MESSAGE DELIVERED: NOVEMBER 13, 2016
When most of us are asked to think of the worth of a person, we are probably going to think in terms of dollars and cents…the FINANCIAL worth. What that person has in CASH ON HAND…STOCKS AND BONDS…PROPERTY HOLDINGS.
How do you rate the worth of a man? A great ARTIST is judged by the scope of his ACCOMPLISHMENTS. You understand when I say ‘man’, I mean it in the ‘generic’ sense, as in man or woman…all of mankind.
So how would you judge the worth of an artist like Vincent Van Gogh? His paintings now sell for millions of dollars. Art critics rave over his use of color, his bold brush strokes. He is ranked as one of the all-time masters. And yet, in all his career, he never sold a single painting, though some will claim he sold ONE! Either way, he died alone and destitute.
Sometimes when we think of our worth, we think of our ABILITIES, or in what we have AMASSED! But that’s not true when GOD looks at us. David, who wrote this Psalm, had been at both ends of the social scale. He had been a humble SHEPHERD, and he had been the King; the absolute Monarch of the greatest nation in the world at the time.
And from all his experience, he wrote “Out of the mouths of babes and infants, you have ordained strength”. David already knew what Paul would one day learn. In 1st Corinthians 1:20, Paul wrote “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has God not made foolish the wisdom of this world?” That’s what David is talking about.
Men may run all over the earth and accumulate all sorts of facts and figures, and think himself knowledgeable. But REAL knowledge, real WISDOM, is simple. Childishly simple. It is, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so”.
THAT is REAL knowledge! Right out of the mouths of babes! And in that knowledge, there is great strength.
In order to allow mankind to HAVE that kind of wisdom, God had to PAY a PRICE! What PRICE would He be willing to pay, for the SOUL of a MAN? When God looks at MAN, WHAT does He see as worth? Well, to our eternal blessing, God sees man as being worth the ULTIMATE price…the life’s Blood and the very LIFE of His Only Begotten Son! And God then PAID that price and he paid it willingly, because in His Eyes, you are worth it.
That statement should fill you with gratitude, and humility, and even thoughts of denial. Because we KNOW what we are ACTUALLY worth, when compared to the sinless perfection of His Son. We are worth less than the dust under His feet. And in spite of that, God pronounces us as worthy.
David wrote “when I consider the heavens, the works of Your hands, the moon and stars which You have ordained…” On a couple occasions I have been able to go up to Lee’s Ferry, up near the headwaters of the Grand Canyon, for some world-class trout fishing. Up there is a small café and a handful of small cabins, and nothing else.
And when you step outside one of those cabins after dark, and look up, there where there is no artificial light to mask the stars, you can see millions more stars there, than you can down here. Even the Milky Way shows up as a brilliant streak of light across the heavens. You can see what David saw, when as a young shepherd, he looked up at night beside his campfire.
David had more than ample opportunity to observe the magnitude of the stars…the Majesty of God…spread out from horizon to horizon. And he could feel his own “puniness” in comparison to the God Who made all that. And he asked “what is man that Thou art mindful of him”?
And then David made a telling statement: he said “You have made him a little lower than the angels, and have crowned him with glory and honor”. That goes all the way back to the very beginning, when God created the first man out of the dust of the earth. In Genesis 1:26 God said “Let Us make Man in Our Image, according to Our Likeness”.
Here, in Psalm 8:5, David wrote “Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels…” There is more than a little problem with that translation. The word that is translated “Angels”, is “Elohim”. That word is plural, and it means GOD! In fact, it is the most commonly used term FOR God, in the entire Old Testament! It is used over 2500 times, and in every use, it is rendered as “God”…except here.
The Hebrew translators of the Scriptures, if nothing else, knew the MAJESTY of God, and the SINFULNESS of man. And they looked at that word, and could not bring themselves to SAY what it actually MEANS…“You have made Him a little lower than GOD…”! But, that is precisely what He did! He made man “In His OWN IMAGE”. He made man to be LIKE GOD, almost!
So MAN, if he has an IMAGE of God in his heart, knows that he is worthless by comparison. But God, by reason of His Own creation, says that man has infinite, eternal worth! And for that, we should rejoice!
