Archive for the ‘Honor’ Category


Visit with seasoned saints and it doesn’t take long for someone to ask the question “what is wrong with this world?” Especially when the conversation turns to gay marriage, immorality of politicians or athletes or movie stars or teenagers or anyone for that matter. God has given us the answer to “what is wrong with this world?”. It is found in Romans 1:18-32. Basically the world is thinking upside down, and our attitude toward God is the determining factor! God has let us peek into the way He works when we react to Him the way we do. The bottom line is that our spiritual, emotional and mental health depend upon a right relationship to Him. Anything less will result in thinking and living that is “upside down” as far as God is concerned.

FOUNDATION of WORTHWHILE LIVING

“Listen, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Deuteronomy 6:4-6 (HCSB)

Both God and the Jews consider this foundational truth for living a a life that is worthwhile.  Jehovah God must be honored with all or our life, beginning with His place in our heart. Romans 1:18-23 paints the big picture of what happens when we do not properly honor God, fail to see Him at work in our lives (thank Him) and exalt ourselves over Him (vain thinking).  Their foolish hearts become darkened and they become fools-‘moraino’-worthless and good for nothing to God!

The God we worship depends upon our heart, and what we hold dear in our heart. From our heart proceeds reverence or dishonor. That feeds our emotional soul and results in a thankful attitude. An irreverent heart results in resentment and bitterness in our emotional being. Our emotional soul feds our mind and either empowers us to set our minds upon God or upon ourselves. If we set our minds on ourselves we will worship a god of our own making.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isa 26:3

But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matthew 16:23

Furthermore, if we chose to worship God in only one or even two of these areas of our life, wrong worship will be the result:

  1. If we honor God in our heart alone and neglect our emotions and thinking, we will love ANY god.
  2. If we honor God with our emotions yet withhold our heart and our mind, we will be emotional about EVERY god.
  3. If we set our mind on God without giving Him our heart and our emotions, we will make our OWN god.

PARADIDOMAI AND EVIL SHADOWS

Because men would not glorify God, would not make God part of their life by remembering to thank Him, and then ignored Him by becoming vain in their thinking, Creator God “gives them up” to the consequences of their unbelief – the control of sin.

“Gave up” is paradidōmi: “to give into the hands of another, to give over into one’s power or use.” Since men chose to give up God and worship the creature, God issues not only a permissive sentence, but a judicial one, whereby men discover that failure to worship God and seek after him leads to enslavement to the most hideous things, things which they thought were worth worshipping.

Remember the Movie “GHOST”?

“Paradidomi” pictures a man being delivered to prison to be subject to the power and authority of a wicked warden. If you are a fan of “Ghost” picture the scene toward the end where the evil “shadow spirits” come and take Carl Bruner (the villain) away to eternal torment. We are all applauding to know such a horrible man finally gets what he deserves.

Wuest points out that this “giving up” was first begun by man. “These people had already willfully deserted God who merely left them to their own self-determination and self-destruction, part of the price of man’s moral freedom.”

The sad truth is that any man who rejects God as God, and fails to worship His Glory, is subject to the same fate. Not just “murderers” like the character Carl Bruner. God says that any man who fails to honor and worship Him in their heart is a worthless “MORON!” Actually the word is ‘moraino’, but the same meaning is implied. Most translations use the word “FOOL.”

I COULD USE THE WORD “FOOL”, BUT I LIKE USING MORON.

God wants us to have a vivid picture of what happens when we neglect Him or deliberately fail to Worship Him. He gives us Three Pictures of the Downward Descent of Mankind when they forget God and go their own way. The evil shadow spirits are allowed to dominate and control MORONS.

Three times Romans 1 records that God “paradidomi” man. Three times God gives man up to the control of sin. Each time the consequences are frightening. The shocking image of the “evil shadows”  of “Ghost” are nothing compared to the images we will paint this morning.

Perhaps it is unfair of me to call your sister or your brother a moron. There is nothing personal about this at all, it is simply using a graphic “English” word for “moraino”, which is what people become when they “exchange the glory of the incorruptible God for … anything else. (Rom 1:22-23)

What Does God Deliver Morons to Be Tormented By?

GOD DELIVERS MORONS UP THREE TIMES TO THREE EVIL SHADOWS

But we are without excuse. These “evil shadows” are not outside of man, blending in with all the shadows of dark and light. These ‘evil shadows’ lurk within the wicked heart of every man. We can never say “the devil made me do it!”, for we make decisions that allow these ‘evil shadows’ to take our heart, and then all sorts of wickedness begins.

The First Place These Shadows Rule Will Always Be Your Heart!

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5 (ESV)

Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. Psalms 36:1 (ESV)

But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.’ Your iniquities have turned these away, and your sins have kept good from you. Jeremiah 5:23-25 (ESV)

“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” Matthew 15:18-20 (ESV)

“the land of gloom (is) like thick darkness, like deep shadow without any order, where (even) light is as thick darkness.” Job 10:22 (ESV)

These Evil Shadows lurk DEEP inside the heart of man, and when unrestrained and allowed to control us, procede to corrupt our emotional health and then our mental health.

God’s ways are above ours, and usually just opposite of what we would think. We think that as mankind becomes more enlightened, more educated, the more civilized we will become. We believe it is the enlightened mind that guides society. Therefore we place great emphasis on education and training our minds. We believe if you think right you will act right.

GOD ALWAYS STARTS IN OUR HEART

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. Psalms 14:1-2 (ESV) and also Psalms 53

But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” 1 Samuel 13:14

Our heart has a brain of its own, one that is not educated by thought but is educated by what we say, see, touch and do. The heart influences our thoughts, our actions, our health, and our influence upon others. God knows that faith begins in your heart. If you believe in your heart…Romans doesn’t address the mind until chapter 12. God deals with the sin that is our heart nature. God desires to be worshipped in spirit and in truth. The world will tell you that God doesn’t make sense to a rational thinking man, but your heart will tell you otherwise. You mind will tell you that what happens in your life is all happenstance, that God doesn’t care or have control, so it is fruitless to give Him thanks. But your heart rejoices in Him anyway and gives Him thanks. Your mind can’t make sense of pain and tragedy, but all of a sudden your heart will burst forth with joy in the midst of sorrow. God tells us in Prov 23:26, my son, give me your heart! When we refuse to be converted to His way and His truth, our heart is easily taken over by our sin nature, by the lusts that lurk in every corner of our heart, in every corner of the world.

A heart that believes and trusts in God and His Word can escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 2 Peter 1:4 (NASB)

THE FIRST GIVING OVER RESULTS IN:

I. Uncleanness, Impurity, and Filthiness

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Romans 1:24-25 (ESV)

  • Neither English word conveys what first century people would think when they heard the Greek word akatharsia.

akatharsia from a = without + kathairo = cleanse) literally describes any substance that is filthy or dirty and could refer to the pus around an open, infected wound or even a decaying corpse.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness (akatharsia). (Mt 23:27)

Akatharsia describes a filthiness of heart that makes the person defiled.

Other Verses:

  • Romans 6:19 “I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh, for as you presented your members as servants to uncleanness and to wickedness upon wickedness, even so now present your members as servants to righteousness for sanctification.”
  • 2 Corinthians 12:21 “that again when I come my God would humble me before you, and I would mourn for many of those who have sinned before now, and not repented of the uncleanness and sexual immorality and lustfulness which they committed.”
  • Galatians 5:19 “Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness”
  • Ephesians 5:3 “But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be mentioned among you, as becomes saints;”
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:7 “For God called us not for uncleanness, but in sanctification.”

Given these, we can draw some conclusions about what this word might have “meant” to a first century Greek-speaking audience. Most everyone views decomposing bodies as disgusting and unclean, but for a Jew, this type of uncleanness would have had an additional ceremonial dimension. To a Jew you would not even be fit to approach the Temple. You would be ceremonially unclean and physically a leper, unfit to worship.

When we say “impure” and “unclean” English people get a picture of Ivory Soap or a dirty bathroom.

Let me suggest two possible alternatives:

Corruption- The most common meaning of corruption centers around political dishonesty. We complain about “corrupt” officials. However, it can also be used to describe physical decay. Consider these definitions from the Random House Unabridged Dictionary: “moral perversion; depravity”, “perversion of integrity” and “putrefactive decay; rottenness”.

Defilement-This word is rarely used in English, and carries with it an explicit religious connotation. “To defile” is the exact opposite of “to consecrate”. Random House gives these definitions for defile: “to make foul, dirty, or unclean; pollute; taint; debase” and “to make impure for ceremonial use; desecrate”. So “defilement” is essentially “impurity”, but a special kind of impurity; one that is religious or sacramental. If I had to pick an exact opposite for the word “sanctification” in English it would be “defilement”.

GOD’S GIVING OVER MANKIND TO LUST IS DONE IN TWO WAYS.

