Craig Groeschel - Honor in a Cancel Culture
Well, some would say that we're living in the age of perpetual offense, where we're quick to judge, quick to criticize, quick to condemn and quick to cancel anyone who offends us. Have you noticed that? Yeah. It used to be just those who were more well-known, like we'd cancel the politicians, or the athletes, or the business leader, but unfortunately now it might be someone like your school teacher that says something that you don't like. It could be the person that you work with or it could be the friend on social media that just crosses some line and so you just write them out of your life.
It doesn't take much in the culture that we're in today. It could be a single misstatement. It could be a misunderstanding. It could be something very intentional, something very, very dumb, it could be a tweet that's 10 years old, but there might be a person that literally had years and years of integrity, but with one moment of foolishness or even one moment of sinfulness, we just completely write them out. The tragedy is to me it's not just with those who are well known, that is so easy to dismiss, but today it can be with your friends, it can often be with your family. That there are family members who don't speak because they don't like the way another family member voted, or they don't like who they follow on social media, or there was a disagreement over a single issue and so we completely distance ourself from somebody.
And it doesn't have to be just something that's big or what would be majorly important, it could be that, "I just don't like the way she was looking at me". And, "He never comments on my posts. And they're really, really slow to respond to my texts because one time, I texted and you started to respond, I saw the bubbles and then you ghosted me. I'm so done with you". We live in the age of perpetual offense. We have to acknowledge the truth that if you're on a continuous search to be offended, you'll always find what you're looking for. And when we live in such a culture that's almost looking to be offended, looking to be angry, and looking to dishonor, the way we're called to live by God is very different than the current culture in which we live.
In fact, scripture tells us in Romans 12:10, this will introduce our virtue for today, scripture tells us to honor, somebody say, honor. Honor. You might just type that in the chat, "I'm going to show honor". Type that in the chat. Scripture says to, "Honor another above yourselves". To show honor to someone else, even above the way we would honor ourselves. So I would ask you, how are we doing at that, huh? How are we doing in our culture? How are we doing at honoring one another above ourselves? And that's why today I wanna talk to you about one of the most important and most overlooked virtues that matters to God and it should matter to us. I want to talk to you today about, my title is "Honor in a Cancel Culture". Would you pray with me today at all of our churches?
Father, we ask that your living Word would speak to hearts today, would transform us by your grace, that as followers of Jesus, we would honor you first, God, and you would empower us by your spirit to honor others above ourselves. We pray this in Jesus name. And everybody said? Amen. Amen.
Are you ready for God's Word today? Yes. If you're ready, say, I'm ready. Type it in the chat, "I'm ready today". We got some people really ready here. We're gonna be in Mark's gospel today, Mark chapter six. And what I wanna do is give you the context of Mark chapter six. Jesus had just done a couple of miracles, pretty powerful miracles. He healed a woman that had an issue of blood for 12 years and miraculously brought healing into her life. And then even more incredible, there was a little girl that actually died, she was physically dead. And at the power of His spoken word, He raised this girl from the dead.
Then Jesus goes into His hometown; now this was not His birthplace, this was the place where He was raised, He goes to His hometown, Nazareth and the people there were looking for the Messiah. Where is he? Jesus comes in as the Messiah and they looked right past Him and didn't show any honor but we're gonna see actually did the opposite. Let me read Mark chapter six, starting in verse one to... Scripture says this, "Jesus left that part of the country and returned with His disciples to Nazareth, His hometown. The next Sabbath, He began teaching in the synagogue and many who heard Him were amazed. They asked, where did He get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles? Then, they scoffed, He's just a carpenter. Isn't this the guy we grew up with? Isn't that the guy who major in table, he's just a carpenter, they said. The son of Mary and the brother of James Joseph, Judas and Simon, and his sisters live right here among us. We know their family, they're so familiar and there can't be anything special about those who are familiar to us".
The Bible says, "They were deeply offended and they refused to believe in Him". Then Jesus told His disciples, He told them, "A prophet is honored everywhere, except in his hometown and among his relatives and his own family". He was without honor. In His own hometown, Jesus was without honor.
What is the difference between showing honor and withholding honor? And I wanna show you a couple of Greek words that you can find in Scripture. The first one is the word atimos. This word means without honor. The word of atimos means to dishonor or to treat as common or ordinary, there's nothing special about you, there's no reason to treasure you, I shouldn't say anything good about you, I shouldn't expect anything from you. You're simply ordinary, you're common. The word that is translated as honor, it looks like the word time, but it's pronounced ti-mee, and this word means to value, to respect or highly esteem. It means to treat as precious, weighty or valuable. What do you think honor does? Honor esteems, it cherishes, it values, it builds up, it encourages, it believes the best.
