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You Are Valued| Sermon May 26, 2024

Updated: Jun 20

You Are Valued

 

Scripture: Luke 12:6-7, Proverbs 27:21; Romans 8:2    

 

Good morning Strangers Rest. The title of my message this morning is “You Are Valued.” Now I recognize that there is no great new revelation captioned in that title, but God wants us to know this morning we are worth something to Him. I don’t care if everyone around us has written us off and have determined our worth (to them) based on their assessment of us, God values us in a special way and the way He values us has nothing to do with our status in society. Graduates, I especially want you to know that you can accomplish a lot in this life; make a lot of money and get a lot of letters after your name, but that is not what God values when He calls you His own. And graduates, you should allow no one to define your worth. When you allow this to happen, you give others the power and authority to define you and that should not happen. Each of you must know and understand your value – what you are bringing to a personal relationship and what you are bringing to your chosen field of study or career.

 

Our Father values us because He created man in the beginning but after man fell, God gave His only Son to die on a cross so that He could reestablish the fellowship He had with man before man sinned. God values each and every one of us. We are His children and His heart’s desire is for each of us to love, honor, and obey Him. So the question this morning is this: if God values us so greatly, should we not also value one another as God values us? As His children, should we not value what God values? Now I want to make a statement to set the stage for the rest of this message: “We place a value on things based on what we are willing to give up in order to obtain it.” That includes the personal relationships we have to the things we choose to purchase for our comfort. In both situations we choose to give up something for the relationship or for the product. I will come back to this shortly.

 

In the twelfth chapter of the book of Luke, Jesus tells His disciples how deeply God knows and cares about us. He says in verses six, seven and twenty-four: “(6) Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. (7) But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows….(24) Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?”  (Luke 12:6-7, 24) 

 

Webster’s dictionary defines the word value as, “the monetary worth of something; relative worth, utility or importance.” Please keep this definition in mind as I go through this message. This definition captures four distinct differences that I believe demonstrates how God values us. First is the “monetary worth of something.” You will hear later how God paid a price and purchased us from our former owner. Second is the term “relative worth.” Relative worth is a method of determining the worth, or value, of something by considering its value to similar assets. When we became God’s children our value to Him went up exponentially as compared to who we were previously. Then we find the terms “utility or importance.” With this, the difference shifts to why we are of value – our utility or importance to God. You will hear in this message that God has empowered us to do certain things for His kingdom. So, Webster’s definition of the word value as, “the monetary worth of something; relative worth, utility or importance,” in my opinion, captures how God values us and the reasons why He values us. God created everything that exists on the earth so we can assume that He values everything that He created. But what we see in the verses from Luke chapter twelve is what God values most out of everything that He has created is you and me. Jesus told His disciples that God knew, to the exact number, how many hairs were on their heads. Furthermore, because they were most valuable to Him, they did not need to worry about the things of this life. What Jesus told His disciples also applies to each of us!

 

I want to go back to what I said at the beginning, about how we place a value on things based on what we are willing to give up in order to obtain them. When you walk into a grocery store to purchase your groceries, every item in the store has a price tag on it which lets you know what it will cost you to purchase the item. Price is defined as the “the cost of something brought or sold; something sacrificed to get something else.” When you find the items you are searching for, if you accept the price the store is requesting for the item and deem that the price does not exceed the item’s value to you, then you make the choice to give up (sacrifice) your money in order to obtain the items that you desire. While this is a normal day to day activity for all of us, I want to ask you a question: “Is the price of something the same as its value?” Just because something is a certain price, does that equate to its value? The owner of a product determines what they are willing to sell the product for based on what it cost them to obtain it or what it cost them to make it plus a percentage increase that provides them a profit. So the owner of the product establishes the price, but do they also establish the value?

