I. What is Christian courtesy?
A. What is courtesy?
1. It is defined as curtsy or courteous behavior.
a. Curtsy is an action which expresses deep respect by bodily action or gesture.
b. Courteous behavior implies the state of having such manners as befit the court of a prince.
2. However, today courtesy has spread out its meaning and it involves all sorts of manners which any man might have.
a. It includes a graciously polite and respectful attitude towards the position or feelings of others.
b. These manners must be performed to all those about us whether they are superior to us or inferior.
B. What then is Christian courtesy?
1. Does it differ from secular courtesy?
a. Do Christians perform more courteous actions?
b. Do the Christian deeds of courtesy come from the heart and the secular deeds of courtesy are only done for outward show?
2. How does courtesy become Christian?
a. Is our courtesy Christian before we are regenerated?
b. Can we really show a graciously polite and respectful attitude towards someone else’s position or feelings?
3. Was Christ very courteous in His actions?
a. What about His actions toward the scribes and Pharisees? (confer Matt. 23, Mark 7:5-13, Matt. 22:15-22)
b. What about some of His actions to His own people and followers? (confer Luke 10:38-42, Matt. 15:21-28)
c. Did not Christ show respect and was He not polite only to those who served Him?
d. How must our courteous behavior be in comparison to Christ’s?
II. What is the basis for our Christian courtesy?
A. Must the Christian pattern his courtesy after the many manners of the secular realms?
1. Must we confer with the books of proper behavior and courtesy?
2. Must we base our courtesy upon the ideas and thought of Ann Landers or any other person who is an expert on proper behavior?
3. Is it really important that the children learn proper deeds of courtesy while they are at home and in school?
B. Rather we must believe that the child of God must go to the Bible in order to see how his behavior must be.
1. What does the Bible say?
a. Concerning the bodily actions that we apply to courtesy or politeness the Bible has several instances where men performed courteous actions toward their friends or neighbors.
b. Read Genesis 18:1-8 and see how Abraham was courteous.
c. Read Genesis 19:1-3 and see how Lot was courteous.
d. We also can read of rules for eating at a guest’s table, (confer Proverbs 23:1, Luke 10:8, I Corinthians 10:27)
e. We can also read in the Bible the different ways of greeting each other and the different salutations which are used, (confer Matt. 26:49, I Sam. 25:23, Mark 5:22, Gen. 19:2, Gen. 43:29, Luke 10:5, Ruth 2:4 and I Cor. 16:21)
f. What must be our attitude towards all of these passages and is this enough that we do these outward acts only?
2. There are also some good passages which might serve as good basis for all of our deeds of courtesy.
a. We have Jesus’ words in Matthew 13:12.
b. We have Jesus’ parable of the exaltation of the humble in Luke 14:7-11.
c. There are also Christ’s words in Matthew 5:38-47, which tell us to do good unto our neighbors and our enemies.
d. There are Paul’s words in Galatians 6:9-10 where we are admonished to do good to all men.
e. There are many more texts but these texts are good foundations for all of our deeds of courtesy.
3.But when all is said and done are not all of our acts of courtesy and politeness dependent upon the sum of the law and the prophets which Jesus gave to us in Matthew 22:37-40?
a. If we are to show courtesy and respect toward others must we not first of all fear and love God?
b. If we are to show courteous deeds to our neighbor must we not love him and esteem him better than ourselves (Phil. 2:3, Eph. 5:21, I Peter 5:5)?
c. Read I Peter 3:8-17 and you will see that love first be present in a man if he is to show respect and do courtesy to others.
d. Can we then do courteous things to others without loving that person, and also do the ungodly then perform true and genuine deeds of courtesy?
e. Must we not be very careful to make sure that we examine our motives in our courteous actions?
III. Now we must take a look at our own deeds and see whether we need improvement.
A. What about our actions toward those with whom we come in contact?
1. Do we as citizens show enough respect to our authorities?
a. Do we respect our government because it is more powerful than we are or because we feel that it is instituted by God?
b. Do we show enough respect to our parents, teachers, and ministers and how do we show courtesy to them?
2. Does our courteous action to others proceed from a love and an esteeming of them as better and higher than we are?
a. Do we show this courtesy to even our inferiors, i.e. younger brothers or sisters, friends that are not as talented, etc.?
b. Or are our deeds done so that we look good and virtuous to others?
3. Do we consider our courteous actions as good works which please God?
B. What improvements can we make in our lives?
1. Must we be more friendly to strangers?
a. Do we do as we are commanded in Leviticus 19:34, “But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
b. Must we not work more on meeting and greeting strangers?
2. Must we not show more respect to the elderly?
a. I think that we as young people can visit the elderly more often.
b. We can also go to them with questions so that we might obtain some wisdom from them.