Posted on 07/16/2006 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
Good morning, and welcome to CyberChurch! It's always a pleasure to see all of you, and an honor to worship and fellowship with you.
Let's all stand to our feet and open this morning with prayer.
Lord God, thank you for creating us, for giving each one of us life and breath, for placing within each of us the ability and desire to love and be loved, and to search for and fellowship with you.
Be glorified here today in this place. May our worship be from a pure heart and a mind focused on you. May every word I speak be pleasing to you. And may our fellowship be sweet, as we share with one another the joy and the goodness you've placed inside of us by your Holy Spirit.
And it's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Click touch the pulpit for a notecard, and let's praise God with song.
DOWN AT YOUR FEET Down at your feet O Lord is the most high place In your presence Lord I seek your face, I seek your face There is no higher calling no greater honor Than to bow and kneel before your throne I'm amazed at your glory embraced by your mercy O Lord, I live to worship you CROWN HIM WITH MANY CROWNS Crown him with many crowns, the Lamp upon his throne Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own. Awake, my soul, and sing of him who died for thee And hail him as thy matchless King through all eternity Crown him the Lord of life, who triumphed o'er the grave And rose victorious in the strife for those he came to save. His glories now we sing who died, and rose on high Who died, eternal life to bring, and lives that death may die. Crown him the Lord of peace, whose power ascepter sways From pole to pole, that wars may cease, and all be prayer and praise His reign shall know no end and round his pierc-ed feet Fair flowers of paradise extend their fragrance ever sweet Crown him the Lord of love, behold his hands and side Those wounds, yet visible above in beauty glorified All hail, Redeemer, hail! For thou hast died for me, Thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity!
Thank you Lord for giving us life, for giving us a future and a hope, and for giving us your Son so we can be in right standing with you and partake of your sweet Spirit, and revel in your unending love.
You may be seated.
The name of my message today is "Honor." Let's read together from Revelation chapter four, verse eleven:
"You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created." (Revelation 4:11)
In Biblical times, honor was something of great value, and it was something that was expected. It was shameful for a person to not show honor to whom honor is due.
Even just a few years ago, when a woman or an elderly person entered the room, the men would show honor by rising. And this practice has Biblical roots:
"You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the Lord." (Leviticus 19:32)
God ends the first part of this statement by saying, "and you shall revere your God." This suggest one thing: Honoring the elderly is honoring God. Dishonoring the elderly is dishonoring God.
In today's world, honor is quickly becoming a thing of the past. If you stop someone on the street and ask them what honor is, they may not even be able to give you a definition.
So what IS honor?
Webster's defines it like this:
"(Honor is) a token of esteem paid to worth; a mark of respect; a ceremonial sign of consideration"
Men used to honor women by opening doors for them. I've heard some women say, "Why should a man open the door for me? I can do it myself!"
And yet this practice was not meant to insinuate that the women could not open doors for themselves. It was simply a way of bestowing honor - it was "...a ceremonial sign of consideration."
Certain women's groups have fought long and hard to put an end to such signs of consideration. In their fight to be treated as "equals," they have succeeded in removing honor from themselves.
Indeed, we are all equal in God's eyes. The Bible tells us that in Christ, there is no Jew or Greek, no slave or free, and no male or female.
And yet within the same New Testament, in first Peter chapter three and beginning with verse one, we read...
"Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.
"Do not let your adornment be merely outward - arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel - rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
"For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.
"Husbands, likewise, live with your wives with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
"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 wishes to 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 3:1-12)
This is a good picture of honor. The honorable women of old were mentioned as role models for the women of today, honoring, respecting, submitting to, and obeying their husbands.
And the men were commanded to honor their wives, or their prayers would be hindered. In another place, men are told that if they dishonor their wives, they are dishonoring themselves.
It is shameful for a man to not show honor to his wife.
An honorable man honors his wife.
How many honorable men can you think of?
Are you one of them?
In Exodus chapter 20, verse 12, we read:
"Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives you." (Exodus 20:12)
"Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you; that your days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with you in the land which the Lord your God gives you." (Deuteronomy 5:16)
In another place we are told this is the first commandment with promise. Honor is indeed of the utmost importance. Yet it has become very hard to find.
Let's look at another definition of honor from Webster's:
"(Honor is) that which rightfully attracts esteem, respect, or consideration; self-respect; dignity; courage; fidelity; especially, excellence of character; high moral worth; virtue; nobleness; specifically in men, integrity; uprightness; trustworthness; in women, purity; chastity."
How many do you know who have dignity?
How many do you know who have true courage?
How many do you know who have fidelity?
How many do you know who have excellence of character?
How many do you know who have high moral worth?
How many do you know who are virtuous and noble?
How many men do you know who have integrity and are upright and trustworthy?
How many women do you know who have lived lives of purity and chastity (abstinence from sexual immorality)?
How many men and women of honor do YOU know?