 

Those of you with a business or economics background understand that the price of a good or service is somewhat fluid. The price can change because it is dependent on the interactions between supply and demand components of a market. Supply and demand represent the willingness of producers and consumers to engage in selling and buying. An exchange of a product takes place when buyers and sellers agree upon a price. As all of us witnessed during and since the pandemic, when supply is low and demand is high, prices goes up. This is often seen in the housing and car markets. Whenever there is a shortage of something people are willing to pay more to get what they want. Likewise, the opposite is true. When demand is low and supply is high, prices tend to come down because there is a surplus and the owners need to move their product even if it means less profit for them.

 

Now here is the most important question this morning: “The value of a good or service – is it established by the seller or is it established by the buyer?” Some people would answer that the seller establishes the value because they control the pricing process. But in reality, it’s not the seller. Strangers Rest, it’s you and it’s me – the buyer who determines something’s value. The value is individualized, and one size does not fit all. You confirm this fact each time you refuse to purchase something because, for you, it was too expensive. However, someone else might be willing to pay the asking price that you refused to pay. When we look at the cost of something and determine that its value to us is worth the cost to obtain it, then we freely purchase the item. But, when we do not believe the value is worth the cost required to obtain it, we choose not to purchase the item. The person making the decision is the one who determines the item’s value. What might be valuable to one person will hold no value to someone else. So, it’s the buyer who determines the value of an item for themselves.

Now I want to show you how this plays out in our renewed fellowship with God. God made man perfect and man was supposed to live forever in perfect fellowship with his Creator, but that did not happen. When man sinned his fellowship with God was broken. The only way that fellowship could be reestablished was with a sacrifice that was perfect. When man sinned in the Garden the ownership of man shifted from God to the devil. But, do you know that when we accepted Christ as our personal Savior we were purchased away from the one who owned us? First Corinthians 6:20 says, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.”  The price was Christ’s own blood which He freely shed so that we could live. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, it opened the world up to sin. But what was even more devastating was that they sold each one of us into sin and we had no choice in matter. We see this clearly in Romans 7:14 when the Apostle Paul says “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.” 

 

Man was no longer able to enjoy the fellowship he had experienced with God because he had sinned and broken it. Man, for all intents and purposes, was now owned by the one who had deceived them into disobeying God. The price to free man from the grips of sin was Christ’s blood. Romans 8:2 say, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” God valued us so much that He chose to sacrifice His only Son to purchase us back to Him. Remember the first definition of the word value - “the monetary worth of something”? The monetary price that God paid for us was the blood of His Son! Please let that sink in. The Creator of all chose to give up His only Son to purchase back the lives of those who had rebelled against Him. Of all of His creation, He valued us the most. As I read at the beginning, nothing escapes God purview. From the birds that He feeds to the number of hairs on our heads, He knows and sees it all. And with all of what He sees, He places the most value on us. Jesus didn’t die for the horses, cows, birds, dogs, cats or the plant life on the earth. He didn’t die for anything that is found in the waters of the earth. No, He died for us! Now turn with me to Proverbs 27:21, I want to show you something else about value.    

 

I have told you that while the seller of an item establishes the price, it is the buyer who establishes the value. Now Proverbs 27:21 says this about the value of a man: “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, and a man is valued by what others say of him.” Solomon said that just as a refining pot and furnace test the gold and silver (removes the impurities) praise from others accomplishes the same within man. When we receive praise from men it tests our character by the effect it has on us. In other words, our humility or self-exaltation will soon be revealed, and our true worth will be known. Now you might be asking “What does this have to do with God valuing us the most?” Well, let me tell you. Solomon said a man is valued by what others say about him. If that man is humbled by knowing how others value him, his value goes up “in their eyes.” This reminds me of what the late tennis great Arthur Ashe said in his memoir “Days of Grace” about how he felt about being valued. He said “If one’s reputation is a possession, then of all my possessions, my reputation means most to me. Nothing comes even close to it in importance.” However, if that man begins to exalt himself because of the praise from others, then his value actually diminishes in the eyes of those giving him praise. The man might think highly of himself and value himself a lot, but those around him will place lesser value upon him. Now the reason some people become conceited and self-exalting with the praise of men is because they begin to believe what is being said about them – they begin to believe the praise they receive is earned and deserved! No one wants to be around someone who believes all of their praise to the point they become conceited.

