MY RESPONSIBILITY TO OTHERS
Part 1

Romans 14:10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;11 for it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God."12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

2 Corinthians 5:9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

In these verses, Paul makes one thing clear, we are all going to have face The Judgment Day, and we will have to give an account for our actions. This is not limited to how well we keep ourselves out of sin, but includes how we treat others. Even though we are ultimately responsible for where we end up in eternity, how we treat others especially our brothers and sister in Christ, plays an important part in our Christian walk of faith.

Something important for us to remember is not to be self-centered to the point that we only worry about ourselves and couldnít care less about anyone else or where they end up, and we must also avoid the other extreme where we care about others so much that we neglect to care of our own spiritual health. Paul understood this balance.

1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

Paul had to be careful not to get lost is just preaching Godís Word and helping others to stay focused on following because he also had to watch out for himself and make sure that he was doing he was supposed to do as well. In other words, he had to learn to have good spiritual balance in his life. While the majority of this lesson will focus on our responsibility to other Christians, please never forget about being spiritual balanced so that you can effectively help others while maintaining righteousness in your own life.

Letís begin looking at some ofour responsibilities as Christians toward other Christians.

1. I must love and serve other Christians

Galatians 5:13 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.

I know that it can be challenging to love others especially when they are weird and completely different than you. No mater how different they may be from you, one thing that we all have in common is Christ. If Christ could bring together Jews, despised tax collectors, zealots, and Gentiles together in the first century, then He can certainly bring you and the goofball sitting across the aisle from you. While we may not laugh at the same jokes or think the same way about politics or other worldly things, we will always have the common bond of loving God and His Word. Jesus said:

John 13:35 "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

So, loving your brethren despite their past, the cultural differences, and their outer appearance will show others that you are disciples of Christ. When you love your brother as the Bible tells us to, we are also to serve one another because we love them. Jesus illustrates this to His disciples in:

John 13:3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God,4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.6 Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, "Lord, are You washing my feet?"7 Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this."8 Peter said to Him, "You shall never wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me."9 Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!"10 Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you."11 For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, "You are not all clean."12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you?13 "You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.14 "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.15 "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.16 "Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.17 "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

Some religious groups misapply what Jesus is teaching His disciples here and think that Jesus was instituting feet washing, but it goes much deeper than than. Though Jesus knew that Judas was about to betray Him, He took this opportunity to teach His disciples about the importance of serving one another. Jesus set the example by washing His disciples' feet, which was a common occurrence during those times because people walked everywhere and their feet became very dirty especially with the king of shoes that had back them. You could imagine how refreshing it would be to enter someonesí house and have your feet cleaned. While washing feet back then was one way that one could serve another, the bigger picture was to follow Christís example in serving others, just as He did though out His ministry. Jesus taught a similar message in:

Mark 10:43 Ö whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 "And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

As Christians, let us look for ways that we can serve each other. Not only is it Biblical, it is rewarding to serve others.

2. I must practice the Golden Rule

Jesus said:

Matthew 7:12 "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

This saying of Jesus is referred to as the golden rule, which is do unto others as you would have them to unto you. When you think about it, we all struggle with having a dual standard when it comes to ourselves and others. The reason for us this is because we know who we are and how we feel. We know whether or not we are faking or being real. However, when it comes to others, we do not know how they really feel, what their truth motivation is, or whether they are sincere or fakes. Not being able to know another person and having to make a judgement call based on our own wits can make it challenge for us to follow this golden rule.

For example. If you found yourself needing help with whatever it may be, you want people to believe you and help you because you know it is legitimate. However, when someone comes to you needing help with whatever, you may question their motives and send them on their way even though they may have a legitimate need for help. As Christians, we must be careful not to set dual standards for ourselves and others. Please understand, I am not saying that we cannot question a person who needs help to see if they are legitimate or not, but I am saying that we should give them the same compassion and consideration that we would others to give us.

Of course another aspect of the Golden Rule is that we should treat those around and especially our brethren with the same love and respect that we want them to show to us. We all have a heart and we all deserve to be treated kindly. How many times have become mad and driven to tears when people used the very words you have used on others, but you did not notice it when you were the one dishing it out? This is an easy thing for us to overlook in own lives, but we need to be watchful of how we are treating others in comparison to how we want to be treated. Though not easy to do, Paul teaches us how to have the right attitude toward other so that we do not set a dual standard in:

Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

Jesus was willing to die for you. He has set the ultimate example. So, don't you think we all should be willing to treat each other as we want to be treated? I think so.

