LESSON 10 6/11/2016
CHRISTIAN RELATIONSHIP WITHIN THE COMMUNITY
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 37, 38
Devotional Reading: Matthew 5:13-16
Topic For Adults: Be Perfect As Your Heavenly Father
Topic For Youths: Let Others See Jesus In You
Topic For Intermediates: Love Your Neighbour
Scripture Lesson: Lk. 10:25-37; 1 Pet. 2:9-12; Matt. 10:16-26
Memory Verse: Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16) NKJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Do All Things Possible To Win Some
1 Cor. 9:13-23
When believers are living in the same community with unbelievers, the focus or concern of such believers should not be on the magnificent buildings, fleet of cars, wealth and opulence of such unbelievers. The concern must really be how do we minister Christ to them. Therefore, all means of interaction and socialising with them to achieve this purpose must be sought. Like Paul, there may be times when we will identify with them in their challenges, always pray with them. Attend their ceremonies when invited, giving helping hand when needed, etc. But all in all, the purpose is to win them to Christ, and you will succeed in this task in Jesus’ name.
Point of Emphasis: Become all things to all people to win some to Christ.
Prayer Point: Lord, give me wisdom to know what to do per time to bring sinners to Christ.
Christians are not island; they are not living in convent or in a separate community that comprise of only Christians. In the house they are living, their neighbourhood, schools, place of work, market place, etc, they meet and interact with unbelievers. What should be Christians’ relationship with the unbelievers in various communities and location? This is the fulcrum of this week’s lesson.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
PART 1: SEE THEM AS YOUR NEIGHBOUR (LK. 10:25-37)
The habit of some Christians is to hate unbelievers. They don’t want to do anything with them and for them. The reason might be because they have witnessed to those unbelievers and they refused to repent. They too have forgotten that it was not only a single gospel message that brought them to Christ, that some people laboured over them before they were saved.
First and foremost, Christians should see unbelievers not as their enemies, but their neighbours. They are God’s creatures, created in the image of God. Those who now become Christians were once like them (sinners), but who have now received the grace of salvation. Just like the lawyer in the passage asked “who is your neighbour”? A neighbour is somebody who lives next door or close to somebody else. Generally, a neighbour is a fellow human. The express command of God is to love your neighbour as you love yourself (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 19:19; Mk. 12:3).
Therefore, Christians should love unbelievers, see them as their neighbours, but hate the sins in their lives and never allow them to draw them back into sin. They must remember that it is because of those unbelievers that God has not taken them away to heaven after their salvation. They must be able to draw the line of demarcation in their relationship with unbelievers based on the instructions from the word of God.
Christians, like the Samaritan in the passage, must create a good atmosphere between them and their neighbours, so as to be able to witness Christ to them when the time comes. Assuming later on the man attacked by the robbers after recovery got wind of those who abandoned him and the man who assisted him, and they all came to witness Christ to him, who do you think he would listen to? Obviously he would listen to the man who assisted him without knowing him from anywhere. Christians should go and do likewise.
PART 2: WIN THEM TO CHRIST BY YOUR HONOURABLE CONDUCT (1 PET. 2:9-12)
As a chosen generation and God’s peculiar people who have obtained mercy and have been translated from the power of darkness, sin, Satan and flesh unto the light of Christ, we have a mandate from heaven, which is to show forth and proclaim the praises of Jesus and the gospel that saved us to unbelievers (v. 9)
This proclamation can be done through (i) proper ascription of praise to God in public, family, and social worship, (ii) endeavouring to make known His excellence to all those who are ignorant of Him; and (iii) living such a life that shall constantly proclaim His praise. The consistent life of a devoted Christian is a constant setting forth of the praise of God, showing to all that the God who has made him such is worthy to be loved.
Christians should know that the most effective ways to win unbelievers with whom we are living together is through our conducts. These conducts must be based on the Bible and on the awareness that believers are strangers, sojouners and pilgrims in this world (verse 11). This world is not their own, they are just passing through it. Therefore, they must abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.
Believers should have honourable conducts among the Gentiles (v. 12). Christians must know that two sets of people are watching them – the heavenly beings and unbelievers. Your conduct speaks volume of who you really are. If you call yourself a Christian, and your unbelieving neigbours see and know about your numerous girlfriends or boyfriends, they know you to be a fighter in the neighbourhood, nobody can use any of your property without you cursing them, etc. these are not honourable conducts that can win unbelievers to Christ. Check your life and your relationship with unbelievers, can it bring others to Christ or send them away from Christ?
PART 3: BE WISE (MATT. 10:16-26)
One of the things Christians should bear in mind is that the world does not love them. This sour relationship between believers and the world is reflected in Jesus’ prayer in John 17 for these reasons, it doesn’t matter the love showered on the people of the world, they will still turn around to be unappreciative and at times try to harm the believers.
The Bible says “… for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light” (Lk. 16:8). At times, a Christian may be trying to be good to unbelievers with the aim of bringing them to Christ, the unbelievers in their own worldly wisdom, may be having ulterior motives of scheming how to bring such Christian into disrepute and make him fall back into sin. For such believer, the advice of Jesus must be seriously adhered to. You have been sent as sheep in the midst of wolves, therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless a doves (v. 16). Serpents have always been an emblem of wisdom and cunningness (Gen. 3:1). Probably Jesus directed His followers here to imitate the serpent in its caution in avoiding danger. No animal equals them in the rapidity and skill which they evince in escaping danger. So Christians need caution and wisdom in the midst of a world that will seek their lives. He directs them also to be harmless, not to provoke danger, not to do injury, etc. Doves are and always have been a striking emblem of innocence. In essence, believers, while doing all things possible to win unbelievers to Christ, must be wise and cautious so that their acts are not misinterpreted for wrong motive by the unbelievers.
Christians should be light and salt to the world. They must show forth the light they have received through salvation to the unbelievers. They must love unbelievers but hate their sin. They must do all things possible, through their honourable conducts and cautious relationship to win unbelievers to Christ.
- What is the attitude of some Christians towards the unbelievers?
- Who is a neighbour? Why are unbelievers believers’ neighbours?
- Mention some of the ways through which believers can show forth Christ’s praises.
- Identify some honourble conducts believers must display in their relationship with unbelievers.
- What symbols do serpents and doves represent in believers lives?