Are you one of them?
The American Heritage Dictionary puts it this way:
"(Honor is) principled uprightness of character; personal integrity."
"A code of integrity, dignity, and pride, chiefly among men..."
"A woman's chastity or reputation for chastity."
It is no wonder honor is so hard to find, when so few live honorable lives.
To whom should we show honor? Is it to those who we think are worthy of our honor? What does the Bible say?
In Romans 12:10 we read,
"Be kindly affectionate to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves."
1 Timothy 5:17 says, "The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching."
1 Timothy 6:1 says, "All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God's name and our teaching may not be slandered."
And in 1 Peter 2:17 we read, "Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king."
So let's break this down. Who does God command us to honor?
We are to honor one another - our families and other believers.
We are to doubly honor the elders who are in authority, especially those who labor in the Word and doctrine - the teachers, preachers, ministers, and others who work to bring us the Word and sound doctrine.
We are to honor our masters - in today's language, employers and bosses. Otherwise, we are causing the name of God and his truths to be blasphemed.
We are to honor those in authority over us, whether governmental authority or otherwise.
Finally, we are to honor everyone.
Most importantly, we are to honor God. Honoring God is our first responsibility. And to honor God, we must show honor to others.
In what other ways can we honor God? Proverbs 3:9-10 tells us to "Honor the LORD with what you have, with the first of all your crops; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will bust out with new wine."
When we honor God with all we have, both on the outside and from the depths of our heart, God will stretch forth his hand of blessing, as he did in the infancy of the great land of America.
In fact, God's blessings on this country because of the honor our forefathers showed him, were so great they extend even unto this very day, despite the dishonor God is shown in our increasingly Godless society.
Let's take another look at Revelation 4:11: "You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created."
What does this mean? What does this tell us? What does this say to YOU? It says this:
God created your life. God created your breath. God created this earth and every sea and continent therein.
God created all these things for his pleasure, and he is worthy of honor!
God does not desire religious honor. He desires honest relationship from the heart.
As God says in Isaiah 29:13, "...these people draw near with their mouths, and honor me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the commandment of men..."
God does not just want us to sing in church while we think of what we'll be doing this afternoon; God does not want us to recite memorized prayers and verses but not engage our hearts to truly speak with him and breath his Words of life. And he does not want our fear of him, our reverence of God, to be the result of man-made doctrines, traditions, and rules.
The Word of God is to be our sole authority. Anything anyone adds to this is a "...commandment of men."
Another way we honor God is through obedience.
Romans 2:23 says, "You who make your boast of the law, through breaking the law do you dishonor God?"
We are to honor God by obeying his Word. We are to honor his Word by submitting to it as the highest authority.
We also are to honor that which God has ordained.
And what has God ordained?
God has ordained government, and the Bible tells us no one can have authority unless it is given by God. We are to honor those in authority over us.
Today, we speak all manner of evil against our leaders and our government. But the Bible clearly teaches us this is wickedness. We are to speak evil of no one. And we are not to speak evil of those in authority.
God has ordained marriage, the life-long union between a man and a woman as husband and wife.
In Hebrews 13:4 we read, "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."
We wink at adultery and are made to feel like ignorant bigots if we object to a homosexual lifestyle, or treat such a union as less than the union of marriage between a man and a woman.
Yet, by honoring that which God has not only not ordained, but that which he has condemned, we dishonor that which he HAS ordained and blessed.
When we honor romance outside of marriage, we dishonor marriage, for it is the rightful embodiment of ALL romance and intimate affection.
When we honor a homosexual lifestyle, we dishonor marriage between a man and a woman, for this is the only intimate union acceptable in God's eyes.
When we entertain lustful thoughts and look at things we shouldn't, we are dishonoring the union between ourselves and our spouse, even if that union has not yet taken place.
When we watch others have moments of intimacy through our televisions, we are dishonoring marriage, for the intimacy of marriage is between only the two, and God, behind closed doors, and it is dishonoring this holy union to watch these acts taking place between actors and actresses who are paid to commit various levels of adultery and impurity while millions watch.
I would like to make one final point, and then we will close with prayer and have our time of fellowship next door. And my final point is this:
When we ourselves become worthy of honor, we will find honoring others comes almost automatically.
How can we become worthy of honor? Let's take a look at what God's Word says about the matter...
"Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.
"Both riches and honor come from you, and you reign over all; and in your hand is power and might; and in your hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all." (1 Chronicles 29:11-12)
True honor comes from God. If you wish to receive the right kind of honor, that honor must be bestowed upon you by God.
Let's read an example of this in second Chronicles chapter one, verses eleven and twelve:
"And God said to Solomon, Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked for riches, wealth, or honor, nor the life of your enemies, neither have you asked long life; but you have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may judge my people, over whom I have made you king:
"Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto you; and I will give you riches, and wealth, and honor, such as none of the kings have had who have come before you, nor any who will come after." (2 Chronicles 1:11-12)
Because King Solomon did not seek honor, but instead sought after Godly wisdom, God poured out wisdom and knowledge, and added to it riches, wealth, and honor.
