The Duty Of Righteousness
This lesson may step on our toes a little bit but we all, including myself, need to understand all the Word of God.
We have a “duty” to properly serve the Lord once we are saved by His Grace!
We do not have to look very far to know that the body of Christ is not in one accord. In fact it seems even in our local assemblies we are in some kind of competition.
The Truth is, Every Bible Believing group of worshippers, through out this world are “One Body Of Christ”!
The problem then is, not many groups believe the entire Word Of God is inspired. To not believe this is the same as saying God could lie and this is what is impossible!
We fall into the trap of saying, let’s go down to the church or let’s go to church. This is not such a bad thing to say but the truth is we as believers are the church. We as believers are the body of Christ!
We are not just some local group of believers, but joined together to all believers by our “Faith” and that by the “Grace of God”.
Then we should ask, why does it seem that the worldwide “Body of Christ” is trying to hide itself from the evil things of this world?
We are to come out from among those of this world but we are not to hide!
We are to shine like bright shiny lights!
We are not to put ourselves under a basket!
Listen to the words of Jesus:
Joh 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Again he said:
Joh 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
Mat 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Mat 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
To be called Christian is to be like Christ. As Jesus Christ shined in this world we are now to shine because, He is our example.
We do not shine very brightly in this world we live in, when we cannot get along with our brothers and sisters!
If we cannot be in unity in the places where we attend to worship the Lord Our God, how can we expect the world wide the body of Christ to be in one accord?
This is not just a problem we have in our assembly, It is a worldwide problem and has been going on since the beginning of the church.
In the New Testament we see many disputes.
1.) The Corinthians were divided over human leaders and some of the members were even suing each other.
2.) The Galatians always seem to be bitter and divided into separate groups from each other.
3.) The Ephesians and the Colossians had to be constantly reminded to be of one accord just as we are.
We all, only have one book to guide us, The Holy Bible, and it is infallible!
4.) In the church of Philippi, even two women tried to split the church.
The book of Hebrews tells us:
Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, [as the manner of some is]; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Not only are we not to forsake in the attendance of the church, we are to meet more often as we see the end time approaching.
The end time is approaching at every tick of the clock, and we can all see the signs!
BUT, It does not really matter how many times we meet if we do not act like we are “the body of Christ”, “One” worldwide group of believers all having the same mind of Christ.
We only have one example to live by, Jesus Christ Himself!
The Holy Spirit will always lead us to Jesus!
How can we travel so many paths in opposite directions, when there is only one way to Heaven?
I checked every English translation I could find, and they all say Jesus Christ is the only means of getting to Heaven. (John 14:6)
The Bible also says:
Php 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Php 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Php 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Php 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
We are to be likeminded!
We are to have the same love!
We are to be in One Accord!
We are to be in One Mind!
We are all to treat our brothers and sister like they are better than ourselves!
We are all to have the same mind of Christ, who is the only head of the Church and His Body!
If we ever see this become a reality in our separate places of worship, we will see an immediate change in the church and there will be a revival in the body of Christ!
The Bible says:
Psa 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
We must put aside any old belief, any old teaching, and every old thing that we learned from the past that does not match up to the Word of God!
*****The New Testament is full of examples of God’s people striving in the local church.
God did not write these things down for us to ignore, but to learn from!
What Jews were saved, were saved out of a legalistic background and even today they struggle to forget the way they were raised.
The Gentile believers had never had to worry about any special diet, or any Sabbath day, or any festival days. They certainly did not worry about diets and what they could or could not eat.
*****But, We know this caused great debate in the early church.
The book of Acts chapter 15 describes this time for us.
Act 15:19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:
Act 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
We know that the church in Rome also had its own problems.
What we should see also is that these things are still around today and this is a loss, to the Body of Christ.
*****We fight the same battles over and over again!
We simply do not learn from what God teaches us in His Word!
Are there gray areas in the Bible? No! There are no gray areas!
*****Our God never changes!
I just believe most people do not study God’s Word enough to know the truth!
Mal 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not
Our God teaches us to have the same mind of Christ and Christ Jesus never changed.
