22nd September 2023
'First Baptist Thomson' comments on
Pleasing God: Humility, Honesty, Faithfulness, from Proverbs 16
A wise person cares what God thinks.
And God has described the qualities that He desires for us. We focus on being humble, righteous, honest, and faithful.
I believe that the Bible speaks more clearly and more helpfully to our current culture than any pundit or expert.
There are countless ways this passage applies to our culture, and I offer two as ways to get your juices flowing: "cancel culture" and the "wealth gap".
I believe that our culture, as godless as it has become, still resonates with those qualities because that's how God made us.
"Cancel Culture" is the disturbing modern phenomenon in which a person (often a celebrity) says or does something that offends somebody, and they respond by encouraging a personal boycott, but much more extreme.
It's not a boycott like "don't go to Disneyworld or watch Disney movies"; it's "prevent Disney from making movies, and demand that they close Disneyworld forever".
Why are people creating a "cancel culture"? Where is it coming from?
The debate around cancel culture is partly about how we treat each other, and partly about frustration with the lack of real consequences for powerful people.
We don't like powerful people who abuse their power, and that's exactly what Solomon warned 3000 years ago.
If you have ever read about someone's "fall from grace" and thought to yourself "they just got what was coming to them", you are agreeing with Solomon!
And thus the way you wrap up this topic is to ask: what is the solution?
Be humble. Not false humility -- true humility.
Wealth itself is not the concern for Solomon; how you get it and how you use it is.
Proverbs 33 The fear of the Lord is what wisdom teaches, and humility comes before honour.
One of our church's core "be like Jesus" values is humility. Jesus is our ultimate model for every good and desirable trait, and when we want to know what humility really is, we go to Jesus.
Let's start with "the fear of the Lord".
Basically, it is living in the awareness that God's way is the right way.
In this context, "fear" is not about being afraid but being submissive.
"Fear" is about a healthy respect or humble reverence. We can illustrate this in any number of ways. Get out a heavy-duty chemical cleaner.
Analize how you handled it.
My expectation would be that you weren't afraid of the item, but you treated it very carefully, with extra respect.
That points us in the direction of what "fear of the Lord" means. If you had a healthy "fear" of the chemical, that would mean that you carefully followed all instructions and only used it for what it was for.
Why? Because you appreciate its destructive capacity if used improperly.
If we recognize that with a bottle of cleaner, should we not take the God of the universe more seriously?
A person who commits frequent injustice does not seem to be someone who has been transformed by the Holy Spirit, and that bodes very ill for their eternal future.
God has two overarching purposes in human history: to bring people to Jesus (of their own free will) and to act within His nature.
People come to Jesus when they realize the power and penalty of sin and their need for a Saviour.
People create their own standards (cf. Adam and Eve).
Very few people do what they think is wrong; they can justify themselves by their own standards.
But sincerity is not a path to salvation.
Only God's ways should be followed.
You might remember what Jesus said in the sermon on the mount:
"You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother or sister will be subject to judgment."
But here's the real key: humans don't even really understand their own motives.
What did Paul say in Romans 7?
"I don't understand this war raging inside of me!"
Think about your own life, your relationships.
Do you need to change your life?
Un-edited version and Bible references avaiable, on request
First Baptist Thomson
We are a multigenerational church with a heart for the next generation.
We want all church members to come to worship, grow in small groups, serve from their SHAPE, and go make disciples.