(A Sermon Preached at the Institution of Canons and Collations of Archdeacons of the Diocese of Lagos West(Anglican Communion) on Sunday, October 4, 2015 at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos.)

Chorus: All glory must be to the Lord - sing twice
PRAYER Ever faithful and Sovereign God, we thank You for Your goodness in our lives. Thank You for the joy in our hearts today, as we rejoice in what You have done for us; and especially for Your children being honoured today.

We confess to U with shame, that sometimes, we have been guilty of the sin of Pride. We have thought of ourselves rather highly that we should, boasting of our own achievements.

We have been guilty of Pride in more subtle ways, hiding our weakness behind a mask of self-sufficiency. Forgive us when we try to live life alone, when we think rather of ourselves than of you, when we put ourselves before others.

Heaven Father, grant us true humility and true lowliness of heart, the grace to address the pride in our lives and the willingness to listen to Your voice and the voice of others; after accepting our faults, and recognizing our limitations. Give us the grace to honour Your holy name, thru Jesus Christ, we have prayed. Amen

APPRECIATION We return thanks to God for counting us all worthy to see this special day � A day of joy/jubilation, a day of celebration! May the joy of today be permanent in our hearts in Jesus name. Amen.

I want to thank THE DIOCESAN LORD THE BISHOP and Mama LAGOS WEST, on behalf of my family, for the rare privilege grant unto me, NOT just now, but since his lordship assumed the leadership of our great Diocese.

Immediately upon fixing the theater for this unique service, the Lord Bishop informs me that I would preach the sermon!!! I see the the gesture as a demonstration of love, considering the crop of seasoned Archdeacons in the the Diocese.

My lord, & Mama Lagos West, God will abundantly reward your labour of love. He will grant you Divine wisdom, even as you are doing so much to move the Diocese to the next level of glory. My gratitude cannot be fully expressed in word.

To all my brothers at which instance we are at this service, I say a big congratulations! I thank all the vessels that God used to bless you, during the Retreat. I join you, and your families in appreciating our Father In The Lord, who had found you worthy of being preferred, through the leading of the Holy Spirit.

TEXT: ACTS 12:21-23/ LUKE 18:11
TXT: ACTS 12:21-23 REATHE...

Pride � Pride is the feeling of self-respect and personal worth. Pride is an unreasonable and inordinate self-esteem. It is one of the sins strongly condemned by the Holy Scripture. PROV 6: 16 - 17a - These six things the Lord hates. Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look God warns us in PROVERBS 16: 18 that PRIDE GOES BEFORE A FALL. We have seen examples of people, even in Nigeria, that have fallen into disgrace and ruin, because of PRIDE. If P is displayed by those in the world, it could be understood. But when a man of God exhibits traits of Pride, there is a big danger there.

The Bible is replete with those who were proud and the consequences. Pride has brought so many highly placed persons down, and that is still noticeable in the world today. If we have forgotten many of such, I know we still remember a leader in this country, who thought he was powerful enough, to remain in power, forever, even when the people did not want him. He did in shame!!!

Remember KING NEBUCHATHENEZZAR, brought down by Pride, then turned to an animal. NAAMAN, the Army General, almost lost his miracle of healing, because of Pride

No doubt, Proud has denied many people the salvation of their souls when altar calls were made. Many could not openly accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour because of their wealth / position / and influence in the society.

Pride is sinful because proud people give no glory to God for what He has done for them. Such people have forgotten that ALL we have were received from God. 1 CORINTHIANS 4:7...For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now, if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast, as if u have not received it?

Some people are proud because of their achievements. Some because of their family names, some because of their talents, but a man of God has no reason whatsoever to be proud. The word of God tells us that. In view of the fact that there are NO provisions in the Oath, taken by Priests at their Ordination, that prescribes a time for preferment; it means it has pleased God to elevate you when He did. It was NOT because you were more brilliant than your Colleagues, or more eloquent than them. You were preferred by divine permission. God has a purpose for yr preferment, especially when you remember that promotion comes not from the East or West, but from God. Remember LUKE 12:48 - To whom much is given, much is expected. Much is expected from you because of year preferment.

THE Text: ACTS 12; 21-23. So on the set day, Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne, and gave an oration to them. Anthe the people kept shouting "THE voice of a god, and not of a man. Then immediately, an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give glory to God.

In our key text for this message, we clearly see the danger of pride in the life of a man! Herod. In the context of this text, men of Tyre & Sitheon came to him, to beg for his mercy and favor; for a continued supply of food, because they were trading cities, not having enough land for farming.

He was praise beyond his imagination.

But disaster came the way of Herod! A disaster motivated by PRIDE. They sang his praise, and called him a god, in the course of praising him. His mistakes (1) He failed to rebuke the flattery. (2). He did not deny the title they gave him. (3) He did not give glory to God.

It is true that God is merciful, and very slow to anger. But Herod was struck by an angel of God, and he was eaten up by worms! He died shamefully.

What lessons are men of God to learn from this? A: There is danger in Pride. A man of God must give glory to God. A man of God must be humble.

Imagine the proud prayer of the Pharisee in LUKE 18: 11. THE PHARISEE STOOD AND PRAYED THUS WITH HIMSELF - GOD, I THANK YOU THAT I AM NOT LIKE OTHER MEN - EXTORTIONERS, UNJUST, ADULTERERS, OR EVEN AS THIS TAX COLLECTOR. He went to the temple to announce how good he was, as against humbling himself in the presence of God in prayer. That was self-righteousness! He demonstrated a high level of PRIDE and that is still found in many people today! He did not go home justified, but the tax collector did, in his humility before God.