Pro 24:21 My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: [and meddle not with them that are given to change]:
Pro 24:22 For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?
This is why we should stay with a Bible that is translated from the original Greek and Hebrew texts such as the King James Bible we use here at Gethsemane.
When we see activities that go on in other places of worship that are clearly defined in our Bible as wrong, we need to get away from those activities and stay away from those places of worship!
*****The Body of Christ is not for entertainment!
The Body of Christ has only one function, to be so much like Christ Jesus that the World will still see Jesus and to continue in the work that He began!
When we see activities that go on in places of worship by the truth of the Gospel of God, then those are the places we should choose to worship.
When we see what we think are gray areas in the Bible we should search to Scriptures our selves and seek out those that teach the truth. There are no grey areas, God is Light and Light does not allow for any shade of darkness!
*****There may be places in the Bible we may not totally agree on, but even in these places we are not to dispute with each other.
If they have nothing to do with salvation then they are not worth arguing about!
*****More churches have been split over things that are not even in the Bible than ever over the truth!
I am so glad that my success as a Christian does not depend on the opinions or the attitudes of other Christians.
God is my judge and He is also the One that makes me able to stand in this evil world.
My salvation is based “the facts” of God’s Word and I now know that I need to lead my life according to God’s Word.
Romans chapter 8 tells us we are justified “and cannot ever be unjustified” again once we are saved!
*****This is what we must believe!
Rom 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
Rom 14:2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
Rom 14:3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
Rom 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
Rom 14:5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
Rom 14:6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
God tells us we are not judges but God does teach us that we should be observant of our brothers and sisters.
If we love them, we should notice when they are suffering.
We should notice when they are weak in the flesh.
We should notice when they need our help and do not ask for it.
We should notice when their faith is weak and be ready to help them in the truth.
If we walk in love and not in our own self pride we will be more like Jesus and less like the world!
We will always have brothers and sisters in Christ that are weak in the faith and have not spent much time in the word.
But we will always have brothers and sisters in Christ that are strong in the faith and have spent much time in the word.
We can all place our selves somewhere in the middle of these two extremes!
We should not miss the fact that Paul is preaching to those that were sincere in their worship.
Today we would say that Paul was preaching to the Choir.
Paul is preaching to those that are strongest in the faith. These are the elders of the church, these are the ones that have grown the most in the Word of God and these are the ones that are secure in their salvation.
Paul was preaching to the backbone of the church.
It is a false belief that the most mature Christians are the ones who follow the strictest rules.
It is in fact those that have a legalistic point of view that are the weakest Christians. These are the ones that are judging and condemning the strong Christian!
We must remember it is still not our job to convert those that are weak in the faith.
No one’s conscience but their own can direct them.!
It is more our job to disciple, to teach, to point out, what the word of God actually says.
If we act like a Pharisee then we have failed!
A true Christian does not look down upon another brother in Christ no matter how weak they are in the faith.
We have no right as believers to reject a babe in Christ and we should help to disciple them until we feel satisfied that they know the truth!
If God has received them into His family “then”we are to receive them too!
There is only one “Body of Christ”!
It is not our responsibility to decide the requirements of Christian fellowship in the body of Christ, only the Lord can do this and He wrote it all down for us.
When we set up man-made restrictions by the basis of our personal thoughts, we are going beyond the Word of God and what it says.
We are not even to argue over these matters!
We’re not to judge or despise any brother in Christ!
We should remember that when the apostle Peter was sent of God to take the gospel to the Gentiles he was criticized by the local church at that time!
But, Peter was called of God to do so!
Peter even ate his meals with them which went against Jewish law, but not God’s law of love
Act 11:1 And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.
Act 11:2 And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,
Act 11:3 Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.
It is God who decides who He will give the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the gift of “Grace”.
We also know that when Peter was around certain others of the church he would not associate much with the Gentiles.
The apostle Paul rebuked Peter for this act.
Peter was a mighty preacher at this time but even he did not always see that the Gentile believer should be welcomed into the fellowship of the church.
