And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XI, Number 24 May 11, 2008
In this issue:
She gave you life. She held you, nursed you, bathed you and kissed your booboo; she made it all better. She proudly sent you off to your first day of school and then cried when you were out of sight. She helped with your homework assignments and “doctored” you through every illness. Where would this world be without mother?!
God makes it clear that children must honor their mothers: “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” (Eph. 6:2-3). A child honors his or her mother by obeying her “in the Lord” (Eph. 6:1). The word “honor” literally means to “estimate or fix a value” (Thayer, 624). What a privilege it is for the children of the virtuous and worthy woman to rise up and bless her (Prov. 31:28-29).
Honor your mother for her love. Who can fix a value upon a mother’s love? A mother’s love is not inbred; it is learned (Titus 2:4). Yes, there are motherly instincts, but love is not an instinct. Love is a decision; the quality of heart and life that only seeks the good of others. A mother’s love is witnessed in her deliberate actions of unfettered care and overriding devotion to her children. Young women need instruction and training to be successful mothers. Young mothers who are wise will accept helpful instruction on how to love their children from older Christian women (Titus 2:4).
Honor your mother for her example of godliness. From your earliest days it was your mother who set examples for you to follow. Training in manners, in kindness, in personal responsibility and more came from her hand, her mouth and her life. Most of all, her example of faith in Christ helped lead you in righteousness. For this, every godly Christian will hold his godly mother in high esteem.
Honor your mother for believing in you. Your mother is your biggest fan, your most ardent supporter. She finds the good in you (even when it’s not too easy to find!). She encourages you to excel and to do your best. She knows you can succeed and helps you see success in yourself. Most importantly, because she loves the Lord, she is a trusted adviser who counsels you in the way of wisdom (Prov. 31:26).
Would to God that everyone had such a mother! If you are blessed with such a mother, thank God for her every day (1 Ths. 5:18). And, thank her, too. Honor your mother – and God – who gave her to you.
The world measures men: their successes, their failures, their character and their values. Such measurements may be accurate or they may be skewed by ignorance, prejudice, pride, hate or many other evil motives and influences.
Some people are more concerned with what others think of them than God’s measurement of them. This is wrong thinking. Nevertheless, many try to impress and please men rather than God. If it your goal to please men instead of God, then rest assured that you will end up pleasing neither (Gal. 1:10).
The apostle Paul wrote, “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself” (1 Cor. 4:3). He was most concerned with pleasing Christ (2 Cor. 5:9). Like Paul, we must be careful that we measure up to the Lord’s approval, regardless of what men think of us. The Bible warns us of faulty standards of measurement and it teaches us how to measure ourselves.
The measure of a man is not based on:
1) Comparing oneself to others. “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Cor. 10:12). When we measure ourselves by the standard of others we use an unreliable measuring stick. Peter said “what about this man?” when the Lord spoke to him of his duty and ultimately, his death (Jno. 21:21). Do not yield to the temptation of judging your righteousness by what others do. The measure of a man is not determined by a comparison with others.
2) Comparing oneself by oneself. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov. 14:12). We can convince ourselves that we are right regardless of what the Bible says. Truth is not self-defined, and self-deception is a constant danger. Many people “believe in their hearts” they are saved when the truth of God’s word denies it. When one has not obeyed the word of Jesus in order to be saved from his sins he is still lost, regardless of what he feels or has experienced (cf. Acts 26:9; 2:37-38). The measure of a man is not determined by what he thinks of himself.
3) What others say about you. Paul said how others judged him was an insignificant matter; it would not deter him from doing what was right in God’s sight; his concern was the Lord’s judgment of him. Jesus said, “Woe to you when all men speak evil of you” (Lk. 6:26). Even worldly men know not to put too much stock in pleasing others, as one of their own poets wrote, “If all men count with you, but none too much” (Rudyard Kipling, “If”). The measure of a man is not determined by what others say about him.
What is the measure of a man? There are many Bible answers, but in Micah 6:8, God’s word says, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Justice, mercy and a humble walk with God; that’s the measure of a man.
Each of us must measure ourselves by God’s word and not by ourselves, others or by the will of men. Walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). That’s the measure of a man.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Luke 17:5-10
responsibility to not be a stumbling block by forgiving those who sin
against us is a real test of faith, Lk. 17:1-4 (1 Jno. 5:4).
I. THE POWER OF FAITH, 17:6 (1 Jno. 5:4-5)
A. Trust the
Power of God in Whom You Put Your Faith, Matt. 14:27-32; 17:14-20.
II. THE SERVICE OF FAITH, Lk. 17:7-9 (Rom. 6:16, 19).
Obedience, Lk. 12:35-40.
III. THE DUTY OF FAITH, Lk. 17:10.
A. The Humble
Dependence of Faith in God:
Concl. Faith will grow when we trust His power in our lives, when we diligently serve him and when we dutifully obey him.
Please allow me to make a few observations about the life of our beloved brother, Rusty McGrew. He was greatly loved and will be greatly missed. He didn’t know how far his influence reached and how many lives his life touched – but the Lord knows and will reward him accordingly. His faithful life is an example for us all, challenging us to press on to the goal of heaven, just as he did (Phil. 3:17).
In death as in life, Rusty’s dignity and quiet strength was clearly seen. The last year of his life was full of suffering and the relentless march of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Yet, he did not complain. It would have been easy for him not to come to worship services many months before he was finally unable to do so; but he continued to come to worship God. When he could no longer speak publicly he came and said his own “amen” to the prayers. When he could no longer sing, he came and tapped his fingers to the melody that was in his heart. People noticed; the children noticed. Oh, how the excuses we convince ourselves with not to come to worship pale in comparison! We ought to be ashamed. Rusty would want you to faithfully worship God with God’s people and not let anything stand in your way (Heb. 10:24-25).
His love for his family stays etched in our memories to help us imitate his good example. He enjoyed the blessings of a loving wife and a devoted family that saw to his every need. He knew how great a blessing his family was and he always thanked God for them. His love for family did not “just happen”. He nurtured that love and led his house in the way of the Lord. He worked hard for his family, sacrificing sand serving them. What a blessed example for our families!
His faith in Christ defined him. Rusty was athletic in his youth. He was a big man, a strong man, who worked hard all his life. But his greatest strength was his faith in the Lord. Faith transformed him into a humble servant of Christ. His faith sustained him through life and secured him in death.
The Bible assures us that “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psa. 116:15). We mourn our loss yet rejoice in his reward as we are comforted by God’s promises. Our brother has entered his rest to be with Jesus (Rev. 14:13). He would want you to obey the gospel, to live and die with Jesus. Oh Lord, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my end be like his!” (Num. 23:10)
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 05/12/2008
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA