TEXT: Romans 12:17-21
INTRO: Every person has a mental framework of ideas and beliefs that shape the way he or she interprets what is right or wrong and how to properly interact with the world in which each lives.
I.THE PURPOSE AND DEFINITION OF A CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW.
A. Purpose: It calls us to ethical behavior set forth by Jesus in His earthly ministry.
1.) Matthew 5-7. The Sermon on the Mount
2.) Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing and perfect will of God.”
B. Definition: Christian or biblical worldview is how believers are to interpret the events that occur around them in a manner consistent with the teachings and life of Christ. It is to learn how to apply Scripture so as to see how those life events impact the kingdom of God and how we are to respond to them in a way that conforms our opinions with that of Jesus Christ.
II. AN EXAMPLE OF ETHICAL INTERPRETATION BASED ON A CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW.
A. A worldview does not deal with a single issue, but, like a cut diamond, it has many facets. Each of those facets are practices that demand we have an ethic (a form that we use when we encounter that facet). For example, how do we deal with love, lies, murder, etc..
B. Ethical Illustration:
ILLUS: Henry McCarty was born in 1859, one year before the nation fell into Civil War, In 1877 McCarty moved to New Mexico and began calling himself William Bonney, and became known as Billy the Kid. Here’s the question: was Billy the Kid a victim? If so, was he right to seek revenge on those who clearly offended him? SHOULD CHRISTIANS HOLD THE VIEW THAT PEOPLE WHO WERE WRONGED SEEK REVENGE ON THOSE WHO WRONGED THEM? IF NOT, WHAT SHOULD BE THEIR RECOURSE?
- As Christians we must let Scripture, not emotions, be our guide. Listen:
1.) Matt. 5: 38-39, “[Jesus said], ‘Yu have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, don’t resist an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.”
2.) Eph. 4:37, “All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice.”
3.) 1 Pet.2:23, “when [Jesus] was reviled, He did not revile in return, when He was suffering, He did not threaten but entrusted himself to the One who judges justly.”
4.) Rom. 12:17-21, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Try to what is honorable in in everyone’s eyes. If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. Friends, do not avenge yourselves, instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written: ‘Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay,’ says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head.’ Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.”
- How might we draw on that view in relevant contemporary issues, such as:
- Someone cutting you off in traffic or stealing a parking place you had waited for first.
- Memories of how you were mistreated in your youth by certain individuals.
- Supporting or opposing issues about racial injustice and inequality.
III. THE CHRISTIAN ALTERNATIVE TO REVENGE.
1.) Faith in justice: by the Lord (vengeance in Mine, I will repay) or by proper authorities (Rom. 13:4b, ”For the government is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong.”
2.) Refuse to condemn and offer forgiveness. In Lk. 6:27, the Lord teaches, “Do not judged and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.”
To call oneself a Christian and practice actions not based on God’s teaching is not a valid Christian worldview. A Christian worldview does not seek revenge, but rather seeks justice based on truth and tempered with mercy.