What does dishonor do? Dishonor on the other hand, treats as common. It tears down, it belittles, it criticizes, it devalues, it assumes the worst. It's a little bit like if a guy is dating that he likes, "She smells good. I like everything about her". And so what does he do? He shows her honor. He honors her by opening the door for her. He honors her by taking her on a date. Do you all remember what a date is? He gives her a compliments, he compliments everything. He brags on her. He posts photos with them together and uses the hashtag #TrueLove. One day they get married and then they settle down. And over time they start to take one another for granted. And instead of honoring and lifting, he starts to treat her as ordinary. "This is my girl". He comes home and says, "What'd you do all day"?
I've actually seen men that show more affection to their dogs than to their wives. And then he comes home and he burps in something said, "Want some of this"? And he wonders why she vomits on him. Some of you guys are being real quiet. Listen, you want a special God honoring marriage, what do you do? You honor one another above yourself. You want a common marriage? You treat each other as ordinary because when you do, what once was special, becomes ordinary every single time.
We saw this played out, Amy and I were working with a couple that were friends of ours and they started out with a good marriage, but after a while, they were completely dishonorous so we were meeting with them and this wife, I'm just here to tell you, she was all up into her husband's business. She was tearing him down "You never get this, nye, nye, nye," and I was really uncomfortable.
Now, Amy, the Godly quiet one, can sometimes be loud and prophetic. And she jumped in and said to the wife, "Do you realize the whole time, the only thing you've done is tear your husband down? You need to stop it right now". And she bowed up, looked back at Amy and said, "Well, if my husband was one 10th of man that husband is, then maybe I'd show him honor". And Amy didn't give an inch and said, "Maybe my husband is the man he is because I've been honoring him since the day we met him". Don't mess with the pretty girl, she's got some fight in her. Here's the problem: We often tend to think that once you act honorable then I'll show you honor. Once you live in such a way that you deserve honor, then at that moment, I'll go ahead and describe honor to you. But there's a big difference between respect and honor.
What do we know? We know that respect is earned, but honor on the other hand is given, is a posture of the heart. It's a humility of saying, "God, because of who you are and because of your creation, even if they're not yet acting in an honorable way, I choose to honor because this is one of the ways that I honor you". And here's, what's crazy, is when you start to ascribe honor to someone, and you treat them as special and weighty and precious, and as you start to build them up and believe the best and encourage them, they often just start to become honorable. And on the other hand, when you assume the worst and you tear them down and tell them over and over and over again what they're not, and you belittle them, and you criticize them and you take them out at the knees, it's so amazing how sometimes they start acting even more dishonorably. Why? Because honor builds up and dishonor tears down.
So what are we going to do? How are we going to respond? What I wanna do today is I wanna narrow in on four different avenues of Scripture in which we are told to be honorable, to show honor. We'll look at four different categories of those that we should honor. The first one, if you're taking notes you can jot this down, number one, we are to honor God, our creator, our sustainer, El Shaddai, the God who is more than enough, our provider, the Holy one, the one who spoke and created all that is, our Redeemer, our savior, that God. And how do we honor God? Scripture gives us lots of different ways. One of the ways we honor God is we honor Him with what He gives to us. Scripture says honor Him with our wealth or with the first fruits. Everything that we have comes from God, everything that we are comes from God.
And so when He gives us any increase, we honor Him with 10% back as an act of honor to the goodness of who God is. We honor Him with our bodies. They are Holy and set apart for His glory. That means there's some places we won't go and some things we won't do, and some things we won't look at and some things that we'll do that may seem different from others because He's called us to be Holy and set apart with our bodies. We honor Him with our worship. It's not lip service, it's the overflow of our hearts because of who He is and what He's done. We honor the goodness of God In a culture that makes fun of God, we honor God. We're also told in Scripture not just to honor God but we're told to honor our parents.
And I wanna talk to kids of all ages today because some of you are gonna say, "Well, my parents are weird," and they are weird, my kids tell us that all the time, "You're weird. You're older, you're whatever". But parents, we're not called to be buddies to our children as much as we're called to be spiritual authority imparting life unto them. And we're gonna teach them to honor in the home so they'll know how to honor throughout their whole lives. This'll sound a really old fashioned, this will date, and you can make fun of me all you want, but Amy and I just decided one of the ways we teach a honor in our home with our six children is, when we ask you something your response is yes, sir or with Amos it's yes, ma'am. If there's any kind of adult, this is just a posture of honor.
