Well, greetings to everyone, and also to those who watch via the internet and our mobile app. We’re in a five-week series called “Distractions,” and we’re in week three of that series. And I try to do this every time I speak, because I think that it’s important if you’re new here, or maybe you’re a regular attender, or maybe you missed a week, or maybe you missed two weeks. I try to bring everybody back up to speed, so that we’re all on the same page and we know what we’re talking about. In this particular series, the big idea is, we’re looking at the distractions in our lives that we often over look that rob us, or keep us from living out God’s best. And let me unpack that just for a minute so that we’re all here and focused.
We all have distractions. In fact, many of you all are probably being distracted right now thinking about, “What am I going to do for lunch? Oh my goodness, I forgot to get him a card.”
Those things. It happens, I mean, it does. Some of you all just that moment. You’re like, “Oh my gosh, I really did.”
So, we know that we’re distracted. We know that we have distractions in our lives, ok? But many of these distractions are often overlooked because, what we do it, we focus on symptoms. And two weeks ago we talked about people. Just to give you an idea of how that works. I’ve met with people before that say, “Look, my finances are a mess, and I don’t know what I can do. I’m struggling with all of this stuff.”
And the more you sort of get into this, because that distraction of their finances, you realize, they’re hanging out with some people that do better than them, and they’re trying to run at their level, and they can’t. And so they end up, their finances getting distracted, but it was really some of the people in their lives that they needed to think about and do whatever. On top of that, guilt, all of us know how guilt works. I mean, you’ll be doing something, you’ll be at a place serving, doing something, going, “I can’t believe I’m here. I’ve got 19 other things to be doing.”
And you’re there, not because of that, you’re there because of the guilt that drove you to be there. So, we’re looking at these distractions that we often overlook. We’re looking at root cause distractions that rob us, or keep us from living out God’s best. And so, this weekend, I’m dealing with such a weighty subject matter that we’re all going to readily assess some of the distraction that’s going on, and some of the clutter.
But we’re going to try to work down to that root cause. All of us look around our world and we go, man, there’s a little bit of a mess going on. I mean, students don’t listen to teachers anymore. Teenagers don’t respect the police. Nobody respects the fireman. Hardly anybody in America appreciates anybody that’s in Washington, or in their state legislature. You get the huddle at work. You all know what the huddle at work is, right? That’s the group of people that get around and talk about all the things that are going on bad. You ever been in one of those huddles? You know, you get around the huddle. and everybody’s talking about how the boss is not doing any good, or whatever. And we all are aware.
We look at the violence that goes on in our world, and the loss of life, and so on, and so forth. We know all that distraction. We know all that clutter. Well, the root distraction of that clutter is this. It’s vanishing honor in our society. We honor very little anymore in our society. And I want to say we don’t honor anything. That wouldn’t be true. But we honor very little. And it seems like many of the things that we honor are the things that matter to us, and we don’t care about anything else. And you see it all throughout our society.
And so, listen to me, this is huge. Especially – even those that are watching via the internet and the mobile app. Listen to this. Honor is the currency of heaven. You know what a currency is? Currency is an exchange medium. You exchange something for something. When you look at the Trinity, God existing in three persons, distinct persons, equal in nature, the Father honors the Son. The Son honors the Father. The Spirit honors the son. And as they honor one another, as the Son honors the Father, and the Father is elevated, the Father honors the Son. And as the Son honors the Father, He is elevated. And because everybody honors the Spirit, and the Spirit honors the Son, the Spirit moves in our services.
All of these equal three within the Trinity are honoring one another, and as they honor one another, there are things that happen. When we honor people, when we do what God has called us to do, what it does is it unleashes things. And see, honor keeps love from being infatuation, or selfishness. Honor keeps righteousness and holiness from becoming legalism and tyrannical. Honor is the currency in the exchange medium of heaven. It’s why people wanted to be around Jesus. Because Jesus spoke words of honor into people’s lives, and they wanted to be around Him, because they’d never heard anybody speak like He spoke.
