Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Man's first obligation is to save his own soul; his second to save the souls of others. The first is implied, the second taught in our text. Observe —
I. THE PERSONAL STATE OF EVERY CHRISTIAN PLACES HIM UNDER AN OBLIGATION TO PROMOTE THE WORK OF GOD. Being initiated into the faith and privileges of the Christian covenant, he is bound to hold it as a whole. Now, Christianity contemplates not only his personal illumination, happiness, and preparedness for heaven, but it equally contemplates the same privileges for others, and constitutes saved men its agents. The true Christian, then, does not meditate upon misery and leave it in its destitution.
II. THE SPIRITUAL GRACES AND GIFTS POSSESSED BY THE CHURCH LIE HER UNDER AN OBLIGATION OF DEVOTED ZEAL TO GOD.
1. Spiritual blessings can only be enjoyed in spiritual channels. You cannot bestow the tenderness of Christian affection on gold and commerce and art. They must be employed religiously.
2. The moral power of Christianity can only be employed morally, and no other form of power — that of genius, science, oratory, magistracy, etc., can supply its place in the Church. It is of no great consequence on what nature this moral force operates. Take a feeble branch and engraft it on a living tree, and it partakes of the beauty and vigour of the tree, and bears fruit. And this moral power operates individually, as in Howard, Wilberforce, and Wesley, or it may be centralized in the Church. But we must be careful not to drown the individual in the society.
3. The Church also possesses the gifts of the Spirit, which can only be devoted to religious objects. On these and on Him who gives them depends the life of the Church.
4. Other gifts are superadded for the purpose of conveying the truth to the world.
III. FROM THE SITUATION OF CHRISTIANS IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD THEY ARE BOUND TO PROMOTE ITS INTERESTS. Christian patriotism suggests that we should defend the faith, and Christian philanthropy that we should extend it.
IV. THE GREAT ALTERNATIVE BEFORE US — WHETHER WE AND THE WORLD WILL GO TO HEAVEN OR HELL — MAKES IT IMPERATIVE ON US TO DO OUR UTMOST TO PROMOTE TRUE RELIGION.
(J. Dixon, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.