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Series: Masterpiece in Process
Title: “The Few, The Proud, The Noble” – Part 1
I’ve always wanted to be one of King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. Actually, if I couldn’t be a pastor, I would be the captain of the starship Enterprise. Sadly, we don’t have starship technology yet, and heroic, honorable knights who rush in to save the day are a thing of the past. Gone are the simple times when real knights stood for truth, protected the weak, and fought injustice. Yet several centuries before noble knights came on the scene, Paul challenged believers to have a mindset of nobility and honor.
Phil. 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters [we talked about that last week], whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Paul is telling us how we should prioritize our thoughts, and every word he uses leads us closer to Christlikeness. Jesus is the fullness of truth, nobility, purity, love, and excellence. His life is what we should aspire to. If it’s OK I want to switch Phil. 4:8 around a bit and come back to “Whatever is True” in a few weeks. It’s Father’s Day and in this post, I would like to talk about “Whatever is Noble” first.
Paul says we need to think about what it means to be noble. The word noble is often translated honorable, respectable, or reverent. It’s only found four times in the New Testament and its emphasis is always on someone’s character. People know you by your character. I understand that they may recognize you because of your physical appearance, but they truly know you by how you live your life. Because we’re Christians, Jesus is our standard for honor and character. He proved it’s possible to live on this earth with honor. And now that same Jesus, through His Spirit, lives in you! That’s why it’s imperative that our minds stay focused on Him! That’s why we need to live every moment in His presence. I was thinking this week, if you’re a believer, you’re always in the presence of Christ. You just don’t realize it. You forget that He dwells in each of us. That means we all have power. We forget we can be the hero of our own story. I’ve often heard people say, “Why doesn’t somebody do something,” but we forget we’re somebody and we can do something.
God’s Spirit lives in you. The goal is realizing it, and having that truth influence every area of your life. So, Paul says, think about whatever is noble or honorable. Question: are your thoughts honorable? Are they worthy of respect? That’s pretty intense if you think about it.
As I’ve studied this word noble or honorable, I’ve tried to make it personal. Am I noble? and what does it mean to be noble? Well, strap in and we’ll try to answer that question over the next two posts. I want to start by painting a picture of an honorable person. The kind of person I want my family to see in my life. Since it’s Father’s Day I’ll be focusing on the men. But everyone can apply these principles.
First, a man (or woman) of honor must die before he can ever truly live.
If you’re new to the Christian faith you’re thinking, “What does that mean? I have no intention of dying.” So, the question is, “die to what?” Die to self, to the things of this world, to cultural influences.
Gal. 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Col. 3:5 says, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”
We also need to be dead to our desire for the world’s applause and recognition, dead to our need for its comforts, and dead to its temptations. A man of honor must be moved by God’s priorities—period. He is dead to his own self-interest. He cannot compromise conviction for position or personal benefit. He needs to trust in and live for Christ’s interests alone.
Second, a man of honor must be sure he is fighting the right battles.
He must fight for what is true and right—in God’s eyes, not his own. He should have the wisdom to know the difference and the courage to stand against any pressure to change from a godly position. He needs to be courageous, unmoved by obstacles, undeterred by the odds, with a brave heart even if that means standing alone. He must rise up to engage the enemy, even when his enemy seems too powerful to defeat, because he knows where he draws his strength. He needs to be a workman approved for battle. He needs to have a spirit of endurance and prepared for whatever may come.
Third, a man of honor needs to guard his tongue.
He should reflect on his words before he speaks. He never belittles or degrades those around him to seem stronger or build his reputation. Every word he speaks must be filtered through God’s Word. Listen, you may forget tomorrow the kind words you use to encourage another person, but that person often remembers them for a lifetime.
Next, for a person of honor, conscience is sacred.
His every action should demonstrate a biblical pattern of love, courage, and faith.
His motives should be measured against the selfless sacrifice of Christ. When an honorable man gives his word it’s an unbreakable covenant. He will not go against his conscience for any reason.
Finally, a man of honor is a protector of the weak.
He fights against all injustice. He protects those who are in a vulnerable position, taking whatever risks are necessary.
Side note: As a church we have always protected the weak and fought against injustice, whether it’s related to race or socioeconomic status. We will fight to protect the weak from conception to the moment of death. Here’s the bottom line: the world is changed by your example, not your opinion. So, let’s set an example that others can follow.
The world is in desperate need of honorable, noble men. Men who don’t listen with their eyes and think with their feelings. God wants us to understand that honor is not found in possessions, power, or position. It’s achieved through goodness, humility, truthfulness, and excellence of character.
Pastor Jeff Greer