Because He honored people. And we live in a society that, by and large, has lost any ability to honor much of anything. And so, I want to talk to about that today. Especially in light of us being at Father’s Day, because honestly, that’s a particular position that isn’t honored as well. So, what we’re going to do here, you can put your Bibles away here for a minute. Because I can’t go through four chapters of this book. I’m going to just sort of do storytelling with Pastor Chip. But we’re going to do a story of a dude named Daniel. That’s not a three-hour trip on a trip. That’s Gilligan.
This is the story of a dude named Daniel. And so, what I want to do is, I want to just sort of walk you through the first four chapter, and I want to call attention to some things. Some of you may have never read the story of Daniel at all. It may be the first time. That’s fantastic. You’ll get up to speed, and if you go home this week and read Daniel 1-4, you’ll be right up to speed. Some of you’ve read the book many times, and I think you’re going to hear some things today that you’ll go, “Wow, I never saw that when I read it.”
But let me just sort of talk you through how the book of Daniel works. Especially in regards to the honor that Daniel shows everyone. So, in chapter 1 we immediately come on the scene, and a guy named Nebuchadnezzar has come in. He’s the Babylonian ruler. He has conquered Jerusalem, and Jerusalem is many, many, many miles away from Babylon. It’s like a two, there, four month walk if you have to take troops, or bring people back, and deport people, and so on, and so forth.
So, he’s gone and he’s conquered Jerusalem, and what he does is he says, “Find me the smartest, most intelligent young Jewish men that are in Jerusalem and bring them back to Babylon so that I can train them in the ways of Babylonian culture.”
And you may wonder, “Well, why is he going to do that?”
Well, in the ancient near-east, what they would do is, they found this out. And they found that if you conquered some place that was, like, hundreds of miles away, since you didn’t have cars, and planes, and helicopters, or whatever, if they started getting into civil unrest, it took months to get something over there to keep that civil unrest down. Or you had to keep a huge military presence there the entire time to keep that civil unrest down. And that was just expensive, especially having to run stuff, and food, and everything back and forth. It just became a big expense.
So, what they would do is, when they conquered an area, they’d keep the military there for a while, but they would bring young men back, and they would train them in the ways of the conquering nation. And then they would send those young boys back to rule. So, the people that were being ruled were being ruled by their people, because it was tribal and clansy-like back then. And it made it work. It didn’t always work, but it made it work a lot better than having to do all the expenses to actual keep that place under rule. So, they bring Daniel and three other boys back, which we know as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
It was the Babylonian names they were given. They had different Jewish names in chapter 1. But they all come in, and as they come in they start to get cultured. And so, they’re going to learn the ways of the Babylonians. They’re going to learn the culture. They’re going to learn the language. They’re going to learn the stories. All pf that good stuff. So, the attendant comes in to feed them one day. Daniel looks at the food, he knows that that’s not the way they eat, and he honors the attendant by saying, “Hey, man. Can we just do something here? Look, I know that your job is important, and I know that you can’t get in trouble, but, dude, look, if you could work with us, this would be awesome. I’ll tell you what, give us ten days, and if it doesn’t work, then all bets are off. But give us ten days to eat the way we eat.”
The attendant says, “Well, you know, look, we can’t do this for long.”
So, God gave them some favor, but they honored the attendant in a nice way. So, the attendant lets them eat for ten days. Well, after ten days they look good. Nothing wrong with them. In fact, King Nebuchadnezzar realizes, “These boys are really smart.”
And so, as he sees that he elevates them to their first job. You know what the first job was, right? It was to be in a small group. Did you know that? Small group. A small group of diviners, and soothsayers, and mediums, and spiritualists. He puts them in a small group of those people. What did Daniel do?
Did Daniel go, “I’m not doing that. No way. King, you’re going to hell. Let me tell you why.” None of that. He honors the king and they go and they join this group. Curtain drops, we go into chapter 2. Nebuchadnezzar has a dream. He has a dream and so he calls some of these wise men, that he calls them, the spiritualists, diviners, soothsayers, to come help him understand the interpretation of his dream.
