I am not impressed by nice people talking about how nice we should be to one another. I am equally unimpressed by those who harp on how bad this group is to that group. Yes, These are real issues but they are not THE MESSAGE. They are distracting headlines that bury the real news and make it a foot note so that it is easily overlooked. If we move from a spiritual message to a moral message we lose the power to live because without spiritual quickening we become subject to our own depravity.
The first seventeen verses of Exodus chapter twenty lay out the perfect frame work of morality. We have ten fingers and God gave Israel ten principles that span the scope of morality but then in the verses afterwards things get interesting.
"Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, 'You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.' Moses said to the people, 'Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.' The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was." - Exodus 20:18-21 ESV
Beware when people front-load the treatment of other people as the message. If they talk about the high respect we should have for one another but exclude Jesus and His cross you are hearing a smoking mountain message. If they harp on injustice without Jesus or talk of equality without a cross they are bringing you to a holy mountain that can not sustain life.
"Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more," - Romans 5:12-13, 20 ESV
"For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death." - Romans 7:5 ESV
"Then the disciples came and said to him, 'Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?' He answered, 'Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.' " - Matthew 15:12-14 ESV
Moral teachers are blind guides. They mean well but they just get other people killed and trap others in pits that they can't see themselves.
Depravity can not be educated out of us. Making people aware will only take them so far but it isn't ever going to be far enough. It isn't ignorance that brings people to Hell or creates Hell on Earth. It is that man is fallen and broken beyond repair.
THE MESSAGE brings hope. It is a lone beam of light that can enter a person and make them shine with light. The message is that Jesus died on a cross and rose again. The message is that God has made a free provision for everyone to have a new clean identity because of what Jesus did if we just believe in Him.
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil." - John 3:14-19 ESV
Spirituality produces a moral climate but morality alone can never produce one drop of spirituality. Without Jesus men only have a smoking mountain to look at and deep within their depraved little hearts they know they should die if they touch that mountain.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted." - Hebrews 12:1-3 ESV
"Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." - Isaiah 40:30-31 KJV
Don't be fooled by the moral messages out there. They don't save anyone from Hell.
I am looking at the cross this morning and marveling at an empty tomb. Jesus has washed my sin away. God above smiles on me in love and nothing I do can change that. Oh, That is good news. It makes me want to be kind and no one has to tell me I should. I am so rich that I can share what I have and never have any less no matter how much I give away. Thank You Jesus. You are my headline. May You forever be on the front page of my life and the reason I do anything.