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Made for More Andrew Hopper | Mercy Hill Church Logo

Household of Honor - 1 Timothy 5 - 6:2 - Gospel Church

Made for More / Andrew Hopper | Mercy Hill Church
The Truth Network Radio
September 24, 2022 8:00 am

Household of Honor - 1 Timothy 5 - 6:2 - Gospel Church

Made for More / Andrew Hopper | Mercy Hill Church

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September 24, 2022 8:00 am

The church is God’s Plan A, and there is no Plan B... God created the household of faith for a reason, and He’s inviting us to be a part.

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All right, you guys have probably heard this figure of speech before, but people say, don't judge a book by its cover.

All right? Other people, a different figure of speech might be, all that glitters is not gold. Or the one that we've been talking about through this series is, the proof is in the pudding.

They all sort of have the same idea. That is, you can't tell if something is the real thing just by looking at it from the outside. You really need to have an interaction with it if you're going to understand if it's the real thing or not. That really is, I think, a lot of the theme of the book of 1 Timothy, that what God is saying through his scripture to us is, if the church is going to point to its divine maker, then any interaction with it, people are going to see things that are not normal. They are going to see things that can only come from God.

All right? The Church of Jesus Christ says of itself that it is a movement all throughout the world to bring glory to God and see changed lives and all of that. If that is true, then there would be things in it that are just a little bit different than the world. And when you interact with it, you would know that. There would be a taste there that you would look in and you would say, man, that actually is the real thing. You can't judge a church based on a website or based on a social media account. It's like, once you get in, you realize, man, there is something happening here that God is at work and God is doing something. You got to actually taste and see. I think about it like this.

We planted a campus out at Northeast. Okay? You guys know that.

And a lot of people thought it was because there's a big need for churches out there. Actually, it's because there's a Captain D's out there. Okay? I don't know if you guys have ever seen Captain D's.

No, I'm joking. Some of you guys are like, man, I don't even know what Captain D's is. At the Hopper House, we eat pretty clean. All right? Mama Hopper, Anna, she's pretty into that. And I'm into that as well, even try to raise some of our own food and stuff. But about twice a year, okay? Because my dad's up here. If he comes up here or we go down there and we're all together, all the boys are together.

So we don't do a lot of fast and fried, but about once or twice a year. And if we're going to do it, we're going to hit up Captain D's. Now, some of you guys are like, man, I've never had Captain D's. Well, you need to try it at least once. Okay? Because you put a little piece of that fish on top of your head and your tongue will slap your brains out. Okay? I don't know if you knew that. It'll make a puppy pull a freight train and make you slap your grandma.

All of the figures of speech that I can think of. But here's the thing. Maybe it's not Captain D's for you and I'm just kind of being funny. But maybe for you, there is a restaurant in Greensboro or whatever, where you're like, man, you keep telling people you got to try it. Okay? You're like, you got to try the whatever.

You got to try the whatever. You're trying to get them to see if you interact with it, then you're going to understand. There's something about the maker that comes with the interaction with it. And I think that's what the Book of First Timothy, just as a reminder, because we haven't said this in a couple of weeks, is trying to get us to see. There are things in the church that when you get involved with them and interact with them, they should point us to its divine origin. And one of them, what we're going to talk about this weekend is a culture of honor. Showing honor shows the gospel.

That's the big idea for this weekend. Showing honor shows the gospel. When we honor one another, when we give each other the respect that maybe we don't even deserve at times, but that the gospel compels us to do. When we give each other that type of honor and respect, man, the gospel shines. You know, every Christian should know the feeling of what it feels like to know ultimately that Jesus Christ came to us and he ultimately esteemed us when we didn't deserve it.

I mean, Jesus Christ has come to us and he has said, hey, you before me, I'll put you ahead of me, even though you don't deserve it, that's what I'll do. And every single believer understands what that has been like to be shown that, and then we should go out and show that to others. And that's what the Bible gets into here in First Timothy chapter five, where he begins to say, hey, you church are a family. And as such, you should show honor to one another. I know not all of us do this perfectly in our own little nuclear families, but we understand what we should do. We should honor one another. And the Bible is going to tell us to do that same thing in the church family.

Look what it says. Do not rebuke an older man, but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters in all purity. There are three little aspects to honor culture that we're going to get into, widows, elders, and bond servants and masters, all the way through chapter six. Those are the three that we're going to get to, but I want to start here because what we're going to see is that this is all grounded in family. Remember what I said earlier, the church is a household of faith.