Then in verses 6,7, & 8, says that man has been placed ‘above every other created being’…and given him dominion over them. Now, if like me, you have spent time in pursuit of the wily rainbow trout, then you may have reason to wonder about the ‘dominion over’ thing, but that is what God had said.
So what possible difference can the life of ONE man, or woman, have on this world? I know you’ve all seen the movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life”, where one man is shown what his little corner of the world would be like if he had never been born. Imagine a world that had never had an Adolph Hitler in it…or maybe worse, imagine a world that didn’t have a Winston Churchill to OPPOSE Hitler.
Imagine a world without Abraham Lincoln…or Thomas Edison…and let me tell you this story, this TRUE story. You understand that ALL my stories ARE true…just some of them are truer than others. This is one of those.
Many years ago there was a pastor of a small and failing church in London, England. This pastor had once gone to his superior and asked to be relieved of his duties, because the work was going so badly.
This old pastor told his superior that there must be something wrong with the way he ministered to his people. He said that in all of the last year, only one young boy had been added to the church.
A few days later, as the old pastor was praying, deeply concerned by what he saw as his own lack of worth and ability, he heard a knock on the door to his study. It was that one young boy, the only convert he’d made in years. That young boy had come to discuss with the pastor the possibility of becoming a missionary or a preacher himself.
The young man’s name was Robert Moffat, and while that name may not be familiar to you, he was the man who was destined to open the vast African continent to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Moffat went on to labor for years in Africa, until finally failing health forced him to return to England where he engaged himself in spreading the need for the work in Africa to continue.
One evening while speaking in a church in London, he said “I have seen, in the morning sun, the smoke from the campfires of a thousand villages where no missionary has ever been”. And while you may not recognize the name, Robert Moffat, you have more than likely heard that quotation before.
Well, someone else heard it, too. There was in that London church that night, a young doctor. And that doctor’s heart was touched by what he heard Moffat say.
The year was 1840, and the young doctor’s name was David Livingstone. That very year he left for Africa, where he would spend the next 30 years laboring to bring the gospel to a great many of those “thousand villages”.
Now, suppose you could, somehow, go back to that lonely study and that discouraged old pastor, broken-hearted because he thought all his hard work was just useless…and he was praying in the night.
Suppose you could go back to that discouraged pastor, and tell him what an incredible impact his ministry was going to have on the world. Suppose you could show him how what he thought was useless, would actually allow the heart of a vast untouched continent to be evangelized. Do you suppose that would have made a difference in his life?
I can promise you, when that old pastor arrived in Heaven, he then learned what the real ‘fruits of his labors’ had been. What is the worth of one man? If he is an obedient man, that worth is beyond value. Or can be.
So maybe we should take a look at the life of a simple carpenter from the tiny Galilean village of Nazareth. In small-town America, everybody knows everybody else, and all their business too. It was no different there in Nazareth. And they had watched this young man named Jesus as He grew from infancy to young adulthood. The Bible tells us that “He grew strong in Spirit and wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him”. That’s from Luke 2:40.
Do you imagine His neighbors felt that there was something SPECIAL about Him? We’re told that when He began His ministry there in Galilee, when He began to perform AMAZING miracles, didn’t those same neighbors look at each other and say “What’s going on here? Isn’t this just Jesus, the carpenter’s Son?” (Matthew 13:55)
Even with the Hand of God upon Him as He grew, they didn’t see anything SPECIAL or UNUSUAL about Him. And you know what people are saying about Him NOW!
That He never went to college, but a thousand colleges have been founded in His name. That He never wrote a book, but a million books have been written about Him. That He never marshalled an army, but countless volunteers have served in His Name.
He was just ONE man. But He was GOD, clothed in human flesh. And the Life that He lived fulfilled EVERY SINGLE PROPHECY ever written about Him. He was JUST ONE MAN, but the DEATH He endured, fulfilled ALL of Jehovah God’s demands, concerning the PENALTY for EVERY sin ever committed!
He was just ONE MAN, but because of His Sacrifice, on the Cross of Calvary, has completely SATISFIED God’s demands for the penalty of sin. And because God was satisfied with that Sacrifice, He has RAISED His Son FROM death, after three long days in the Tomb.
He was just One Man, but in Life He called eleven men to His side, and He taught them, and He equipped them, and then He sent them out into the world, and because of that, this world has never been the same.
