Laws of Love and Liberty

Laws of Love and Liberty

Scripture: Exodus 20:1-17, Luke 16:17
Date: 02/23/2013 
God's laws do not take away our freedom, they are there to protect our liberties. It is important to focus on understanding the incredible power and importance of the law of God.
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We're going to be talking about the law of God. And in this new series dealing with the Ten Commandments - I've called it 'laws of love and liberty' and I think you'll understand the reason for the title a little later on in the series. But to begin with, I want to invite you to open your Bibles with me to the book of Deuteronomy - Deuteronomy chapter 4 and you can begin in verse 9, "only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, especially concerning the day you stood before the Lord your God in horeb, when the Lord said to me, 'gather the people to me, and I will let them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children. Then you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the midst of heaven, with darkness, cloud, and thick darkness.

And the Lord spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of the words, but saw no form; you only heard a voice. So he declared to you his covenant which he commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and he wrote them on two tablets of stone." The Ten Commandments represent the very epitome of the Word of God. It is good and it is appropriate for us to dedicate time to talk about these foundational principles that you find in the law of God. Now, it's sad that we're living in a time where, even in a Christian church, someone who is a minister might need to sound apologetic about talking about the law of God.

Some people will, no doubt, say that we're legalistic because we're talking about the law of God. But I'll tell you what Jesus said, Matthew chapter 5, verse , 'whosoever shall do and teach these commandments will be called great in the Kingdom of heaven.' the Lord tells us that we should be doing it and teaching it so we thought it was appropriate to dedicate time during these next few weeks together, to especially focus on understanding the incredible power and the importance of the law of God. These things are going to be a big issue in the last days and so I think it's especially important, as God's children, that we give the law of God the exalted place it deserves in His Word. Remind yourself that the Bible, you know, it's been printed and you have men - holy men - that were inspired and they wrote. But when God gave the Ten Commandments he spoke audibly in the hearing of a whole nation, he wrote it with his own finger, it received special attention so we should not be ashamed about saying 'we're going to focus on the law of God.

' Attitudes, even in the church, about the law of God have changed in recent years and it's interesting, right about the same time they began to take the Ten Commandments down off the walls in the private schools and - I remember going to public school in California when I was a kid and they had the ten commandments in my public school. Do any of you remember that? I know, now - whew - we would think, 'how could they do that?' Some of us remember a few years ago a judge was fined and they took away his position because he stood up for the ten commandments being in their courtyard as a monument. In spite of the fact that the Ten Commandments are on the supreme court building and in the building to this day, there's been a battle about the place of the law of God. Now I'll give some time in another presentation talking about 'how do we relate, from a political view, with the ten commandments?' And that's a very important subject to understand. But today we want to talk about the Ten Commandments, these laws of love and liberty.

It might be a good idea to start with a definition of 'what is law?' If you look in the dictionary, it'll tell you 'law is the system of rules and principles that a particular country or community recognize as regulating the actions of its members that might be enforced by the controlling authority.' You can just imagine for a moment what might happen to our culture if we all woke up and decided we wanted to drive on the same side of the road as they do in england or in australia. What kind of chaos would we have? We already know what kind of chaos we have when traffic signals go out. Our lives are regulated every day by law, but that law is not there to restrict or take away our freedom, you lose your freedom when you have no law. The law is there to protect your liberties. If all of the murderers would be set free right now, that would affect your liberty and your peace.

And it's also true of the law of God. It's not designed to take away your happiness, but to give you real peace and happiness that comes from the Word of God and the law of God. Jesus warned us in the last days that there would be great lawlessness. Matter of fact, Christ said, 'because iniquity' - lawlessness - 'will abound, the love of many will grow cold.' Matthew chapter 24. Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:13, "but evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse.

" Jesus said just before he comes back it will be as it was in the days of Noah, as it was in the days of lot, and the Bible says that there was great lawlessness. We all remember what conditions were in sodom and gomorrah. There was a mob mentality at the door of lot's house. In the time of Noah it says, 'the thoughts of men's hearts were only evil continually. So there was great lawlessness.

That should not exist among God's people. We need to know something about the law of God. Ultimately, if you would be saved, you must have the new covenant, which is the law of God written in your hearts, amen? And so this is a very relevant and a very important subject. Now, the Ten Commandments did not begin at Mount Sinai. The Ten Commandments have existed through eternity.

That's right. The principles of God's law have always been there. Let me prove that to you from the Bible, quickly. Genesis 26, verse 5. Abraham, did he live before or after Moses? Before Moses.

