Love and the Law

Love and the Law

Scripture: James 2:1-13, Mark 2:16, Romans 13:8-10
Date: 11/01/2014  Lesson: 5
"Though it's not easy, and often goes against our nature, true love involves a substantial amount of risk and calls us to tear down barriers that separate us as people, both outside and (especially) inside the church."

The Trumpet of Truth (31 CD Set) by Byron Spears

The Trumpet of Truth  (31 CD Set) by Byron Spears
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Hello friends, I want to welcome you to Sabbath school study hour. And, as you may know, we're in transition right now as we are moving. This is the Granite Bay church. We're doing our Sabbath school time, which is during our normal prayer meeting time. And, in the meantime, we're kind of retro-fitting a warehouse that's going to serve as our church for awhile.

We'll move the studios over there. But we're really glad we can continue studying with our friends that are watching from all over the world. I just came back from doing a program in st. Louis with 3abn. I met a lot of our friends that are in mid-America that are part of our Sabbath school class.

We want to welcome you - welcome the class here - matter of fact, I believe in transparency so maybe we'll just give you a shot of what's happening here in the studio. This is - this is the vast Amazing Facts studios here where - that we are using for multiple purposes - where it's serving as our prayer meeting group tonight. And I want to thank the prayer meeting group for letting us turn it into our Sabbath school class in the meantime. In a moment we'll get into our lesson but, as always, we like to start the program with a word of prayer and just invite you to join me. Father in Heaven, we just thank you so much for Your Word and, in a special sense, for the study tonight, dealing with your love.

I pray that your spirit will be present. Just guide us in our understanding and we pray, Lord, that this lesson will be a tremendous blessing to everyone that's watching and the power of the word will be realized. Be with me as I teach. I pray that you'll quicken all of our minds and we thank you and ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. Well, we're going to continue in our lesson of James in just a moment.

It'll be lesson #5. As often, we have a free offer that we like to make available to anybody. Just - all you have to do is call in and ask for it. This particular lesson dealing with 'is obedience legalism?' It just strikes right at the heart of what our subject is today. You can also get it at the Amazing Facts website.

So if you think 'i'd really like to see that' or use it - some of you actually watch these programs in preparation for helping with your own Sabbath school classes. You can go to the Amazing Facts website and just download this lesson and read it for free and that would just be 'amazingfacts.org'. And if you would like a copy we'll give it to you. You need to read it, though and share it with somebody. It's offer #706.

The phone number is 866-788-3966 or 866-study-more and ask for 'is obedience legalism?' - Offer #706 - we'll send that to you. We're getting into lesson #5 now in our study from the book of James and the study tonight is dealing with 'love and the law.' It's just - it's really a top priority subject material. And we have a memory verse. The memory verse is from James 13 - James 2:13, sorry. James chapter 2, verse 13 and if you'd like to say that with me, that'd be great.

Are you ready? "For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment." Now in the quarterly they did it from the new American standard version and that's why you saw a couple of words were in different spots. It's talking about mercy and judgment here in a special sense and, you know, really the big theme of the Bible is about God, obviously, and God is identified - if you were to coalesce who and what God is, what word is used? God - three letters - three words - God is love. And so, even the title of the lesson can lead to a common misunderstanding that people have that, somehow, when you talk about love and you talk about law, you're talking about two diametric opposites. But that's a myth because who is the author of the law? God is, and God is love.

Is it possible that God is love but his law is not? And when parents give any kind of rules to their children, you know, assuming that they're being good parents, the rules are all for the benefit of the kids because they love them. And the Bible says, 'no good thing will God withhold from those that walk uprightly. So God doesn't have any of his laws to restrict our freedom, all of his laws are really to enhance our love relationship with him. So there's really no conflict between the law of God and love for God, but it's possible to be erring on the side of law, where you focus on the law without God and that turns into legalism because if you don't love God and you're trying to keep the law, it's almost impossible for you not to gravitate into a legalistic behavior. Will there be people in heaven that - oh wait, let me say this - yeah, let me say it that way.

Will there be people in heaven that committed murder? Yes. Can you think of any from the Bible? David, Paul, sampson, Moses. That's a good start. Will there be people in heaven that committed adultery? David comes to the top of the list, usually because his was such a - was such a scandal. But there were others, I mean, sampson.

Abraham - I don't know if I'd put that in the adultery category, that was sort of - polygamy. But I guess if you have two wives, that's technically bigamy, right? When there's two. But, yeah, and there were others. Will there be people in heaven that, maybe, took God's name in vain? Did Peter curse and swear and deny knowing Jesus? And you can go through the litany of the Ten Commandments and there will be people who broke various laws. Some of them broke the laws until the day they died.

Too many wives or, you know, they didn't know certain things and God winked at their ignorance. But will there be anyone in heaven that didn't learn to love God? And that, usually, will play out in also loving your neighbor. That's what the Bible says, 'this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.' They're not - they're not in conflict with each other. And James talks about that. Now he - he shares something in James 2, verse 1 - matter of fact, we'll get the next person set up to read a verse.

