Honor One Another

I want to continue our series on the “one anothers” in the book of Romans. (If you missed last week’s post on “Love One Another”, you can catch it on our website. This week we stay in the same verse as last week (Romans 12:10) but we catch the second “one another” in the verse, which is to honor one another.

Actually, that’s not true. Paul doesn’t tell us in Romans 12:10 to simply “honor one another.” He actually says (according to the ESV translation)…

“Outdo one another in showing honor.”

Stealing Honor

Imagine you flip on the TV and you see a baseball game. Before you can change the channel, you realize the home team is losing by one run in the bottom of the ninth, but they have the tying run on first base. However, there are two outs. And up steps the shortstop to home plate. The shortstop doesn’t have a very good batting average, and the announcers aren’t giving him much of a chance. They make some comments that they are surprised the manager didn’t put in a pinch hitter in this situation. And sure enough, the shortstop swings pathetically at the first two pitches, getting two strikes against him. This means if the pitcher gets one more strike, the batter will be out, handing the home team a loss.

But instead of striking out, on the third pitch the shortstop cranks the ball over the fence for a home run, bringing in the two runs needed to give the home team the win. The stadium goes wild as the home team rushes on to the field to celebrate with the shortstop at home plate.

Now of course in this scenario, the “hero” of the game is the shortstop. But imagine a TV reporter interviewing the first baseman, and as the first baseman talks about the game, especially the exciting ending to the game, begins to take all the credit! He acts as if HE won the game for his team. I think you’re jaw would drop at the audacity of this player. He should be giving honor to the shortstop that hit the home run, especially when no one expected him to do much of anything in that situation. Instead, this selfish first baseman is searching for honor.

So often in life, we desire, like the first baseman, to be honored. We feel honored when…

  • …someone stands on a stage exchanging wedding vows with us.
  • …we get a promotion at work.
  • …our friends throw us a surprise party.

We like to be honored. So Paul, in Romans 12:10, wisely tells us to give honor to others. Here’s his logic: If other people are like us and desire to be honored, then Paul tells us to be the selfless people, and point the spotlight on one another.

Honor as a Competition

But Paul doesn’t stop there. He seems to turn honor into a competition. He tells us to “outdo one another” in giving honor. Why would he make the giving of honor a competitive sport? Because of the relationship-changing power of honor-giving!
Imagine a marriage where the spouses are regularly trying to outdo each other in honor. The husband finds joy in getting the dishwasher emptied before his wife can get there. The wife finds joy in folding her husband’s shirts before he can get to the task. The husband finds happiness when he gives his wife a present. The wife enjoys a silent smile when she drops an encouragement note in his briefcase or lunch bag. And this type of marital relationship is a ton of fun as they try to “outdo” each other in giving honor!

But imagine with me what a church family would look like that aims to outdo one another in honor (after all, that is what Paul was ultimately talking about in Romans 12:10). I believe that church would be the talk of the town! A church where members and attenders honor each other through words and actions. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that type of church?

Love One Another

by Erin Bird

How’s your week been going? Mine has been going quite well!

  • I loved last Sunday’s Baptism Worship Gathering.
  • I heard from a church planting friend who saw two students make decisions to follow Jesus during a church potluck last Sunday.
  • I got to chat with my church planting coach (who is coming this Sunday to teach at Riverwood).
  • I got to work on some “future stuff” for Riverwood.
  • I’ve gotten some quality time with my family.
  • And my Kansas City Royals have started winning again. 🙂

So yeah, it’s been a good week!

One Another Series

Today we are starting a new series on the five “one anothers” we find in the book of Romans. Before we get to our first “one another” let me set the stage.

In Romans chapters 1-11, the Apostle Paul wrote about the gospel. Like a skilled lawyer, Paul showed the importance and necessity of the gospel for all people.

Then in chapter 12, Paul makes a turn. He moves from discussing the theological and philosophical implications of the gospel to the practical application of the gospel. In verse 10, as he is helping his readers apply the gospel to their lives, Paul writes…

“Love one another with brotherly affection.”

Love One Another 2 350x196 - Love One Another

When you’ve been impacted by the gospel, realizing the love God has for you, it should lead you to love others.

Redefining Love

When I went on Unsplash to look for an image for this email, I typed in the search bar “love.” And the first images that popped up all reflected romantic love.

So often, when we think of “love,” we think kisses, hand holding, smiles, fluttering hearts, consuming thoughts, and all the trappings of romantic love.

But love is so much more than just dating and marriage.

  • It’s encouraging a co-worker.
  • It’s listening to a friend.
  • It’s serving a neighbor.
  • It’s giving a hug to someone in your church family.
  • It’s sending a letter of appreciation to someone.
  • It’s giving a gift to someone going through a tough moment.

