THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 6-13-04
LESSON TITLE: "THE IMPORTANT DOCTRINES OF GOD: THE DOCTRINE OF CHRISTIAN ETHICS"
How wonderful it is to know God and to have the health, strength, and will-power to give this time to Him on this Lord's Day morning. Thank you for putting God first today and choosing to commit this time of offering to His service.
Today, we will again be uplifted through our commitment to serving God as commanded, as we approach His almighty throne. How enjoyable it will be to worship our God through prayer, song and the study of His matchless Word. Won't you do your part this morning to see that our worship together is acceptable so that our glorious creator may be glorified?
Now, as we begin our offering to God, will you bow with me in prayer!
This morning let me take a moment to thank the Sparta Church of Christ, in Sparta, Missouri. And let me encourage you to visit with this congregation if you live in the Sparta, area. These brethren assemble regularly for Worship, in fact, beginning this morning they will gather for a Bible study at 9:30, which will be followed by a Worship assembly at 10:15. On Sunday evenings these brethren also come together at 6:00. As well, a mid-week service is offered by this congregation, every Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. Again, let me ask you to meet with these brethren whenever possible so that you may learn more about God and His church. If you need further information feel free to contact their minister Ted Spencer at (417)634-2114.
Well, it's time to join in our songs of praise. The first song of the morning is entitled, "God Is Calling The Prodigal."
(SONG # 1)
Do you ever say things you regret? Do you ever wish you could take something back that you have already blurted out? Well, if your like me - we all stick our foot in our mouth from time to time. And guess where it gets us - into trouble. Solomon understood this to be the case as well, as he made this statement in Proverbs 21:23, there we read, "Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles." Wow, what a great lesson to learn - if only we could follow this great advise!
Let me use another scripture this morning to help us be in better control of the things we say. In James 1:19, God says, "So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;" If we could only learn to think before we speak. If we could only learn to consider the impact our words will have. And if we could only contemplate whether our words will really do good and build up, or if they will harm and tear down. Brethren we all need to learn to control our words! But why? Well again this verse tells us that it keeps us from wrath. Because if we fall into wrath, notice what James says that does to us in verse 20 of the same opening, "for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God."
Do you want to be like God? Do you want to have words that are pure, wholesome and edifying to the hearer? Then brother, sister and friends, learn to control your mouth!
We are excited to have a guest speaker with us today who is visiting with us for the first time. I would like to welcome Raymond Wiseman to the program. Brother Wiseman is the minister for the Gospel Hill Church of Christ in Pottersville, Missouri. We are thankful for this fine congregation and glad that brother Raymond has agreed to lead us today in our study from God's Word.
As far as our topic of the day, this morning we will continue our series on, "The Important Doctrines of God." Our specific lesson of the day will focus on, "The Doctrine of Christian Ethics." So stay with us and after our next song together, brother Wiseman will be leading us in the main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "Hark The Gentle Voice of Jesus."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Raymond Wiseman
Good morning. In driving over here this morning I had directions, but I made some mistakes in following those directions. I got a little confused and out of the whole ordeal, having finally got there, I got there with a headache as a result. The headache came from being confused about the directions I wanted to go. Sometimes in life, in making decisions we get headaches, having confusing directions, not knowing the right way we want to go, only knowing where we want to get to, but not knowing how to get there.
Imagine a little girl who is a quadriplegic, severely mentally handicapped, hardly makes any noise at all, and needs total care. Imagine that her father has become frustrated with caring for the daughter and so somebody tells the father that he could end the daughter's life because she really doesn't have any noticeable quality of life. Imagine a woman who has been raped and at that by someone she neither knows nor cares for and she is told she could have an abortion and terminate the life of the unborn baby. Imagine a man who has a terminal, horrible disease and someone tells him either that he could end his life with dignity or without a word to him, they take his life. Imagine a young boy wrestling with whether he should tell a lie and avoid trouble or tell the truth and get into trouble.
What would be the morally right decision to make in each of these situations? Making decisions about what is morally right from what is morally wrong is called ethics. Ethics affects every aspect of our life. It involves every job. It's based on what is our outlook on life our world view. We could take one of two approaches to ethics. We can approach ethics from a subjective point of view or from an objective point of view.
Let's consider briefly ethics from a subjective point of view. Sometimes people determine what is morally right and what is wrong based on what the person making the determination thinks is right for a particular situation. We sometimes call this "situation ethics." The system of ethics of a person or a group of people making a decision about what is morally right and what is morally wrong involves nothing more than the personal opinion of those making the decision. There are no absolutes in subjective ethics. At best, only what the person making the determination thinks would be the most acceptable thing for the moment, for what is politically correct in the particular time in which we live in a particular culture. Such ethics as is based on societal tolerance or reflected in the laws that that particular country may have. For example, in this country at one time racially segregating people in schools and in other places was acceptable. So we can see then that in a subjective approach to ethics, what is morally right from what is morally wrong is constantly changing and evolving. And so we should understand that in a subjective approach to ethics there is no moral standard, only what some person or some group of people think at the time would be the right thing to do. Ethical models that are based on a subjective approach to ethics on personal opinion, on what is politically tolerant for a particular time period and a culture view man as the final judge of what is right from what is wrong. For those that are used to placing their lives into the decisions, the whims of man, those people seek an objective standard, an ethical model that is based not on opinion, not on political tolerance, but on a standard and so those people seek a model that is a part from personal opinion, a model that is apart from political tolerance.