So Abraham lived before Mount Sinai and the Ten Commandments were codified, right? It says, "because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." Before Moses ever came along, God had commandments, statutes and laws. He must have given some of these things, at least orally, to adam and eve. Genesis 39, verse 9, when Joseph was tempted by the wife of potiphar, his master, Joseph knew adultery was wrong and he said, "there is no one greater in this house than i, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife." - You know, the seventh commandment - "how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" Did Joseph know back then that adultery was a sin? What? Before the Ten Commandments? I mean, can you really imagine people living back then saying, 'oh' - God gives the Ten Commandments there at mount sinai and they say - they elbow each other - 'you mean we're not supposed to be committing adultery? Oh, we're not supposed to steal? We're not supposed to murder?' Don't you think some of those were self-evident truths? God was pulling it all together and summarizing it for them. Psalm 111, verse 7, "all of his precepts are sure. They stand fast forever and ever.

" God's law is forever and ever. And even there, in the very beginning when cain ended up killing his brother abel, what did God say? "If you do well, will you not be accepted?" - Genesis 4:7 - "and if you do not do well, sin lies at the door." And so God was describing that it was a sin to murder, way back there in the beginning. So God's law has eternal principles. These are not Jewish laws. A common misunderstanding, a myth among Christians, is that the Ten Commandments, somehow, were just for Israelites - that they are Jewish laws.

They don't usually say that for 90-percent of them. They really just start saying they're Jewish laws when they get to one, in particular. And that - that all by itself sounds inconsistent. We'll get to that another day. Now I'm going to go through about 16 points, if anyone's counting, so you can kind of countdown to the end of the sermon - not that anyone ever does that.

I'm sure nobody looks at their watch or the clock on the wall, right? When I'm preaching. But I'll be dealing with 16 quick points. There are a lot of Scriptures. In this series in the first presentation, I'm not even going into the respective commandments. We're going to be talking about the law as a whole, why it is so important for us to understand this subject.

First point, 'can God's moral law, or the decalogue - the ten commandments, be amended or repealed?' What does the Bible say? Jesus said - Luke 16, verse 17 - 'and it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one jot or one tittle to in any way pass from God's law.' And Jesus, when he said that, he was referencing some of the Ten Commandments. Easier for heaven and earth to pass away. Psalm 89:34, "my covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of my lips." God says he will not break his covenant and we just read in Deuteronomy 4 'he gave you his covenant which he commanded you to perform, even Ten Commandments.' The Ten Commandments are the covenant that God has made through which we are saved. 'Now Pastor Doug, are you saying we're saved by keeping the Ten Commandments?' No. We'll get to that in a minute.

Malachi 3, verse 6 God says, "for I am the Lord, I do not change." Do you know why God cannot change the Ten Commandments? Because he would have to change himself. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. 'I am the Lord, I do not change.' The Ten Commandments are a perfect expression of God's character. God is good. Luke 18, verse 19 - well, did you know it also says that his law is good? God and his law are the same.

The Bible says God is holy. You can find that in Isaiah 5:16. It's also in Isaiah 6. The Bible says the law is holy - Romans 7, verse 12. The Bible says God is just - Deuteronomy 32, verse 4 - it says his law is just.

The Bible says God is perfect - Matthew 5:48. Psalm 19:7 says "the law of the lord is perfect, converting the soul." The Bible tells us that God is love - 1 John 4:8. It tells us his law is love - Romans 13:10. I don't have enough time for all the references but the Bible is pretty clear God is righteous, his law is righteous. God is truth, his law is truth.

God is pure, it says his law is pure. God is spiritual, his law is spiritual. God is unchangeable, his law is unchangeable. God is eternal, his law is eternal. And this isn't all the definitions of God's character, these are just a few facets I chose to share with you.

But you'll find that everything the Bible says about God it says about his law because the law of God is the perfect expression of his will and his character. So any attempt to undermine the law of God is really an asSault on God's very person. The reason it's so important for us to preach and exalt and teach the law of God is you're lifting up who God is when you do it. And so don't ever be ashamed about talking about the Ten Commandments. The devil has intimidated Christians with the word 'legalism' as though obedience is legalism.

The Bible does not teach that obedience is legalism. Real obedience is coming from the right motive - it is not obedient - it is not legalism. And so the law of God must be taught. One reason the law of God needs to be taught is because we won't understand what sin is without it. That's my second point.

According to the Bible, what is sin? Now the most clinical definition you find in 1 John 3, verse 4, "sin is the transgression of the law." Isn't that right? So the devil doesn't want us talking about sin. You know why? When you preach and you talk about sin, people become painfully aware that they have problems, that they are sinners, and when they are aware they are sinners, then they start feeling the need for a Savior. So if you can just quiet the church down where they don't talk about the law, people will not feel a conviction for sin, they will not sense their need of Jesus or repentance, and won't find salvation. The law leads to salvation. While we are not saved by the law, you cannot be convicted of your sin without knowing something about the law.

