Body: Read Leviticus 19:9-18 I. How to Treat One Another. In this section of the Sunday School material several regulations are given by the Lord to His people.
A way is provided for people to eat. Lying to and mistreating others is disallowed. Hating your brother, even in your heart, is not allowed. The ground for these regulations is that the Lord is Lord of the entire life of His people.
Applications – - The survival of the poor. Notice in vss. 9-10 that God prescribed a way for poor people to survive. The way found in our text would be difficult to carry out in our day. However, the principle of providing a way for poor people to survive should be given priority.
Let’s work on developing and supporting methods of allowing poor people to survive. The survival of the text was not a welfare check in the mail. One of the motivations for Christians being involved in the fight for living wages is found in this kind of passage.
When a person works 40 hours a week, the person should be able to live. The old minimum wages did not provide a living wage. Thus, many community oriented churches joined in that battle.
- Treating everyone right. Notice in vss. 11-16 of the Sunday School material the concern with honest dealings, instead of mistreating the weak.
There are too many who are relatively holy, when they are broke. But as they get more and more money, they tend to become more and more oppressive to those who are yet weak. This is sin.
Let’s work on treating everyone right. It is not right to hold up a person’s compensation just for the sake of our convenience. It is surely not right to harm those who suffer physical or any type of disability.
- Godly hearts. Notice in vss. 17-18 the concern with keeping one’s heart right. Hatred, grudges, and revenge should not be found in the hearts of those who belong to the Lord.
Rev. Dr. Carl Whittaker shared a helpful comparison. He said that holding on to a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. In other words, holding on to negative thoughts and emotions do us more harm than those we are upset with.
Let’s work on keeping our hearts clean before God. Concentrating on God’s plan and protection, while doing the good that God is calling us to do, will help us with our minds and hearts.
- Neighborly rebuke. Notice in vs. 17 of the Sunday School material the idea of rebuking your neighbor, so you will not share in his/her guilt.
First, it is important to build neighborly relations. Too many are high on rebuking and low on being a good neighbor. Second, rebuking is not only most effective in a relationship of love, but it aims to help the person do right. Rebuking is not aimed at simply making the person feel bad.
Third, a failure to rebuke neighbors who are doing wrong or failing to do right is a sin of omission. Think about the sin of hiding a light under a bushel or keeping the salt in the salt shaker. Let’s work on both building loving/neighborly relations and rebuking with love, as needed.
Read Leviticus 19:33-37 II. How to Treat Aliens. Aliens are not to be mistreated. In fact, they are to be treated as one treats one self. The Israelite’s experience in Egypt is to help them be sensitive with aliens.
The Sunday School material teaches that dishonest business transactions are forbidden. The Lord calls for His people to obey Him.
Applications – - Treating the aliens right. Notice in vss. 33-34 that the aliens are to be treated with respect. The Israelite’s experience as aliens was to give them a special sensitivity in this area.
First, every human being has some image of God in his/her. Therefore, we should respect and strive to love every human being for at least the “image’s sake.” This applies to “illegal immigrants,” homosexuals, former slave owners, and so on.
Second, God has been working things out for the good of His people. Just like Israel’s former alien status played into God’s commands about how they are to treat aliens, God has been working all of the things in our lives out for our good.
Let’s work on treating people right and being sensitive to how God is working all things out for the good of His people.
- Godly business transactions. Notice in vss. 35-36 of the Sunday School material that business is to be governed by godly principles. There are too many who reduce Christianity to that which we do in church buildings on Sunday.
God is to be God of every area of our lives, including our business dealings. Consequently, Christian business owners must grapple with not only earning high revenues and keeping expenses low, but they must also grapple with doing the right things, the right way.
We must make our profits in ethical ways. Supporting the exploiting of child labor by outsourcing to corporations that use child labor is a breach of ethics, even if partaking in such produces more profit.
Lying on our tax returns is sin, even though it may put a few extra dollars in our pockets. Let’s work on submitting to God’s ruling even our business transactions.
- God is the Lord. Notice in vs. 37 that a key reason to obey God is because is the Lord. God is not apply for the position. He is already the King of kings and Lord of lords. When we line up with His will, we are lining up for blessings.
But when we fail to obey Him, we are lining up for punishment. Let’s live like we believe that our God is the Lord - the ruler of Heaven and Earth.
Conclusion: Let’s work on treating everyone right. God has much for those obey Him.
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