Foundations for Ethics
We are living in an increasingly wicked society. We need to examine why we need to live godly lives.
The coming judgment provides a foundation for our behavior. Paul said that if the dead are not raised, we should eat and drink because we won’t live forever (1 Cor 15:32). Peter said that because the world will be burned up we should be holy and godly (2 Pet 3:10-11).
We will be judged according to our works. John saw the dead judged according to their works (Rev 20:12). Every day we are making decisions as to how we will be judged.
Our baptism is to be a defining moment which changes our lives. We were raised in baptism to walk in newness of life (Rom 6:4). Our old man was crucified with Christ in baptism (Rom 6:6). Christians are to put on the new man (Eph 4:24).
Our lives should, therefore, be different. We dare not live like those who have never been baptized. We dare not live like we did before we were baptized.
Jesus set an example while he was here on earth. Christ left an example that we should follow (1 Pet 2:21). The context here has to do with following Jesus’ example in suffering. But, this is a valid principle for our lives. Paul said that the Corinthians should imitate him as he imitated Christ (1 Cor 11:1).
We need to live our lives like Jesus lived his. “What Would Jesus Do?” is a good standard for us to follow.
There is Right and Wrong
Many would say that there is no such thing as right and wrong. Yet, the Scriptures teach that right and wrong are objective standards. Galatians 5:16-26 lists “works of the flesh” and the “fruit of the Spirit”-These are right and wrong all the time, under any circumstances. God punishes wrong regardless of one’s motives. God had said that anyone who touched anything holy would die (Num 4:15). When the ark began to stumble, Uzzah reached forth his hand to steady it, but he died (2 Sam 6:6-7).
We are to be faithful to God regardless of the circumstances. Revelation 2:10. “Until death” actually means “unto death.” The idea is that we should be faithful to the point of dying to remain faithful. Hebrews 12:3-4.
We have great power to influence people to do right. The scriptures teach us to set good examples. Matthew 5:13-16. Titus 2:6-8.
Christ Died to Free Us From Sin
Jesus Christ had to die to free us from sin. 1 Peter 2:24. 1 Peter 1:17-19. That Jesus died at Calvary to free me from sin should keep me from sin.
God is Holy
Just as boys often want to be just like their father, we should want to be like our Father in heaven. 1 Peter 1:15-16. Ephesians 5:1-Even though the context has to do with forgiving one another, we can apply the principle broadly. Matthew 5:48.
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Owingsville church of Christ in Owingsville, Kentucky.