The Matter Of Honoring God
To honor God means to recognize Him--constantly looking in His direction.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, dear radio friends. How in the world are you?
Oh, my heart warms to the fact that, although we’ve never met, we belong to each other – don’t we – in the bonds of Christian love and fellowship. And every once awhile – as it happened – not too long ago, I was a guest in someone’s home and was introduced, and the person across the room looked at me – happened to be from overseas but was stationed in Washington – looked at me and said, “Are you Dr. Cook?” I said, “Yes.” “Family radio?” “Yes,” I said. That’s one of the chains that, that carry us, you know.
Well, he rose from his seat and walked across the room and gave me a big bear hug and said, “Oh, praise the Lord, I listen to you every morning!”
Well, I, I just belong to you because I give myself away, I guess, day by day, as we share from the Word of God. I’m glad that’s so. I’m glad it is that way. I guess I’m the kind of person that needs somebody to belong to, and the Lord has given me a, an enlarged family in you, dear ones that listen. Thank you for being there.
We’re looking at 1 Timothy, and Paul has come to this beautiful doxology, “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Now, in your Greek New Testament, that “only wise” turns out to be just two words: “mono theo,” the only God. A famous football coach was said to have remarked one day, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” Well, God isn’t just one among many, He’s the only God. Yes, He’s wise. Yes, He is all-powerful. Yes, He is all-knowing. Yes, He’s omnipresent, always everywhere. Yes, He’s eternal. Yes, He’s immortal, not subject to dying. But He’s the only one.
I had this brought out so forcibly to me years ago, as I stood with some missionaries in what’s called the Temple of 500 Gods, 500 Buddhas, in Canton, China.
There we stood in this big temple of worship, and the dear people of China came in with their offerings, and they would buy a few incense – joss sticks they call them – incense sticks at the big altar and light them there. The flame is always burning. And then they would go over and place them in front of their particular image of Buddha. There are 500 of them, all alike except for one, which has a hat on, and they tell me that that one was placed there to honor Marco Polo, the explorer who came through China centuries ago.
All the same, but different people going to kneel before different ones, and of course the sadness of it all was brought home to me as well, because I observed a lady coming in and having in her hand a few stalks of Chinese celery, Chinese vegetables. And she went over and purchased a couple of incense sticks – joss sticks – and went over then to one of the, one of the Buddhas and placed the, the Chinese celery vegetables there before this image, and placed the incense as it was burning into a holder that was there, and then she knelt down on the stone cold floor and prostrated herself, bowing so forcibly that her forehead hit against the stone floor with an audible “flick” each time, and praying so earnestly.
Well, I said to my missionary friend, “What’s she saying?” He said, “She is saying that she has a sick child at home. She’s afraid it will die and she’s praying that her luck may change and that the child may get well.”
Oh, I thought of that Scripture that says, “Eyes have thee, but they see not, ears have thee, but they hear not.”
Praying to an image. Buddha was a great person and Buddhism has in it… If any of you are Buddhists listening to me, I’m not inveighing – criticizing – against your, your beliefs.
All I’m saying is there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. And the Bible tells me, “There is none other name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”
You need, my dear friend, to know the Lord Jesus Christ. You may have many good teachings, I don’t deny that a bit, but you need to know the Lord Jesus, because there is only salvation in Him, and when you get to know the Lord Jesus you’ll be, you’ll be living every day in fellowship with the only God. That’s what this says, “the only” God. He’s the one, and the Lord Jesus makes Him real to you.
You see, when you talk about other religions, of course you always run the risk of, of offending someone who thinks you’re talking against them. I’m not talking against anybody’s religion. That isn’t my point.
All I’m saying is, the Bible tells me there’s just one way to know the living God, that’s of the Lord Jesus Christ. Open your heart to Him today, open your heart to the Lord Jesus. Talk to Him. The Bible says, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Talk to Him. Say, “Lord Jesus, come into my heart. Forgive my sins. Make me a child of God.”
And you know He will because the Bible says, “Whosoever shall call on the name of Lord shall be saved.” He’s the only God. Isn’t any beside. You read in the Old Testament, “Behold I’m the Lord, and there is none beside Me. To whom will ye liken Me, or to whom will I be equal?” said He. “I am the Lord.” You can’t compare God Almighty with anybody else, because there isn’t anybody else. That’s the point.
Now, there are two words that are used in the Scripture again and again, and they’re used together and they’re used right here. What are they? “Honor” and “glory.” Honor and glory.
