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I. What Is Ethics? • The discipline dealing with what is good and bad with moral duty and obligation; • A set of moral principles or values; • A theory or system of moral values; • The principles of conduct governing an individual or group (Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary)
II. The Purpose of Our Study. • Our primary objective will be to discover principles within God’s word which will help us establish a system whereby we may determine whether an action is right or wrong.
II. The Purpose of Our Study. • Paul explained to the young preacher, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12).
III. Some Different Views of Ethics. • Relativism—the doctrine that knowledge or truth is relative and dependant upon time, place and individual experience (Webster’s)
III. Some Different Views of Ethics. • “We have reached the stage in pluralization where choice is not just a state of affaires, it is a state of mind. Choice has become a value in itself even a priority. To be modern is to be addicted to choice and change. Change becomes the very essence of life.” (Os Guinness, The Gravedigger File, p. 96, as quoted in The Gagging of God by D. A. Carson)
III. Some Different Views of Ethics. • “Philosophical pluralism has generated many approaches in support of one stance: namely, that any notion that a particular ideological or religious claim is intrinsically superior to another is necessarily wrong. The only absolute creed is the creed of pluralism. No religion has the right to pronounce itself right or true, and the others false, or even (in the majority view) relatively inferior.” (D. A. Carson, The Gagging of God, p. 19)
III. Some Different Views of Ethics. • “Hedonism, the broad ethical term for all theories of philosophy in which the ultimate criterion for conduct is pleasure….It is a formidable moral philosophy, and its perennial plausibility is forged from the irresistible fact that pleasure is good; so good that all normal people instinctively and universally desire it.” (William S. Banowksy, It’s a Playboy World, p. 34).
III. Some Different Views of Ethics. • In an interview, Ayn Rand said, “Man exists for his own sake, the pursuit of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose, that he must not sacrifice himself to others nor sacrifice others to himself” (Banowksy, p. 57).
III. Some Different Views of Ethics. • “Despite the emphasis that postmodernism places upon tolerance and diversity of opinions, it also says that there are no absolute moral or spiritual standards that are appropriate for everyone and thus rejects aggressive evangelistic efforts as an attempt to ‘impose’ one person’s view [on] others” (Barna Research Online, July 28, 2003).
IV. Man Chose to Go His Own Way. • God gave man the right to choose—Joshua 24:15 “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
IV. Man Chose to Go His Own Way. • Judges 17:6 “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” • Ecclesiastes 7:29 “Truly, this only I have found; That God made man upright, But they have sought out many schemes.”
IV. Man Chose to Go His Own Way. • Isaiah 24:5 “The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, Because they have transgressed the laws, Changed the ordinances, Broken the everlasting covenant.” • Jeremiah 10:23 “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.”
IV. Man Chose to Go His Own Way. • Romans 1:22-25 “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
V. Ethical Choices Begin With a Love for God • Matthew 22:36-40 “‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. That is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’”
V. Ethical Choices Begin With a Love for God • “This commandment is first, because it is the foundation of the entire law of God. It is greatest, because, in a sense, it includes all the other laws. Polytheism, atheism, idolatry and all sins against God are forbidden by it. All sins against man are likewise, in a sense, prohibited by it; for sin against man is sin against God’s image, and against the objects of God’s love” (McGarvey, The Fourfold Gospel, p. 604).
V. Ethical Choices Begin With a Love for God • McGarvey went on to say, “ Those who truly love God can not consistently sin against man (I. John iv. 20).” • 1 John 4:20-21 “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him; that he who loves God must love his brother also.”
V. Ethical Choices Begin With a Love for God • Romans 13:8-10 “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
V. Ethical Choices Begin With a Love for God • Luke 10:25-37 • Notice the thieves, the priest and the Levite all violated the command to love your neighbor. • The Samaritan carried that law through to the fullest, recognizing that a neighbor was anyone in need.