VIEWS: 9 PAGES: 6 POSTED ON: 12/1/2011
MADE Week Two-Worth Our culture is shot through with rating systems. Have you ever noticed that? I mean, you start it when you are in first grade when you start receiving marks relative to performance. As you grow older, you learn that such factors of physical appearance, popularity, and athletic prowess, may well determine how much worth people have for you and how much worth you perceive of yourselves. If you were here last week, you know that we began a new series entitled “MADE.” And throughout this series over the next few weeks we are thinking about different reason why we were “MADE.” In Genesis 2:7 it says: “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” From Dust to Life. But “WHY?” Last week we said one reason “WHY” was because God created us with a purpose. And we said that God indeed created each one of us-you and me-with a distinct and unique purpose and that our lives-our talents, our circumstances, our experiences, our families, all about us-are being used by God to fulfill His distinct and unique purpose in us. Tonight we are answering this question of “WHY” we were MADE? by saying that we are MADE because we are WORTHY. Our worth is not defined by WHAT we do, who we are surrounded by, WHERE we live, WHO we know, or WHAT we HAVE. Our worth is defined by God, and God alone. Now maybe I am the only one in the world that feels this way, but life has a way of making me feel pretty worthless-like I am expendable, you know? Like my life really doesn’t matter. Sometimes I feel like this world is sending me this message saying, “Hey Kirk, you know what buddy, this world would be a much better place without you!” I mean, I know I am cool and have really awesome hair and a great six- pack…underneath all this fat. But if I were real with you, there are times when I just really feel worthless. You know what’s funny to me. And I am just being really honest here, because I have to be with you guys. You guys want honesty. But if I am really honest, I would say that one of the places I have most felt the sense of worthlessness has been in the church. I’ve grown up in the church. And maybe it was just my church, I don’t know-I seem to think otherwise-but I never really heard people who messed up or who were struggling with things you know. Like, my church growing up had this prayer meeting thingy on Wednesday nights and sometimes our Youth Group would go to this prayer ministry and there are all these ancient people sitting in there sharing prayer request about this Uncle Bob and Aunt Shelly who are sick and need healing. Some lady in the back and cry out for her dog Sam who got hit by a car. I will be honest, I didn’t hear anyone in the crowd saying, “I need prayer because I am struggling with this. I need prayer because this horrible thing happened to me. I need prayer cause I am feeling pressure to do this.” I never heard that. I never heard men and women asking for prayer for their failing marriage, or prayer for their son or daughter who had turned away from God and was addicted to drugs, or cutting, or totally throwing their lives away. You didn’t hear it. I would dare say we still don’t hear it. And for me as a teenager, it put this sense of expectation upon me-a sense of worthlessness. Like, there is no way in the world that I would ever admit my faults and my failures and my struggles at church. People are so perfect. That sense of worth I was telling you about became real to me then. I might be throwing the dart blindly tonight, but I would dare say there are some of you that feel the exact same way. Maybe not necessarily just about the church, but about life. You look around you and just say, “Man, I feel so worthless.” It’s like you’re receiving these mental messages from the world saying, “You don’t matter. You’re worthless.” Maybe it’s from the ring of friends you try to run with. Maybe you’re the one that’s right on the outside of the group. You find them turning their backs to you sometimes. Or maybe you feel worthless because of what people say about you. Maybe you get ragged on and picked on at school. Or maybe it’s a rumor that was started. Or maybe you come from a broken home and your mom and dad’s divorce or separation seems to all be blamed on you. And though it may not have been said, you just feel like it’s all your fault. You feel worthless. I was thinking about worth the past couple of weeks and just trying to come up with an example of worth. One that I knew would stick with you guys. I stumbled upon a book written by a doctor who worked primarily with leprosy patients. Some of you have heard me quote certain parts of this book before. But there was a very interesting section that I feel has a lot to say to us tonight. Leprosy is not like a flesh-devouring fungus like some people may think it is-that’s often the picture we get when we think of leprosy. Like in this picture-I know for some of you it may be hard to look at. As a matter of fact, leprosy only attacks one single type of cell, the nerve cell. And as a result, the horrific results of the disease as seen in these hands is caused by a leprosy patients loss of the sense of pain. The gradual loss of the sense of pain leads to misuse of those body parts most dependent upon pain’s protection. Say a leprosy patient uses a hammer with a splintery handle, does not feel the pain of the splinter, and an infection flairs up. The leprosy patient does not know the horrific results until they often see their hands engulfed in huge soars caused by the infections. The leprosy patient-and anyone that works with them-learns very early in their fight with leprosy the WORTH of each of it’s body parts, down to a single nerve cell. The failure of one type of cell can bring on tragic consequences. The same body that shows us so clearly that each of its constituent parts plays a particular and distinct purpose also tells us that each of its parts has invaluable WORTH. Living in such a society, as I mentioned earlier, that is shot through with rating systems, allows for my vision to get clouded. For instance, I begin viewing janitors as having less human worth than jet pilots or doctors. In our human society, a janitor has little WORTH because we feel as though they are so replaceable. Yet, the very body that God created in his image tells us that the body does not rank a janitor as indispensable. If you doubt that, you can have a talk with my father- in-law who every night before bed has to have his blood cleansed by a machine due to kidney failure. Worth comes from one thing and one thing only: knowing you are WORTHY! There are many places in Scripture which we could turn to see such a