Well, Daniel’s in a small group, he’s not a small group leader. So, he’s not asked to come and be a part of this conversation. The king says, “Hey, I had a dream. I need to know the interpretation.”
The guys say, “Well, king, tell us the dream.”
He’s like, “I’m not telling you the dream.”
He’s like, “I have put you up for housing. I’ve paid for your salaries. I do all this stuff. If you guys got any power, I ain’t telling you my dream. Let’s see your power.”
And they’re like. “Well, king, if you could tell us the dream…”
He’s like, “No, no, no, no, no. We’re not doing the dream.”
Anybody ever seen Jeff Dunham? You know, the guy with the puppets? He’s got Achmed, the guy that’s like, “I kill you!” You ever met that guy? That’s what the king does. He gets the puppet up and he says, “I’m going to kill you!” And so, he says, “Well, I’m going to rip you limb from limb. I’m going to destroy your house. I’m going to kill your wives. If you can’t tell me what my interpretation is, you’re gone.” They’re like *gulp*. They go back. The king says to his commander, “Go kill them all. Get rid of all of them.”
While the commander’s on his way, Daniel meets him. He’s like, “Hey, man. Look, now I know I’m, like, in the group, but has it really got to be that urgent. Because, see, I wasn’t called to the group. Totally respect what you’re doing. I’d really like to talk to the king.”
He doesn’t go, “Go ahead and kill all these people, because they’re all a bunch of scums. Get rid of them. I mean, they’re all worshipping all kinds of God and everything.” Doesn’t do that at all.
He says, “Can I go and talk to the king, please? I’m honoring you, I’m honoring them. Can I go talk to the king?”
He says, “Well, ok.”
So, he goes to the king. Daniel’s like, “Look, man. I didn’t get to come in the first wave. I really, really, really would like…just give me a little bit of time. You have to tell me the dream, and I’m going to come back, and I’m going to tell you what’s going on.”
The king says, “Ok.”
He honors the king, the king says, “Sounds good.”
You know, Daniel goes back. It’s not in the English Bible, but it’s somewhere there in the Hebrew where he goes back and says, “Boy, we’ve got to get a hold of God tonight, man.”
It’s in there. It’s somewhere in there. But he’s like, “Dude, we got to really get a hold of God.” And so, he starts praying, and God give him the dream. The big statue, and all the kingdoms, and tells him everything. And the interpretation. And so, Daniel, after he gets this, he’s excited.
So, he prays, and he says, “Lord, I thank you that you have given me the truth. All these other pagans deserve to die. And could you remove those in Jerusalem, because they’re there illegally. And, Lord, strike down Nebuchadnezzar, and may his days be few.” That’s not what he prayed. I’m making that up. That’s why you’ve got to read the Bible. Some of you were going, “Amen! That’s a good prayer!” He doesn’t pray that. He doesn’t pray that. And some of you all watching the internet going, “Woo! I thought that was a good prayer.”
No, no, no. That’s not what he prayed. Wrong, wrong, wrong. That’s why you’ve got to read your Bible. Keeping you on your toes. Here’s what he does. Here’s his prayer. Check this out.
This is out of Daniel 2:20-23. He says, “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever. Yahweh, You’re the God forever and ever. To whom belong wisdom and might. God, I don’t have any wisdom and might. You’re the one who has it. You’re the one who has all the wisdom and all the might. Blessed by Your name. You change times and seasons. God, I don’t even know how the world works. I don’t even know why things happen the way they do, but You’re the one who’s in control. You remove kings and set-up kings. It’s my job to honor the king. You’re the one who put him there in the first place.”
Man, I think that could be a church series. He removes kings and sets up kings for us.
Anyway, he says, “He gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to those who have understanding.”
