Obedient Unto the Honour of God


November 6, 1996 ~ Pickering Standard Church


After a conversation with a co-worker on how it is the duty of a Christian to live to the honour of God instead of the honour of self.

Isaiah 53:1-12 - Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, [there is] no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither [was any] deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, [and] shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him [a portion] with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

A lot of emphasis is being placed, and has always been placed, on personal honour.  If you are a watcher of the Star Trek group of shows you will be familiar with Klingons and their devotion to honour, that all Klingons, except those who are renegades, behave in an honourable manner.  In other words, when it is in their best interest to stab you in the back they will do so in an honourable way (Worf being the exception).  But on a more serious level, there are entire cultures in the world today that are so organized as to allow their members to "save face" in potentially embarrassing situations.


A co-worker and I were talking this week about honour.  For the last several months we have been "surfing the 'net" in search of Christian resources and downloading hundreds of mega-bytes of writings by well known and not so well known Christian writers.  Lately he has noticed that in much of the material which we obtained the emphasis has been, as much as possible, to give honour and glory to God.  Now this is unique in our culture.  Usually when someone makes public something which they have written it is done to increase their honour by enhancing their reputation, or by adding to their wealth, or by making their name more widely known.  On occasion I have done this myself.  I used to write poetry regularly for my friends to celebrate special times in their lives and even in as selfless an act as writing a poem to give away to someone there was still  the desire for recognition, for one of my friends to say: "Hey!  Look at  what Peter did for me, isn't that special?"  That was not usually my primary motive but in the back of my mind the desire for people to find out both that I wrote and what I wrote.  Just a casual look at the books on the book-store shelves these days will indicate that, although there are many who write for "serious" reasons, there are far many more who are hoping to get rich, or well known, or more widely respected, through what they have written.


The difference noted previously is not so much due to the two different groups of people doing the writing as it is to the change that occurs in a person once they become a Christian in the sense conveyed by the Bible. One need only look at the life of John Newton, the writer of the song "Amazing Grace," to see evidence of this change.  Previously a slaver, one who bought and sold other human beings for his personal gain, upon his conversion wrote a song of glory to God that is recognized world wide. Recognized not because of the man who wrote it but because of the One to whom it is dedicated.


We as Christians are encouraged to seek God's honour instead of our own both in the subjection of our lives to the lordship of Jesus Christ and by His example in His own life on earth.  Think of it: Jesus Christ, the man, was/is also the Son of God and yet He did not seek to have the men and women of His day honour Him as their God and set up a physical kingdom on earth.  He did seek the honour of His contemporaries but only in such away as to acknowledge Him as their Saviour, and He did seek to establish a kindom but only in such a way as to follow the plans of His Father in Heaven.

John 18:33-37 - Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

Paul writes in Philippians that Jesus did not seek to grasp the opportunity provided to Him on Earth as the Son of God but that He obeyed His Father to the point of death and beyond.

Philippians 2:1-11 - If [there be] therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, [being] of one accord, of one mind. [Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the  death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him,  and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth; And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

And the writer of Hebrews shows that Jesus' reward of having everything placed under His authority and becoming the High Priest of all the saved was directly the result of His having been obedient during His earthly life.

Hebrews 5:1-10 - For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in  things [pertaining] to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as [was] Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another [place], Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

Now we as Christians are encouraged to act in the same manner as Jesus Christ by Jesus Himself:

Mark 8:34-38 - And when he had called the people [unto him] with his disciples  also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny  himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever  will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

Even to the point of humbly submitting to all that others wish to do to us, as evidenced by the example of Moses at the time in his life when he was the leader of, and God's chosen representative of Himself to, the nation of Israel, then a community of several million men, women, and children.

Numbers 12:1-16 - And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard [it]. (Now the man Moses [was] very meek, above all the men which [were] upon the face of the earth.) And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out. And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood [in] the door of the tabernacle,  and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth. And he  said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, [I] the  LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, [and] will speak  unto him in a dream. My servant Moses [is] not so, who [is]  faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the  LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak  against my servant Moses? And the anger of the LORD was kindled  against them; and he departed. And the cloud departed from off the  tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam [became] leprous, [white] as snow:  and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, [she was] leprous. And  Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin  upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned. Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother's womb. And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee. And the LORD said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in [again]. And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days: and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in [again]. And afterward the people removed from Hazeroth, and pitched in the wilderness of Paran.

We are taught in

Deuteronomy 32:35-36 - that vengeance for the misdeeds done to us belongs to God, He will repay our persecutors for all that they do to us.  This teaching is repeated in the New Testament:

Hebrews 10:30-31 - For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

All of which indicates that we are not to seek our personal revenge against our persecutors but to leave this in the hands of God.  We are actually taught by the Bible to forgive our enemies just as Christ forgave those who nailed Him to the cross as He was dying upon it.  Paul, too, repeatedly stoned, whipped, and imprisoned, continued to preach the gospel of salvation even to his persecutors, hoping for their salvation above his own wellbeing.  This concept may be extended to encompass our entire lives.  Paul again writes in Philippians that:

Philippians 3:1-11 - Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed [is] not grievous, but for you [it is] safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, [of] the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

Paul counted everything of this life as garbage (or "dung" in the KJV) when compared to the joy of fellowship with Christ.  When you look at Paul's credentials:


     - circumcised according to God's covenant with Abraham

     - a true child of Israel

     - of the tribe of Benjamin, with Judah the faithful tribe to God

     - a Hebrew of the Hebrews

     - a Pharisee, a teacher of the Hebrews who himself studied under

       Gamaliel, the greatest of all teachers of the Hebrews

     - zealous to the point of putting to death the Christian "heretics"

     - blameless according to the law


that was quite a statement.  Earlier in the same letter Paul wrote that:

Philippians 1:18-26 - What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, According to my earnest expectation and [my] hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but [that] with all boldness, as always, [so] now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether [it be] by life, or by death. For to me to live [is] Christ, and to die [is] gain. But if I live in the flesh, this [is] the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh [is] more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

His most important goal was that Christ would be glorified through him. If this is the example set by the greatest evangelist in Christian history, if this is the example set by Christ Himself who subjected Himself to His Father's will even to death, if this is the example of great Christians throughout the ages, can we do less than allow God, and to wish for Him to be glorified through our lives.  If we are rich or poor, clean or dirty, sich or healthy, in all things we should seek most that which will give glory to God.  Great then will be our reward when we meet God at the end of our lives to hear the words we all will long to hear:


Matthew 25:23 - Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.

Remembering always that the only way in which we can live in this way is to truly have faith in God, that He cares and that He will always love us.