And so, it tells us that sin is the transgression of God's law. That's why God said to cain, 'sin lies at the door.' He was getting ready to murder his brother. Romans 3:20, "by the law is the knowledge of sin." Get rid of the law, you get rid of the knowledge of sin. Get rid of the knowledge of sin, nobody needs a Savior from sin. Can you understand the devil's strategy? He's attacking the law.

He's trying to eclipse, obscure, hide the law of God - downplay the law of God because then people won't know they're sinners and they won't know how much they need Jesus. They won't be saved and forgiven of their sins and they won't have the peace that comes from that experience. It also tells us - Romans 7:7, "I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, 'thou shalt not covet." Notice that Paul is quoting from one of the Ten Commandments. So right in the law of God it's revealing what sin is and thereby helping us know our need for a Savior. Now a Christian is ultimately a follower of Christ.

How did Jesus feel about the law? Did he uphold it? John 15, verse 10 - did Jesus keep the Ten Commandments? That's the big question. He said - if you believe Jesus - "...i have kept my father's commandments..." Some people think that Jesus came to do away with the law. Christ said, 'do not think' - in Matthew - 'think not that I have come to destroy the law and the prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.' And the word 'fulfill' there means 'to fill full'. Jesus came to fill up the law - keep it in his life - some people say, 'well he came to keep it so we don't have to.

' No, he came to keep it as an example on how we can. A Christian is a follower of Christ. We don't need excuses to disobey, we're already really good at that. We need - we need an example to show us 'how do we overcome?' And Jesus there, in Revelation, he says seven times in his message to the churches, 'to him that overcomes. To him that overcomes.

To him that overcomes.' Each time it's accompanied with great promises of good. The devil wants us to think that we can all sin but we can't obey. And really what that means is we have more faith in the devil's ability to tempt us than Jesus' ability to keep us from falling. So what's bigger, your God or your devil? If you believe that Jesus can transform you - can the Lord help you with any sin? Have any of you ever experienced God giving you victory over any sin in your life? Well, if he can help you with anything, then he can help you with everything because the Bible says that all things are possible with God, right? And the same way that he gave you victory in whatever that area might be, he can give you victory in the areas where you may still be struggling, but don't fall for the devil's Marketing plan that, 'oh well, Jesus came and obeyed because we can't.' No, he came and obeyed to show us how we can because we - he's given us an example, the Bible says, 'that we should walk even as he walked.' We walk in his steps. He is an example to us.

Yes you can obey - Jesus did. The Bible said, 'he did not sin. He kept his father's commandments.' And he said, 'if you love me, keep my commandments.' Amen? So who has sinned and what is the penalty for sin? We're just kind of laying a foundation right now for this subject. You all know Romans 3:23? "For" - how many? - "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Everybody who has ever lived, with the exception of Jesus, has sinned. And what is the penalty for sin? Romans 6:23, "the wages of sin are death.

" And so all of us are guilty of breaking God's law and the penalty for breaking God's perfect law is death. And it doesn't get any more serious than that, does it? So without help from the Lord, we are all under a death penalty. #7 - Should Christians keep the Ten Commandments? No, no, I mean new testament Christians - should we keep the Ten Commandments? Matthew 19:17, Jesus said, 'if you will enter life, keep the commandments." Is that plain? Say 'amen' if that's plain. Your Bible has that in red letters. Let me tell you one more time, it's Matthew 19:17.

You'll also find this in Mark chapter 10 when the rich young ruler came to Jesus and said, 'good master, what good things shall I do that I might inherit eternal life? Jesus said, 'thou knowest the commandments.' And Jesus then quoted - not from ceremonial laws, not from various health statutes, he quoted from the ten commandments. Now, we don't keep the Ten Commandments to be saved, but if we have accepted his salvation we will keep the Ten Commandments. Don't forget, God did not save the children of Israel from Egypt by saying, 'here's my law. Keep my law and I'll get you out of Egypt.' He started out by saying, 'here's a lamb. Sacrifice the lamb, apply the blood of the lamb, we will begin a journey to the promised land.

I'll get you out of Egypt as soon as you accept the lamb. After they accepted the lamb, and you know who that represents - the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. After they accepted Jesus, that passover lamb, they then began their journey. Then they went to Mount Sinai and he delivered the law and, of course, the first thing he says is, 'I am the Lord your God that brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.' That's part of the ten commandments. You'll find that right here.

This is real Hebrew and that's what it says there on the first line - it includes the part that says, 'I am the Lord who saved you.' He begins the Ten Commandments by saying, 'I have saved you.' You got that? So what comes first, obedience or salvation? You cannot be saved by obeying because salvation must come first. Otherwise it's - if your objective is to be clean and you tell your children, 'I want you to clean up before you take a bath.' Isn't that backwards? You take the bath to clean up. And so you first must be saved before you can obey. You come to Jesus first. After they accepted the lamb and they were baptized in the sea and they were baptized in the pillar of fire - we need those baptisms - he brought them to Mount Sinai - he said, 'now, if you love me, keep my commandments.