He’s like, “You know, I’m hanging around this small group. There’s people, man. These people worship some crazy stuff. They do some crazy things. But, man, some of them are smart. Some of them actually have some knowledge, and God, I know that You’re the one who gives wisdom and knowledge. And I don’t know how You do all that. And I don’t know how You do all the king things. But You’re God, and I’m not. And I worship You. And you reveal deep and hidden things, and You know what’s in the darkness. God, I don’t know what’s in the darkness. I think I run around telling everybody what’s in the darkness, and what’s dark, and what’s this. I just need to zip it, because You’re the one who really knows what’s in the darkness, not me. And the light dwells with You, not me. You’re the one the has the light, not me. And so, God, I worship You for what You’ve done here, because, God, You’re the God of my fathers, and I give thanks and praise, for You’ve given me wisdom and might. Lord, You’ve given. You’ve shared some of that with me, because You’ve now made known to me what we asked of You. For you’ve made known to us the king’s matter.”
I love this. Who’s praying? Who’s wanting the dream and the interpretation to be understood? Well, it’s not just Daniel and the four Hebrew boys. It’s every one of those guys back there that knows their life is on the line. And Daniel doesn’t go, “Hey, man. It’s all me.”
He says, “No! You’ve helped us. You’ve helped everybody understand the king’s matter.” Wow. Man, he honored the king so much.
He’s like, “God, thank You for helping us help the king.”
Let’s continue on. So, he goes to the king and says, “King, listen to me. I don’t get this for me. This is for you. This is so that you know what’s going on. God has helped you out.” He tells him the whole story.
He says, “There’s a big statue. And your kingdom’s here. And there’s going to be some other stuff. But at the end it’s going to be God’s kingdom. Yahweh’s going to reign.”
And he says, “Man, you’re a smart dude, Daniel.”
He goes, “You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to move you from small group participant to small group leader. And I’m going to let you rule a province.”
Daniel says, “Fantastic. Fantastic.” So, you’d think maybe at this point the king would go, “Ok, I probably need to get serious.” And he does.
Chapter 3. He says, “I’ve got a great idea. Yeah, I’ve got a fantastic idea. Let’s make a statue of gold that looks like me, and let’s have everybody worship it.”
He says, “That’s a great idea.”
He goes, “Take that statue, take it out there to the province of Dura. And send a heralder out there to proclaim to the people this. Tell them, ‘You’re commanded, o peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, the pipe, the lyre, the trigon,’” – You know what a trigon is, right? That’s the little triangle thing. *Ding ding ding* It’s not. I’m just kidding. – “‘harp, bagpipe, and every stringed instrument. Every kind of music,’” – Just making sure you’re awake. – “‘and you’re to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar set up. When you hear the music, fall down. And here’s the deal, if you don’t, you’ll be immediately cast into a burning, fiery furnace.’”
Well, this is the province of Dura. There happens to be three boys out there; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. It’s not back where the king’s at, this is at another province. So, the trumpets go off, and the triangles, and some people came down from the southern part playing the little mouth harp. I’m just kidding. So, they’re doing their stuff, and everybody falls down and worships the thing. But the young boys are like, “You know, look, man. We honor the king. We’re not going to say anything negative about the king, whatever. But this right here, this is where the line is. We honor, but the line is, I can’t worship you. At all.”
So, they go, “There’s three boys. They’re not worshipping.” King goes, “Go get them.” He goes and gets them.
He says, “Guys, what is wrong with you?” He’s burning in furious anger. He’s like, “What’s wrong with you? What God is it that you worship?” These boys honor the king so much that they don’t even tell them who their God is. They’re like, “King, we’re not here to try to tell you what to do. We’re not here to tell you how to do it. We honor you. The bottom line is we serve a God. We’re either going to die, or we’re going to live. But the bottom line is, we’re going to serve this God.”
It means so much respect for this king. They could’ve said, “You sorry dude. You’re doing this, and doing that.” Which most, unfortunately, Christians probably would’ve done. They don’t do that at all. So, he throws them in to the fire. He’s mad. And all of the sudden, God shows up in the fire. You know, God shows up when you’re honoring people.