We've got Proverbs 23. Who has that? Proverbs 23:4 and 5. You'll be next, then. Let me read this for you. James 2:1 through 4.

"My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, 'you sit here in a good place,' and say to the poor man, 'you stand there,' or, 'sit here at my footstool,' have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become Judges with evil thoughts?" Now, if I'm honest with myself, and maybe you're not this way, but if I'm honest with myself, I've caught myself being preferential to people because of a person's bearing or because you know that they happen to be a person of influence or they're wealthy or something and you just find that we're sort of trained in our society to put them on a notch higher, somehow, than other people. I heard about a pastor once - this might be an urban myth, but it's a good one - that he dressed up like a homeless person - put on a beard and everything like that, and the Sunday morning, before their church began, he went at the foyer and kind of hung out and panhandled a little bit and folks didn't recognize him and everybody went in and they just, you know, kind of pushed him aside and said, you know, 'ew' and nobody offered to help him. And then after people had all filed in for the service, he walked down front and he pulled off his disguise and it was the pastor and he said - then he read to them the parable of the good samaritan. And it just goes to show you don't know.

Does the Bible say that some of us have entertained angels unaware? Do the angels always wear designer clothing when they appear? So we've got to be careful. You never know how you might be treating a person and the Lord comes in the garb of many others. Alright, why don't you go ahead and read for us Proverbs 23:4 and 5? "Do not overowrk to be rich; because of your own understanding, cease! Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven. Thank you. This is Solomon speaking.

Now did Solomon know what he was talking about discussing riches? I can't think of a king in Israel's history that had more - even Jesus referenced Solomon in all of his gorgeous apparel that left the queen of sheba breathless. You ever heard the expression 'breathtaking?' That comes from the Bible when the queen of sheba saw all that Solomon had; it says, 'there was no more breath in her.' No more 'ruach' in her. That means 'breath' and that's where we get the 'breathtaking' or someone is 'breathless' from the splendor of something. So Jesus even recognizes that. He says the lilies are arrayed even more beautifully than Solomon.

But Solomon, at the end, he said what? It's all vanity. Vanity. Vanity. Can you think, in the Bible, of people that had very high regard from God but were, by the world's standards, very poor? John the baptist is one. The greatest of the prophets, where did he live? By today's standards we would have said he was homeless.

Right? And John was a type of what prophet? Old testament - Elijah. Where'd Elijah live? Creek - fed by unclean birds - ravens. He lived in the - the attic of a widow during a famine. He lived in a cave for a little while - out by Mount Sinai and - but who did God esteem so highly that he took him to heaven in a fiery chariot? Have you ever seen a person and you kind of pass a mental judgment on them and then you get to talking to them and you think, 'wow, I had no idea how sharp and deep and bright this person was.' And so you can't always tell by what a person wears. When I lived on the street, I had a lot of friends who were street people.

When I - I was living in a cave and I also lived on the streets sometimes and we stayed in abandoned buildings and I just - I knew a lot of the street people. And we panhandled and it was that whole life. And I had one friend that got lucky one night playing pool. He just - he wasn't as - I don't mean to be unkind, but he wasn't the sharpest person - didn't have a lot of education. But he got lucky playing pool and he won three hundred dollars, which was a lot of money back then, and he went to a palm springs store and he bought himself a three-piece green suit.

But, believe it or not, that was actually in style - it's hard to believe - at that time. And for a couple of days he looked really sharp. He had bought like, you know, the new shoes, the new socks and he just, you know, he had nowhere to live but he spent all his money on this suit because he wanted to look important and people thought, 'wow, what a smart guy.' And then they'd start talking to him and they'd realize, 'oh, he's really not very educated.' And he was just a, you know, a street person. After about two weeks in that suit it just wasn't looking so good anymore because that's all he had. But, you know, it's - sometimes we look at the outside and you can change the outside.

It doesn't really change what's on the inside. So I think we ought to be fair with everybody and, first of all, how does the Lord love everybody? Regardless of their iq, regardless of their background or education, Jesus treated everybody with respect and dignity. And, you know, that's an important principle that he's sharing with us here. I've got to be careful not to gravitate into all the verses in the Bible that talk about how deceptive riches can be. We often treat people - you know, James is talking about the person who is obviously a person of influence.

We treat people with money and possessions and position differently and God values every soul the same. You know, the woman at the well. Why was she there alone? She was, sort of - probably an outcast in her own society. I mean, she says - or Jesus said, 'you've had five husbands' - I mean, even among the samaritans that would be considered inappropriate - 'and you're living with someone that's not your husband now' - even the samaritans believed in the Ten Commandments. So she's coming to the well alone - the women used to go together for safety and they usually went in the morning.

