Summary: How can we know that we are "In Christ" or out?

"Are You In or Out?"

1 John 1:5-10

For centuries it appeared to human beings that the earth was stationary and that the sun moved around it. Then a man named Copernicus came along and proved that what seemed obvious on the surface was not, in fact, true. It was the earth that was moving around the sun, not the sun around the earth; and that discovery has changed our understanding of our physical reality ever since. What Copernicus did to our perceptions of the earth and the sun, the risen Christ can do to our understanding of our lives.

Those early conclusions we come to as children, that all of life revolves around us, may appear to be true from our perspective, but they are false. It is not just children who hold to this theory of "self" being the center of the Universe. We are faced with the dilemma everyday of who will call the shots for our life. Will we allow the laws of God to lead us through life and shape our decisions or will we determine the direction of our life and come up with our own answers to the questions that confront us? These truly are the only two paths that we can follow. We will either submit our wills and lives to living according to God's will or we will write our own rules.

What we are talking about is a matter of morals and ethics, two words that have lost their luster in our day. The moral and ethical laws of our God are meant to bless us, to keep us from certain ruin, and to keep us in fellowship with Him. For more than thirty years, we as a nation, have sought to cast off God's moral and ethical call upon our lives. In his powerful book, The Closing of the American Mind, Dr. Allan Bloom, Professor in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, says, "There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of. Almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative." It is sad, but true. We have taken the pursuit of truth, right and wrong, out of our classrooms and allowed our young people to arrive at the conclusion that they must write their own ethical standards.

Chuck Colson wrote about one such example in a commentary called Computer Confusion. Chuck says,

In educational circles today, there's a big push to get computers into the classroom. But high-tech electronic gadgets don't necessarily make for better education. In fact, there's one kind of computer program that only makes a bad course worse. An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education describes a set of videodiscs that were developed for teaching ethics. The disks present students with ethical dilemmas to solve. For example, there's a disk called "A Right to Die?" showing the true story of a young man named Dax, who was severely burned in a car explosion. For months, Dax underwent excruciating burn therapy. He pleaded with doctors and nurses to let him die. Eventually he recovered, and today he is married and practicing law. But the students don't know all that. The videodisc shows Dax before the accident, shows him horribly burned-and then stops. The students are asked to decide whether Dax should be allowed to live or die. And whatever they choose, the computer challenges it. If they say Dax should live, they are shown film clips of the patient begging to die. If they say he should be allowed to die, they see clips of him today, in his successful law practice. So what's the right answer? The computer doesn't tell. What's the point of teaching ethics this way? If the method doesn't teach students what course is right or wrong-what does it teach? The answer is simple: It teaches relativism-that there is no right or wrong in ethics. One of the professors who developed the videodisc program explains: "We never say the students get the wrong answer. We just put their decisions under duress." That's the key phrase: putting students' ideas "under duress." Dilemmas are chosen that are so difficult it's hard for students to see how ordinary ethical categories apply-the ones they learned from their parents and teachers. The goal is to free students from everything they've been taught before so they can develop their own ideas about ethics. Lawrence Kohlberg, who pioneered this dilemma approach, says the situations are meant to be so hard that "the adult right answer is not obviously at hand," and the student is, therefore, free to think up his own answers.

The idea that we can come up with our own set of rules dates back far beyond the advent of the computer to the Garden of Eden where Satan suggested God didn't really mean what He had said, Eve could make her own decision.

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