 

Now let’s take this to the spiritual, to our fellowship with God. If you accept what Solomon wrote as fact (and it is fact my friends) then you must ask the question “Since God values us so much, what has He said about us?” Well, I am going to tell you so that when you leave here this morning you will walk out of these doors knowing that you have a heavenly Father that knows you better than you know yourself. When He looks at us, He sees worth. When He looks at us, He sees His child. If a man is valued by what others say about him and what they say about him matters to him like it did to Arthur Ashe, how much so will this be true when we consider what God says about us? And what God says about us illustrates Webster’s other definitions of the word value, “relative worth, utility or importance.” Here are some things God has recorded in His Word about us:

 

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12) He said we are His children! This is relative value/worth! Regardless of the family you were born into, when you accept Christ, you are adopted into a new family and you have the opportunity to experience love and joy unlike anything you have felt before. Your Father loves you!  

 

He also said we are heirs of God just like Christ. Romans 8:16-17 says, “(16) The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (17) and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” We are heirs – relative value/worth! An heir has an inheritance, and we have a book full of what God has given to us in addition to a future when we leave this world and it is much better than anything we have experienced thus far on this side.

 

All of us, at one time or another, have experienced failures. But we know we are God’s children and that encourages us because our Father has declared that we are conquerors. The truth of the matter is He says, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)  We are more than conquerors! This is value from a utility or importance viewpoint! It does not matter what others say, God says you are more than a conqueror.

 

First John 5:4 says, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.” His word says we are overcomers! We have overcome the world through our faith! I do not care how many times you fall or how many times you might have seen yourself as a failure; pick yourself up because God says you are an overcomer! Again, this is value from a utility or importance viewpoint – as an overcomer there is work for us to do!

 

I want to show you something from the Old Testament because for me it still applies today. If I am doing what I am supposed to be doing for the Kingdom, then I can lay hold of this promise and trust me when I tell you that I have. When I was in the workforce and since I have been retired, I have witnessed this promise being fulfilled in my life. Turn with me to Deuteronomy chapter twenty-eight. In this chapter Moses tells the Children of Israel the following: “(1) Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. (2) And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God.” (Deuteronomy 28:1-2) Moses reviews a list of blessings that will come upon us and overtake us if we keep the commandments of God. I want to read a few of these verses so that you understand that they tell us that every aspect of our lives will be blessed. Those blessing do not mean that we will not experience some hard times, but in the fullness of God’s timing, overall we will be blessed if we keep His commandments. Let’s begin with verse three.

 

“(3) Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. (4) Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. (5) Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. (6) Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. (7) The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. (8) The LORD will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you….(13) And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them. (14) So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right or the left, to go after other gods to serve them.” (Deuteronomy 28:3-8; 13-14) These are just a few of the blessings that God has promised to those who belong to Him. But I want to talk briefly about being the head and not the tail before I close.

 

These verses closed out a long list of blessings that God told the Children of Israel would be theirs if they kept His commandments and is now telling Strangers Rest if you keep His commandments. Now let me show you why I have witnessed these blessing in my life and you should also. Listen to what is recorded in Galatians 3:29. It says, “And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  Paul confirms that we, as believers in Christ, become eligible for all of the promises God gave to Abraham – if we are keeping God’s commandments. Strangers Rest, that requirement does not go away just because we accepted Christ as our personal Savior. The truth of the matter is Jesus says, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) There is no skating around keeping His commandments in order to walk in His blessings. But if we truly love Jesus like we say we do, and we are keeping His commandments like we say we are, then the promise found in the 13th verse – which we are the head and not the tail – belongs to us. So if all of the promises that God gave to Abraham belong to us, shouldn’t we know what they are so we can expectantly be on the lookout for them?

