In his latest sermon on the spirit of honor, Pastor Kong taught five ways to honor God.
“Of all the people we must honor, the most important Person is God,” said Kong Hee, senior pastor of City Harvest Church, as he began his sermon last weekend. “There is no one greater than Him, and Jesus is always conscious about honoring His heavenly Father.”
In the online service over the weekend of Nov 21 and 22, Pastor Kong shared that just as Jesus lives to honor and glorify God, Christians must learn to do the same.
He spelled out five ways in which one can honor God.
ONE: HONOR GOD WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART
In Matthew 15, Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for their attitude towards God. They wanted to impress others by acting as though they were drawing near to God, yet they did not put their hearts into it (Mt 15:8). God, however, is more interested in the internal than the external. “Honoring God has to do with our heart,” Pastor Kong pointed out.
When God talks about the heart, He means the seven aspects of a Christian’s life: his thoughts, affections, desires, visions and dreams, motives, concerns, and morality (Ps 86:11).
“We need to learn to honor God with all seven parts of our hearts,” said Pastor Kong. The Holy Spirit dwells in the hearts of God’s people and they must allow Him to have a say in all areas of their hearts, and to be the center of it all.
For the Holy Spirit to move mightily in a person’s life, all these seven aspects must be pleasing to God. Pastor Kong encouraged the congregation to come to God daily in repentance and faith, to prefer Him above everything, and realign to their hearts towards Him (Ps 51:10).
Jesus loved God with all His heart, mind, soul and strength (Prov 3:5). Hence, Pastor Kong said, “I bring to him all my visions and dreams and ask Him to wash all my motives, clean, that all my goals and targets are not born out of pride, or greed, or anger.” When a Christian denies a self-indulgent life but instead, lives fully in God’s will, he is honoring God.
TWO: HONOR GOD WITH YOUR BODY
Just like in a court of law, where some crimes are more egregious than others, not every sin is the same. While all sins are wrong in the eyes of God, sexual sin yields more serious consequences than the rest.
Sex was God’s gift to Adam and Eve, and He meant for a married couple to come into a spiritual union by “becoming one flesh” (Gen 2:24). The bond that is forged between a couple during sex is very strong as it connects and ties a man to a woman. “We harm ourselves by defiling our souls when we engage in sexual sin,” said the pastor.
“When this happens, it becomes very difficult for us to experience the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives,” he added.
Pastor Kong referred to the story of how mighty Samson lost the presence of the Holy Spirit and didn’t even realize it, because he had engaged in sexual sin.
“Now of course, if we truly repent, there’s always forgiveness and restoration through the blood of Jesus Christ,” the pastor assured.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds Christians that their physical bodies are of great importance to God for it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It expresses one’s personality and will and holds the presence of God. “We must keep our body as morally pure as we can so that it can be used to do the will of God,” said Pastor Kong.
THREE: HONOR GOD BY ENJOYING YOUR SABBATH
“Sabbath” is mentioned almost 50 times in the four Gospels. Isaiah 58:13 (TLB) reminds believers that one day a week is to be dedicated to the Lord. In Luke 4, it can be seen that was Jesus’ normal activity every weekend was to serve God in the synagogue. It was His spiritual habit every Sabbath.
“The whole idea is for us to have one day a week to rest our minds and our bodies; to recharge ourselves spiritually. We are spiritual beings so we need to be recharged spiritually by God,” said Pastor Kong.
Sabbath is the time for one to rest in God’s sovereignty and providence, to soak in His presence, feed on His word. It’s also the time where one can enjoy each other’s fellowship and encouragement, and to pray for healing, deliverance, miracles, signs, and wonders.
“Just one day a week, we must learn to enjoy God and His blessings and be saturated by the atmosphere of his Kingdom,” the pastor said.
This is especially important in the season where all the church buildings are closed, and people are at home working all day. “We must be very intentional in honoring God, not because we have to, but because we want to,” said the pastor.
“We actively engage the presence of God and soaking in that presence in our prayers, worship, and listening to the word that is being preached.” Pastor Kong went on to say that God is honored when His people devote one day a week to rest and enjoy Him.
FOUR: HONOR GOD WITH YOUR WORSHIP
God is honored through praise and worship. Worship came from an old English word, “worth-ship”, which refers to the open celebration of His worth as Lord and God.
Hebrews 2:11-12 recorded Jesus praising God “in the midst of the assembly”. “He was not a spectator, He was very active in praise and worship,” the pastor commented. Likewise, Christians are to pattern their lives after Jesus.
Reading from Hebrews 13:15, Pastor Kong noted that the “sacrifice of praise” sounds like an oxymoron. Praise is happy, but sacrifice speaks of something difficult and painful.
“The most powerful praise is when we don’t feel like doing it; when it costs us to rejoice in the Lord,” Pastor Kong said. When one is praising in the midst of bad circumstances, he is choosing to believe that God is still good. “Often when we praise, the heavens open up and miracles will begin to flow. At other times, nothing happens, but our faith will get stronger and deeper and greater in God.”
In Matthew 26:30-31, just before He was going to be arrested and crucified, Jesus praised God. He sang hymns of praises, known as the Hallel, from Psalm 116 to Psalm 118.
“To develop Christlikeness, we need to learn to honor God like this in both good times and bad times,” encouraged Pastor Kong.
FIVE: HONOR GOD WITH YOUR GIVING
“We openly celebrate the value and worth of God when we bring our precious offerings to Him,” said the Pastor. Proverbs 3:9-10 teaches Christians to “honor God with our wealth” and God promises that “your barns will be filled to overflowing”. This is the principle of sowing and reaping.
The idea of prosperity may offend some, but Pastor Kong explained that the words “prosper” and “prosperity” appears in the Bible more than 90 times. He pointed out that if God declares there is such a thing as prosperity, it is the duty of Christians to have the correct view of it.
The principle of sowing and reaping is a universal law (Gen 8:22) and this law works in every area of a person’s life (Gal 6:8, Eph 6:8).
Every truth in the Bible can be abused and taken to an extreme, and when it happens, error occurs. Despite that, it does not cancel the Biblical truth of sowing and reaping. “If our hearts are not right, then yes, it will promote greed and materialism,” said the pastor.
Pastor Kong referenced Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. While it has given rise to many good and beneficial technologies such as GPS, cell phone networks and MRI scans, it has also been used in the creation of nuclear weapons.
“It all depends on the heart of the user,” said the pastor. He continued that apart from diligence and honesty, God wants His people to trust Him for their provision, and through this principle, “He can teach us faith and generosity.” (2 Cor 9:10-11)
“Every time we give our firstfruits to the Lord, we are honoring him with our possessions,” the pastor reiterated. After all, God Himself gave the Firstfruit—His Son Jesus Christ—to redeem mankind. In giving to God, “we are openly celebrating the value of God, and telling Him that he deserves our best, and He deserves our absolute trust in financial matters.”
In closing, Pastor Kong reminded the church that to become more like Christ, they must learn to develop and to model the spirit of honor after Jesus.