Law of the Lamb

Lesson: 4
How do Christians relate to the Ten Commandments without being legalists? Is obedience "legalism"?
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Jëan Ross: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome again to "Prophecy Encounter." And to those joining us across the country and around the world, our international audience, a very warm welcome to all of you. Well, it's time for us to get to our study this evening, and the title is "The Law of the Lamb." Of course, we'll be looking in the book of Revelation, a number of important prophecies. There's beasts in Revelation, but there's also a Lamb in Revelation. So today, we're going to be focusing on the lamb being Jesus, but he also is the law, and we're going to be expanding on that a little bit here this evening. We're just delighted that Pastor Doug Batchelor is our teacher for this series. He's guiding us through these very important prophecies, so right now we want to welcome him again, and ask that pay attention as we study this important topic. Thank you, Pastor Doug.

Doug Batchelor: Thank you, Pastor Ross. Thank you so much, friends. So tonight, we have a very important program, and it's dealing with the subject of the law of God. Now, the title of this series is "The Law of the Lamb" because Jesus is God the Son, amen? And you know, I thought I'd give you a little amazing fact at the beginning. For years, as these ancient ships would make the way across the ocean, one of the only things that kept those ships from sinking was rocks. Now, you might be surprised, how do rocks keep a ship from sinking? But many of the ancient sailboats, they, you know, understood that when they had a tall mast and that leverage when they were in the wind and the waves, to give them the ballast and the center of gravity they needed to prevent them from capsizing. They would take very carefully chosen stones, that wouldn’t crack and turn into gravel, they'd place them strategically across the bottom keel of the ship, and they were called ballast stones. And it gave the ship a center of gravity, kept it from capsizing in the wind and in the waves.

And it's been interesting to geologists as they've gone to different ports around the world, they will find in the Caribbean, for instance, and probably on the coasts of Florida, all of these interesting granite stones. Now, if you're Floridian, do you have any granite in Florida? No, even the roads are made of coral here, right? Everything's coral. But they found in the ports--as a matter of fact, the highest mountain in Florida I think is an overpass, right? In the freeway. They found in the ports these granite stones, and they said, "How'd they get here?" And they were identified with rocks that you'd find in Italy, or Spain, or Portugal, or France, or England. And it's because when many of the ships came over, they took some of their ballast stones, they'd dump them out, and they'd add cargo that they put lower in the hole. And it gave them stability, it kept them from capsizing, it kept them from blowing over and sinking, a stone.

And you know, you need a ballast stone in your life. God put His Word, the Ten Commandments, on two tables of stone. This is the law of the Lamb. It is written by the Lord, by His own finger. Now, where did the Ten Commandments come from? We always picture, you know, Moses up on top of the mountains there. Some have got pictures of Moses in their mind, he's writing the law. But you read in the Gospel of John, "All things that were made were made by Him." Who's that? That's talking about Jesus. And He's the one who is responsible for giving us the law. So, some people think that the law of Jesus in the New Testament is different from the law of the Ten Commandments and the Old Testament. It's the same God that gave both laws. So, there's a lot of confusion, even among Christians today about, what law do we keep?

Which laws were nailed to the cross? And how do Christians relate to the Ten Commandments without being legalists? And then there's that question, is obedience legalism? Interesting question, sort of a rhetorical question. How does this all relate to Revelation? Follow me. If you go to Revelation chapter 14, verse 9, it tells us there that, " A third angel followed, saying with a loud voice, 'If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or in his hand, the same will drink the wine of the wrath of God that is poured out in full strength into the cup of His indignation.'" Here's one of the most fearful curses and plagues pronounced in the Bible. It's actually in the New Testament, and it's pronounced against those who worship the beast. And you can read on, it says, "He'll be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb." Going down a little further in that same chapter, it will contrast the ones who are not worshiping the beast, and it says, "Here is the patience of the saints," this is verse 12, Revelation 14:12. "Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus."

Notice it doesn't say faith in Jesus, it says faith of Jesus. Now, that's a characteristic you find throughout Revelation. Those who are worshiping the beast are breaking one of the commandments because the Bible says you're to only worship God and you're not to pray to idols. And it talks about making an image to the beast. Look, for instance, in Revelation 13:15, "He was granted to give power and breath to the image of the beast, that the image should both speak and cause, that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed." Well, if you're a believer in God and you're commanded to do image worship, what do you do? What would be wrong with image worship? Is there a command that forbids us from image worship? Is that only in the Old Testament? Or does John also in the New Testament say, "My little children, keep yourself from idols?" And so, this is a commandment you find going all the way through the Bible. We need to understand the relationship between the saved Christian and the law if we're going to be ready for the last days and what's coming.