We talked about that last week. The church is a household of faith. The church is a family. And as a family, there is a ways that we should be treating each other as fathers, as mothers, as brothers, as sisters, as older men, younger men, older women, and younger women.

Paul assumes that the church of Jesus Christ, and I can't see you at our campuses, but I'm sure it's the same way there. He assumes that the body is going to be a multi-generational body with older men, younger men, older women, younger women. The church is meant to be a multi-generational deal. The church is meant to be, man, there's kids running the hallways and there's grandparents. There's singles that sit in the same community groups as people that have been married for 20 years.

There's people with young kids. There's people with kids that are already in college, and this is what the family is. And therefore, because there are different life stages to the family, all right, then we need to lean in and figure out how we should treat each other based on where we are.

You don't treat an older man like you do a younger man, or an older woman like you do a younger woman. There is something that comes from a multi-generational deal. Guys, sometimes churches will have models that really end up isolating one generation, and I think it's to their detriment, all right? You know, I remember when we planted Mercy Hill, just the fact that I was as young as I was and all that, it attracted kind of a younger crowd for a long time, and I praised God when we began to start seeing people come in that weren't just, you know, early 20-somethings, college students, all of that.

I mean, it was funny. When I would see anybody walk in that looked like they were, you know, 40, 50, 60 years old, I mean, I would flock to them and basically try to recruit them almost to a youth group, even though it was for seniors, okay? And try to bring them in and say, man, we need you here because it's going to be hard for anybody else to plug in here if they don't ever see anybody that looks like that. We need the multi-generational aspect. You know, some ministries really kind of isolate one young generation that's the same as some older churches that have kind of have either dwindled or they've kind of circled up, and they're all in one generation. I want you to think about this. That's odd for a family, isn't it? Like a family with all one age is like an episode of Twilight Zone.

I mean, that's weird, okay? And think about it. It's like, no, the family should be all time. And so what he says here is, hey, you need to think about that in a multi-generational crowd. We got to think about how we're addressing each other. This book is written to Timothy.

Timothy's a pastor. I take this right to the heart and say, man, I got to make sure I'm talking to people in respective to their different life stage that they're in. Men, women, older, younger. But I think we can extrapolate something from all of this, okay? I think we can all get something from it. And maybe you could sum it up like this, okay? Don't talk to someone older than you like they're younger than you.

Now, that is not licensed to talk to younger people just any kind of way, okay? Let me just go ahead and say that because there's going to be some families that are like, they've got teenagers and there's kids, little kids in the family, and they're like, okay, great. I can just kind of, no, we're not saying that. But what we are saying is the Bible talks about in the book of Proverbs that the glory of an older man is their gray hair. There is respect that comes with that. And there is respect that should be shown.

I think about this in my life and pastoring a church. There are times when I have looked across the table from younger men or guys that are my age and just about wanted to put my finger in their chest and tell them just as straight as I could possibly tell them, bro, you're going to lose your family if you keep walking down this road. And almost want to say it to them just like that. I'm trying to rattle the cage.

It's a little bit of football coach comes out where I'm grabbing the face mask, you know, and I'm trying to get right in their grill. I don't do that with an older man. You know, with an older person, I've got to have a little bit more tact as a pastor to be able to realize, man, this is going to be hard for them to hear because I'm 30 years younger than they are. In the same way that'd be hard for me to hear a book from a teenager, it's hard for them to hear a book for me, right? So I've got to take that into account and don't talk to them in the same way that I might.

Now, that doesn't mean they don't need to be corrected at times. Man, we all can stand to be corrected at times and age is not, doesn't mean you can't be corrected, but there is a way that we talk to people. There's a way that we talk to parents. There is a way that we talk to younger people.

All right. And that's kind of the idea that I think that he is, is getting at here. Now, one of the other things I think we've got to see is he also talks about younger brothers and younger sisters in the faith. And I think one good question for us, especially at High Point, Clifton, we got college students, we got a lot of young professionals at those different campuses, younger people in our church, are your interactions with each other characterized by this phrase that he came up with, all purity in verse two.

Are they characterized by all purity? Christians, we've got to be wise in the way that men are interacting with women, the way that we're dealing with younger people than us and all of that. We've got to be wise in this. There is nothing that will crack a small group, crush a ministry or break a church like failures in this area with leadership.