 

I want you to think about the difference between the head and the tail on an animal. The head is the key to what the body does. The head enables the rest of the body to function. The head makes the decisions and takes the lead in everything that goes on with the body. The tail is the posterior part of an animal’s body. It follows the head wherever it takes the body. The tail does not make any decision about what the body does; it just goes where the rest of the body goes which is controlled by the head. With that image, think about what God was telling the Children of Israel as part of the promise He made to Abraham – a promise which also applies to us. He was telling them that if they were obedient, Israel would be an independent power and leader among nations. What this meant was they would not be dependent on any other nation to lead them, to give them guidance or to provide for their needs. They would be in the driver’s seat, not in the back seat. They would be the one in control because they were walking with God in obedience to His commandments.

 

Think about what happens whenever you are driving a car. If you are behind the wheel, you control where the car goes. If you want to turn left, you can. If you want to turn right or make a U-turn, you can. This is not so if you are riding in the back seat. If you are riding in the back, you go wherever the person sitting behind the wheel takes you. Even if you were a back seat driver, you still had no “real” control over where the car went. Before we were saved, Satan was behind the wheel and we went wherever he led us because he was in control. But, when we got saved, Jesus kicked Satan out of the front seat, out of the car, and placed us behind the wheel as God’s children. Now listen closely to what I am about to say because our being behind the wheel does not mean that Jesus is in the backseat. When Jesus placed us behind the wheel, He gave us the driver’s manual (His Word) so that we could learn to drive in a world that does not want us to have that authority to do so. And, because He knew we would need additional help, He left us an instructor (the Holy Spirit) to make sure we would learn what we needed to know.

 

Jesus put us in the driver’s seat. We are now in control and we get to decide where the car goes. Satan is on the outside of the car running beside us trying to get us to open the door and let him back in. Don’t do it! Remember the words of the old song that says “Don’t let the devil ride, you let him ride, he’ll want to drive, don’t let him ride.” God has placed us in control – He has given us authority! God has established us so that we take the leadership position in this world if we keep His commandments. We are not to be followers of the world, but leaders within it! It is our responsibility to establish the path for others who do not know Christ so that they may find Him through the example that they see in each of us. God has not made us the tail. He has not placed us in the back seat of the car. We have accepted Christ and we are in the driver’s seat so START DRIVING!!!!! 

 

Strangers Rest, Solomon said that a man is valued by what others say about him – how he responds to the praise of others. How do you think God wants us to respond to what He says about us? I believe that God wants us to believe Him and take Him at His word while not becoming conceited because He values us, but instead become more like His Son in how we respond to the world around us. There are many people who might not believe in you, but God does. If we were the last item in the grocery store that no one else felt was valuable enough to purchase, God would gladly choose to pay more than the asking price to purchase us. He brought us when no one else saw any value in us. People might treat you like you have no value. What do they know? But now, after this message, you know that God values you more than all of His creation. He bypassed a lot of other things to purchase us! Do you believe it? There is a song title “Worth” by Anthony Brown that captures the essence of this message. I want to share a few words from that song with you: “You thought I was worth saving, so You came and changed my life. You thought I was worth keeping, so You cleaned me up inside. You thought I was to die for, so You sacrificed Your life, so I could be free, so I could be whole, so I can tell everyone I know….And I will praise You (forever), I'll worship You forever, I'll give You glory forever, because I am free, because I am whole, and I will tell everyone I know…” We are the most valued thing that God has on this earth. Do you believe it?

 

Strangers Rest, we are not losers; we are not failure; or without the ability to achieve in this life. When God sealed us, He approved of who we were and what we were going to be. He has made us ambassadors for Christ, more than a conqueror and placed us in a leadership position (the head and not the tail). This is not the image of someone weak. We have power, we have heaven backing us up and we have everything we need to walk as light in darkness. The only thing that is left is for us to choose to believe that we are more than what Satan has told us about ourselves. The time is now to start walking in who we are and what God has placed within us. Now say this with me: “To God, I am worth everything!” May God bless and keep you.

 

Until next time, “The Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance on you and give you peace.”  (Numbers 6:24-26)

 

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VISION: 

“Til all the ransomed church of God is saved to sin no more"

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