Based on Biblical Text: Acts 10:44 KJV
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
Lamentably, pride is one of the church’s biggest enemies. The truth of the matter is we get puffed up about just about anything. We swell up over how much money we raised and how much our ministry has grown. We boast about how many people showed up to our meeting, how many kids come to our Sunday School class, and how many people sign up to serve on our committee. Pride is the greatest pitfall in the pursuit of excellence in ministry. Why? Because the flesh desires to take all the credit for what the Spirit has accomplished!
When the flesh rears its ugly head around the church, we very easily become territorial about our piece of the kingdom. In an instant, it is all about my. It is my board, my choir, and my Bible Study class. Suddenly, it is my pew! In fact, we act as if we own the very building.
We need to understand there is nothing wrong with church pride to a degree. I contend that there isn’t a pastor serving who would be satisfied with a congregation of members who don’t speak highly of their church and its ministry accomplishments. As a matter of fact, the community ought to hear good things about the work we are doing. However, what they ought not to hear is a bunch of church members taking all the credit for the accomplishments and not appropriately giving credit to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Pride can be very dangerous when it gives rise to false ownership as false ownership leads to the exclusion of others. Think about it — if it is my pew, you can’t sit there unless I say so. If it is my ministry, you can’t be a part of it unless I say so. How ridiculous!
Unwarranted pride is not a new phenomenon of the human spirit. The fact is, the carnal flesh has been trying to sabotage the spread of the gospel since the first churches were formed following the Resurrection. Historically, the Jews were sure they had a special hold on the new Gospel because their forefathers were God’s chosen people. After all, hadn’t God chosen them to carry the monotheistic message of one God throughout the centuries? Then they must be the ones God would use to spread this new gospel through the nations! Like church leadership today, the Jews thought they had a lock on who was authorized to do what.
But a strange thing happened. The Holy Spirit descended upon some new converts whom the Jews considered outcasts. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ brought about a change as we were now charged to “go into all the world and preach the gospel.” We are challenged to temper our pride.
How many times has pride prevented us from doing the real work in the church of Jesus Christ? Think about it. If we were summoned by a Muslim to come and explain the Gospel of Jesus Christ, would we go? What if a homeless person asked us to sit a while and talk about Jesus, would we? How would we respond to the prostitute who strikes up a conversation with us about faith? The truth is, many times we shy away from great opportunities to share the gospel story because we let pride get in the way. It is pride that convinces us, “We are better than they are!”
Pride is like a weed in the soul with deep roots. The seeds of pride find lodging in the tiniest of cracks and sprout over and over again. Like a weed, pride can take root and flourish in good or bad soil.
I suspect that word must have been spread that Peter was coming to a gentile’s house because by the time he arrived he found a huge crowd. There were Gentiles and Jews there all waiting to see what would happen. Peter preached Christ that day to all who were gathered there, and a strange phenomenon occurred. The text says that Jew and Gentile alike all began to show evidence of the Holy Spirit. It seems that pride took a back seat that day. As Peter began to talk about Jesus, His command to repent, and His offer of salvation, the Word fell on the crowd.
Everywhere Jesus’ name has not been proclaimed, there are hearts groping for the light and seeking to obey the commands of their souls. Without a “Peter,” telling the masses that Jesus is Lord of all, how shall they hear? The text says, “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.”
Is there anyone on the face of this earth that does not deserve to hear the gospel message and receive salvation? Jesus is Lord of all! Jesus is a remedy for the ruined and hope for the hopeless. Jesus is help for the helpless, justification for the judged, redemption for the rebellious, and a blessing for the burdened. We cannot allow pride to snuff out our witness!