This Week's Gospel Sermons

God's Law And Man's Obedience (3):  Being Honorable - Scott Richardson

Examples From A Chain - Scott Richardson

The Woman Bent Double - Scott Richardson


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Scott Richardson



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November 20, 2011


God’s Law and Man’s Obedience (3):

Being Honorable

God’s principles of honor have not changed. Honor for family, honor for life that God created, honor for a mate, honor for the truth, honor for things of others—these are all things that are addressed in the latter part of the Ten Commandments. All are His principles, valid for all time, and show us what’s right and what’s wrong.

“Honor your father and your mother.”

It seems that most of the time this command is thought of as being for small children, but remember, the Old Law was given to adults, too. In fact, most of the Old Law has a greater bearing on adults. The Israelites were expected not only to listen to and respect their parents from early years, but also to protect and provide for them in later years.

This care for parents was a point of rebuke from Jesus: “… Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God said, Honor thy father and thy mother: and, He that speaketh evil of father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, That wherewith thou mightest have been profited by me is given to God; he shall not honor his father. And ye have made void the word of God because of your tradition.” (Matthew 15:3-9, ASV) Greed and neglect—what a combination!

(1) To those who are parents: remember, train and teach your children well according to the word of God. Give them a reason to want to honor you. (2) To those who are children (which is all of us—everyone is someone’s child): to honor your parents is to honor God, to dishonor them is to dishonor God. God created the family. God put things in the proper order within the family. (3) To those parents who say “let the church train my child” and to children who say “let the church care for my elderly”: God put the family here first.

“You shall not murder.”

The seriousness of violating this command is easily seen in its punishment—death. It is obvious that under the Old Law all killing was not condemned, but the act of what we call murder. People who murdered were killed and also those who violated God’s word were killed: “And he said unto them, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, Put ye every man his sword upon his thigh, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.” (Exodus 32:27, ASV). What is the underlying principle here, and does it apply to us today?

The underlying principle of this command is that human life is important. Why? Because God created us. Every human is here because he was brought forth by the creative force and will of God. God stated this in the time of Noah, also: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: For in the image of God made he man.” (Genesis 9:6, ASV).

Jesus underscored this principle of Law when He showed that the safeguarding of life extended not just to murder, but beyond that to include any form of anger, malice, or rage toward another human: “Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, that every one who is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire.” (Matthew 5:21-26, ASV).

Abortion — It is apparent from the homicide rate in this country that many have no respect for life, but this disrespect goes far beyond “capital murder.” Abortion of babies (or the fetus) is the destruction of human life. It shows no sanctity for life. Many who are in favor of abortion say that the fetus inside the mother is not yet human life. What kind of life is it? I know of no one who would say that a DNA complex is not life, not even a microbiologist who might be an atheist. When the chromosomes of sperm and ovum unite, there is life. The very word abortion means “to cut short.” Exactly what is being cut short if not life? The arguments for abortion are cloaked in the idea of freedom of choice. Freedom of choice is all well and good, but this has nothing to do with the “cutting short” of human life—that is murder plain and simple.

Self-Inflicted Harm — Some may ask, “What has this got to do with murder?” Don’t forget the principle Jesus taught—human life is important. We may think of self-inflicted harm as punching ourselves with sharp objects, cutting ourselves with knives, or some other form of mutilation. However, there are many forms of harm in which one might engage, each one condemned by principles of God. Any behaviors which lead to starvation, gluttony which leads to obesity, the use of tobacco, the abuse of drugs, including alcohol, and any other harmful behavior, are not consistent with a respect for God and His indicated importance of life.

“You shall not commit adultery.”

Marriage is a commitment. Adultery is a breaking of that commitment. From the beginning God hated adultery and divorce, both physical and spiritual. One of the reasons given for the destruction of the earth by flood in the time of Noah was sexual immorality. After the flood, men still became involved in adulterous relationships, so much so that, when God gave the Law to Moses He had to issue this command. The nation of Israel was condemned for spiritual adultery as well: “Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of Jehovah which he loveth, and hath married the daughter of a foreign god. Jehovah will cut off, to the man that doeth this, him that waketh and him that answereth, out of the tents of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto Jehovah of hosts.” (Malachi 2:10-11, ASV). Also, in this passage, God states that He hates “putting away.”

Jesus quoted from the Old Law in regard to divorce and adultery: “It was said also, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: but I say unto you, that every one that putteth away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, maketh her an adulteress: and whosoever shall marry her when she is put away committeth adultery.” (Matthew 5:31‑32, ASV). Later in Matthew He makes this further exposition, “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her when she is put away committeth adultery.” (Matthew 19:9, ASV). It is obvious that God’s principle is still the same, he hates adultery and divorce.

Much time is spent by men in making arguments of all possible interpretations of God’s words on this matter. Most of that time is wasted time—man is not wiser than God. The only thing we need to remember is what God’s will is. God says He hates sexual immorality—period—end of story.

The sin of adultery is listed just like other sins by the apostle Paul, “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.” (1Corinthians 6:9-11, ASV). It is strange that people can look on the activities of a homosexual or a drunk (sins also mentioned in this passage) with great disdain, but fail to see an adulterer in the same light. God does. God is also willing to forgive. Notice the end of the above passage says, “but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.” God does forgive our sins, but only when we repent of them, “such were some of you.” Of course, all of these problems can be avoided by keeping our commitments.

Just how honorable is our society? Before you answer, remember that society is composed of individuals. Now, how honorable am I? How honorable are you? How much do we teach others to be honorable?

—S. Scott Richardson Sr.

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