He says, “Woo! Never seen anything like this.” He goes, “You know what? We probably ought to let this Yahweh dude, we ought to probably let Him have some worship, too.” And the curtain goes down. Chapter 3. And then chapter 4, Nebuchadnezzar has a real dream. And it’s a bad dream. He knows it’s a bad dream. He knows it is not good for him.
So, he calls his boy Daniel in and says, “Daniel, tell me what the dream is.”
What does Daniel do? Does he look at him and say, “King, listen, buddy. You’ve got all these pagan spiritualists doing all this crazy stuff. You’ve got all this stuff going on. In fact, I’ve been putting it on Facebook, letting everybody know how corrupt you are. And putting it on Twitter, and telling everybody how corrupt you are. And telling everybody how corrupt you are. Then all this stuff.
Dude, the bottom line is, right now, man, you are reaping what you are sowing. Bam! God’s judgment.”
No, he doesn’t do that at all. In any way, shape, or form. Listen to what the Bible says Daniel does in telling him his dream. At first Daniel, who had been Belteshazzar, that’s his Babylonian name, was upset. He loved the king so much he was upset. Would you? Would you have honored him? He’s upset. The thoughts that came swarming into his mind terrified him.
“Belteshazzar,” the king said, “stay calm. Keep calm.” That’s where the meme comes from. Keep calm. I’m just kidding. Some of you will get that in a minute. “Don’t let the dream and its interpretation scare you.” “My master,” said Daniel (Belteshazzar).
“I wish this dream were about your enemies, and its interpretation for your foes.” Unbelievable. Unbelievable. The honor that he gave that man. He realized, “That man is there because God put him there. That’s why he’s there. And it’s my job to honor that position. I don’t get on Facebook and do all this stuff. And I don’t do all this other stuff. I honor these things, because God’s put them there.”
And what you see when you go through Daniel is, you see that Daniel honored everybody. No negativity. No spewing anything. He honored everyone, and what did God do? God elevated him. Because, you see, honor is the currency of heaven. It’s what unleashes heaven in our lives. Let me give you a couple other examples, because this is important. And I know some of you right now, you’re thinking, “Oh, man. What in the world do I do with this? Man. Has he been looking at my Facebook?”
No, I’m not doing that at all. What I’m saying is, look, every one of us struggles with this, but the reality is, our society is bankrupt, because we don’t honor anything anymore. And it doesn’t start out there, it starts right here in the household of God. It starts by us starting to do the things that God has called use to do. Let me give you a couple of examples here. This is radical stuff. Remember David and Saul? If you’ve never been in church before, maybe it’s your first time, you might not know who David and Saul were. They both were kings. Saul was the first king of Israel.
Remember what happened? God asked Saul to do some things through the prophet. Saul didn’t honor the prophet, nor God. And the whole kingdom was taken. And so, Samuel comes to Jesse’s house and he says, “Hey, God’s got a king here, and I need to anoint him.” The dad goes, “Ok. Here’s my boys.” And the only boy that was really out honoring his dad was David. He was a shepherd boy. He wasn’t even called into the lineup. Samuel looks at the lineup and goes, “He’s not here. Is there anybody else?”
They’re like, “Well, we got this other guy, I mean…David. He smells like sheep. Plays the harp. He might be able to play the triangle.” So, they bring David in. Did David look at them and go, “How come you guys didn’t honor me? How come you didn’t pull me into the lineup?” Not at all. Honors everybody. Samuel says, “You’re the king.” And anoints him king. You know what his first job was? Part-time worship leader. Tight, skinny jeans, and a V-neck t-shirt. David was the king. He could’ve said, “I don’t do part-time.”
He plays for Saul, and when he plays for Saul the evil spirit starts to melt away. And then Saul starts chucking spears at him. “Facebook, you won’t believe the king. He throws spears.” None of that. None. Honors the king. One day he’s out walking around. He’s like, “Man, the king’s daughter? She is a hot chiquita, man.”
