Bible Lesson 83

COMMENTS ON CHRISTIAN DUTY

Ecclessiastes 12

Let’s begin by understanding that true Christians, those who are born again, obedient to God, do have a duty to God. We need to make sure that we all understand what the word duty means, so let’s look at the Biblical meaning, which is that the person who has a duty to someone or something means that we owe something. Duty speaks of a debt that we have incurred, something that ought to render. The first man Adam had a duty to God and it was that he would obey a simple command, not to deal with evil at all. Adam was created in innocence. He has no notion at all what evil was until He disobeyed God and ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God had put Adam and Eve into a garden paradise, heaven on earth, with every tree that was pleasant to the sight and good for food.

The Bible tells us that there were two specific trees amid the garden, one was the tree of life and the other was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God forbade only the fruit of one tree of all the trees in the garden and that tree was the knowledge of good and evil. Adam owed it to God to obey whatever God told him to do.

God had given him life and happiness and all that was required for a happy life and God had told him that he was not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam owed it to God to obey, his obedience was a duty, unfortunately for Adam and all others of the human race, Adam did not fulfill that duty.

Abram, who would later have his name changed to Abraham, was chosen by God to be the father of many nations, and he incurred a debt, a duty, that he owed to God. God said to Abraham in Genesis chapter 17, and verse 1, ‘I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless (perfect), And I will make My covenant between Me and you are, and will multiply you exceedingly.’

We must understand that covenant is the same as our contract today. A contract is an instrument between two people who agree to terms that puts a duty on both of them, so what God was telling Abraham here is that if Abraham walked before Him in a blameless way, that God would make him the father of a great nation. So Abraham owed it to God as a duty to walk before God perfectly.

Interestingly, Jesus puts those same terms on the person who is saved. In Matthew 5:48, where He says to us, ‘Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect’. The question right here becomes, what is perfect’ The answer is’..’ whatever God says is perfect is perfect, and that involves our knowledge of the Revelation of God, Our obedience to it because of our love for Him, our faith in His one and only Son, Jesus Christ and our keeping of His commandments’.

So who is perfect’ Only those who have been regenerated, born again and are a new creature, with the old things passed away and having all things new! The true Christian is one who is hungry for the righteousness of God and is being instructed by the Holy Spirit, to say ‘NO to ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world’, (Titus 2:11-12).

Only those who are willing to be perfected by the only One who can make us perfect are perfect. God spoke everything that we know into being, so why is it so hard for preachers and teachers today to believe that God can cause us to want to do right and then to live righteously.

(Philippians 2:13)’ So many of the institutional churches of our day seem to have developed a Christianity that is not Christian, a belief system that does not believe, and a God that is bound by human reason. Millions of professing Christians today, do not believe that God ‘can’ and does make a difference in the life of those who are truly saved.

That is probably because most of those who believe that we’re saved by the church, or by some pastor or by some friend that was willing to short-cut true salvation to have someone repeat a prayer after them and then pronounce them saved. If your eternal hope is based upon that flimsy hope then you need to begin to study the Word of God and believe it and live according to it; because in all probability, you are not saved.

We have to realize that if we read and understand Romans chapter twelve that when God saves anyone, He does it for a reason and God’s reason always works according to His Word the Bible. The twelfth chapter of Romans begins with Paul, under the inspiration of God, telling us that those who are saved must, ‘Present their bodies as living sacrifices, holy, acceptable unto God, which is their reasonable service’.

What do you think God means there when He says we have a reasonable service to present to God’ Well, what it means is that when we sacrifice our bodies to God we are offering an intelligent being, a person who can reason and understand fully what is meant by offering our bodies as living sacrifices that are holy and acceptable to God.

We have to remember here the Old Testament sacrifices, which were dumb animals that were offered to God and were sufficient for only a limited time to cover sin. When we offer our bodies as living sacrifices we are in effect, putting our bodies on the altar, just as the dead bodies of those animals were put there and burned.

Think with me now for a moment, in the case of an animal that was offered to God, could that animal have any defect at all, or did it have to be perfect’ Anything that is offered to God must be perfect! That includes your body and mine.

Anything that is offered to God is consumed by God and if we are saved our bodies are consumed by God, and His Will, and His Word, and His service, (Leviticus 22:21; Matthew 5:48; 2nd Timothy 3:17; 2nd Corinthians 7:1).

Our perfection comes from our intimate relationship with God the Father, through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, and the indwelling Holy Spirit, which instructs us about Jesus Christ, teaches us about sin and evil and goodness, and give us the power to deny ungodliness and worldly lust and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.

The following is an outline of the truly saved person’s life. This is not something that you can do if you are not saved, but something that you will do if you are saved.

You will love God and others without dissimulation, which means without pretense or hypocrisy. You must love God with all your heart mind and soul and your neighbor as yourself, (Matthew 22:36-40). This is a love that does not simply say that we love but demonstrates our love by action, doing for others what we can do and living for God in such a way as to glorify Him.

We are to abhor that which is evil and cleave to that which is good. Abhor speaks of a hatred of that which is evil, that is so strong that it makes us shudder. Cleave speaks of being joined fast (welded) to that which is good and those who are good.

We are to be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another. This speaks of the love one Christian has for another, we love them to the point that we defer to their honor.
We must not be slothful in business, but we must be fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.

This means that in our lives we do business like a business, we are not sloppy and uncaring, but rather living so that Jesus can be seen in our lives. We are to be fervent which means that we are not cold, but hot. That does not mean that we have a lot of zeal without knowledge but that our lives can reflect the love of God, always lifting Christ and ready to give a good defense for the hope that is in us. (1st Peter 3:15-16).

We are to be always rejoicing in our hope, the hope of resurrection and heavenly reward’.patient in tribulation, which almost always comes into the lives of the saved and the unsaved; however the saved person is never in tribulation alone, God is always there and that gives us a more understanding attitude about the tribulation. We are assured of the fact that God is always with us by always having a prayerful attitude. Always in contact with God.

We are to always be open to help those of the faith (saints), in any way that we can. We are to be people who are given to hospitality, (we are to pursue the love of strangers), Hebrews 13:2. We are hospitable, not selfish, and withdrawn from the world but open to entertaining those we know and love but even those who may be strangers.

This one is one we can all find room for improvement’.we are to bless those who persecute us ‘bless them and do not curse them. That means that we are to treat our enemies as if they were our friends. Of course, that means if they will allow it! (Luke 6:27; Hebrews 12:14; Romans 12:18).

Rejoice with them that do rejoice and weep with them that weep. Remember it is not all about you, so even if you have things to rejoice about if others are weeping for some cause try to accommodate your mood to their while you are with them.

Agree one to another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your conceits. Remember that Christians are all equal, and we should meet and commune with all on the same basis.

Don’t think yourself higher than others.
Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. Do not think that you need to go against every provocation, with Christians it is not an eye for an eye. Always be honest and above board with others.

As we mentioned in #7, we are to attempt to live at peace with others. Always offer an open hand to others. That does not mean that we do not have the right to self-defense if our family or property is threatened.We are not to seek revenge for injustices, leave that for God who will repay.

If we treat our enemy as if they were a friend and we feed him if he is hungry, and give him drink if he is thirsty, we will either make him less of an enemy or we will heap coals of fire, at it were, on his head.
In all of this practical Christianity, and serving God we are not to ever be overcome by evil, but we must overcome evil with good.

These are all practical commands for living the Christian life. These should stand as a check-list for our lives every day. This is the way that we do not become conformed to the world but rather transformed by the renewing of our mind, and we prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob