THE LIVING WORD PROGRAM
Program Air Date – 9-9-12
LESSON TITLE: “SITUATIONAL ETHICS.”
Paul once said, “For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” How wonderful it is to know that we have the promise of everlasting life!
Good morning! Thanks for joining us this morning in this service of God. The Living Word Program is committed to proclaiming the simple truth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - which is confirmed for us in the Bible. I hope you all have your Bible’s handy and I hope you are ready to worship God together as we sing praises to His name and study from His wondrous word. Now let’s begin by talking to our Father in prayer!
We are excited this morning, because today is the day we begin using our news songs taped for this program just last month. So I hope you will join in praising God with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “Prepare To Meet Thy God.”
(SONG # 1)
We all have trials and problems in this life from time to time. Have you ever asked the question or wondered, “why me?” I’m sure we all have wondered why things happen to us or why we suffer in this life, but I might ask you, “have you ever considered it might be our own fault?
Think for a moment why you are suffering? Is it your fault or God’s? The Bible clearly teaches the doctrine that we will “reap what we sow.” Thus the reality is, often we suffer because of our own sins and mistakes. But what else does the Bible teach about suffering?
James tells us to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials,” chapter 1, verse 2. But why on earth would James make such a confusing statement. Read with me verse 12 from the same passage, there it says, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” You see, we are to endure temptation, because those who do will be blessed by God.
But what type of temptations are we talking about here? Peter clarifies this point for us in 1 Peter 4:12-13, there we read, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” It is clear in this passage that we should rejoice in sufferings that are present because of our faith in Christ Jesus. When we suffer for His cause it will all be worth it.
In the beginning of our comments I asked if you had ever considered if your sufferings are your own fault. I ask this question because the Bible tells us God will give us all we need if we are faithful to Him. It tells us He will help every step of the way if we live according to His Word. In Romans 8:38, Paul said, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” James said, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights,” again, chapter 1:17!
The Bible clearly states that if we love God and serve Him, He will care for us and give us all that we need. So when you wonder, why do I not have things, or why do I suffer - Then I would ask the question, “are you really serving God in His Way?”
This morning, we are glad to again have Brother Brent Green as our guest speaker. Brother Brent is a full time instructor at the Bible Institute of Missouri. We thank him for joining us again to lead our thoughts from God’s Word.
As far as our discussion of the day, we will continue with our series called, “Teaching As Doctrine The Commandments of Men!” Our specific topic today will focus on man’s idea of, “Situational Ethics.” So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together brother Green will return with our study from God’s Word. The name of our next hymn is, “Purer In Heart O God!”
(SONG # 2)
By Brent Green
What a privilege it is to study the word of God, to open these great pages, and always to look at the truth found therein. When you think about Matthew 15:9, “And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” Throughout the ages Satan has had many schemes that he has used, taught those to man, and taught him to fall away from the word of God. Going even back there to the Garden of Eden, who was it that deceiver even there? Well, that sly Satan himself deceived Adam and Eve changing just one word there with what God had said to them. And thus as Satan deceives that deception is spread through mankind throughout history and many, many false doctrines have appeared on the scene throughout the ages, many people have been led away from the truth of God’s word by the teachings of men. Those deceptions that originated there with Satan the father of lies and have continued as men have echoed those words throughout the centuries.
I want us to think about Ecclesiastes 7, Ecclesiastes 7:29 says, “Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, But they have sought out many schemes.” Indeed mankind is born free of sin, those little babies innocent of any guilt, or sin, or even the knowledge of what sin and temptation are. But what happens over the years as mankind grows up, as people get older they look to find their own path. They look not only to the word of God but they look and seek after other things the teachings of men. God says here mankind seeks out many different schemes.
One of those schemes has to do with the deception that Satan has planted in the hearts of men. You think about a world that strives to do what’s right yet so many times it does what’s wrong, people making bad choices. You see Satan has that deception trying to get people to steer away from the path the narrow path of God. But see often some people resist and you couldn’t get people to give in to that life style and say, ‘Well I’ll just completely give up God and turn amoral or decide that I will be immoral.’ What he got people to do was to be deceived, he planted the seed within mankind and this teaching of men has spread. Yes he can see the facts in many minds that yes there is right and wrong but you just have to choose what is right and wrong for yourself. You just have to look at the situation and decide for yourself what is right and what is wrong, that is a teaching of mankind. That deception planted there by Satan that has spread through the ages today, situational ethics. Where is the standard? We want to consider this deception of man, this teaching of man, and also what the Bible says.
I want you to think first as we consider this here what it actually means to talk about situational ethics and again the terminologies themselves help to illustrate and define for us what that is. Ethics seeking there to somehow distinguish or deal with what is right and what is wrong and a situational ethics then is determining right and wrong in a given situation, looking to the circumstances to decide if this is right or if this is wrong. That’s what we are talking about here when we think about the standard; there is no standard when we talk about situational ethics. You think about right and wrong if they are determined on the situation then the set of law the standard law is cast to the side and you can throw that out whenever you want to because again there is no absolute standard. Human judgment then becomes the ultimate standard, in other words if I take the law the law of God and I can cast it to the side at any time because the situation would merit such in my mind then it’s my judgment that has become the ultimate standard and God’s judgment has left the picture altogether. People are also in this idea or this mind set expected to do the loving thing at all times and again who defines what the loving thing is? If it is in the mind of man then what is loving for one maybe not loving to another and so again there is no standard, it changes from one person to the other.
So we think about this concept, this idea, this teaching of man and how it begins to affect our society. It is built upon presumption; we have talked about some of these things that define this teaching of man. The presumptions are these; everyone has the same upbringing. Well, think about that does everyone really have the same upbringing in this world? Well, no, some people grow up in homes that are amoral meaning there are no ethics or no moral code at all, some people grow up in homes that are immoral, people knowing right from wrong but choosing to do that which is wrong. So we don’t all have the same upbringing. Think about also the presumption here that everyone will have infallibly or perfect judgment, is that the case? Well, think also about the fact that when we go to make judgments many times as mankind our judgments are biased. That’s why the reason there in James 2 is given that we be unbiased, be like our God who is impartial who doesn’t judge on those superficial issues. Whether we strive very hard to be those who are impartial and unbiased we still make decisions and judgments with our preconceived notions there in place. So that presumption of situational ethics doesn’t hold there either but also the ideas that we all have a perfect conscience. That’s a word that sometimes isn’t always properly defined, the conscience the mind of man is something that can be and has to be trained. Well, what if your conscience was trained not as it should be but by the teachings of man? What if your conscience was trained by something less than a moral standard that God sets forth in His word? You see we don’t all have that perfect conscience and so these presumptions of situational ethics are very dangerous.
The reality is we have got to make sure that we follow God’s standard so if we think about this teaching of mankind we need to consider the ramifications, it is a teaching that is out there, and it is a deception that many people fall prey to maybe not even giving it much thought. Well the ramifications are huge if you consider the standard of right and wrong what it should be, God’s word, the God that created us, gave us His standard, gave us His word. Or on the other hand am I going to follow the standard of man and His teaching and determine right and wrong in every given situation. Consider the ramifications if you will for those that hold to this teaching of mankind again right and wrong are determined by the situations, the conclusion therefore that there must be some occasions then where it is ok to sin. If in other words you can think about a situation, you can dream up a time in which it would be ok to sin, and then the conclusion is that there are certain times in life where it is ok to sin. Consider the reasoning here of the one who would hold to this teaching of man as it relates to situational ethics. You think about certain sins that we might talk about fornication or adultery, could you dream up an instance in which it would be ok to do that. I believe the situational ethics has come up with many different situations in which they could justify the idea of committing fornication or adultery in the sight of God, they would say it’s ok on certain occasions to do such. What does the Bible call fornication? Well, just think about the verse there 1Thessalonians 4:3-5, fornication is identified among many other things as a sin. There are many lists in the Bible like 1Corinthians 6 or Galatians 5 that give us lists of sins. Well the Bible is very clear that it is not ok, except for some would say in certain situations that it would be ok to do that. What about some of the other sins that we might consider what about stealing? Could you ever dream up a situation in which it might be ok in your mind to steal? Some have, ‘Well maybe if I’m helping out my family, maybe if we run out of everything I have to steal.’ Well the situational ethicist would say there are situations in which it would be ok to steal. What does the Bible say? 1Corinthians 6:9-11, stealing is identified as sin. What about the fact that some might say there are occasions where we have to cheat or would have to lie? Sometimes we think, ‘Well I have got to preserve face, I can’t tell the truth it would hurt somebody so I lie.’ Can you dream up a situation where you might say, ‘Well I would need to lie in that situation.’? Well, think about what the Bible says, it doesn’t matter that those in the realm of situational ethics might say, ‘You could think of a time where it is ok to lie,’ what does the Bible say? Well, think about Revelation 21:8, amongst again another one of those types of sins that would keep people from Heaven, “…all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire…” which is hell itself.
