Text: Matthew 18:23-35
I. Some people are quick to tell you what you need to do, but they can’t see anything that needs improvement in their own lives at the moment.
A. I had a phone call that had me thinking about this.
1. A woman was looking for a haircut for her daughter and wanted to know if I knew of a Christian who cut hair.
2. Then she said, “Don’t you think a Christian should drop everything to help another Christian? I know I would if I had the opportunity.”
a. I wished I had asked her, “What have you done recently for your fellow Christians?”
b. I know what the answer would be, “I not well off and the opportunity just hasn’t come up.”
3. She was looking for a free haircut on a Saturday night, after everything is closed, for her daughter.
B. The thought rankled me and I wanted to know why
1. Christians should be willing and grateful for opportunities to serve one another.
2. But what rings false is the sentiment of demanding action of others to benefit one’s self.
II. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for burdening others without shouldering their own burdens - Matthew 23:4
A. These are the people who tell you what you need to do but make no effort to help you
B. These are the people who create crises, tell you it is your Christian duty to help them out of their crisis, but make no effort to work with you.
1. The woman wanting a free haircut late Saturday night. Some of might disagree, but a haircut is not an emergency situation.
2. No offer to come at a convenient time.
3. No offer to help lift some other burden.
a. “Can I help clean to pay you back?”
b. “Let me get a meal together since I’m taking up your time.”
C. It is like the indebted servant, who receives mercy from his master, but can’t extend the same mercy to his fellow servants.
III. There is a demand for righteous acts which are benefitting the one demanding.
A. As Christians, we are not to go about looking for personal benefit - I Corinthians 10:24
B. Paul never sought his own profit - I Corinthians 10:33
1. For example, Paul taught that churches are suppose to support the preachers laboring in their midst - I Corinthians 9:7-10, 13-14
2. Yet, Paul did not take wages from those so taught - I Corinthians 9:12, 15
3. Why, so that no one would think Paul was in it for the money - I Corinthians 9:18-19
4. But, you know, it would be wrong for a church to approach a preacher and say “We think it is better for you not to receive a wage for preaching.”
a. They are removing a right from a fellow Christian
b. They are the ones benefitting from another’s burden
C. Some treat godliness (especially others’ godliness) as a means of selfish gain - I Timothy 6:5
1. This was a problem in Israel - Zechariah 7:5-6
a. Fasts and sacrifices were not for God, but to bring self-glory
b. Feasts were not to praise God, but to feed their own bellies
2. Hosea 10:1-2 - They spent their profits making their places of worship look better to them.
IV. There is a disregard for others
A. Some take without regard for others - Ezekiel 34:18-22
1. The fat sheep are the ones demanding their rights disregarding that others may not be helped
2. All resources are limited. A person only has so much time and so much funds to do good. To demand is to take away from others.
B. It is perpetuated by the lazy and greedy who are never satisfied - Isaiah 56:9-12
C. They are like Haman, who could not imagine anyone else being rewarded - Esther 6:6
D. Philippians 2:3-4 - Christianity is about putting others first and ourselves last.
V. Being a Christian is not for what it brings to you
A. Being a Christian is about serving God and those around you.
B. It is a sacrifice of self - Romans 12:1-2
C. No, it is not the way the world behaves, but who says we are of this world?