"MORAL ISSUES CONFRONTING CHRISTIANS" Authority In Morality INTRODUCTION 1. Christians today are confronted with many conflicting views of morality... a. People have different opinions concerning what is right and wrong b. What once was generally accepted as good and true is now challenged c. Governments are redefining the concept of marriage d. Businesses often operate with ethics that sanction lying, stealing 2. How does one know what is right and wrong in areas of morality...? a. Everyone has a sense of right and wrong b. But the standard of right and wrong often differs [The answer for the Christian is simple. But before we consider it, let's first review...] I. WHAT MANY ACCEPT AS AUTHORITY IN MORALITY A. THEIR FEELINGS... 1. "If it feels good, it must be right" 2. The Bible warns against trusting in "feelings" a. "There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." - Pr 14:12 b. "He who trusts in his own heart is a fool..." - Pr 28:26 c. "O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps." - Jer 10:23 -- Many people have destroyed themselves by following their feelings B. THEIR CONSCIENCE... 1. "Let your conscience be your guide" 2. But one's conscience is not always reliable a. Paul had served God with a good conscience throughout his life - Ac 23:1 b. Even at a time when he was persecuting Christians!
- cf. Ac 26:9-11 -- Our conscience is like a clock, which works properly only if set properly C. THEIR FRIENDS... 1. "Everyone else is doing it" 2. But consider the words of Jesus, in describing the end of the majority - Mt 7:13-14 3. If you followed the majority... a. In Noah's day, you would have perished in the flood b. In Joshua's day, you would have perished in the wilderness -- Following the majority can be like lemmings running over a cliff D. THEIR MINISTERS... 1. "The preacher (priest, rabbi, etc.) says it is okay" 2. They reason that surely these "men of God" could not lead them astray 3. Yet notice the warnings given by Jesus, Paul and Peter a. Religious leaders can be "blind leaders of the blind"
- Mt 15:12-14 b. They can be "ministers of Satan" - 2Co 11:13-15 c. There will be false teachers with destructive ways
- 2Pe 3:1-3 -- Following the wrong minister can lead to corruption [It is clear that what many people accept as authority in morality should not be a guide for Christians. So let's now consider what should be...] II. THE CHRISTIAN'S AUTHORITY IN MORALITY A. JESUS HAS ALL AUTHORITY... 1. In heaven and on earth - Mt 28:18 2. In all areas, including sexual mores and behavior - Ep 4:17-24 3. He will one day judge all mankind - Ac 17:30-31 4. And the standard of judgment will be His words - Jn 12:48 -- Jesus is the ultimate standard of authority in morality B. JESUS DELEGATED AUTHORITY TO HIS APOSTLES... 1. To receive them is to receive Him - Mt 10:40; Jn 13:20 2. They were sent as "ambassadors" for Christ - 2Co 5:20 3. To ensure reliability, Jesus promised them the Holy Spirit
- Jn 14:26 4. The Spirit would guide the apostles into all truth
- Jn 16:12-13 5. Thus the apostles proclaimed "the whole counsel of God"
- Ac 20:27 6. Christians were to accept the apostles' words as truth - cf. 1Co 14:37 -- The apostles' doctrine is the Christians' standard of authority (Ac 2:42) C. THEIR AUTHORITY PERTAINS TO AREAS OF MORALITY... 1. As Paul solemnly charged the church in Thessalonica - 1Th 4:1-8 a. Addressing sexual immorality b. And marital faithfulness 2. As he likewise wrote to the church in Ephesus - Ep 4:17-32 a. Addressing lewdness, greediness, and deceitful lusts b. And lying, anger, stealing, foul language -- Morality is an integral part of "the truth" that is in Jesus CONCLUSION 1. Many people go through life confused about morality... a. They constantly wonder: "Is this right or wrong for me?" b. They stumble their way through life, making wrong choices with terrible consequences 2. The Christian need not be confused about morality... a. The truth is in Jesus - cf. Ep 4:21 b. God has given us "all things that pertain to live and godliness" - 2Pe 1:3 If you are looking for truth as it pertains to morality, then let Jesus and His apostles be your guide. As Jesus said... "I am the way, the truth, and the life." - Jn 14:6