does the Lord require of you.

But to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with your God, we must choose to walk humbly." It does not come naturally. A lot of times through the day, I have to make conscious choices to remember to give God the glory and the credit for anything good I see. Deuteronomy 15:15, Moses told the children of Israel, "you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you. Therefore I command you this thing today." You know, one way we can stay humble is remembering our beginning. When you look at the cross and you know that Jesus died on that cross for your sins and your pride, that if it wasn't for the cross, we're living on probationary time by virtue of Christ's sacrifice.

We wouldn't be alive right now. Deuteronomy 8:3, "so he humbled you and allowed you to hunger and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." Sometimes God has to humble to us teach us. Will king uzziah be saved? I think he will. I think after that experience, he died a leper but I think he's gonna be saved. Because after that experience, he had a life that was just gleaming for God.

God humbled him radically. I don't want God to humble me. It want God's Spirit to remind me when I'm inclined to pride tendencies and by God's grace, choose to be humble. It's a choice that we make. Oh, this is good.

Job 22:29, "when they cast you down and you say exaltation will come, then he will save the humble person." Job 22:29. Job 22:29, I don't know if you're looking it up but if you haven't, say this with me, "he will save the humble person." I don't apologize for repeating Scripture every now and then because I want you to remember that. It's a very simple principle, a kernel of truth here. He will save the humble person. Can you see why this is an important study today? Is it understood that if God is saying, "he will save the humble person," it's safe to say, he will not save the proud person.

Pride separates us from God and if satan was cast out of heaven for pride, you're not going in that way. Amen? We need to learn that pride is still leprosy in the eyes of God. Psalm 25:9, "the humble he guides." Who wants God to guide them? You want God's guidance? You think you know where you're going--you know how many times I've gotten lost because I thought I could figure out, use my built-in male global positioning system to find out where I'm at. And then I get all lost and then I have to humble myself and say, "lord, I'm lost. Help me.

" You know how many times, hundreds of times after I pray, right after I pray sometimes I'm late for an appointment or visit or something, God shows me, he guides me. Now I'm talking about driving directions, but he'll guide us in other things. In decisions for life, who does he guide? The humble. "The humble he guides in justice. The humble he teaches his way.

" You want to be taught by God? Proverbs 25:9. Psalms 37:11, "but the meek shall inherit the earth and delight themselves in the abundance of peace," not the proud. James 4:6, "but he gives more grace, therefore he says, 'God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.'" Now, this is such an important principle with God that even the wicked, when they humbled themselves, God blessed them. How many remember when the wicked people of nineveh, so wicked, God sent Jonah to say that he was gonna annihilate them in 40 days, fire from heaven like sodom and gomorrah. But they humbled themselves and God forgive them.

The Bible says, ahab, we're learning from the Kings today. Was he a good king or a bad king? Wicked. Wicked king. He married jezebel. The Bible says, God said to Elijah, "see how ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he's humbled himself.

" Now did God humble him or he humbled himself? It was a choice they had made. He took off his royal robed, put on sackcloth. He humbled himself. Because he humbled himself, God did not bring a certain curse and calamity on him in his day. He'd never lived to see it because he humbled himself.

Chronicles 12:6-7, "so the leaders of Israel and the King humbled themselves and they said, 'the Lord is righteous now.' When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to shemaiah saying, 'they've humbled themselves, therefore I will not destroy them, but I'll grant them some deliverance.'" The world is facing destruction right now. We all know that. A day of destruction is coming. Would you like to get out? He will save the humble person. He will save the humble person.

Because they humbled themselves, he delivered them. These Kings that would not humble themselves but they lost their temple like uzziah, they ended up with leprosy, humility goes before salvation. We must humble ourselves and confess that we are sinners. Now the Bible says, "he who humbles himself will be exalted." Okay? The ones who humble themselves the most are exalted the most. Who of all living beings humbled himself the most? Jesus was not compelled.

He chose to leave the courts of glory, the worship of the angels, his divine body, take on the form of a human, a mortal, sinful, human body, dying, corruptible, come to this dark world that was captive by demons, born in a barn, live among adversaries for /2 years, be stripped. That's pretty humiliating, don't you think? Hung between heaven and earth on a public road, have a sign says you're a criminal. The one who humbled himself the most was Jesus, will be the one who is ultimately exalted the most. To the same degree you humble yourself, to that degree, God can exalt you. Now I'm not saying that we're supposed to go out of the service today on knees in sackcloth and burlap.

I'm talking about humility in heart and the exaltation in heart. Have you ever felt the exaltation of the Lord in your heart? And when you're saying, "may the Lord be exalted," you mean on his throne? He's already exalted there. Where is he exalted when you pray? In us. Philippians 2, very important passage verses 5-11, "let this mind be in you." We're talking about humility. God's not going to make you humble.

