(A Sermon prepared for Nagaland Baptist Church Council Youth Day of Prayer)
Rev. Vikuo Rhi,
Youth Secretary, NBCC
Values are standards of one’s behaviour need to live out as salt and light to people around us. It cannot be measured with any amount of money or materials. Our life values are far beyond cost of purchase or sales in exchange of something. We cannot auction or bargain for cheap price. Many people sincerely want to live godly lives but we often hear conflicting ideas of what that means. Worldly values include wealth, power, pleasure, revenge, fame, vanity and status. It promotes jealousies, resentments and conflicts among people in accordance with the purposes of Satan. (John 8:44 – 45; Acts 5:3)
The values taught in the Bible are often the opposite of worldly values: humility instead of status; honesty and generosity instead of wealth; self-control instead of self-indulgence; forgiveness instead of revenge. Christian values promote peace and good will among people in accordance with the purposes of God to strive to live in obedience to God’s word and towards His perfection.
Worship only God: The Bible tells us not to worship any objects, idols, images or creations like animals, stone, mountains, sun, moon stars etc. We should not bow down nor worship any other Gods like money, power, fame etc. (exodus 20: 2 – 5; Deuteronomy 5: 6 – 9). But we must worship the creator God who is above everything. “The most important one”, answered Jesus, “is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (NIV, MK 12:28 – 30)
There is so-called modern-day idolatry which is not necessarily all bad, but can become idols if we let them become too important to us:
Excessive attention to material things such as houses, cars, clothes, jewellery, physical appearance, entertainment etc.
Pursuit of wealth, power, fame, pleasure or status.
Excessive devotion to self, job, hobbies, country, ideologies, heroes, leaders, even family.
Love your neighbours: Jesus continues to say love your neighbours or people around you as you love yourself (Mk 12:31). This is the second and there is no commandment greater than these. The Greek word ‘agape’ is commonly known as “Christian Love” or ‘Divine Love’. It has to do with respect, affection, benevolence, good-will and concern for the welfare of the people around us – regardless of race, religion, castes, tribes, clans or linguistic groups. We must practice that Christian Love even toward our enemies ( Mt 5:43 – 48).
Be Humble: Humility or being humble is a quality of being courteously respectful of others. It is the opposite of aggressiveness, arrogance, boastfulness and vanity. Acting with humility does not in any way deny our own self worth. Rather it affirms the inherent worth of all persons. Humility is exactly what is needed to live in peace and harmony with all persons. Humility distinguishes the wise leader from the arrogant power-seeker (Prov. 17:7; Mt. 20: 20 – 28).
Be Honest: Honesty and Integrity are held as very important values throughout the Bible, and any deception to gain an advantage or harm another is prohibited by the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:16) and other Bible passages. Deception may be by false statements, half-truths, propagandas, innuendo, or failing to tell the whole Truth. It is all too common in advertising, business dealings, politics and everyday life. We must strongly resist the temptation to engage in any form of theft, lies, cheating, deception, innuendo, slander or gossip. Let us be watchful, in order not to be tempted and do good to all people with honesty and integrity. (Gal. 6:1, 7 – 10).
Time & Money: God has given us a short span of time on this earth to do something worth for God and Men. Ecclesiastes 3:1ff says “there is time for everything under heaven”. We must manage time wisely and meaningfully. We must work hard as if tomorrow we may die. “Be careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:15 – 16). Engaging in mobile games, video games, social Medias, internets etc. may lead to excessive use of time and money. We need to balance our studies, sleep, diet, work etc.
God invites us to come without money (Isa. 55:1). If we have Jesus in our lives, we have the costliest treasure. Jesus is everything but money alone is a path to ruin and destruction. 1 Timothy 6:9 – 10 says, “Those who want to get rich fall into Temptation and a Trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunged people into ruin and destruction. For the Love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the Faith and pierced themselves with many grief.” But you, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said. ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’ ”. Thank God for such a comfortable assurance. Let us not go for greed of money which only ruins our life, especially during election time, let us not go for easy money. Let us be content of what we have. God will never leave us alone. He will provide what more valuable than the little sparrows and lilies of the valley which God cares (Mt. 6:26 – 30).
Walk the Talk: Practice what you preach; don’t be a hypocrite like Pharisees. The Pharisees of Jesus’ time was a religious and political party that insisted on very strict observance of Biblical laws on tithing, ritual purity and other matters. At the same time, many of the Pharisees forgot the true spirit and intent of the law and became self – indulgent, self-righteous, snobbish and greedy. That led Jesus to remarks such as,
“Woe to you teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like white washed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside is full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness” (Mt. 23:27 – 28).
It is not the things we say that really matter; It is the things that we do (Mt. 7:15 – 20). If we claim to be Christians but do not let Jesus’ teachings guide our lives, we are nothing but hypocrites.
Don’t be self-righteous: Be careful when you point your finger at others. Remember that the other three fingers have pointed at you. No one is perfect, we are all sinners in one way or another (Rom. 3:23; 1 John 1:8). Living a moral life means taking responsibility for controlling our own behavior. If we say or even think we are better than people we consider to be “sinners”, we are guilty of the sin of self-righteousness. It is not our right to look down on, criticize, judge, condemn or try to control other people (Mtt. 7:1 – 5 ). Over and above Jesus ask us to support the authority of civil governments (Mtt. 22:15 – 22, Rom. 13:1 – 7).
Don’t hold on Grudge: Jesus said there is no place for hatred, holding a grudge, revenge, retaliation or getting even in the life of a Christian: Read Mt. 5:38 – 40; Mt. 5:43 – 45). Bearing a grudge and seeking revenge are never appropriate responses to a perceived wrong. A grudge destroys the grudge-holder with bitterness and revenge only escalates hostilities. Jesus told us we must reconcile with our adversaries, forgive their transgression, and let go of the anger that may tempt us to commit an act of revenge.
Forgive others: God is merciful and forgives our sins and failings. In the same way, we must be merciful and forgive other people who sin against us or do us harm. In Mathew 6:14 – 15, Jesus says, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins”.
Moral values: A person with integrity is known through the standard of moral conduct. We often think of morality in terms of sexual sins, but according to Jesus, sins such as slander, greed, covetous deceit and arrogance are equally immoral. Jesus gave a list of actions that constitute immoral uses of the body: evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, arrogance and foolishness ( Mark 7:20 – 23; 1 Cor. 6:9 – 11)
We must know that our body is the temple of God and we must honour God with our body (1 Cor. 6:19 – 20).
Ethical Values (based on Traditions): One should know what is right or wrong, good or bad and ask God to give discerning power to differentiate between the two. Tribal people have three very important ethical values which guides the moral code of conduct:
It talks about what is right and wrong; what we ought to do and what we should not do. When the elders or parents says it is Fear, Taboo or Shame, to do or touch, individual or villagers never violate these traditional ethical codes of conduct. Our society is so vulnerable today having no restrictions in almost every discipline. Therefore, we must re-strengthen this traditional ethical code of conducts to be the guiding force for our daily life.
Conclusion: Young people must treasure these values today so that no outside force will come to destroy our holy life which is the temple of God. Our society is full of corruption, vulnerable to all kinds of evils, and no social security. We talk about clean election of do’s and don’ts; we pretended to be good Christian on Sundays, but fail to keep all these values may result as valueless. Being Christian young boys and girls we must bear spiritual fruits and set a role model to others. Let us start to sow seeds of values and not corruptible seeds. May the Good Lord bless you all.