3. I must help build up the church

The church, which refers to the called out, refers to Christians. We are the body of Christ. Jesus died and gave His life and He purchased the church with His blood (Acts 20:7). The church is also referred to as the kingdom of God and it to be one of our priorities in life. Jesus said:

Matthew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Certainly one of our goals as Christians is to build up the church, the kingdom of God. The church can refer all Christians everywhere, but is also denotes the assembly of the saints just as we are gathered together this morning. While there are many ways we can help build up the church, one of the ways we can do this is by being part of the assembly as the writer of Hebrews says:

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

I have heard some people say that they do not need to assemble with saints because they do just fine on their own. Well, this is what you call being self-centered. Even if one could claim that they donít need the church, which I believe to be a false statement on so many levels, the church needs you. Every member of the Lordís body serves a purpose. Even if you feel like you do not need anymore encouragement and you you are as as solid as a rock, you need to be there for the rest of us who have not achieved your supposed level of faithfulness.

Notice the writer says we are to consider one another in order to stir up love and good works. How can we do this if we stay in own world and do our own thing and stay away from the assembly of the saints? We cannot, and we neglect our duty as Christians to serve and love others when we forsake the assembling of ourselves together.

Paul talks a lot about the body of the Christ and how each member has its part to do in 1 Cor. 12, but he concludes with these words:

1 Corinthians 12:23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty,24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it,25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

While showing care for someone and rejoicing for them goes beyond simply being assembled with them, it certainly includes it. Even with all our technology sometimes the only way you are going to find out about a brother or sister that needs your help, encouragement or needs to be rejoiced with is by assembling with the saints.

Also, when you attend faithfully, it encourages others to attend faithfully and it shows others how much love you have for the Lord and for your breathern. Besides, when you forsake the assembly you breaking several commands, such as partaking of the Lordís Supper, giving your means, obeying those who rule over you, which are the elders, and you count the body of Christ as a common thing, which disrespects Jesus and what He gave up to establish the church. So, let us not neglect ourresponsibility to keep Godís commands and to edify brethren when we assembly together to sing praises to God and worship Him together.

4. Our fourth point comes from:

1 Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.

The word exhort has several meanings:

to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc. 2a) to admonish, exhort 2b) to beg, entreat, beseech 2b1) to strive to appease by entreaty 2c) to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort (Thayer)

In general to exhort is to bring something to the attention of another, which could range from being a warning to words of comfort. Hebrew 3:13 says to exhort one another daily. This is another one of those responsibilities we have toward one another.††

Paul says we are to warn those who are unruly. It takes courage to do this. When you see someone that is doing or saying things that are sinful especially if that person is loud and overbearing, it's easy to ignore it, but this will not help them to overcome their sin. We must understand the seriousness of their condition as Paul points out in:

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.11  Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;

We must learn to overcome our fear for the sake of their soul. Paul certainly practiced what he preached:

Galatians 2:11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed;12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, "If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?15 "We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,16 "knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.17 "But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not!18 "For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.19 "For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.21 "I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain."

I do not know what Paul was feeling when he rebuked Peter, but I can tell you that if I were in Paulís shoes, I would have to push myself to rebuke one of the original 12 apostles. Whatever, emotions Paul was experiencing, he did not allow it to keep him from warning Peter and others about their unruly behavior and neither should we.

Letís look at our text again:

1 Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.

We are to comfort the fainthearted or we could say the discouraged. Satan will exploit discouragement because a discouraged person is easy prey, but we are to do our part to help them out of their discouragement by being there for them.

We are to uphold the weak. This word weak can refer to someone that is physically sick or is helpless because of some physical limitation, but it can also refer to one that is spiritually weak and and struggling with his faith. Whether one is physically weak or spiritually weak, Christians in this condition need our encouragement and our help.

We are to be patient with all. This is a tough one for some of us, but it is something we must learn to get better at. The better we get at learning patients, the better off we will be because there are many challenges we will face as we deal with those that are not like us and those that we are trying to encourage or trying to get them to change their sinful ways. When we get better at being patient and taking our responsibilities to other more seriously than verse 15 will not be as difficult for us.

15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone

I cannot think of a more fitting conclusion to end the first part of this lesson on that captures what I have been talking about this morning than the last part verse 15:

but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.

I hope something I have said this morning has reminded you that there is more to life than just you. I hope that this lesson will encourage to fully embrace the responsibilities you have to others, while you also strive to maintain your responsibility to your own spiritual welfare.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MY RESPONSIBILITY TO OTHERS
Part 2

This morning I began talking about our responsibility to others. I believe this is an important lesson because it reminds us that there is more to life that just ourselves. Here are the points we covered this morning.

