SUNDAY, 18 OCTOBER 2015,
A Christian should be distinguished by their excellent life style and heavenly values brought in the daily life. Jesus’ teaching really concerned about how we could apply God’s value in each step we take, not merely in spiritual area but also in our social world, in our financial, in our workplace, even in our relationship. God’s presence must be seen in all area of our life. His presence could not be measured by goose bumps we felt since it was very subjective and very easy to be manipulated. God’s presence could be tasted and seen when we start to bring His righteousness practically in every word and deed we have day by day.
During His ministry in Jerusalem, some Pharisees had a plot to entangle Jesus in His talk. And suddenly the issue of paying taxes popped up in their mind and they asked Jesus if God’s people lawful or not to pay taxes to government. The real issue was not about the tax itself. The first problem was their envy toward Jesus Mt.27:18. And the second problem was about their wrong philosophies regarding practical religious matters in daily life. That mistake already brought them to be the most hypocrite person in that day. Holy Spirit led Jesus so He could addressed the problem precisely. Bible told us that Jesus perceived their wickedness and realized that those Pharisees put Him in exam condition. So it was very, very important for Jesus to give the perfect answer that could solve the question itself and also correct the real problem inside their heart. This story was written in Bible thrice (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) for particular reason because this problem not happened to Pharisees only but also could be found in any believers honestly. The most precious answer spoke out from Jesus mouth will bring us grow further to be a 5-star Christian!
BETWEEN CAESAR AND GOD
Pharisees stumbled at lot of things because they always wanted to separate their daily life from their religious life. They assumed that their obligations toward God already fulfilled perfectly in sight of all people so they did not need to obey the government even anyone anymore. That was the reason why they arose the issue of paying tax. Jesus already gave the best example for His disciples how they must obey the government rule to pay the tax. Even though at that moment Jesus did not have any penny to pay it but Jesus taught Peter not to offend others. Miraculously Peter found a piece of money inside the fish’ mouth so they can fulfil their responsibility toward government Mt.17:24-27. They also tried to put aside their parents while performing their religious obligations. They said that people do not need to honour their parents anymore if they already give lot of gifts to God Mt.15:5-6. They tried to neglect one thing while they did another.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Matthew 23:23
As a Christian we can not put aside our daily responsibilities nor ask any exemptions to neglect it because we want to dedicate our life to God. Christians also need to be a responsible parents and must not put aside their duty. Christians also need to be a respectable and responsible employee. Christians also need to be a good child who always honour and respect their parents. Christians must be a blameless citizen and accomplish all requirements we need to carry out. We must not neglect another responsibility cling to us while in the same time we also need to always be a good Christian and fulfil our duty as Jesus’ disciple! Living as Christian never meant to break any rules in our daily life. As a Christian we are supposed to have a good works and an always-good testimony so others can observe the value of Christ through our life. We must not build a big wall between Caesar and God. Living for God does not mean that we need to disobey the government. We are supposed to have our conduct honourable among others, among our colleagues, among our neighbours, among our social friends, among our families. At this moment people can not see Jesus physically but we can let them observe the teaching of Jesus lives inside us!
Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honourable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
RENDER TO PEOPLE THE THINGS THAT ARE PEOPLE’S
We need to give our responsibilities to people who deserve for it. Loving God does not mean to neglect others. Our love toward God must be seen when we love others. The greatest commandments to love God was delivered together with the second commandments which integrate each other with the first one.
Jesus said to him, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39
We can not separate those two great commandment since it cling each other. The Greek word translated to ‘like it’ also means ‘together’ and also ‘at the same place or time’. Whenever we express our love to other by giving to them anything they deserve so at the same time we also could express our love to God 1Jn.4:20. We love our neighbour because of God, we love people around us because of God, we love our teacher because of God, we love our government because of God, and we love our boss because of God. We give to them anything they deserve because of our love to God and our desire to obey His Words. An excellent Christian must be an obvious blessing for others!
We need to give honour because our parents deserve for it. We need to give an accountable labour because our boss deserve for it. We need to give a quality time because our family deserve for it. Husbands need to give his love sincerely because his wife deserve for it. Wives need to submit because her husband deserve for it. We need to obey and honour our leader because they deserve for it. We need to pay taxes because our government deserve for it. We need to give and express our thanks for those who deserve for it. An excellent Christian will render to people the things that they are deserve for.
Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour. Romans 13:7
RENDER TO GOD THE THINGS THAT ARE GOD’S
Loving others does not mean to be exemption for loving God. While Pharisees always try to emphasize their loving to God and neglect their responsibility to others, we also need to be aware not to do anything oppositely like humanism did. Loving others must be done inside our love for God. Instead the hypocrisy of Pharisees, the opposite problem will occur when anyone only want to express their sympathy and charity to others while they never render to God the things that are God’s.
Apostle Paul taught us to always put on the helmet of salvation as one of our spiritual weapon Eph.6:17. We need to always bear in our mind about salvation Christ did for us upon the cross. We need to always realize that Christ already bought us with a price through His blood upon the Calvary so we need to glorify God in our body and in our spirit which are God’s 1Cor.6:19-20.
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1Corinthians 6:19-20
We need to commit our quality time for spiritual Sabbath because our time is God’s and He deserve for it. Even though our daily duty must be accomplished we are not supposed to neglect our private relationship with God. We need to give our praise and worship thoughtfully not merely inside the church but also as our life style because He deserve for glory. We need to glorify God in our financial and bring our tithes with rejoice and gladness understanding that God deserve for it and we want to acknowledge God who already blessed us. We need to use our talents and our ability as optimal as possible for the work of ministry at our local church because God deserve for it. We need to give back to God any credit we receive because we know it’s God who enable us to achieve lot things in our study, in our job, in our ministry, in our career. We need to always express our thankfulness to God because He deserve for it.
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honour and glory and blessing!” Revelation 5:11-12
God will very, very delighted with those who render to God all things that are God’s and render to people all things that are people’s. We must respect what people deserve for and moreover than that we must respect what God deserve for. Honestly heaven is a home for believers that always render to God all things that are God’s. In that glorious day when we make our first step to the heaven, we will hear ten thousands times ten thousands saying with a loud voice, giving praise and honour to the Lamb who are worthy to receive all of that. So why not start that kind of lifestyle from now and impact the communities we live with heavenly value reveal out from our conversation and our action. Let God be glorified when we are always having a good conduct among others. Let His name be magnified when we always render to God all things that are God’s. A 5-star Christian must be blessed to bless others. AMEN.