INTRO: A few weeks ago I talked about some current moral issues in view of the behavior of well known public figures. In just a few minutes I want to continue that discussion with the mention of other moral or integrity issues. The compromising of moral values is devastating in its personal effects. But the scale of the compromising (or absence) of moral values in our society is having devastating effects of epidemic, national proportions. I cannot help but remember this passage from Prov 14:34 - Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. And for Christian people I recall this excellent admonition: Abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Thes 5:22). I want to make this loving assertion ... too much of the worlds moral misbehavior is having its influence on members of the Lords body.
I WHAT ABOUT THE PERVERSION OF PRIDE?
A. This is the Michael Jackson behavior
1. for years he has been the center of attention - commanding attention
2. his stage and personal life antics have been bizarre, often vulgar
3. he has convinced himself he can do no wrong
4. he apparently thinks of himself as above the law
B. Pride has a way of perverting the way we see ourselves
1. Deut 8:11-14,17 - ...thine heart be lifted up... - apt description of pride
2. thence, Look what Ive done - pride changes realities
3. behavior changes as ones realities begin to change - one begins to determine his own right and wrong
4. Prov 8:13 - notice how arrogance and the evil way follow pride!
C. Here is something important to remember ...
1. Prov 29:23 - ...honour shall uphold the humble in spirit
2. a humble spirit does not lose sight of the reality of self
3. a humble spirit recognizes the rules, the laws and willingly lives within them
4. few people are more pathetic than those who have given themselves to the delusions of pride ... few lives are really more useless than those which have lifted themselves and made themselves gods to themselves!
II WHAT ABOUT THE USE OF DRUGS & NARCOTICS?
A. This was the Daryl Strawberry behavior
1. one of the baseball greats - 8 time all star - talent & opportunity
2. but cocaine ruled his life ... and ruined his life ... a life of promise
3. illicit use of narcotics is epidemic in proportions - from junior high school to the rich and famous in every realm
4. there are no happy stories of people under narcotic influence ... and there are many, many stories like that of Daryl Strawberry ... ruin
B. How are Christians to respond to illicit drug use?
1. Mk 14:38 - Christians must be watchful people - watching for temptation
2. 1 Pet 5:8 - Christians must be vigilant people - watching for the Devil
3. how can we drug our minds with narcotics and be watchful? the answer is simple ... we cannot
4. under the influence of drugs people do every sort of ridiculous, immoral, hurtful thing ... temptation has its way with them
C. A thought ...
1. Gal 5:19,20 - witchcraft - from a word referring to drugs (from which we get our word pharmacy
2. drugs, narcotics have been around for a very long time - and God has recognized their damage; the problem of them
3. Christians cannot have any part with illicit drugs and drug culture
4. yes, the availability and the pressure are great - but we cannot yield!
III WHAT ABOUT THE USE OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES?
A. The dead cheerleader behavior
1. a young, eighteen year old girl to Hawaii for cheerleading competition
2. nude body found after falling eighty feet to her death
3. alcohol content in her blood twice the limit to judge intoxication
4. just one of hundreds or horror stories involving alcohol
B. Consider the following texts:
1. 1 Pet 5:8 - sober - to abstain from wine
2. Eph 5:18 - be not drunk - inceptive verb ... what is the inception of drunkenness?
3. Gal 5:21 - drunkenness - in original language intoxicants
4. 1 Thes 5:6 - watch - spiritual alertness ... the use of anything (drugs or alcoholic beverages) which affects spiritual alertness negatively must be avoided
C. This is not an exhaustive study, but ...
1. it is enough for me to know that the use of alcohol is forbidden for us
2. over and again right here in Katy the tragic accidents often involving our children are caused by the use of alcohol
3. in all honesty, I have not doubt at all that the use of alcohol is sin!
4. I beg you to think about these things with a view to holiness
CLOSE: Returning to Eph 5:19 I read, But be filled with the spirit. The influence which must govern our lives is the Spirit of God. I would remind, then, of Col 3:16, Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom. The rule for our lives should be this: Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Thes 5:22,22).
Cecil A. Hutson
09 May 2004
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)