' Isn't that how it worked? They were not saved by keeping the law, but please, please don't miss this point. This is not going to be popular and some people will twist it. They were not saved by keeping the law but after he brought them to Mount Sinai, those who had been saved from Egypt that refused to obey never made it to the promised land. You are not saved by keeping the law but you will definitely be lost by deliberately disobeying it. If we continue to sin willfully - Hebrews chapter 10, verse 26, ".

..after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there reMaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment..." And then it goes on to say that those that refused Moses' law, they suffered under that wrath and it will also be true of those who deliberately, willfully disobey God's law. Should a Christian keep the Ten Commandments? Revelation 14:12 - speaking of God's people in the last days - 'here is the patience of the saints, here are they that keep the commandments of God.' And again, Revelation 22:14, "blessed" - this is the last chapter in the Bible, friends. I mean, if things are going to change he would have changed it by then. But what does it say there? "Blessed" - is that good or bad? - "Blessed are those that keep his commandments that they might have a right to the Tree of Life and enter in through the gates of the city. If you want to eat from the tree of life and enter in through the gates of the city, then you need to be one of those blessed people that keeps his commandments.

Amen? But isn't he asking us to do something impossible? How is it possible - it's one thing to say we should do it - that's clear - but how is it possible to keep God's commandments? The answers are given, Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Jesus will give you strength. He never says it's easy. It's tough sometimes when you're tempted. Jesus went through some tough temptations in the wilderness when he was fasting 40 days and 40 nights, but he will give you strength to do what he asks you to do. Now there's the point.

Inherent in every command of God - it's pre-packaged with the power to obey. I bought a trailer hitch for my truck yesterday. It was the most exciting thing I did yesterday. I wanted to make sure and get the right size, but the trailer hitch - it's got the trailer ball, it's got the hitch, you know, guys, those drop-down hitches that you slide into the receptacle there on the back of the truck's square thing and when I got it I thought, 'this is going to do me no good if I don't have the pin that holds it in place.' Because you slide the thing in and you hook up your trailer and drive away, your trailer's going to stay there, you're not going to go anywhere. So I thought, 'now where do you get the pin?' I was looking all over the shelf and I'm holding this thing in my hand and I heard a 'clunk' and I shook it and said, 'ohhh.

That was very nice.' They put some tape over the end - they dropped the connecting pin - I looked at the label and sure enough it says, 'connecting pin included.' I thought, 'now that makes sense.' Because this trailer hitch would be no good at all if I hooked it up to the trailer and drove away and nothing moved. It gives me the connecting pin. In every command of God you have the connecting pin. He gives you the power to go somewhere with it. It gives you the power to move off the dime.

You can do what God asks you to do because when God tells you to do something, wouldn't it be cruel for the Lord to punish his children for not obeying a command they cannot obey? Are sinners going to be punished? Did Jesus take a punishment for sin? How - what right - how just would it be if God would punish his children - even his own son - for people breaking laws that it was impossible to keep. You see what the devil is accusing people of? And I hear pastors say it - oh, it's a doctrine of devils. I hear pastors say, 'well, nobody can keep the law. That's why Jesus had to die.' Well, it's true, no one can keep it without his power, but I believe through Christ all things are possible. And if God is going to punish sinners for sinning when they can't obey because he's asking the impossible of them, well that makes God a cruel tyrant.

But with his spirit and with his power you can be different. You can obey. How are you going to change society by telling the alcoholic, 'well, nobody can really obey. We're just going to, you know, we'll subsidize your drinking. We don't expect you to change and give it up and stop beating your wife and losing your jobs.

' Or the person who's addicted to heroin or cigarettes - I don't know which is harder. What good are you going to do in the world if we don't tell sinners that they can get the victory? Can people who drink get the victory? Do you all know some that have? Can people who smoke and use drugs and - you just name your favorite sinful addiction. Do we know that people can change? That's what the world needs is to hear 'you can obey. You can get the victory.' And it breaks my heart when I hear pastors saying, 'well, nobody can really obey.' And we make all these excuses for sin. Yes you can.

You can be different. You can lead a new kind of life. You can change. Is it a struggle? Yes. Does it take time? Sometimes sanctification it takes time.

But don't - don't underestimate the power of God. Don't give the credit to the devil for all - remaining slaves. Then you're like those spies that came back. They were supposed to give a glorious report of the promised land and they came back and they said, 'oh, the giants are too big. The walls are too big.

