Thinking back, this was the last live sermon before the pandemic began. I knew that it was an important teaching . I could feel that it was bold. But I had no idea that it would be such a lasting theme for so many seasons to come. It enters our prayers, our churches and our world. I pray, help us to be a humble people united in love, bold in the Gospel. Forgive our hearts when when we forget that You, God – are the Sovereign One, who created everything in this world that we view from a multiplicity of heart perspectives. Thank you for the nations, for all of Your peoples everywhere. Help us to remember that the Love of Christ reaches with forgiveness, kindness and tender mercy. Be merciful to us each as we repent and see our own hearts in the Light of Your Spirit. We pray against pride, the root of all sin. Help me, help us to live under The Lordship of Jesus Christ and give all Glory to God The Father. –L.Willows
~from February 2020~
I sat in a middle seat, somewhat far from the pulpit feeling nested by the congregation. As the sermon began my pen was poised just in case Pastor Tom Holliday (of Alexandria Presbyterian Church) said something that I needed to note. Usually, I like to just listen and allow the Holy Spirit to reach my heart. On this day there was much that I wanted to share with you all. The sermon was deeply stirring. It touched upon Humility, Pride and God’s Glory.
The bold message was about the need for the death of pride. Perhaps this is difficult to hear. This is a message that many are timid to teach. I loved it, we need to soak in it not just now but for every time, every generation.
In the past weeks, one of the overarching themes has been Unity. I have noticed how many times our lack of unity can be traced to pride. It was remarkable to listen to scripture, Philippians 2:1-11 and how Pastor Tom Holliday gleaned the wisdom. Here are some of the quotes (please excuse if they are not perfect, I was writing while listening):
The Sermon was titled “Finding Unity in The Gospel”
“The challenge is really that if you are Christian, you need to crucify your pride.”
“We will not grow if we will do not suffer. We will not grow if we don’t see our own pride.”
“Get your act together. Get your eye on the ball. Get it off of one another. Lift it off of the sharp edges that wound others. Can we try not to be so pointy? Not to offend and not to be so easily offended? Not fragile.” (referring to the Philippian church and common problems in today’s churches, all churches)
“Whose Love? Christ’s. All have the same love of Christ in them. Do you know that God has no favorites? He loves the person next to you just as much. ‘In full accord’ means thinking and feeling as one soul. That is how the body of Christ thinks and feels.”
“The Body of Christ vs us. The Body of Christ did not live and die for empty glory. Don’t live and die for empty glory.” (what is empty glory? Pride)
“In Problems of Pride, Augustine considered Pride the root of every sin.”
“Humility is the answer.”
“Some people will try to walk all over a humble person. Shame on that.” (James 2:1-18 “Count it all loss”)
“Jesus left a perfect environment to come to this mess. We know how hard it can be. Sometimes there is no unity in our families, in our communities. We, who are empty of Glory go around seeking to grab Glory anywhere we can. We are fragile. we want to steal. Put the spotlight on Jesus and we will not become Glory Grabbers. Boast in the name of Jesus who humbled himself on the Cross.”
“When you look at how He obeyed, you submit and bow your heart a little bit in a messy relationship, in a messy world. You pray Lord, forgive me, show us Christ who was obedient to the point of death.”
“Help us to know the death of pride, of desire and of will.”
“If you are desiring to be followers of Jesus- will people in your life become uncomfortable with you living under the Lordship of Jesus Christ?”
Phillippians 2:9-11 -Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
“We, who are empty of Glory, go around seeking to grab glory anywhere we can. We are fragile. We want to steal. Put the spotlight on Jesus and we will not become Glory Grabbers. Boast in the Name of Jesus who humbled Himself on the Cross.”
All of the quotes above are Pastor Tom Holliday
All of the sermons are archived on the website; this one available on 2.25.20 at Alexandria Presbyterian Church Sermon Archives
I am so glad that today, I was able to listen, to hear and to scribble some notes all at the same time. It was all such a joy. The death of pride is not an easy journey but it is in that same glorious mess that Jesus walks with so closely with us. We see Him before us and confessing that He is Lord is the way to a joy unspeakable, one that nothing in this life can compare to.