You say, "Well that's kind of controlling and old fashioned". We're gonna here and we're gonna build into our children a culture of saying, we honor those who have gone before us, We honor those who are over us. And if you think for a moment one day, your kids are gonna honor some boss when they didn't honor you in your home? You're robbing them of the blessing of teaching them to ascribe honor to those who are around them. We honor God. We honor our parents.
The third thing scripture teaches us is to honor those who are in authority. Oh, if I hadn't gotten up into a bitterness yet, I'm about to do it just now, because a lot of you right now go, "I'm not honoring the current administration or the past administration or whatever," can we just have a little real talk right now? Can we just go there? Can we do it? Over the years, I have liked some of our leaders more than others. And I have disagreed with either tone or policy or perhaps both. I dare you in 25 years of leadership to find anytime that I've dishonored our leaders, because you can disagree without dishonoring. There is a big difference. We honor our leaders. We pray for those that we voted for and we pray for those that we didn't vote for. We pray for our leaders, it is the right thing to do. We don't have to agree.
You look at, in the Old Testament, when David was running for his life from Saul. Saul's trying to kill him, what did David do? He still showed honor. I don't know about you, but to this day, I've never had the president try to kill me. And if you can be under that type of authority and still show honor, our God shows us to honor our leaders with the posture of prayer. You can disagree without being dishonorable. We're better than that. Scripture also teaches us that we're to honor our pastors and our spiritual leaders and I don't want this to sound self-serving so I will deflect but the Bible does say that those who oversee the church are worthy of double honor.
And so I would say to your campus pastors, and to your staff, and even more than that, listen to me, those who are serving your kids when you're in church, double honor, double honor. Those who are here on Wednesday nights, to those who have invested in my six children, I love you, I honor you, I come with gift cards and thank you notes and hugs because of what you do, it matters to God and it matters to me. Why does honor matter so much? Why does it matter? It's not just right before God but to be dishonorable actually hurts you. Anytime you're dishonoring, it actually hurts you. In fact, Scripture teaches us this in Mark 6: 4 and 5, back to our text. When Jesus was talking to those around Him, He said, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own home".
Now, watch verse five, there's a crazy little verse that says this, "Jesus could not do any miracles there except lay His hand on a few sick people and heal them". Here's what's crazy, is it doesn't say that He would not, but Scripture says He could not. Now, we know that before He could because He just raised a dead girl to life, he just healed a woman who had an issue of blood for 12 years. But in this context, when there was a lack of faith and when there was a lack of honor, He could not do any of the big miracles. And I don't fully understand this. I'm not gonna pretend like I do. But what I do know is that a lack of honor and lack of faith limited what Jesus would have done otherwise.
So I wonder what miracles God wanted to do for you. What blessings God wanted to give to you? What prayers God wanted to answer for you but He didn't because you lacked honor. Scripture says this, this is the Word of God, "Honor one another above yourselves". How are we doing? In a cancel culture Well, you write your friend off for a Facebook post. "Honor one another above yourselves". I like the way another version translates it, it says, "To out do one another in showing honor". Outdo. I wanna outdo you an showing honor. If we go to dinner together, I promise you, I'm getting the bill. Is one small way I can outdo you?
And all my friends know that and so they try to do battle and so I call a day before. Right, dad? And he goes there a week before, so I buy the restaurant. Because we're gonna outdo one another in showing honor. You want a marriage that's blessed? Instead of tearing each other down, what if you tried to out-love one another? What if you tried to out-encourage one another? What if you tried to out-give one another? What if you tried to out-cherish and out-esteem one another? We're gonna outdo one another in showing honor. And so, because I have the microphone and I get to do whatever the heck I want, I want to just take a moment, I wanna honor some people and I'm gonna start with the moms in our house, at every location and those online.
Can you give up some love and honor for the moms in our lives? We thank you for the amazing sacrifices. No one loves and sacrifices like a mum. And I wanna honor a few people that are here tonight and people that are in my family. I start with on the left, I honor my mum who is here. And for years, she'd been wanting me to say this so I'll just say it, mom, you are right about everything. I've said it. And I love you. And my dad who never missed a game and works me harder than any dad could have worked me because he loved me more than any dad could have loved me. I honor you, dad. And to my bride and my best friend, oh dear God, I don't know if I can get through it, but no one will ever know. No one will ever know. Your giving heart, your serving spirit, your godliness, your prayers, hours and hours of prayers, putting up with me, standing by me, holding my hand, praying through the night, there's no way to describe how much I love you and honor you with all of my heart.
The leaders of our church, this is what's amazing and stunning, what I want you to understand is these men have been with me for over two decades and you won't see that hardly anywhere. The best of the best who could go anywhere and make any amount of money but they give their lives, their wives, their children, they're all up here, all in, completely in. And that is special and I honor those leaders, this place would not be what it is without these leaders. And my pastor who is no longer on earth as of this year, who taught me God's Word, taught me to preach, gave me a chance to keep doing ministry when most wouldn't given up, I honor my pastor, Nick Harris. I honor those of you in our community that serve. I honor first responders who run in when everybody else runs out.
I honor our leaders, whether I voted for them or I didn't, I honor our leaders, I publicly stand to pray for our leaders and believe the best that God can use, even someone I may disagree with I choose to show honor. I honor you, our church, with more love than I have the ability to describe, you or the best of the best. You are set apart, you are holy for God. You are courageous in what you do. You're the most innovative, faith-filled, passionate, bet-the-firm risk takers. 20 years ago, when it had never been done before, we said, "What if we did church in more than one location"? And we helped plow grounds, new grounds on how the gospel can be spread throughout the world through the local church, you broke that ground. When it had never been done before and we said, "What if we took church online"?
And the world debated, is that good, is that real? And you said, "Yes, we'll do anything short of sin to reach people who don't know Christ. To reach people that no one's reaching, we've gotta do things no one's doing". And you helped us innovate. When we said, "Let's give it away," You raised the money to give it away. And when the world shut down, there were 50,000 churches, you said, "We'll take that gift". Even right now, the YouVersion Bible App, on almost half a billion devices out of one local church because of your innovation and because of your generosity. The greatest distribution tool of the Word of God in the history of the world born out of the generosity of this local church.
Your heart to pray, your desire for righteousness, your willingness to love those who walk in theory different than you, different views, different mindset, your willingness to stand centered, unified around the gospel of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing we can do more together than we can apart. I honor you our church with all of my heart. And above all, I honor the name that is above every name. I honor the name of Jesus, my Redeemer, my King, my savior, my Lord, the righteous one, the one who's forgiven me, the one who's healed me. The one who brought redemption, the one who reached down when I was so low and pulled me out of the brokenness of my sin. The one whose name is above every name, His name is Jesus. He said this, He said, "The people, they honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me".
We live in a culture today that may give God lip service, treating God as familiar, common or ordinary. He's not the big guy in the sky. Jesus is not your homeboy. He's not the six pound eight ounce, tiny baby Jesus, right? No, no. He is the Prince of peace. He is the Lamb of God. He is the Alpha and he is the Omega. He is the soon returning conquering King of kings and the Lord all lords. That's our Jesus. And we honor Him with all of our hearts. So when we honor God, we honor people.
One of the ways that we honor God is by honoring others above ourselves. Why do we do that when they're different and when they're wrong? Because they still are His. Because they need the same grace that you need and the same grace that I need. We honor them because His name is on them, because He created them. And that's what I want you to understand is you're not common and you're not ordinary because His name is on you. It's because of His name. It's because of His name. I'll illustrate it like this, dad, you'll like this one. Babe Ruth is considered one of the greatest home run hitters of all time.
The Bambino autographed tons and tons of baseballs but only seven home run bats. I'm gonna show you something that might be hard for you to believe, but I'm holding in my hand one of those seven bats. Not really, this is just one we bought online that had Babe Ruth on it but wouldn't that have been cool? That'd been so awesome but no this one was 1999, including free delivery. And there were seven bats and one of the bats vanished for decades. And then in 1988, the man who had the vanished bat, he was sick on his death bed and there was a nurse that took care of him, her name was Marcia and he had no living relatives, no one to give his wealth or his treasures to, and because of the way this nurse honored and cared for him, before he died, he offered her one of the seven Babe Ruth bats. And for the next 18 years, she kept this bat underneath her bed, not fully understanding that it was a pretty special bat.
Then one day she retired from nursing and she'd always dreamed of opening up a restaurant but she didn't have enough money to fulfill her dream so she thought, "I wonder if that old bat is worth anything". And so she took it down to a memorabilia store and showed it to the owner who looked at it as like, "Could this be? Could this be"? And he verified, it was one of the seven and it was the missing Babe Ruth home run bat. And so in 2006, she auctioned off that bat for almost $1.3 billion. You can clap for that, that's pretty cool. This one's for 20 bucks. If that was really his name, because of the name, the value would change. She used a portion of that money to open up her restaurant. And then she donated the rest of the money to a foundation for children that Babe Ruth had always loved.