Obstacles too big. We can't conquer the promised land.' And God said, 'if you don't think you're going to make it to the promised land then you're going to die in the wilderness. Joshua and caleb said, 'we are able. We believe. With God's help we can conquer them.

' And I'm glad David didn't have that attitude. 'Oh Goliath's too big. I'm going home.' Yeah, you might have some sin in your life that seems like a big ugly giant but through the power of God's Word you can overcome. 'All things are possible through God', amen? 'He that has begun a good work in you will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ.' If you fall, don't give up. He's begun a work in you.

He's the author and the finisher of your faith. Yes you can be an obeyer of God's law - not a hearer only, but a doer. Point #9 - what are the old and the new covenants? We need to understand that. Well, if you look in Deuteronomy - we quoted it already - chapter 4, verse 13 - he says, "he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even Ten Commandments." Covenant - Ten Commandments - no question about it. Old covenant the Ten Commandments - not exactly.

The old covenant was based upon the Ten Commandments, but a covenant is an agreement. The Ten Commandments are not an agreement. The Ten Commandments are the terms. The agreement was, when God spoke the Ten Commandments before he ever wrote it down, all the people stood at the mountain - they heard his voice thunder and rumble through the land and they said to Moses, 'you speak to us. Don't let the Lord speak to us, it's scaring us half to death.

' But when he gave them those laws, do you know what the people said? 'All that the Lord has said we will do.' Now, if you and I are going to draw up a contract, the way that it's done all the time - with lawyers still today - first you have a verbal agreement. What do we want the terms of this agreement to be? We agree on the terms, we say, 'okay, let's write it down. Write it down - you get a copy, I get a copy and we sign it.' By the way, Jesus said heaven and earth have to pass away for one jot or one tittle to drop from the law. Some have wondered if there are two copies. You know, it does say - you never see it and artists can't show it unless you've got a three dimensional, but it says, 'two tables of stone written on both sides.

' Now I'm not going to flip that around for you right now because we've only got it on one side. Just pretend it's on both sides. But some have wondered if you had four on one side and the other six on the back and four on one, six on the back. One was to represent God's copy, one was to represent man's copy. Has anyone - you ever have a contract someone sends you? They send you two copies.

They say 'sign both, send one back.' You got a copy, I got a copy. We have a covenant. So God gave them the law orally. They agreed - he wrote it down - they said, 'all that the Lord has said we will do.' That's the covenant - was 'all the Lord has said we will do.' But did they? As soon as God gave it to Moses - he got down the mountain - they were, you know, having a hootenanny around a golden calf with half their clothes gone. They broke the law.

Yeah, so God said 'you don't have to keep the ten commandments anymore. Moses threw them out of his hands. God said, 'no. Cut some more stones. I cut the first ones, Moses.

You cut these. You broke them. Cut - bring them back up. I'll write on them the words of the first commandments.' The law didn't change. They put it back in the ark.

They carried it around. It's still probably hidden in Israel somewhere in a cave to this very day. Ten Commandments in the ark still in existence today. But the new covenant - where does the new covenant first appear? In the old testament. The first time you find the new covenant - it's not in the new testament.

Jeremiah 31:31, it says, 'a new covenant I will make with them after these days.' Oh, by the way, he does not make a new covenant with gentiles, he makes a new covenant with the house of Israel. 'A new covenant will I make after those days with the house of Israel and with the house of judah.' The new covenant God says, 'I will write my law in their hearts. Old covenant - the people said, 'all that the Lord has said we will do.' New covenant God said, 'I will.' Old covenant - 'we will.' They failed. New covenant - God says, 'I will.' What were the terms? The exact same terms. The law is the same thing.

It's written on a different place. It's written on the heart. It's based on the promises of God but it's the same law. And it's summed up in two commandments. Two tables of stone, why? Because the first table is dealing with man's responsibility to God - man's relationship with God.

You know, Christ said the law is summed up in two great commandments - love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, love your neighbor as yourself. That's a summary of the two commandments. God made adam - when God first made adam it was governed by this table - man's relationship with God. After God made eve he needed another table because now you've got the horizontal relationship and this was brought into play at that point. But the whole law is summed up in love for God and love for your neighbor and that's the essence of the Ten Commandments - it's all love.

So the new covenant is those laws of love written on the heart based on the promises of God and he says, 'with my power I will cause you - matter of fact, I'm saying it but I need to read it to you now. Hebrews 8, verse 8, "for finding fault with them," - the fault was not with the law. The reason he had a new covenant - finding fault with them. Who are the 'them'? The Israelites who broke it - "finding fault with them, he says: 'behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of judah - '" - there is no covenant in the Bible made with gentiles to save. We become spiritual jews.

