Privilege And Responsibility by Rev. Pastor Robert L. Donnelly
Hebrews 1:1-2 “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.”
Hebrews 2:1-3 “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”
The Book of Deuteronomy is the second giving of the Law. The first generation to hear it has passed away. Their bodies are buried under the sands of the desert. A new generation has appeared. They too must be taught the things their fathers were taught. God's Word must be communicated to the next generation. So, in Deuteronomy, they're getting Moses' last words – his final message to the nation. The second generation is getting the same words that the first generation heard.
(It is useful to remember that our children and grandchildren must have the same message of redemption that our forefathers had. It hasn't been altered.)
PRIVILEGE! One great theme follows through these lessons, and through all of Scripture – privilege. God, in a unique and special way, manifested Himself first to Israel, beginning with Abraham and then, finally, to the Gentiles through Jesus Christ our LORD. It's a mighty revelation! It's not just a casual thing, incidental to real history. It is the most important event that we could ever imagine.
Moses rehearsed the story for Israel: “In all the annals of history, did ever such a marvelous thing occur as what has happened to you?” It was outstanding, that God had visited them. This was not done in a corner. It was not some foolish little triviality that nobody ever knew about. It was world-shaking in significance. And it was all because God loved them – that’s why He wanted to especially favor them.
The privilege He gave them was absolutely unique; but the privilege He’s given us is also unique! We’ve had a most remarkable, outstanding revelation of God's glorious love through Jesus Christ our LORD. That's not just a matter of history. It's a matter of personal experience. God has come to us. He really has! It isn't a myth! God has appeared to us in all the wonder of His sovereign Grace.
RESPONSIBILITY! Privilege is just the half of it. The other half is responsibility. God has given you privilege. Now, what are you going to do about it? This was Moses' challenge to Israel. “Now, therefore...” Because of this... How is this all going to add up? What business is it of ours? What's going to happen to us? “Now therefore...”
“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’” (Exodus 19:5)."
If we can settle this matter of responsibility in our own minds and hearts, and then communicate it to our children, we will have accomplished the greatest thing we could ever do. If we all would carry out our responsibilities... Why are we responsible? Because God has visited us! God has told us what we should do.
Our generation wants all the privileges, but not the responsibility. We want to be first – up close to the fire – but, we don't want to chop the wood. How are we going to have warmth without responsibility? We want butter on our bread, but we don't want to pay for the butter. We want to enjoy everything that is pleasurable, but we don't want the responsibility. We don't want to pay what it costs.
This is seen in every area of life; particularly in the sex life of people in our day. They want privilege without responsibility. And it just doesn't work! It can't add up that way.
This matter of getting all the good without being responsible for any of it. . . Someone has well said, “If ever we get a government that's rich enough to give us everything we want, we'll have a government strong enough to take everything we've got.” And that's where we're heading. We want more and more, but we don't want to pay for it. We don't want the responsibility.
Now, it's significant (providential?) that we are now well on into the second generation of Pentecostal people. It's more than 60 years since this fresh out-pouring of the Spirit occurred in Canada, the United States, and many parts of the world. Our fathers entered into this Pentecostal experience. They had a most remarkable, and a most enjoyable, and a most glorious experience. God visited the nations of the world. He did SO! God visited me! And He's met most of you people – many of you. We're well on into the second generation. It is our responsibility – first to God and then to our children – to communicate to the upcoming generation, that they also have a personal responsibility to perpetuate God's revelation to mankind. They are responsible.
God has made us responsible to share the Good News everywhere – with all men – at all times – in all places. It's most difficult to get this point across . . .
I was reading the other day that Canadians are most lax in charitable giving. I mean, as a nation. Our charitable giving amounts to 6 tenths of 1 percent of our income. (We're a very generous people, aren't we?) We discharge our responsibilities with a nickel or a dime! Generally speaking, that is. This isn't true of Pentecostal people, but it is true of our nation as a whole.
Now, the reason I chose these verses in Hebrews is evident, I think. Chapter one of Hebrews says: “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son . . .”
Nothing could be more spectacular, sensational or important than God, in the Person of His Son, speaking to us. God speaking to us! Communicating with us. We rejoice in that! It is the Word of God. We stand on this. We publish it. We declare it. God has spoken to us! But the first verse of Hebrews chapter two says: “Therefore . . . Therefore . . . Therefore . . . we ought to give the more . . . the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.”
We accuse the Israelites for being so lax – so careless – so casual – about God's Word. But, we have a greater revelation than Moses did! We have the very words that Jesus spoke. Do you know that? The words of Jesus . . .
"Therefore . . . we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?”
So . . . It's our responsibility to take God's Word and put it into practice – to take up our responsibilities and share the Good News, when God gives opportunity – and to let God be glorified through us today. Let us pray.
Heavenly Father, we thank You that You have spoken. We find ourselves often lax in response. We pray that this day will bring about a great awakening – a great hearkening – a listening. So that we shall be able to say, “LORD, what will You have me to do?” and do it with all our hearts.
In Jesus' Name. Amen. Amen.
Thank you very much.