And I don’t know it’s so hot when you’re wearing those big robes. It’s like hot, hot. But anyway, he says, “Man, she is hot.” And so Saul, who wants David dead, because he doesn’t honor anybody. David’s honoring Saul. And God continues to elevate him. He says, “Here’s what I want you to do. You want my daughter?” He goes, “Go get me 100 foreskins of some Philistines.” Let me tell you something, you ain’t never worked for a boss that’s tough until he tells you to go get 100 foreskins from some Philistines.
Some of y’all are like, “I got my boss.” Let me tell you something, you have no idea what it is to have a boss. So, what does David do? He goes and gets 200. He gets 200. You can read that in 1 Samuel 18:25-27. Unbelievable. Honors the guy. Does double. Well, later on in David’s life, David’s in a cave. And the Philistine’s have a garrison in Jerusalem, and he’s got his mighty men around him. And he whispers in the cave, just under his breath, he says, “Man, if I could just have a cup of water from the well at Bethlehem, that would be awesome.”
You know what those three men do? They go and fight through the Philistines to get him a cup of water. Why did they do that? Because, see, he honored. And when you give honor, honor comes back to you. They would’ve fought through anything. Listen to this, you can teach what you know, but you reproduce who you are. When you can’t give honor, honor will not come to you. Because here’s the takeaway. You can write this one down. If you can’t show honor in the tough times, we’ll never be able to lead in the tough times.
Now, you’re probably at this point going, “Whoa, man. This is weighty man.” Some y’all started to clap one time, and you’re like, “Man, I don’t know. I don’t really want to clap, because I might have to say that I agree with some of this, and I’m not sure that I do.”
Get out your sheet of paper. Get out your pens. Let’s do some take-homes here, because this is important. This is huge that we get this. This is life-changing for a church, and life-changing for our lives, and you’re going to see this here in a minute. First of all, write down this. Honor is the currency of heaven. It is the exchange medium in heaven. We talk about bringing heaven to earth. How do we bring heaven to earth? We do it through honor. You honor God, and you honor your neighbor.
How do you do that? How do you love God? How do you love your neighbor? By honoring God. Remember, the Bible talks about honor. It says that they didn’t honor God. Just listen to this.
Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage should be honored by all.”
1 Timothy 5:17-18, “Elders who lead well should be considered worthy of double honor.”
Romans 13 tells us to honor our leader. Romans 12:10 says to outdo one another in showing honor. Hebrews 13:18 says that we should act honorably in all things. 1 Peter 2:17-19 says that we ought to honor everyone and we ought to honor the emperor. That’s the emperor that took Paul head and crucified Peter upside down. Ephesians 6:1 & 4 says children are to honor their parents.
Let me tell you something, your children are not going to your parents if the parents don’t honor one another. You can’t teach it; you can only reproduce what you are. The lack of honor in our society is because nobody is honoring people anymore. And where it starts? It starts here in the household of God.
What about Proverbs 3:9? “Honor the Lord with your wealth and your first fruits.”
Honor’s the currency of heaven. Now listen, this is important here. This is huge. The enemy uses accusation. He’s the accuser of the brethren. Heaven uses honor. Every time you open your mouth, and you write something, and you say something that is dishonoring to people that God has put in positions, you’re becoming a tool of the enemy. That’s why we’re so bankrupt. We’ve bought into this, “We’ll I’m an American. I have freedom of speech.”
You don’t have freedom of speech as a Christian. You don’t. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and we’re to speak forth life and destiny to people, not negativity and whatever we want to say. And that’s why we’re bankrupt. Some of you are like, “Yeah, maybe. But that might change my life if I had to live that way, and I’m not sure that I want to.”
No! This is good preaching. It’s better than you’re letting on. It’s the truth. It’s just the truth. And everybody’s like, “Eh *claps unenthusiastically*. I’m going to get a steak on the grill for Father’s Day.”
This is what happens. See, the enemy uses accusation, but heaven uses honor. Write this down, because this is the big one here. Listen. Respect is earned, but positions of honor are appointed by God. See, what we want to do is this. I mean, I get it all the time. See, you know what some positions of honor are? Husband and wife. Leaders. Teachers. Policemen. Professors. Pastors. Youth pastors. Leaders. Those positions of honor are appointed by God. You don’t get to choose whether or not you respect that. You honor that position, because God has appointed it there.
And what we do is this. We go, “Well, if my wife would just get this together, and do this, and do that, then I would do this.” No! That’s called “respect is earned.” Positions of honor are appointed by God. We don’t get to choose. We honor them. And when we honor them, it unleashes heaven in our lives. Let me tell you something. Some of you all have some marriages that are on the rocks, and I’ll tell you what, heaven would be unleashed if you started honoring those positions that God has appointed, rather than trying to get respect that’s earned. Listen to me here, this is a serious issue, because the church doesn’t see God work the way we want. We all read the Bible.
We go, “Man, God does all this stuff. How come He’s not doing it.” He’s not doing it because what unleashes heaven is honor. Jesus couldn’t do certain things because they didn’t what? They didn’t honor Him. And how do you honor God? By honoring people. And by honoring positions that God has appointed by God. And when we go through our lives and we look, there’re certain positions that’ve been put there. And listen, if you can’t find something good to say, then don’t say it. And don’t tweet it. And don’t Facebook it. And don’t get around the huddle at work and tell everybody how bad everybody is. And your boss, and your wife, and this guy, and that guy, and the other guy, and everything else.
Respect may be earned, but positions of honor are appointed by God, and God expects for us to honor those positions that He has put there. And when we do that, what we’re saying is, “I’m trusting God.” He’s the one who know it. God back to Daniel’s prayer. “God, I don’t know how the world works. I don’t know why people are there. But I know they’re there because You want them to be there. And I’m going to honor the process along the way.” That’s called faith. That’s called trust. That’s called belief. And God wants us to live that way. So, here. What does it look like to be a church of honor? What would that look like in our lives? What would it look like for you and me to be a church of honor? To be people of honor? What would it look like? I’ll give you some ideas.
Listen, I understand, this is messy. I understand we’re going, “How do I do this? How do I do that? How does this all work out?” Let me tell you something. If we could move 10% better in our honoring, we would move the ball forward. And I’m not talking about going 0-60 in two seconds. I’m talking about going home and saying. “God, you know what? This is absolutely true, and there’s a lot of things in my life that I’m not honoring. Help me start somewhere, and help me start working on this.”
If we were to do that, we would start seeing heaven unleashed in our lives in ways that we’ve never seen it. So, what does it look like to be a church of honor? First of all, how about we celebrate people’s strengths without calling attention to their weakness? Maybe that’s a place to start. Could you imagine if every time you came into church, rather than going, “They didn’t do this, they didn’t do that,” can you imagine in all of our lives? Can you imagine at work? In our marriages? Can you imagine?
You say, “Honey, you know what? You do this so fantastic.” Rather than going, “Honey, these are the things that you don’t do.” Can you imagine if we unleashed honor in ways like that? What about this? What about if we recognized the value of a person without focusing on what they’re not? See, what we do is this. We create labels. We create terms. “Call it this.”
But it’s a label. And see, when you can label something, they become less than a person. That’s gone on from the foundation of the world. Label somebody something. “Call it this.” And then what you can do is, you can get them back because they’re less than a person. What if we recognized the value of people without focusing on what they’re not? What about if we called forth the potential destiny in people’s lives rather than proclaiming out supposed judgments that we have no idea what we’re talking about in the first place?
You don’t know what that person’s walked through. You don’t know what that person’s done. You don’t know where that person’s been. And yet we sit there and throw stones, and put stuff stuff out in social media, and get in huddles at work and talk about stuff. We know nothing about what we’re talking about, and all it is is our arrogance and our pride and religion sort of just coming out of our pores. When where heaven is unleashed, it’s through honor. You know, the sinners, they wanted to be around Jesus. Did you know that?
In Luke 15 it says, “The sinners and the tax collectors were drawing near to Him.”
