The Church and Social Responsibility

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1 view
The Church and Social Responsibility Reconsidered
William H. Banegas October 26, 2014
Theme: In accordance with the Scriptures, the Church is responsible to help believers in physical need and help the physical needs of unbelievers as they're able, share the Gospel with unbelievers as the highest form of being neighborly and always obey human government and discerningly disobey that government when obedience would mean disobeying God.
Definition of Social Responsibility: the duty I have to others either to meet a need or obey an authority
The Scriptures tier these responsibilities for the church and prioritize physical needs to members of the church, but not always to the ultimate neglect of those who do not go to church.
The Scriptures also indicate that the great need that people who do not go to church have is to hear the Gospel and respond in faith, accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior of their life.
Finally, the Scriptures clarify that all Christians should obey their government, exercising their rights to give God glory and discerningly disobeying government only government would ask its citizens to disobey God.
Jesus, the Perfect Social Worker
Jesus is our ultimate example (Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”)
Jesus reached out socially to glorify God and authenticate His message. (John 6:38 “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” 17:4 “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” 20:31 “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”)
Jesus did many good things for the sick and needy.
The benefit these received was only secondary as Jesus’, “priorities were spiritual.” (Mark 2:5 “When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.”)
Submission to Government
Christians, just like Jesus, are citizens of two worlds with responsibilities to both.
Matthew, Mark and Luke record that Jesus paid taxes, emphasizing that if one benefits from the government, “then one is obligated to pay taxes.”
In His lifetime, Jesus never sought to reform or overthrow the current ruling power, Rome.
Sacrificial Giving is commendable (Mark 12:41-44 “And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”)
The importance for all to give
All should give both proportionately and generously
Hard Work is commendable (Matthew 25:19-21 “After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”)
Being Salt and Light (Matthew 5:13-16 “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 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. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”)
Salt emphasizes the pure lives that believers must live in this world.
In the ancient world, salt had a variety of uses to include preserving meats as they lacked refrigerators like we use today.
Believers have an obligation not only to demonstrate purity of life to the world but must do so as that brings God glory and is Christ’s plan.
Light emphasizes the need to testify of Christ’s character to this world. (John 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.”)
Believers are to be conspicuous (set on a hill)
Believers are to be consistent (giving light to all in the house)
Believers need to display their light in public (on a hill)
Believers need to display their light in private (in the house)
This light should be seen through the believer's good works.
Being Neighborly (Luke 10:30-37 “And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.”)
Followers of Jesus should seek to help others that God brings across their path
Believers must discerningly rely on God for wisdom as to help which neighbor at which time because it is beyond our means to help everyone.
The Church, the Perfect Social Institution
The Church is called to testify to the world about Jesus. (Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”)
Last words generally carry importance and greater meaning as they were the last thing that the departed wanted family/friends to know/remember.
Jesus in His last words before ascending into heaven commissioned His followers, and therefore all Christians, to testify to everyone of all walks and means of Jesus, the risen Savior.
This commission is in keeping with Christ’s priorities on earth, the spiritual over the physical.
The Church uniquely helps its own through deacons. (Acts 6:2-4 “Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.”)
This unique position was created to help certain members in their physical need.
The church saw a need and responded at their own personal initiative.
The church acted, “almost exclusively for the benefit of the other believers.”
The Church must always obey God in spite of governmental opposition. (Acts 5:27-29 “And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”)
The council referenced was a local religious authority given political power also.
Contextually, this group attempted to silence the preaching of the Gospel.
Dr. Preston Mayes summarizes this in a grave tone, “if a believer must choose to disobey human government, it must be because he has chosen to obey God instead.”
Requires immense Biblical discernment, for our own rebellious hearts can deceive us and the Christian is obligated, as we noted in the life of Christ, to obey government.
The Church exercises its rights of citizenship to the glory of God. (Acts 16; 25)
The Scriptures record these two instances in which the Apostle Paul exercised his rights of Roman citizenship.
Paul’s example encourages us to act responsibly with the privileges we have of citizens of the United States, including voting and contacting our local, state and federal officials in voicing support for or opposition to certain laws or initiatives being undertaken.
As Paul used his privileges to glorify God in each situation, so must we also.
The Apostles, the Perfect Teaching about Social Responsibility
Do good, especially to the Church (Galatians 6:10 “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”)
The Priority of Giving
The priority of doing good to others begins with the church.
This priority does not neglect those who do not go to church.
Dr. Charles Ryrie phrases it this way, “there is a season for doing good. And that season is when you have money to give and knowledge of needs to be met. So seize the opportunities as they present themselves.”
The only limitation on how much one ought to do is, “account of insufficient means.”
The Purpose of Giving (1 Corinthians 4:7 “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”)
Wealth is not evil, only the abuse of or greed for wealth is. (1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”)
Wealth is a resource entrusted to us by God to be used in bringing Him glory.
The Person of Giving (2 Corinthians 8:9 “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”)
Paul is about to take up a collection for physically needy saints in the ancient country of Macedonia.
Jason Hood, in remarking on this passage, states, “the standard for Christian giving and for all of Christian ethics is not an amount; it is a Person, the crucified Lord.”
This passage also helps to provide the foundation for giving through the local church, just like what our Pastor preaches when he discusses the topic of giving.
Care for widowed saints (1 Timothy 5)
Visit Orphans (James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”)
The term “visit” actually carries with it two concepts: inspection and oversight.
Furthermore, the term also suggests personal involvement or that one is intimately involved with the caring for the orphan.
Work Relationships (Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3:22-25; Titus 2)
Believing Employees
Demonstrate “obedience, reverence, sincerity, wholehearted work, and no wrong doing.”
Demonstrate wholehearted service as unto their Lord. (Colossians 3:23 “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”)
Demonstrate the attractiveness of the Gospel (Titus 2:10 “Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.”)
Believing Employers
Do not threaten employees (Ephesians 6:9 “And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.”; seemingly implies a verbally abusive workplace)
Ensure fair treatment (Colossians 4:1 “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.”)
Maintain honesty in all things (James 5:4 “Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.”)
The testimony of Jesus and the remainder of the Scriptures make it clear that “'obedience' is the key word … [used] to describe the Christian's responsibility to civil government.”
Both Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 give us several reasons for obeying human government.
Governmental authority is ordained by God (Romans 13:1 “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”)
Resistance to government is, in the final analysis, resistance to God (Romans 13:2 “Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”)
Government generally opposes evil (Romans 13:4 “For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”)
Our conscience tells us to obey (Romans 13:5 “Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.”)
Submission to government demonstrates our obedience to God (1 Peter 2:13 “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;”)
Submission to government is God’s Will (1 Peter 2:15 “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:”)
Submission to government is a good testimony to the unsaved (1 Peter 2:15)
Believers must respect their governmental authorities (1 Peter 2:17 “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.”)
In support of Jesus’ example, Paul also cites paying taxes as a believer’s responsibility of citizenship (Romans 13:6 “For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.”)
Finally, believers are also obligated to pray for their governmental leadership. (1 Timothy 2:1 “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;”)
When it comes to physical needs, historically, the Church has prioritized the Church’s needs first and reaches out to meet the needs of unbelievers as they are able when God brings them across life’s path.
When it comes to human government, we must pray for, submit and pay taxes to them; however, when the choice comes down to obeying human government or God, the believer must discerningly choose to obey God and disobey human government.
When it comes to the needs of others outside the Church, we must be neighborly and prioritize sharing the Gospel with them.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more