truth, but tonight I want us to take a look at the story of a prostitute named Rahab. We are going to learn, no matter our past, no matter our present circumstances, it is God that defines our worth- when we know that and take hold of that truth, our lives will change! A little background, Joshua and his army are standing on the banks of the Jordan River. As the time approaches, they are about to enter into this city of Jericho that they are about to take over. Now you need to know this about battle tactics back then. They would send these spies into the town to see when and where the best place was to attack. And when the time for the attack finally came, they would do this crazy thing where they would literally kill off every living thing. All people, all animals, plants-you name it, if it lived it died. That’s just what they did. So this time is like all the others, and Joshua, who is the leader of this army sends out these spies. So these spies went and it says in Joshua 2 that they came to a harlots house (present day prostitute) whose name was Rahab and she kept them there. Now, I don’t know why she kept them there. I mean, if you think about it, this prostitute had nothing going for her. She probably knew she was dead anyways. Pretty worthless. I mean, how worthless do you have to feel about yourself to be a prostitute? So in the midst of all of this, Rahab sees this opportunity. Let’s pick up in 2:8: “Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, ‘I know that the Lord has given you this land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you come out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any many any longer because of you; for the Lord your God.” Stop here for a second. So Rahab the prostitute is hiding these men, and while in the midst of hiding them she simply lays out the fear that she and the people of Jericho have for them and of God the Father. Again, talking about worthless. Pretty much, their death certificate had been written. You couldn’t feel more worthless than that. Verse 12: “Now therefore, please swear to me by the Lord, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” So the men said to her, “Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the Lord gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.” So at the end of Chapter 2 of Joshua, we sit knowing that these spies have been saved by this prostitute and they have made this plea with her, in her worthlessness to save her and her family. Lets flip over to Joshua 6 starting with Verse 21: “They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword. Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, ‘Go into the harlot’s house and bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to her.’ So the young men who were spies went in and brought our Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and her sisters. They burned the city with fire, and all that was in it.” Verse 25: “However, Rahab the harlot and her faither’s household and all she had, Joshua spared.” If you are like me, you wonder why? I mean, isn’t that really the ultimate question of worth. Why? Why me, God? Why me? What about me makes me worthy? And sometimes, God, like a loving parent, says to us, “Because!” “Because! If I were to tell you all the reasons why, you would not understand now, but just trust me. You are worthy! You have worth because I have given you worth!” You know, sometimes there are stories that we study in Scripture that at the end we really don’t hear anything more about that. Many of the stories in our series “When Jesus Meets People” were like that. Bam they were there, a miracle happened, and bam they were gone. That’s not the case with Rahab. I want to show you something really cool. Flip to Matthew with me. If you don’t have it, it’s going to be on the screen. If you have ever read through Matthew, you know that the first Chapter of it is really boring. Matthew was a converted Jew, and Jewish people are very big into ancestry. So Matthew spends the entire first Chapter giving us the ancestry of Jesus. And in the midst of these boring “he begat so and so,” we see something really interesting. Look in verse 5: “Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David the king.” Do you see it? Rahab fit into the very lineage that would later bring forth Jesus Christ. From worthless to invaluable WORTH. See, my friends, if Rahab, in her WORTHLESSNESS would have bought into the world’s myth that she meant nothing and had no part in this world or creation. If she would have bought into that, the pathway of Jesus Christ would have been hindered. Instead, she lived, and the way of Jesus Christ- the Savior of the world-was laid forth by a former prostitute. There is one more Verse I want to show you. Hebrews 11:30-31: “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.” BY FAITH. Faith, the assurance of all things hoped for. Faith gave Rahab the prostitute WORTH. Her WORTH came through FAITH and ASSURANCE that she was indeed WORTHY! Next time you are down and feeling worthless, I encourage you to remember Rahab, and how no matter her previous failures, no matter her present circumstances, she was valuable and she had worth in the eyes of God. After all, her worth allowed for the coming of Jesus Christ. My friends, you are not worthless. In fact, you have such a mighty WORTH that God would send His own Son to die on a cross for you, so that the relationship between you and Him that has been ruined by sin could be restored. Hear me say this, God would have done that for you if you were the only person living on this planet-that’s how much WORTH you have! God requires only one thing of us: that each person, by FAITH be loyal to Him. If each of us accepts the needs of everyone as the purpose of our lives, then all of us will live a life of WORTH. God has endowed every person with the same capacity to respond to His GRACE. A teacher of three year olds has the same value as a preacher. A harlot has just as much value to God as a virgin girl who would become the mother of His Son. A widows dollar can equal a millionaire’s annuity. Shyness, beauty, eloquence, race, sophistication-none of these matter, only loyalty by FAITH to Him, and through Him to each other. Imagine what your life would be like if you stopped pursuing your WORTH from others, from material things, and found your worth completely in God. Imagine if each of us could learn to glory in the fact that we matter little except in relations to God Almighty. And if each will acknowledge the worth in every other person, then perhaps we would start acting in WORTH as Christ “MADE” us to be.
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