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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #36 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 8

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 12 each day this week.I count 24 injunctions or commands or imperatives for the believer here in Romans 12. I’m aware that the expression “critical imperative” is redundant, but I think it’s useful for what we see here in this great chapter. Let’s continue our multipart study by looking at verse 10.

We’ve seen that the believer is to offer his body as a living sacrifice, not to conform to the pattern of this world, to be transformed by the renewing of his mind, to think of himself with sober judgment, to use his gifts to build up the body of Christ, to hate as God hates, and to be devoted to the body in love!

The eighth critical imperative is —8. Believers are TO HONOR ONE ANOTHER ABOVE THEMSELVES! (v. 10)

What does it actually mean to honor someone? We are to show them respect, care about what they care about, give them the benefit of the doubt. It sounds a bit strange to say to someone, “I honor you.” What is involved in honoring someone? Here’s a brief survey of that term in the Scriptures with my summary at the end:

√Ephesians 6:2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—
√Psalm 8:5 You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.
√Psalm 22:23 You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
√Psalm 84:11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
√√Psalm 91:15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
√Proverbs 14:31 Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
Proverbs 21:21 Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.
√Matthew 15:8 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
√Mark 6:4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.”
√John 5:23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
√Romans 2:7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.
√Romans 13:7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
√1 Corinthians 6:20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
√2 Corinthians 8:23 As for Titus, he is my partner and co-worker among you; as for our brothers, they are representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ.
√Philippians 2:29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him,
√1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
√ Fathers and mothers are singled out to be honored. God has crowned the human being with glory and honor in his creation. The Lord gives favor and honor to those whose walk is blameless. God promises to deliver and honor the one who calls on Him. Honor is withheld in a familiar setting like home or country or among one’s relatives. We are to seek glory and honor and immortality. We are to give honor to those who are owed honor. We can be an honor to Christ in the churches. We are to welcome servants of Christ with great joy and to honor such people. Elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor (= financial support?). We are to honor the emperor (= government officials). 1 Timothy 5:17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.
Hebrews 2:7 You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor
√Hebrews 2:9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
1 Peter 2:17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
√2 Peter 1:17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
√Revelation 4:11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
Revelation 5:12 In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

A Summary:

What does it mean to honor God? The term “honor” is used interchangeably with the word “praise.” One action which honors God is to be kind to the needy. It is possible to honor God with one’s lips but one’s heart is far away from Him. We are to honor the Son as we honor the Father. Not honoring the Son = not honoring the Father. We are to honor God with our bodies. Our praise should include honor and glory for ever and ever to God. Christ is now crowned with glory and honor because of His sacrificial death. Christ received honor and glory from God the Father at His transfiguration. God is worthy to receive glory and honor and power because of His creation work. It is the Lamb who is worthy to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.

What does it mean to honor other human beings? Fathers and mothers are singled out to be honored. God has crowned the human being with glory and honor in his creation. The Lord gives favor and honor to those whose walk is blameless. God promises to deliver and honor the one who calls on Him. Honor is withheld in a familiar setting like home or country or among one’s relatives. We are to seek glory and honor and immortality. We are to give honor to those who are owed honor. We can be an honor to Christ in the churches. We are to welcome servants of Christ with great joy and to honor such people. Elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor (= financial support?). We are to honor the emperor (= government officials).

Conclusion: God honors faithful servant-leaders and we are to do the same. We owe honor to those who faithfully serve the Lord. Honor involves praise, recognition, and, perhaps, even monetary support. And Paul tells us to “honor others above ourselves.”

Today’s Challenge: Which servant-leader deserves to be honored by you? And what steps will you take to fulfill that challenge?

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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Finding Deep Joy in a Sad, Shallow World (A Study of Philippians) Part 12 JOY and Missionaries!

We are looking at the sixteen uses of the word JOY (and its variants) in Paul’s epistle to the Philippians. This morning let’s notice his eleventh use of that term in chapter 2 where we read —

29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me. (ch. 2)

How we treat fellow believers is really critical, according to Paul. Epaphroditus had been sent by these Christians to minister to Paul, to “take care of [his] needs.” And while Epaphroditus had gone to help Paul, he (Epaphroditus) had become sick — almost to the point of death!

It is interesting that Paul didn’t tell Epaphroditus to “claim his healing in Jesus” or demand his “birthright” as a child of God. Paul was not a prosperity preacher! He says that “God had mercy on him” and spared Epaphroditus’ life. And now Paul is sending him back to these Philippian believers.

How are we to treat such dedicated workers and soldiers? We are to welcome them “with great JOY” and to “honor people like him” (v. 30). This “brother, co-worker and fellow soldier” is to be respected and held in high esteem.

How do we treat those who serve the Lord in similar ways? In many ways today’s missionaries are contemporary examples of Epaphroditus. They are to be welcomed “in the Lord with great JOY!”

