MOMENTS OF TRUTH
The Christian’s Responsibility to Society
22 December 2019
The relationship of the Christian and the society in which he or she lives has always been a source of concern to the child of God. Christians are strangers and pilgrims on this earth. The apostle Peter says in 1 Peter 2:11-12, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” Christians have no permanent home on earth; their citizenship is not here; they are mere sojourners, and they are passing on to their eternal home in Heaven as Paul says in Philippians 3:20-21, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”
The conduct or manner of life of Christians should be as such as to bear the strictest scrutiny; such that the closest examination will lead their enemies to the conviction that they are upright and honest in all aspects of their life. Honesty, uprightness, and a kind and courteous disposition should be conscientiously observed by the followers of Christ, that they may manifest the true spirit of Christ in their personal lives, and as far as possible, lead all men to embrace Christianity.
Yet, the child of God cannot completely separate himself from the world in which he lives. The children of God have a responsibility to shine as lights in the midst of a perverse generation. The Christian’s manner of life is to be different from the world, so as to cause people to glorify God because of his daily life.
With today’s lesson we want to identify the Christian’s responsibility in the sight of God to the individuals who live in their community.
First of all, Christians should do good to all men. The apostle Paul says in Galatians 6:10, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Here the apostle Paul is exhorting all Christians to do good in their personal situations in life, as they have opportunity. The Christian life is a life of obligation toward God. The opportunity to do good imposes the obligation to do it. Ability plus opportunity equals responsibility in the sight of God. God has made it the Christians duty to do good to others, so He takes care in His providence to furnish Christians with opportunities for benevolence. The objects of this duty are all men. Christians are not to confine their charity and benevolence within too narrow bounds. Whenever God gives his children an opportunity of being useful to others, He expects them to provide the assistance, according to their capacity and ability. When we think about it there are three things that constitute opportunity: 1) Time: the present life is the season of well-doing as Jesus said of His own work in John 9:4, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” 2) Ability: If God has provided the means of doing good with powers and financial ability; that individual must faithfully discharge his obligation before God. 3) Objects of well-doing: “All Men.” If a child of God has time and ability, his duty is to work that which is good toward all men. So, we have to ask a question, what does “do good” mean? The concept is that the child of God must have respect for an individual and his needs, whether those needs are physical, emotional, or spiritual. It is to be the Christians business to harm no one, but to supply the necessities of all men; either with their spiritual advice and counsels, with all the assistance they can give them that may be of spiritual profit or advantage to the needy; or with their worldly goods, ministering to their necessities. The child of Do must be ready to do good and liberally distribute to all that have need, but especially to all their fellow-Christians. There should be a special bond or willingness to aid or assist those who are in the family of God.
The social relationships upon this earth, involve the Christian in association with his neighbors and fellow citizens. God’s children are commanded to love their neighbors as themselves as Jesus says in Matthew 22:39, “And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” The apostle Paul states in Galatians 5:13-15, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” So, we have to ask another question, “Who is our neighbor?” This question is a moral one, not a physical one based upon outward nearness, but on opportunity and ability as we read of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, “And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 He said to him, "What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?" 27 So he answered and said," 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.'" 28 And He said to him, "You have answered rightly; do this and you will live." 29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30 Then Jesus answered and said: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 "Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 "Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 "But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 "So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 "On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.' 36 "So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?" 37 And he said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."”
God has always demonstrated His love for all men. Children of God must be concerned about the welfare of all men. How can a Christian demonstrate His love for His neighbor? Well, we can follow the Golden Rule as we read in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” We are to be peacemakers as we read in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.” We are to also pray for our enemies as we read in Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,” We are to comfort the broken hearted and the sick as we read in Matthew 25:35-40, “'for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 'I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' 37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 'When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 'Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40 "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'”
Now, the second responsibility the Christian has is to be an example to All Men. The apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:2, “You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men;” There is no more powerful sermon in the world, than a consistent Christian life. Christians preach more sermons by their daily lives than with their lips. Christians’ lives could be the only religious books the world reads. Children of God must give unbelievers the chance of believing through their personal devotion to God. The Christian should be gentle when the world is angry, humble when they are arrogant; to their inconsistency, a resolute adherence to faith in God and His word.
