From Familiarity to Honour!
Sermon Notes – Ps. Jim White
Sunday 12th January, 2020
Before I was side swiped by a virus last week, my intention had been to share a message on Sunday about honour.
A huge Thankyou to Pastor Fiona for stepping in at the last minute and bringing a great message that actually flowed beautifully in the same kind of vein… walking and speaking in the opposite spirit – not reacting to negative and potentially destructive words and actions that come against us – but responding from the life of the spirit within. In a sense, it was also a message about walking in and bringing honour, even when we have been dishonoured!
I said at Christmas that the two things God seemed to be speaking to me about as we begin the new year, were courage and honour. In many ways, Fiona was obviously getting the same kind of theme as well.
I feel that this new year is about being courageous in pushing through the difficult circumstances that we all face in different ways… being courageous enough to leave some things behind and start afresh… but it’s a year for also being courageous enough to live life authentically… to press in to hear the voice of God for our lives, and be obedient to what He is saying. And that might take great courage, because we are all in different seasons, and we can never compare our own walk with that of another…
That doesn’t mean we don’t need each other. We do! Even more so as the return of Christ draws closer!
But the blessing of our strength of unity will always involve accepting and recognising the diversity of gifts, abilities, and seasons of life that we are all in.
We all have our own fears and uncertainties to face… But God is saying:
Joshua 1:9 (NKJV), “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
This is not a time for fear, discouragement, offence, or any such thing to take us off course.
And there’s something else that I want to apprehend in the spirit this morning – which could be more of a block to us moving forward rather than something to take us off course.
I don’t claim to be a prophet. I’m a Pastor. But I believe that God speaks prophetically to me as I believe He also speaks to you. So before I speak about our call to honour… let me speak about something that I believe we as the church might have allowed to come around us… that actually has the potential to undermine or hinder our growth and our experience of the new and fresh things that God definitely has in store for us.
I want to take you back to a moment when Jesus was beginning to walk in the power of the Spirit, and to display the power of God.
In fact, the verse just before this story I want to share, says this:
Luke 4:14-15, (NKJV) “Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.”
Jesus was on Fire… Having overcome the devil’s temptations in the wilderness, He was preaching up the message of the kingdom like a storm. People were talking about Him. They recognised there was something special about Him… the people were beginning to exalt Him and glorify Him for who He truly was…
Luke 4:16-21 (NKJV), “So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Jesus was really stepping up! He was making a public declaration! He was saying – I am the One this scripture is referring to. I am the Anointed One!
And as you would expect – all eyes were on Him.
And the first part of the following verse says a lot:
Luke 4:22 (NKJV), “So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth…”
So for this incredible moment in time… all the religious men in the synagogue, who knew the scriptures for themselves… they just found themselves in a place of wonder… and they could see the grace of God that was upon this young man who just read about Himself… they marvelled at Him. Which means they were astonished in a good way at what they had just experienced. They actually witnessed to what He was saying.
Jesus was Anointed. And that’s what they experienced… the Anointing…
These were men who had read the Word of God over and over – many were bible scholars… But there was something profoundly different about the Word of God as Jesus Himself read it. And that’s because the Anointing brought it to life!
The Spirit and the Word together are what bring about life!
If only they had allowed the Anointing to continue to minister to them…
But it all falls apart in the very next sentence.
“And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”
And all of a sudden, the wonder, the marvel, the astonishment, the beautiful, and gracious presence of the Anointing – it all came crashing down.
Do you know why? Because familiarity and unbelief poured into that room and into those men’s hearts like a flood.
Oh – there is such a powerful message here for all of us in the 21st century church.
Imagine what Jesus could have done in that town if the hearts of the men and women stayed ignited with wonder and expectancy – fuelled by the Anointing?
But the seed of doubt and familiarity was sown – and everything went pear shaped from that moment. All of a sudden they just saw Joseph’s son. They knew Joseph. They knew the other brothers. They knew their house, the carpenters shop… And so they thought they knew Jesus because of familiarity…
Luke 4:24 (NKJV), “Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country.”
Church, this message is not just about a prophet, a preacher, a pastor… it’s not just about Jesus… it’s about the culture of familiarity that pervades our every day relationships and life. It’s about the culture that says to us – you’re nothing special – why should I think you have something to impart into my life – I know you… I’m familiar with who you are!
I just think about what those men in the synagogue could have drawn out of Jesus if they had really honoured Him and exalted Him as the Anointed One that they had recognised him to be at first.
But an evil seed of unbelief was sown – and they all received it wholeheartedly without really desiring to know the truth… They were all robbed!
In the end they take Jesus to the edge of the city and look like pushing him over a cliff… but His time wasn’t up yet – and He walked away through the midst of them.
We can look at this mob of men and think how foolish they were.
But I think we have to look at the bigger picture here for ourselves – for now.
How does familiarity reduce our own level of expectation – and rob us from what God is trying to reveal to us through the many special moments and encounters and people that we see every day?
What moments of Anointed worship, Anointed teaching, Anointed people are we just walking past without a second thought – because it has all become too familiar?
Why do some women walk into our beautifully decorated ladies events and just begin to cry? Because the heart of Seacoast Women and the gifts of those who put it all together are Anointed. And the women who come for the first time just stand in wonder and awe and are deeply touched emotionally…
And yet familiarity with it from others, just turns it into nice decorations. Ho hum! I’ve seen it all before!