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2019 in joy

 

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Getting to Know . . . 2 Samuel (chapter 11) David’s Sins and Displeasing the Lord! (Part 2)

As we continue our study of 2 Samuel 11 and the rape of Bathsheba, let us read over the text before we make some comments:

Several further observations of this text:
1. David now has to develop a plan to cover up his sin of raping Bathsheba. When she says, “I am pregnant,” David comes up with the brilliant idea of granting a military leave to Uriah.
2. David sends for Uriah, a command which Joab immediately obeys (v. 6). The coming home of a soldier is often used today to sell everything from cell phone plans to American flags. Patriotism is honorable (but David dishonors it here).
3. David engages Uriah in conversation. He asks him how Joab was, how the soldiers were doing, how the war was going (v. 7). Those weren’t the reason David had Uriah leave the battle front. Those questions are virtually small talk in David’s plan of earning Uriah’s trust.
4. David sends Uriah home to “wash his feet” (hoping that he would sleep with his wife and when the child is born everyone would say, “Ahh. It was when Uriah came back home for a little R&R! But doesn’t the baby’s nose look a little like King David’s?!”) David even has a gift sent after Uriah, but his cursed loyalty had him sleep at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants! (v. 9).
5. Uriah’s answer to David’s question why he did not go home reveals the heart of a loyal soldier: “How could I go home to eat and drink and make love to my wife when the ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents in the open country?! I swear to you, King David, I won’t do such a thing!” (v. 11).
6. So Plan A doesn’t work. David has to move to Plan B — get Uriah drunk. Drunk people do things they normally would not do (or so I’m told by others). But even in his inebriated state, Uriah sleeps on a mat with his master’s servants and does not go home. David has to move to Plan C.

(to be continued)

Some takeaways for me:
1. Never underestimate the deceitfulness and diabolical nature of sin.
2. We should honor those who serve their country and not take advantage of them when they are not at home.
3. We should be grateful for the unvarnished reporting of Scripture about David and his efforts to cover up his sin. The Bible does not sugarcoat human depravity.

 

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2019 in 2 Samuel 11

 

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Getting to Know . . . I Samuel! (Chapter 9) Lost Donkeys and a Found King!

As we continue our study of I Samuel, our text this morning is a bit long.  Let’s read — and think through — I Samuel 9 . . .

So, Samuel has been commissioned by the Lord to give into Israel’s demands for a human king. We now learn some of the story of the one who will be Israel’s first human king — Saul.

Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, has a son who was a model for the magazine GQ. Not really, but Saul was “as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel” (v. 2). And he was also taller than everyone else.

It is in the course of everyday life — the episode of some lost donkeys — that Saul’s life will dramatically change! The search for the missing donkeys was coming up empty-handed (vv. 3-4), so Saul was fearful his father would stop worrying about the donkeys and start worrying about them (v. 5). The servant suggested they consult a nearby “man of God” for advice. Saul agrees and realizes they have no gift for the man. The servant offers his own money and they set out to find the man of God (vv. 6-10).

Receiving some advice about the “seer,” they meet Samuel on his way to the high place. Just the day before the Lord had instructed Samuel to anoint “a man from the land of Benjamin”! “He will deliver Israel from the Philistines . . . for their cry has reached me” (v. 16). When he sees Saul, Samuel is told by the Lord that “this is the man I spoke to you about” (v. 17).

Samuel invites Saul and his servant to eat with him and promises to tell him “all that is in [his] heart” (v. 19). “And don’t worry about the donkeys,” he says! (v. 20). God must have given Samuel supernatural insight into the whereabouts of the donkeys! Samuel then says, “And to whom is all the desire of Israel turned, if not to you and your whole family line?” (v. 20).

Saul responds in humility, for he came from the least of Israel’s tribes — “Why do you say such a thing to me?” (v. 21). Samuel sits Saul and his servant at the head of the table to which 30 others were invited and instructs the cook to bring the designated piece of meat for Saul. Samuel tells him that this meat was reserved specifically for him! (v. 24).

Around daybreak Samuel called to Saul on the roof to get ready to leave. At the edge of town, Samuel asks Saul to send his servant ahead and for Saul to stay “that I may give you a message from God” (v. 27).

My, how the Lord uses simple things to accomplish His purposes! A couple of lost donkeys! And searching for them leads to Saul meeting the prophet Samuel who will anoint him as Israel’s first king!

We also see how the Lord had supernaturally communicated to Samuel what He wanted him to do. God told Samuel where the donkeys were and to speak some incredible words to Saul: “to whom is all the desire of Israel turned, if not to you and your whole family line” (v. 20).

We must be impressed with Saul’s humility and his openness to hearing “a message of God” which Samuel will give him.

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2018 in I Samuel 9

 

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