That people would step in, they would not have the correct boundaries, they would not treat each other in all purity, they fall into sexual sin and all this kind of stuff. And what I would call our church to see is, man, this is why we've got to be wise. We've got to pray for wisdom. We've got to pray for our elders to be wise and lead in a godly way because we've got to have enough sense to create the right boundaries without creating such boundaries that we can't even be brothers and sisters.

You see what I'm saying? We've got to have the wisdom to be able to not fall off of one side or the other, but to walk that third way and say the church is a family. We will deal with younger brothers, younger sisters in different ways than older men and older women in terms of fathers and mothers, but we will be a family, love each other, but we will do that in all purity. Now, I spent a little bit of time on that, okay, because I want you to see this sermon is about honor culture. I think that most of chapter five, the very beginning of chapter six is about honor culture in a church, but it's grounded in family. It's grounded in this idea that we are brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers.

This is how we come together as a church family. Therefore, let us show honor three very particular areas, and the first one is among widows. Honor widows who are truly widows, but if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents for this is pleasing in the sight of God. She who is truly a widow left all alone has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. Command these things as well so they may be without approach, but if anyone does not provide for his relatives and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Now, the first, there's three, okay, and the first one is about widows, but we're going to move that and we're going to talk about widows, but I also want us to understand, I think in our day, we really need to think about the vulnerable in our society when it comes to this, okay? What does it mean to show honor? Here's a good definition of showing honor. Showing honor is ascribing worth through action, not just sentiment, right? It's not just like, man, I love you, I respect you. It's like, no, through some type of action, we are ascribing worth. It is showing others respect by giving aid or by giving a proper attitude towards one another, and he starts with the widows that have bought all the way in, man.

These are people that have come in. Now, widow in this culture may not just mean that a spouse died. It's an older woman that is alone, okay? She doesn't have a husband and that's the lot that she's in in life, but she has leaned all the way into the church. I read an article just last week about this, about how widows, and I would say widowers, widows, if that stage of life comes, and none of us want that, if you're married, fully understand that, but we have seen that at Mercy Hill over 10 years. We have seen different widows or widowers, and we've seen different things happen. One of the articles that I was reading talked about six or seven things that the church has got to recognize about widows. One of the things of the seven was what a gift to the church they can be, because what happens is 1 Timothy 5, that when you see someone in that state, they can lean all the way in, and they can lean all the way into the ministry.

You know, there's one particular person in this situation in our church who she said, hey, next year, and the year after that, and the year after that, and the year after that, I'm picking a certain time during the year, and I'm going on a mission trip to a certain part of Asia where I'm going to be able to use my giftings when it comes to agriculture and that kind of stuff, and I'm going to start going year after year after year so that I can establish relationships there and hoping to see the gospel move. And this is a widow in our church. So I say that to say this. I think that's what he's getting at.

They've leaned all the way in, okay? So these are widows that have leaned all the way in, and they've leaned all the way into the church, and now they are supposed, now the church needs to come around them and take care of them if they are widows. One passage like this, a widow in need, widow in deed, because that's a little bit what he said.

Look what he said in verse three. Honor the widows who are truly widows, okay? Now, this is, I think, the point that he's trying to get at. Widows 2,000 years ago may be in a different class than they might be today just based on the way the power structures set up 2,000 years ago. You know, widows are put right alongside orphans in James chapter one, all right? So you're living in a society without 401ks, without social security, without life insurance, okay, with a court system that's set up where you kind of need a man to represent you and all that stuff. And so widows are left in this day in an incredibly vulnerable situation. I would say we need to maybe think about expanding this and think about people who are in different categories as well. Yes, literal widows, absolutely, but also the disabled. Also think about people, the families with kids with special needs, single mothers, that maybe it wasn't a widow thing, but it was an abandonment thing, and now they're in a very tough situation. Here's what the Bible says about how we are to interact with them. The first thing it says, this is interesting to me, if you go back and read it, it's saying, hey, you need to let the family of that person minister to them first.

Now, that's interesting, isn't it? Because I think many of us would think the church is supposed to be the front line of every single type. No, no, no, not in this situation. In this situation, you can absolutely hurt by trying to help. And that brings up, you know, we just need to kind of zoom out from that for one second and just say, y'all, the church of Jesus Christ absolutely can hurt people trying to help people.

And we've just got to think about that. You know, if parents and compassion continually step in for older kids and you continue with the money and continue with the money, but it's fueling a more of a lifestyle of debt for them, it's not actually helping, right? We think it's, we're trying to be compassionate, but it's not actually helping. You can think about that with the poor in our society. The book of Proverbs talks about this.