And again, it goes on to say, Revelation 13:15, that those who do not worship the image of the beast would be killed. Then you jump now to the book of Daniel. And if you look in Daniel 3, verse 10, some of you remember that Daniel had three friends named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And their Hebrew names were Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They refused to bow down and worship the image of the king, and the king had said, "Whoever does not worship the image will be killed." Do you notice the echo coming from Daniel into Revelation? Very similar language. "Those who do not worship the image of Babylon will be killed." We're going to be talking about Babylon in our next presentation. They said, "We cannot bow down to your image. Our law forbids it, the law of God." That's something we're going to need to know for the last days. "Whoever does not fall down and worship will be cast in the midst of a burning fiery furnace." They faced a tremendous test.

What happened, did God preserve them? Because they put the law of God first. They stood up for God and His Word, and God stood up for them. Jesus Himself went into that fiery furnace with them and air conditioned it. He preserved them. The only thing that was burned were the ropes that had bound them. Then you go to Daniel chapter 6, remember there's a parallel between Daniel and Revelation. The king, King Darius, makes a law, and he makes a royal statute and a firm decree that, "Whoever petitions any god or man for 30 days except you, O king, would be cast into the den of lions." Yeah, our first commandment, what does that say? First of the ten. Thou shalt not have other gods before Me, right? Daniel said, "I'm sorry, God's law forbids me from making you my god, King Darius. I'm putting the law of God ahead of the law of man."

Doesn't Peter say we ought to obey God rather than man? Is the day coming in the future, according to prophecy, when the beast power is going to be compelling people to worship something God forbids? So, do we need to understand the right relationship between the Lord and the law if you're going to be a Bible Christian? Because it says a lot here about the commandments of God.

So, let's delve into our lesson to get a right understanding of the law without turning into legalists as we study these things in the light of prophecy. Question number one, can God's moral law be amended or repealed? Now, I should probably tell you when we say moral law, we don't hear that phrase much anymore, but it was the term that was used for many years by Christians to describe the Ten Commandments because there are many laws in the Bible. There's civil laws in the Bible, there were government laws, there were health laws, there were ceremonial laws, and then there was the moral law, which was the law of the Ten Commandments. And I remember growing up that any schoolboy used to know most of them because in public school in California, we had the Ten Commandments on the wall in our school. Does anyone else remember that? I see a few hands, and I guess I'm getting old. Yeah, some of you remember that? Public school, Ten Commandments on the wall. And you wonder if the epidemic of crime could be connected with our saying, "Oh, well, we wouldn't want the kids accidentally keeping the Ten Commandments because that would be a bad influence, religious influence."

No, can God's law be changed? Psalm 89, verse 34, "My covenant I will not break, nor alter the thing that has gone out of my lips." God made a covenant. It's called the old covenant, but the law has not been changed. You'll find out about that a little later in the presentation. You can also read in Psalms 111:7. He says, "All of His commandments are sure. They stand forever and ever." In fact, if you've never done it before, I'd encourage you to read one little chapter in the Bible, it's called Psalm 119. I'm teasing, it's the longest chapter in the Bible. The whole chapter is how I love your law. It's all about loving the law. People don’t usually put law and love together, do they? It's like they're opposites. But you know, when you really love the Lord, you love His law. All His commandments are sure. They stand forever. You can read Malachi chapter 3, verse 6. God says, "For I am the Lord, I change not." Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And so, His law is eternal in nature, the moral law.

Now, the reason that I don't believe that God's Ten Commandment law can change is because the Bible definitions for the Ten Commandment law are the same definitions that are given for God Himself. And so, if you're trying to do away with the Ten Commandment moral law, you're going to start finding yourself trying to do away with the character of God. Let me illustrate. The Bible says God is good. You can find that in Luke 18:19. Well, the Bible says the law is good. The Bible says God is holy. The Bible says the law is holy, Romans 7:12. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 32, verse 4, God is just. The Bible says the law is just, Romans 7:12. The Bible says that God is perfect, God is love. Bible says that the law is perfect, the law is love. It says that God is righteous. And I can read all of these verses to you, He is truth, He is pure, He is spiritual, He's unchangeable, He's eternal. Every single one of those things that describes God it also is using to describe the law.

