Summary: To begin this sermon, I’m going to read 3 brief passages of Scripture. And as I do, see how quickly you can discover the connection between them. (Powerpoints available - # 157)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
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A. To begin this sermon, I’m going to read 3 brief passages of Scripture. And as I do, see how quickly you can discover the connection between them.
The first is 1 Samuel 9:2. It says "He had a son named Saul, an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites a head taller than any of the others."
Then Luke 19:1-4 says, "Jesus entered Jericho & was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector & was wealthy.
“He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead & climbed a sycamore fig tree to see Him, since Jesus was coming that way."
Have you figured out the connection yet? I think some of you have.
The third passage is 1 Samuel 16:7, which says, “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”
Do you see the connection between these verses? All three passages make mention of physical appearances.
B. I wonder how many of us have ever stood before a mirror & wished that we had a different face or a different body? Now, you don’t need to raise your hands.
But if you can honestly say that you have never wished for a different face or body, you are among the minority, because most of us, at one time or another, have wished that we looked differently than we do.
ILL. You remember comedian Don Knotts, don’t you? In one of his movies he said, "What I need is a body transplant." Some of us here have felt the same way.
There is such a tremendous emphasis in our country on appearance that it affects almost everybody. Just turn on your TV any morning & you’ll see all kinds of exercise programs, advertisements for the latest miracle diets, for health spas, & for low calorie or fat free foods.
So many people strive & strain to improve their physical appearance. But really, "Beauty is only skin deep," isn’t it? And at times we are reminded that “Beauty is also in the eye of the beholder."
C. But if "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," it is not always clear what is beautiful & what is not.
ILL. In fact, in parts of Africa, a beautiful woman is one whose lower lip has been stretched out so far that she can insert a 12" round disk in it. The Ubangis may admire that, but it certainly isn’t our idea of beauty.
ILL. The Mayan indians believed that beauty was found in having a narrow, elongated head. So when a baby was born, while its skull was still soft & pliable, they tied boards to both sides of its head. They bound them together tightly, gradually increasing the tension to produce a head that was long & narrow.
ILL. And if you look back in history, up until the 20th Century much of the world thought that the most beautiful women were those who had plenty of meat on their bones. It has only been in recent generations that western civilization has begun to place so much emphasis on being thin.
Think about it. Maybe the key to solving all our concerns about our appearance is not more dieting, but just to change our definition of beauty back to what it once was. Then most of us could go on our way feeling very satisfied about ourselves.
D. But setting all that aside, I thought that the contrast between King Saul in the O.T., & Zacchaeus in the N.T. is interesting.
Here is Saul. 1 Samuel 9:2 tells us that he was “an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites – a head taller than any of the others.”
So if we were to describe Saul in modern day terms, what kind of guy would he be? Captain of the football team? King of the prom? Heart throb of every girl at school?
He is a success in everything he tries to do. Then he is chosen to become the first King of Israel, ruler over a whole nation. And everybody praises him!
But a few years pass by, & we come to 1 Samuel 15:22-23 where, because of Saul’s arrogance & frequent disobedience of God’s commands, God tells Samuel the Judge, who had originally anointed Saul as King, to say to him: