Summary: This is the 5th study in the study "Hope In The Darkness". This study looks at how we should live our lives before the world so they may find Christ.
LIVING IN THE WORLD
It should be no surprise to Christians that we are one of the main reasons lost people have no interest in Jesus Christ and the fact that He can save them. Why is this true? It is because of the way we live our lives in front of the world. We are not to be like this world, but we must live in it. It would be simpler if Christians could just live in their own little world and not have any lost people in it, but who would lead the lost to Christ? We must never forget that at some point in our life we too were lost and bound for Hell. We must live our lives in a way that lost people will see the Light of Christ in us and want what we have.
Our text gives two examples of living in the world and how we are to react.
Follow The Government
I’m sure you are thinking, “I already don’t like this study. How are we supposed to live in this world like Christians and follow evil and corrupt leaders?” (By the way, not all governmental leaders are evil; in fact there are many good Christian leaders in our country. Unfortunately a few really bad governmental leaders have given all of those that work for the government a bad name.) Our text will tell us that we need to follow the laws of the land and our government. Now there is a time when we are not to follow. If we are asked to do something that is contrary to Scripture, then Scripture always wins out. For example, the government allows abortion; but we as Christians should not condone, or promote anyone that condones the killing of babies.
This is pretty self explanatory. We are to follow the laws. That means that if you have a “lead foot” and therefore drive around with a “radar detector” you are sinning. You probably are thinking, “That is insane!” If you cheat on your taxes or try to find “loop holes” in the law that is a sin. We as Christians have convinced ourselves that if we aren’t out robbing banks or killing people that we are good citizens; but the simple fact is this passage says we are to follow all of the laws. The motive for following the law is simple. We follow the law so that those people around us will not use us as their reason for not giving their lives to Jesus Christ.
Christians know that there is nothing they could do to lose their salvation, but this is the reason that we don’t just sin at will. When we sin and act stupid, we hinder others from finding Jesus Christ. Do you want to be the reason someone dies and goes to Hell?
Follow Christ’s Example
Again, this is pretty clear. In today’s society, none of us are slaves; but many of us are employees. Christian employees are to be the best employees any employer ever had. It doesn’t matter how bad your employer treats you, you are to give him or her 100% every time you work. If you are an employer, you need to be the best employer anyone has ever worked for. Many of you probably take all of this as being weak and just letting people walk all over you. That is not what this is saying. This is saying, “Do whatever it takes to lead people to Jesus.” This is not about how bad you have it, but leading the lost to Jesus Christ. When you feel like you are being mistreated and you want to retaliate, just remember that Jesus Christ never retaliated. Jesus could have come off of that cross, but He didn’t. Because of His sacrifice for us upon the cross, we can have eternal life. See, Jesus knew that no matter how bad the world treated Him that if He did not go through with His Father’s plan that all of mankind would be damned to Hell for all of eternity.
It is no different today. Do you understand how many people have been led to Christ because they treated a Christian bad and that Christian did not retaliate but just loved them? I have an excellent example. A youth in our church stole my cellular phone at church on a Wednesday night. This youth was not saved at the time. The next Wednesday evening this young man asked one of the youth teachers if they could charge his new phone because he had lost his charger. Our Youth Minister was on vacation so I taught the class that evening and then I took the youth to the park to play football. As we were leaving the church, the sponsor that had talked to this youth handed me my phone. (We knew it was mine because my name was still on the display.) We made sure that this youth was on my van, and as I took him home I confronted him about the phone. He admitted to taking my phone and asked me to forgive him and I did. Two weeks later this young man came up front during the invitation on a Sunday Morning and gave his life to Jesus. As he came up he said something to me that I will never forget. He said, “Pastor, I have never been around anyone that handles things like you did with me. Most people I know would have either turned me in to the police or beat me up, but you simply forgave me. I have also heard you say that the only reason you could forgive people for wronging you is because you have Jesus. I want that Jesus”. I don’t tell this story to brag on myself because unfortunately more times than not I “fly off the handle” when things like that happen. I thank God that for once I handled the situation like He would want me to. As a result of that, a young man got saved. Since then, this young man has brought many friends to church and we have seen some of them saved.