Indirectly-God gives them over simply by withdrawing His restraining and protective hand, allowing the consequences of sin to take their inevitable, destructive course. Sin degrades man, debases the image of God in which he is made, and strips him of dignity, peace of mind, and a clear conscience. Sin destroys personal relationships, marriages, families, cities, and nations, and churches…

Directly-God gives over rebellious mankind by specific acts of judgment. The Bible is has many accounts of God’s wrath being directly and supernaturally poured out on sinful men. The flood of Noah’s day destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Ge 18:20, 19:24,25, 26), for example, were not indirect natural consequences of sin but were overt supernatural expressions of God’s judgment on gross and unrepented sin. God often allows men to go deeper and deeper into sin in order to drive them to despair and to show them their need of Him. (MacArthur, J: Romans 1-8. Chicago: Moody Press)

What Results When Evil Shadows Take Control of our Heart?

  • Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, Romans 1:24
  • because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Romans 1:25

Uncleanness and depravity is the result of the lust within their own hearts, and results in dishonoring our bodies, abusing our bodies, abusing others. When we fail to honor the Truth of God, and instead worship what we chose, or what we think is right, corruption and depravity will be the natural result.

  • “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)

The First Giving over to results in hearts being wicked to the point of accepting and tolerating immoral behavior.

The first mark of wickedness in a godless society is widespread sexual immorality — the degrading, or the dishonoring, of the body. Note that the sentence begins with the word therefore. This immorality is a result of the idolatry into which men fall. Idolatry is common in our day. We do not worship idols and images so much anymore, but concepts and ideas are idolized and deified as much as any of the idols of the ancient world.

  • Idolatry usually results in sexual immorality.

Pastor Ray Pritchard has an interesting insight:

“Why is illicit sex singled out as the first major step away from God? The answer is not hard to find. Sex is closely related to the human spirit. The way you conduct yourself sexually is a good barometer of what’s going on in your heart. After all, what is sex but the desire to be worshiped by another person? Sound strange? It shouldn’t. When two people come together, they are seeking much more than physical release. At a very deep level, they are looking for love, acceptance, fulfillment, freedom and meaning in life. By giving themselves to someone else, they hope (and secretly pray) that through this self-giving, they will discover a way to fill the void within. They “worship” through sex hoping someone will “worship” them back. Sex and worship are thus closely related in their ultimate purpose. It is as if God is pulling back the covers in order to show us how empty our hearts are without him. By turning to illicit sex, instead of fulfilling our dreams we only expose the emptiness within. It never works out like we hope it will. Immorality never satisfies…

Many people think this account describes all the evil things men do and then says that God, in effect, gives up on the people who do them. They think God washes his hands of them because they are so filthy and dirty. That certainly is not what this account says. But because men run after other gods and refuse the testimony of their own hearts and the world of nature around them, because they run after other gods and do not glorify or thank the true God, God removes his restraints from society so that what is done in secret is allowed to break out into openness and acceptability. That is the mark of the wrath of God at work.

The first sign of wickedness in a civilization is that sexual immorality becomes widely tolerated and even accepted.

THE SECOND GIVING OVER RESULTS IN:

II.   Vile Affections, Degrading Passions and Shameful Desires

“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.” For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. Romans 1:26-27

  • The Greek words for degrading passions are atimia pathos.

Atimia: means to lower down from a place of honor. A picture is painted of something which is literally not honorable, not worthy of respect, reverence or esteem. It emphasizes the loss of honor that was once enjoyed = cf man originally created in God’s image), disgrace (to be a source of shame to & often implies humiliation and sometimes ostracism), ignominy (deep personal humiliation and disgrace, disgraceful or dishonorable conduct, quality, or action. This noun stresses humiliation).

Pathos: Pathos means passion and comes from the word pascho which means to suffer; to experience a sensation or impression (usually of a painful nature). A passion is a drive or force that does not rest until satisfied. These are internal desires (emanating from our fallen sin nature) cause the victim to suffer and that have to be satisfied or they drive you crazy. A passion describes intense emotion compelling action; intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction; ardent affection; sexual desire or an emotion that is deeply stirring or ungovernable. The word “desires” (when used as noun as in the present context) means to have a longing for and stresses the strength of feeling and often implies strong intention or aim; conscious impulse toward something that promises enjoyment or satisfaction in its attainment.

We all have desires and passions. They are influenced by our heart, not by our mind, for they emanate from our heart. When our heart is corrupted, these desires can run wild, and corrupted passions result in degradation, falling from a place of honor as God’s Creation, into something corrupt and dishonorable. The natural end of those corrupted passions running wild is the ultimate dishonor upon God’s design for our bodies-to procreate, to love a wife or husband in covenant marriage, to raise up Godly generations after us.

GOD’S DESIGN IS CORRUPTED

“As distinguished from epithumia (lusts) in verse 24, pathē (passions), is the narrower and intense word. epithumia is the larger word, including the whole world of active lusts and desires, while the meaning of pathos is passive, being the diseased condition out of which the lusts spring.

  • epithumia are evil longings; pathē, ungovernable affections.

Thus it appears that the divine punishment was the more severe, in that they were given over to a condition, and not merely to an evil desire.”Wuest’s.

  • When hearts become corrupt, immorality results from unrestrained lust.
  • When passions become degraded, perversion results because we become diseased.

MEN WHO “ABANDON” OR “LEAVE”

Abandoned  (aphiemi from apo = separation, dissociation + hiemi = send) conveys the basic idea of an action which causes separation and thus means to send away or to let go from oneself. Aphiemi was used for example of the action of dismissing a wife. The idea is to let go from one’s possession!

The verb abandoned is aorist tense (action at a moment in time, speaks of effective action) and active voice (subject makes a choice of their will to carry out this action). Thus these men made a deliberate, conscious choice of their will to abandon the natural for the unnatural.

Pastor Ray Pritchard once more:

More than anything else, homosexuality is a willful choice. No one can say, “I was born that way.” No one is born homosexual. No one. Anyone who argues otherwise is either ignorant of the Bible or has deliberately perverted its teaching. You can talk all you want about genetics, the size of the hypothalamus, about absent fathers, over-protective mothers, about early sexual confusion, and even about sexual abuse. Some of those things may indeed create a predisposition to this particular sin.

But the fact remains: Every act of homosexuality—whether in word or deed or in lustful thought—every single act is a personal moral choice. Temptation is not the issue because temptation in and of itself is not a sin (cp James 1:14-note).

But giving in to temptation—whether mentally, verbally or in actual deed—is a sin (James 1:15-note). That’s a moral choice for which God will hold you 100% accountable. You can’t blame your choices on your hypothalamus! You can’t even blame your father for his failure to be there when you needed him…As a society moves away from God, one mark of its drift into judgment is widespread homosexuality. The tragic fact is that this is exactly where America is today. (Romans 1:24-32 When God Gives Up)

The Second Giving Over results in Emotions and Passions becoming Vile, Degraded and Out of Control.

The heart is corrupted and no longer guides the emotions into that which is right. SO emotional health becomes vile, even depraved, and wrong, even abominable passions result. Emotional Disease Results. Our emotional psyche becomes conditioned to depravity. Christans, God doesn’t want us to know about or even talk about these vile passions. We are to be simple, and experts in that which is good! We are to “Walk in the Light!”

  • “I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.” Rom 16:19
  • Walk as children of light…Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. Eph 5:8-12

THE THIRD GIVING OVER RESULTS IN:

III.   Reprobate, Debased, Depraved Mind

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:28-32 (ESV)

The result of the refusal in Romans 1:18-32 was the “reprobate mind.” Paul uses the phrase: “adokimos nous”.

Adokimos: Debased, depraved, REPROBATE (adokimos) refers to that which is rejected after examination. The basic meaning of adokimos is that not standing the test or failing to meet the test and hence worthless, base or unqualified.

  • a counterfeit coin that fell below the standard weight,
  • a cowardly soldier who failed the test in the hour of battle,
  • a candidate for office who the citizens regarded as useless
  • a sword or knife, that once the blacksmith had completed, would place it on his anvil and hit it with his hammer to test whether it was tempered correctly.
  • a stone rejected by builders because of a flaw which made it unfit for construction,
  • the rejected stone being clearly marked by a capital “A”.

Look at the end result: “they refused to have God in their knowledge (ouk edokimasan),” and “God gave them up to a reprobate (= unacknowledged, adokimos) mind.” So God let them have a mind that is void of any divine characteristics.

  • Paul is saying that the mind that finds God worthless becomes worthless itself.
  • The rejecting mind becomes a rejected mind and thereby becomes spiritually depraved, worthless and useless!

The Reprobate Mind has a giant “A” stamped on their head and heart.

They are tried and rejected by the Master Architect and of no eternal value to Him in building His kingdom. This should break our hearts that these men and women in Romans 1:28 are so depraved.

  • 1 Corinthians 9:27 but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
  • 2 Corinthians 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test? 6 But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that you may do what is right, even though we should appear unapproved.
  • 2 Timothy 3:8 And just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose (literally set themselves against) the truth, men of depraved (destroyed, ruined, corrupted = kataphtheiro) mind, rejected (adokimos) as regards the faith.
  • Titus 1:16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless (adokimos – unfit, of proven inability to do good) for any good deed.