She's in the middle of the day - she was sort of an outcast. But think of what Jesus did. He reveals to her that he's the Messiah and she becomes the best individual to announce it to the community. Now she's a gentile. He also does that with a Jewish girl that had a bad reputation.

Who was she? Mary magdalene. Probably the same as mary of bethany and - did Simon judge her from the outside when she was washing Jesus' feet? And say, 'this man, if he was a prophet, he'd know who and what manner of woman this is that's touching him, for she's a sinner.' But Jesus looks on the inside. That, of course, that statement comes from when, yeah, Samuel is looking for the Lord's anointed in Bethlehem and he sees the tall, dark, and handsome son of jesse - eliab, I think it was, and he said, 'surely the Lord's anointed is before me.' And God said, 'don't look on his height. Don't look on his outward appearance. God looks on the heart.

' So we've got to be careful not to judge based on outward appearance. Now, when James said this, you realize, that was really surprising because, in the Greek and roman cultures, standing really meant something. If you made a donation to the church it meant that you had premier seating. Do you know there was actually a time, earlier in America's history, where you reserved a pew in the church based on your donations, in some denominations? I think one of the churches that moody went to, he had to reserve a pew and you had to pay for them. And there were even pews that had names on it.

I can't imagine what kind of ruckus there was if some visitor went and sat in someone else's pew. I mean, now we think about that and you think, 'oh, we want everybody to come.' And in a good church you would hope to give the first-class seating to your visitors. I know, at central, frequently when we had events, we always ran out of parking. We would ask staff and members, 'please park across the street at the extra parking that we reserved and let our visitors have the most convenient parking.' And that, I think, should be the - should be the standard of Christ. So James is talking about that principle of love.

Loving everybody and not judging people by their outward appearance. I can promise you something, if you had seen me before I went into ministry, the way I - when I first went to church I was really rough looking. I mean, just torn clothes and didn't have regular baths and I was - I mean, I'm just being honest with you - and if you had told the people in that church, 'see this fella that just came in? He's going to be your pastor in a few years.' That's how it ended up playing out. But someone would have said, 'I hope not.' But, you know, we've got - we've got to see people the way God sees them - for what they can be through Christ. And that's the principle of love.

Here's another example of that: Mark 2, verses 16 and 17, "and when the scribes and pharisees saw him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to his disciples, 'how is it that he eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?' When Jesus heard it, he said to them, 'those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.'" And, you know, this really should be - the primary mission of every Christian is we're to go into the world and reach those who don't know - to seek and to save the lost. And sometimes we continue to show our primary attention to people of means and influence and we fawn for those folks. But who typically followed Jesus? There were some exceptions. You did have Joseph of arimathea and you had nicodemus but, principally, it was the shepherds, the tax collectors.

Even Christ said, 'the tax collectors and harlots go into the Kingdom before you.' Because they repented - bad as their sins were, they repented at the preaching of John. And so we've go to be careful not to look on the outside. In the world, success is measured by, you know, the kind of house that the family lives in. In God's economy, it's not the kind of house, but it's the kind of family that lives in the house. In the world they sometimes measure success by the dress that the woman wears.

And whenever they have any kind of hollywood event, they all dissect what everybody was wearing. But with God, he's more interested in what kind of woman is wearing the dress. Or, in our society, what kind of car the man drives. Doesn't that say something? I mean, aren't there certain cars I could rattle off and I won't do this with brand names because we're on tv and who knows what lawsuits might fly? But there are certain names that you could mention and, you know, it's - it evokes class and status. And there's other, you could say that - they just mean economy, you know? And so - but God's more interested in what kind of man drives the car than what kind of car the man drives.

And so everything's backwards. You know, the section we're still talking about is under your first day. It says, 'man in gold.' And I couldn't read this without remembering an amazing fact that we encountered. We shared this on the radio program a few years ago. There's a man in india, he's called 'the gold man.

' His name is actually datta phuge. He takes extravagance to a new level. He recently ordered the creation of the world's most expensive shirt, made with more than seven pounds - you know how many ounces - 16 ounces in a pound - you know what an ounce of gold is worth - seven pounds of -carat gold worth over two hundred and fifty thousand dollars - one shirt. And he could have gone to walmart - I said a name. Mr.

Phuge, who's also nick-named 'the gold man' - I can only say this because it's already been reported in the news - is covered with chunky gold bracelets, gaudy signet rings and a gigantic medallion that any olympic contender might envy. His spectacular shirt is covered with fourteen thousand gold flowers interwoven with one hundred thousand gilded spangles and a lining of the finest white velvet. Because it can't be dry cleaned, he must take great care not to get it dirty or sweaty, which is hard to avoid in the indian summer. Given its impractical nature, the glittering garment is only worn on special occasions and mr phuge must have his security guards with him whenever he does. He believes gold is a good investment and admits he likes to wear his money.

