Class 47: “Take Full Responsibility” / “Talk and Listen to Every Older Man Past Fifty That You Possibly Can” (Part 2)
Today, we are continuing our study in which we are combining two letters, “Take Full Responsibility” and “Talk and Listen to Every Older Man Past Fifty That You Possibly Can.”
As we begin this lesson, consider these words from Frederick Douglass. He said, “Truth is proper and beautiful in all times and in all places.”
Let’s begin by reading the portion from Letters to Young Black Men which our lesson is based on:
Here are some of the dangers of not taking responsibility for ourselves and our lives:
1. You will live a sad life, constantly having to blame others for your failures and problems. But this will just make matters worse. The problem, son, is “the man in the mirror.”
2. You will live a life of constantly being a follower and not a leader, because a leader must take responsibility for himself and others.
3. You will live a pathetic life, constantly depending on other people.
Now, please pull out your printed study guide or your digital study guide as we begin this lesson.
Read the following verses and note the tendency of human beings to avoid responsibility. Also, determine what the consequences of denying responsibility are in these cases.
1. Genesis 3:12-13: “And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.“
After Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree of knowledge they both attempted to avoid responsibility. Adam blames Eve, and Eve blames the serpent. God does not have anything to do with excuses. He held each individual responsible for their own doings, and because of this incident the world has been devastated by sin ever since. It is sinful human nature to avoid responsibility, but this does not excuse such behavior in the eyes of the Father. We were originally created in the image of God, who is the epitome of responsibility, for He created and sustains the universe. Thus, as Christians, our natural tendencies should consistently be conformed more and more into this spiritual image which has no fear when it comes to self-responsibility.
2. Exodus 32:22-24: “And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief. For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.“
After the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt, Moses left them alone to go up into Mount Sinai to talk to God. Upon Moses’ absence Aaron became responsible for keeping the Israelites in order. However, he did not take this responsibility seriously, for the second they began to grumble, Aaron gave in to their requests for a god they could worship. He even oversaw the project of gathering all the gold from amongst the people and forming this into an idol in the form of a calf. The people turned their affections from the true God and began to dance around and sing to this lifeless image. When Moses returned he was so angry that he shattered the commandments which were given directly from God, and he confronted Aaron on the issue of his faithlessness. Aaron denied responsibility saying the people were naturally prone to evil, and he was simply honoring their requests. Aaron even went to the point of saying that a calf simply appeared from the fire, and he had absolutely no part in its creation. The result of such irresponsibility was the slaying of three thousand men.
You may not think that your responsibilities can even compare to those of Adam and Eve or Aaron. For these people were trusted with beginning the human race and overseeing the entirety of God’s chosen people. Because their responsibilities were great, the consequences of irresponsibility were even greater. For the former, every human that exists for all of time will now have to live with the ever present threat of sin. For the latter, five thousand lives were lost due to one act of disobedience. Though the consequences of your lack of self-responsibility may come on a much smaller scale, they certainly do come.
For example, if you ignore your responsibility to marry the mother of your child, then your little girl is growing up without a father to teach her about respecting her body and to tell her she is beautiful and a gift from God. Your little boy is being raised without a daddy to play catch with, to cheer him on at his football games, and to teach him how to become a respectable man. If you do not take on the responsibility of making sure you are at work during your scheduled time, then you are causing a co-worker to miss precious time with his family just so he can hold up your end of the bargain. If you are not responsible enough to take care of your body and choose to use drugs or become addicted to alcohol you are not only harming yourself but are causing those people who care about you to spend many restless nights, pleading with the Lord on your behalf.
In closing, Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win the Super Bowl and the host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football said, “You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”
Now, like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people I grew up around said “being saved” was back then especially, in my community, is wrong according to the Bible. I wrote an article about it titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.
First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, understand that a horrible punishment — eternal Hell — awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon Him in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is the most important decision you will ever make.
If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, I’ll see you for our next class.