It is the appetite of a man that will fuel his work ethic. Can we help the poor in a way that actually crushes the poor? Absolutely. We can do that. So we've got to think about how do we step in, in situations and actually help instead of hurt? Well, the first thing when it comes to widows and families like this, and if we want to zoom out a little bit and say the vulnerable, the first thing we need to do is to call their biological family up to the task and support them in the task and come around and come alongside them and come around them. And this is what we need to go to first.

Why? Because if we don't, we might, we might set up a situation, not meaning to, we might set up a situation where God was trying to call them to selflessness and godliness. He was galvanizing them in a situation. We took that opportunity away from them and maybe it ends up even hurting. You know, I was thinking about this illustration because when I was, you know, I spent a lot of time, I mentioned this, I spent a lot of time in Montana when I was a teenager all the way through my early twenties, every summer we would go out there and one summer I lived on the Fort Peck Indian reservation for a month and I was 18 years old and man, it was incredible. We did ministry.

It was, it was just, it was just, it was awesome in a lot of ways. Well, here's what happened. There was some kids that we were doing ministry with that started hanging around the little church we were, that we were living at and they started hanging around there around lunchtime every day. And so we're 18 years old and a couple of us, what do you think we did? I mean, we just immediately jumped into savior mode and we're like getting out the peanut butter and jelly and we're like, man, we got to go to the store and, and excited to use our, our little bit of money. We had to fuel the, the, the, the food pantry thing. Cause these kids need lunch and they're showing up for us to, to eat lunch and all that. And about the second day we did that, the missionary, the missionary that was there, shut it down.

He shut it down fast. And he said, Hey man, them kids ain't orphans. They got parents.

And he said, those parents, if they realize, man, this is a desperate, this is a desperate area, but those parents have the means to feed these kids. Look at them. They're healthy.

Look at them. They have the means. If you start feeding them, they might take those means and go do something else with it. There is a way that you could help that actually is hurting.

And that really marked me. I look at this pastor, I think it's a real good opportunity for us to think about that. So the first boundary here is, man, with the vulnerable in our church, we don't immediately jump to help if it may actually hurt. First, we need to look at the scripture and say, man, who else in this particular situation? Do we need to call up the family that is around them?

That kind of, that kind of thing first, but here's the deal. But when there is truly a widow, that's what he said in verse three, a true widow, truly the vulnerable. Now the church has got to step in and absolutely be a shining light to the world in the way that we care for each other. It looks like caring. It looks like making sure we stay in touch, man. It looks like a text. It looks like meeting actual or perceived kind of needs. It looks like asking the question, but also jumping in without maybe even asking the question. It looks like making sure that people in this category can get to church functions and that we make accommodations for them to be here and be in our midst. Man, that's what it's about here.

And this is the thing. When we have people in our congregation, I love this. You know, there's a song that we've been singing here lately that says this, I've never seen the righteous forsaken. Do you know that when somebody is in this situation, a 1 Timothy 5 situation, here's what it is. It's a vulnerable person that listen, has decided to lean all the way in. When that happens, I have never seen the righteous forsaken. I've never seen it in this church one time.

That when somebody is actually in need and they decide like these widows to be all in with the church, man, to gather groups, give, go, I'm going to be in a group. I'm going to let my needs be known. I'm going to let my campus pastor know that there is an issue going on in my life. Not the second day that I'm here.

Okay. But I'm going, I'm going to, I'm going to come in and I'm going to lean all the way in. I've got this need in my life, y'all. I'm telling you, I've never seen the righteous forsaken. And that's what I think this passage is trying to get us to see. Let us be a church guys that continues to do that and does it in greater ways. I would love to do it in ways so much that the vulnerable from even outside the church understand that this is a beacon of hope and a light that they can come to and be ministered to.

If they would lean all the way in and allow God to begin to do that work in their life. Y'all, we need to plant churches around this as well. I'm going to say one thing about this and move on. I read a heartbreaking story this week, Vrindavan, India.

Okay. It's outside of Delhi. This is a place in India. 20,000 widows over the years have descended upon this city. Do you know why? Because in their religious tradition and the brand of Hinduism that is there, then the widows are absolutely shamed because they couldn't keep the soul of their husband. And so your husband died. Well, you're kicked out of the family now. You're, you're going to, you're going to be shamed.

