In recent weeks and months we have heard a lot about ‘family values’, ‘morality’, and ‘integrity’. Tonight I want us to consider what they are and how they should impact our lives as believers.
I want us to consider some definitions at the outset of the message tonight. We need to understand what it is we are talking about.
Now all of these terms can be applied differently depending upon what we use as a standard. The standard changes the values, the morals, and a person’s integrity. Note the term ‘honor among thieves’. The standard by which we must define and apply these terms must be the Word of God. It cannot be society because society changes. It cannot be knowledge, because that too changes. It must be the only thing in our world that doesn’t change, the Word of and unchanging God.
I. Two Worlds
A. The world of darkness
1. The Bible uses the word "darkness" to describe the world of sin.
2. This darkness, which entered the world at the Fall, is the domain of Satan and his spirit helpers (Eph. 6:11-12).
3. Satan has set the secular, material, man-centered and often immoral philosophy that is so prevalent in the world.
4. Like physical darkness, this spiritual darkness blinds.
a. It prevents people from seeing the truth and blinds their eyes so that they don't even know where they're going (1 John 2:1 1).
b. It clouds their thinking about the meaning of life, the right way to live and life's true priorities.
c. Since people living in darkness don't understand what life is all about as God intended, their actions are unfruitful (Eph. 5:11).
5. As believers, we have not yet been delivered from the environment of this evil values system. Cf John 17:15
a. We would have to leave the world to be completely free of contact with its evil. Cf 1 Cor. 5:9-10
b. But even though we can't escape the world, we are not to take part in the crooked thinking and acting that it produces.
c. Truth and error do not mix. Cf 2 Cor. 6:14-16
6. But He has 'delivered us from the power of darkness" and given us the ability to choose to obey Him and to live in the light rather than in the world of darkness.
7. The key is learning to distinguish between the two systems and thereby develop a world view with Biblical values and goals.
B. The world of light
(1 JOHN 1:5) "THIS THEN IS THE MESSAGE WHICH WE HAVE HEARD OF HIM, AND DECLARE UNTO YOU, THAT GOD IS LIGHT, AND IN HIM IS NO DARKNESS AT ALL."
1. He sent His Son, the Light of the World, to deliver us all from this darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).
2. He makes us "children of light, and the children of the day" (1 Thess. 5:5).
3. Since believers have been delivered from the darkness, our world view is transformed as God's Word and the Holy Spirit renew our minds.
4. We are to understand spiritual values and adopt them as the guidelines for our own lives.
II. Building Values.
A. A foundation of faith (11:27)
1. Moses had a foundation of faith in God and His revealed Word.
2. He understood that God, though invisible, was at work in his life and in his world.
3. The foundation for his life was outside himself and in the truth of the true God.
4. Principle: Our view of all life must rest on the foundation of faith in God and His truth.
B. Values based on faith (11:26)
1. Moses valued the things of God more than the treasures of Egypt.
2. He based his values on his foundation of faith in God.
3. No doubt his believing parents taught him God's truth, which caused him to value eternal things.
4. It is important for us to make our home a school of faith taught by godly examples who say, 'Do as I do."
5. Principle: Values are shaped by our system of truth.
C. Choices based on values (11:25)
1. Moses rejected a life of ease in the Pharaoh's palace, choosing instead to suffer alongside his fellow Israelites.
2. He rejected a life of status, power, wealth and worldly fame in favor of a life with the slaves-a choice the world would say makes no sense.
3. But Moses based his choices, not on worldly values, but on God's values.
4. Principle: Our choices demonstrate our values.
D. Character based on choices. (11:1-2)
1. Moses had a good reputation with God because of his choices.
2. Truth shapes our values.
3. Proper values lead to right choices.
4. And a pattern of right choices results in a good character.
5. This sequence makes possible a fife of commitment to Christ.
6. Principle: A pattern of right choices results in good character.
III. Developing Stewardship (Mt. 25:14-30)
1. We can compare God to the master in this parable.
a. He owns everything in the world; nevertheless He entrusts his servants (believers) with the responsibility of managing His resources for Him.
b. God sovereignly decides what resources He will place in the hands of each of His servants.
c. He decides which ones and how many each of us will have.
2. God owns everything (Ps. 50:10-12).
3. He is the creator: "He… made us…"
(PSA 100:3) "KNOW YE THAT THE LORD HE IS GOD: IT IS HE THAT HATH MADE US, AND NOT WE OURSELVES; WE ARE HIS PEOPLE, AND THE SHEEP OF HIS PASTURE."
4. He is the redeemer: 'We are his people"
5. And He is the controller: 'We are ... the sheep of his pasture."
1. Each believer is like one of the servants in the parable.
2. We are either faithful or unfaithful.
3. The faithful servants put their master's talents to good use, investing them, making them count.
4. The unfaithful steward dug a hole and squirreled his away, wasting it.
5. A faithful Christian uses what God has given him in the wisest possible way, which brings glory to Him.
1. When the master returned from his journey, he called each servant into His presence and required a face-to- face report from each one on how he'd managed his possessions.
2. We, too, will answer for how we've used our master's resources.
(2 COR 5:10) "FOR WE MUST ALL APPEAR BEFORE THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST; THAT EVERY ONE MAY RECEIVE THE THINGS DONE IN HIS BODY, ACCORDING TO THAT HE HATH DONE, WHETHER IT BE GOOD OR BAD."
3. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, God will judge us on how we've managed the time, money, spiritual gifts and possessions He entrusted to us.
The unprofitable servant in Jesus' story did not get away with being lazy and unproductive. He had to look his master in the face and explain his actions. Instead of owning up to his poor stewardship, he chose to make excuses (Matt. 25:24-25). How easy it is for us to justify what we want to do and rationalize away what we do not want to do! Success, joy and lasting fulfillment can be ours if we acknowledge God's ownership of ourselves and His resources and dedicate ourselves to being faithful stewards.