Speaking of wisdom...
"Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honor." (Proverbs 3:16)
"Esteem her and she will exalt you. Embrace her, and she will bring you honor." (Proverbs 4:8)
To be honorable, you must seek and obtain Godly wisdom.
Certainly there are things which will cause you to be honored. But there are also things which will cause you to be dishonorable.
We read in Ecclesiastes 10:1,
"Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a foul odor: so does a little folly to him who is in reputation for wisdom and honour." (Ecclesiastes 10:1)
Foolishness, which is the absence of Godly wisdom, brings dishonor. You cannot live in disobedience, rebellion, or foolishness, and expect to be honorable. It just won't happen, and it will make you stink.
"He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored." (Proverbs 13:18)
If you are proud and unteachable, you can forget about honor. It's not for you.
As we read a moment ago, following after Godly wisdom is the cure for anything in our lives which may be grounds for dishonor.
Proverbs 15:33 tells us, "The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor comes humility."
To find that Godly wisdom which brings honor into your life, you must fear God. Pray for the fear of the Lord, and cultivate it in your life, and with it, cultivate humility; and you will grow in wisdom and in honor.
"It is to a man's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel." (Proverbs 20:3)
A hot tempered person brings dishonor upon himself. You cannot have a short temper and be worthy of honor.
"Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life." (Proverbs 22:4)
Humility and the fear of the Lord go hand-in-hand. You can't have one without the other. And they both will bring wisdom, success, and honor flowing into your life.
Sexual impurity brings dishonor.
A line has been often used, "If you love me, you'll have sex with me." But unless you're married, this is a bold-faced lie.
The truth is when you have sex outside of marriage, or participate in anything that awakens sexual desire outside of marriage, you are dishonoring that person, yourself, and God, not to mention their and your future spouse.
"Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another." (Romans 1:24)
"For this is the will of God, that you should be sanctified, and that you should abstain from sexual immorality;
"that every one of you should know how to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable,
"not in passionate lust like the heathen who do not know God;
"That no one go beyond what is right and thereby defraud his brother in any matter: because the Lord will judge all such sins, as we also have already told and warned you." (1 Thessalonians 4:3-6)
When you participate in sexual activity or activity which awakens sexual desire before marriage, you are defrauding your brother or sister. You are dishonoring him or her. You are demonstrating selfishness and disrespect, not love.
Here's one question we may do well to ask ourselves: From whom should we seek honor?
If our focus is on receiving honor from others, our faith will become weak.
"How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes only from God?" (John 5:44)
And we should not expect that anyone is obligated to honor us, for we read in Romas 9:21, "Does not the potter have power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?"
We are instead supposed to first and foremost seek to obtain honor of the Lord. Will God honor you? He most certainly will! And when he pours out his honor upon you, others will honor you too.
To receive honor, you must fear God, remain humble, and obey.
If your whole life is lived to serve Jesus, your Father God will bestow upon you the highest honor!
"Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me." (John 12:26)
If we do what is right, we will have glory, honor, and peace!
"But glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile." (Romans 2:10)
In closing, I offer you this challenge:
Live an honorable life of purity and outstanding moral character.
Live a life that pleases God, serving the Lord Jesus Christ.
Live a life that submits to authority, respecting and honoring others.
And you will grow in humility, the fear of God, Godly wisdom, and great honor.
"You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created."
The ministry team can come to the front as we close with prayer.
Lord God, thank you for giving your Word to us today, and for giving us your Holy Spirit to empower us to obey. I ask that we will take this message to heart today, and as a result our lives will begin to change. Help us to honor you, to honor others, and to become men and women who are honorable and full of your Holy Spirit.
If there is anyone here or under the sound of my voice who does not know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, God is honoring you today with his message of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Accept his gift of life to you today, and allow him to fill your emptiness inside with peace and joy, purpose and meaning, and hope and vision for this life and for the life to come.
Just talk to God now from your heart. Simply say, "Jesus, I accept your gift of forgiveness and reconciliation with God today. Forgive me for my sins. Wash me clean. Make me right with God. Come into my heart and be the Lord of my life. Teach me how to live, as I read and obey your Word. Thank you Jesus. Amen!"
If you need prayer for anything, or if you just gave your heart to Jesus, come to the front and pray with us. Feel free to instant message one of the ministry team, and we'll be glad to pray with you.
The rest of you, please feel free to make your way to the room to your left where we'll all meet in a few minutes for our time of fellowship.
May the grace of God give you the special enablement to seek after wisdom and purity, may you experience the presence of God in a new and real way as you seek him in prayer, and may you be covered with a mantle of honor as you seek to honor others and to thereby honor God. Amen.