A Godly Moral Code – Jesus’ Moral Code for Living
- On Easter Sunday a Mexican man dressed as a priest visited a catholic mass near Detroit and asked to see the Father; he ended up stealing the Easter offering.
- A guidance counselor in Brockton, Massachusetts dropped chocolate candy on a desk and took pictures of Middle and Sr. High girls’ breasts as they picked up the candy.
- Toddler Hospitalized After Eating Marijuana Cookies
- Do you realize there are websites on how to steal from Wal-Mart and never get caught
Where are our morals? Where are we headed as a country? We have questionable moral choices and many people see nothing wrong with shop lifting or taking a look at pornography on line. It is not just an issue of immorality but it also an issue of amorality.
Let me define those words for you:
- Morality = integrity, goodness, honesty, decency – righteous behavior
- Immorality = is the breaking of a moral standard – we are going to look at Jesus’ moral standard over the next few weeks.
- Amorality = says there is no such thing as moral standard.
We live in a country that has not only become immoral but we have become amoral – we live in a country that says there is no such thing as an absolute moral standard. Just do your own thing, Let’s take a look at what Jesus had to say about moral standard in the greatest sermon ever preached, the Sermon on the Mount, by the Greatest Preacher who ever lived. This morning we are going to look at what Christ had to say about the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 5:17-20 (NIV)
17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
It wasn’t just what Jesus had to SAY about morality that changed the world forever. It was what Jesus had to DO that changed everything--and that continues to change everyone who will believe on him.
- Jesus comes out in a strong defense of the moral Law of God. He emphatically proclaims His defense this way; "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. The Law He was speaking about was the 10 Commandments. Let me review these Laws that Christ is talking about.
Exodus 20:1-17 (NIV)
1 And God spoke all these words:
2 "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 "You shall have no other gods before me.
4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
13 "You shall not murder.
14 "You shall not commit adultery.
15 "You shall not steal.
16 "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."
- The importance of the moral law lies in the fact that God created / produced them. God spoke these words – He created the Law. God is moral and He created the uncompromising moral standard that we need to live by today. There are 2 important truths we need to see in this moral law.
- First is the revelation of God. In other words God exists. Some people think that they can do whatever they want because they don’t want to believe in the Lawmaker. Such people who don’t want to believe in the Lawmaker, God, are them placing God in the same class as themselves.
- The preamble to the commands is rather simple to understand – I am the Lord your God and you are not. He identifies Himself as being present with His people. He is the One who brought the Israelites out of captivity.
- Secondly, God makes it clear that He is not about to share His glory with anyone. The first commandment states explicitly, “You shall have no other gods before me.” I am Number One and nothing comes before Me.
- Then the next 3 commandments deal with our relationship with God and then the rest deal with our relationship with one another. These are God’s requirements for human behavior and they call for moral decisions on our part. The moral standards that God sets before us our not out of date – they are as relevant as they were when He enacted them.
- The moral law of God is important not only because it was produced by God, Himself, but it enforced by the prophets. Jesus linked the two the Law and the Prophets. The Prophets made it clear that the Israelites were to live under the Law.
- The Prophets came to call God’s people back to obedience.
- Have you ever heard someone say that they are living under grace not under the Law? We are saved by grace and not by works but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have to be obedient. Freedom that comes with grace means that we love God so much that we want to please Him by being obedient.
- Another reason the Law is important is that our Lord endorsed it. He endorsed in word here but in His life. He was obedient to the Father – even to the point of death.
- Romans 8:3-4 (NLT) 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
- Paul states it plainly that the Law was unable to save us but through Christ we are saved. God did what the laws couldn’t. But to live a Spirit-filled life we must have fruits that require us to be obedient to the Law.
- There is no way to call ourselves Spirit-filled Christians if we’re not fulfilling God’s standards - His moral law.
- Jesus spells it out to us - I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. In other words the Law is totally and utterly permanent. The Law is the absolute standard that we need to base our life on.
- We have come to rationalize our action by calling it relativism. It is the making of moral question relative. In other words we might say that what was wrong today may be okay tomorrow.
- Let me give you a simple example Joseph was being seduced by his master’s wife. See Joseph was a hunk and she wanted to go to bed with him – he said no because he didn’t want to displease God. Relativism says well to keep his position and to not be thrown into prison he should have done what the master’s wife wanted.
- Relativism would have excused the action away as being the best action available at the time.
- Choosing to obey was in the long run more important for him and his family. He was rewarded for his obedience and eventually saved his family from starvation later on.
- God’s moral law is relevant for today. The moral law of God is a principle of behavior for the Christian. To live within the community of believers / to be part of the Church we must live under God’s moral code of conduct.
- Matthew 5:19 (NLT) 19 So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus is saying that if we choose to be disobedient as a Christian then our consequences will be least in the Kingdom.
- If you as a Christian are going to be disobedient then teach others the same by words or actions that it is okay to be disobedient to God’s moral laws like cheating or lying then you are leading them into denying God’s morals.
- Let’ say you rationalize that everyone takes advantage of going home with things from work – it is called stealing but you call it fair because the owners are making big bucks. Many employees think that it is routine and there is nothing wrong with taking pens or paper from work. One worker put it this way “We would also make personal copies and send faxes. We all did it, so I figured it was the norm."
- "A father came home from work to find his wife berating their son. 'Can you believe it? He stole a pen from his classmate!' the mother said. The irate father shouted, 'Where did you learn to do a thing like that? Your mother and I are honest people. And why steal a pen? Don't I bring you enough pens from work?' I think this guy's opinion is clear."
- Disobedience + Denial = Disgrace
- The results of obedience is just the opposite of disobedience we become great in the kingdom. Doing + Disseminating = Distinction.
- Matthew 5:20 (NIV) 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
- We have a choice to be great in the kingdom or a disgrace in the Kingdom.
Jesus Christ is telling us that we need to live out a Christ centered moral life – it is what we are called to do. But we got to go beyond the here to do that. The job of the church is not to impact the church, but to impact the world.
The NFL draft happened Thursday night. But right now there may not be any football season next Fall because a group of multi-millionaire players can’t agree with a bunch multi-multi- millionaire owners over a contract.
The church is similar to a football game. It’s like a huddle in a football game. 65,050 people don’t $65 a ticket and more to watch the huddle. What if you went to a Steelers game and for 2½ hours you watched 11 men stand in a circle and talk? That’s not what you pay for!! 65,050 people pay $65 a ticket to see what difference the huddle makes. What they want to know is, having called the play in secret, does it work in public?
The challenge for the church is not what we do when we call our Sunday morning huddle, but what we do when we break our huddle and head out to the world we live in. Will our lives reflect God’s moral law? When Satan lines up against us, what difference does it make that we are Christians?
Please click here for slides to accompany the sermon.