We're grafted into Israel - '" - not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in my covenant, and I disregarded them,' says the Lord. 'For this' - Hebrews 8:10 - '...this is the covenant I will make'...says the Lord: 'I will put my laws in their mind and write them on their hearts;'" you also find that in Ezekiel. It talks about putting his law in our hearts. So the new covenant is an old testament concept. Are you aware that nobody in history is saved based on the old covenant? Nobody's saved based on their doing God's law and their own works.

Everybody is saved by faith through grace. From God putting - Abraham believed God and he counted it to him for righteousness. Abraham was righteous by faith. Abraham wasn't saved because he grunted and strained and managed to keep God's law in his own power. He kept - matter of fact - he fell several times trying to do things his own way, didn't he? That's how ishmael came along.

It wasn't until he trusted in God's power that Isaac came along. We're all saved by grace through faith. Matter of fact, that's our next verse. Are people saved by keeping the law? You won't be saved deliberately breaking it, but no one is saved by keeping it, we're saved by grace and that's Ephesians 2, verses 8 and 9, "for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." And I probably would be first in line boasting if I thought I could save myself. You'd be second in line.

We'd all find a way to take credit for it, right? But it's only by God's grace that any of us are saved because if God's going to give us what we deserve, what's the penalty for sin? You wouldn't even survive your probation. As soon as you sinned, you'd die. It's because it's a gift. Now some are saying today that, well, because we're saved by grace, God's grace nullifies or abolishes the law. Does the grace of God abolish the law? Romans 6 - let's see what Paul says about that.

I'm just going to read Paul because Paul is the one they always quote to try to say that. Romans 6:15, "what then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? God forbid!" Matter of fact, I'm going to pause here for just a second before I read my next verse. Under the law - are we currently under the law? It depends on what you mean by that. When Paul talks about being under the law, he's talking about being under the curse or the penalty of the law. When you break a law - any good law's got a penalty.

You find laws in our culture that exist and there's no consequence then there's a law that's being broken, right? Matter of fact, most laws exist today because somebody broke the law. Do you know we have more laws now in our culture than any other time in history? Has it made us a more lawful people? No, matter of fact, somebody said one time, the fewer laws a just society has the more lawful the people are. The proliferation of laws usually indicates a lot of law breaking. Every law that you ever hear is because someone did something wrong and they had to make a law about it. I saw an interesting list - you've probably seen it before - some of the strange laws that they've got.

Do you know that it's - there's a law that it's illegal to carry a violin in a paper bag in salt lake county Utah. Now, you wonder what the story is behind that law, right? Was someone - they thought - they carried it into a bank and they thought they had a machine gun and it was just a violin in a paper bag? I mean, you wonder, what's behind that? Nashville - there's a law 'no bathing in city fountains'. Do you think the council - city fathers were sitting around one day and said, 'you know, we probably ought to make a law about not bathing in the fountains.' No, you know how that law got made? Somebody started bathing in the fountains and there were a lot of suds in the fountain one day. In Canada it's unlawful to lend your vacuum cleaner to your neighbor. They got laws about everything in Canada but I can't even imagine what brought that about.

But there must - something must have gone wrong. Some neighbor lent their neighbor their vacuum and something went wrong and so they said, 'we better make a law about that.' Now this one you can figure out. In Michigan it's illegal to place a skunk inside your boss' desk. We all know how that law was formed, right? What was the Genesis of that? It doesn't say whether the skunk was alive or dead. I couldn't figure out this one: in Kentucky it's illegal to carry ice cream in your back pocket.

But somehow I think someone was carrying ice cream in their back pocket and they sat down in the theater or some public place - that's the only - somebody did something really dumb where they weren't following a principle of loving God and loving your neighbor and it caused a problem, obviously. If you put your skunk in your boss' desk, you don't love your neighbor, right? So you're violating a principle whenever you break one of these and that's what becomes the Genesis of the law. So Paul is asking 'does grace abolish the law?' He said, 'God forbid!' Romans 3:31, "do we then make void the law through faith? On the contrary, we establish the law." When people say, 'I've got faith. I don't need the law.' Who are you kidding? If you've got real faith, you keep the law. And again, if you don't believe those two, how about Romans :13 - this is Paul - notice - this is Paul - can't be any more clear than that, "(for the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God)" - no, no, I said that wrong - "(.

..not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified.)" - What? The doers of the law will be - I thought we were just through faith. Yes, and if you are just through faith you will be doing the law. See how that works? Now what needs to be the motive for obeying God's law? Love is the motive. Romans 13:10, "...therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." When we love God we'll want to obey. We'll love our neighbor.

We'll naturally keep these laws. Matthew 22, verse 37 - Jesus said, "'you should love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind.' This is the first and the great commandment. The second is like unto it: 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." And I heard of a preacher - one day he quoted that verse and he said, 'see, the Ten Commandments have been hung. They're hung and all you've got to do now - it's like they've been strangled and all you've got to do now is keep those two commandments of love.' Well, when it says - Jesus said, 'on these two commandments hang' it means all the ten commandments are summarized - they're supported by loving the lord and loving your neighbor. Matter of fact, you could summarize those two in one word.