1. I must love and serve other Christians

2. I must practice the Golden Rule

3. I must help build up the church

4. Our fourth point comes from:

1 Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.

Tonight we will continue with this same idea. Our first topic for tonight is this:

1. I must be a good example for others to follow

This is actually something a self centered Christian can pull off part of the way because, if a Christian is truly concerned about his relationship with God, then he will live His life as God would want Him to. If you live for God, then you are naturally going to be a good example for others to follow because you will do things that glorify God. However, there are limitations to the example a self centered Chrisitan because he will only be able to be good examples in ways that serve him, but will be a poor example when it comes to serving and loving others. When it comes right down to it a self centered Christian can only follow God so far and this will be detrimental to his soul because much of the teaching of the N.T. involves caring for others. While a self serving Christian will have some good qualities about him, they will not be enough to be pleasing to God.

Paul certainly understood this concept of being a good example others because notice what he taught Timothy:

ESV 1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.

Timothy had some great responsibilities as a young evangelist, and Paul encouraged him often. Though these words written to Timohty the same principles apply to us all because our goal as Christians is to be good examples for those who around us. Yes, Paul specifically mentioned believers in this context, but this same idea is taught elsewhere of how we are to be good examples to the world as well. Notice the points that Paul makes:

He is to be a good example in speech. The words and the tone we use can either destroy or build up a person.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue.

Controlling our words and how we sound is important because it make the difference between winning a soul to Christ or pushing one away from Christ. It makes the difference between lifting a fellow Christian up or knocking them down. The writer of Proverbs says it best:

Proverbs 21:23 Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles.

Proverbs 16:23 The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, And adds learning to his lips.  24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. 

I read a saying that said, ďSome people need a glue stick instead of chap stick.Ē While this is funny it offers great advice to us as Christians because, we would be better off many times by keeping our mouths shut instead of speaking everything that comes to our minds. It is important to think before you speak because words are powerful and the damage they do cannot be taken back. Paul gives us this advice:

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. 

 

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 

 

Not only are we to be good examples to others with our speech, but Paul also told Timothy to be a good example: in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

 

In conduct, is your way of life. In other words, everything you do and handle the situations around you should be done in such a way that serves a Christ-like example.

 

In love. We talked about this some this morning, but the idea is that our lives and how we treat others should be a reflection of the love that God had for us and how He treats us.

 

In faith means that others can see that you put your complete trust in God. People can look at you and see how you deal with heartache and the problems of life as you lean on God for strength. I have heard of nonChristians that were converted by observing the faith and trust that others had in God during trying times because they could see how much comfort it gave grieving Christians to know that God was there for them.

 

In purity means that Timothy was to be pure and holy and not getting involved in worldly sinful things. People would know that he had a pure mind and would not lower himself to do or say impure things. We live in a society today that has a low moral standard, and we need more Christians that are willing to raise that standard by being a good example in this area. This could include what kind of movies we watch, what we say, the kind of jokes we tell and laugh at, and the way we dress. Everything we need to know about how to be a good example to others in these areas that Paul has just mentioned comes from the Word of God. Paul emphasizes this Timothy over and over again. For example, just as read earlier, Paul said:

 

13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.

So, let us never underestimate our responsibility of being a good example to others.

2. I must pray for others.

I love the fact that God allows us to pray to Him and I never grow tired of the following verses:

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

We are taught to pray without ceasing, yet many times we find ourselves struggling to squeeze out a 15 second prayer once a day. If there is one area of Christininty that is taken for granted and not used as much as it should be it is prayer. Think about how awesome it is to have a God that actually wants to listen to us and answer our prayers. Since many spend such little time in prayer, they also usually focus on themselves. While it is important that we pray to God about our own problems and use it as a time to praise God, we are also taught to pray for others as well. Notice some verses that point this out:

 

James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

 

Colossians 1:9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

 

Hebrews 13:18  Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably.

 

1 Timothy 2:1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,

 

More verses could be given, but these show that we should not only pray for ourselves, but for others as well. There is always someone to pray for, so do not neglect your responsibility to pray for others.

 

3. I must do what I can to restore the fallen

 

Sometimes we might have the mentality of the Pharisee in:

 

Luke 18:11 "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men -- extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.12 'I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.'

 

This goes back to the idea of a self-centered Christian. They look at their own lives with great bias and praise themselves about how good they are and how much better they are than others. Even if it were true that you are some kind of spiritual giant, that would not excuse from talking bad about the weak or excuse you from helping the fallen return back to God. One of our goals as Christians should be to take as many people as we can to heaven with us because we understand that God wants all to repent and turn to Him. So, we should never fail in our duty to help lead people back into the arms of God.