And the media didn't understand, like, "Why would you do that? Why would you donate so much money"? And this is what Marcia said, She said, "The bat was only valuable because Babe Ruth's name was on it. Since he made it valuable, the only reasonable thing I could do was something that would honor his life". What is it that makes you valuable? What is it that makes me valuable? It is the name that is above every name and His name is the name of... Jesus. His name is the name of... Jesus. Those of you online, don't leave us out, type it in the chat, His name is... Jesus. His name is... Jesus. His name is above every name. And because His name is upon you, you are not common and you are not ordinary. And because of who He is and because of what He's done, my only reasonable response is to show Him honor with my whole life.
If you're a Christian, what makes you valuable is the name of Jesus. And so your only reasonable response, your only reasonable response is to show Him honor. How do we do that? We honor one another above ourselves. And so if you find yourself recognizing you've lived a little bit without honor, it's not just right but could actually hurt you not to. And you can build up those who are around you. So we might just ask God to forgive us and as the spiritual leader under the authority of God as I show Him honor, I declare a spirit of honor upon this place. I declare a spirit of honor upon your hearts. I declare a spirit of honor upon our church that we would be known as a church that builds up rather than tears down.
I declare upon our church that when we speak will be a voice of healing and always a voice of hope. I declare that as a people, we will always fight for unity because we know we can do infinitely more together than we can apart. I declare a spirit of honor over your homes. I declare a spirit of honor over your families. I declare a spirit of honor over your children. I declare a spirit of honor over everything that you touch. Because of who Jesus is and because of what He's done, our only reasonable response is to love Him, to honor Him with our whole hearts, mind, soul and strength.
God, help us to honor one another above ourselves.
As you join me, praying today at all of our churches, those of you who would say, God help me to be more honorable towards you and more honorable toward others, would you lift up a hand right now If that's your prayer.
God, I hope it's everybody. Father, because of your name, because of who you are, because it's right, help us treat others as precious, as weighty, as worthy of encouragement. God, help us to build up, starting in our homes and overflowing into our communities. God, help us to show honor. Even if someone else isn't honorable, God help us to show honor because it's the right thing to do. God, forgive us anytime we've lacked this and may your spirit dwell within us because of your name, because of your name, because of your name. Help us to honor you and help us to honor others even above ourselves.
As you keep praying today, without looking around, there are those who would honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him. And here are others, they don't even honor God with their lips but their hearts are still far from Him. I'd ask you this, where's your heart toward God? Where's your heart toward God? What did God do for us? God loves you so much that while you were disobeying and dishonoring and while you were sinning, while I was sinning, while we were still sinners, scripture said, Christ gave his life for us.
The son of God, God in the flesh, Jesus, who was without sin, became sin on a cross for us and died in our place. And because the power of God, he raised Jesus from the dead so that anyone, and this includes you, it doesn't matter how dishonorable you been and hoe mean, how angry, how much you've hurt people, how many stupid things you've done, how bad and how dark your sin has been, anyone that calls on that name, the name that is above every name, our God hears your prayers and he forgives your sins and he makes you new. There are those of you, this is your moment. You're being drawn to God. That's His love. That's His grace. That's His spirit drawing you.
How's your heart toward God? How's your heart toward God? Because of who He is, because of what He's done, our only reasonable response is to say, "Jesus, take all of my life"? Can you cry out to Him, He hears your prayers. Listen, He forgives everything that you've ever done and you become brand new. Today online, at all of our churches, those who say , "Yes I don't wanna just honor Him outwardly, I want my heart to honor Him. I want Him to be first. Today walk away from my sin, I let it go. I confess it to Him. I cry unto Jesus. Jesus, save me. Take me. Be first, be the Lord of my life. I wanna honor God in all that I do today". This is your prayer. Very simply. "Jesus, I give you my life," that's your prayer.
Lift your hands high now, all of the places, lift them up over here are saying yes. Over here, others today say, "Yes, Jesus, I'm giving my life". Lift them up right up here, praise God for you. Those of you watching online, just type that into the chat, "I'm giving my life to you". Oh, come somebody praise God for what He's doing. Today at all of our churches, would you just join your faith and pray aloud with those around you? Pray:
Heavenly Father, I give you my life. Jesus, save me. Forgive me, make me brand new. I surrender. Fill me with your spirit so I can serve you, follow you and honor you, help me to honor others as I honor you. Thank you for a new life. I give you all of mine, in Jesus name I pray.