God is love. And that's why the commandments of God - if the commandments are all summarized in love, and the commandments are an expression of God's character, if God is love - when you look at these tables of stone don't think of cold rock, think of Jesus. Jesus is the rock. Didn't Jesus say, 'he that hears these words of mine and does them is like a wise man who builds his house on a rock'? And he said, 'he that hears these words of mine and does them' - whose finger do you think it was that was engraving the letters on the stone tablets? Let me quote you a verse, 'all things that were made were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made.' God The Father or God The Son? I believe - I know you've all got these pictures of God the father there with his long beard - you need a picture now of Jesus with his beard. Jesus.

When Jesus wrote on the floor of the temple and mary magdalene was forgiven, he was probably writing the sins of her accusers. That same finger that was writing on the judgment hall - judgment on the walls of the halls of Babylon - and it's that same finger that wrote the Ten Commandments and handed them to Moses. Christ was, the Bible tells us, that angel that led them through the wilderness. And so, don't think of the law of God as something different or alien from Jesus, it's the embodiment of who Christ is. He is the rock of ages.

He is the stone that brought down Goliath. He is the cornerstone upon which the church is built. This law was written on stone for a reason. Not only because of its eternal nature, but it helps us think of Christ, the rock of ages, amen? So the motive for obeying God's law? 'Hear, o Israel, the Lord thy God is one. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, all thy mind, all thy soul, all thy strength.

And these words that I command you this day shall be in your heart.' What words? He had just, in Deuteronomy 5, quoted the Ten Commandments. In Deuteronomy 6 he says, 'you shall love the Lord and these words shall be in your heart. Can the law of God be in our heart? When you love the Lord are you going to want to use his name in a disrespectful way? Do you cringe sometimes when you hear people use God's that way? Because you love God. You love him so much you don't want to hear people use his name disrespectfully. If you love your spouse are you going to want to break their heart by giving that intimate love to someone else? That's why God says, 'I'm a jealous God.

' Yeah, he deserves our first place. That's why he said 'don't have other Gods before me.' And so he's got a right to ask for that. It's all summed up in love. Matter of fact, if a husband or wife does not get jealous when their spouse is spending a lot of time with the opposite sex you wonder 'don't they care? Don't they love?' If they love, the natural response is a little bit of concern because that love belongs to me, right? If there's no concern you'd be thinking, 'don't you care?' God loves us. That's why his law is there.

So the motive for obeying is love. John 5:3, "this is the love of God that we keep his commandments.' And of you kids still counting? Why do we keep his commandments? This is the love of God. John 2, verses 3 and 4, "hereby do we know" - this one is a slam dunk. This puts to silence all of the hypocrites out there. "Hereby do we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

He that says, 'I know him' and keeps not his commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him." That's new testament. That's why Jesus said 'not everyone that says unto me 'lord, lord' is going to enter the Kingdom of God but they that do the will of my Father in Heaven.' What is the will of God? Psalm 40 tells us 'I love to do your will. Your law is within my heart. The law of God is a perfect expression of his character and his will. And Jesus will declare to everyone else, 'I don't know you.

' So if someone says, 'I love the Lord. I'm following the Lord. I know the Lord. No, I don't keep the law because I'm under grace.' John says, 'you're a liar.' If you say, 'lord, lord, I love you lord.' Christ will declare to those people, 'depart from me ye workers of iniquity.' And that word is lawlessness - people without law - so it does matter, friends. This is important basic foundational Christian teaching.

Who does the devil especially hate? In the last days he makes it pretty clear because of the laws to worship the beast power. You've got a picture there of Nebuchadnezzar. He got so mad, it says he went into a rage. He was filled with fury and wrath. When they would not bow down and worship his idols and keep his laws.

Kind of like the devil in the last days. It says 'the dragon is wroth with the woman' - Revelation 12:17 - 'and he goes to make war with the remnant of her seed that keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus.' Why are we doing this series? Is this relevant for our day and age? Is this important now? Who is the devil angry at? Those who keep the commandments of God. He especially focuses his attention - oh, and you might say, 'as long as we keep most of them.' That's not what the Bible says. 'Whoever is guilty of one is guilty of all' James tells us. the Lord says in Deuteronomy chapter 5, verse 29, "oh that they had such a heart in them that they would fear me and always keep all my commandments, that it might be well with them and their children forever!" He wants it to be well with us but he says keep all of them.