You know, no, no jewelry. You got to wear mourning clothes, rest your, I mean, the husband's family literally might kick them out. If the husband's family is kicking them out, may we pray to God that there be churches of Jesus Christ that meet them with open arms to say, come in and we'll see.

I actually got, I actually put some stuff in motion this week. Like, man, what is, what is happening with church planting in that exact area? Because this is where the church can shine, man, not, not a shame, but a gift to the church. And we can't wait to help meet your need of the widows and the vulnerable. Number two, let's get down to verse 17.

Okay. Because in one sermon covering this whole honor culture, we got to skip through a little bit here. We're not going to hit every single thing, but here's what verse 17 says, let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor and preaching and teaching for the scripture says you shall not muzzle an ox when it shreds out the grain and labor and the laborer deserves his wages. Now, again, grounded in family, thinking about, you know, we thought about the vulnerable, Hey, there's honor there. But then it says this, now it shifts and says, show honor, actually double honor. There's a progression here, honor the widows, double honor the elders. We're going to get into one more progression here in a minute. Double honor is to be shown to the elders.

Now, what does that mean? I think from a 30,000 foot view, all right, this is where I think this is where I think the congregation can come together and decide, Hey, we want to be a joy to the leadership of the church. The leadership of the church is accountable.

The leadership of the church is going to lead. I pray in a way that is not stiff neck or harsh, but in response, there is going to be a joy in the congregation. And I think that comes from Hebrews 13, obey your leaders and submit to them for they are keeping watch over your souls. As those who will give an account, let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. The last thing that I tell my sons every single day, when they get out of the truck to go to school, all right, they open the door. And the last thing they hear out of my mouth is son, be a joy, be a joy to your leaders.

And what I want them to see is when you are a joy to them, it will be an advantage. You saw what he said in verse 17, an advantage to you because nobody wants to go to a church with cranky pastors and frustrated pastor wives. Nobody wants to go to that church. You want to go to a church where there is pastoral staff who are excited to labor among you.

That's where we want to be, right? So that there is a joy in the congregation and there is a joy at the elder level. And the Bible calls us here and says, hey, show your elders double honor, okay? And listen, I know this can sound self-serving because I'm one of the elders at Mercy Hill, but this is what the word says.

This is what it's talking about. And there's a bunch of other elders that I want to make sure that we are showing honor to as well. I think double honor means two things, all right? I think it means that we honor them by respecting them, number one. What is our posture when our elder is going to come to our community group that night? Man, are we excited to welcome them in? Are we so pumped to have them come and sit with us? What is our posture when one of our elders says, man, we got to talk. Like there's something going on in your life and we got to talk about that.

And that's hard. And I know that it's not an easy thing to do, but are we having an attitude toward them that is respectful of them? I think the second thing that this means in elders and showing them honor, I think that the first, you know, the widow thing kind of carries a bit of a financial connotation to it too. I think this does as well.

Every single commentary you read will point to this idea. You shall not muzzle an ox when it shreds out the grain. I think what he's saying here is that it is permissible in the church for some of the elders of the church to be paid by the church so that this be their vocation as well. And I think that's what he's getting at here. Now, when you start thinking about that, that can get really touchy, right? Because there's two extremes when it comes to church stuff. There's one extreme that's like poverty ethic for the pastor. There's another extreme that's like, hey, the pastor is a status symbol for our entire church.

So make sure he's driving a Bentley. Okay. It's like, man, we need, you know, there's, there's kind of both of those extremes and I've seen both of them. I mean, there are churches that they're, they're, they, I mean, they're, their attitude toward the pastor is Lord, you keep him humble. We'll keep him poor.

Okay. We'll do that. There's others that are like, Hey man, he stands for us. We want him to have all, you know, and what I would just say is like, Hey guys, double honor. We just need to put our head on straight here and just say, I think this means generosity without extravagance. I think that's what it means that we would want to be very, and that's what we want to be with our pastors here, man. There, there could be, there could be an extravagant church in Texas that comes in whisks. One of our, it's always Texas. Okay. That whisks one of our pastors away because they, you know, pay them four times.

What's the normal going rate. And they fly them out there in a helicopter and all that. I mean, that, that, that could happen in extravagance. But what I don't want to happen is that there'd be a church of similar standing, similar area, similar size. They're doing a similar job. And then realize that, man, we're just not paying them the right thing. You know, it's like, there should be generosity there without extravagance.

