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The Lord Is My Shepherd – Part 4
Archived – September 26, 2021

The Lord Is My Shepherd – Part 4

September 26, 2021

Story Time

Matthew 13:1-23

 

God’s Word is Loveable

The shepherd leads us with the .

  • Psalm 119:105
  • Psalm 119:35
  • Psalm 119:59
  • Psalm 119:97-103

Psalm 34:8

You can’t claim to love God while you simultaneously reject His words, thoughts and values.

If you won’t follow God’s word, you won’t follow God’s .

 

Why Some People Don’t Think the Word is Loveable

If you read the Bible carefully from cover to cover with the tools to understand it’s context, you will find four things. . .

  1. Those parts of the Bible that create the most contemporary controversy are not its ideas.
  2. The Bible is like many other ancient documents that we hold in regard.
  3. The Bible stands out among other ancient documents because of its textual .
    1. “ ‘There is no body of ancient literature in the world which enjoys such a wealth of good textual attestation as the New Testament.’ ”(p.63) –Lee Strobel (quoting F.F. Bruce [renowned New Testament scholar], The Case for Christ
    2. “ ‘In no other case is the interval of time between the composition of the book and the date of the earliest manuscript as short as in that of the New Testament.’ ”(p.63)–Lee Strobel (quoting Sir Fredrick Kenyon [former British Museum director, author of The Paleography of Greek Papyri], The Case for Christ
    3. “ ‘The New Testament, then, has not only survived in more manuscripts than any other book from antiquity, but it has survived in a purer form than any other great book—a form that is 99.5 percent pure.’ ” (p.65)–Lee Strobel (quoting Norman Geisler and William Nix [Bible scholars], The Case for Christ
    4. “Many of the most well-known works of antiquity, such as the writings of Plato and Aristotle, are known from only 25-40 manuscripts – that is 25-40 copies of their writings by others and dating to within a few hundred years of the author’s writing, but not the original writings of the men themselves.” (p. 18) –Jack Hayford, Grounds for Living
    5. “In contrast, there are more than 6000 manuscripts or parts of the New Testament, many from the first two centuries AD, that are available to compare.” (p. 18) –Jack Hayford, Grounds for Living
  4. The Bible is with what is needed to take morality seriously.

Com·men·su·rate/kəˈmensərət,kəˈmenSHərət/ adjective [dictionary.com]

  1. corresponding in amount, magnitude, or degree
  2. proportionate; adequate
  3. having the same measure; of equal extent or duration.

You have to take morality seriously to live with other people in this world.

To take morality seriously, you have to ask fundamental questions:

  1. Is there such a thing as good and evil?
  2. Are good and evil invented by humans to explain their existence and foster survival?
  3. Is good beneficial for its own sake or will people only pursue good if they are rewarded?
  4. Is goodness morally superior to evil?
  5. Does goodness have more power than evil?

 

Plato’s Republic

 

The Natural Desire for A Moral Standard

They are an example of what human beings have sought to create for millennia: a of morality.

People are not just crying out for a moral , but a moral system.

If there is such a thing as systemic injustice, there must be such a thing as systemic justice.

We can’t just resist systems; we must move toward systems.

 

Three Important Principles for Moral Systems

Principle# 1: A an effective moral system is

  • Com·pre·hen·sive /ˌkämprəˈhensiv/ adjective – complete; including all or nearly all elements or aspects of something (Oxford Languages)
  • 2 Timothy 3:16–17

Principle # 2: An effective moral system is .

  • A universal moral system is .
  • tran·scend·ent/ˌtran(t)ˈsend(ə)nt/adjective – beyond or above the range of normal or merely physical human experience. (Oxford Languages)
  • In a moral context, transcendent goes beyond any one group’s culturally derived concept of right and wrong.
  • A transcendent moral system is one whose authority, blessings and boundaries extend to everyone without partiality.
  • Psalm 119:89-89
  • Hebrews 4:12–13
  • God sees things as they really are and can accordingly.
  • Scripture the way God judges.
  • Proverbs 1:20-31

Principle # 3: An effective moral system is .

  • I Peter 1:24-25
  • 1 John 2:17

 

Does Your Moral System Pass the Test?

Will your moral system hold up under scrutiny?

Will your moral system hold up under these criteria?

You do not have to accept the Scripture’s claims about morality, but why should anyone be any more eager to accept your claims about morality?

If you submit your beliefs to the scrutiny, you submit the Bible, would your beliefs pass the test?

A moral system that has lasting value for everyone must extend the things you personally prefer.

To identify and live within a moral system that is comprehensive, universal and sustainable, we need a .

He will guide us in paths of righteousness.

© Joshua D. Smith, Ph.D., 2021

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