I mean, how would you respond if your spouse asked for a ten percent discount on the Ten Commandments and that one commandment they wanted to break was the seventh? Would you go for that? No. All of them matter when you love God - a hundred percent. So the devil hates those that are keeping God's law. Point #15 - what are the rewards for keeping God's law? This is the good part. John 15:11, "these things I have spoken to you that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

" He wants us to have joy and it comes in obeying God. Proverbs 29:18, "...but happy is he that keeps the law." Do you believe that? Jesus said, 'if you know these things, happy are ye if you do them.' He wants us to have joy and happiness - not only joy and happiness, he wants us to have peace. Psalm 119:165, "great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them." I not only want peace I want great peace, don't you? When we submit our lives into God's hands and are saying, "lord, we're willing to be doers of your word' you'll have a great peace. And, by the way, if you know there's some area in your life where you are diverging from the will of God and the law of God, you should be troubled. Don't get comfortable in disobedience.

That's dangerous - that's where you get to where you sear your conscience and, ultimately, you can come to the place where you commit the unpardonable sin because you don't hear God's voice anymore. If you can convince yourself that it's okay to live in disobedience to the Ten Commandments, knowingly, and that everything's going to somehow be okay, that is a deadly place to be. That's like leprosy - spiritual leprosy. But there's great peace. Isaiah 48:18, "oh that you had heeded my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river.

" You know that song we sing, 'I've got peace like a river'? It's based on this verse. Where does it come from? 'Oh that we had heeded his commandments' - then you would have peace like a river. Do you want peace and joy and blessedness and happiness? It comes from obedience. If you're obeying God - it's like shadrach, meshach and abednego said, 'we might go to a fiery furnace, but we know we're obeying God - we have nothing to fear.' Jesus said, 'don't fear him who can destroy your body but he can't touch your soul, rather fear him who can destroy soul and body in hell.' Now the title for our series we've just started is called 'laws of love and liberty'. Why the liberty part? If you look in James 1, verse , "but be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he" - in other words, when you read and you're convicted, don't say, 'oh yeah, that was good. That's convicting' and walk away and don't make any changes. How often have we heard sermons we thought, 'what a good sermon' and we go home and do nothing about it? Just hearers only. But if we hear something during a message and we think, 'yeah, I ought to make some changes.

' Get out your pencil and paper and make a note to self. Say, 'let's start being different in this area.' Don't just be hearers and not doers. It's like a man who observes his face in a mirror "for he observes himself, he goes away and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the word, this one will be blessed" - blessed - "in what he does." What is that law of liberty? James tells us in the next chapter, 'for whoever will keep the whole law and yet stumble in one point' - they're trying to do the ninety percent discount thing with God - 'he's guilty of all.' 'Oh, yeah, I keep all the law, I just shoplift a little bit.' Or if you go to a judge and you say, 'you know, I'm a good law-abiding citizen, your honor, I just commit a little teeny bit of murder.' No, you're a lawbreaker and the penalty is death. 'Whoever keeps the whole law and stumbles in one point, he's guilty of all.

For he who said, 'do not commit adultery'' - now what law is that part of? Is that part of the ceremonial law - ordinance - or one of the ritualistic laws or is it the decalogue - the ten commandments? - ''Do not commit adultery' also said 'do not murder'' - another part of the decalogue, right? Now if you don't commit adultery but you murder, you're a transgressor of the law. Notice how he ties this off - this is James 2, verse 12, "so speak and so do" - don't be hearers only - "so speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty." When we are hearers and doers of God's law, we have liberty. The Bible talks about liberty in Christ and a lot of people have wanted to abuse what that liberty really looks like. What they want is liberty to sin. Liberty in Christ is a liberty that comes from surrendering and being willing to obey.

You have great freedom in the Lord. Psalm 119:44, "so shall I keep your law continually, forever and ever. And I will walk at liberty, for I seek your precepts." Do you want to have that freedom? Do you want to have that liberty? Well friends, oh boy, I could just - I could do an introduction to this series. I could read psalm 119 and be here for forty minutes. And that's all about the law of God.

Have you read it? I hope you have. 'We're really dealing with a bottom-line issue here. The wisest man who ever lived, he said, 'let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:' - Ecclesiastes chapter 12 - 'fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing. Whether good or evil.

' Fear God and keep his commandments. Last thing you find in the old testament - Malachi chapter 4 - 'remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in horeb for all Israel with the statutes and judgments.' Remember the law. Then you get to Revelation, 'blessed are those that do his commandments.' Frankly, I don't think Christians and pastors are talking enough about the Ten Commandments. I have been convicted, personally. This is the first time in my ministry I have done a complete series just dealing with the Ten Commandments.

And I hope you'll pray during this time. Not only pray for me as I prepare these presentations, pray for ourselves that we will be people who have that peace, that joy, that liberty in Christ because we're not just going to be hearers of the word, we're going to be doers also.

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