RESTORATION OF HONOUR SERIES (5):
Honour Given - Honour Earned
a) Honour is essential in developing and building relationships
Ro. 1:21 When you fail to honour and express appreciation - relationships deteriorate.
b) Honour = a decision to place value, esteem, worth, impotence upon a person and to give them a place of value or priority in your life.
c) Dishonour = despise, remove value, make nothing of, treat lightly.
· People are dishonoured when you treat them as having no value, despise or look down on them and refuse to make them welcome in your life.
· People that are dishonoured tend to dishonour and devalue others.
· When you honour people you recognise and acknowledge their worth and value.
2. HONOUR GIVEN - INTRINSIC VALUE
a) Each human being is of immense value to God because they are made in His image.
Gen. 1:26 - 27 Let us make man in our image and likeness.
· Man is distinct and different from every other living creature on earth.
· Man is a spirit-being, capable of free will choice and of personal relationships.
· Sin - rejecting God’s right to guide and govern our lives has damaged every aspect of man.
· Man, damaged by sin, still is of great value to God, still has great potential. E.g. Gold in an ornament still is of value even if the ornament is damaged.
· No matter how damaged our lives might be by sin - we are of value to God.
b) God has expressed his value of us in different ways
i) The Price paid for us - The death of Christ on the Cross (1 Jn 4:8 - 10)
ii) The Position gives us - He welcomes us into covenant family relationship (1 Jn. 3:1)
iii) The Presence of His Spirit - He indwells our imperfect life and shares it with us (2 Cor. 6:16).
iv) The People he works through -
Rahab - a prostitute
Jephthah - son of a prostitute, family and social reject
Judas - a betrayer and a thief, part of the apostolic team
Woman - 6 divorces, living in sin, social reject
Paul - religious bigot, killer of Christians.
c) Rejecting the intrinsic value of people leads to all kinds of abuse against them.
Ps. 106: 34 - 44 - child sacrifice
Ro. 1:25 - 31 - sexual perversion
· Man has intrinsic value because he is made in the image of God.
· When God is rejected, the intrinsic value of man made in his image is lost.
· People become valuable only for what they can contribute or achieve.
· When we see people as God sees them, we can give them honour, value and respect and relate to them in a way that raises their esteem.
· This kind of honour is not earned - it is given as our gift to them.
· Relational evangelism is not possible unless we learn to value people.
· Effective child raising requires parents continually affirm their value.
3. HONOUR EARNED - CHARACTER!
a) Character is a person’s moral quality, standards, inner principles that direct their actions i.e. what a person is when no one is looking.
· A person’s reputation is how others see them, their character is how God sees them as they really are.
· Ro.8:28 - 29 “Pre-destinated us to be conformed to the image of His Son”.
· The purpose God has for us is to transform our character until it becomes like Jesus Christ. He uses people and adversity to do this.
· Your giftings are always bigger than your character. Your giftings are carried or supported by your character. Failure in character can cause a total loss of ability to express your giftings.
b) God places a higher value on character than gift ministry outward success.
e.g. 1 Sam. 15:22 - 23 - King Saul rejected when his character failed.
e.g. 1 Sam 16:7 - David chosen, his brothers rejected on basis of character.
· Man looks on the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart.
e.g. Lk. 12:20 - But God said to him “Thou fool, this night they soul is required of thee”.
· People can appear successful outwardly but totally fail inwardly.
· God honors and values character above outward performance.
c) Character is something we can work on and develop
e.g. Faithfulness; excellence; honesty; purity; courage; humility
· When a person excels in character they deserve to be honoured.
· By honouring excellence of character we communicate character is important.
· When character is not honoured - we communicate character is not valuable and the person is dishonoured.
4. HONOUR EARNED - ACHIEVEMENT
a) Achievement = a person’s performance, what they have accomplished, their works.
· When a person’s achievements excel or have been outstanding they are honoured because they have earned it. It is owing to them. e.g. Olympic medalist.
· When a person’s achievements are acknowledged they are honoured personally.
· One simple way a person’s work or achievement is honoured is by expressing appreciation.
b) It is wrong and evil and dishonouring to overlook what others have done and take them for granted.
Heb. 6:10 God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love.
· God observes all our actions, our works and has planned a day when each of us shall give account of our works (not our good intentions).
· 2 Cor. 5:10 We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that everyone may receive the things done in his body according to that he has done.
· The purpose of this evaluation is that we might receive honour from God.
· This is the goal of the Christian life - seeking the honour that comes only from God (Jn. 5:44) by a life of personal faith and obedience.
· 1 Sam 2:30 - them that honour me, I will honour, they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
c) God honours the Saved and Unsaved differently
i) The Unsaved
· God honours and values the unsaved because of their intrinsic value to Him.
· He does this by the death of His Son on the Cross and by the primary mandate given to the church to invest its effort and resources in reaching the lost. (Mt. 28:18 - 20).
· The works and efforts and good living (character) of unsaved people contribute nothing to God’s value of them. His love is a gift to them and must be received without any works or performance.
· Eph. 2:8 - 9 By faith through grace - not of works.
· In every relationship the intrinsic value of a person must be established first or they feel only of value if they perform according to what is expected i.e. conditional approval.
· The foundation for our relationship with God is accepting by faith his value (love) for us and the work (performance) Christ did for us on the Cross.
ii) The Saved
· The foundation of our relationship with God remains unchanged. We are of great value to him apart from anything we accomplish.
· We must continue to accept by faith his value (love) of us and the work (performance) Christ did on the Cross making us accepted.
· However, God now looks to honour us on the basis of how we have walked with him, what we have done. This honour is earned, (owing to us because of our actions and response).
· 1 Cor. 3:12 - 15
· God tests the underlying motives and nature of our works and rewards works that come from godly character and obedience.
· E.g. widow’s mite - widow commended!
· Rev. 22:12
· God will reward each Christian according as his work shall be.
· God expects us to be productive in serving him on the earth i.e. that our “light will shine and men see our good works” (Mt. 5:16).
· God honours our ‘works’ by increasing the opportunities available, and by an eternal honour that is given when we see him face to face.
· Receiving the honour that only God can give is the motivation and goal of the Christian life.
Do not attempt to answer all the questions.
1. Why are people of such great value to God?
2. Why is it so difficult for people to accept they are of value to God? How could they overcome this barrier?
3. Which of the four ways God has expressed his value for us impacts you the most, or is most difficult to accept?
4. Why does rejecting the intrinsic value of people lead to different kinds of abuse?
5. Why does God place a higher value on character than on gifting or outward success?
6. What areas of your character is the Holy Spirit drawing your attention to mature in?
7. Who can you think of (family, friend) who has shown some character quality you could admire or honour? What was the quality? How would you express honour?
8. When someone compliments or thanks you for a job well done how do you respond? Why do some people find it so difficult to give or to receive compliments?
9. Can you think of someone who has excelled in some area or done something for
you that encouraged you? What was it? How and when could you thank them?
10.”Each of us shall give account…” (2 Cor 5:10)
a. What consideration or thought have you given to the fact that you will give a
account to God for how you live your life as a christian?
b. What changes do you need to make in your priorities and activities in the light
c. What goals and priorities (if any) do you have in your walk with God?