Our Relationship to Others

Everything in the Universe, especially in the church, belongs to God.

Acts 17:24 — God made the world and everything in it since He is Lord of heaven and earth.

1 Chronicles 29:11,12 — Everything in heaven and earth belongs to God. He reigns over all.

Matthew 16:18 – The church, in particular, belongs to Jesus because He built it.

Acts 20:28 – He purchased it with His blood.

Ephesians 1:22,23; 5:23-25 – The church is His body. He is head over all things to the church, like a man is head over his wife. Therefore, the church must submit to His will.

To practice things not authorized by God is to fail to honor our head and owner.

Should your body obey the instructions of another person’s head? Does another man, who has no authority over your wife, have the right to tell your wife to do things you never told her to do? Does your neighbor have the right to use your house or car differently from what you have decided? May he have a party in your house or drive off with your car without your permission?

Note that you don’t have to tell every other man specifically not to try to tell your wife what to do and not to try to get your body to obey their head and not to try to use your house and car in ways other than what you have chosen. These things are wrong because they violate the principle of ownership and headship. No one can use your property without your permission.

Likewise, if we belong to God and if specifically the church belongs to Jesus, what right do people have choosing to practice things different from would the owner has chosen? What right do men have making rules for the church or authorizing practices that are not included in what God has authorized?

God does not have to specifically say not to do these things. All such things are wrong because they violate the principle of ownership. No one has the right to use God’s property without His permission.

Chapter 13: Our Relationship to Others

The apostle Paul often used his rights as a Roman citizen to work for his own protection from evil and to help further the gospel. See Acts 22:24-29; 23:12-33; 25:10-12; 16:35-40; Esth. 7:1-6. Our government gives citizens the right to voice their views about who should govern us. If Paul used his rights to protect himself and help further the gospel, why should we not use the right to vote given us by our government? Can we not thereby help protect ourselves and our families from harm, while also helping maintain our freedom to preach and practice the truth?

1 Timothy 2:1,2 shows that we should pray for rulers. Some say this means we should just pray and leave it up to God what to do about government issues. Yet God also tells us to pray for our daily bread (Matthew 6:11). Does this mean we should just sit back and let God do it all, or should we try to find a job and let God use us as the means to answer the prayer? Should we avoid looking for a job because we might take a job other than the one God in His providence wanted us to take?

3 John 2 shows that we should pray for good health. Some people mistakenly believe that going to a doctor shows a lack of faith in God’s power to answer prayer. Yet Christians know that the doctor may be the very means God uses to answer the prayer! We all realize that there may be situations in which God does not will for us to get better, but that does not prevent us from going to the doctor. If God has not revealed His will in such specific cases, then we must do what we believe to be best, while yet being willing to submit to a different outcome if that is what results.

Our Relationship to Others

It was testimony time in the Monday morning chapel service at the Bible School. A girl named Olga stood to testify.

She and a fellow-student had gone to work in one of the local churches the day before. While they ministered, several drunk men entered the church and began to fight. As the believers fled, one of the men accidentally stabbed his own son who was also drunk. When Olga saw that the young man was injured, she and her friend stopped and began to help him. Their own lives were in danger but they saved the life of an enemy. “Let’s pray,” she said, “that the young man will live and find Christ as His Savior.”

We bowed our heads in prayer, but I wasn’t praying only for the young man. I was also thanking God for Olga and her love for others–even her enemies!

Olga had learned what we learned in Lesson 12. One way to show our love to God is by loving and helping others. Let’s see what God’s Word says about our relationship to others.

In this lesson you will study …

Those Over Us
Those Around Us
Those Against Us

This lesson will help you …

  1. Accept your responsibilities in your relationship to others.
  2. Apply love to every relationship.

Those Over Us

Objective 1. Identify whom a believer must honor and obey.

Everyone at one time or another has had someone in authority over him. Children have parents over them, parents have religious and political leaders over them. Even those leaders have others who tell them what to do. What does the Bible say about our relationship to those who are over us?

Parents should be loved, honored, and obeyed. You will remember this as one of the commandments that we studied in Lesson 11. Ephesians 6:1-2 also tells us, “Children, it is your Christian duty to obey your parents, for this is the right thing to do. Respect your father and mother.”

Rulers such as policemen, judges, and governors should also be obeyed. “Everyone must obey state authorities, because no authority exists without God’s permission, and the existing authorities have been put there by God” (Romans 13:1).

As believers we have leaders like our pastor, the church board, and Sunday school teachers. They should be respected and obeyed in matters pertaining to their responsibilities. Some have said that we need to obey ‘God not man’ thereby tearing pages out of the Bible. This lesson will ‘rightly divide’ what the Bible truly teaches.

Obey your leaders and follow their orders. They watch over your souls without resting, since they must give to God an account of their service. If you obey them, they will do their work gladly; if not, they will do it with sadness, and that would be of no help to you Hebrews 13:17).

This isn’t talking about Facebook groups or UN-verified people who pretend to have jurisdiction over you, for they are only social media fun times and nothing more, not to be taken seriously!