1 PET 5:5 tells us that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble Our Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect example of humility. He is the most humble Man that ever lived. As the Second Person of the Trinity, He claimed no equality with His Father. PHIL 2: 5-8. By so doing, God exalted Him.

Brethren, let us give a critical look at a Clergyman in the Ang. Comm. At Ordination, he suddenly becomes a Deacon (though addressed as REVEREND). Within ONE year or so, he becomes THE REVEREND proper. Over time, by virtue of preferment, he is addressed THE REVEREND CANON. As if that is not enough, due to another level of preferment, he is now addressed and called VENERABLE! Dear brother, I do not know how many of us have really sat down, and ponder over the titles we bear? An ordinary man, called by God, to do extra-ordinary work for HIM. Have we allowed the TITLES to enter into our heads?

REVEREND is a title of respect and honor 4 a clergyman. REVEREND CANON? That is really big. Someone so addressed is supposed to be a STANDARD for others to see / emulate. Imagine being a addressed asVENERABLE - Someone who is profoundly honoured. It is true that the titles are administrative, because thereare three ORDERS in the Anglican Communion - DEACON / PRIEST / BISHOP. But the TITLES mean so much to those who consciously evaluate our conduct, especially in the house of God, and the society in general. Brothers, Among the Questions we need to ask ourselves today are: Are we faithfully discharging our duties? Are we trustworthy in our given assignments? Do we represent Christ effectively in our calling? Are we true ambassadors of Christ on daily basis?

Other Food For Thought for us are: Do we merit the titles given to us by our leaders? Have we allowed the titles to dictate how we behave? Do we merit the titles by which we are called? Most importantly, are we HUMBLE enough to be called men of God?

The sin of PRIDE has robbed many men of God of their primary calling! What a pity?

On a lighter mood, a brother shared with me the encounter of a Priest, a Venerable (in mufti) with LASTMA people, not long ago. He was alleged to have committed a traffic-related offence? Anthe the Officer who accused him was ready to delay him indefinitely! He pleaded but the officer did not listen to him.

He then requested to speak with the oga of the Team that stopped him. The officer called his oga , and said one VENERABLE so so so ... committed an offence and wanted to speak with him. The oga thought he said HONORABLE so so so. Then the oga quickly said, .... LET HIM GO, THEON T U KNOW THAT HE IS A BIG MAN IN THE SOCIETY. Laughhhhhhhhh. He was then allowed to go. Who should carry more respect - a Local Government official or a MAN OF GOD?

I am appealing to my 14 brothers who are now a dignitaries of the Diocese of Lagos West; and their wives by extension. Remember that being a dignitary is not a passport to heaven. Let the new position and title HUMBLE you more than ever before. Give due respect to those in authority. Do not say you have the same title with your ogas, and that they are not better than you.

I met with a parishioner of a Church recently. I knew him long ago. We were talking at the airport as we were waiting for our flight. He made a remark that disturbed my peace. He said, of the three Vicars that last worked in the parish where he worships regularly, that only one qualified to be addressed as Our Father In The Lord.I asked why? He replied by saying, many of them are too PROUTHE for his liking!!!

This caveat is 4 all of us - Priests and Parishioners! Especially the Parishioners who are fond of telling the Priests - THIS IS OUR CHURCH! Who told u that the Church is yours? How much did you pay for her? Remember, the Church belongs to Christ, Who paid the ultimate price with His Blood.

We need to carry out a self exam of ourselves and pray away PRIDE from our lives. Thanks be to God for the sense of HUMILITY of our lord Bishop, who is inclined to say SIR or MA to anybody. That is humility par excellence. Let us imitate the humility of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who did not count it a shame, to wash the feet of His disciples in JOHN 13. The more anointed we are, the more humble we should be.

A colleague in the ministry shared his experience with me some years ago. He joined the ordained ministry in his late forties, having worked as a Public Servant for years. He had his theological training as was ordained thereafter.

As a Deacon, there was a Diocesan event he attended. There, he was requested to do some work (as a JJC Priest) by a Senior Priest; and he did. The Senior Priest gave him some more work to do, and he obliged. No doubt, the Senior Priest wanted him humiliated, not minding his age! Again, he commanded him to do some work again by saying afterall, you are a Deacon .

Nine years after the brother s ordination, he was preferred Archdeacon. Sooner, he became an Officer of his Diocese, and in a position to advise the Diocesan.

Coincidentally, the Senior Priest that humiliated him was still a Reverend. He had some problems with the Bishop. Eventually, it was the Deacon he humiliated that God used to bail him out! Brethren, A MAN OF GOD MUST PRAY FOR THE SPIRIT OF HUMILITY DAILY.

Again, we rejoice with our brothers and their family members, friends and well-wishers. For witnessing this occasion, you are all expected to pray for them, and for us all, on daily basis; that the grace not to disappoint God, in what He has called us to do, should be our portion, in Jesus name. Amen.

Thank You King of glory for the way You have reminded us of the need to shun PRIDE in all its ramifications, and humble ourselves in Your presence, and in the presence of men. Grant us the enablement to do so, even from today, in Jesus name we have prayed. Amen.

OCTOBER 4, 2015

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