We could go through any number of sins, any number of things where people could dream up all types of situations and somehow try to justify that it would be ok to sin in those situations but think about what we are presenting here. On one side we are presenting this teaching of mankind, situational ethics, sometimes they would say well murder is ok and come to the conclusion that therefore the loving choice might be in some occasions to abort a child or to commit that act of euthanasia, putting to sleep or killing those, of those who are old in their age or those who can’t take care of themselves anymore. Those who would reason based on the situation would say that it’s ok sometimes, those in the same way again would say that certain sins are the loving thing to do. Well, does it make sense to say that adultery is a loving thing; is it the loving thing to do for a man to commit adultery against his wife or a woman to do the same against her husband? You see it doesn’t follow, it doesn’t make sense. They might say that any number of sins are ok but again consider the standard of God’s word, what are the ramifications here? The situational ethicist, those who would hold to this teaching of mankind, they want to open the door just a little bit and want to crack that door and say, ‘Well, I can think of an occasion here where it is ok to sin.’ Once you open the doorway and say it is ok to sin, what could you then do? Really anything you wanted to, anything that you could justify in your mind, I believe that you could come up with a situation which you could justify in your own mind the way of man and the schemes of man many times as we dream up things and try to justify things in our minds, but what does God’s word say?
That’s the point as we consider these different teachings of men; some might say you could find a situation where it is ok to sin. What’s the reality? What does God’s word say? The reality of God’s word is that it is never, never right to sin because God’s word says so and God’s word holds us to that standard to make sure we follow His law. 1John 3:4, sin is called there lawlessness the breaking of God’s law. God has given to us His law, the New Testament, when we read those pages and we don’t follow them we break His law and thus we sin. Is it ever right to break God’s law? Is it ever right to go against what God said? Man would teach otherwise but the Bible shows us we must follow God’s standard. Think about just a few verses that show us what the Bible says, 1Thessalonians 5:22, “Abstain from every form of evil.” The Bible is pretty clear stay away from every evil thing and all types of sins, stay away. 1Peter 2:11, “…abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,” remove sin. Galatians 5, again the works of the flesh are evident, remove those sins completely and have nothing to do with them. The Bible doesn’t say that you can sin a little bit and you can find situations where that would be ok, no He says run away and steer clear of anything that would be sin in your life. Consider some of these examples found there in the Bible. Some might say, ‘Well didn’t Uzzah, there in 2Samuel 6, have good intentions when he reached out to keep the Ark of the Covenant from falling?’ Well, falling of the cart there while being carried even in a way that was improper, what happened to Uzzah? He touched the Ark and God struck him dead. You might think also there about Saul when he made that sacrifice in 1Samuel 13. Samuel was delayed in coming to make the sacrifice and he didn’t show up so Saul decided as the King who didn’t have the right to make the sacrifice, ‘I’ll go ahead and make the sacrifice anyway.’ Samuel finally arrived and he told Saul to obey is better than sacrifice. Well, in that situation wouldn’t it be ok? That’s not what God’s word says. We have got to make sure that we don’t try to water down what God has given; we don’t try to change and give ourselves over to these teachings of man.
If we think about the ramifications of situational ethics we also have to consider briefly the results. If there is no standard then what the result is, in part is chaos. We could do whatever we want to, we could justify whatever we want to if there is no standard. The result is immorality, if I determine right and wrong based on the situation and I have a world of people saying it is ok to sin but in God’s eyes they are committing all kinds of immorality. If I give over to the idea the teaching of mankind that situational ethics is ok then think about the facts that I really don’t have the faith that I should, that God will provide for me in the bad times, God will take care of me when times get tough. Some people say, ‘Well, I can’t do anything but help myself in this situation I’ve got to sin in this situation to do whatever it is to take care of myself or my family. Where is your faith? Where is your trust in God that He will bring you through those difficult times? Situational ethics also negates Christian suffering, that process through which we are refined by the trials of this life, and prove ourselves to be those who truly have that genuine faith in God where situational ethics are abound. When we give ourselves over to that doctrine of mankind is a very grave day, a day in which we no longer look to God’s standard anymore, a day in which we have been tricked and deceived by that sly old fox Satan himself the one who is the father of lies, the one who wants to steal our souls away.
You see mankind has dreamed up many schemes and the ideas that you can determine right and wrong in any given situation is certainly one of those schemes. Situational ethics will steal your soul! Consider the immorality and the wickedness of ignoring God’s standard, a standard here that situational ethics that is built on fallacious principles a standard here that is not in line with Biblical principles and results in chaos. Put that aside and get back to the word of God. Colossians 3:16-17, wants us to dwell richly in all wisdom the word of God and verse 17, “…whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord…” Follow God’s standard, be sanctified by His truth. Follow His standard, live for Him, and remove this idea that somehow you can determine right and wrong for yourself in any given situation. Make sure you stand fast and only upon that word of God.
(SONG # 3 - “Redeemed!”)
What a wondrous time we have had together in participating in the things of God. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
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As Christians may we not fall pray to such heresies of this world like situation ethics, for common since tells us that God’s law does not change or bend based on our desires! Rather, may we always look to God’s Word for the knowledge and truth needed unto eternal life!