This is the type of love that Paul is talking about in Romans 12:10. If you follow Jesus, how can you show this type of love to others, especially those who also follow Jesus? What do you need to do this week at work, at home, or out in your neighborhood to show love with brotherly affection?

Let us show love together to those in our church family and outside of it, because the love of Jesus has changed us.

True Worship – Part 2

By Jeff Willis

“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, or well pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2

Let’s start this week by focusing on the phrase “[D]o not be conformed to the world….”

First, do not be conformed to the world’s understanding of emotions. Last week’s article included this statement: ‘We renew our minds daily by cleansing them of the world’s “wisdom” and replacing it with true wisdom that comes from God.’ We worship Him with our renewed and cleansed minds, not just with our emotions. Emotions are wonderful things, but unless they are shaped by a mind saturated in Truth, they can be destructive, out-of-control forces. Where the mind goes, the will follows, and so do the emotions. 1 Corinthians 2:16 tells us we have “the mind of Christ,” not the emotions of Christ.

Second, do not be conformed to the world’s understanding of worship. The word worship means “to ascribe worth.” Our world ascribes worth to all sorts of thing. But Jesus-followers are to be different. Worship is reserved only for God. Only He is worthy. Not even His servants are to be worshipped. (Revelation 19:10). This means we are not to worship saints, prophets, gifted pastors, statues, angels, or even Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Lastly, the world often engages in worship for what it gets from it. However, as Christians, we should not be worshiping for the expectation of something in return. Worship is done for God, because He deserves it. It is for His pleasure alone. Worship can be public praise to God in a congregational setting, but ultimately, true worship is from the heart and then is expressed through our actions, regardless of where we are or who is looking. “Worshiping” out of obligation is displeasing to God and is completely in vain. He can see through our hypocrisy, and He hates it. Just a few weeks ago, Pastor Erin spoke about an example of this very thing found in the story of Cain and Abel, the first sons of Adam and Eve. They both brought gift offerings to the Lord, but God was only pleased with Abel’s. Cain brought the gift out of obligation; Abel brought his finest lambs from his flock. He brought out of faith and admiration for God.

In conclusion, worship is not confined to what we do in church or open praise (although these things are both good, and we are told in the Bible to do them). True worship is the acknowledgment of God and all His power and glory in everything we do. The highest form of praise and worship is obedience to Him and His Word. To do this, we must know God and not be ignorant of Him (Acts 17:23 – “the “Altar of an Unknown God”).

True worship is to glorify and exalt God—to show our loyalty and admiration to our Heavenly Father.
Isaiah 29:13 says, “And so the Lord says, ‘These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips. But their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.’” (NLT)

Lord, help us to live a life of worship in our everyday walk so that our actions, words, attitudes and all that we are and have bring you the glory and honor due Your name.

True Worship – Part 1

by Jeff Willis

“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, or well pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2

This passage from Romans 12 contains all the elements of true worship. Let’s look at these elements this week and next.

Motivation

First, there is the why, the motivation to worship: “the mercies of God.”

true worship innerimage 350x196 - True Worship - Part 1God’s mercies are everything He has given us that we don’t deserve: eternal love, eternal grace, the Holy Spirit, everlasting peace, eternal joy, saving faith, comfort, strength, wisdom, hope, patience, kindness, honor, glory, righteousness, security, eternal life, forgiveness, reconciliation, justification, sanctification, freedom, intercession and much more. The knowledge and understanding of these incredible gifts motivate us to give all praise and thanksgiving – in other words, worship!

Manner

Also in the passage is a description of the how, the manner of our worship: “present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice.”

Presenting our bodies means giving to God all of ourselves. The reference to our bodies here means all of our humanness—our hearts, minds, hands, thoughts, attitudes, etc.– are to be presented to God. We must give up control of these things and turn them over to Him, just as a literal sacrifice was given totally to God on the altar.

But how? …“by the renewing of your mind.” We renew our minds daily by cleansing them of the world’s “wisdom” and replacing it with true wisdom that comes from God.

True worship is God-centered worship. Like the woman at the well in John 4, we can get caught up with where we should worship, what music we should sing in worship, and how our worship looks to other people. Focusing on these things misses the point. Jesus tells the woman and us that “true worshipers” worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). This means we worship from the heart! Worship can include praying, reading God’s Word, singing, participating in communion, and serving others. It is not limited to one act, but when the heart and attitude of the person are in the right place with regards to their relationship with the Father, God is honored, glorified and pleased.

Worship is not an event. It is a lifestyle!

Father, help us to go deeper in our everyday walk with You and that our worship is just a natural overflow and outpouring of Who You are in us and through us.