A Right to Privacy?
Text: Ephesians 5:8-17
I. In our society the concept of a right to privacy has taken on a significant role
A. A few years back, two men arrested for committing homosexual acts won their case by arguing that what was done in the privacy of their home could not be used against them. Laws against homosexuality were struck from Texas law as a result.
B. A polygamist in Utah, who happens to also be a judge, argued that what he does in the privacy of his home and in personal relationships should not be a consideration whether he keeps his job. Thus he wants to work at a job upholding Utah’s laws while at the same time breaking those laws in private.
C. We can trace this line of reasoning back to Roe vs. Wade.
1. The fundamental defense was that a woman’s pregnancy was a private issue.
2. Therefore the government should not prevent an abortion because it violated the woman’s right to privacy.
II. Some things are private, that is belonging solely to the individual
A. The reason stealing is wrong is because there is a concept that property can belong to an individual - Exodus 20:15
1. Exodus 22:1-4 - There is private possessions and privacy in homes
2. Some will point out that the early disciples shared everything - Acts 2:44; 4:32
a. But was that sharing a revocation of property rights or an attitude of willingness to share what was theirs by right.
b. In other words, was it forced on or required of them, or was it generosity and brotherly loved being displayed?
c. Acts 5:4 - Peter makes it clear that property was not required to be sold
d. Therefore, the willingness to share was a matter of generosity
B. The marriage relationship is privately “owned” by the couple married - I Corinthians 7:4
1. Thus, adultery can be viewed as a violation of what privately belongs to another.
2. It doesn’t belong to strangers - Proverbs 5:15-20
C. But what is being argued is that sin is to be acceptable when it is done privately.
III. Truth exposes sin
A. John 3:19-21 - This is the reason men hated Jesus
B. It is a Christian’s duty to uphold the light and expose the evil done in secret - Ephesians 5:11-13
C. Though many think their sins are secret, they have a tendency to come to light - Numbers 32:23
1. This is what makes the arguments about “rights to privacy” in regards to sin twisted.
2. The reason the matter is known is because the sin didn’t remain secret
3. What they are arguing is because it was something intended to remain secret that it is justification for acceptance even when it is known.
D. We as a society have accepted this
1. I have heard repeatedly, “Well, I can’t judge what a person does in the privacy of his own home.”
2. Action in secret does not determine whether it is morally right or wrong.
3. We can uphold the judgments of God that certain actions, whether done in secret or in public is right or wrong.
E. We are avoiding the consequence of wrongful action - Galatians 6:7-8
IV. People’s private sins had public consequences
A. Achan stole from Jericho in secret, but God publicly exposed him - Joshua 7:10-12
1. The lot fell to Achan - Joshua 7:19-25
B. David’s private sin with Bathsheba was publically exposed by Nathan - II Samuel 12:7-12
1. David confessed his faults - II Samuel 12:13
2. He understood the need of cleansing from secret sins - Psalm 19:12
V. You cannot hide sin
A. It will not prosper you - Proverbs 28:13
B. Attempting to hide sin tears apart the guilty - Psalm 32:3-5
VI. Ultimately we will all be judged by God, who will reveal the hidden things - I Corinthians 4:4-5
A. Nothing is private before God - Psalm 90:8
B. There will be no argument that it was a private matter.
C. Privacy is for protecting what belongs to an individual, but sin is not ours to keep.