HOW TO BEHAVE THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON (Part 3)

HOW TO BEHAVE THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON – 3 by Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson

How to behave this Christmas season

We are in a mini series from the Book of Romans titled – HOW TO BEHAVE THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON. Christmas can be a time that warms your heart, brings all things in perspective, draws you closer to your loved ones or it can be a time that you dread to see on the calendar, a time of stress and conflicts, a time that you’re glad to see it over. This series is to help us have the right attitude, not just during the Christmas season but also in every season of life.

Romans 12:9-13  9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.  10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;  11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;  12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;  13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

Overall Background: So far we have see two messages in this series—“How to Have Love Without Hypocrisy” and “How to Hate Evil and Cling to Good.” This morning we come to the third message – “How to show honor to others.” Listen to verse 10 – “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.” There is so much in that one verse but one word stands above the rest: HONOR. We hear a lot about honor these days in movies and books: Honor in battle, honor for your ancestors, honor killing. All these are honors in this life but the Bible’s idea of honor goes deeper and is eternal. To properly understand honor, you have to go back to Romans 1-11.

Throughout this series I have been emphasizing the point that the Book of Romans is made up of 2 halves: the first half (Romans 1-11) is doctrine and the second half (Romans 12-16) is application. If you want to apply Romans 12-16 correctly, you have to go back to Romans 1-11. In fact, Romans 1-11 hold the key to the proper application of Romans 12-16. In other words, “your Doctrine holds the key to your Application.” What you believe (doctrine) should and does affect how you behave (application). People behave poorly because they believe poorly.

Application: We desperately need honor in our lives today. A husband should honor his wife. A wife should honor her husband. Children should honor their parents. Parents should in a way honor their children. Church members should honor one another.

So how do we bring honor in our lives?

I. DISHONOR IS A TRAIT OF THE DEBASED MIND. 

In Romans 1 and 2 Paul describes the debased mind of those who reject God and suppress the truth of God. These are people who refuse to honor God. In turn they don’t honor people. Listen to Romans 1 and verse 29 onwards “being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, (dishonoring ones body and the body of someone else), wickedness, covetousness (dishonoring someone’s success); maliciousness; full of envy, (dishonor in our heart towards someone who is something we’re not or has something we don’t.) murder, (dishonor enough to kill) strife, deceit, (dishonor your word) evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, (dishonor someone’s confidence) 30 backbiters, (dishonor someone behind their back) haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, (Instead of “honor your father and your mother, which is the first commandment with promise.” – Ephesians 6:2, 3); undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful”

The people with a debased mind not only dishonor God but they have no qualms about dishonoring fellow human beings.

What is their end? Listen to Romans 2 verse 7 onwards God will give “eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality;  8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath,” 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek;  10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

Meaning: In the end, they die with dishonor.

I think of 2 examples in the New Testament – one John the Baptist and the other Judas Iscariot. John preached the truth and lived a life pure and holy before God. In the end he was cruelly beheaded. What did Jesus say about him? In Matt. 11:11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist;

Compare that with Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus. What did Jesus say about him? In Matt. 26:4 “…It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” Not only did he dishonor His Master but he died a dishonorable death.

True honor comes when you honor God in your life. Now you will honor self and in the process honor others.

Application: Does your life reflect the traits of the debased mind? Are you dishonoring those who are around you with your words and your actions?

–       In many marriages, the husband loves his wife and the wife loves her husband. But, during the low times, rude and crude words are said that should not be said. Now the marriage just teeters along.

–       In many families, brother loves brother and sister loves sister. But, during the low times, disrespectful and hateful behaviors have forever crippled that relationship.

–       In many churches, people love each other, know that they are all part of God’s family, and are working to win souls. But, during the low times, they have said things and done things that should have never happened. Now the church just crawls along at a snails pace with hurt feelings and leery Christians.

Every time we as Christians act in these ways we are reverting to the barbaric, brutish, heathenish, animalistic behavior of the godless and the god haters.

II. THE HOLY SPIRIT CHANGES OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS EACH OTHER.

10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love

Background: The phrase “kindly affectionate” has been misunderstood many times. The word kindly is not as in being nice and kind. It is an old English word that is used in the sense of kin, which means “family love.” The Greek is very simple here. It means family bond. When we get saved, the Holy Spirit of God changes our attitude towards each other. If you are saved, you are a child of God just like I am. If you are not saved, you are a potential child of God. Either we are already part of the family or we are fixing to be.

Romans 8:15-17  15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we (there is a switch in number from singular to plural) cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (not just child of God or son/daughter of God) 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,

Don’t be mean to your brothers and sisters or potential brothers and sisters.

For e.g. One time I was mad at my brother and decided to win my parents over to my side. I made my case like Perry Mason. In the end, they defended him. Their statement to me was – “We just want to see you both getting along.”

God is not pleased when there is division in the family.

There’s more – Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love. It is the word “Philadelphia” = the city of brotherly love. (Meaning: have family love like brothers)

For e.g. My brother and I fought but when it came to someone from the outside, we were very protective towards each other.

Brotherly love is protective. It is deep. It does not change with circumstances.

Application: Husbands – how do you see your wife? Wives – how do you see your husband? Children – how do you see your parents? Parents – how do you see your children? Church members – how do you see one another?

How quickly we tend to forget that the other person is the child of the King and we are to love them with a brotherly/sisterly love!

III. WE ARE TO OUTDO EACH OTHER IN SHOWING HONOR.

10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; (literally: in honor outdo each other)

Meaning: Compete with each other in who shows more honor, not who gets more honor.

Our society is either obsessed with receiving honor or it doesn’t know who to give honor. We get upset when people don’t open the door for us or don’t tell us thanks or don’t acknowledge us. Sometimes, we bring that same attitude into our homes and our church. “If you won’t treat me like I should be, then I won’t treat you well either.”

How much we need honor in our lives! There are times when we may not feel in love, as we should, we may feel stressed, tired, and overwhelmed. We are tempted to do things and say things that are wrong. It is a sense of Honor for the other person that fills the gap until the feeling returns. It is the safety net that guards us from the hitting the ground, when we are not at our best. It is the center pole that keeps the tent of love from collapsing.

Let’s start with the way we talk to each other. In his commentary on James, Warren Wiersbe suggests 12 words that can transform our lives: Please, Thank You, I’m sorry, I love you, and I’m praying for you.

When the Holy Spirit fills your heart, what will pour out will be honor towards God and others.

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