But God showed Peter and Paul that Christian Fellowship is not based on what we eat, or what days we worship or what days were considered to be religious days.
*****The church is not bound to any particular day of worship.
The Jew is bound by the Sabbath! We must remember, the Jew used a lunar calender. The Sabbath was every seventh day. The day Saturday, comes from the Roman calender which they adopted after they were defeated by Rome.
The early church chose the Lord’s Day. It was on Sunday that the Lord Jesus Christ came out of that grave.
The church “in fact” is to worship God every day and assemble as often as we can together!
It is the Jew and Judaism and many others who are taught falsely, that only the Sabbath day is the day of worship.
This is not of the Body of Christ nor the Word of God!
The weak in faith must not call those that are stronger in faith, super spiritual!
And those that are strong in faith must not call those weak in faith, immature!
If God has received both then we should receive each other and both believers show forth the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
We are all servants of God. God is Master to everyone who believes and It is wrong for anyone to interfere with this relationship!
I am strong, when I realize that my success as a Christian does not depend on the opinions and the attitudes of other Christians!
My God is my Judge!
It is My God that stands with me!
*****If we are busy enough in the work of the Lord we would not find time to condemn other Christians!
A people who realize the important things to do are, to be busy winning souls to Christ and not wasting time investigating the lives of the saints.
God has forgotten the past of every Saint and we should too!
Rom 14:7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
Rom 14:8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.
Rom 14:9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
Rom 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
Rom 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
Rom 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Rom 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
Rom 14:14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
Rom 14:15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
Rom 14:16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
As the children of The Living God we have a higher standard to live by!
The title “Lord” is found eight times in these few verses. Everything we do must relate to our Lord.
No Christian has the right to play God to another Christian.
We can pray for them and we should!
We can advise them by God’s Word and we should!
We can teach and we can even warn them of some of the things they do, but we cannot play God!
We as Christians must realize that God has His eyes on our lives and We should consciously feel His presence!
Each and every one of us are living or dying absolutely unto the Lord, who we belong to!
If He is not ruling our lives then we cannot even help another. Most of our local churches are divided and weakened just because they will not allow Jesus Christ to be Lord of the Church.
Jesus gives us a great example of this in the Bible.
The Bible says:
Joh 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
Joh 21:16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Joh 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Joh 21:18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
Joh 21:19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
Joh 21:20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
Joh 21:21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
Joh 21:22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
What we should notice in these Scriptures is that Peter was restored and again he was told to follow. So Peter began to follow Jesus but soon realized that another was walking behind him which was John.
Peter asked Lord what about this man?
We all need to pay attention to the answer that Jesus gave!
Jesus told Peter “just make sure you have made Me Lord of your life and let Me worry about John”.
When we find ourselves condemning other Christians just because they disagree with the way we think on anything that is not essential to salvation or that God forbids in His word, then we are trying to become landlords to that person.
We have taken the place of Jesus in that persons life and we have absolutely no right to do so.
We are not following Jesus ourself!
Jesus did not do these things and He is still our example!
If each and every one of us would go to the Lord in prayer instead of going to our brothers and sisters in criticism, we would all have a stronger fellowship in the local church.
It is a fact that no matter how strong a Christian we are or how weak a Christian we are, we will all stand at the judgment seat of Christ.
This is where the saint of God will be judged or what he has accomplished “after” we are saved!
We had already learned in Chapter 8 there would be no more condemnation, so we cannot be condemned here at The Judgment Seat of Christ!
This place with Jesus has nothing to do with our sins!
The Judge that sits on “this seat” is the same One that hung on the cross and paid for our sins.
Only Christ Jesus has the right to judge our behavior after salvation!
The Bible says:
1Co 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
1Co 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
1Co 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
1Co 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
1Co 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
1Co 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1Co 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
The only way we can be prepared for this judgment seat is by making Jesus Christ Lord in our own lives!
We must faithfully obey the Word He has given us which includes the fact that we should not judge other Christians. This is not to say we cannot notice when they are sad or when they are in need of help this is not the same thing as judging. This is showing concern and love!
