Pastor Julie Mullins of Florida’s multi-site Christ Fellowship Church told her congregation on Sunday that showing honor to God is mainly “absent” in today’s culture and that Christians are often becoming part of the world's "toxicity."
Mullins, who, along with her husband, Todd, leads a congregation averaging over 30,000 members across a dozen campuses in South Florida, warned in her sermon that dishonoring or devaluing God and other people could cause unanswered prayers and doors of blessings to be “slammed” shut.
Mullins said that what she has seen in over 35 years of ministry and even in Mark 6, where people scoffed at Jesus being just a "carpenter's son," is that "an atmosphere of dishonor" will "prevent" God's "blessing, His favor and supernatural work in our relationships and in our lives."
"Because it speaks to how this atmosphere of [dishonor] can actually shut the door on everything that Jesus wants to release into our homes and into our church," she said. "Let's look at the definition of dishonor. It comes from the Greek word Atimos ... 'to treat as common and ordinary.' It doesn't say mean or harsh or rude. This passage, they were just treating Jesus as common. He is the kid down the street. But Jesus is not common. And the reality that we can have a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe, there is nothing ordinary about this."
Mullins said that people often pray for God to open a door. However, there "are some doors that only honor can open."
"We live in a culture [where] — I know that what I'm saying is completely countercultural — all you have to do is turn on the TV, get on social media, and disrespect and dishonor are at an all-time high,” Mullins told the church.
“I mean, people are canceling people out just because they don't agree with them. They're ranting words of discouragement and disparagement over people's lives, and it is blocking the work that God wants to do. And as God's people, we are called to something different. … We have a different calling. We have just become so desensitized to its toxicity, that we become, many times, a part of it.”
Mullins said that although it seems like honor is “almost completely absent in our culture,” it's “everywhere in Scripture.”
She said the topic of honor is found roughly 147 times throughout Scripture. And most often, she noted, mentions of honor in the Bible are about how to treat other people.
“God's word is clear about who we as believers are expected to honor. … It says, first of all, that all honor begins first and foremost with our honor to God,” Mullins emphasized, citing 1 Timothy 1:17.
“We are called to honor God for who He is, not just for what He does. … He is our Creator. He is our Redeemer. He is our Savior. We honor Him because He sent His Son to this earth to suffer and die so that we can be restored into right relationship with Him. We honor Him, and we honor the authority that God's Word has over our lives.”
The pastor said one reason today’s culture is “suffering from this epidemic of dishonor is because they have forgotten to honor God, honor His ways, honor His work.”
In 1 Samuel 2:30, Mullins noted that the Bible says that ‘those who honor me, I will honor.’ Mullins said Christians aren't supposed to honor God only for the reward but because it's a spiritual principle.
She said that God tends to bless those who honor Him because honoring God “opens the door for a spiritual inheritance that is going to live way beyond us.”
“It's just a spiritual principle. When we honor Him, He will honor us. We see it all throughout the Bible. When Abraham honored God and left all he knew to step in and follow God, God honored him by giving him the children of Israel and made him the father of many nations,” Mullins preached.
“We see this in Noah when he decided to obey God even though it didn't make any sense. His obedience saved his entire family and future generations. We see it in Mary when she honored God by saying: ‘not my will, but yours.’ We see that He honored her by delivering salvation into the world through her. … All throughout Scripture, we see that when we honor God, He rewards us.”
Mullins said Christians can show honor to God by honoring other people.
“When we honor people, we place high value, we highly esteem, we treat them as precious and weighty. And this starts with the people that are closest to us,” Mullins said, referring to how spouses are to honor one another in marriage and how children are to be obedient to parents.
Honor should also extend to the outside world, Mullins said.
“It says in Scripture that we're to take honor, to deliver honor as Christ followers, to deliver honor into our world, into our sphere of influence,” Mullins said, pointing the audience to Romans 13.
She said the passage could be summarized to mean that followers of God are called to “‘honor our city, our state, and our national authorities and local leaders.’”
“At Christ Fellowship, we want to be known as the house of honor that honors our authorities. We may not always agree. … As a matter of fact, we're not going to agree with all the policies and the decisions. But we can disagree without being dishonoring,” Mullins advised.
“And when it's hard for us to speak words of honor, we're going to take on a posture of prayer because … we're going to pray for our leaders. Because we know that when we pray, it actually opens the door for the supernatural to enter into rooms that we can't walk into. And why would we want to slam the door on that? I believe that when we open the door [and], we pray for our leaders that God can do more incentives in a minute than man can do in centuries.”
Mullins mentioned earlier in the sermon that sometimes Christians think their prayers aren’t being answered because they have sinned or are not showing enough faith.
But Mullins believes some Christians cannot see God’s supernatural power at work in their lives because of dishonor.
“It's just because of dishonor. And you're not being rude or ugly. That's not what the definition [of dishonor] is. It's just treating God's work and God's people as ordinary and common. See, I just wonder if this atmosphere of dishonor disrupts the supernatural, I wonder if the opposite is true. If an atmosphere of dishonor disrupts the supernatural, what could an atmosphere of honor release in the supernatural?” Mullins asked.