It has become a rather common occurrence to read of some one being molested on our public streets and viewers failing to offer any assistance or help to the victims. Various explanations may be given for the publicís failure in coming to the rescue or aid of one being abused. One of the apparent explanations is that the most of people fear to BECOME INVOLVED. No doubt, the same people who would strongly desire assistance if they were in such a situation fail to help others due to their not wanting to be involved.
In the church of the Lord today, there are cases where injustice and unfairness in the spiritual realm prevail simply because there are brethren who do not want to be involved. There is work that is never undertaken because it takes involvement that members refuse. The faithful involvement that exists in a congregation accounts for its growth and spiritual strength. The pathetic thing is that so few seem to be of the spirit to be involved. They are content to let others do it without bearing their own responsibility before the Lord. Time, energy, expense and even mental anguish are some of the costs of being involved. Is it a wonder why some do not want to be involved? How wonderful it was that the Samaritan dared to be involved in helping the man who had been left half dead by the robbers on the Jericho road! The priest and the Levite saw the manís plight, but they passed on the other side of the road. No involvement! ďBut 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.Ē (Luke 10: 33-35). What the Samaritan did required time, energy and expense in involvement that the others were not ready to give. He showed mercy that the others lacked regarding one who was definitely in sore need. He became involved.
Barnabas dared to be involved in coming to Saulís rescue when brethren in Jerusalem were doubtful of his conversion. ďAnd when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.Ē (Acts 9:26-27). Barnabas knew of Saulís conversion and he was ready to stand up for his brother. He mentioned evidences that suggested that Saul was now a true disciple of the Lord and was preaching boldly now in the name of Jesus. Think what this must have meant to Saul at this critical time in his life! Doubtlessly, it helped to knit together the friendship that these two had in years that followed in their service and journeys for the Lord.
Christians need to be involved in teaching others the truth. We hear of cases of personal work and marvel at what some are doing. These should be common cases due to the fact that more of Godís people are involved in telling others of Jesus and His truth. Andrew brought his brother, Peter, to the Lord. He dared to become involved in pointing another to Christ. (John 1:40-42). Aquila and Priscilla heard Apollos preaching the baptism of John that was not present truth. They became involved in declaring unto him the way of God more perfectly. It appears that he was receptive to their teaching and went to Achaia preaching that Jesus was Christ. In these cases and many others, there were those who dared to be involved. The results were wonderful!
Christians need to be involved in the work of restoring the unfaithful to the Lord. ďBrethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one anotherís burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.Ē (Galatians 6:1-2) How can one restore another without being involved with the failures and problems of another? How can one bear anotherís burdens without being involved in knowing what constitutes these burdens? At times, individuals hide behind the excuse that they do not want to be busybodies. When we are dealing with menís souls and their sins, we are not busybodies in the sight of the Lord. Some of us today are faithful in the Lord because someone dared to be involved in helping us be converted from the error of our way. (James 5:19-20). Men of faith do not do an about face or live by a double standard when truth is at stake or when men of God are being abused. Decisions of haste are to be avoided, but all of us should be more and more involved in doing and contending for what is right. How about you?
ďBut be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.Ē (James 1:22-25)
Most of us used a mirror this morning. In fact, most people use a mirror several times a day. The reasons are obvious. We want to know how we look and we want to look our best. A mirror is a tool we use to improve our appearance. Vanity ought not to place us before the mirror, but good common sense should. For you see, we all need to improve our appearance from time to time!
James says the person who hears God's word but will not obey it is like a man who looks into a mirror, sees his appearance, but fails to improve himself. He forgets what he saw - it makes no impression on him.
Since we all can make spiritual improvement in our lives, we must not be like this self-deluded man. Consider these comparisons of God's word, the gospel of Christ, to a mirror:
We must know how we look to God
(James 1:23). God's word gives us God's
picture of us. We must see ourselves as God sees us. So, we should examine
ourselves with the law of liberty (II Corinthians 13:5). It will show us our sin and teach us what to do about them (Romans 3:23; 6:23) (Acts 2:38-42).
We should want to improve our
spiritual appearance (James 1:24). Nothing
is gained by using God's word to learn of our spiritual condition yet refusing to repent and obey God. One will be blessed by making the necessary improvements revealed by God's word (James 1:25).
God's word is a reliable mirror (James 1:25). Some mirrors distort images instead of giving off a true reflection. Man-made doctrines are spiritual mirrors of this sort (Matthew 15:1-9) (Colossians 2:8). Unreliable, they distort truth. But, God's word is reliable and able to improve our spiritual condition before God (II Timothy 3:16-17; 2:15). Let us use God's mirror to equip ourselves to be blessed and approved before Him.