Now, that should not surprise you if you're a Christian because one of the names for Jesus is the Word. And one of the names for the law is the Word. The laws are the Word of God written by God's own finger. It's eternal in nature. Now, what are you thinking right now? When I'm talking about the law, do you have good, warm feelings? Or does the law, the word "law" make you nervous? When you think of the law, do you feel peace or you feel guilt? Think about that, I'm not going to say any more.

According to the Bible, what is sin? There's a few definitions for the sin. Bible says anything not of faith is sin, all unrighteousness is sin. You can read in Romans 3:20, "By the law is the knowledge of sin." So, we learn about sin by the law. Well, that would make you think that I don't want to--I don’t want the law because it's going to tell me about sin. I don't want to know about my sin. I already feel guilty enough. So, if I look at the law, I'm going to feel bad. Well, it's not your enemy. Another definition, a really good definition that you're going to find here in the Bible, 1 John chapter 3, verse 4. It says, and this is almost like it's right out of a dictionary, "Sin is the transgression of the law."

And so, do we still have sin in the world today? We must still have law. Sin is a transgression of the law. What law?

And that's the next question, to what law does 1 John 3, verse 4 refer to? Well, you can read--the answer to that you can really get from Romans 7:7. I know I'm giving you a lot of Scripture, but I want to make sure that your understanding about this subject is really rooted in the Word. He said, "I had not known sin, but by the law; for I had not known lust, except the law had said, 'You shalt not covet.'" Now, when Paul says, "You shall not covet," where do you find that? Which commandment is that? Commandment number ten. It says, "Thou shall not covet." So, Paul is saying, "I wouldn't have known about sin if it wasn’t for the law," and then he's referring to, of course, the moral law, the Ten Commandment law. And do we have problems with law keeping in the country, in the world today? Oh, it's pretty serious.

I think I quoted this actually, same quote to you in an earlier presentation that every 100 hours, more youth die in US streets than were killed in the Persian Gulf warfare, US News and World Report. Another report tells us that the average 18-year-old has witnessed 200,000 violent acts on television, including 40,000 murders, by the time he is 18 years old, a young person. So, if we are changed by beholding, and if people are spending all of this time beholding evil, then is that going to have an impact on us? And it's also affecting the morals. Do you know the divorce rate in North America between 1867 and 1879 was only 3%? Out of 100 people that would get married, only 3 would get divorced. Between 1898 and 1900, it had almost doubled to 7%. We could probably live with that, right? Today. By 1925 to 1930, it had gone to 16%, doubled again. Nineteen forty, twenty percent. There was a big spike, 1945 right after the war, and it jumped there to 35%, went down briefly again. By 1970, it was 33%, but it just went up from there. In 1985, gone to 50%. It's really hard to track the percentage of marriages and divorces today because so many people cohabit without getting married today. They say, "Well, we don't want to get married until we get to know each other a little better." And I heard one pastor say, "If you want to get to know somebody, you don't need to share a bed, share a checkbook. You'll get to know them." They say, "Well, we need to know if we're compatible." Share a checkbook and you'll find--you'll find--you know what causes--the number one cause for divorce? Finances. Almost has nothing to do with the physical intimacy. A lot of it has to do with--yeah, it's what's happening in the bank as much as anything else.

And I don’t know if you know that it's just gone epidemic now, some of you probably heard about 2015, there was a website called Ashley Madison. And some people that were really upset with what the goal of this website was, to encourage people to have affairs. Their motto was, "Life is short. Have an affair." And people could go and register there, and a lot of marriages were breaking up because of this website. They actually had 37 million people registered, 5.5 of them had registered as women, so it was not just a problem of the men, but predominantly it was the men. And the group said, "If you don’t take down your website, we've hacked all your information. We're making it public." Well, they didn't take it down, and these people were not just threatening. They did make public 25 gigabytes of company data, the personal information and names of the people that had been using that website. But that's a lot of people. There's only 300 million in North America, a lot of them are kids, 37 million people investigating how to have an affair.