 

James 5:19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back,20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

 

Now I am not going to lie to you and say that you will always have success as doing this because the truth is, it can be challenging to get someone to change their ways because once they knew the truth and then fell from it, they already have something that feels more important to them than God. However, every person deserves a chance. No matter how many reject your efforts to return back to God, it is worth it because they were given the opportunity and you planted a seed in their hearts that may one day grow and cause them to come to their senses.

 

We must be careful when we try to get Christians to come back to God because if we are not careful and do not have ourselves rooted and grounded in Godís truth, then we may find ourselves persuaded to be like the person we are trying to restore. As Paul warns:

 

Galatians 6:1  Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

 

Remember earlier when Paul taught Timothy to be a good example in his speech. Well, one area we have to be extremely caution with our speech is when we are trying to restore a fallen brother because they will look any excuse to discount your efforts if they are really wrapped up in their sins.

 

Notice, Paul did not say go and restore your brother by yelling at him or telling him how bad a person he is. No, he said restore them with a spirit of gentleness. Now this may not be the best analogy in the world, but as I was thinking about this, I thought about how people will treat a dog they find that has obviously been through the ringer. If they want that dog to come to them, they do not yell at it or beat on it some more. No, they get down on their knees and the call the dog to them with a gentle voice and make themselves as approachable as possible.

 

Shouldnít we have this same mentality toward those who have fallen. Most of these people already know what they are doing is wrong, so why not try encouraging to return to God instead of beating them over the head with their obvious sin. This is not always easy to do, but as we carry out this responsibility of restoring others, we should always strive to do it with a spirit of gentleness.

 

4. I must be ready to forgive those who repent

 

Forgiveness is a wonderful thing. When we look at our own lives and think about how much God loved us that He was willing to allow His Son to come to the earth so that He could die for us, it is beyond amazing.

 

Romans 5:6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

 

Before we obeyed the gospel, we understood that we were sinners and that the ONLY way, we could be redeemed was through Jesus. Once our heartís were pricked and we repented and confessed Jesus as our Lord, we were baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins. We were no doubt thankful beyond words for the forgiveness that God offered us.

 

If that wasnít enough, God has now made it possible for us to continue to take care of new sins in our lives through the power of Jesusí blood. As John says:

 

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

Who could ask for anything more than this? We should be thankful to the Lord for allowing us to have so much power over sin knowing that sin cannot stand up to the power of Jesusí blood, but we must repent and confess that sin to God for it be forgiven. When we look at ourselves and see how weak we are sometimes, we all want God to forgive us of whatever awful thing we have done when we repent.

 

There is another aspect of forgiveness that is more difficult for us because we also have a responsibility to forgive others that repent. Remember the golden rule I talked about this morning? Well sometimes we have a dual standard when it comes to forgiving others. When it comes to our mistakes, we want others to forgive us understand our sincerity, but when it comes to forgiving someone else, we hold them to a higher standard and sometimes we will not forgive them. Well, the Bible teaches us an important lesson on this in several places.

 

Luke 17:3 "Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.4 "And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him."

 

Mark 11:25 " And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.26 "But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses."

 

When someone wrongs you or someone you love it is hard to forgive them, but if we refuse to forgive them when they repent, then God will not not forgive us of our sins. I cannot think of a better way to illustrate this idea than the following parable:

 

Matthew 18:23 "Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.24 "And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.25 "But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.26 "The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, 'Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.'27 "Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.28 "But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me what you owe!'29 "So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.'30 "And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.31 "So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done.32 "Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me.33 'Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?'34 "And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.35 "So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses."

 

Though forgiving someone can be difficult, I can promise you if you refuse to forgive someone that has repented you are not doing much harm to them at all, but you are making yourself a prisoner and ruining your life by holding on to something that cannot be changed. Even worse, when we refuse to forgive those who repent God will refuse to forgive us. If we find ourselves struggling with forgiving those that repent we need to remind ourselves of God forgave us for our sins and continues forgives for the sins we commit when we repent of them. We must follow the example of forgiveness that God has applied to us or else His forgiveness for our sins will be taken away and no wrong is worth losing your soul over. So, let us never forget that forgiveness is one of our responsibilities to others.

 

There are many more responsibilities to others I could name, but I hope these two lessons today help remind us to focus on more than just ourselves. As I pointed out at the beginning of lesson this morning, we must learn to have balance in Chrisitan lives by watching out for ourselves and for others. I want to close this lesson with the words of Peter:

 

1 Peter 2:17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.