The Child of God should be an example worthy of imitation. The best method to teach anyone is to set the proper example before them. An individual will learn as much or more from a godly example, as by what is taught by word. The Apostle Paul to the church of the Thessalonians to be a worthy example to the unbelieving world around them in 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, “that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.”
The Christian life is to shine as a light in the midst of a perverse generation. The apostle Paul writes in Philippians 2:15-16, “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.” In order to exert the proper influence, a Christian must become actively involved in community affairs. Christians must let their voices be heard.
Now, lastly, the Christians responsibility to society is to teach God’s Word to their neighbors and friends. We have an excellent example of this responsibility found in Ezekiel 33:1-9, “Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 "Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: 'When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, 3 'when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 'then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. 5 'He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. 6 'But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand.' 7 "So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. 8 When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you shall surely die!' and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 "Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.” Children of God have a responsibility to teach others that they associate with from day to day. Christians are God’s “watchmen” to warn sinners of their misery and danger by reason of sin. If Christians do not make an effort to teach others it will not be because there are no lost individuals who need to hear the gospel. Failure will be the result of either indifference or unconcern for the lost; or the child of God has failed to live so as to command the respect of those who he knows are lost, in order that they might be willing to investigate the Word of God. God’s children should live lives that will command enough respect so that their friends and neighbors will accept an invitation to study the will of God. The Apostle Paul felt an obligation to preach the gospel to everyone and upon every opportunity that was presented to him as we read in Romans 1:14-17, “I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. 15 So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith." We must always know that opportunities unused are lost forever! As was told of the watchman in Ezekiel concerning the blood of others, the apostle Paul declared to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:26-27, “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 "For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.” Paul lived his life as we are to live ours, daily teaching others about Christ.
The Christian should live so as to be a model or pattern after which the devotion of others could be molded. If we respect God’s law we will be the best citizen in our community. A good example is a guide and inspiration to others. We should be concerned about the welfare of all men and especially their spiritual welfare; and make an effort to teach the truth of God’s will to all that give us the opportunity.
There is a song we sing from time to time in our worship to our Heavenly Father that helps us in our efforts to meet our responsibilities to the community or society we live in called, “A Beautiful Life.” The first verse says, “Each day I’ll do a golden deed, by helping those who are in need; My life on earth is but a span, and so I’ll do the best I can.” The second verse says, “To be a child of God each day, My light must shine along the way; I’ll sing His praise while ages roll and strive to help some troubled soul.” The third verse says, “The only life that will endure, Is one that’s kind and good and pure; And so for God I’ll take my stand, each day I’ll lend a helping hand.” The fourth verse says, “While going down life’s weary road, I’ll try to lift some traveler’s load; I’ll try to turn the night to day make flowers bloom along the way.” The chorus reads, “Life’s evening sun is sinking low, a few more days and I must go to meet the deeds that I have done, where there will be no setting sun.”
Each one of us needs to take the Word of God seriously, daily, and allow it to permeate our hearts in a way that we will make His Will our very own. Let us do as the apostle Paul explains in Philippians 2:12, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;”
All MUST believe Jesus Christ as the apostle Paul tells us in Romans 10:17, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Let everyone hear the Word of God and have the faith described by the writer of Hebrews in Hebrews 11:1- 6 which helps us see those who were given various levels of strength or talents and they chose to live and obey as God instructed them, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, "and was not found, because God had taken him"; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
We all need to do as Peter told those to do on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:38, “Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
We MUST all confess Jesus Christ as the Son of God as Jesus explains in Matthew 10:32, “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him will I also confess before My Father who is in heaven.” The apostle Paul says in Romans 10:9-10, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Ask yourself if your obedience to Christ is or was like that of the wonderful example of obedience found in Acts 8:36-39 where Philip has been teaching the Ethiopian eunuch, “Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" 37 Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." 38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.” The apostle Paul helps us see the importance of baptism in Romans 6:4, “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” When one has been baptized, their sins are washed away and they rise a new child of God, a Christian. This is where the “walk in newness of life” begins. This new beginning requires a lifetime of service to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus says in Revelation 2:10, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you a crown of life.”
Now for those who have obeyed Christ through baptism and have fallen from grace, we urge you to do as the apostle Peter told Simon in Acts 8:22, “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.”