Values by definition are that which we think much of and regard highly. The values in a person’s life are those things which determine the person’s identity and destiny. The values we embrace define our success or our failure, the type of person we marry, the education one acquires, my occupation, how I treat people, my indebtedness, my appearance, the automobile I drive, my friends, and on and on. Every area of my life is effected by my values. What are your values?
Values From the Kingdom – sermon video audio notes
Values From the Kingdom - sermon video audio notes
Scriptures: Psalms 119:104-105, Matthew 6:19-21, Matthew 6:33, Exodus 20:3-17, Matthew 5:45, John 10:10
Life Gate Church Reaching Up and Reaching Out
Values From the Kingdom - sermon video
Values From the Kingdom - sermon notes
Values From The Kingdom
Scriptures: Psalms 119:104-105, Matthew 6:19-21, Matthew 6:33, Exodus 20:3-17, Matthew 5:45, John 10:10
We are in a series on values. A value by definition is that which we think much of and regard highly. The values in a person’s life are those things which determine that person’s identity and destiny. The values we embrace define our success or our failure. The values we embrace in our lives specify who, or at least the type of person we marry and do life with. Standards determine the education one acquires. My values determine my job. Values in my life control how I treat people. My values determine my indebtedness or lack of debt. My values decree my appearance and the clothes I wear. My values establish the automobile I drive and the people with whom I hang. Values vary from person to person, from home to home, from society to society, from nation to nation. Why is that? Why do we not all have the same values?
Now, unless we have been living under a rock for the last five months, you know that our nation is in a war. It’s a war against terrorism. What’s wrong with terrorism? Obviously terrorism is a value worth giving your life for to some people. What’s wrong with hijacking jet airliners, flying them into the World Trade center and killing 4,000 people? What’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with sending letters with Anthrax powder in the mail and killing people? What’s wrong with that? Someone said that it’s against the law. Who’s law? Why am I required to live by your laws? What’s wrong with Timothy McVeigh driving a Rider Truck in front of the FederalBuilding in downtown Oklahoma City, exploding it, destroying a building, and killing 168 people while injuring over 500 others? Should he be required to live by our laws? Obviously he thought that was the correct thing to do. What determines that is wrong?
What’s wrong with selling drugs to children? What wrong with drunk driving? What’s wrong with rape? What’s wrong with prostitution? What’s wrong with child pornography? What’s wrong with a few students taking firearms and bombs to high school in Columbine, Colorado and killing 15 children students and wounding many more? What determines correct behavior and correct standards?
What is wrong with stealing? What’s wrong with lying and slandering people? What’s wrong with hate? What’s wrong with prejudice? I should be able to say anything I want to about you if it makes me look better, right? What’s wrong with that?
We have political elections and the candidates say, “I’m going to lead this country back to the standards that made this country great.”My question is whose values are we talking about? Are these your values that you are attempting to force upon me? One says, “I’m a family value man. We must get back to the values of the family.” Who’s family? Your family or my family? What gives you the right to force your values on me? What makes your values right and my values wrong?
If I lived in Afghanistan and was a soldier in the al Qaeda, my values would be very different if I live in the USA. What makes Osama bin Laden wrong and George Bush correct? If I wanted another man’s wife shouldn’t I just take her if I could get her. If I want another man’s money shouldn’t I just take it if I can get it.
Let’s make it even more personal. Where did you get your personal values? What makes your standards right and another person’s values wrong? What is it that determines which standards are correct and which values are incorrect? What’s wrong with your fourteen-year-old girl staying out to 3:00 a.m. if she wants to stay out? What’s wrong with your son smoking dope and shooting up if he wants? From where do we obtain the values by which we run our lives, our homes, our society, our nations?
If we were to sit down and hash it out, break it down, boil it down, condense it to its final point, burn all the impurities out and come to a final conclusion, we would find that all correct values come back to this book the Bible. I am not saying they are correct values only because they are written in a book. They are special to me because they are written in a book, but I they are correct values because they work. You don’t need to believe in Jesus or even in God to know that all correct values that we live by find their beginning and root in this book. It’s called the word of God. This book is the compass by which life will find its way. Life becomes chaotic when we vary from the path of this book.
Psalms 119:104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.
Psalms 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
The Bible shows us how we find life and not just a living. The Bible shows us how to build a home and not merely a house. The Bible tells us how to love and raise our children and not merely have children. The Bible tells us how to handle our money and not just how to make money. The Bible tells us the correct work ethic. The Bible explains how we should respond to one another in society. The Bible tells us how one nation should respond to another nation. Every correct value is rooted in this book.
It is amazing that when we look at what has worked and look at what has not worked, when we compare books and wisdom with results, one amazing fact has stood for thousands of years. That fact is the word of God works.