One shirt - two hundred and fifty thousand - I - how could you relax? And it's got to be heavy - a seven-pound shirt? Can you imagine that? But that's just a sample of - you know, the mind set in the world. Status. What did Jesus say? Luke 11:43, "woe to you pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the Marketplaces." The best seats. When I'm on an airplane, which is frequently, I have to admit, I jostle to try to be, whenever my zone is called, I want to be first in line. Even this last week, I had to run between flights and they were already boarding and they had boarded my zone and I was so concerned I wouldn't have overhead space and, you know, you all vie for the best seats.

If you're on southwest you don't get a seat assignment so everyone wants to line up and it's like a cattle branding session, you just charge in. But, you know, Jesus tells a story about if you're invited to a feast. He said - have you been, you know, like a wedding and stuff, they've got the center table where the honored guests are and then they've got the family next door and then, you know, at the seating at a wedding. And then it, you know, continues to go until you're in, you know, as they call the nosebleed section. He said, 'if you go to a feast, if it's open seating,' - he said - 'take the lowest seat and let someone say, 'oh no, no, no.

You don't belong there. You should be up here by this place of honor.' Now, I wouldn't try that on southwest because I don't think it's going to work. But he's talking about how much better to have it that way than to vie and jostle for the prominent seat and someone say, 'I'm sorry, this is taken.' And you, with shame, have to get up and go slinking back to the nosebleed section. And so this whole principle is something that Jesus and James are talking about here. Psalm 41, verse 1 - he's also talking about considering the poor and this is what the law of love is all about.

David says - psalm 41:1, "blessed is he who considers the poor;" - now here's some wonderful promises - "the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble." - We've got a time of trouble ahead? - "the Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, and he will be blessed on the earth; you will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. the Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness; you will sustain him on his sickbed." That's a lot of promises just for - how does the Lord care about us considering the poor? Wow. It makes you want to help the people standing at the intersections a little more frequently, with all those promises, right? Which is a good segue to our next section under class struggle. Alright, who's set up? In a moment you'll read Luke :20. I sort of announce it to give the cameras warning.

Okay, I'm going to read the next part of James. You notice we're making our way little by little through James? We've gotten to lesson 5. We're now on chapter 2, verse 5, "listen, my beloved brethren: has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom which he promised to those who love him?" - Who gets the Kingdom? He's promised it to those that love him and he says, 'if you love me, obey.' So the two go together. "But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress and drag You into the courts?" Alright, go ahead.

Let's read Luke 6:20. "Then he lifted up his eyes toward his disciples, and said: 'blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God.'" Alright, you know why I picked that verse in Luke and not the typical one in the beatitudes of Matthew? In Matthew it says, 'blessed are the poor in spirit' and so we love to remind ourselves there's no virtue in being poor, it's just poor in spirit. It's kind of hard to measure. But Luke is interesting; he doesn't say that. He says, 'blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of heaven.

' Well, I think that's because, predominantly, those who end up following Jesus - doesn't the Lord say, in Mark chapter 10 when the rich young ruler came and we talked about that a couple of times during the lesson, that it's harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven than a camel to go through the eye of a needle. Now that doesn't mean that God doesn't want us to work hard and earn as much as we can. How much is that? How much is enough? Someone asked rockefeller - I don't know, it wasn't nelson rockefeller but one of the rockefellers - several years ago. They said, 'you know, you've got millions of dollars. How much does it take?' He said, 'a little bit more.

' It's always just a little bit more. I've known a few people that actually were very successful and they made enough. They said, 'I have enough now to be comfortable. I want to dedicate the rest of my life to service.' And it takes courage to say, 'okay, I've got plenty and now I want to...' Some of you know the story of albert schweitzer. He spent the first thirty years of his life studying - studied medicine, studied law, music - and then he said, 'you know, I've probably' - life span back then was sixty - and he said - and that was actually the high end.

He said, 'I've spent half my life living for myself,' - he says - 'I'm going to spend the rest of my life living for God.' And he went to central africa and opened a mission there. He ended up living into his nineties. So he spent sixty years using the medicine and the music and everything he learned - he said, 'I want to now live for others.' And he dedicated his life to just serving others. James 2:7 - another verse here in James. Speaking of the rich still, "do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?" Now, James is also remembering that - who were the people of power and influence in Israel? Keep in mind, James is the half-brother of Jesus, he is principally the bishop in the church of Jerusalem.

What was the attitude of the - who were the powerful people, I should say, in Jerusalem? They often belonged to a group called the sanhedrin. They were the - they were the senate and cabinet and congress all wrapped up in one. And they were the supreme court. Those - because of those positions of power, even though they were "religious" positions, they often took a lot of bribes. Didn't Jesus say, 'you rob widows' houses and for pretense you make long prayers?' They talked people out of their money.