The Third sign is that Society has lost their spiritual mind and doesn’t even realize it.

More Dangerous Than Sin Itself:

These men had ”tested” God and did not want to believe in Him. The ultimate test of life is usefulness, and the man whose influence is ever towards that which is unclean is of no use to God or to his fellow-men. Instead of helping God’s work in the world, he hinders it and uselessness always invites disaster. It speaks of a mind that is so clouded by sin that it is no longer able to make reliable moral judgments. Here we have gone beyond deliberate iniquity to something much more frightening. At this stage man has lost the ability to think right. He has “lost his mind” (morally or spiritually speaking) and doesn’t even know it.

So the idea in Romans 1:28 is of a mind that isn’t quite right, that has some flaw in it that affects its ability to make right judgments. It speaks of a mind that is so clouded by sin that it is no longer able to make reliable moral judgments. The result is a world that has left God far behind. It is a society with all restraints removed, a culture devoid of all sense of right and wrong, where every man is doing what is “right in his own eyes.”

“God gave them up,” “handed them over”—to punishing angels? No, to themselves and the life they have chosen. A life of falsehood, alienated from the true God and the true world he has created, is punishment enough.

13 STEPS TO HAVING A REPROBATE MIND

13. Argumentation – reprobate mind given to perversion – judgment certain
12. Justify immorality – cannot think clearly
11. Re-examine Scripture – doubt
10. Frustration over drives – confusion
9. Religious compensation – rationalize
8. Incomplete repentance – feeling sorry is not enough; root sin of self on the throne
7. Response to guilt – suppress the truth
6. Awakening of guilt – conviction
5. Violation of conscience – law in the heart
4. Questioning Scripture – dangerous; Eve’s root sin
3. Sensual focus – eye toward lust
2. Awakening of conscience – reasoning with the mind – dangerous
1. Natural curiosity – nothing wrong with this – God gave to Adam and Eve

(From IBLP-Bill Gothard)

MAN’S THINKING IS TURNED UPSIDE DOWN

  • People who are turned upside down in their thinking refuse to acknowledge God as God and furthermore, refuse to thank Him for being God and loving them the way He does.
  • They became Morons (foolish, and showing no thought) in their argumentations, and plunged their silly minds still further into the dark.
  • They argue stupidly and vainly against God and His Word. Their silly minds become darker and sillier.
  • These reprobates believe they are wise, because their thinking is “upside down”. Instead of wise they are now MORONS, worshipping stuff of no eternal Value, or their pet idols or belief’s. They push God out of their lives or leave him in a dark corner, or even create their our own god.
  • God gives up on them up, allowing their foul desires to become addictive to the point of dishonoring their bodies. Life becomes a game with no real meaning or purpose.
  • These people no longer know the truth of God. They can’t even begin to comprehend it, so “upside down” are their minds. They are prey for liars and deceivers. God hands them over to be dominated and controlled by their sinful and unrighteous passions.
  • Sinful perversions warp the souls of the reprobate. They are no longer in control of their mind, will and emotions.
  • Reprobates are slaves of their degenerate (upside down) minds.
  • Reprobate minds have no shame over their actions, no matter how vile, and in fact give approval to others who do the same things.

THEY FILL THEIR LIVES WITH:

According to Romans 1:29, this person’s life will become “filled with” unfitting and inappropriate practices. “Being filled with” is from the Greek word pleroo (play-ro’-o) meaning a life so full of itself it will be full of these things listed as the consequence. “All” can be inserted in front of each to express the extreme influence of a “reprobate mind” upon a life. God gives us twenty-two characteristics of this last degree of unbelief in an individual’s life and in a perverted and reprobate society.

  • “Unrighteousness” is from the Greek word adikia (ad-ee-kee’-ah) referring to the violation of justice.
  • “Fornication” is from the Greek word porneia (por-ni’-ah) referring to illicit sexual practices.
  • “Wickedness” is from the Greek word poneria (pon-ay-ree’-ah) referring to a depravity in purposes and desires.
  • “Coveteousness” is from the Greek word pleonexia (pleh-on-ex-ee’-ah) referring to a growing, greedy desire to have more and more.
  • “Maliciousness” is from the Greek word kakia (kak-ee’-ah) referring to a desire to injure someone or a wickedness that is not ashamed to break laws.
  • “Envy” is from the Greek word phthonos (fthon’-os) meaning life actions always prompted by envy.
  • “Murder” is from the Greek word phonos (fon’-os) meaning a life full of slaughter.
  • “Debate” is from the Greek word eris (er’-is) meaning a life filled with strife and contention.
  • “Deceit” is from the Greek word dolos (dol’-os) referring to deceptive, crafty manipulation.
  • “Malignity” is from the Greek word kakoetheia (kak-o-ay’-thi-ah) referring to bad character and bad morals.
  • “Whisperers” is from the Greek word psithuristes (psith-oo-ris-tace’) referring to a secret slanderer.
  • “Backbiters” is from the Greek word katalalos (kat-al’-al-os) meaning a person who secretly defames another or speaks evil of them.
  • Haters of God” is from the Greek word theostuges (theh-os-too-gace’) referring to a person who is exceptionally impious and wicked.
  • “Despiteful” is from the Greek word hubristes (hoo-bris-tace’) referring to a person who is insolent and who either heaps insulting language upon others or does them some shameful act of wrong.
  • “Proud” is from the Greek word huperephanos (hoop-er-ay’-fan-os) refers to thinking of one’s self as superior to others. This often expresses itself in prejudices by despising others or even treating them with contempt (disrespect).
  • “Boasters” is from the Greek word alazon (al-ad-zone’) referring to a vain and pretentious person.
  • “Inventors of evil things” is from the Greek words epheuretes (ef-yoo-ret’-ace) kakos (kak-os’) referring to a person who schemes in his thinking and imagination of ways to undermine or harm another person.
  • “Disobedient to parents” is from the Greek words apeithes (ap-i-thace’) goneus (gon-yooce’) referring to a person who obstinately resists the authority of his parents. The idea goes into insubordination against all who have authority over him.
  • “Without understanding” is from the Greek word asunetos (as-oon’-ay-tos). It goes way beyond ignorance, referring to a person who lacks any real understanding of the realities of life (including spiritual realities) and therefore makes decisions without any consciousness to those realities.
  • “Covenantbreakers” is from the Greek word asunthetos (as-oon’-thet-os) referring to a person who cannot be trusted to keep promises.
  • “Without natural affection” is from the Greek word astorgos (as’-tor-gos) referring to a person who is incapable of loving anyone but himself.
  • “Implacable” is from the Greek word aspondos (as’-pon-dos) referring to a person incapable of making commitments (let alone keep one).
  • “Unmerciful” is from the Greek word aneleemon (an-eleh-ay’-mone) referring to a person unwilling to help the needy or a person without any compassion for others regardless of the severity of their predicament.

THEY KNOW JUDGMENT IS COMING

The closing statement of Romans 1:32 informs us that the Holy Spirit has fully convinced this person of God’s pending judgment on his/her life. “Knowing” is from the Greek word epiginosko (ep-ig-in-oce’-ko) meaning this person has a thorough perception of what will happen to him once he dies yet he has no fear of God about it because he continues to deny the inner witness of his conscience to God’s truths and existence.

“Judgment” is from the Greek word dikaioma (dik-ah’-yo-mah) referring to a sentence by a judge for a crime committed. The intent here is that this person is fully convinced in his conscience about the eternal death sentence upon him (Romans 6:23). Yet he lives in denial of that cloud of doom over his life. Because of this denial, he not only continues on this pathway to destruction, he forms a partnership with others involved in the same practices which reinforces both his sinful practices and theirs.

WE WILL ALL DIE and FACE GOD

History tells the story of the renowned atheist, Voltaire, one of the most aggressive antagonists of Christianity. He wrote many things to undermine the church, and once said of Jesus Christ, “Curse the wretch. In 20 years, Christianity will be no more. My single hand will destroy the edifice it took 12 apostles to rear.”

  • Voltaire died a terrible death. His nurse said: “For all the money in Europe I wouldn’t want to see another unbeliever die! All night long he cried for forgiveness.”
  • Sir Thomas Scott, once president of the English Lower House said: “Up until this time, I thought that there was no God neither Hell. Now I know and feel that there are both, and I am delivered to perdition by the righteous judgment of the Almighty.”
  • The great evangelist D. L. Moody, on his deathbed, said, “I see Earth receding and heaven is opening. God is calling me.”

Are You Ready to Face God?

For many years John Wesley professed to be a Christian and yet when he truly examined himself realized he was not “in the faith” as illustrated by this brief excerpt from his sermon entitled “The Almost Christian”:

I did go thus for many years, as many of this place can testify; using diligence to eschew all evil, and to have a conscience void of offence; redeeming the time; buying up every opportunity of doing all good to all men; constantly and carefully using all the public and all the private means of grace; endeavoring, after a steady seriousness of behavior, at all times, and in all places: and God is my record, before whom I stand, doing all this in sincerity; having a real design to serve God; a hearty desire to do his will in all things; to please him who had called me to “fight the good fight,” and to “lay hold on eternal life.”

