Monday, January 16, 2017

Moral Clarity


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Matthew 19:13-15English Standard Version (ESV)

Let the Children Come to Me

13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.
Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1/16/17)  I received an email from a Jewish friend saying that today is a day of prayer for him (even thought he is not religious) because of his respect for Dr. King and his work. 
I took the opportunity to talk about Dr. King's faith in Jesus (Yeshua) and the fact that he was a Baptist preacher.  Dr. King's faith was unorthodox, but he did love the teaching and example of Jesus.
Somehow Dr. King's faith in Jesus has been left out of the conversation by admirers who promote love and justice, but who have progressive ideas about morality.  Jesus loves all people, but wants all to repent and come to Him for life. 
Some of these same people who love Dr. King and disregard Biblical values accuse people who speak out against sin of being "haters." Maybe they are helped in this attitude by the hateful antics of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, KS.

But Dr. King was a preacher at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA. 

 http://kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/encyclopedia/enc_ebenezer_baptist_church/ 
An interesting part of Dr. Kings history has to do with his being attacked by J. Edgar Hoover, who openly attempted to discredit Dr. King.
So we have a Baptist preacher, Dr. King, being attacked by a suspected homosexual practitioner, J. Edgar Hoover, on the topic of sexual immorality. Is this the  pot calling the kettle black?
The truth seems often to be stranger than fiction.  So how do we view human sexuality with moral clarity? Adultery and homosexuality both belong to the same list of sins recorded by Paul in his writings to Christians. 

Keep in Step with the Spirit

Gal 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,[d] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do[e] such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 5English Standard Version (ESV)

Walk in Love

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

God's Wrath on Unrighteousness

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.32 Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Those of us who look to Scripture for instruction in moral clarity find that how we feel is not the standard for how we should act. Also trusting what we think and agree on as humans makes certain that we will miss the mark of living righteous lives as defined by Scripture (the canon of accepted scripture Old and New Testament)

Scripture teaches us to control our feeling and passions, and to pursue what builds up and edifies society.  So how we feel cannot determine how we are supposed to act. We are taught to seek fulfillment by giving, rather than by getting. 
Society is blessed when we pursue righteous values. Moral clarity is revealed by our Creator, not developed by social scientists. Moral value is also put to the test over time in cultures where various ethical standards are applied.  The history of the world shows the superiority of those cultures where individuals are allowed to practice their individual faith in Jesus (Yeshua). 
Moral clarity gives society an anchor for acceptable conduct.  Such a foundation is sadly lacking in our modern culture. We need to repent and return God to the throne of our hearts.  In God we trust must be renewed and respected. 

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Trust

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