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The Loving thing to do

             Our young adult group at First Farragut has been involved in a powerful Sunday School series that is challenging all of us.  Yesterday we talked about, “How we should live, the Ethics of Jesus.”  Using examples from scripture and 3 key precepts, Adam Hamilton, the Senior Pastor at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection (a Mega church in Kansas City) brings to life some challenging thoughts.  They are simple, yet they seem to challenge.  As I prepared for our Sunday School discussion I felt as though I had been dropping the ball in my own life of faith.  I felt that I had been ignoring my own thoughts on Christian Ethics and morality.  As the culture continues to change around us I believe something whole heartedly that the president of Grace University said in his book on Christian Ethics.  Dr. Eckman says, “The reason we as Christians need to study ethics is that western culture has relinquished any absolute framework for thinking about ethical standards.  Christians must understand the integrated nature of ethical issues.  Most Christians do not know how to use the Bible to approach contemporary ethical issues.  For many the Bible seems irrelevant.  But this sad state of affairs cannot continue.  Christians must learn to think biblically and Christianly about ethical concerns.  The Bible is God’s Word.  In 2 Timothy Paul argues that the Bible equips for every good work and is beneficial for correction, rebuking, and training in righteousness (3:16,17).  Obviously, studying the Word is necessary for ethical decision making, God’s Word gives God’s view of life and His absolute standards.”  Powerful words from the president of my University.  And I completely agree.  We must be willing to deal with difficult issues in our world based on what God’s Word has to say about it.  Below are the three precepts that Adam Hamilton talks about in, “How we should live, The Ethics of Jesus.” 

1.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.  Honor God in everything you do.   Ask yourself this question as you live.  Will what I’m about to do honor God?  For example:  National Policies:  Would pursuing this course of action be a reflection of my love for God? 

2.  Love our Neighbors as we love ourselves.  This is the central Ethical principal of Jesus’ teaching.   We especially need to love our enemies.  We need to let the world know we are disciples of Jesus Christ by how we love.  What is the loving thing to do?  In this business situation what is the loving course of action?  In dealing with my employees, what is the loving thing to do?  On this national scale what is the loving thing to do?

3.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Mathew 7:12  We need to be willing to walk in other people’s shoes.  Such as, selling a used car or being treated a certain way by a boss.   On a national scale, does it feel ok as a nation to be treated this way by another nation?  Would what I’m doing right now work if someone else was doing it to me?  How would it feel?

                Adam follows up these precepts with stories of the Good Samaritan and the Lawyer with Jesus.  Great and powerful examples of how to live!  In the Good Samaritan the despised Samaritan was the only one of the three men who encountered the beaten man who asked himself the following question.  “If I don’t stop and do something what will happen to this man?”  He asked himself the question, “what is the loving thing to do?” 

                     The lesson ended with this powerful challenge, a paraphrase of some of what Adam said in the DVD.  “Love isn’t founded on good theology.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s very important that we have good theology.  Love is founded on what we do.  There was racial tension and theological issues with the Good Samaritan, yet he was the only one who stopped and asked himself the important question that caused him to help.”

                    I pray that you have a spectacular Monday.  And may we as Christians ask ourselves the appropriate questions in our lives today.  Questions that will help us to live the way that Jesus lived. 

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