My point is this. I think a church is healthy when the congregation has respect and honor for their pastors and the pastors feel an incredible privilege to be able to serve. And I pray that that will be our attitude here. Now look what it says in verse 19, again, about elders do not admit a charge against an elder, except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. Now this is interesting as for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all so that the rest may stand in fear.

I think there's a bit of a check and balance here that he puts in. When there are elders who are found to be in sin persistently, it is not like other people in the congregation where maybe it's dealt with at a community group level, or maybe it's dealt with with a few people. It's like, no, if there's an elder who is persistent in sin and church discipline is applied, then this is one of those things where it's like, they need to be rebuked publicly because the rest of the elders need to understand they are called to be above reproach and there is a higher standard, not perfection.

Nobody's ever going to be able to do that. There's got to be a repentance and a heart that's like, hey, I'm trying and there needs to be guys around, but you understand what I mean. There's a different line. There's an above reproach kind of thing. The flip side of that is, okay, verse 19, you don't admit a charge against an elder or you don't, another passage might say like this, you don't entertain an accusation against an elder without two or three witnesses. Now this is crazy in our culture because in our culture, a whisper is a conviction. And what this passage says is it doesn't say two or three witnesses for a conviction. It says two or three witnesses for an accusation.

Now, why do we need to, why do we need to understand that? Because we've got to understand that the eldership of a church has a constant target on its back. There's whispering, there could be slandering, there can be gossip and the church has got to have this understanding of spiritual warfare and an attitude enough to say, man, if something comes out and we know we're going to deal with that, but we are going to be people who give the benefit of the doubt church, are we giving our leaders the benefit of the doubt church, are we giving our leaders the benefit of the doubt? You know, I think this passage has pulled some from Deuteronomy chapter 19 that a single witness should not be enough and all of that, that's more of a law thing, but I just think about it in our culture.

This is a hard line to walk. I mean, I want you to think about how the church can adopt an institutional rage attitude because that's what's in the culture. If there's power structure, if there's an institution, there is a conviction. At the same time, we have to have our head on a swivel all the time because there has been abuse in churches. There's spiritual abuse, there's sexual abuse, there's this different kind of stuff. So again, we got to have wisdom in dealing with this and in being able to see, hey, we're not, whisper's not a conviction, but we are going to be, we're going to do the right thing when it comes, if it comes out, that's what it said.

They need to be rebuked publicly. So we're going to have a commitment to doing the right thing. And I think that's what the Bible is trying to get at here. There is honor, hey, respect, there's honor and generosity, and there's honor and giving the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the eldership of our church. Now, the last thing that I want to get into here, because there was three places where he talks about showing honor and I want to just try to build an honor culture in our church based off the word. Here's the last one, chapter six, let all who are under a yoke as bond servants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the grounds that they are brothers, rather they must serve all the better since those who would benefit by their good service are believers and beloved. Now, guys, we started talking about bond servants, your translation might say slave, you start talking about masters, things can get really dicey, and I want to slow down, okay?

I want to make sure that we understand what's going on here and call it like it is, okay? Here's what I think the Bible is trying to get us to see very macro, all right? First of all, it talked about honor going to widows, then it talked about double honor going to elders, now it's talking about all honor going to the masters of people who are holding other people in some type of servitude.

Now, how do you square that? I think what Paul is saying is, hey, I mean, just as a way of making his point, because isn't this what happened to us in the gospel, give the most honor to the people who are the least deserving? I would want to flip that, wouldn't you? All honor would go to the widows, double honor maybe to the elders, but just honor to the masters, he flips it, and it's this progression all the way down. The most honor maybe to the least deserving, is that not what happened in our life? Christianity has never, we got to understand this, let me just talk about this for a minute, I'm gonna talk around it for just a minute, okay? Christianity has never been primarily a social reform movement.

It's not, that's not what it is. But the gospel, when it spreads, reforms societies. All right, so the aim of the New Testament is not the abolition of slavery, that's not. But when the gospel goes forward, it plants a seed that cracks the foundation of not only that, but a lot of crazy things that have happened and inhumane things and terrible things that have happened throughout the history of the world. All right, now we look at this passage and we say, okay, what about this? How can the Bible talk about this institution? My answer to that is, how could it not talk about it? 2000 years ago, there were 50 million slaves in Rome.

How could we not? You got to understand, instructions are not approval. The Bible talks a lot about slavery because there were millions and millions of people who woke up and found themselves in that situation. By the way, there are still millions and millions of people around the world who wake up and find themselves in that situation.

