HOLINESS AND MORALITY (Kent Smith 4/23)
Holiness in Believers and Morality in America
(A Seven Week Sermon Series)
What is Holiness?
“The Hebrew word for holiness is godes, a word that highlights the realm of the sacred in contrast to everything common and profane. The adjective gados, “holy,” refers to God and what belongs to him.”
(5 Threats to Your Holiness by Joey Cochran)
God is holy: pure, righteous, sacred, divine; completely and perfectly undefiled and unblemished.
We are to be holy as He is holy. (Leviticus 19:2, 1 Peter 1:15)
Leviticus 19:2: Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.
1 Peter 1:15: but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior.
What is Morality?
The ideals of right human conduct. (www.merriam-webster.com)
“Morality consists of a collection of biological and cultural solutions to the problems of cooperation recurrent in human social life.” Oxford University. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/701478
For our understand:
Morality is the reflection of behaviors and beliefs that undergird the societal contract of cooperation.
Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs survey provides a fascinating glimpse into the American public’s views of issues that can be classified under the broad rubric of morality. The survey, conducted each May since 2001, probes Americans’ views about a series of specific issues and behaviors as well as broad questions about the views of moral values more generally.
Findings from the Gallup Poll on Morality in the US from May 2022.
POLLING MATTERS JUNE 17, 2022 Untangling Americans’ Complex Views of Morality by Frank Newport//NEWS.GALLUP.COM/OPINION/POLLING-MATTERS/393782/UNTANGLING-AMERICANS-COMPLEX-VIEWS-MORAILITY.ASPX
Findings / Conclusions
Americans’ views that
Sex between unmarried man and woman,
Having a baby outside of marriage,
Sex between teenagers,
And gay or lesbian relations,
Are all morally acceptable This has statistically increased significantly over the past two decades;
And while just 23% of Americans say that polygamy is morally acceptable, that’s up from 7% in 2003.
This general pattern has been described as a movement to individual choice, and a shift away from customary standards about certain behaviors based on common practices, traditions and religious teachings. In essence, Americans are becoming more accepting as far as non-traditional families and sexual behavior are concerned.
HOWEVER: The majority of Americans consistently rate the nation’s moral values as only fair or poor. This year the “poor” percentage has edged up to a record 50% with fair an additional 37%.
WHY IS THIS THE CASE?
Americans’ responses to a question asking them to name “the most important problem with the state of moral values in the U.S. today.”
Small percentages of Americans – totaling less than 10% – mention abortion, sexuality, promiscuity, teenage sex, and gay and lesbian relations as the most troubling moral issues.
Most of Americans, when asked about problems with the nation’s moral values think of how we deal with one another in our daily lives and how we act toward one another in an interconnected social system. 18% of Americans cite “being considerate to others” as the most important issue related to morality - more than any other specific moral issue!
The Christian Dilemma
How do we lovingly promote holiness?
By being a personal example of holy living.
By unapologetically sharing God’s standard for holiness.
By sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ as the one path to meeting God’s standard of holiness.
1. ONE EXAMPLE: Leviticus 19:2 and 1 Peter 1:15 BE HOLY
ONE REQUIREMENT: OBEDIENCE
John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.”
2. ONE STANDARD:
One command: Be Holy as I am Holy
Ten Commandments Exodus 20
V.3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol,
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.
12 “Honor your father and your mother,
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 (lie)
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.”
Two commandments: Mark 12: 29-31
‘AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’
The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’
3. ONE PATH
Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Mt 28:18-20
The Compassionate Christian
Sharing God’s standard of holiness will often be perceived as immoral in our present society.
Not sharing God’s standard of holiness AND His solution to being made holy is the ultimate act of being unloving.
Sharing God’s standard in the eyes of the world:
It breaks the peace
The standards of the world are fluid. They have radically changed from society to society, and from age to age.
To accommodate the popular and culturally acceptable mores of morality, which are antithetical to God’s holiness is to prove ourselves unfaithful to the gospel.
God’s standards have never and will never change.
Not sharing God’s standard in the eyes of God:
1 Peter 2:4-12 4 And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER STONE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” 7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER STONE,” 8 and, “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were appointed.9 BUT YOU ARE A CHOSEN RACE, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you have not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 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 because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.