They used guilt to get money from people. They'd say, 'look, you don't need to leave anything in your will for your father and mother, we've got this new program called corban. You declare corban over all your property, give it to the church, and you're not responsible to take care of them in their old age because it's now God's. You can't use it any other way. 'You can use it as long as you're alive, but you have to will it to us.

' They had all these laws that were just designed to enrich them. So the people that were rich back then were some of the religious leaders that were the biggest adversaries of the church. He wasn't saying automatically that rich people are always enemies, but they were getting the bulk of their persecution from the people in power - caesar's household and many of the leaders - there were a few rare exceptions but he said, 'do not they blaspheme that noble name by which you are called. Exodus 23, verse 8 - he's very clear, "and you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the discerning and perverts the words of the righteous." Do we see this in our government? Matter of fact, let me word that differently: is there any government in the world, that you know of, where that isn't an issue? Where people who have positions of power in the government where they can make laws, where you don't ever hear about them taking favors. You know why the people of Israel asked for a king? I know this is really strange.

They were perfectly happy for a while with Samuel, but when Samuel's sons began to take his place it said, you know, they're taking bribes. They said, 'give us a king. He's just got absolute power. You can't bribe him. He's got everything.

' And they thought that was going to be the solution. It didn't work very well, did it? Proverbs 22:2, "the rich and the poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of them all." And so, you know, the Lord is telling us, Solomon here, he would know, he said that ultimately God is the maker of all - the rich and the poor - and that there is no preferential treatment in God's economy. Alright, 'loving our neighbors.' Let's go on to the next section here. James chapter 2, verses 8 and 9, "if you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors." So not only is it a question of being unfair, but when we are partial to people what does he call it? Yeah, that's pretty serious business. And so, we actually have to make a conscious effort, I think, to examine our hearts sometimes and see, are we being unfair with people? Are we being partial? You know when it's really tough? If your kids get into a conflict at school with another kid and you get parents involved, have you ever gone into a situation where you tried to be non-partial and objective as a parent? You're hearing two sides of a story - there's been some conflict - the boys got into a fight on the playground and the parents are called in and both boys have a version of how they were just minding their own business.

Who do you automatically side with? Why? Well, you love them. But it's easy to be partial. You know, Jesus said you should love your enemies and do kind to strangers. He said, if you love those who love you, what good is that? Everybody does that. If you love your kids what good is that? Everybody does that.

He said if you're going to be like the children of your father in heaven then you need to show love and fairness and mercy to even your enemies. Now that's really tough. Leviticus 19, verses 17 and 18 - and this, of course, is one of those famous verses, "you shall not hate your brother in your heart." How does it do when someone shakes their finger at you and says, 'you shall not hate?' Can you do that? Can you shake your finger at someone and say, 'thou shalt love me.' You ever seen a guy propose that way? Is that what God's saying? I mean, does he command us to love him? He does. 'Hear, o Israel, the Lord thy God is one. Thou shalt love the Lord.

' Sounds like a command. Why does God say it like that? Is he ordering us to love him? I see there's some ladies here. How would you feel about, you know, if you were in that stage in your life when you were pursuing a significant other and someone said, 'thou shalt love me.' Would that be a very good introduction or do they have to kind of win your love? Why does God say it as a command? I think that the Lord is telling us that you're not going to make it, as far as obeying, unless you love. And so we've got to figure out 'what do we do to love God?' Now, if I want to win Karen, I didn't say to her, 'hi, you know you've taken my fancy. You need to love me.

You hear me?' It was close to that. But what I had to do is I had to show her how lovable I really was. Isn't that the idea? You try to reveal yourself to the person and show them whatever your attributes are that you're hoping they'll find attractive and irresistible. And she didn't have a chance. But - because, you know, evangelists are born with that gift of persuasion.

But this is what God is saying when he says, 'you should love me.' He says, 'you're going to need to love me to obey me.' Because it's not normal for us in, you know, our sinful natures. But to know God is to love him. That's actually a statement you'll find in 'Desire of Ages.' If you know God, you'll love him. And so what he's saying is 'you must love me.' Meaning 'you need to know me, and if you know me, you'll love me. Now when God commands the children of Israel to love him, had he already given them evidence of who he was? Yes.

When he begins the ten commandments, what's the first commandment? Yeah, the first commandment actually begins with a preamble because it says in Exodus 20, 'and God spoke all these words saying:" so here's where the etching in the stone begins, "I am the Lord your God that brought you out of the land of Egypt; out of the house of bondage." Why does he start with that? And then he says you're not to have other Gods. He's saying, 'I am the God who just showed you how much I loved you. I saved you with these signs and wonders unlike any nation has ever seen. You know, I'm going to take care of you. I'm going to protect you.

I love you. If you love me, keep my commandments.' Does the Lord say that other places in the Bible? You read in Ezekiel, you read in Hosea, God talks about how 'when I found you, you were dying and I rescued you.' And he talks about like a baby, like a bride - he uses every analogy he can think of and he's saying, 'I've shown you how much I love you. You need to love me back. And then Jesus said, 'if you love me.' Love is the fulfilling of the law. Alright, you know, there's a statement in your lesson from the book 'Desire of Ages' page that I'm going to repeat.

You'll find this in your lesson. "Sin is the greatest of all evils and it is ours to pity and to help the sinner. There are many who err who feel their shame and their folly. They are hungry for words of encouragement. They look upon their mistakes and errors until they are driven to almost desperation.

These souls we are not to neglect. If we are Christians, we're not to pass by on the other side, keeping as far as possible from the very ones who most need our help. When we see human beings in distress, whether through affliction or through sin" - it might even be their own problem - their choices - "we should never say, 'this does not concern me.'" Wow, that's a - and you know what she's alluding to here is the parable of the good samaritan. This man falls among thieves and by the time the priest comes by it says he's stripped and wounded and half dead and he just passes by on the other side. If he had been wearing really nice clothes he might have stopped to help him, but he'd been stripped.

Or if he had a nice golden chariot, but he's been robbed. And so the person says, 'you know, this is going to be an expensive venture to take care of him for time and means.' And he leaves him. Then a levite comes by and he at least stops and looks and maybe says a prayer, but then he leaves. He maybe takes down his license number and says, 'I'll call a tow truck.' But he leaves him. But, ultimately, it's the samaritan that shows mercy on him just because - not because they had anything in common - they were different culturally.

They were different racially. They spoke different languages. They were, actually, two nations that had great animosity for one another - two people - and he shows love just because he's another person. the Lord says, 'if your enemy's ox or donkey - if you find it and it's wandering, you're supposed to trip it up or sell it - what does he say? Bring it back. Take it back to him.

It's loving your enemy. Showing kindness. Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. Matthew says - or Jesus says in Matthew chapter 5, verse 43, "you have heard that it was said, 'you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." Now this is something - now that's a really important verse to remember because sun and rain can be opposites. It depends on what you're doing.

If you're farming you want rain at certain times and if you're on a picnic you want sun. The church went on a picnic last weekend, you had a little rain, huh? But God's saying blessings and cursings, whatever it is, everybody gets their fair share. Job says this. And so, you know, we ought to - we ought to be showing God's love to everybody. Now, under the next section, under the whole law - in a moment, someone's going to be reading Galatians 5:14, so I don't know who's got that one.

Okay, is that - who's got Galatians 5? Alright, you've got a moment because I'm going to read some stuff here. James 2, verses 10 and 11, "for whoever shall keep" - now we're still moving through James here, we're on verse 10, "for whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For he who said, 'do not commit adultery,' also said, 'do not commit murder.' Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law." I think katrina was telling me this week that the ten commandments are not multiple choice and God does not give us a twenty percent discount. The Ten Commandments are laws of love and any violation - it's like a spaceship. Think of the Ten Commandments like a spaceship.

It doesn't matter what part of the space station has a rupture, the air runs out and people die if there's a vacuum. You know what I'm saying? And so by having a - it's like a chain - you've got ten links in it. It's only as strong as its weakest link. And so, if someone says, 'look, I realize that' - they go to court and they say, 'look, I did commit murder, but I don't worship idols, I don't use God's name in vain, I keep the Sabbath, I don't steal.' What judge is going to accept that as a defense? Now, for petty crime, if you're a good citizen and you have no prior record, that might actually help you, but God doesn't operate that way. Sin is sin and all of it is offensive to him.

Something else to notice here, you remember we just read in verses 8 and 9 in James, 'if you fulfill the royal law - you love your neighbor as yourself - and then he says, in the next verse, 'for he that said 'keep the whole law - if you keep the whole law and stumble in one point' and then he mentions two laws. What group of laws are those two commandments from? The Ten Commandments. Yeah, 'do not murder, do not commit adultery.' You know, I was surprised, I watched a debate this week that's up on youtube. It was a Sabbath debate and I was amazed that the arguments that were being brought forth by the one presenter in the debate that was against the Sabbath truth, he basically had to throw out the whole law. And, of course, the one who was supporting the Sabbath truth, he said, 'what about the other commandments? And he said, 'well, it's just the Spirit now where, you know, if we love we keep the Spirit of the law.

' And he said, 'you know, we don't need to keep the literal Sabbath because when we come to Jesus he said, 'come to me and I'll give you rest.' So we're resting in the Lord and that's all that you really need now.' But there is a spirit of the law and there is a letter of the law. Now follow me. The letter of the law says 'don't kill.' the Spirit of the law, Jesus said, is 'do not be angry with your brother without a cause or you're guilty of murder.' So if you're keeping the Spirit of the law about killing and you're not angry with your brother or sister without cause - you're not committing spiritual murder, will you ever commit literal murder if you're not committing, first, murder in your heart? Right? The law says 'do not commit adultery.' That's the letter of the law. Spirit of the law says, 'you're not to look on a woman' - it works both ways - 'or a man and lust in your heart.' That's breaking the Spirit of the law. You might not literally be committing adultery but you need to keep the Spirit of the law, it needs to be purity of mind - purity of heart.

