Summary: The child of God must recognize that in the midst of so many standards of living, there is only one that is right.
What’s Your Standard?
If you know the pledge to the Bible, say it with me.
“I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God’s holy word, I will make it a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my paths. I will hide its words in my heart, that I might not sin against God.”
The diligent Bible student will recognize in that pledge two verses from the longest psalm in the Bible, Psalm 119, verses 11 & 105. When the psalmist said, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path,” he was doing more than giving us a good phrase to stick in a pledge and quote off with little thought for what they might mean. He was making a statement about life and how it ought to be lived by the child of God. There are 176 verses in Psalm 119, and if you’ll check them out, you’ll find that all of them with the exception of one or two refer in some way or another to the Word of God. It is truly a Psalm of praise for God’s Word!
It’s been said that George Muller, who was known for his strong faith, confided, "The first 3 years after conversion, I neglected the Word of God. Since I began to search it diligently, the blessing has been wonderful. I have read the Bible through one hundred times and always with increasing delight!" John Bunyan, who wrote Pilgrim’s Progress, testified, "Read the Bible, and read it again, and do not despair of help to understand something of the will and mind of God, though you think they are fast locked up from you. Neither trouble yourself, though you may not have commentaries and expositions; pray and read, and read and pray; for a little from God is better than a great deal from man."1
There’s great truth in what these two men have said. The Bible is the greatest book ever written! Sadly though, for most of us, it is one of the least read books we own. In fact, in most homes the phone book and the TV Guide are used more frequently than the Word of God. Many, and some of you no doubt, would say that you don’t get much out of the Bible. It’s hard to understand. It doesn’t make sense. In the days when preachers weren’t paid but rather took home whatever was collected in the offering, a circuit-riding preacher entered a church building with his young son, and dropped a coin into the offering box in the back. Not many came that Sunday, and those who did didn’t seem too excited about what was said. After the service, the preacher and son walked to the back, and he emptied the box. Out fell one coin. The young boy said, "Dad, if you’d have put more in, you’d have gotten more out!" The same is true with our study of God’s Word. We’ll only get out of it what we’re willing to put in to it.
We’re suffering an epidemic in our nation and in our churches today of people who claim to be saved but fail to recognize the authority of God’s Word for their lives. In two national surveys conducted by Barna Research, one among adults and one among teenagers, people were asked if they believe that there are moral absolutes that are unchanging or that moral truth is relative to the circumstances. By a 3-to-1 margin adults said truth is always relative to the person and their situation. The perspective was even more lopsided among teenagers, 83% of whom said moral truth depends on the circumstances, and only 6% of whom said moral truth is absolute.2
That means that things like lying, living together, stealing, murder, abortion, hatred, and all sorts of other things that the Bible condemns are all right for most people so long as they think it to be so. The Bible has taken a back seat to some other standards. I like a conversation I read about that involved Abraham Lincoln.
Once, when a stubborn disputer seemed unconvinced, Lincoln said, "Well, let’s see how many legs has a cow?" "Four, of course," came the reply disgustedly.
"That’s right," agreed Lincoln. "Now suppose you call the cow’s tail a leg; how many legs would the cow have?" "Why, five, of course," was the confident reply. "Now, that’s where you’re wrong," said Lincoln. "Calling a cow’s tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg."3
You can call sin what you want to call it, renaming it doesn’t change the fact that it is sin. But we’re not necessarily just talking about sin this morning. Remember the psalmist said, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” God’s Word certainly points out for us what sin is and names it clearly, but God’s Word also helps us to make right decisions about life in general and teaches us how to live lives that are pleasing to the One who created us and died to save us that we might have a relationship with Him. The problem is that there are so many accepted standards in our world today for making decisions and for deciding what is right and wrong that it is up to you to decide what standards you are going to follow. Some try to follow varying sets of standards, using the Bible for some decisions and other standards for other decisions.