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Sunday, August 28, 2011 pm

WHOSE BUSINESS IS IT HOW I LIVE?

It is truly sad, but we live in a society where there are many who want to serve God on their own terms.  They want to be able to attend worship services when they want to and they want to live however they choose and still profess to be following God.  When a concerned brother comes to him about some questionable behavior OR perhaps something that is outright wrong, he might hear, “Mind your own business.”  “What I do is none of your business so leave me alone!”

It is interesting that as Paul was writing to the church at Thessalonica he said, “But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.” (1 Thess 4:10-12)  As one reads this he might think if someone wants to live in rebellion against God’s will that we should simply let them.  Perhaps one might even think that he has no responsibility to address one overtaken in some sinful conduct.  But is that what the text is actually saying?  AND, should we be concerned about how one lives, especially our brother in Christ?

Tonight we want to examine these questions and seek to answer according to God’s word, “Whose business is it how I live?”  We will notice some people according to God’s word whose have an impact on your conduct.

I.   It’s God’s business –

a.        First and foremost, we must realize that everything we do is God’s business.  He sees all that we do and even knows what we think.

b.       Heb. 4:13 tells us that we cannot hide from God.  There is no creature hidden from His sight AND we will give account to Him.
1 Cor. 4:5 tells us that a time is coming when the counsels of the heart will be judged.

c.        Acts 17:31 tells us He has appointed a day when He will judge the world. 
2 Thess. 1:8 tells us that with flaming fire He will take vengeance on those who do not know Him and those who do not obey the gospel.  Considering that one day we will stand before Him, we ought to care that He cares.

d.       1 Cor. 6:20 reminds us that a price was paid for our redemption.  Because of this we have a responsibility to “glorify God in your body and in your spirit.”
IF we are going to serve God (with reverence and Godly fear) with ANY hope of salvation, it WILL matter to us how our conduct affects Him.

II.                  It’s Christ’s business

a.        As with God, 2 Cor. 5:10 tells us that we must all appear before judgment seat of Christ.  It is His word that will determine our salvation – John 12:48.

b.       1 Cor. 6:15-20 describes how we belong to Christ and the way we live reflects that.

c.        Mark 8:38 – whoever is ashamed of Me and My word…

d.       If there is to be any hope of salvation after this life, we better know that what we do IS the business of our Lord.

III.                  It’s the Spirit’s business –

a.        The Bible is the product of the Holy Spirit.  A lesson within itself can be presented demonstrating how the word of God is the work of the spirit.  He revealed the Word for us to follow – 1 Cor. 2:10-13, Eph. 3:3-5 has Paul explaining that what he wrote and taught was a product of the Holy Spirit. 
IF the Bible is a product of the Holy Spirit then it is from God and MUST be respected (cf. 1 Pet. 4:11)

b.       When we reject the word of God we will be a disappointment to the Holy Spirit.
Eph. 4:30 tells us to not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.  The text indicates that this is done through our conduct toward others.

c.        1 Pet. 4:14-16 – Does the Spirit of glory and of God rest upon you?

IV.                  It’s the church’s business –

a.        Whether we want to face it or not, our actions are a reflection upon the body of Christ. 

b.       Most of the letters of Paul were written to churches and addressed concerns, often dealing with how our conduct affects others.

                                                   i.      1 Cor. 12:26 – as the body of Christ, if one member suffers, all will suffer.

                                                  ii.      Rom. 2:24 finds Paul saying the name of the Lord was blasphemed as a result of the sinful conduct of some in the church at Rome.

c.        Heb. 13:17 – Obey those who rule over you.  Elders have a responsibility to shepherd the flock (Ac. 20:28, 1 Pet. 5:2-3, etc.).  Whether you like it or not it is their responsibility to lead you on the right path.  This doesn’t mean they micromanage your life, but if you are engaged in conduct unbecoming a Christian or that brings reproach upon the body of Christ, they will act out of concern for your soul.

d.       Further, we are given clear instructions to deal with one who is not living as they ought to.  Sometimes we call it discipline, but it is actually the final steps of discipline that has failed up to that point.   In 1 Cor. 5:11-13, we read that we are not keep company with a brother overtaken in sinful conduct. 
2 Thess. 3:6 tells us to withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly.
Because of passages like these, one’s conduct may very well be the business of the Lord’s church in a given location.

