Summary of sermon by Detlef Stegen, 16 Aug 2015
30 “Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that members of your family would minister before me forever.’ But now the Lord declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honour me I will honour, but those who despise me will be disdained.
This shocking word was spoken to the high priest, Eli, by a man of God. But there’s also a word of hope in these words in that God promises that He will honour those who honour Him. Ask yourself whether you honour God? How can one explain this that God honours a person! There’s an unending source of riches from God that will come to you when God honours you – honours of His full measure of love, uprightness, justification, etc. But there’s also this word that those that do not honour Him, shame will come upon them.
Have you decided to honour God in your life. Children have this instruction from the Lord, “honour your father and mother that it may go well with you” (Deut 5:16; Eph 6:1-3). If you esteem others greater than yourself then don’t marvel when others esteem you too. But God in heaven will see to it that if you fail to do that, that you also won’t be esteemed.
How terrible that the high priest, Eli, failed to honour God, but honoured his children more than God. What a pity if a missionary, a servant of God, at some stage, fails to honour God in his life. If you fail to honour God it will be the end of God’s blessing. You might say that you serve God, love Him, and devoted your life to God. But what happened to Eli? God said to him through the prophet that he despised the sacrifices of God and honoured his sons above God (1Sam 2:29). This was God’s verdict of Eli. Check your life according to God’s verdict.
You might ask, “how can we as sinners please the Almighty God who said, ‘be holy as I am holy’?” (Lev 20:26; 1Pet 1:16). It is only through Jesus Christ that you can please Him; that you turn from you sin to Him, and He will fill you with His Spirit and give you Everlasting Life. No matter how powerful sin is in your members, hear the call of Christ who is calling you, turn from your sins, your grudges, your lust and criticism and bitterness. Turn to Christ in truth, surrender yourself to him while you are young, in the fullness of your youth. And He will teach you how to weep over your sins, how to say sorry, and be humble before Him. Have you experienced this or are you just a temporary Christian? Have you felt the pain of having hurt others and sinned against God?
We read in Prov 15:33, “humility comes before honor”
It’s so difficult for someone who has been a Christian for a long time to humble himself. But if you want God in heaven to honour you, then be prepared to have a humble spirit. Then the Lord can teach you how to put off the old self and be clothed with Him (Col 3:10).
We read in Col 3:1-13, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
John 12:26, “26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves me.”
What does it mean to serve Him. To deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow Christ (Matt 16:24; Luke 9:23).
Jesus promised to His disciples that He would send us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, and that the Triune God will come and abide with us (John 14:15-23).
Just listen to all these wonderful promises!
May it not be with you like we read in Matt 15:8, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
Allow the words of Jesus to judge your life.
Moses was sent by God to deliver the children of Israel who were groaning under their hard slavery in Egypt. And Moses was faithful in doing what God had instructed him to do and brought them out of Egypt. But the children of Israel who were delivered, complained bitterly when it went difficult in the wilderness, and refused to enter the promised land, so that God swore that they would not enter but only their children. And they circled around in the wilderness for 40 years until all those that complained were dead and buried in the wilderness. After those men were dead, then God command Joshua to take their children and lead them into the promised land. Here we see what a frightful thing it is to fall into the hands of the Living God (Heb 10:31).
But wouldn’t you rather choose to be honoured by God? That the God of Heaven can look down and be pleased with you and entrust you with more because you are faithful (Matt 25:28-29).
By God’s grace alone we can walk into the future and expect great things from God. May we bind ourselves to these words and that they be with us day by day and we be found faithful. May the One Who loved us with an Everlasting Love be pleased with us. He gave His all, His only Begotten Son, so that we might have Life. May we reciprocate His love.