So for a moment then, let's consider ethics from an objective point of view. Such people that seek a model that is a part from personal opinion apart from political circumstance seek a model that is based on something far beyond people themselves and so they base it on wanting to follow God's Will, on wanting to follow what His Word would teach us. So those that understand that all that is created was created by an omniscient God also understand that He has revealed out of His omniscience the right way to live. When man's will sets the direction for which people will go frequently the result is contrary to the Bible.
In Exodus chapter 5 and verse 2, Pharaoh told Moses, "Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice." In Judges chapter 21 and verse 25 we are told that "in those days there was no king in Israel and every man did that which was right in his own eyes." In Proverbs chapter 12 verse 15, we're told, "the way of a fool is right in his own eyes." When religion gives way to man's will, religion also frequently becomes unethical according to the Bible. We have in the Bible all that we need to make morally right decisions regardless of feelings, political correctness, the situation, current philosophies of man or wherever medical science may want to take us such as cloning, stem cell research, abortion or euthanasia. Therefore ethically, Christians, indeed all people need to make Christ-centered decisions. Our ethics must be defined in the framework of God's Will. They must firmly based upon scripture.
In James chapter 4 and verse 17, we're told, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not to him, it is a sin." So we understand that when we do what is contrary to God's Will, we have sinned. It's not difficult to realize in this world in relation to God that we do not live in an ethical world and since attitudes in the world can affect us, we can see the necessity of studying ethics so that we do not make unethical decisions.
Let's consider for a minute the outcome of unethical decisions. According to scripture God made all and He created all in perfection. In fact, in Genesis chapter 1, verse 31 we are told, "And God saw everything that He had made and behold it was very good." Man was created without a sinful nature. That is without a propensity for sinning. And according to Genesis chapter 2 verses 15-17, we're told that "God gave man free choice or the will to do make choices about what he wanted to do." It's not freedom to choose that has corrupted us but sin and sin as a result as having given in to temptation.
In James chapter 1, verses 14-15 James said, "But every man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived to bringeth forth sin and sin when it is finished bringeth forth death."
In 1 John chapter 3, verse 4, we're told that "sin is the result of going contrary to God's Will."
Eve and Adam made their choices in the garden and they chose to do what was wrong. Eve, when she was tempted, weighed the benefits of going contrary to God's instruction with the benefits of going with God's instruction. She chose taking a subjective approach to ethics to go contrary to God's Will and Adam went with her. The devil was behind the unethical behavior that they committed themselves to and he continues to be behind the confusion that causes us to make unethical decisions today.
In 1 Peter chapter 5 and verse 8, we're told, "Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary, the devil as a roaring lion walk about seeking whom he may devour."
In Acts chapter 5 we have another example of some people who took a subjective approach to ethics. Ananias and Sapphira had decided that they were going to lie about what they had done. Barnabus had sold a piece of property and had given it to the apostles for a benevolent need and Ananias and Sapphira did the same thing, though they did not have to give all of the proceeds from their sale, nor did they, they lied about having done it and so pretended that they had given all they had from the sale to the apostles for the benevolent need.
We understand then the consequence of unethical judgments. It has always been devastating for man. It's been devastating for man both physically and spiritually as a result of Adam and Eve's unethical approach to making decisions. Physical death entered into the world and as a consequence of our following their unethical behavior, spiritual death has come to each of us.
In Romans chapter 3 verses 10 and 23, we're told that "all have come short of the glory of God." The penalty for that, Romans chapter 6 verse 23 the first part is, "the wages of sin is death."
There are many models for ethics to confuse us about what to make in making morally right decisions as opposed to morally wrong decisions. How can we eliminate the confusion? So as we finish up, let's consider the solution to unethical decisions. A solution to making morally right decisions is to get rid of the subjective to ethics. We need to get rid of feelings. We need to get rid of situations. We need to get rid of cultural tolerance and current philosophy of man. We need to make our decisions without the direction that medical technology would want to take us. So we need to remove subjectivism from our decisions by making God's Word the authority for things that we do in the faith, for things that we do in religion. Joseph was a man who was tempted by Potiphar's wife. Potiphar's wife wanted him to sin with her and Joseph said, "How can I do this and sin against God?" Brethren and friends, when it comes to making decisions, when it comes to thinking about what is morally right from what is morally wrong, we need to make our decisions based firmly upon God's Word as Joseph did. He knew what was the right thing to do and he did the right thing.
The consequences of doing what is right aren't always what we would like them to be. Nevertheless, when we do what is right, right will be done and the outcome will be an example set for those that are watching of what is the ethically right thing to do in each situation.
As we consider today about the decisions we have to make, the most important decision we have to make of course is our obedience to God. We need to be baptized for the remission of sins which is part of obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. When the people cried out to the apostles, "Man, brethren, what shall we do?" in Acts chapter 2 verse 37, Peter could have told them many things they could have done, but what he did tell them was what the Holy Spirit had inspired him to say. He told them or he told everyone to "repent of their past sins and be baptized or immersed in water into Christ's name for the remission of their sins." And in Mark chapter 16 verse 16, we're told, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned."
We have a choice to make and the choice is whether or not we will base our decisions in life upon the standard of God's Word or upon some ever-changing decisions that man would have us make. The decision is our own today. You can make the decision. I can make it. I bid you to make your decision based firmly upon the standard of God's Word, the Bible.
(SONG # 3 - "How Great Thou Art!")
What a blessing it has been to join together in the things of God this morning. Thank you for doing your part in making all these things to be according to His Will. As always, we invite you back every Lord's Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!
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May we all examine ourselves every day to make sure we are only doing and saying those things that bring glory and honor to God. Let's all take more time to realize the seriousness which ethics play in the life of a true Christian.