This Week's Gospel Sermons
October - December 2011 Fall Series At Jackson Drive.
"MIRACLES OF JESUS"
Wednesday Nights @ 7PM
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November 27, 2011
God’s Law and Man’s Obedience (4):
Godly principles are vitalfor a society’s well-being. We need to be constantly reminded that, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34). Of course, any society or nation is composed of individuals. Therefore, it is paramount that each individual be taught the importance of being honorable in obedience to God’s principles. Certainly, each person should be taught and become obedient for the sake of their own soul, but imagine how society would benefit, too. God gave HIs Ten Commandments to the people of Israel for the individual’s good as well as the strength of the nation. In examining the last three of these commands, we clearly see the benefit of God’s principles for all mankind for all time.
“You shall not steal.”
Robbery is the most prevalent crime Americans fear from strangers. By the late 1990s about 1.2 million forms of theft were taking place each year. Stealing someone else’s property is a violation of God’s command which is based on the principle of loving one another and treating them as you would want to be treated.
Christians are supposed to share with those who are in need (Acts 4). Christians are also required to work to obtain the material things of life: “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have whereof to give to him that hath need.” (Ephesians 4:28, ASV).
There will always be corrupt and greedy individuals who try to obtain things dishonestly. Besides armed robbery and burglary—which are what we often think of as robbery—there are other forms of this dishonesty as well. The taking of bribes or kickbacks, shoplifting (a ten billion dollar a year problem), fraud, plagiarism, padded expense accounts, false insurance claims, cheating on taxes, and leaving unpaid debts are other forms robbery can take. The Christian ethic is one of work and stewardship of the blessings from God (Matthew 25:14–30).
“You shall not give false testimony.”
Lying is a serious problem for society. The book, The Day America Told the Truth, states that from research and interviews, 91 percent of Americans lie about matters they consider trivial and 36 percent lie about important matters. Similar results were seen in interviews with students who willingly admitted that they would lie on a job application or resumé. People have the nerve to call this a “christian” society.
Truth is a moral issue as well as an issue of factuality. It is wrong to hide the truth. Sometimes we may get caught up in rumors, either as listeners or speakers—this is just another form lies take. As an example, the FCC received millions of pieces of mail in opposition to Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s petition before the FCC to ban religious broadcasting. Guess what? There is a problem. Madalyn Murray O’Hair did and proposed a lot of vile things in her life, but she or no one in her employ ever petitioned the FCC for a ban on religious broadcasting! Somebody is lying. Similar rumors would be that Proctor and Gamble sponsors the Church of Satan or that Wendy’s and McDonald’s mix ground red worms and/or styrofoam with their hamburger meat. Somebody is lying. Of course, there are honest mistakes, but spreading rumors is not honest. Can you see the damage lying does to a society?
A lie is an intentional misleading of others. Take a look at the surveys done on politicians. What do you see? Most people think that politicians are lying most of the time. Then, have you ever seen headlines about welfare fraud? Lying seems to be spread from top to bottom in our society. There are lies of perjury, lies of slander, and lies of withholding truth—but, contrary to popular belief, there is no lie of justification. There is never a lie or mistruth that is right in God’s sight.
God is truthful in word and deed (Revelation 15:3;16:7). God cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Numbers 23:19). The Spirit is called the “Spirit of truth” (John 14:17; 1John 4:6; 5:6). Jesus Christ Himself is the personification of truth (John 14:6). Remember, we are created in the image of God.
“You shall not covet.”
The word for “covet” used in the Ten Commandments means “enthusiastic desire.” It seems Americans desire everything. Our rights no longer seem to be only “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” We seem to think that whatever things we want or desire we have a “right” or are “entitled” to have them. It is not the possession of power or material goods themselves that cause the problem; it is the lust, the “enthusiastic desire,” the covetousness.
There are many things that people might covet—as many things, in fact, as there are people, because everyone’s desires are different. Some might covet the success of a star athlete, the abilities of a musician, or the power of a politician. Covetousness leads to all kinds of other sins. It is really this misguided inner desire that drives to sin. In recent times there has been the stabbing of one athlete and the attack on another because of jealousy and envy. More sin. How many politicians have been attacked or assassinated because of a coveting of power? More sin. How many thefts take place because of the desire for material goods? More sin. I think you get the point.
Jesus Christ was crucified because of covetousness and envy wasn’t He? Remember the attitudes of the chief priests and elders of the Jews? Pilate could even see it. “Now at the feast the governor was wont to release unto the multitude one prisoner, whom they would. And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. When therefore they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered him up. And while he was sitting on the judgment-seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that righteous man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.” (Matthew 27:15-20, ASV).
The New Testament is full of warnings against covetousness. Luke recounts the story of a wealthy young man who desired his riches more than following Christ (Luke 18:18-30). Paul calls the act of coveting a sin of idolatry (Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:5). He also reminds Timothy that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (1Timothy 6:10).
Christ is equally plain about what we are to desire: “But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33, ASV). He also reminds us: “If any man cometh unto me, and hateth not his own father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26, ASV). “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24, ASV).
Are you living an honorable life? Do you desire the things of God? Do you desire to live with Him eternally? Then you must be honorable in all things that He has commanded.
—S. Scott Richardson Sr.