You must let it be in you. Invite it. Choose it. "Let this mind be in you which also was in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God did not consider it robbery to be equal with God but he made himself--" if you're gonna be humble, how's it gonna happen? God's gonna give you a humble pill, right? Eat bee pollen, you'll be humble some day. How do you--how do you become humble? The same way Jesus did.

He said, "he made himself of no reputation. He laid aside his kingly rights and his position, taking on the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God hath also highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow. Both of those in heaven and those on the earth and those under the earth that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is lord to the glory of God, The Father." He who humbled himself the most will ultimately be exalted the most and that's Christ. You know, I was reading something from the history books.

Alexander the great was conquering the world. And a little known note jumped out at me. "In the spring of 331 b.c., Alexander made a pilgrimage to the great temple and oracle of amun ra, the Egyptian God of the sun, whom the Greeks identified with zeus. The early Egyptian pharaohs were believed to be sons of amun ra. And alexander, the new ruler of Egypt, he had conquered Egypt and palestine and persia.

He wanted the God to acknowledge him as his son. The pilgrimage apparently was successful, and it may have confirmed in him the belief of his own divine origin." Alexander believed he was divine. "Shortly before he died, he was in Babylon, alexander ordered the Greek cities to worship him as a God. Although he probably gave the order for political reasons, he was, in his own view and that of his contemporaries, of divine birth. The order was largely nullified by his death shortly after he issued it.

" Well, I'll be. Ordered that had everyone worship him as a God. Thirty-three and a half, conquered the world, victorious in battle but he became proud and he died. And you know what he said? On his death bed, roxanne, his wife said, "who's gonna rule?" You know what his parting words were? "The strongest." He left no clear will 'cause he was so young. His kingdom went down in strife, all of his generals, trying to be the strongest, died proud.

Captain cook, one of my heroes. I'm not saying he was perfect but his exploration of different places he went is just fascinating. All that he survived. It was so remarkable that God was with alexander the great. He would lead his army into battle and he survived, scarred many times, but he survived.

It was obvious God was protecting him when he was humble. Captain cook sailed around the world back and forth. All these expeditions and charted the south pacific. And the Hawaiian islands were first called the cook islands. You know, when he first landed, the Hawaiians worshiped him as a God.

They thought he was a God. Captain cook thought it would work to his advantage in negotiating with the natives for them to continue thinking he was a God and he let them go on thinking that. He made a little trip up to Alaska went around san francisco, went back down to the Hawaiian islands again, stopped in for more provisions. They discovered that he wasn't a God and they killed him. It's very dangerous to put yourself in the position of God.

That comes from pride. You know, there are only two Gods: God, the genuine; and you, the counterfeit. When you say, "Jesus is my lord," that's meaning that you are not lord, he is. That means he gives the orders, you obey. When you choose to do things your own way and you think you're above the law of God, you're making yourself our own God.

You're breaking the first commandment of having other Gods. You know king herod, acts 12, made a speech and he was wearing his royal robes and everybody was drunk. And they all began to shout, "it's a voice of a God and not of a man." And he should have humbled himself right then and said, no, no, no, don't say that. I'm just a king." But he thought, "well, you know, it's just flattery, and I know they're a little drunk and I am sort of like God." And I don't know exactly what was going on in his mind but the Bible said, "the angel of the Lord struck him because he refused to give God the glory. He did not humble himself and he was eaten from worms.

" Josephus, in his Chronicles says, he was devoured from within by maggots. You know, the Bible says that lucifer is gonna die the same way. He wanted God's position. He wanted to be God. God says, "I'll bring forth a fire from the midst of you, and it will devour you.

And I'll bring you to ashes on the earth and the sight of them that behold you." If we humble ourselves, we can live and reign with God. Now, there's nothing wrong with wanting to share in the rejoicing of God's victory. Jeremiah 9:23, this is what the lord says, "let not the wise man boast or glory in his wisdom or the strong man boast or glory in his strength or the rich man boast or glory in his riches." Now, you know what, God is not condemning wisdom. He's not condemning strength. He's not condemning riches.

You got that? "But let him who boasts boast about this, that he understands and knows me they I am the Lord who exercises kindness, justice, righteousness on the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord." It's okay to glory. It's okay to boast. As Paul said, "but glory in the lord," amen? "That we will live and reign with him." You can be a priest. You can be a king.

But let us learn the lessons from these priests and Kings who fell through pride. And let us find our satisfaction and our peace in knowing that he is God and we're just fulfilling his purpose for our lives. He gets the credit, he gets the glory and we can rejoice with him. [Music] happy Sabbath, pastor Jim.

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