Q. “What’s wrong with us?” Can’t people see what they are doing to themselves? People addicted to drugs, alcohol, pleasure, materialism, you name it our society is addicted to it, crime on a rampage, families torn apart, fathers refusing to take responsibility for their families, CEO’s stealing the retirement funds of the elderly, sexually transmitted diseases in epidemic proportions, pornography and gambling now available on the internet, homosexuality and adultery glorified by our culture, sexual activity now said to be common among grade school children, lying and cheating evident in every social-economic group. What’s going on?”
There is a growing consciousness that our society in going out of control morally. There is also a growing realization that a morally out-of-control society is a sick society. That is not simply the value judgment of a preacher. It is a growing consciousness among people from many backgrounds, who are casting a dispassionate eye at our society.
Ted Koppel, the much respected broadcaster of ABC’s Nightline, parted from his usual neutral stance and offered something of a piercing sermon on morals at Duke University a few years ago. In his address he said, “We have actually convinced ourselves that slogans will save us. Shoot up if you must, but use clean needles. Enjoy sex whenever and with whomever you wish but wear a condom…” Then Koppel gave this sharp rebuke, “The answer is, ‘NO’. Not because it isn’t cool or smart or because you might end up in jail or dying in an AIDS ward but because it is wrong. Because we have spent 5,000 years as a race of rational human beings trying to drag ourselves out of the primeval slime by searching for truth and moral absolutes. In its purest form, truth is not a polite tap on the shoulder, it’s a howling reproach. What Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai were not the Ten Suggestions.”
There is a growing consciousness that our society is out of control and that such a society is sick. John Morley once traveled from England to Canada to address the graduating class of a university. He began his speech by saying, “I have traveled 4,000 miles to tell you that there is a difference between right and wrong.”
Out of the covenant relationship God established with Israel a man named Moses was given a set of commandments, which we have come to know as the Ten Commandments. They tell us that there is a difference between right and wrong.
1 ¶ Then God spoke all these words, saying,
2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
5 “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the
iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,
6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
7 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.
8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 “Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.
11 “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
12 ¶ “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
The first four of those Ten Commandments deal with our relationship with our Creator. God says, “I brought your out of Egypt, you will have no gods before me. . .You will not make for yourself a graven image. . .You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain. . .Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
The remaining six Commandments deal with our relationship with others. “Honor you father and mother…..You shall not kill….You shall not commit adultery….You shall not steal….You shall not bear false witness…. You shall not covet.”
The Ten Commandments. Really, they are a very safe guide for human conduct. Often ridiculed. “Blessed are the pure in heart,” said one cynic, “for they shall inhibit the earth.” God’s standard for human conduct found in both the Old and the New Testament is often ignored. It’s not politically correct. This is the new millennialiam, we’re told. The old Victorian ideas found in the Scriptures are passay. It is said that although Napoleon III could speak four languages, he couldn’t say “NO” in any of them. When tempted to do wrong, he would twirl his mustache and yield to the temptation. His wife threatened to cut off his mustache unless he learned to say, “NO.”
How did we get into this situation? I AM CONVINCED THAT THE LOSS OF TRANSCENDENCE IN OUR SOCIETY IS AT THE ROOT OF OUR MORAL DECLINE. There is an immortal Creator who has spoken to us through the Law and the Prophets, and in these last days through Jesus Christ.
1 ¶ God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,
2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
The ground of all morality and ethics is the realization that “I am the Lord your God….you shall have no other gods before me.”
In Romans 1:25 Paul teaches us that people who worship the creature rather than the Creator give themselves to unnatural passions.
“For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
Is that not an accurate description of our secular society? In our world today people “worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator.”
What is it that God expects of us?
Titus 2:11 – 12
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly,
righteously and godly in the present age,
1 Peter 2:11 – 12
11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul.
12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Christians should never forget that according to James 1:27 religion that pleases God involves keeping oneself unspotted from the world.
2 Cor. 6:17
17 ” Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord.
“AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN;
And I will welcome you.
2 Cor. 7:1
1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
HEB 12:1 -2
1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
11 And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.
12 The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
13 Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.
14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
1 Thess. 4:1 – 8
1 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you may excel still more.
2 For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality;