Jan 8, '10 12:15 PM
By Regner Capener
Leroy Blankenship is an evangelist and Grammy-Award-winning songwriter and singer who has become a valuable part of River Worship Center's family. A few days ago he was ministering in Yakima and there was a gentleman in one of his services who shared the following testimony.
This man was driving on Interstate 90 headed to Seattle when he spotted a woman who was standing outside her car looking rather dispiritedly at a very flat tire. They were in a section of the highway where no cell phone reception was available, so there was no way the lady could call for roadside assistance. He felt prompted to stop and help the woman. He quickly changed her tire with the spare and put the flat tire back in her trunk.
She offered to pay him for his services, but he declined. She convinced him to at least give her his name and address; he then drove away feeling a sense of joy at having been able to provide some small assistance to this woman in distress.
A couple of weeks later he went to the bank to make his mortgage payment. When the teller pulled up his account she said to him, "Sir, you have no more payments due. Your mortgage is paid off. You should be receiving title to your home in the mail shortly." The man was flabbergasted and stammered out, "But how......who.....who did this?" It took the teller a few minutes to verify the payoff and reported back to the man, "The signature on the payoff of your mortgage is, Melinda Gates." (In case you don't know, Melinda Gates is Bill Gates' wife.) He had not asked for the name of the woman whom he stopped to help and had been reluctant to even give his name.
We've been hearing more and more stories like this of folks who've been receiving unusual gifts, loans being paid off, cars being paid for and credit cards with miraculous zero balances (when they formerly had amounts due between $20,000 and $40,000). God is doing some rather spectacular things for His people these days, and it is happening to those who are faithful to Him in every circumstance -- those who are in active pursuit of the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives. People are being set free from financial encumbrances that restrict their ability to move about and minister as the Holy Spirit directs.
Leroy was pretty wound up when he shared this testimony. This isn't third person or word of mouth: the man to whom this miracle happened was in Leroy's service.
A couple of weeks ago we had four young people -- late teens, early twenties -- who showed up for one of our evening worship gatherings. They were in dire need of personal ministry, and a couple of them were addicted to some pretty heavy duty drugs. What made this event interesting was the fact that the father of one of the young men had come into our place a few years ago when we were still in Sunnyside. He had been an alcoholic and drug addict for 25 years. Treatment programs had failed and he was desperate. We ministered deliverance to him and recommended that he come each evening and just "soak" in the presence of the Lord during our spontaneous praise and worship gatherings. The Lord delivered him totally and for the past nearly four years he has lived victoriously and free from those addictions.
When the son came looking for the same kind of deliverance for himself, we were extremely blessed to see change come into his life as well. We ministered to the rest of the young people, and can say with certainty that their freedom is likewise manifesting. I was personally introduced to this realm of ministry when working with the Teen Challenge ministries in San Francisco and Los Angeles more than 45 years ago, so this is just a continuation of that same thing. Not less than one-third of all Jesus' ministry recorded in the Gospels involved the ministry of deliverance from evil spirits. As ministers of the Gospel and representatives of the Kingdom of God, this realm had better be operational in us or we are very poor representatives.
OK! Good Morning! Had to share those things with you. Coffee's on. We're doing very dark roasted Rwandan today. Wow! What an aroma!
Honor is a concept that has been more and more swept aside in our western culture. We use the word in two different sense in our current terminology.
(1) If I say to you that "I expect you to honor your word," it means that I expect you to act with integrity and truthfulness and to keep your promise. In this sense, the word "honor" is defined as" a sense of what is right, just and true; having dignity and respect for character springing from honesty, principle and moral strength.
(2) If I say that "I honor you," it means that I am giving you high estimation, reverence or veneration. In this usage, Webster's Dictionary defines "honor" as: the esteem due or paid to worth; high estimation; a testimony or token of esteem.
It is this second usage that we find prevalent throughout Scripture and each time we see this word appear in its Hebrew usage, it denotes something we have for the most part lost sight of.
Two Hebrew words appear in the Old Testament that are translated "honor." The first of these is hod: meaning: grandeur, beauty, excellence, glory, majesty. The second word translated "honor" is: kabod. Its direct meaning is: weight; but this word is used in a figurative or metaphoric sense meaning: to give weight or high respect to; splendor; copiousness; glory.
This word, kabod, is interesting in that it is rooted in kabad, which means: weighty, to be heavy, numerous, rich, honorable, abounding with, glorious -- overflowing with wealth. Thus the word "honor" also brings with it a sense of wealth, position, dignity, power, magnificence.
Take this meaning now in the light of the following scriptures: (1) Revelation 4:11: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (2) Revelation 5:11-13: And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.
See the connection? Do you understand why we give honor to the Lord? Do you think there is weight and high respect given to the Lord in this worship? How about abundance and wealth? Do you believe that we can properly associate and ascribe abundance and wealth to the Lord? Is He wealthy? Is He deserving of dignity? Is He all that is magnificence?
Good! I see that you are following me. (Chuckle) I doubt there is any believer in the Lord Jesus Christ who would argue against any of these descriptions of God.
Now, let's take this the next step.
Consider something that the apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Romans.
"Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
“To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God." (Romans 2:1-11)
Whewww!! Now there's a mouthful!
Let's break out some very important principles revealed in this passage.
1. Judgment of another (brother or sister in the Lord) results in condemnation being heaped upon the one who judges. The motivation of the heart being revealed is that those who judge another person -- either their motive, their heart's intent, or their actions [and in the case of a leader in the body who in all honesty and sincerity teaches something which is in error] -- are guilty of the very thing for which they judge their brother or sister.
2. Paul goes on to say that the judgment of God is according to TRUTH against those who judge; and he makes clear that those who judge another member of the body of Christ harshly will most certainly NOT escape the judgment of God. We'll come back to that after a bit.
(I know by now you must be wondering where in the world I'm going with all of this, and how this can possibly relate to "honor" or glory. Stand by.)
3. Then Paul equates this same attitude of judging with despising the "riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering." OUCH! At the same time he says there is a willful ignoring of the fact that the "goodness of God leads to repentance" and a reversing of one's attitudes and decisions.
4. Those who stubbornly and unrepentantly store up to themselves violent passion, indignation and purpose punishment against those whom they judge wind up storing it to the day of God's wrath and judgment against themselves. Paul makes clear that it is God's righteous judgment they endanger themselves with because of their attitudes and hardness of heart, and God's righteous judgment against them is eternal wrath.
5. Next he takes the opposite side of this picture to show that those who by endurance and constant contending in well doing seek for glory, honor and immortality, His judgment to and for them is eternal life.
Before we continue the breakdown of these verses, let me pause to say that this phrase "seeking for glory and honor and immortality" taken by itself out of context almost sounds like being self-absorbed. The glory and honor Paul is referring to, however, is framed within the context of what Jesus said to the Pharisees when He said,
"I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?" (John 5:44-45)
Again Jesus says (see John 8:54), "Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me;" and again, (John 12:26) "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour."
The picture of one seeking after honor, therefore, is the intense seeking after the Lord and following Him absolutely without compromise or question. The consequence of that contending for the presence of the Lord IS honor -- and it is God doing the honoring.
The same is true of glory and Jesus makes it clear when He says, "And I seek not mine own glory: there is One that seeketh and judgeth." (John 8:50) Seeking after glory is seeking and earnestly desiring the Glory of the Lord to be revealed in us. When that happens, He is the recipient of the Glory! People see His Glory at work and manifested in us and their instantaneous reaction is, "Glory to God!"
The rest of Paul's phrase on "glory and honor and immortality" -- immortality -- goes with the package. When we seek after the honor of the Lord and His Glory being revealed in us, immortality -- eternal life -- is the judgment God gives!
John sums it up for us as he records Jesus' prayer at the Last Supper. "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 17:1-3)
6. Getting back to Paul's comments in his letter to the Romans, he reemphasizes again the consequences that happens to those who act in dishonor -- "them that are contentious and do not obey the truth but [rather] obey (Greek: peitho: pacify, assent to, act conciliatory towards) unrighteousness (Greek: adikia: injustice, moral wrongfulness, [dishonor]), indignation (Greek: thumos: fierce passion) and wrath" -- God's judgment, and their end is "tribulation (Greek: thlipsis: great pressure and trouble) and anguish (Greek: stenochoria: calamity) upon every soul of man that doeth evil."
7. Paul finishes this discourse by again emphasizing that the judgment of God is that "glory, honor and peace" will come to those whose objective is good (Greek: agathos: that which benefits [God's objectives and purposes]."
There's another side of honor, however, that I want to deal with, and that is the honor of one another -- and particularly the honor God expects us to give to those who labor in the Gospel. Because it will take up a fair amount of time, I'll save it for our next Coffee Break which we will title Honor and Dishonor. See you soon.
"Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." (II Corinthians 3:17)
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