Sermons

Summary: A just society can only be achieved by obeying God's word and listening to his counsel and his ways. We can't have just laws and justice as long as God's laws are ignored or hated as they are today.

An elderly widow, a scavenger who roamed the streets in tattered rags looking for bottles and junk, died. She was a familiar sight to people in the neighbourhood as she walked along the streets.

After she died, deputies went to her little room and found a letter to a close friend in which the widow told the friend how she wanted the funeral---the funeral home she wanted, the fact that she did not want any flowers, etc. The friend remembered that the widow had a little red box in her room, where there was enough money to pay for her funeral.

In the box were bankbooks with entries of more than $60,000 in savings accounts, along with a key to a safe deposit box. When the friend opened the safe deposit box, there was more than $70,000 in cash, and many of the bills were in denominations of $50 or $100. The widow lived in poverty when she could have enjoyed a much higher standard of living. On the other hand, many who would not live a poverty-stricken life physically live a poverty-stricken life spiritually.

The passages from Deuteronomy 16:18-20, Deuteronomy 17:14-20, 2 Corinthians 8:1-16 talk about how we as Christians are to treat each other and our fellow man. All of us are under God's authority. God demands justice and compassion for all of his people.

Deuteronomy 17:14-20 is God's instructions to the Israelites to appoint a kings who will fear God and observe his laws. God knew that when the Israelites settled in the Promised Land they would ask for an earthly king to lead them. The only way for the king to make wise decisions was to write out God's laws and read them daily. The king's strength was not to be in wealth or political alliances, but in God's Word. It is an anchor in stormy times. It sustains us and keeps us on the course God has planed for our lives.

Kings were to be good examples of God's past faithfulness, and our modern-day leaders are also to be good examples of God's faithfulness. In Deuteronomy 17:16-17, God warns leaders that they will always face the temptation to abuse their power for personal gain, which is contrary to his will. Old Testament kings were to keep a copy of God's laws with them and read it on a regular basis. By doing so kings were taught to fear God.

Judges were also in the category of leaders. God told the people in Deuteronomy 16:18-20 to appoint judges to judge the people when they committed crimes. Judges, like kings, were told to administer justice fairly and impartially. Justice is pictured as being blind and balanced. In other words, it is impartial. Judges and kings were told by God to be fair and impartial with everyone they dealt with.

God shows his grace to his people and in return we are to show his grace and glory in the world, as represented by the generosity of the Macedonians as written in 2 Corinthians 8:1-16. Their giving was not compulsory, and our generosity must not be compulsory either. We must do our share in meeting the needs of our less fortunate brothers and sisters. Giving to others brings God's undeserved gifts into our lives. As we in the Anglican Church say in the prayer we say when our offerings are placed on the altar, "All things come of thee O Lord, and of thine own have we give thee".

Sacrificial giving is not defined by the size of the gift but by the proportion we give to God of our resources. Sacrificial giving means that we give in proportion to what we have received. It involves personal involvement, and it usually involves adapting our ways and schedules to fit others' needs.

2 Corinthians 8:1-16 is essentially a fundraising letter. The Christians in Jerusalem were having a hard time financially. In addition, they were being persecuted. In his travels Paul encouraged the members of the churches he founded to collect money to support their Christian brothers and sisters in Jerusalem. The Macedonian church was a very poor church, but God gave them grace, and in spite of their poverty they took an offering to contribute, and they did not expect anything in return. They were moved by the Holy Spirit to give and the Holy Spirit empowered them to do so.

We are encouraged to behave in a similar manner. God gave us grace, and the Holy Spirit moves us to give and empowers us to do so. As a result, our Christian brothers and sisters who are less fortunate are provided for. When they are blessed, we are blessed too. When the grace of giving sweeps through a congregation, the people ask, "What needs doing? What need can we help meet? What ministry needs to be funded?"

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