So if a person says, 'I realize that adultery is a sin. I'm being pure in my mind regarding adultery but I'm actually going to break the letter of the law and commit adultery.' Is it possible for you to break the letter of the law and be keeping the Spirit? Okay, go through all the commandments. You'll find that whatever the spiritual side of that commandment is, you'll always be keeping the letter if you're keeping the Spirit. But when it comes to the Sabbath commandment they say, 'we keep the Spirit of the law, which means you don't have to keep the letter anymore.' Would anyone accept that argument with any of the other commandments? You see how absurd that is? Anyway, so James is saying, 'the royal law is the law of love and you've all heard people say. 'Jesus now gave us the new commandment.

' 'A new commandment I give unto you that you should love your neighbor as yourself. Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.' Does that mean that you no longer keep the ten? Does one replace the other? Alright, let's look at some of the examples of this. Alright, read for me - whoever has Galatians 5:14 and 15. "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!" You know, I was - as I was looking at that verse when he says, 'but if you bite and devour one another' - that's - what is he talking about? Is he talking about cannibalism? Is it possible to have vegetarian cannibals? It is when it comes to biting and devouring each other with our words.

And he said, 'so if you fulfill - all the law is fulfilled in tHis Word, love your neighbor.' Now there's several times that this principle appears in the new testament. I've read you already Deuteronomy 6:4, "thou shalt love the Lord with all your heart." So when it says that all the commandments are fulfilled in this, does that mean if you love the Lord and you love your neighbor that trumps the ten commandments? Or is he saying it summarizes the Ten Commandments? There's a big difference. Some people say, 'I'm not under the old law anymore because now we're just under the law of love.' Well, if you say, 'I really love my neighbor but I'm killing him,' you don't. Or 'I love my neighbor but I'm stealing from them' or coveting what they have - or you can go through the Ten Commandments. How can you say 'I love the Lord' and worship idols, use his name in vain, don't take that holy time with him that he's reserved.

It all - it's a package deal. Again, Paul says this in Romans :9 and 10, "for the commandments, 'you shall not commit adultery,' ' you shall not murder,' ' you shall not steal,' 'you shall not bear false witness,' 'you shall not covet,' and if there is any other commandment," - in other words he's saying any of the other ten - are all summed up in this saying, namely, 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" - You realize he's talking about the commandments between you and your neighbor, principally - verse 10, "love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." Fulfillment doesn't mean it abolishes, fulfillment means it fills it full. The best way to show our love for God is by trusting him enough to do what he says and obeying him. Now 'judged by the law' is this section here. Somebody is going to have John :48 in just a moment, okay? Jolyne, you'll be next.

Now we're reading James 2, verses 12 and 13, "so speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy." Now you remember last week we read in psalm 119, verses - I think - it's 44 and 45, it says,'so I'll keep your commandments forever and ever and I will walk at liberty because I seek your precepts.' So the law of liberty that he's referring to is the ten commandments. That's what gives us freedom. Those who are keeping the law are free right now. "And mercy triumphs over judgment.

" The one who has a judgment - I'm sorry, I want to say that again. Verse 13 - James 2:13 - "for judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment." What does Jesus say in the beatitudes about mercy? Blessed are the merciful, they will obtain mercy. Have you ever thought that - 'wow, I want to be really forgiving with people?' Sometimes, in our hearts, we don't forgive people. I want to be forgiving to people because, as bad as what I think they may have done is, look at how much God forgives me.

And sometimes we're not very forgiving to people by - if you rehearse their mistakes - that's just another way of kind of keeping it alive but if you forgive you may not forget but you don't have to chew on it all the time. You know what separates the clean animals from the unclean animals? Parted hoof and chewing the cud. You know what happens when a cow or deer chews the cud? They swallow something but later on they bring it back up again and chew on it. And some people do that with things they say they've forgiven. Alright, read for us John 12:48.

"He who rejects me, and does not receive my words, has that which Judges him - the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day." Words are going to play a very important role in the judgment. First of all, Jesus says, 'the words that I've spoken.' God knows what words that we've heard, right? And man doesn't live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. God wants us to live by his words. But he also says, 'out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.' And every idle word that we speak, we'll give an account thereof in the day of judgment. 'For by Your Words you'll be justified and by Your Words you'll be condemned.

' So, for one thing, we're judged by the Word of God - that we're aware of - in the judgment and, additionally, the words that come out of our mouths - we've got to be careful what we say. Can you think of a time in the Bible when someone prayed for something they didn't really want but they got it because they said it? When the children of Israel, after they lost faith - in Numbers 13 - I guess it's Numbers 14 - at the borders of the promised land. They believed the evil report of the spies. They said, 'would God that we died in this wilderness.' And the Lord had heard them say that so many times he said, 'okay, is that what you really want? That's what you're going to get.' By Your Words. And so we've got to be careful what we say and what we pray for because those - every idle word that we speak is recorded and these things are going to come up in the judgment.