And that brings us here, this evening, and to each one of you. And if you have accepted that Sacrifice that God found acceptable, and claimed that Sacrifice as payment for YOUR sins, and have been SAVED from the PENALTY OF those sins in your life…
IF you have been Saved unto Eternal Life, by the Death of God’s Son, then that means that GOD thinks that YOU are WORTH that unimaginable PRICE that HE paid FOR you…and there is now NOTHING that you can GIVE…or DO, to repay the Lord for what HE has done FOR you.
And that is where this question becomes so very relevant this evening. If you have been wonderfully Saved by the death of Jesus, and you understand that God thinks your soul was worth that price…
Then, what are you doing with that incredibly valuable life? You know what the Lord wants you to do, after being saved, but are you actually DOING it? Do you ever take that precious gift that the Lord died to secure for you, and share it with anyone?
That is ALL He wants you to do for Him. That is all you CAN do for Him. But, ARE you? Or are you maybe like that servant who was so fearful that he took his Master’s precious gift, and HID it away, where no one could even SEE it?
I want you to remember that unprofitable servant was punished for his lack of usefulness, and unfortunately he represents the vast majority of those who have JOYFULLY accepted Jesus’ sacrifice, and has claimed His salvation, but then afterwards never SHARES it with ANYone!
Last week we gathered here and observed the Lord’s Supper. And as we partook of the elements that represent to us the body and the Blood of the Lord, which was freely given for our Salvation, many of us were moved to a feeling of Unworthiness, considering what Jesus did for us.
That’s what David was thinking, as he looked at the uncountable stars in the heavens, and realized that each one was placed where it is, by God Himself, and held there by His Power, and He knows the names of ALL of them…the very VASTNESS of all God has done, and right here in the middle of all of it, WE are!
What possible worth, in the vastness of Creation, what possible WORTH, is YOUR life? My life? And then we look to Calvary, where the greatest travesty of justice, or RIGHTfulness, was carried out. Where men who weren’t even worthy to breathe the same AIR as the Lord, were gleefully KILLING Him, to protect their own selfish lives.
And I want you to understand that for you to accept that sacrifice, and then do NOTHING for the One Who MADE it, is every bit as GREAT a travesty!
So many people will tell me that they don’t KNOW enough to share with others. Or they’re not BRAVE enough to share with others. But I want to assure you that BOTH of those attitudes are WRONG!
Way back at the beginning of this message, I told you about the ‘child-like simplicity’ of the Gospel. How if all you know is “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so”…then share THAT! You would be surprised how many people don’t KNOW that, as simple as it is.
And you have no way of knowing what might ultimately be the result of you sharing that simple Gospel message with someone. One lonely, unnamed pastor, shared his faith with one young man, and that young man took that same simple faith, and shared it with thousands of Africans, and then shared the need for continuing that ministry with a young doctor, who continued sharing the Gospel with thousands more.
Someone, at some point, shared that Gospel with YOU, if you are Saved tonight. And for you to break that chain of sharing, might mean that who-knows-how-many souls may never hear it. There was a beautiful Gospel song some years ago, titled “If I Never See The Harvest”. I think that pretty much sums up what I’m trying to say. At some point, someone shared the Gospel with Billy Graham. Did that person think that doing so would lead to untold millions of people hearing the Gospel? Of course not. But, can you be SURE that the one you refused to share with, might have been the NEXT great evangelist?
Do you realize that you should be far more fearful of NOT sharing your Faith, than you could possibly be of SHARING it? I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…we as a church have absolutely NO RIGHT to exist, aside from the sharing of the Gospel!
Our task, given by the risen Savior, has never changed. Go ye into all the world and make disciples. Teach them all the things I have taught you, and I will be with you to the very END of the age. That’s Matthew 28:19-20, paraphrased.
The same Lord that commanded us to do that, also told us “Behold I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work”. That’s Revelation 22:12.
The only thing a child of God should be afraid of, is NOT sharing their Faith! So by way of invitation this evening, let me ask you if you are confident, knowing what was done to secure your salvation and forgiveness…are you confident you are doing ENOUGH for the One who has done so much FOR you? For the One who says you have such AMAZING worth?
Or, will you finally this day, commit yourself to DOING the ONE thing He asked you TO do?
Or, as always I have to ask if you have even received that Salvation in the first place?