V.                  It’s the business of my brethren –

a.        Along with the church and its work, as one’s brother or sister in Christ, we ought to care about you and your soul. 

b.       In Gal. 6:1-2 – we are obligated to seek to restore a brother overtaken in a trespass.
Jesus taught in Matt. 18:15-17, BEFORE a matter is brought to the church, individuals involved must respond FIRST.

c.        In 1 Cor. 8:9-13, Paul challenged these brethren to think about one another in their conduct.  He admonished each of us to not let your liberty become a stumbling block to your brother.  As a child of God this tells me it is MY business to make sure I am not doing anything that might be a detriment to my brother.  IF he sees something that is not right, is it not his business to do what he needs so that he can live godly and without undue temptations to sin?

d.       Friends, if your brethren care about you they will make it their business to help you make yourself right with God, even at risk of relationship. I have said this before – we ought to be thankful that brethren care enough to come to us with concerns.

VI.                It’s the business of my neighbor

a.        May we continually remind ourselves that we ARE influencing our neighbors whether we like it or not.

b.       WE are commanded to behave properly toward those who are outside the body of Christ.
1 Thess. 4:12 calls for us to walk properly toward those who are outside
Matt. 5:16 – let your lights so shine…

c.        Rom. 13:1-5 – obey the government.  When we violate the laws of the land, not only are we accountable to God, but also to the government itself.  AND we need to keep in mind how such could reflect our influence concerning the church.

VII.                It’s the business of my family –

a.        Sometimes, within the home, there are those who do not want to submit to God’s pattern.  Whether it be your spouse, your child, your parent or your sibling, there are standards to be considered.  What do we do in such circumstances?

b.       Col. 3:18-21 – speaks of responsibilities of various family members. 

1 Tim. 5:8 – if one fails to provide for his family is worse than an unbeliever.

c.        A part of raising children is to correct them.  Can a child live in rebellion and it not be a concern to his parents? Under the Old Law, a rebellious son was to be stoned to death (cf. Deut. 21:18-21)
Prov. 13:24 says, “He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.”
Is it the business of a husband that His wife follows God’s instructions?  Is it the business of the wife that the man follows God’s instructions?
To what degree do we as brethren have a concern when we see ungodly families in peril?  Again I do not believe we ought to micromanage, especially another family and we ought to give WIDE latitude in judgment, BUT when a child is in danger or a marriage is in danger we ought to do what we can to save that relationship.  Will we?  And if you are the one whose family ties are in jeopardy, will you listen?

VIII.            It my personal business

a.        Having said all the above, the bottom line is that if you become upset when a genuinely concerned brother comes to you, YOU have the problem.  YOUR business is to take care of YOUR business so that others do not have to.

b.       Consider the context of 1 Thess. 4:11.  It was written to brethren who were not working (I.e. taking care of their family and had become idle) and as a result they were meddling in the affairs of others.  Rather than being productive, they were becoming gossips and critics of everyone else.  They ignored the peril in their own lives. 
Paul’s admonition was for them to “aspire to lead a quiet life, TO MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.”  It wasn’t a matter of concern for others, it was  personal failure that resulted in one not being busy doing good things in his own life.  So in reality, the message is NOT about others coming to you with concerns but you living so that they need not have to come to you with such things.

c.        Gal. 6:3-5 calls for each of us to examine our own works and bear our own load. 
2 Cor. 13:5 calls for us to examine and prove ourselves, lest we be disqualified.

Conclusion: Considering how one day you WILL stand before God and give account for your own life – 2 Cor. 5:10 – you better take care of yourself.  AND if your brother loves you enough to come to you with a concern: Instead of telling him to mind his own business, be thankful that he cares enough about me to tell me what I NEED to hear instead of what we want to hear. That is a true friend.  Solomon said so, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Prov. 27:6)  Think about it!