Sermon: (February 7, 2016) “Growing in the Favor of Others” guest speaker: David Thomas

February 7, 2016 at 1:38 pm Categories: Sermons

Throughout this sermon series we have been learning about growing in the way Jesus grew: in wisdom, in the favor of God, and, in today’s sermon, in the favor of others. In particular, we learned today both about the meaning and the importance of growing in the favor of others.

Below are the four key points about growing in the favor of others:

  1. The favor of others is important. God uses it and sees it as good.
  2. The favor of others is a by-product, not a pursuit.
  3. The favor of others is not enough.
  4. The most important part of growing in the favor of others is the willingness to give it up.

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  • In terms of its meaning, perhaps the most important thing we can understand is that the favor of people is not the same as popularity. Popularity is about how “likeable” you are at a surface level, but favor is about how trustworthy you are at a deep level. Popularity is about managing your appearance; favor is about the quality of your character. As a group, talk about each of your individual contexts (school, work, friend groups, etc.). Each context will have some implicit value system of sorts. Talk about the difference between what it means to earn popularity over against what it means to earn favor in your context in light of this distinction.
  • If applicable, talk about a time you have found favor or not found favor and the doors it opened or shut respectively.
  • In the sermon, David gave the following quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
    • Cowardice asks, Is it safe?
    • Consensus asks, Is it popular?
    • Conscience asks, Is it right?
  •  One of the aforementioned points from the sermon was that the favor of others is a by-product, not a pursuit. When favor becomes a pursuit, it simply asks the question of consensus: Is it popular? Favor accrues, however, when people follow the question of the conscience: Is it right? The person who consistently does what is right begins to be seen by others as trustworthy. Take a moment and think about a person in your life who has most embodied that quality, a person who followed the question of the conscience. Share about that person with the group.
  • The last key point we learned today about growing in the favor of others is that we must always be willing to give it up. It could become easy for a person who has grown in the favor of others because of his or her trustworthiness to be swayed off course by attempts to manage or maintain favor, the temptation to compromise what is right to keep hold of consensus, control, reputation, whatever. Has there ever been a time you had to go against the grain to follow your conscience, perhaps a time you went with the flow and didn’t listen to your conscience. Talk about those times and what you learned from them.