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                           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

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

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

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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