Or we come to a worship night, and the team give their whole body, soul and spirit to lifting up the name of Jesus… and I have visitors saying that’s the most Anointed worship they have ever been part of… and others of us just think – yeah, we get that every week… we know all those guys…
Or we come to Mainly Music and the new mums and dads come in and rave about the quality of the program and the high standard of the way it’s run, and the extravagant morning tea that follows… they’re blown away that we would have such a program… no wonder there’s often 20 to 30 families on the waiting list… And many of those that come are unsaved, so they’re not recognising that it’s actually the Anointing that’s on the team that makes all the difference…
And we as the church become so familiar with it that we just accept that that’s normal… but it isn’t normal. It’s Anointed!
What I’m trying to say it that we need to start seeing what we have with different eyes. We need to see one another with different eyes. We are all anointed to do something. We all have something to offer as an anointed gift to one another.
Don’t become familiar with the Anointing. Don’t become familiar with the servant hearts of those around you.
Why don’t we go out of our way to honour those who serve? And I know some of you do make a point of doing that.
Honour the Seacoast Kids workers who give up their place sitting in church on a Sunday.
But let’s even take it further. Let’s start bringing honour to those that we don’t feel like honouring – who perhaps in our eyes haven’t really yet earned our honour.
Honour others simply because they carry the presence of Christ and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in their heart.
Why don’t we change a culture of familiarity – into a culture of honour?
When Matthew tells the story about Jesus and His time in Nazareth, he says:
Matthew 13:58 (NKJV), “Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”
They didn’t believe in Him and therefore didn’t honour Him for who He really was. And it blocked the miracles. It blocked the outworking of the Anointing on His life.
How sad that that might happen here because we have simply become too familiar with one another. But what’s even worse is that we can become too familiar with God – with His presence…
And we don’t honour God with an expectant heart – an open heart – or with our time – our gifts – our money – our worship… We begin to in fact dishonour God because of our familiarity with His ways and His Word.
We need to come and meet together with a sense of wonder and awe – looking for what God might be saying to us as we speak with one another, as we pray together, as we worship together, as we hear the Word of God preached…
I get blown away sometimes when the prayers before church, the worship songs, the communion message and the sermon – all follow exactly the same theme. It’s like – Wow – God is really speaking clearly today!
Familiarity robs us of being able to even see and experience things like this.
I am convinced that the prophetic words of Isaiah speak to us right now”
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NKJV), “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.”
He is so wanting to do a new thing. His mercies are new every morning for those who seek them and look for them and value them. Shall you not know it? Well we’ll only see it and know it if we step out of our place of complacency and familiarity.
Isaiah 43:21 (NKJV), “This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise.”
We haven’t been formed for our own praise and glory! You are formed for the praise and glory of God! But we honour Him also by honouring one another.
I saw this little image floating around social media during the week and I thought it was very timely”
“How you make others feel about themselves says a lot about you.”
Maybe our issue with honouring others has more to do with how we see or feel about ourselves! And we need to deal with that. We need to get a true perspective of who we are in Christ, which I’ve preached about many times already.
Perhaps our prayer needs to be this morning – Lord do something new in me! Change the way I see things – the way I see other people! Help me to get out of this place of familiarity and to walk in true honour. Help me to have an expectancy of the new things you are doing. And help me to have a true and correct image of who I really am in Christ.
All of this of course is not just about church life – it’s about life – full stop.
There’s always the danger of familiarity working its way into our marriage, our family, our workplace…
1 Peter 2:17 (NKJV), “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.”
We are called to honour all people – to not only honour our brothers… our God… but to honour the King… in other words, those who rule over us.
How dishonouring have many in our nation been towards our Prime Minister over the last few weeks? But that’s the culture we live in. One that tears down those in authority. They often become scape goats to cover up the real issues that need to be addressed. And the accusations are often false and corrupt anyway!
Honour is meant to start for us as children. And in many cases, honour brings with it a reward or a blessing.
Ephesians 6:1-3 (NKJV), “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
No one – including God – expects us to honour any form of abuse or neglect… and there are severe warnings for men and women who cause a child to stumble… But that does not negate the general principle of children obeying and honouring their parents – and with that honouring comes the blessing of things going well with us – even the blessing of long life!
And men! If you are a husband, you have one of the greatest divine calls upon your life – to honour your wife with all that you are!
1 Peter 3:7 (NKJV), “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”
This commandment to honour women brings with it the blessing of answered prayers. But dishonour of women brings a blockage or a hindrance to prayers being answered. It’s pretty important in God’s plan for the grace of life!
There are so many scriptures on honour in the bible.
Proverbs 3:9-10 (NKJV), “Honour the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.”
Again – honouring God in relation to our material possessions and our income brings with it blessing… overflowing blessing…
When we’re talking about honour, there’s a verse that speaks about God lifting up and exalting His Word even above His very Name…
Psalm 138:2 (NKJV), “I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.”
How much honour do we really give to God’s Word? Does our knowledge and understanding of the Word of God reflect our honour for it?
We will most likely talk more about honour in the coming weeks.
But for this morning – I think the main take away thought and challenge is in relation to our familiarity with the things of God and familiarity with one another. Because familiarity robs us of His glory, His Anointing, the new things He wants to do in our midst – and it can rob us of blessing.
It robs us of the joy of drawing out all the precious and valuable gifts and treasures from each other. When we don’t honour one another we shut each other down. Everyone loses!
Let me finish with these words”
Romans 12:9-18 (NKJV), “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
Romans 12:21 (NKJV), “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”