Yet my own conscience bears me witness, in the Holy Ghost, that all this time I was but almost a Christian.”

Is your thinking “upside down?” Could you be a moron, useless to God?

Take the Moron Test for backslidden Christians:

1. Do you ENJOY reading the Bible?

2. Do you allow God to speak to you and guide you through His Word?

3. Do you go days without even thinking about God and what He wants you to do?

4. Do you do things today that years ago you said you would never do?

5. Do you hear about immorality or watch immorality without it bothering you?

6. Are there things you do that friends and relatives would be shocked to learn about?

7. Do you find yourself thinking that God loves you just the way you are?

8. DO you find yourself arguing with other Christians about what behavior is OK?

If you don’t care what the results are, or what God thinks about your heart, YOU ARE A MORON!



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I just had to comment on the following OP-ED piece from the New York Times on Nov 26, 2009.

What I am amazed at is how people who do not know God try to ACT like they know Him. What they fail to realize is that God must be “revealed” to us (Paul calls it the ‘spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him’ -Eph 1:17). He is not to be figured out by our tiny brains. Why do we even pretend to think we can figure Almighty God out? As Mr. Kristof illustrates, modern ‘self-enlightened man’ thinks we have an ‘evolving’ view of God. As he concludes:

“I’m hoping that the latest crop of books marks an armistice in the religious wars, a move away from both religious intolerance and irreligious intolerance. That would be a sign that perhaps we, along with God, are evolving toward a higher moral order.”

Mr. Kristoff, if there is any evolution going on here, it is man evolving farther away from our Creator God. Yes, He is an ‘intolerant’ God. He says “You shall have no other god’s beside me“. Modern man as well as ancient ‘heathen’ man has had the same problem from the very beginning…we make ourselves and what WE think to be more important than God. We become our own ‘god’s’.

Paul brilliantly explained in Romans 1 that God and His invisible attributes (eternal power and divine nature) can be clearly perceived by even the most ignorant and backward man. The problem as Paul points out is that even though we can perceive this awesome God and what He has created, we refuse to honor Him as God and refuse to have a grateful heart toward Him. We become futile (I might add stupid) in our thinking and our foolish hearts become darkened. God opens the door to our hearts, but when we fail to honor Him, our hearts become darkened, and there is no ‘revelation’ from Him as to His amazing Grace and Love. He has been the same yesterday, today and forever. It is mankind who changes, becoming wiser and wiser in our own ‘conceits’.

Mr. Kristoff’s article is an excellent representation of just how foolish our thinking is becoming. I am placing his column here so that you can discern for your self. To see further examples of darkened hearts (this time ‘celebrities’) read my column “We don’t need no stinkin’ God, we’re Celebrities and Rock Stars!” One example of further ignorance is the comment by Angelina Jolie, who said this when asked if there is a God:

“Hmm… For some people, I hope so, for them. For the people who believe in it, I hope so. There doesn’t need to be a God for me. There’s something in people that’s spiritual, that’s godlike. I don’t feel like doing things just because people say things, but I also don’t really know if it’s better to just not believe in anything, either.”

If we can’t come to an agreement on who God is, maybe we should follow Angelina’s advice and ‘just not believe in anything, either.” The we won’t have ‘Religious Wars’. I might add that we won’t have Salvation either!

The Religious Wars By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

“Just a few years ago, it seemed curious that an omniscient, omnipotent God wouldn’t smite tormentors like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris. They all published best-selling books excoriating religion and practically inviting lightning bolts.

Traditionally, religious wars were fought with swords and sieges; today, they often are fought with books. And in literary circles, these battles have usually been fought at the extremes.

Fundamentalists fired volleys of Left Behind novels, in which Jesus returns to Earth to battle the Anti-Christ (whose day job was secretary general of the United Nations). Meanwhile, devout atheists built mocking Web sites like www.whydoesGodhateamputees.com. [One profound statement from this site: “If God is imaginary, then religion is a complete illusion. Christianity, Judaism and Islam are pointless. Belief in God is nothing but a silly superstition, and this superstition leads a significant portion of the population to be delusional.” Well mudpreacher contends that the delusion is all in the minds of those who refuse to honor God as God, and the delusion results from a darkened heart(-mp)] That site notes that although believers periodically credit prayer with curing cancer, God never seems to regrow lost limbs. It demands an end to divine discrimination against amputees.

This year is different, with a crop of books that are less combative and more thoughtful. One of these is “The Evolution of God,” by Robert Wright, who explores how religions have changed — improved — over the millennia. He notes that God, as perceived by humans, has mellowed from the capricious warlord sometimes depicted in the Old Testament who periodically orders genocides.

(In 1 Samuel 15:3, the Lord orders a mass slaughter of the Amalekite tribe: “Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child.” These days, that would earn God an indictment before the International Criminal Court.) [Once again, man wants to exert authority over God-mp]

Mr. Wright also argues that monotheism emerged only gradually among Israelites, and that the God familiar to us may have resulted from a merger of a creator god, El, and a warrior god, Yahweh. Mr. Wright also argues that monotheism wasn’t firmly established until after the Babylonian exile, and he says that Moses’s point was that other gods shouldn’t be worshiped, not that they didn’t exist. For example, he notes the troubling references to a “divine council” and “gods” — plural — in Psalm 82.

In another revelation not usually found in Sunday School classes, Mr. Wright cites Biblical evidence that God (both El and Yahweh) had a sex life, rather like the Greek gods, and notes archaeological discoveries indicating that Yahweh may have had a wife, Asherah. (I find this statement as stupid as you can get. It brings our Creator God down to our level-maybe that makes Mr. Wright feel more at peace with his conscience. He will be in for a harsh awakening when he finally sees God as He is. But it will be too late).

As for Christianity, Mr. Wright argues that it was Saint Paul — more than Jesus, an apocalyptic prophet — who emphasized love and universalism and built Christian faith as it is known today. Saint Paul focused on these elements, he says, partly as a way to broaden the appeal of the church and convert Gentiles.

Mr. Wright detects an evolution toward an image of God as a more beneficient and universal deity, one whose moral compass favors compassion for humans of whatever race or tribe, one who is now firmly in the antigenocide camp. Mr. Wright’s focus is not on whether God exists, but he does suggest that changing perceptions of God reflect a moral direction to history — and that this in turn perhaps reflects some kind of spiritual force.

“To the extent that ‘god’ grows, that is evidence — maybe not massive evidence, but some evidence — of higher purpose,” Mr. Wright says.

Another best-seller this year, Karen Armstrong’s “The Case for God,” likewise doesn’t posit a Grandpa-in-the-Sky; rather, she sees God in terms of an ineffable presence that can be neither proven nor disproven in any rational sense. To Ms. Armstrong, faith belongs to the realm of life’s mysteries, beyond the world of reason, and people on both sides of the “God gap” make the mistake of interpreting religious traditions too literally.

“Over the centuries people in all cultures discovered that by pushing their reasoning powers to the limit, stretching language to the end of its tether, and living as selflessly and compassionately as possible, they experienced a transcendence that enabled them to affirm their suffering with serenity and courage,” Ms. Armstrong writes. Her book suggests that religion is not meant to regrow lost limbs, but that it may help some amputees come to terms with their losses.

Whatever one’s take on God, there’s no doubt that religion remains one of the most powerful forces in the world. Today, millions of people will be giving thanks to Him — or Her or It.

Another new book, “The Faith Instinct,” by my Times colleague Nicholas Wade, suggests a reason for the durability of faith: humans may be programmed for religious belief, because faith conferred evolutionary advantages in primitive times. That doesn’t go to the question of whether God exists, but it suggests that religion in some form may be with us for eons to come.

I’m hoping that the latest crop of books marks an armistice in the religious wars, a move away from both religious intolerance and irreligious intolerance. That would be a sign that perhaps we, along with God, are evolving toward a higher moral order.”

Thank you Mr. Kristoff. I became so focused on thanking God for all He has done in my life and for my family and for my church that I forgot how much still needs to be done. I thank you for reminding me that America is joining the ranks of the rest of the nations that have forgotten who God really is. We have our work cut out for us, because America needs to rediscover who our awesome Creator God is!

Hope everyone takes time to thank God, the REVEALED God of His Word!


congressiona-medal-of-honorThe Congressional Medal of Honor was conceived in 1861 The Medal of Honor is awarded in the name of Congress to a person who, while a member of the Armed Services, distinguishes himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against any enemy of The United States. The deed performed must have been one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his comrades and must have involved risk of life.

  • The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.
  • Presented by the President “for gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty”.
  • President Truman: “I would rather have the blue band of the Medal of Honor around my neck than be President!”
  • Recipients are always saluted, regardless of rank.
  • Since 1862 only 3,465 medals have been awarded to 3,446 men.

Honor is very important to our God. Learning to Value what He considers important is the key to seeing His Blessings upon your life, to seeing His Pathway, His Will for your Life.

We have examined the role of Honor in understanding and learning the Ways of God.

  • If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” Exodus 33:13 (NIV)
  • Teach me Your way, O Lord, And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. Psalms 27:11 (NKJV)
  • Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Psalms 25:4 (NKJV)
  • Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. (Ps 86:11)

You have to make a decision who you want to follow. You can follow God, or you can follow anything that is left. Following God involves Honoring who and what He says to Honor. That Honor brings rewards. Those rewards involve the presence and power of God in your life. What you do, who you follow determines whether you will enjoy God’s full reward or not.

Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. 2 John 1:8

Finally I would like us to consider the Ultimate Honor. That thing or person we should value so much, it will open up God’s Pathway of Blessing in our lives.

What is the Ultimate Honor, as Far as God is Concerned?

ultimate-honorNow remember, honor means value, weight. When it comes to God and His creation, what is most important? I contend that the Ultimate Honor we can give God is to See the Value God Places Upon our Life. When We See the Value of our Life, and all that God gas done to give us Life, we will have an entirely new and radical focus on LIFE. The Ultimate Honor does not involve a religion, a set of rules to obey, it involves the Value we place on that which Gives us LIFE. I’m not talking about your momma and your daddy. For I don’t care how much you think you are alive, you are dead unless you see the realize the importance of this Ultimate Honor. To understand, realize the problem that Jesus had with the religious authorities of his day.

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you–Moses, in whom you trust. John 5:39-45 (NKJV)

pharisees do not honor JesusThe Pharisees and other religious leaders thought they were giving the proper Honor to God. They were honoring one another. But Jesus said they were not seeking the Honor that comes from only GOD. Jesus went so far as to call them HYPOCRITES:

Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ” Matthew 15:6-9 (NKJV)

You can honor people, authorities, even God, but if you do not do that which brings the ultimate Honor, you are wasting your breath. For the Ultimate Honor we can partake of is the Honor God bestows upon us! Jesus said:

Jesus answered, “If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. John 8:54 (NKJV)

What can I do that would make God want to honor me?

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.” Psalms 91:14-16 (NKJV)

“That all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” John 5:23 (NKJV)

God Honors Us

The greatest Honor in the world is when we are crowned with God’s Honor. The only way to receive this Ultimate Honor is to Honor His Son, Jesus Christ. When we Honor His Son, We are crowned with Glory and Honor, because Jesus was crowned with glory and Honor.

crown-with-gloryGod is calling us to Honor His Son, and when we do, we receive the ultimate Honor. Jesus is the Word. He is God’s revelation of Love and Wisdom. He is the source of Proverbs. He is in every page of this Bible.

Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; She will bring you honor, when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ornament of grace; A crown of glory she will deliver to you.” Proverbs 4:5-9 (NKJV)

Each one of us has a choice. Each choice determines whether we will live lives crowned with Honor from the Lord, or crowned with shame. Whether our lives will have impact and influence for eternity, or whether we will just be a grave marker. Who will you choose to honor? What or Who are you going to consider the most important thing in your life. If you seek after God and His Son, He will crown you with Honor. That will give Him Honor!

CONSIDER ELI:

Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?’ 1 Samuel 2:29 (NKJV)

consider-eliBut now the Lord says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, the days are coming that I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. 32 And you will see an enemy in My dwelling place, despite all the good which God does for Israel. Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. (1 Samuel 2:30-33)

God wanted a Priest who would obey Him over pleasing himself or people. That is why God chose to replace Eli with Samuel.

CONSIDER ABRAHAM:

consider-abrahamAbraham finally had Isaac at the age of 100. He had waited 25 years for this promised son. He loved him more than anything in the world. Sometime later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.” “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. Genesis 22:1-3 (NLT)

“Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” Genesis 22:12 (NLT). God honored Abraham becasue he chose to honor God above even his only son.

CONSIDER MOSES:

And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the Lord met him and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses’ feet, and said, “Surely you are a husband of blood to me!” So He (God) let him go. Then she said, “You are a husband of blood!”–because of the circumcision. Exodus 4:24-26 (NKJV)

consider-mosesNow a lot is left out from this account, and most people ignore these verses because they make no sense. Why would God try to kill Moses after He had just sent Him to Egypt to lead His people home? I think we can fill in the blanks. Imagine this scene:

Moses goes into the kitchen and tells his honey Zipporah that they have to pack the bags and move to Egypt. God has a special job for him. Zipporah, being the loving wife she is, says great, I’ll start packing. Moses says, God reviewed His covenant with Abraham with me, and told me I must circumcise our two boys….Wll, iprah says, lets start with Gershom, he’s the oldest. Ziprah watches as Moses performs the circumcision. She watches as Gershom screams out in agony, and then writes in agonizing pain on the ground. It hoorifies her. What kind of God would demand something so bloody and cruel? So Mom steps in and refuses to let four year old Eliezer be circumcised. She gathers him in her arms and says over her dead body will you circumcise Eliezer. A terrible fight erupts. It may have gone on for hours, but finally Moses gives up, after all he has an important job to do. He gives in and says, let’s go. On the way to Egypt, God comes into the camp to kill Moses because Moses honored his wife above honoring what God told him to do.

Zipporah realizes Moses is about to be killed and so she races to circumcise Eliezer and then casts the bloody foreskin at Moses.

Now why didn’t God try to kill Zipporah? Because Moses had been told to do something by God, and Moses was responsible to carry it out. Moses compromised and honored his wife above God. Moses nevermade that mistake again.

HONOR GOD ABOVE ALL

Who are you choosing to Honor in your life?

  • When you lay your head on your pillow, what occupies your thoughts?
  • When you awake in the morning, what occupies your thoughts?

Those are the things you honor more than God. We are to Honor God above all. In seeking to honor Him first, we bring honor upon our lives. That in turn honors God.

How Does Honoring God bring Honor upon our Lives?

covenant-with-abrahamWhen Abraham was 99 years old, God appeared to Abraham. Turn to Genesis 15, verse one. Abraham had honored God rather than riches when he refused the spoil from the King of Sodom. He had honored God with a tithe of all he possessed. He may have had doubts about continuing to honor God, because God had not given Him a son, as God had promised. When God repeated again that He was going to reward Abraham for honoring Him as his God, Abraham said how can I know this?

God gave him a grocery list, and said to cut the animals in half. He had to look at them for a few hours, and wonder what it meant. He even had to keep the buzzards away. Finally it grew dark, and Abraham fell into a deep sleep. This was not a peaceful sleep. He was filled with horror and deep dark blackness. I don’t know how long it lasted. It appears to have been into the next day. I believe God was speaking to his subconscious. When we encounter Holy God, it reveals the horribleness of our heart. God spoke to Abraham, and revealed His covenant with him. As God told Abraham of the future, all of a sudden a smoking oven and a burning torch passed between the pieces. And God pronounced His covenant with Abraham and his descendants.

What were the smoking oven and burning torch? They were symbols of God Himself.

God was passing between the bloody pieces. God could only swear by Himself that He would accomplish this covenant. In effect He was saying that if he did not accomplish His word, then may he be as these bloody animals, cut apart!

The one passing between the bodies is always the one responsible for keeping the covenant.

Now why should we Honor God? And how does that bring honor to us?

covenant-of-life-and-peaceBecause God has made a covenant with each one of us. God wants each one of us to fall into a deep sleep, dead from the influence and concerns of this world. He wants us to see how horrible our sins are to Him, how horrible the judgment of Hell that is upon us will be. Then He wants us to wake and look up and see His Son hanging upon the cross, His body broken and bloody, for He has become the Assurance of God’s Covenant of Honor with us. Jesus Christ has appeared suspended between hell and heaven, Satan and God, Unholy Man and Holy God. Jesus body was pierced by the sword, symbolizing the sacrifice cut in two. His blood was shed because God’s Covenants are ALWAYS BLOODY covenants, for God has said that LIFE is in the blood. If we are to have LIFE as God intends it, we must enter into this bloody covenant with God. It has been secured by Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son. God has honored us with His Son. The Ultimate Honor is having Peace & Life through His Son.

COVENANT OF PEACE and LIFE

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21 (KJV)

God made a Covenant with us so that we would Honor Him and walk with Reverence before His Name. In return, we have His Peace, His Life, and His Honor! We can live in Honor before a Righteous Holy God!

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. Ephesians 2:13-16 (NKJV)

My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. Malachi 2:5 (KJV)

To refuse to Honor God with our lives is to spit upon God’s Love, to slap the Son of God and say with clinched fist “I DON’T NEED YOU”. I don’t need Peace with God! If you refuse to Honor Jesus Christ with your life, you refuse to Honor Holy God. You refuse to Honor the Covenant of Peace which God has offered each one of us.