“Them that honor me, I will honor,” says God. “If I be God, where is My honor?” He said in another place, He said in another place, “These people honor me with their lips but their heart is far from me.” Jesus said, “Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say.” To honor God means to listen to Him, and to honor God means to take Him seriously, and to honor God means to obey Him, no matter what the cost. “The honor,” it says, “and glory.”
Stop here a moment and think with me about this matter of honoring God. How do you do this?
Number one, you recognize Him. Many people go through a whole day without thinking about God at all, unless they get into a jam; then they’re apt to pray.
To recognize God as the most important person in all of your life all the time, that is to say you recognize your need of God when you wake up, when you first greet the family, when you go on your way to work or school or whatever. You recognize your need of God when you start your day’s work or study. You recognize your need of God when you pick up the phone, because you don’t know who’s at the other end of the wire. You need God’s guidance. You recognize your need of God when you open a letter, because you don’t know what’s in it. It could be a check or a bill or a threat or whatever. You recognize your need of God when you go into a business proposition, because you don’t know whether it’s going to be a winner or loser.
See? To honor God means to recognize Him. Constantly looking in His direction. “In all Thy ways,” said Solomon, “acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths to honoring.”
Now another thing that honoring God means is you’re going to avoid those things that displease Him. If you’re going to honor your Lord, going to avoid the things that displease Him or grieve the Holy Spirit. There are certain things that grieve the Spirit of God, and we have them listed for us in some of the epistles that Paul wrote.
“’Grieve not the Spirit of God,’ said he, ‘whereby ye are sealed onto the day of redemption.’” What is it that grieves the Spirit of God? Well, he says, put away lying. “Speak every man truth with his neighbor. Be angry and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” Retained anger’s always a source of grief to the Spirit of God. “Neither give place to the devil.” Don’t give Satan any room in your life. “Let him that stole steal no more.” Be honest in your dealings with people. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying.” No dirty talk, but words that build up other people. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice.” Be kind one to another. What grieves the Spirit of God? Bitterness does, wrath and anger does, clamor and evil speaking grieves Him, malice that’s hoping that something bad occurs to somebody else grieves Him, unkindness grieves Him, hardheartedness grieves Him, unforgiveness grieves Him.
See, these are the things that grieve the Spirit of God, and if you want to honor God, you want to stay away from, avoid those things that would grieve His heart. Honor God.
If you want to honor Him – in the third place – you’re going to obey Him as He whispers to your heart those, those things that are His Will for you.
Now, I don’t believe that there is any special revelation that has been given since the Scripture was completed. I do believe, however, that God talks to believers by His indwelling Holy Spirit to guide you.
Jesus our Lord said, “When He is come, He shall guide you into all truth.” How does the Holy Spirit guide you if He doesn’t speak to you and, and reveal Christ to you through the written Word as well as through the unspoken language of your soul?
There is, there is no special revelation where somebody comes and says “I’ve got this and you can have this,” besides the Bible. That isn’t the point. God speaks through His Word. “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” “Anybody that adds to that,” John says in Revelation, “is out of order.”
But I also believe that the Spirit of God, basing what He has to say upon the Word, “He shall guide you into all truth and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” See, the Word of God is used by the Holy Spirit to guide you personally into the Will of God.
Now, to honor God means to obey what the Spirit of God says to you. That make sense? Just obey Him and oftentimes it doesn’t, it doesn’t follow logically on what you think ought to happen. God isn’t always logical, in terms of human logic. He said, “My ways are not your ways and My thoughts are not your thoughts, because as the Heaven is higher than the earth so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” God doesn’t always follow human lines of thought, but He’s always right.
I saw a sign in a restaurant one time said, “The boss isn’t always right, but he’s always the boss.” Well, we can go a step farther than that with our blessed heavenly Father. He is always right and He is always God, so honor Him and obey Him.
Small thought here: You never have any regrets when you obey your Lord. Lots of regrets when you disobey. “The way of transgressors is hard,” the Bible says, “and be sure your sin will find you out.” Sin is embarrassing. It’s, it leads to difficulty and it’s ultimately fatal, but obedience to God doesn’t have any regrets. No regrets when you obey your blessed Lord.
Hallelujah! Specialize in honoring the Lord. Now let’s pray.
Dear Father, help us to honor Thee today, by recognizing Thee and by staying away from those things that grieve Thee, and by obeying Thee. In Jesus’ name, I pray this, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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