Do you think we have too much law in the church, or maybe people aren't hearing about the law of God? Oh, by the way, that's the seventh commandment, "Thou shall not commit adultery." The Bible says that adulterers will not be in the kingdom of heaven. God wants us to keep His commandments. He's pretty clear about that. Now, the bottom line is a Christian follows who? What does the word "Christian" mean? A Christian is supposed to be a follower of Christ. What did Jesus do? Did Jesus keep the Ten Commandments? Oh, He said so. He said in John 15:10, "I have kept My Father's commandments." That would certainly include the ten, right? Some are saying, "Well, Jesus only kept the Ten Commandments because He's a Jew. We're Christians now, He saved us from the law." Have you ever heard that before? You know, when I first started reading the Bible, and you know, my mother was an actress. She was actually in the movie "The Ten Commandments." And even before I was a Christian, I remember seeing that Charlton Heston movie. She had a very little part. I don't want you to think she's, you know, famous actress. Whenever my kids and I watch, I said, "There's grandma, there she goes." It's a really short scene, but I get to say she was in the movie, and so that makes me feel pretty good. So, I knew, you know, what the Ten Commandments were, but I was surprised after becoming a Christian to hear Christians telling me, "Oh, but we're saved because of Jesus. Jesus kept the law so we don’t have to." And I thought, "Really? You mean, He died--took our penalty to give us a license to sin? I thought He died--didn't the angel tell Mary to save us from our sins, not in our sins? Sin is my problem. I want to be saved from my sin, I don't want to be saved to continue with these things that cause all these problems in my life. I want to be delivered from these things."

By the way, in the book of Revelation, it's all a book about victory. If you read the message that Jesus gives to each of the churches, Revelation chapter 2 and 3, 7 messages, 7 churches, you know what He says to every church and every age? "To him that overcomes, to him that overcomes, to him that overcomes." Do you think Jesus would say that seven times and then say, "It's not really possible"? Of course He wants us to be obedient. What's the alternative? Jesus would heal somebody, He'd say, "Go and sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you." What is sin? Transgression of the law. So, when He said to Mary Magdalene, "Go and sin no more," He said to that paralytic that He healed, "Go and sin no more, lest the worse thing come upon you," He was talking about--you know, Mary almost stoned, assuming she was the woman caught in adultery, we're not sure of that. But He said, "Don’t do that, it could kill you. Don’t--sin is bad. It hurts you."

Jesus Christ said, "I've kept My Father's commandments." You can read in 1 Peter 2:22, it says, "Jesus, who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth." Sin is the transgression of the law. Jesus committed what? No sin. Jesus perfectly kept the Father's commandments. Now, we haven't. All of us have sinned. We all struggle with temptation and sin every day, amen? It's a challenge. But because we all struggle and we often fall, does that mean we shouldn’t make every effort by God's grace to do His will? And what is the will of God? "Not everyone that says, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but they that do the will of My Father in heaven."

What is the will of God? "Lord, I love to keep Your law, I love to keep Your commandments. Your law is written in my heart," Psalms 119, I think that's verse 45. The law of God, He says, "I love to do Your will. Your law is in my heart." The will of God is the law of God. The law of God is the will of God. It's God's will that you don’t kill each other. It's God's will that you don’t covet, that you don’t commit adultery, right? And so, if you love Him. So, how many people have sinned? Now, we've just sort of alluded to this. You can read, of course, in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." We've all broken God's law. And the penalty for sin, of course, is very serious. The Bible says, "All we like sheep have gone astray. We've turned everyone to his own way," and the Lord laid upon Him the iniquity of us all.

So, all of us have sinned, none is righteous. No, not one. So, why is the punishment for sin--what is the punishment, I should say, for living a life of sin? You can read there in Romans chapter 6:23, "The wages for sin is death." How come we're not dead yet? It's because Jesus, by His death, He's bought us time to make a decision, and He bought eternal life for those that will accept His sacrifice in their place. But why did He die? For sin. What is sin? Breaking the law. Why would you want to do the thing that hurt Jesus so much? Yeah, sin is what killed Him, sin is what hurt Him. When God told Adam and Eve, "If you eat the forbidden fruit, in the day that you eat thereof, you will surely die."

The penalty for sin is death. For us to continue willingly living lives of sin--you read in Hebrews chapter 10:26, it says, "If we continue to sin willfully after we've received the knowledge of the truth--" So, you know, people stumble and fall, and that's one thing, but to continue in known, willing sin after you know God's will, it says there's no more sacrifice for sins, but only a certain fearful looking forward to of judgment and fiery indignation that will devour the adversaries." It's a dangerous thing to tamper and play with sin. Would you let your kids play in the street? Why? Because you don’t want them to have any fun, or because you love them? So, will God withhold anything good from His people, or is He only wanting us to stay away from what hurts us? Sin is deadly, it's poison.

Number seven, do the Ten Commandments still apply to New Testament Christians? This is one of the most important things I want to make clear in this presentation, absolutely. Matthew 19, verse 17, he said, "If you will enter into life, keep the commandments." And the rich young ruler said to Jesus, "Which?" And Jesus began to recite the Ten Commandments. Is that pretty clear? I mean, it's right from the mouth of Jesus. And Christ said, "Do not think that I've come to destroy the law and prophets. I did not come to destroy, but to fulfill." And some think that means, well, that means do away with. No, fulfill means to fill full. Matter of fact, a little later--or earlier, actually, in the same book, when Jesus came to John the Baptist to be baptized, John said, "Oh, you're the Messiah, you need to baptize me." And Jesus said, "Suffer it to be so now, for thus is becomes us to fulfill all righteousness."

Now, does the word "fulfill" mean do away with? Would Jesus had said to John, "You need to do this to do away with all righteousness?" No, it means to complete, to fulfill all righteousness. Christ--Jesus said, "Don’t think I've come to destroy the law and prophets. Whosoever therefore shall break one of the least of these commandments and teach men so, he will be spoken of as least in the kingdom of Heaven. But whoever will do and teach them, he will be called great in the kingdom of Heaven." And so, Christ was very clear about the law. He said, "Do not think that I've come to get rid of it." I've got more verses on that in a minute. He said, "If you love me," do what? "Keep my commandments."

Again, Revelation 22, this is a Revelation subject, "Blessed are those who do His commandments." Is it a cursing or a blessing? It's a blessing God--I'm talking about a blessing tonight, friends. You get this subject, you'll be blessed. Blessed are those that do His commandments, "That they might have a right to the tree of life, and they might enter through the gates of the city." How about you? Do you want to enter through the gates of the city? You want to be blessed? Do His commandments. Matter of fact, three times in Revelation it talks about those who keep His commandments, who keep His commandments, who keep His commandments. It's the way God identifies His people in the book of Revelation.

Now, James uses an illustration where he says, "The law of God is like a mirror. Whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues therein, not being a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, the same man will be blessed in what he does." And you can see the reference here for James 1:23. And then if you're wondering, "What law of liberty is James talking about?" he then goes on to quote from two of the Ten Commandments.

So, let me see if I can illustrate why this would be important using the principle that James is talking about there. All right, now do you see anything different? Let's suppose that this is dirt. I don’t see it. Now, you see that I've got a problem. Would it distract you if I carried on the rest of the night with the study without this? I won't, but you see, it would obviously be distracting. You can see, you know, there's something really wrong that doesn’t need to be wrong. And you ever have somebody that kind of--you know, they kind of pick on you? Let's say you got a little lint, you're talking to them, and they're pulling lint off your clothes? You just think, "That's not right, you know?" It's like me with Karen and her microphone the other day, you know? It's like Karen stopped a lady the other day because she had a piece of thread, she's like, "Wait, hang on one second, let me pull that. You got a big white thread on your black pants there."

I went up to a guy in the airport, never met him before, but he went through security. You know, you have to take off your jacket, put your jacket back on. And his collar was all flipped around. He didn’t know it. And you know, your IQ looks lower when you walk around like that. And no guy--no guy wants that to happen. And so I said, "Hey, pardon me, brother." I said, "Let me help you with this," you know? And I fixed his collar. And he looked at me really strange, and I thought, "I just--sorry, I didn’t mean to meddle." I said, "Your collar was flipped around backwards." I walked away, I went to the restroom, my collar was flipped around backwards. I'd gone through security too. He's looking at me, he thinks, "Boy, you know, remove the mote from your own eye before--you have a beam in your own eye, you're fixing mine."

