Nebuchadnezzar’s Pride and Mine

This morning at Grace Chapel, Associate Pastor Ben Loos gave a wonderful sermon on Daniel 4 and the pride of Nebuchadnezzar.  Before church this morning, I had been wrestling with God over my pride — and more specifically, just my simple desire to be better than others and really not liking it when people do better than me.  It’s disgusting, I know.  I hate it.  So, when I walked into church today, I looked at the title of the sermon.  It read: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  I laughed.  You would, Lord, I thought. 

Ben’s sermon was so challenging, refreshing, eye-opening, and of course, much needed.  Is not pride the source of all our sin?  Does it not plague us from the inside out?  Does it not seek to ruin every healthy relationship we have and spread further apart the broken ones?  Does it not seek to make me my own god instead of the only God Almighty?  No doubt the answer to all four questions is Yes.

Here are a few gems from the Ben’s message this morning:

Nebuchadnezzar is glad he goes insane, becomes broken, and loses his kingdom.  His pride is exposed…We need this too, because the truth is that we are prone to the same disease Nebuchadnezzar had.

Pride is to be guilty of claiming to do what was given to you as a gift.  It is cosmic plagiarism.

The artist always owns his work.  God is the artist.  Everything else is art.  The artist does with his art whatever he pleases.

There is no joy in pride.  Being proud is the most lonely, unsatisfying way to live.

If you insist on trying to become more than what God created you to be, you will become less than what God created you to be. 

Living life outside of God’s design is [the real] insanity.

God strikes Nebuchadnezzar so he can heal him and bring him to his senses.  God will press reality into our lives in order to show us our pride.

There will come a time in our lives when we too will experience the severe mercy of God.

Jesus humbled himself.  He has wounds that are still there to show how far our God willing to go to humble himself…we are proud because we don’t believe we have a Father who is able to take care of us.  That is a lie!  Believe that you have a Father who can take better care of your life than you can. 

Oriented to the Kingdom

This morning at Grace Chapel, Pastor Mike Hsu gave a sermon called Oriented to the Kingdom, (it should be upload for listening in a few days) from Genesis 1:26-28. The central theme of the message was that we, as sons and daughters of God, have been entrusted with the responsibility of seeing the will of heaven enforced here on earth. In the Garden of Eden, work, worship, and holiness were an integrated and continuous whole. Because of sin, that is no longer the case. Mike gave three applications for how to make this happen – by God’s grace – that I’d like to reflect on.

  • See our work as calling. So often people think that if they aren’t a pastor, missionary, campus ministry worker, or even a God-blogger, that they are, for some reason or another, not as significant in the Kingdom. We know from 1 Corinthians 12 that the whole body is essential to properly function! How glorious that God has designed his church to work together for the ultimate goal of his glory. This happens by everyone doing whatever they do for the glory of God. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera.” Christians have somehow developed this idea of leaving the material world – whether in the occupational sense or otherwise. We should redeem that which can be redeemed in the material world. Let me say, lest someone call me materialistic, hedonistic (in the worldly sense), wicked, or blasphemous, that there are some things are impossible to redeem. For example, we cannot have Christian porn or Christian strip clubs.
  • See our worship as integrated. Worship is more than just singing a hymn or going to church on Sunday. It’s more than simply reading the Bible and praying. Mike pointed out that so many Christians struggle with deep, abiding joy because we don’t seek the Lord daily, even hourly! So many Christians do not read the Bible and pray to God. Our worship culminates on Sunday morning as we fellowship with Christ’s body in church. Yet, during the other six days of the week, we should trust the Lord to feed our own souls through Bible reading and prayer. And when we do this, by the Spirit’s power, we will see that everything is worship. We can worship Jesus at work, class, on the sports field, and in our homes with family. Worship is whatever glorifies God and as we saw from Colossians 3:23, that can be whatever we are doing.
  • See our holiness as a chief goal. When sin creeps in our lives, we are distracted from these first two applications. The Westminster Confession’s first question is, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is “To glorify God and enjoy him forever.” John Piper has adapted this to say, “The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying him forever.” When we do these things, it is the fruit of striving for holiness and trusting God to kill our sins. John Owen said, “Be killing sin, lest sin be killing you.” Notice that Mike did not say holiness is the chief goal. It is one of the many goals that will bring about the ultimate goal: God’s glory. When we are living life like it is a war, we are constantly prepared to use the Bible as our sword to put to death our own wickedness, the devil’s schemes, and the world’s fads. When we live life with a peace-time mindset, however, we get caught off-guard and grow complacent. This will cause us to neglect personal holiness and therefore forget that any work we perform is the Lord’s calling and that worship is an integrated, all-inclusive, life-long adoration toward God in all we do.