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. For “He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:8-12 (NKJV)

When we take communion we are renewing our covenant with God through His Son Jesus Christ. We are also renewing our covenant to Love one another, to love those who are our brothers and sisters.

Are You Kicking at the Cross?

God asked ELI: Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me?

Some of you may be kicking at God, some of you may be kicking at Jesus, some of you may be kicking at fellow Christians, some of you may be kicking at parents, in-laws.YOU ARE kicking-at-the-crossBRINGING SHAME ON YOUR LIFE AND YOU ARE BRINGING SHAME ON THIS BODY AND ON JESUS CHRIST. YOU ARE NOT SEEKING WISDOM. YOU ARE NOT SEEKING TO HONOR THE LIFE THAT GOD GIVES YOU IN JESUS CHRIST.

YOU ARE MAD AT A FAMILY MEMBER. YOU ARE MAD AT AN IN-LAW. YOU ARE UNFORGIVING OF A CHRISTIAN BROTHER OR SISTER. YOU ARE TALKING BAD ABOUT THEM.

SOME OF US ARE KICKING AT FALLEN BROTHERS. HOW? BY IGNORING THE SITUATION, OR TALKING BAD ABOUT IT. EVEN TALKING BAD ABOUT EACH OTHER. YOU MAY THINK YOU ARE RIGHT, BUT I ASSURE YOU SUCH DOES NOT HONOR GOD, IT DOES NOT HONOR HIS WORD IT DOES NOT BRING HONOR TO YOUR LIFE.

Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness–indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. Romans 2:1-11 (NKJV)

We are not to Kick anyone when they are down:

Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; Hebrews 12:11-15 (NKJV)

kneeling-at-the-crossI want our church to be a place where people can experience the Covenant of Life and Peace that God made with us through His Son. I want us to be a church that honors God by honoring the downtrodden, those that are broken. I want our church to experience the ultimate Honor, being Honored by God because we seek to Honor the Life of Jesus Christ living in us by Faith.

My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. Malachi 2:5 (KJV)


pathway-of-blessing-honor-with-your-possessionsOne Sunday a pastor told his congregation that the church needed some extra money for a special mission project. He asked the people to consider putting a little extra in the offering plate. He added that whoever gave the most that day would be able to pick three hymns in the worship service. When the offering plates were brought forward the pastor glanced down and noticed that someone had written a check for $1000. Excited, he immediately shared this news with the congregation and said he would like to thank personally the person who gave such a large gift. He asked who the donor was. A shy, elderly woman sitting in the back slowly raised her hand. The pastor asked her to come to the front of the church. She stood there nervously as the pastor praised her and then he asked her to pick out three hymns. Her eyes brightened as she looked over the congregation. Pointing to the three best looking men in the building, she said, “I’ll take him and him and him!”

This morning I’m going to talk about that dreaded five letter word…TITHE. Before you close your ears, I want you to consider a different way of looking at the tithe. Our outlook is so important…

Imagine you’re up on the 70th floor of the Empire State Building. Suddenly a man opens the window and says he’s going to jump. You call out, “Stop. Don’t do it.” “Try to stop me and I’ll take you with me.”

Noting that the guy is 6-foot-5, you say, “No problem. Have a safe trip. Any last messages?” He says, “Let me tell you my troubles. My wife left me, my kids won’t talk to me, I lost my job and my pet turtle died.” After an hour of stories like this, you’re so depressed you’re ready to jump with him. Finally he turns to you and says, “Tell me – why should I go on living?”

What do you say? Suddenly you get a flash of inspiration. “Sir, close your eyes for a minute. Now I want you to imagine that you are blind. No colors, no sights of children playing, no fields of flowers, no sunset … Now imagine that suddenly there’s a miracle. You open your eyes and you can see. Are you going to jump … or will you stick around a week to look around?” “I’d stick around for a week to see.” “What happened to all the troubles?” “Ah, I guess they’re not so bad. I can see.”

I want us to close our eyes and then open them with a new outlook on tithing.

Proverbs 3:9 tells us to Honor the Lord with our substance. Now we usually think money, but substance means much more. It refers to everything we own, everything we have under our control. I am hoping you will put a fresh perspective on a subject that usually causes people to squirm in their seats, and avoid eye contact with the preacher. In order to do so, let’s read Acts 27 beginning with verse 9:

Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.” Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul. And because the harbor was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised to set sail from there also, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete opening toward the southwest and northwest, and winter there. When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea, they sailed close by Crete. But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon. So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive. And running under the shelter of an island called Clauda, we secured the skiff with difficulty. When they had taken it on board, they used cables to undergird the ship; and fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven. And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship. On the third day we threw the ship’s tackle overboard with our own hands. Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up. But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. However, we must run aground on a certain island.” Acts 27:9-26 (NKJV)

If we are to understand what it means to honor God with our substance, we must understand what Paul meant when he said “God, whose I am, whom also I serve.”

Apostle Paul is shipwreckedI think that most Christians don’t really understand what it means to really be God’s. To see yourself as belonging totally to God, you have to put yourself in the place of those seamen. You need to feel the salt spray on your cheek. You need to feel the ship rising and falling. You need to hear the thunder of the waves against the bow. You need to see the flash of the lightning, feel the wind blowing against you, so hard that you can lean 45 degrees into it and not fall over. You are totally helpless. You have given up hope of ever seeing home again, of ever hugging your wife, hugging your children, your grandchildren. You are going to die. Every possession you have, everything you hold dear, you would be willing to throw over the side of the ship if you could only feel dry ground under your feet again.

Nothing is as important as life at that moment. When you stare death in its face, everything of value fades away except life.

Paul knew this. He knew that everything he was and ever would be was totally tied up with Jesus Christ. He owed his very life to Jesus. In fact, Jesus was his LIFE.

Do you see that as well? Until you do, you will have a hard time when the preacher talks about money.

We tithe for a multitude of reasons.

  1. Emotional appeal
    A little church was having a homecoming service to which ex-members, who had moved away, were invited. One of the former members had become a millionaire. When asked to speak, the wealthy man recounted his childhood experience. He had earned his first silver dollar which he had decided to keep forever. “But when a visiting missionary preached about the urgent need for funds in his mission work, and the offering basket was passed, a great struggle took place within me. As a result,” the wealthy man said, “I put my treasured silver dollar in the basket. I am convinced that the reason God has blessed me richly is that when I was a boy I gave God everything I possessed.” The congregation was spellbound by the multi-millionaire’s tremendous statement until an elderly little man seated in the front row rose and said, “Brother, I dare you to do it again.”
  2. Guilt
  3. Fear of God
  4. Respect of Man
  5. Gratefulness for something God has done.
  6. Love of the pastor
  7. Love of the church
  8. Love of God

These are all good reasons, but as such, they are subject to the winds of change.

  1. We lose our tenderness to emotional appeals
  2. We become hard-hearted so guilt doesn’t faze us.
  3. We lose our fear of God
  4. Man doesn’t appreciate us
  5. God stops doing great things for us
  6. Pastor does something we don’t like
  7. Church does something we don’t like
  8. God does something we don’t like.

Our giving suddenly changes. Maybe we even stop giving.

David Russell, a pastor in Union City, Tennessee tells about Nathan, a precocious three-year-old in his church. Nathan’s parents were trying to introduce him to what it means to be in church. One Sunday they gave him a one-dollar bill that Nathan was to place in the offering plate. When the plate moved down Nathan’s pew, his parents held it infront of him and told him to place the dollar in the plate. Nathan balked. Finally his mother gently took the dollar from him. She placed it in the plate, and it was passed on down the pew. Suddenly the stillness of the offertory was shattered by a voice demanding, “I want my dollar back! I want my dollar back!” Nathan had been robbed and he wanted everyone to know it. His parents tried in vain to quiet their son, but he was insistent, “I want my dollar back!” Everyone in the congregation was fighting a losing battle against laughter. Throughout the remaining strains of the organist’s meditative tune, the only thing most worshippers heard was, “I want my dollar back!” Eventually, his parents gave Nathan another dollar to hold and he was content enough so that the congregation could make it through the Doxology.

Pastor Russell says that as he stepped into the pulpit, he knew he needed to talk about what had happened. Looking out at the smiling faces he said, “We shouldn’t laugh. It may be that Nathan is only voicing the feelings that some of us have after having given to God. We do so, not joyously but out of a sense of obligation. We do so unwillingly. We may not say it, but some of us think it, “I want my dollar back!”

God sees our tithing as an indicator of how much we value our Life in Christ.

Larry Burkett knew a pastor who did something interesting one Sunday – he took up the offering himself. And he didn’t just take it up, but watched what each person put in. If they put in a sealed envelope, he opened it up to see what was inside. A murmur rose up in the congregation and many of the members were furious. The next Sunday the pastor spoke from the pulpit: “Many of you were upset that your pastor looked in the offering envelopes last week. Has it ever occurred to you to consider what GOD thinks when he looks in there??”

