Honoring God Through Things Of The Earth

Honoring God Through Things Of The Earth

Sister Huizhen - 23 March 2019

Honoring God Through Things Of The Earth

Scripture References: 1 Timothy 4:4-5

From Series: "All English Service"

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Honoring God Through Things Of The Earth

As Christians, we sometimes struggle with handling things on earth, not knowing if it’s a sin to enjoy doing them, especially if these activities are not directly related to the Lord. How much time away from Bible-reading, praying, church etc are acceptable in the eyes of the Lord? If we are not careful, we also might run into being too indulgent in the things of earth. How should we honour God in all the things of earth?


Verses To Read

1 Timothy 4:4-5:  

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

James 1:7

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.[d] 

James 4:4 You adulterous people![a] Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Col 3:1-2

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth

Col 3:16-17  

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Mark 4:18-19 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful

Ephesians 5;15-16

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 

1 Jn 2:17

 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.


Introduction

Do we have this sense of low-guilt when we use time for things other than praying, church, Bible reading?

Sometimes, we feel that it’s wrong to enjoy doing things that are not directly related to God.

Can’t we have fun with some earthly things without feeling bad about it?

How much break from bible-reading, church, prayers etc are acceptable in the eyes of the Lord?


1. What does the Scripture say about the things of earth?

1 Ti 4:4-5 

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,  for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

But we also read verses like:

James 4:4

You adulterous people![a] Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Col 3:1-4

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your[a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.


1) God’s creation is meant to be very good

  • Recall the creation story in Genesis, “… God saw that it was good.”
  • Even the most ordinary activities like food, rest, entertainment, hanging out with friends etc are meant to be very good – eg  1 Co 10:27

2) God wants us to enjoy them with thanksgiving, so that they might prove fruitful in our lives

  • eg God’s gift of Eve for Adam: necessary to complete God’s mission

3) The rebellious nature of men affects how we handle the things of earth  Idolatry

  • Earthly gifts are valuable and good, potential to become substitutes for God = Idol
  • When passion for the gifts >> passion for God (Giver) = Idolatry

Uncontrolled enjoyment in earthly goods reveals what we love, but also shows us we love something less important.


4) Not avoidance of the things of earth, instead, be sanctified in your mind as you engage them

  •  Danger of asceticism -> lack relevance, misrepresenting God to others
  • Danger of indulgence  dulling spiritual senses, idolatry (James 1:14-15)
  • Be sanctified in your mind when you engage them
    – A godly person is NOT a no-fun person, but a person who engages all earthly goods with a heavenly mindset

2. Quit being casual with how we engage the things of earth

1) Danger of lack of introspection

  • Covered by ritualism & traditions
  • Jer 14:12, Mark 7:6b-7
  • Do not hide under the covering of ritualism, until you take interest in God’s glory and have love for others practically, don’t assume you are “safe”

2) Test everything

  •  Discern what is pleasing to the Lord (Eph 5:9-10)
  •  1 The 5:21-22
  • Be accountable to God
    a) What happens in our hearts after we engage in these activities?
    b) Why do we do them?

3. Transposing the things of earth into worship acts that are Christ-honoring and people-loving

1) Strive for a blessed rhythm of life

  •  Eccl 3:1
  • Eph 5:15-16 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 
  •  True evidence is obvious & qualitative: e.g. a changed life, biblical fruits, gracious word, deeds of love etc

2) Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God

  •  It does not mean that handling earthly things (could be idols) will necessarily be idols
  •  Let the earthly things be mediation tools to bring us to God
  • Kingdom-directed:  to exchange the light and momentary for eternal glory
  • 1 Jn 2:17: And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
  • Seek to bring every act into connection with the Lord
    >> the more difficult it is, the more likely it is for us to replace it with something more fruitful

3) Earnest prayers for self

  • To enjoy the things of earth heartily and with thanksgiving, such that they bear fruits
  • Pray for a heart of vigilance against indulgence and idolatry
    => Remember Jesus’ warning: Mark 4:18-19
    And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
    ➔ Our choices matter.
  • If we have not done well, do not remain in guilt/condemnation
    ➔ We are justified, we will also be sanctified
  • Are we able to give up the things of earth gladly when compelled by love for God and His people?

Mark 6:30-37

30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught.31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late.36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.”


Reflections:

  1. What is your attitude towards the things of earth? Do you sincerely enjoy them?
    Do you feel very ok? Do you usually not talk about it, or unsure if it’s okay to enjoy it? Low sense of guilt?
  2. Do you find it hard to connect all the things of earth with the Lord? Which, in particular?
  3. Do you find it hard to let go of the things of earth for activities that are more God-directed? How can we pray about it?

 

hooi ching tay
tayhooiching@gmail.com
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