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Scripture Reading: Mark 8:34-38
1. 2 Pet 1:5: “Virtue” in the moral excellence (courage) to stand for what is right against all opposition and every adversity. (Blessed, Matt 5:10-12)
a. Invaluable to faith; without moral courage faith weakens and falters.
b. Those with it
will be raised to thrones of glory, Rev 6:9-11;
2. Being a Christian demands having a spiritual backbone; the conviction of faith and willingness to stand and live by faith, 1 Cor 16:13.
I. EXAMPLES OF
A. Pilate: Failed to Use His Authority to Free the Innocent (Jesus).
1. Moral cowardice knows what is right, but will not do it.
a. He found no fault - Jesus was innocent, Lk 23:4, 14-15, 22.
b. He knew what was right, had some desired to do it, Lk 23:20.
c. He let evil prevail, Lk 23:23-25.
d. We let evil prevail when we fail do what we know is right, and when we content ourselves saying “I wanted to do the right thing!” Jas 4:17
2. Moral cowardice tries to justify itself before it peers.
a. “I am innocent”! Matt 27:24
may succeed convincing people, but will not convince God.
B. Peter: A Man who knew the Truth but Failed to Acknowledge It.
1. Moral cowardice values safety over truth, Matt 26:69-75.
a. It can lead a person to lie, 26:70, 72, 74. (Selfishness)
b. It can lead a person
to violate his conscience (Peter).
c. It will ultimately result in bitterness of heart.
2. Moral cowardice fears consequences of standing for truth, Gal 2:12-14.
a. Afraid of reaction of fellow Jews, 2:12.
b. Thought consequence was worse than the benefit, Jno 12:42-43.
c. Wrong priorities and values, Jno 12:43 (cf. Matt 10:28)
II. EXAMPLES OF MORAL
A. Paul: A Man who Publicly Resisted Sin, Gal 2:11, 14.
1. Moral courage is public about its faith (takes public stand for truth).
a. He did not retreat from the truth despite being outnumbered.
b. Goal is that the gospel prevails / souls saved, Gal 2:3-5.
B. Daniel and his Companions: Commitment to the True God.
1. Moral courage requires purpose of heart, Dan 1:8.
a. Despite being in a strange land, being young, being under the authority of King Nebuchadnezzar, danger to others and self (1:10, 13).
b. Moral courage does not make excuses, it stands by faith.
2. Moral courage trusts in God, Dan 3:16-18.
a. Confident of deliverance, 3:17 (24-27).
b. Trust in and serve God only, 3:28.
3. Moral courage will not compromise with sin, Dan 6:7-10.
a. Continued his practice of prayer to God, 6:10 (Faith, 6:23).
b. Without compromise, fear or favor, Acts 5:29 (1 Tim 5:21).
III. OUR NEED FOR
A. Christians with the Courage to Suffer Isolation because they Practice Moral Purity, 1 Pet 4:3-5. (Young Christians, 1 Tim 4:12; 2 Tim 2:22)
1. Christians are tempted to conform to the world.
a. When the world sees a Christian who will not compromise his values, his distinctive morality rebukes their ungodliness and gives opportunity for their conversion, 1 Pet 2:11-12.
b. May speak evil of you when you do not participate in their dirty jokes, drinking, drugs, cursing, dancing, immodesty, gambling, etc. – They may not want to be a friend with you, 4:4.
c. Keep your faith and moral courage and be blessed by God.
B. Preachers with the Courage to Preach the Truth when it is Needed, 2 Tim 4:1-5.
1. Sin must not be tolerated for the sake of peace…for the sake of a job, relationships, etc. (cf. “cast out of the synagogue”)
2. They preached to the need of the moment, Acts 2:23, 36; 24:25.
3. Purpose: To save souls, to lead sinners to repentance, to remove complacency (Acts 4:18-20).
C. We all Need the Moral Courage to Confess Jesus in Our Lives, Mk 8:38 (to not be ashamed of Him).
1. To become a Christian (Mk 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-41).
2. To live faithfully (2 Cor 5:7).
3. To teach the gospel (Rom 1:15-16).
4. To be a godly example (Matt 5:13-16).
1. We all need more
moral courage. Like Peter, may we repent of our sinful failures and
again show moral courage in our faith.
2. God calls on us to have faithful conviction and dutiful action.