All right, so I don’t see anything wrong with me. I didn't see my jacket was messed up that day. If I'm going to see it, when did I notice that my collar was all coli-wonk? When I looked in what? I wish I had a mirror. It just so happens I've got a friend in high places. All right, so I feel okay now, I feel just like I did 10 minutes ago, but you see something's changed. I've got something wrong, see? It's dirt, it's sin, all right? So, I go like this, and I look, and I think, "Oh wow, that's embarrassing. That looks really silly. I don’t feel so good anymore. I feel like something's wrong." Obviously, I felt good before I looked in the mirror, so what's wrong is the mirror. If I just get rid of the mirror, everything's okay, right?

But you know, you ever heard the expression ignorance is bliss? There's a lot of Christians who are going by ignorance is bliss. They say, "Get rid of the law, I don’t want to look at the law. Law makes me feel bad." But you know, it's looking in the law that gives you conviction that makes you say, "Wow, something needs to be done." And then there's some who think, "Well, I felt okay until I looked in the mirror. The mirror helped me realize that I've got dirt or mark--" There's probably some kid watching TV with his parents right now and he's, "Mom, Pastor Doug's got the mark." So, I've got--everything looked fine until I looked in this. So, since this showed it to me, this should probably be what takes it away. And so, am I--how am I going to do trying to, you know, take it off with the mirror? Is that what the function of this is? This, it shows it to me, but it doesn’t take it away. So, it's useless, just get rid of it, I'll feel better. The function of the mirror is not to take it away, it is simply to show me that I've got something wrong.

So, let's suppose this is dirt, this is a sin. This doesn’t take it away, it's simply supposed to show me. So, what do I do to take away my sin? What can wash away my sin? The blood of--boy, I wish I had an illustration for that. Thank you, Mrs. Batchelor. So, this is the law, this is the blood of Christ. I need this to say, "Oh, I've got a problem, I'm convicted." And then--I did this once with permanent marker and it didn’t work very well. So, then I look in the mirror and I say, "Oh, everything's okay. I feel better." And so, I have no problem with this now, where I had a problem with it before. And some people hate the law because it's convicting them that there's something they're doing wrong. And then they say, "I hate the law." The problem is not the law. Problem is you need the blood of Jesus to take away the sin. You'll have no problem with the law then." Christ's blood, there's power in the blood, not just to forgive you from the penalty of sin, but the power of sin in your life. Alcohol, cursing. I had a terrible vocabulary. I had all kinds of problems. Mrs. Batchelor, thank you very much.

And so, I just do that because it seals in your mind some people think there's a problem with the law. Nothing wrong with the law. Law's not supposed to save you, that was never the intention of the law. Law is simply supposed to point you to Jesus. Now, if you get rid of the mirror, you will not see your sin, and the devil will have you living under the illusion that everything's fine. And you'll be doing what I just did, preaching with a big mark on your face, and you don’t--everyone sees it but you. And you're living in a dream. Are there people, when Christ comes, they're going to say, "Lord, Lord," and He's going to say, "I don’t know you"? Why does He say, "I don’t know you"? It says, "Depart from me, you workers of iniquity." You know what that word "iniquity" is? You read it in the Greek, lawlessness. A lot of people, they know Jesus' name, and they say, "Oh, I taught in your streets, I did many wonderful works." He'll say, "I don’t know you. Depart from me, workers of iniquity. Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not the things that I say?"

Where's the will of God? It's in the law of God. And yet, there's Christians that are going to miss out because they think the law is bad, they think it's done away with.

How is it possible to keep the commandments? This is very important. Romans 8:3 and 4, "God sending His own Son condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." All of us kind of feel the war between the spirit and the flesh within. And through the power of Christ, we don't have to be controlled by the flesh, but you can be born again. God gives you a new heart, that's the new covenant. Philippians 4:13, "I can do," how much? "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." He will give you strength through His Word and through His Spirit to resist temptation, to get victory, to be overcomers, to live a new life.

I'm sorry, friends, I have no patience for people who keep making excuses for sin. We don’t need excuses for sin, we're already really good at it. What we need is to give God glory. I was doing a TV program, it was actually a Christian station where I was debating some other ministers on this subject. And one of them said, "Nobody can keep the law." And I said, "Well, I'll agree that we've all sinned, but I don’t agree that nobody can keep the law." I asked him, I said, "Do you believe that the devil can tempt us to sin?" He said, "Yes." I said, "Do you believe that Jesus can keep us from sin?" The pastor said, "No." I said, "So your devil is bigger than your Savior." I read, "Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world," and that I can do all things through Christ. And Jesus Christ is the author and the finisher of our faith." And so, there's--I just--it breaks my heart, you know? It's doctrines of devils when even pastors are telling people.

I hear it on the radio, and if you were driving with me in the car, you'd really probably be entertained because I get--I start talking to the radio. I'll hear--I listen to Christian stations, and I'll hear pastors, people call them with a Bible question. You know, "Pastor, is it necessary to keep the law?" He'll say, "No, we're not under the law, we're under grace now. We only need to keep two commandments, love the Lord and love your neighbor." Because Jesus gave us a new commandment, and Jesus says, "A new commandment I give unto you." And then He went on to say, "Love the Lord with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself." What was Jesus doing when He said that? Quoting Moses. It's in Deuteronomy chapter 6, and it's in Leviticus 19:18. Jesus is saying, "A new commandment," and then He's quoting Moses.

The idea of loving the Lord and loving your neighbor is the essence of the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are all about love. God is love, it's an expression of His love. First four commandments deal with love for God. The last six commandments deal with love for your fellow men. The whole law is summarized in love. If you love God, you won't break the first four. If you love your fellow man, you're not going to kill them, you're not going to talk about them, you're not going to lie about them, you're not going to steal from them. "Love is the fulfilling of the law," Paul says, amen? So, I get so exasperated, I'm sorry. You can tell, can't you?

So, what is the old covenant? Because obviously we're living under the new covenant now, right? You can read in Deuteronomy 4:13, "And He declared unto you His covenant, which He commanded you to perform, even Ten Commandments, and He wrote them on two tables of stone." So, the old covenant is the Ten Commandments that were written on stone. And you know what a covenant is? A covenant is an agreement between two people. God first spoke the Ten Commandments in the hearing of the nation of Israel, and the people said, "All that the Lord has said, we will do."

You know, when you make an agreement with somebody, say, "Look, yeah, I'll sell you my house. I want $300,000." And you say, "Oh, how about $280,000?" And then you're, "Okay, we'll do it for $290,000, we'll settle. All right." You made a verbal agreement, let's write it down, you codify it. Then you get a copy of the sales agreement, purchase agreement, I get a copy. Isn't that how it works? That's a covenant. That's all a covenant is, it's an agreement. God spoke it, they said, "All the Lord has said, we will do." God said, "I'll go make the copies." Moses went up the mountain, God gave I'm the agreement, the covenant, and said, "Here's My law." And you read Deuteronomy 28, he says, "If you love Me and you keep My commandments--" You know, right in the Ten Commandments, it says, "Love God." In the commandment about idolatry, it says, "Showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments."

So, the key is loving God. But did they keep His law? Before Moses even came down the mountain, they'd made a golden calf, they did it in the context of worship, and they had a wild party. And before the day was over, it says they made themselves naked, it got way out of hand, and they broke all the law, they worshipped idols. And God said, "Look, you didn’t keep our covenant." Now, that was the old covenant where the law of God was written on stone. What is the new covenant? Christ writes the law in our hearts. Upon what is the new covenant based? It tells us that the new covenant--He says, "I'll put My law in their mind, and I'll write them in their hearts." That's Hebrews 8:10.

Now, if you have your Bibles, if you turn in your Bibles to Jeremiah 31:31, where do you first find the new covenant? Not in the New Testament. When Paul quotes there in Hebrews the new covenant, he's quoting Jeremiah. You look in Jeremiah 31:31, "'Behold, the days are coming,' says the Lord. 'I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant that they broke.'" They broke it way back before Jeremiah. "'Though I was a husband to them. But this is the new covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,' says the Lord." I'll give them a different law, I'll change the law, I'll do away with the law. No, it doesn’t say that. I'm just wondering if you're following. He says, "I'll put My law," same law, "in a different place. I'll put My law in their minds, and I'll write it in their hearts, and I'll be their God, and they'll be My people."

So, the new covenant is not a change in the law. The new covenant is a change in the place that the law is written. God writes His law in your heart through love. Now, you know, some of you have heard about the Ark of the Covenant. And there have been stories, and movies, and books about people that are searching for the ark. You know, it--back in the days of Jeremiah, when Nebuchadnezzar surrounded the city of God, the ark sort of disappeared from history. Jeremiah foretold Nebuchadnezzar was going to destroy the city, burn the temple, and it's believed that he and some of the priests hid the ark somewhere in a cave before that happened because it's never mentioned among the other things that Nebuchadnezzar carried off, the articles from the sanctuary. So, it's still hidden somewhere in Jerusalem, never been found. What's in there? The important thing, the golden box with the angels on top, or is it the rocks in the box written by the finger of God? God did something different when He gave the law. That golden box represents our hearts.