Hebrews 4, verses 12 and 13 - speaking, again, about being judged by the law, "for the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of him to whom we must give account." Now Hebrews is written to Hebrews. Hebrews talks a lot about the sacrificial system. In the sacrificial system they offered animals. In the offering of animals they had very sharp knives and he is alluding to that when he talks about severing the joints and the marrow and they had often seen the priests were the butchers in the sanctuary and they would carve up those sacrifices and lay them in order on the altars.

And the Word of God can cut. It's sometimes - when Peter preached on the day of pentecost, and when he got done with his sermon, you can just barely imagine - here you've got these devout jews who have come from every nation - they're in Jerusalem - they've come a few weeks after Jesus has been crucified. He's supposedly appeared alive and now Peter says, 'the Messiah finally came. We've waited for 2,000 years. The Messiah came.

Guess what happened? We crucified him like we did all the prophets of old.' And the people were so overwhelmed, when Peter preached that word to them, it says that they were cut to the heart and they said, 'men and brethren, what shall we do?' And so there was great repentance. What brought about that repentance? The Word of God. And this is the word we'll all be judged by in the last days. Judgment is without mercy to the one who's shown no mercy and mercy triumphs over judgment.' 'Blessed are the merciful; they will obtain mercy.' When lot invited the angels into his home, do you remember what happened? The crowd in the city wanted to hurt the angels. By inviting the angels into his home it saved him.

There are people in the Bible that, you know, many times God has preserved because they've shown mercy to others. When rebekkah saw this dusty traveler and all of his camels with a caravan standing by the well and she said, 'let me water your camels for you.' She saw this poor guy - did she have any idea that he had just prayed and said, 'Lord, I don't know who is the appropriate one to be the wife for this prince, Isaac - very wealthy - he's going to be The Father of the Messiah and the nation - people of God - this has to be the right woman. What's the test that he gave her? He said, 'whoever it is, when I say, 'can you give me a drink of water?' Also offers to water the camels. I'll take that as a sign.' She had mercy on him. He didn't even say, 'could you water my camels?' She saw that he had a need and she decided to serve.

What was the reward for her passing that test? She ends up becoming,you know, a virtual queen in Israel. I mean, she becomes the mother of Israel, so to speak. And the parable Jesus shares in Matthew 25 - I think it's verse - of the sheep and the goats - and the great judgment day will be as when a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats and he'll turn to the sheep on the right hand and he'll say 'blessed are you, children of my father, come inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world because I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was naked and you clothed me.

I was alone and you came to me. I was sick or in prison and you visited me. And then they'll say to the Lord - I'm doing a loose paraphrase here - 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or naked or a stranger sick or in prison and come to you?' And he'll say, 'inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these.' How did our study begin? If a man comes in and you see he's poor and you tell him to sit on the floor - 'inasmuch as you've done it unto the one of the least of these, you've done it to - to me.' So think of the most powerful, rich, influential, famous, beautiful person you can think of and if they should knock at your door or show up in your church, how would you treat them? Would you treat them different from somebody that maybe was poor? Jesus is saying 'there's nobody in this world richer and more powerful or intelligent or better looking than me.' Inasmuch as you've done it to the least of them, you're doing it to Christ. So really, through this parable, everybody should be getting first-class treatment if you're a Christian and you love your neighbor. And then it goes on and it says in Romans chapter 2, verse 12, "for as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law.

" And this is - boy, this is a verse you almost never hear some people quote - Paul, Romans 3 - Romans 2:13, "(for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;" are we saved? Are we justified by the law? Well, you are. What is the royal law? The Ten Commandments. And love. So if you love your neighbor and if you love the Lord with all your heart, the final criteria is going to be 'he that has mercy will receive mercy.' He that loves God, he that loves his neighbor is going to find salvation. Of course, it's through trust in Christ.

But the way we show our love for Christ - anyway, well we made it all the way through the lesson. I think I still have a minute here to remind you, if you didn't find out at the beginning of the study, then we have a free offer and it's called 'is obedience legalism?' And this is a great lesson that really talks about the principle of love is the principle of the Ten Commandments. You can download it for free at the Amazing Facts website, which is simply 'amazingfacts.org' and ask for offer #706. If you're going to call in, that number is 866-788-3966 - -study-more. We'll send you a copy if you want it and you can read it and share it with someone else.

Sometimes, believe it or not, people want to know about our notes, whether it's myself or Pastor Ross. We will post our notes also at the Amazing Facts website and you can see the archives of these studies, additionally, at the Granite Bay sda church website. Thank you very much friends. God bless you. We'll study the word together next week.

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