Leighton Farrell was the minister of Highland Park Church in Dallas for many years. He tells of a man in the church who once made a covenant with a former pastor to tithe ten percent of their income every year. They were both young and neither of them had much money. But things changed. The layman tithed one thousand dollars the year he earned ten thousand, ten thousand dollars the year he earned one hundred thousand, and one hundred thousand dollars the year he earned one million. But the year he earned six million dollars he just could not bring himself to write out that check for six hundred thousand dollars to the Church.

He telephoned the minister, long since having moved to another church, and asked to see him. Walking into the pastor’s office the man begged to be let out of the covenant, saying, “This tithing business has to stop. It was fine when my tithe was one thousand dollars, but I just cannot afford six hundred thousand dollars. You’ve got to do something, Reverend!”

pray_03The pastor knelt on the floor and prayed silently for a long time. Eventually the man said, “What are you doing? Are you praying that God will let me out of the covenant to tithe?”

“No,” said the minister. “I am praying for God to reduce your income back to the level where one thousand dollars will be your tithe!”

Here is the way we need to view our privilege of tithing. Consider Paul and the Foundational Truth of His Life:

  • He was God’s
  • He served God

All of the stuff we have around our lives suddenly doesn’t seem too important when we are staring death in the face. When we consider that we owe our very life to Jesus Christ. Look what Jesus was willing to sacrifice for us. Now think about all your stuff, and how important it is to you. Do you LIVE Proverbs 3:9? Do you realize that you owe your Life to Jesus? Do you realize you are to serve Jesus because He has given you LIFE?jesus-i-will-come-again-melton

(Pro 3:9) Honor the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:

Do you Honor God with your possessions. Or do you use them to honor yourself?

A pastor told me of a very interesting thing that he did in his congregation one Sunday morning. He said that when the ushers had taken up the offering one Sunday and brought the plates down to the alter rail, he took the plates and held them up in the air and he gave a prayer: “Lord, regardless of what we say about you, this is really what we say about you, this is really what we feel about you. Amen.”

Now most people say that all our possessions belong to the Lord. And that is most certainly true. But God doesn’t need all your possessions unless you are putting them before Him. Then he has a problem; for God said I will have no other God’s before me. I believe God is dealing with America in such a way as to shake us from having Money as our God. God will bring us to the point where our trust will be in Him, and not in money.

So how do we Honor God with our Possessions?

The Pharisees used the Herodians to try to trick Jesus. They asked Him if it was lawful to pay taxes. Jesus asked them to bring a denarii to him.jesus-said-bring-me-a-denar

Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:17-21 (NKJV)

Jesus said you need to pay taxes, but he also said something else. Give to God that which is God’s.

jesus-fulfilled-the-law1Now many people say that the concept of tithe is Old Testament. It doesn’t apply to today. But Jesus came to fulfill the Law, not cast it aside. In fact He said that not one jot or tittle of the Law would be done away with until it is fulfilled (Matt 5:18)

How do you honor the Lord with your substance? What things belong to God? God’s Law provides the answer to what is God’s…

(Lev 27:30) And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’s: it is holy unto the LORD.

(Lev 27:32) And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.

God says that one tenth of all you own is His! So when Jesus says to give God that which is His, we consider a tenth of all we make and own as set apart unto Him! Now how important is it to honor God with our substance that belongs to Him?

The Importance of Honor with our Possessions

Malachi is the last word that God gave His people for four hundred years, until the ministry of John the Baptist. He was really irritated at His people, and one of the reasons is their refusal to Honor Him.

“A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Says the Lord of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’ Malachi 1:6 (NKJV)

Stop Robbing GodHe listed a number of other faults, and then He gave them some advice that we should pay close attention to. He said if you want to return to God you must do something. You must stop robbing from God.

Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” Says the Lord of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’ “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the Lord of hosts; Malachi 3:7-11 (NKJV)

Honoring God with our substance is critical if we are to return to Him. It is that Honor that comes with direct reward. Protection from the devourer, and material blessing.

I want you to consider taking the Jacob pledge:

“and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.” Genesis 28:22 (ESV)

ebenezerI’m not going to stand here and promise you that if you tithe you will be wealthy beyond imagination. Even though some very successful men claim that is why God has blessed them.

All I will tell you is that if you name Jesus Christ as your Savior, your sins are forgiven and God’s grace and mercy is open by the bucketfuls to you. If you love God, you love His Son, if your life is all about honoring them, because you belong to God, then you will want to Honor God with your substance.

  • He promises to reward you when you honor Him with your substance.
  • He promises to rebuke the devourer.
  • He promises fruit for your life.

Perhaps you need to return to God and confess your dishonor for Him in your life. You have laid a selfish claim to that which is Holy unto the Lord. You owe God your life. Your Life is what matters. So Honor God with with your substance.

The story of soap-maker William Colgate:

His family was poor and at the age of 16 he left home to seek his fortune. The only thing he knew was how to make soap and candles. He met an old canal-boat captain who gave him this advice: “Be a good man, give your heart to Christ, pay the Lord all that belongs to Him, make an honest soap, and I’m certain you’ll be a prosperous and rich man.”william-colgate-soap

William arrived in New York and got a job in a soap factory. The first dollar he earned, he gave 10% to God. Soon he became a partner. Later he became the owner. The business grew, so he gave a double tithe, 20%. Then a triple tithe, a four-fold one, half his income – finally he was giving all his income to the Lord. He was faithful to God, and his name is with us today on every tube of Crest toothpaste – Colgate-Palmolive.

Wesley’s guidelines on money:

1. Gain all you can.

Money can be used for good. But do not thereby damage yourself, others, or the environment.

2. Save all you can.

Two reasons were not to waste money, and not to increase desires.

3. Give all you can. Giving begins, but does not end, with the tithe.the-tithe-is-holy-to-the-lord

Now imagine that you are on that ship in the Mediterranean. You can hear it breaking up under the force of the wind and the waves. You have been throwing up for hours. You are weak from not eating. You are dehydrated. You know you don’t have very long to live.

What does all your money mean at that moment. What good are all those possessions. Would you give everything to save your life? Jesus gave everything to save your life. He died on the cross for your sins. He bore the price of your disobedience, your dishonor of the God of the universe. If you have accepted His love for you and asked Him to be your personal Savior, you owe Him everything. How hard is it to honor Him with one tenth of what you make, of one tenth of your substance?


llywd

Watch Edited Steve Jobs Commencement Address
Last fall we went through a series of Sermons and small group studies that focused on How would you change your life if you only had 30 days to live. God really got a hold of my life during that study, as I prayed and prepared for sermons, as I thought about what He wanted to do with my life.

I had a dream, almost a vision a month or so after that, in fact it has happened a couple of times. In my dream or vision I was before God and I was literally shaking with fear. I saw how little I had done compared with what I could have done. I was ashamed; I could offer no explanation for my slothfulness, my selfishness, my laziness that led me to do so little of what His will had been.

God got me alone with Him at the beginning of this year. He relived with me the last 35 years of my life, and a lot of what He had done made sense. I made a lot of mistakes, but He showed me how His grace had brought me to this place in His time for His purpose, not mine.

Then He has been restoring to my life a much needed quality, honor. He said before you can go any further I want to see if you will be willing to live a life of honor. Honor for those He has placed as authorities, those he has placed as associates, those he has placed for my watch care. God has been working on me in a powerful way.

He has opened His Word to me as never before. He has given me a renewed Love for His ways, for His presence, for His Power.

The words of Steve Jobs rallied my heart this week. It was as if God was using the experiences of a very successful non-believer to bring some perspective to what He is wanting for my life and ministry, and what I hope you want for your lives and our church.foolish-honor

We are Looking at “Foolish Honor”

1 Cor 4:10 says we are fool’s for Christ’s sake. In order to understand what “Foolish Honor” is, we need to get our hearts around the story in Mark 14:3-11

And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply. But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently betray Him. Mark 14:3-11 (NKJV)

In this section of Scriptures we see one of the greatest moments in Christ’s ministry, and one of the lowest moments in His ministry.

Godly Fool versus Ghastly Fool

mary-versus-judasHere, Judas thought this woman was being the fool. He thought he was the wise one, profiting from the betrayal of an even greater fool, the Messiah pretender Jesus of Nazareth. I think you and I know who the greatest fool was. It was the man who let his greed and lust for power blind his eye’s to the truth that Jesus is the Savior, the redeemer of mankind. Judas killed himself and even today is burning in hell for his sins. He is truly the fool. And so are you if you don’t come to Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. I’m not talking about fool’s that refuse the Son of God from being their personal Savor. I’m talking about Believers who are Foolish in their Honor of Christ.

I also believe that any Christian who let’s the world tell him how to live his Christian life is a fool. There are Godly Fools and there are Ghastly Fools. If a Christian is walking in the world and in the flesh he is a Ghastly Fool. God looks at your life and says, don’t you realize all that you have? Don’t you know who is living in you? Don’t be afraid to be a fool for me. Don’t be afraid of the world making fun of you, even Ghastly Christians making fun of you. Go ahead, let go, give up and be a Godly Fool!