We are only to judge “our own lives” and “make sure we are ready” to meet Jesus when he comes!
We should remember the nephew of Abraham, whose name was Lot, he was saved in the end, but he lost everything he had worked for in this world, including his wife. He had no reward on this earth nor probably in Heaven, but he did not lose his salvation!
When we stand before the Lord we will only have to give an account for ourselves, not for anyone else in this world!
When we allow the Lord Jesus Christ to be Lord of all, then we are saying “Jesus you deal with your own servants as you wish”!
BUT, We cannot make the mistake of thinking we are to leave each other alone!
We have to put out of our minds, words like “servant” and “slave” and remember words like “brother” and “sister”!
Our commandment is to love one another as we love ourselves. This is our goal to live by!
There is no room in this commandment for being a judge!
There is no room for causing our brother or sister to stumble in their walk with Christ!
There is no room for causing the destruction of a brother or sister in Christ!
The most important trait of a strong Christian should be his love for all the brothers and sisters in Christ!
The second most important trait of a strong Christian should be his spiritual knowledge in the Word of God!
It is these two things that will help in the growth of those that are weak in the faith.
We must realize as the Saints of God that everything we do in our Christian life can have some affect on another Christian.
It is never worth the loss of a reward from Christ if we cause harm to a brother or sister in Christ with the things we do.
*****If the world cannot see righteousness, and peace, and joy in the life of the Christian, then we are not yielding ourselves to the Holy Spirit. These are the fruit of the Spirit!
When we yield to the Holy Spirit who lives within us we would see no reason to fight or strive with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Rom 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
There have been many a church divided and split over trivial matters such as the color of the carpet, serving meals in the church, additions to the church and other things.
None of these things has anything to do with salvation!
The apostle Paul used the example of food and drink, and food and drink cannot bring us closer to God. We are no worse if we if we eat and no better if we don’t eat.
The fate of the church rest of the ability of believers to yield to the Holy Spirit and major in a godly life.
*****Christians should never fight each other for any reason!
If we cannot agree to disagree that we jeopardize the body of Christ.
Christians must help each other grow. The strong Christian needs to grow in love, the week Christian needs to grow in knowledge.
*****It is wrong for a weak Christian to remain weak!
*****It is also wrong when we cannot show love to each other in every instance!
When a weak Christian stumbles often we should know that something is wrong. We should know that they need our love to show them and encourage them to grow.
This requires patience and we should remember how much patience our Lord had with the disciples.
There is probably not one among us who came to Christ the first time we were called!
*****We all grow in grace and knowledge when the church is in one accord.
2Pe 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
The church cannot be geared toward making weak Christians. The church must be geared to make strong Christians, the weak Christians must learn from the strong Christian for the church to survive.
When there is an honest disagreement among church members, we should not make this a test of Fellowship.
If you have a sincere conviction from God about the matter keep it to yourself!
If it is not about salvation certainly is not worth the loss of a friend or a brother or sister in Christ.
Our conscience can only be strengthened by the knowledge of the Lord, but our knowledge must be balanced by love or it tears down instead of building up.
Rom 15:1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
Rom 15:2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
Rom 15:3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
True Christian love is not selfish but in fact should have a goal to make others happy. If we are not willing to carry the load of the weaker Christian and help them in their spiritual development we are not showing Christian love.
When we cannot make some small sacrifice for a weak Christian then how could we ever say we are sacrificing for Christ. Our small sacrifice cannot ever match what Jesus did on the cross!
Most loving parents will sacrifice of their children, a true Christians will also sacrifice for those that are weak in the faith.
If we ever believe we are making great sacrifices to give up some food or some drink or some holiday or just something we hold dear to us, then we have forgotten the sacrifice Jesus made for us.
*****He gave up His place in Heaven just to save a lost sinner like me and like you!
If we are not willing to give up some of our rights so that we can help others, we will count this as a burden when God meant it to be a blessing!
These things show the influence of the Holy Spirit and an understanding of the Word of God.
If we bathe all these things in prayer, the Lord will guide us.
Our lives should bring glory to God and not division among God’s people!