Why were they drawing near to Him? Why did they want to be around Jesus? Because he was speaking honor and destiny into their lives. And they wanted it. What if we rose about the clutter and starter speaking destiny and positive things into people’s lives? And if we don’t have anything good to say, we don’t say anything at all. You’d see God work in your life in such a way that it’d be unbelievable. Now, here’s the take-home. Here’s the landing of the plane. Listen to me, and listen to me closely here. This is really important. Jesus stands up in the synagogue in Luke 4 in Nazareth, and He opens up the scroll of Isaiah and He says, “Listen, today captives are getting set free.”
And all of the sudden, people start lifting up in their seats. He says, “Blind are going to see. The broken are going to be healed. And the day of Jubilee, where God rearranges everything, the favorable year of the Lord, it’s here among you.” The Bible says that everybody in the room was astonished and amazed, because destiny started rising in that room. The one brother stands up and goes, “Isn’t he the carpenter’s son?” And the whole room goes *noise*.
Jesus says, “Guys, remember the famine in Israel? Everybody was in famine. Food nowhere. God’s, like, Jehovah Jireh, guys.” I mean, they knew that. These are Jewish people. They know those words. “He’s the provider. He didn’t provide for anybody. Not one person. Except a gentile woman from Zarepheth that had one cake left to eat, for her and her son, until the old prophet rolled in and said, ‘Give me your cake.’ And she honored the prophet by giving her cake, and all of her provision was taken care of. Because honor unleashed provision.”
He says, “Guys, you remember when everybody was, like, ill with leprosy? Everybody had leprosy, remember that in Israel? And nobody was getting healed? Well, there was this one dude,” –he was a gentile by the way, a general in the Syrian army named Naaman, – “remember what he did? The old prophet said, ‘Jump in the Jordan,’ and he honored the prophet? And he was healed. Because honor unleashed healing.” What is the church in need of? Provision and healing. And what did the Gospel writers say about Jesus when He went to Nazareth?
It says, “He didn’t do mighty works there, because they didn’t honor Him.” This is the time, right now, and you watching via the internet and the mobile app, this is the time right now where you push away all that clutter, and you say, “You know what? Honor is the currency of heaven, and I’ve got to get out of my mind al the stuff. And I’ve got to start honoring. And when I honor, what’ll happen is, that’ll unleash heaven in my life.”
And I’m here to tell you something. In your marriages, in your health, in your finances, in your social lives, if you start honoring others, you will see God unleashed heaven in you. How do we bring heaven to earth? By being people in a church of honor. Let’s pray. Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for today. And what I want to do first and foremost, Lord, is I want to pray honor into the lives of all these fathers that are here today. Lord, it’s a position that has not been honored very much as of late. It’s a position that’s been ridiculed and criticized.
It’s a position where everybody’s said, “Earn me some respect.” Lord, that is a position of honor. They are a father because You have appointed them there. Which means they are worthy of the honor of being called a father. And I pray, God, that every man in this church today would feel their chest puff out just a little bit, and their head raise up just a little bit, knowing that they’re people of honor. And, Lord, I pray in our church, and in our own personal lives, we’re not going to fully get all this stuff right. There’s not a ten step way to do all this. It’s messy.
But, Lord, what I do know is that the Bible is very clear that when we honor, we unleash You. And so, Lord, I’m praying right now for Your glory. and for Your honor. That you would help each and every one of us to just take a moment of inventory to realize where we can start showing some honor that we haven’t been showing honor. And let it start with us.
Let it start with us as individuals, and let it start here at Grace Community Church, to be a church that give honor in the way it’s pleasing to you. So, Lord, I pray that as we leave You would watch over us and protect us. I pray that You would lead and guide us. I pray that You would continue to help us to be the light that You have called us to be here in the Lakewood Ranch area for Your glory. Bring us back safely to when we meet again. And I pray that every father in this church today would have a great day and would be celebrated for who that are. We thank You for it. In Jesus’ name. And everybody said, “amen.” Give the Lord a hand clap and tell Him You love Him.