Sermon on DUTY
by Willam Warren Embree
“Fear God and keep His commandments
for this is the whole duty of man.” Ec 12:13
I wish in this short article to just speak on one word of my text: DUTY. It is a small word but carries great responsibility for every one in this life. Solomon, the wise king, after looking at everything from every angel, and trying everything under the sun: seeking to find if there was anything that would bring to mankind perfect peace and happiness, had at last to sum up the total of all his research with my text. “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
Jesus, in talking to His disciples, placed duty as the greatest achievement of his followers, by telling them; “So likewise, when ye shall have done all these things, which are commanded you, say we are unprofitable servants: we have done only that which was our duty.” In this text Jesus, places the emphases on, “All things which are commanded you.” And when they had done all, the full, then and then only had they done their full duty; with no place for boasting. From these texts we must find what God calls duty. We must know what He has commanded us to do and then in harmony with written word begin to carry out the plan of God, for us revealed in his word.
Duty, reaches into every step that we take in this life. Responsibility rests upon us, that we may not shirk nor side-step without great harm to ourselves, and to not only to ourselves, but to those whom we love. Our duty to God stands first at all times, and if we are faithful in this line of duty; it will not be hard to be faithful in the other duties that will come to us. We are to love God with all our hearts, and keep his commandments.
Then you may raise the question, “What are His commandments?” In St John 15:12, He said, “A new commandment I give you, that ye love one another as I have loved you.” This covered all other commandments that he had given. Then in order to do our duty to God, we must also do our duty to the people of God by loving them as Christ loved us.
That we should be willing if need be to lay down our life for the brethren. We will help them in time of need, and speak words of love and comfort to the broken hearted, uphold the weak and teach them to be strong in the faith and love of God. Then he said; “Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you.” Here Jesus clearly told us what our duty was to this class of people. Can you do it? Yes, by the grace of God we can, if we have brought our lives up to the first duty: “To love God and keep his commandments.” For this is one of them. When we obey the first, the second comes just as easy.
Then comes our duty to the lost world. When Jesus commanded, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” you will say “Impossible! I can’t do this.” No, you may not be able to contact everyone, but you can give of your substance to help someone who can go. Then you may share their reward. Your duty will be to speak to those about you, and tell them the story of Jesus and salvation. That He died for their sins, and that it was love that made Him do it.
Then there is the duty of husbands and wives. This is a sacred duty, and one which God will hold us responsible for if we fail. Let’s examine Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, fifth chapter; we are commanded, “Husbands love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it. Wives be subject to your husbands in all things.” Then he closes the chapter by saying, “Nevertheless, let every one of you in particular so love his wife as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
How different the homes would be if men and women would do their duty in the home, toward each other. If it was so, there would be no broken homes, nor children deprived of the care of parents. In all ages the man has been the bread winner, and the woman the home builder. This is God’s plan for them, but in these days of Modernism, we find so many cases that women get a distorted view of their calling—and in many cases they will leave their children and husband to do the best they can, while she goes galloping over the country preaching the gospel that she is in direct violation of; even at times divorcing her husband if he objects to her leaving her home and children.
Motherhood is the most sacred duty that ever come to a woman; and God never has, nor never will call a mother from her duty of home building to preach, nor for any other purpose. In the 1 Cor. 7:10; “And unto the married I command yet, not I, but the Lord, let not the wife depart from her husband: but if she depart let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband; and let not the husband put away his wife.” In the face of these facts, what can the professed Christian that has committed this crime, base their hope upon? Let us get on scriptural grounds and then we will see again the power of God in our midst. Let us declare the whole council of God, as we see the day approaching.
No wonder that God does not bless us as in the early church. It is not because God has changed, but because of unscriptural teaching and living by professed Christian people.
In conclusion, let me say to you my friend; God will not judge us for what we could not do, but the judgment will be, did you do what you could? Did you do your duty to God? to man? to the church? and in the home? Happy is the man or woman that can say “Yes,” from an honest heart to these questions; and I am sure that they will hear that “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joys of life.
God grant that we may get on scriptural grounds so that we may claim the promises of God: and see the sick healed, sinners saved, and God glorified.
Jesus is coming soon, how will it be with you? Let us search our hearts, and try our ways and see. Let us turn again unto the Lord. Let us seek Him with all our hearts, and obey His word, and then we shall know that we are in His will, and that He is glorified in us.
May God help all who read this.
By W.W. Embree, Boring Oregon