Honoring God

The Hidden Headline Behind All the Major Headlines

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The history of humanity's progress is often characterized by advancements in empire, discovery, renaissance, enlightenment, industry and information. Mankind has worked tirelessly to subdue the universe and with great success has brought to light many of the wondrous things hidden within it.

However, in spite of all his great discoveries and progress, man is still searching for that most illusive treasure that seems to continually escape him. In spite of all his advancements, today’s post-postmodern man cries out alongside his prehistoric ancestors asking the same question,

“Where can true wisdom and understanding be found?" 

The ancient Scriptures attempt to respond with the answer, 

“Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.” 

But man's not listening.

 

The Search for Meaning

Never before in the history of mankind has the world been so educated and so socially connected. We live in an era where access to the world’s greatest treasures in the areas of science, medicine, history, philosophy, education, religion and technology are literally in the palm of our hand. And yet, the world still has no answer to give us concerning the meaning and purpose of our existence.

Man has conquered the world, and yet he still hasn’t found the very thing he’s looking for. 

This twenty-first century Western world in which we live has declared that self-discovery, self-government and self-expression are the avenues for finding your meaning and purpose in life. “Do what makes you happy, and don’t let others who disagree with you get in your way.”

And therefore the tragic story of rebellious man continues on as it always has. He has chosen to worship himself the creature rather than acknowledging his God the Creator.

Pick up your daily newspaper and see the one hidden headline behind all the major headlines:

THE WORLD HAS NO FEAR OF GOD

The world has chosen to move on and forget Him altogether. And rather than turning from evil, humanity has become irrational inventors of evil instead. Claiming to be wise, our society celebrates foolishness.

“Where can true wisdom and understanding be found?”

 

The Treasure of Wisdom

True wisdom is found in fearing God, and true understanding is found in avoiding what He defines as evil. The fear of God is a deep sense of awe and wonder at the holiness, power and reality of God. It paralyzes any sense of pride in ourselves, and it is the very thing that leads us away from the presence and pollution of evil.

The fear of God is wisdom because it provides us with the answer for why the world is the way it is and why man is in the condition that he finds himself in. The fear of God leads you to listen attentively to what He has to tell you. God has made Himself known in the creation and in all that has been made by His power. It is fear that leads a man to look at the universe around him and then to cry out, “Oh God, what is man that you are mindful of him?”

The fear of God is wisdom because it gives you the proper view of yourself and your fellow man. We are inadequate and insufficient within ourselves. Who are we kidding? Something is wrong with us. We all sense that we are not as we should be, and everybody deep down knows that something has gone wrong with the world in which we live. We need help. It is this fear that leads us to cry out, “Who will deliver me from this life of corruption and death?”    

The fear of God is wisdom because it leads us to recognize that sin is our problem and salvation has to be provided. True wisdom admits and acknowledges weakness. Therefore, it is the fear of God that leads us to finally search outside of ourselves and outside of the universe until we discover our Savior in whom are found all the hidden treasures of wisdom and understanding.

Jesus the Christ is the wisdom from God, and He is the end of our search for meaning and purpose. The only way to discover your reason for living is to die to yourself and to live for the One who died for you.

Forget yourself and fear God.

Find me a society that takes up this principle, and I’ll show you a society of peace and prosperity that this world has never known.     

Man’s problem and the problem with the world today is not a lack of progress. Man’s problem and the problem with the world today is a lack of fear.

 

We Have Been Purchased

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A couple of years ago, on a flight to Italy, I watched the powerful movie entitled 12 Years A Slave which was an adaptation of a slave memoir that was written during the dark days of American slavery. Even if you haven’t seen the movie, you can imagine the brutality involved with slavery that took place during one of America’s darker moments in history.

As I was watching the movie, I couldn’t help but feel the heavy burden and the hopelessness of the common American slave under the rule of such brutal masters. There was no way out. Unless someone came along and was willing to pay the heavy price to purchase you out of that slavery, you were destined to die a slave.

The visual image of slavery portrayed by this particular movie helps us understand the imagery often used by the apostle Paul when he refers to our former life of sin as a life of slavery. 

We are born into slavery. Slavery to Sin. 

Sin is the brutal slave master that beats us down with it heavy burdens and offers us nothing of eternal value in return except destruction and certain death. There is no escape and no way out. Our condition is entirely hopeless and unless someone outside of ourselves changes the system or our situation, eternal bondage is our destiny. 

But then one day, as you’re out in the field on the brink of exhaustion and at the end of yourself, a Man shows up. He too is a Master who purchases people, but there’s something different about Him. You see Him from across the field, and you feel it below the depths of your damaged heart. It’s a feeling that died a long time ago, but one that seems to have resurrected from death itself. 

Hope begins to rise.

After dealing with your master, Sin, the Man comes over to you and puts His arm over your slumping shoulders and in a gentle tone that seems unlike anything you’ve ever heard before softly says, 

“Come with Me. You will work here no longer. I have paid the price to purchase you from Sin.”

Hope begins to walk.

So you leave with this new Master, and on the way, you begin to wonder what service to Him is going to require of you. You feel indebted to this Man so you want to make sure that you serve Him well. Because after all, experience tells you to beware of failing your Master.

However, upon arriving at the Master’s house, He does something you never saw coming. Even in your wildest dreams, you would have never imagined it. He looks at you and smiles a sweet smile like you’ve never seen before, and He does the unthinkable.

He invites you inside His house. You expected that you would now work for this Man, and yet He is welcoming you into His home.
       
And as if that wasn’t enough to excite your expectations of this new life with this new Master, He then proceeds to take you into a room. A room that seems to have been waiting just for you. A room that is just like His Son’s room upstairs. A room that is in fact… Yours!

Again, in the most gentle voice you’ve ever heard, the Master puts His arm around your surprised shoulders and says, 

“Relax and rest my son. You are no slave here in My house. You are family. What’s Mine is yours. Welcome to your new home.” 

Hope has found its home.

And you can hardly take it all in. Deep emotions, the purest of emotions, Love, Joy, and Peace have resurrected from the dead and even now, you struggle to believe all this can be true. You were going about your everyday life enslaved to the brutality of Sin and out of nowhere and for no apparent reason this Man comes along and purchases your freedom and takes you in as one of His own children. You did nothing to earn this. Your elevated status is nothing more than the result of this good Master’s free gift of grace and mercy. A mercy shown to whomever He pleases. 

You just happen to be one of the ones He’s chosen. 

This is a picture of the gospel. This is a portrait of amazing grace. 

Imagine being the purchased slave now considered an adopted son. Imagine the wonder and excitement you’d feel waking up that first morning in your new home. Imagine the heart you would have for your new Master who has insisted that you refer to Him as Father. Obedience is no longer viewed through the lens of oppression but now through the lens of opportunity.

Life is going to be dramatically but delightfully different. You will never be a slave again. You have become an heir to the Father’s eternal estate.

Therefore, our failure to possess an obedience to our Father that freely flows from a radically changed heart is simply a failure to grasp who He is and what He has done for us. 

We must not forget that we are not our own. The Son became a slave so that we might become sons. 

True freedom is found in this life altering truth. We have been purchased.