This is not condoning. This is instructions for in a particular time and place, how do you wake up in this situation and be a believer? Now I've already said, when you embrace the gospel and a society begins, I mean, think about Wilberforce, think about the emancipation movements in our own nation.

Go back and read what was being written. A lot of it was based out of the gospel. A lot of it was based out of those things. And I know, especially in the South, there were preachers who were pointing to things like this to keep people in bondage. I understand that. But ultimately, when that seed is planted, it can crack the foundation of what is something that is very ugly. All right, now let's talk about slavery here for just a minute and bond serving.

I'm probably going to use that word. It's what my Bible, my translation use. But just so we understand a couple of things, okay? The Bible speaks about this without condoning it.

But it does speak about it a lot because of how many people were in it and how many people are in it today. But if we go back and we say, well, wait a minute, what does the scripture have to say about it? I would say at the very beginning, the scripture has what we need in this. Genesis 1 27, God made them male and female, not slave and free.

He made them male and female, okay? When we begin to get into things, and I'm telling you, they end up denigrating the value of the image of God in others, where we end up seeing one group of people as less than or different groups of people. I mean, we could even get into this without even using the word slavery. We could talk about the way we think about the homeless or the disabled or the prisoner or the felon or the caste system in India. It may not be actually slavery, but whenever we have started to label, I am over you in terms of value and worth, y'all, we have violated exactly what God has told us from the very beginning, that he made us male and female, equal in the image of God.

Another thing that I think we've got to talk about with this just quickly here is that this concept of bond servant does carry a different meaning around the world and even in the scripture than what might come to our mind. I know what comes to my mind. Man, I've studied these things. I've looked back on these things.

I have a history major. I mean, I've read, I could name different books on this stuff. Man, what comes to our mind is the horrific chapter in our nation's history. And I don't think that's wrong that that's what comes to our mind, but what, you know, just the pain of it and all of that. But what we've got to do is realize that's not exactly what's being talked about here. All right. When you look at slavery in Rome, man, I'm not saying that anybody would want to be there, but it was a little bit of a different thing in different situations.

Okay. My point is there is a wide range of what that would have meant. You have slaves that are craftsmen and dealing with economies. You have slaves that own other slaves. You have slaves that the second they're turned loose, man, they want to actually come and join the family that they've been brought into. There's indentured servitude where someone sold themselves for a certain amount of time that they could come out. There's all of these different things that are different than maybe our experience.

I'm not saying it wasn't awful. I am saying that we need more of a generalized picture here. Now, what exactly do we do with this?

I think here's what we do. We've got to realize number one, the Bible doesn't condone this practice. It doesn't condone. In first Timothy 1 10, by the way, the Bible talks about slave trading and talks about it being a sin on par with homosexuality and other things.

Okay. So the Bible is very clear on that, but there were tons of people who found themselves in that situation. And this might have been the case in Ephesus. You might've had a church where master and bond servant were sitting together in the same service hearing this message preached. So what is Paul saying to that church? And what is he saying in that moment? Well, I think at first Corinthians, he said this, you know, in first Corinthians, he said, man, if you can get freedom, get freedom. If you can do that, do that.

And I think there's probably some implication there for those who had slaves in, in, in that time or bond servants in that time. But here's what he says. He says, show honor. He tells, he tells the bond servant, don't take an advantage of someone who is over you simply because they're sitting with you in church.

Actually, you should flip it. And instead you should allow the fact that they're a brother to fuel your service to them. If you have found yourself in this situation. Now I want to apply this to us today.

I think about this, how many of us, the temptation to slander malign, give minimal service to a boss? You know, we, we might, we might think about that. And the problem is some of us might actually say, you know what? They're a believer. So they should give me grace.

No, you're a believer. So you should give them your best. That that's, that's the way I think he's trying to get us to see here that just because the boss man was a Christian, it doesn't mean that we don't that we hold back. Actually, it means that we are fueled in greater ways because we say they are brother, they are family, and I'm going to serve them to the best of my ability. All right. Those are the three places that he talks about an honor culture. And I think from that, we need to just try to extrapolate a little bit here and we need to talk about our own hearts and then we'll be done. All right.

So here's the application for this weekend. Build a culture of showing honor. Are we ascribing worth to others through our actions? Are we are, you know, are we giving aid and an attitude? Are we respecting people in that way?

And we say, man, I need help in this. Well, then we need to look to the gospel because I think the very foundation of showing honor is realizing that Jesus was dishonored so that we could be honored. All the honor was due to him, but we got it.

How did that happen? I mean, we have been esteemed. We have been brought into the family. We have been given more than we could ever imagine. Heaven awaits. How does all this happen? How can we be showed this type of honor?

Not just through sentiment, but through action. Jesus Christ has come for us. Jesus Christ took the penalty of our sin and gave us the rewards of his life, of his righteousness and his resurrection. He offers us a chance to live in the newness of life and Christian, that should mark you to be an honor shower really for the rest of our life.

We should never be able to get over it. Look what Jesus did, who he was, and he did this for me. So the next time we have a struggle with this, with showing honor, man, we think they don't deserve it. I'm the one that should be getting honor in this situation.

We got to think about this. As Jesus has been to me, I will be to others. As he has been to me, I will be to them. Some of us might think I can't show honor because it cost me too much.

For our sake, he who was rich became poor. He showed honor in that way. Some of us might think, and I just, guys, I have no idea. Never been in that situation.

I just can't imagine. You're sitting there a couple thousand years ago and you're hearing, okay, man, all right, not eye service, not lip service, give him my best. I'm going to show honor. I'm a bond servant. I'm going to show honor to this master. And because he's a brother, I'm going to pour it out. I'm going to do what I can do.

I'm going to do that. I can't imagine being in that situation because I feel like what I would think is they don't deserve it. But the next thought should be, well, did I? Did I deserve somebody to show me honor like Jesus has shown me honor? Of course they don't deserve it. But I didn't deserve it either because of my sin and because of where I was.

The next time that I'm like, man, I can't show honor because I'm too busy. I don't have time. Can we just think about Christ? You know, Jesus is God. That's got to take some time.

Let me think about it. And yet he is willing to leave the throne room and come to us. All of that, all of our honor output, man, it will come when we begin to think about what Christ has done and showing us honor. Showing honor is a deep gospel issue. So let me close with this.

When someone is vulnerable, they're going through a vulnerable time. Man, let us show them honor. Send a gift card. When a pastor makes a decision that you question, let's show them honor and let's give them the benefit of the doubt. Man, I've thought about that. You know how much I've thought about that and how much I love this church and appreciate this church. We're talking about this in our staff meeting on Wednesday about the things that we have loved about being pastors at Mercy Hill over the last 10 years. And I said, man, it is because of the trust that the congregation gives us.

You want to talk about going through the earthquake of COVID, going through the earthquake of all the social upheaval, race issues, all this stuff that was 2020 and 2021. And with very few exceptions, this was a church that man leaned in half the time, maybe didn't agree, agreed, whatever, but said, man, we trust you guys. We're behind y'all. And I'm, and we're trying, I mean, you know, we're trying to lead a, trying to lead a, when you have your own opinions about every single thing under the sun, but you're leading a church of thousands of people that, you know, they have different opinions about some of this stuff and you're not exactly able to quote a verse for what you should do about a mask or whatever. It's really good to have a congregation that's like, man, we're going to trust you guys. And I know it's hard. So the next time a pastor has something they've got to make a decision on that's, that's, that's, that's not easier.

Maybe you don't even agree, man, continue to give them the benefit of the doubt. When you have the opportunity to meet a need in a way that helps instead of hurts, let's go all the way in, let's show honor. And the last thing is, you know, when we do that, we really have become a testimony to the world.

One of the, you know, we had a health event that happened at our High Point campus with one of our band members a few months ago, and man, it was just an absolute miraculous story. Brother shouldn't be with us. He is here. He's, he's, man, he's plugged back in.

It's just an incredible thing that God has done, a miracle that God has done in our midst. But you know what those nurses, you know, one of the nurses said about that whole season of hospital and all that, because there was a season for weeks when members of community groups, different elders were going up there and sitting up there all night. They're with him.

They would just be with him all night and different shifts. I mean, come at two in the morning, leave, come, you know, I mean, it was just, and the nurses said, man, we've never seen a church rally behind somebody like that. Man, let us continue to have that kind of testimony because when we show honor in these different ways, honor, and we show care, and we show these things, it speaks to a watching world.

Let's pray. Father, we've come before you and Lord, we just ask that you would continue to teach us what it means to be a proof in the pudding church. God, we want to be a church. When people come in, it points to you as the divine maker and creator of what this body is. So God teach us to show each other honor in greater ways. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-09 01:34:01 / 2023-01-09 01:54:00 / 20

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