To understand what was going on in Simon’s house, we have to get an overall picture of the place of Honor in the societies of the world.

honor-killingYou may have heard about the recent murder which happened when a prominent Muslim, Muzzammil Hassan, 44, beheaded his wife Aasiya. What you are not hearing is that this is an honor killing, sanctioned by the Koran. This type of thing goes on in Muslim countries, as well as Hindu countries. Most of these countries, because of their religion are what is called a shame-based culture. You do not do anything that brings shame to your parents, your family. Honor is something you gain by might or by birth. In a shame based culture it is ok to steal or do whatever as long as you do not bring shame upon the family. Shame based cultures are ruthless in their business practices. They will steal from you, they will lie to get an advantage, because that builds their honor up. When they get the upper hand it gives them honor. To appear weak or intimidated is to bring shame upon yourself and your family.

This man killed his wife because she was bringing shame upon him, and if he did not do this he would appear weak and the shame would be increased. This is why it is foolish to try to negotiate with radical Muslims, because they see that as weakness. They will use the negotiations to appear strong. They will lie to gain the upper hand.

America was a radical creation. It was an honor based culture, based upon Biblical morality. The emphasis was on honor for individual rights. Shame was a part of our culture, but only with regards to families. You did not get into trouble because it would bring shame upon the family name. Somewhere along the line fairness entered our culture, and we became a guilt based culture. Now the family structure had broken down, shifting the focus to “don’t get caught” When you get caught it brings guilt. Well, now we have decided we don’t like guilt, so America is changing the rules so that there is no guilt. Single parenthood is ok, living together is ok, bending the rules to be fair to this one or that one is ok. Gay marriage is ok, abortion is ok, teenage sex is ok, America is no longer an Honor based culture and we are barely a guilt based culture.

godly-foolThis woman lived in a shame based culture. What she did was so foolish, so shameful, because she wasted the dowry that her father had probably given her, she brought dishonor to her family, she brought dishonor to her name, and what she did could never never be forgiven in a shame based culture. She would have been shunned the rest of her life. The honor she bestowed upon Jesus brought shame to her and her family. She might as well have been dead. The honor she foolishly gave to Jesus was shocking to the Jews. But that is the Honor that Jesus wants us to give Him.

In fact, so amazing was what she did that Jesus said wherever the Gospel is preached; they will tell the story of what this woman did. And what that means is her story will be told for all eternity, because the Gospel will be preached for all eternity.

In this story we find Jesus being honored at a meal held at Simon the Leper’s home. Simon had probably been healed by Jesus, but they still called him Simon the Leper. Kind of like the guy called Tiny who is 6’6 and 300 pounds. Names just kind of stick with you.

A woman comes in, she is called Mary in John’s account, and she breaks an alabaster jar. She broke it, there was no fixing it. Once it was done there was no going back. Then she poured the contents on his head and on his feet. This was very fragrant oil called spikenard. The oil was worth a year’s wages. It was like taking a designer dress that cost 20 or 30 thousand dollars and using it to wash Jesus feet with. The people there called it a waste. Judas said she was foolish, for she should have sold it and given the money to the poor.

Jesus said “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” To Judas, this was the last straw. He went out and betrayed Jesus.ghastly-fool

What are the Lessons of this Story? They are many, but I want to combine the points that Steve Jobs has learned in his life, with what this woman by her simple act of Foolish Honor demonstrated.

The Gospel is meant to produce this kind of reaction! Jesus had to go to the extreme to satisfy His Father. He had to give his own life, and become sin, so that His righteousness would forever satisfy the demands of His Holy Father. Christ, in tirn, will never be satisfied unless we waste our lives for Him. He poured out everything for us, and likewise He expects us to pour ourselves out for Him.

Real usefulness for God is measured in terms of waste…Our work for Christ springs from our ministering to Him.

How to Give Foolish Honor to Jesus Christ…

1. Do A Great Work For Christ!do-a-great-work-for-christ

  • The only way to be truly satisfied in work is to do what you believe is great work. (Work as unto the Lord)
  • The only way to do great work is to love what you do. (with all your heart soul mind & strength)
  • Don’t Settle (Reach for the prize of the high calling)

“As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.” Ephesians 6:6-8 (NLT)

Christ said: “She has done a good work for Me”

  • Christ never accepts mediocrity.
  • Christ wants His children to work with all their heart,
  • God is an all or nothing kind of God.
  • Foolish Honor means giving Honor to Christ with all your heart and all your soul and all you possessions.
  • It means Never accepting second best,  never settling for mediocrity
  • Be aware that there is a prize and you must reach for it, you must desire it. Those who come to God must believe He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Have You Done a Good Work For Jesus?

2. Learn to Give Foolish Honorlearn-to-gove-foolish-honor

  • If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? (I die daily)
  • Remembering you are going to Die is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. (We are living sacrifices)
  • Death is Life’s change agent. (To live is Christ, to die is gain)

Sometimes we get stuck in a rut. Our Christian walk becomes routine, boring. There is no excitement, no challenge. Sometimes we try to get by doing as little as we can. We only read the Bible 5 minutes a day. We pray for 5 minutes, we go to church once a week, maybe twice. We give the bare minimum of tithe, if we tithe at all. We just do enough to keep in God’s good graces, to keep the thunderbolts away. We don’t want to be too radical in our Christian walk. We don’t want to create a scene, we don’t want to cause any problems.

“Why was this fragrant oil wasted? it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.”

Following Christ means dying to ourselves and what we want. It means letting go of our money our possessions, our reputation. It means pressing toward the mark, Living live wired for 220 voltage, not 120.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 (KJV)

If you want to be a agent of change in this world, you must die to yourself. You must be willing to be a fool for Christ’s sake.

wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her

3. Follow Jesus with Foolish Passionfollow-jesus-with-foolish-passion1

Simon the Leper had been healed, Judas had been with Jesus for 3 years, but only one person in that room had a personal intimate relationship with Jesus.

She had gone out on a limb, she had refused to be mediocre, she had decided to give Him everything, even if it meant giving up her reputation and becoming a fool. Her foolish honor for Jesus meant the reward of intimacy with her Savior that those men never knew.

Are you just going to church because you think you should? Do you live your life by the opinions of others. Is your Christian walk stagnating, with no real intimacy with Jesus. You need to lay everything aside and follow Him with everything you have.

The one thing you would never do for Jesus is the thing you must be willing to do. You cannot hold on to anything that would keep you from following after Jesus.

  • Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. (Walk in the Spirit)
  • Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. (think Holy Spirit)
  • Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition (Follow after Christ)
  • “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” (Hunger & thirst to the point of foolishly giving everything to Jesus Christ)

Some of you rarely hear the Holy Spirit speaking to you. You live your life by what others say, or by what you think you are supposed to do. You don’t have an ongoing intimate walk with the Holy Spirit. You let things and dogma get in the way of fresh new revelation from the Holy Spirit.

And they criticized her sharply, but Jesus said Stop, Leave her alone. Only she had the courage toi listen to what her heart told her. She gave her all, and reaped eternal reward. She was honored by Jesus himself.

stay-hungry-stay-foolishAre You Hungry for the presence of God in your life? Are you Hungry for the Power of Christ to be reality in your life? Then you must be willing to be foolish. Foolish in your devotion to Christ, foolish in your giving to Christ. Willing to be shamed by others because you love Him so. Don’t allow the spirit of Judas to enter your life. Don’t allow your lust for pride, lust for money, lust for personal ambition, lust for what you want to prevent you from giving foolish honor to Jesus Christ.

Foolish honor is the key to renewed personal intimacy with Jesus.

Spurgeon preached:

“if we had this love it would be but natural to us to give to him, to live for him, and perhaps if we had ought at last to let him have it, – that so even dying we might give our friend in our dying testament a proof that we remembered him, even as he remembered us in his last testament and will. Oh brothers and sisters – what we want more of in the Church is, more extravagant love to Christ. I want each of you to show your love to Jesus, sometimes by doing something the like of which you have never done before. I remember saying one Sabbath morning that the Church ought to be the place of invention as much as the world. We do not know what machine is to be discovered yet by the world, but every man’s wit is at work to find out something new. So ought the wits of the Church to be at work to find out some new plan of serving Christ. Is there no man that can invent some new deed for Christ? Is there no brother that can do something more for him than has been done to-day, or yesterday, or during the last month? Is there no man that will dare to be strange and singular and wild, and in the world’s eye to be fanatical – for that is no love which is not fanatical in the eye of man. Depend upon it, that is no love that only confines itself to propriety. I would the Lord would put into thy heart some thought of giving an unwonted thank-offering to him, or of doing an unusual service, that so Christ might be honored with the best of thy lambs, and that the fat of thy bullocks might be exceeding glorified by your proof of love to him.

  • It is time for us to show Jesus Extravagant, foolish Love and Honor.
  • Someday you will stand before Him. Will you be trembling with fright as He shows you what might have been if you had shown Him foolish Honor.
  • Will You hear the words: “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”