A person does not need to believe in God to know this is true. A nonbeliever can direct his or her life according to the standards in the Bible and that person will prosper and experience a good life. They can prosper in their vocation, have a happy marriage, children that love them, be financially secure, and live a joyful life. On the other end of the continuum, a believer can believe in Jesus, but not live by the values of God’s word and fail miserably. Believers live in debt, have some horrible marriages, rebellious children, and are void of peace and joy. What is the difference between success and failure? The answer is the values the person lives by, not what the person says they believe. My values, not what I say that I believe, determine the quality of life I experience. The values that work to bring a happy life are found in the Bible.
From where do our individual values come? I mean from the time of conception to our last breath when it all goes back in the box, from where do our values come? Why do I have the values that I possess and John Walker Lindh has the values that he possesses? Do you know of whom I speak when I say John Walker Lindh? He is the American traitor that became a member of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Where did the value system split? We were raised in the same society. We both had loving homes. What happened? Could that happen to your child? Where did the path separate and change one person into a person given to help people and blessing life as the other person changed and valued killing and destroying life?
There are four primary value influences. Let’s look at these quickly.
SOCIETY The first value influence is society. Society is a far reaching system of values. Society offers a deluge of standards. Each society imparts its values to the people in that society. For example, there are two main political parties in the United States. These are the democrats and republicans. Most of us vote one way or the other. These purposely attempt to influence our values. They spend billions of dollars every year in an attempt to influence our values so we will vote for their candidates.
There is also the ethnic aspect of society that has an influence upon us. Each ethnic group believes it is superior because of its skin tone, religious beliefs, or momentary status.
Even the religious aspect of society attempts to influence us. For example, I remember reading and being taught by religion that the U.S.S.R. was Gog and Magog. Do you remember when religion taught that Mikhail Gorbachev was the antichrist? Strangely, the Russians were taught that the United States was the antichrist nation. Our presidents have been called the antichrist. Saddam Hussein refers to America as the antichrist nation today. Society impacts our value system with a deluge of values.
Is the impact that society has upon us a pure impact? Was the U.S.S.R. Gog and Magog? It must not have been because it no longer is in existence. Are the Republicans always correct? Are the Democrats always correct? Is the influence we get from our individual ethnic groups always correct? Obviously many other value influences we receive from our society are incorrect also. John Walker Lindh was basically influenced by the same society that influenced me. That may have had some affect on us, but there must be more.
HOME AND FAMILY Let’s move to the second great influence upon our values. This would be the home and family. The values a person receives in a home are immeasurable. These values are deep. Our education value level begins in our homes, but does not end there. If education is a value to the parents then the children will be educated. Let me give you an example of this. My son-in-law has his doctorate degree in law. That means that he is a lawyer. He spent years in school and did very well in school. He and my daughter now have two sons, Jack and Max. Jack is three and is already in a private school. Max is scheduled to begin going next year. They are spending thousands of dollars a year already on their children’s education because education is a high value to them. We can say, “Well I got a high school education and I came out all right.” You did, but you probably don’t make a six-digit salary either.
Family sets our baser or more foundational levels of values and we should go up from there. We should at least achieve the life style levels of our parents and then rise a little higher. The home and family are tremendous value influences. The way we talk (accents), dress, hygiene, many of our thought processes, prejudices, political beliefs, initial religious beliefs, etc. are initially formed in the home.
An example of how horrible the family values were in a religious situations was the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas in 1993. Many families had joined David Koresh. Eighty people died in a blaze of fire. They gave their lives and the lives of their family members for their religious integrity.
Are the home values instilled in us always pure? Our parents and brothers and sisters do not always have pure standards. The values of a father who is a child molester or a wife beater are not pure values. Often, those values are transferred to the children. The integrity of parents that are prejudice are not pure values. The values of parents that are atheistic are not pure values. Family values have a tremendous influence upon us. John Walker Lindh had a decent home. It appears that his parents love him. There must be more.
PEER. The third value level is the peer level. The definition of a peer is a person who is of equal standing with another in a group. These are the people we run with or do life with. I include all relationships here. That means Christian and nonchristian relationships. That means positive and negative relationships. This is a most powerful value influence. This is the ultimate value level in some cases. I can tell more about a person’s integrity by the people they run with than by the house they live in, the family from which they come, or the society from which they come. I was influenced far more by the people I ran with than by my parents or society. I ran away from home when I was fourteen because of the friends with whom I ran. I skipped school because of the friends with whom I ran. I drank alcohol when I should not drink. My grades in school were greatly influenced by the people with whom I associated.
I was talking to Lance, my son, about this and he said that he was always with those in the accelerated levels. Therefore, his peer pressure was always to do well. I went to college because of peer pressure. I have a degree in accounting, a degree in business, and a degree in theology somewhat because of peer pressure. Peer pressure can be positive or negative. We hear about the gangs especially in the larger cities. That is an effect of peer pressure.
Interestingly, our peers change as our values change and our values change as our peers change. I do not have the same friends today as I had before I met Jesus. Think about it. Do you want to stop smoking? Hang with people that don’t smoke.
Do you think that John Walker Lindh ever experienced peer pressure? He met people some place along the way with Taliban values. They greatly influenced his value system. Peer pressure is one of the largest differences between him and me. My friends took me in one direction. His friends took him in a different direction.
Are the values of peer pressure pure? No. If we run with dishonest people, we will eventually become dishonest. If we run with people who do drugs, we will eventually do drugs. Even in church we meet people with impure values. Even religious integrity can be defiled. Jim Jones is an example. God forbid, but I could get screwed up.
What is left? If society can develop impure values in me, if home and family can develop impure values in me, if my peers can develop impure values in me, what is left? Where do I go to acquire the correct values to direct my life? Where do I go to find the correct values to direct my family and my children?
Let’s look at a passage of scriptures.
Matthew 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
Matthew 6:20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Jesus did not say to seek first God or seek first Jesus. If values are correct, you will find God and find Jesus. Jesus teaches to not allow our value system to be on earth. Seek another value system. As we saw last time, all that will all go back to the box. It will age and decay or someone will steal it. Jesus said to make certain that our value system is from heaven. This does not mean simply seeking to go to heaven when we die. Jesus is not talking here about dying. He is talking about seeking information from a higher dimension than earth. Seek righteousness. Seek the right way to do it. This is an eternal value system. When our values are from above, they will not decay, be destroyed, or be stolen. They will work
Jesus goes through a teaching talking about many things that we value. He talks about money and it being our master. He says we can’t serve God is money is our master. He talks about food or survival. He talks about clothes or acquiring things. He said those are the things in which pagan people put their values. He brings his wisdom to a conclusion. From where do we acquire our values? He said it is from the kingdom of God. Seek the kingdom.
KINGDOM. The fourth level, which is the highest level, and the only level that is right 100% of the time is the kingdom level. It is the pure level. What does seeking his kingdom mean? It means seeking values from his kingdom. It means allowing the values of the kingdom of God to be our values. By seeking his righteousness, we seek to do it right. We seek to do it his way and his way works every time. It is his values that say,
V. Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long
VI. Exodus 20:13 You shall not murder.
VII. Exodus 20:14 You shall not commit adultery.
VIII. Exodus 20:15 You shall not steal.
IX. Exodus 20:16 You shall not give false testimony
X Exodus 20:17 You shall not covet another’s house, wife/husband, or money
These values work if you are a believer or a nonbeliever. A person does not have to be a believer to have these standards in his or her life.
Matthew 5:45 . . . He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Some things work for everyone like the sun rising on the evil and the good, or the rain falling on the righteous and the unrighteous. It’s just the way it works. We don’t have to be a believer to know these things work in our lives.
However, it is also his values that say,
I. Exodus 20:3 You shall have no other gods before me.
II. Exodus 20:4 You shall not have an idol
III. Exodus 20:7 You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God
IV. Exodus 20:8 Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy
If we want to live the absolute best life possible, then these standards and more that the Bible teaches come into our values system. My value system changed when I allowed Jesus Christ to come into my life. Why does he come into a life? Why did he come period?
John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Jesus Christ comes into a life to give us an abundantly full life. My life became abundant and full when I began to seek his kingdom by applying his values to my life. I no longer look to society for the correct decision. I no longer look to my family for the correct decision. I no longer look to my peers for the correct decision. I look to his kingdom.
I make correct decision once I instill those standards into my life. My home, children, marriage, finances, work ethics, responding to people, etc. all are determined by kingdom values. If I teach them to my children, I don’t have to worry about their selecting the correct mate, doing drugs, or being rebellious. This will work down to my grandchildren. I experience an abundant life.
Let’s bow our heads a moment. I want to ask us from where do you receive your values? How much of an effect does society have upon you? Do you receive your standards from your home? That’s a good start, but not the best. Do you receive your values from your peers? Is life a “keeping up with the Jones'” for you? Do you receive your standards from the Bible and from the kingdom of God? Are you seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness? If so, you will have an abundant and a prosperous life. Seeking the kingdom is not merely seeking God or even Jesus. It is seeking to acquire correct values from his kingdom so we can do life right. If things are not going well in your life, it is most likely because you are not seeking your values from the kingdom. Let’s pray.
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