Only the authority of God is higher than that of the leaders over us. The only time that obedience is not required is when they would ask us to do something that is expressly against God’s commandments or will. This happened to Peter and the other apostles when they were forbidden to preach. Peter knew that God must be obeyed above all else. Acts 5:29 says, “Peter and the other apostles answered, ‘We must obey God, not men.'”

Those Around Us

Objective 2. Recognize correct applications of the biblical principle of loving others.

One day a friend said to me, “If unbelievers treat me badly I can still love them. But, I will not tolerate bad treatment from another Christian. They know better!” “I’m going to block them!”

What would have happened to Peter and the other apostles if Jesus had felt that way? They knew better and yet they all failed Him when he was arrested and taken to His trial. Even so, when He arose, He appeared to them and assured them of His love.

We have failed the Lord many times and yet He continues to love us. The Lord asks us to love other Christians as He loves us. “As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34).

Our friends and neighbors should be treated as we would like to be treated. Luke 6:31 says, “Do for others just what you want them to do for you.” “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” is found in Romans 13:9.

Our relationship to the unsaved is also one of love. We should show them by the way we act that Christ lives in us. Sometimes unsavory pics come up on my profile and some say I need to block the person or they will block me, but remember I’m also reaching the lost, this isn’t for everyone but this is what the Lord is having me to do, and I’m in HIS service, and at HIS pleasure!

Richard Wurmbrant, a Christian pastor who was jailed for his faith, tells the story of a fellow-prisoner who was also a pastor. He was known for his outstanding Christ-like character.

Later, a young communist was jailed and put in the same cells as these pastors. The pastors witnessed to him, told him to accept Jesus as his Savior. But the young man refused.

One day the young man was arguing. “How can I accept someone as my Savior,” he said, “if I’ve never met Him and don’t know what He’s like?”

“I’ll tell you who Jesus is like,” replied the pastor, “He’s like me!”

Without hesitation, the man answered, “If He’s like you, I’ll accept Him as my Savior right now!”

What a marvelous testimony that pastor had. I’m afraid there are very few believers who would dare to say, “Jesus is like me!” But, this is what the Lord wants–that we be so much like Him, that people can see Him in us! Matthew 5:16 says, “Your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.”

Let’s tell the Lord every day that we want to be more like Him! Then, it’s time to put action to our words and begin to be like Him.

Those Against Us

Objective 3. Compare your own actions to the biblical principle of loving others.

Remember the story of Olga at the beginning of this lesson? Did Olga love those who wronged her? Instead of asking prayer that the injured man be healed, Olga could have asked that God punish them for their wicked ways.

Would that have been a Christ-like attitude? No. What did Jesus do the night he was arrested and Peter cut off the ear of the high priest’s slave? That slave was an enemy of Jesus, but Luke tells us, “But Jesus said, ‘Enough of this!’ He touched the man’s ear and healed him” (Luke 22:51).

We want to be like Jesus who loved his enemies and forgave them. In Matthew 5:44 He said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” And again in Matthew 6:15, “If you do not forgive others, then your Father in heaven will not forgive the wrongs you have done.”

Love is the greatest Christian virtue. First Corinthians 13:13 tells us, “Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love.”

Our Relationship to Others

Christians should love God first. He will in turn put His love in our hearts so we can love both friends and enemies. “Jesus answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind’” (Matthew 22:37).

“And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). Memorize this verse and repeat it often, remembering that a believer’s most important responsibility to God and to his fellowman is love.

Quiz Instructions

Test your knowledge by taking this short quiz which covers what you just read on this page. Click on the correct answer(s). Good luck.

1. Read 1 Timothy 5:17 and select the group that best matches that verse.

a) Honoring parents

b) Honoring civil authorities

c) Honoring church leaders

2. Read Colossians 3:20 and select the group that best matches that verse.

a) Honoring parents

b) Honoring civil authorities

c) Honoring church leaders

3. Read 1 Peter 2:13 and select the group that best matches that verse.

a) Honoring parents

b) Honoring civil authorities

c) Honoring church leaders

4. Read Proverbs 6:20 and select the group that best matches that verse.

a) Honoring parents

b) Honoring civil authorities

c) Honoring church leaders

5. Read Matthew 22:17-21 and select the group that best matches that verse.

a) Honoring parents

b) Honoring civil authorities

c) Honoring church leaders

6. A fellow Christian slanders your name. You are thinking about taking him to court. Is this right or wrong?

a) Right

b) Wrong

7. Your neighbor says, “Don’t ever come back to talk to me about Christ again!” But the next day, when he needs your help, you go over and help him. Is this right or wrong?

a) Right

b) Wrong

8. Your pastor preaches something you don’t like so you get up and walk out of church to show your displeasure. Is this right or wrong?

a) Right

b) Wrong

9. A Christian friend falls into sin and instead of exposing him before the church, you go to him privately and help him repent and get right with God. Is this right or wrong?

a) Right

b) Wrong

10. Read 1 John 4:7-2. According to these verses select the statements that are TRUE.

a) We love because God first loved us.

b) Whoever does not love does not know God.

c) There is fear in love because love might be rejected.

d) Loving God is enough; there’s no need to love a brother if he treats you wrongly.

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