Someone might be wondering, next question, doesn’t living under God's grace make keeping God's law non-essential? You've heard that? "I'm not under the law anymore, I'm now under grace." And the Bible talks about not being under law. What does Paul mean when he says not being under law? He does not mean you're no longer an obligation to keep the law because just follow that through. Does that mean you're not obligated to be honest? You're not obligated to not steal? You don’t want to turn to your spouse and say, "You're not obligated to keep the seventh commandment." Does anyone believe that? That's outrageous. So, Paul certainly doesn’t mean that. He means because of the sacrifice of Jesus, we are no longer under the penalty of the law. The wages are death. He's not saying you're not under an obligation to obey it.

Let me illustrate. I'm driving down the road one day, this is a true story, and I was deep in thought, going too fast, and I must have been really deep in thought because I actually passed, speeding, a highway patrolman that was next to me. And he pulled me over, he's pretty nice, and he said, "Look, you weren't going that fast, but I was following someone else, and you passed me, and you were speeding. And I thought, "Well, I can't pull them over if you're just--" I said, "Oh officer, I am so sorry." I said, "I just was on one of these roads that was 70 miles an hour, and then I came on, I switched off onto this highway, and I just--I really--" I said--I said, "Can you please have mercy? You know, I just--my insurance finally went down, I'm trying to keep it that way, and I can't go home and tell my wife that I just got another ticket." And he said, "All right." He said, "I'm going to write you a warning." And so, he writes me a warning, and he said, "All right, slow down." And so I said, "Praise the Lord."

Now, I didn’t want to pull over when he pulled me over because I was in a hurry. Don’t you hate it when you're in a hurry, and then the policeman pulls you over, and then you're really late? And you have to say, "Officer, can you please hurry up with this ticket because I got to get going. Now, I'm going to have to drive twice as fast because you pulled me over." That's what you're thinking. And so, I had to pull over because I broke the law. And so, when I see those blue and red lights--you ever notice when you see a policeman, how many of you automatically take your foot off the accelerator? You might be stopped at a light and you see a policeman, you--and so, I had to pull over. And finally, when he gave me back the warning, he said, "Look, I'm going to let you go. I'm not going to give you a ticket." I'm no longer under the law, I'm now under grace. He's forgiven me. Well, it'd be really great if he said, "Look, there's a penalty. I'm going to pay your ticket for you." That doesn’t happen very often, but that would be really a great illustration if that happened. But he said, "I'm going to let you go." So, now I said, "Praise the Lord, I'm not longer under the law. He said I'm free, I believe his word that I'm free, which means now I get to drive 90 miles an hour." So, I rev my engine, and I peel out away from the policeman, spray gravel over the hood of his car, say, "Praise God, I'm no longer under the law, I'm under grace now." Is that how you do it? No, no.

You know what I did? I said, "Thank you very much, officer." I took out something, I cleaned off my rearview mirror, I looked out the window, I put my blinker on, I put it in gear, I pulled out very--I waited until there was no cars in 6 miles in any direction. I pulled out very carefully, and I went like 45 and a half miles an hour, looking both ways. Because praise the Lord, I've just been forgiven, I am now under grace. I am going to be the most careful person on the road, right?

Christians, when they realize what their forgiveness has cost, when Christians realize what their law breaking has cost, should be the ones who are the most careful not to do the thing that crucified Jesus, amen? And be obedient. So, no, we are not under the law, we are under grace. But what does Paul say in Romans 6:15? "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid." He said, "Don’t even think that." And yet, that's what some churches are teaching. Romans 3:31, "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid. Yea, we establish the law." When you’ve got faith, you don’t make void the law, you seal it, you endorse it, you affirm it. Indeed, Jesus said, "It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for on tittle of the law to fail." Is heaven still there? Is earth still here? Then God's Ten Commandments are still there. And I already quoted you, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."

So, are people saved by keeping the law? This is a point I need to make very clear. Is anyone saved by keeping the law? I've heard folks say, "Well, in the Old Testament, they were saved by the law, and now we're saved by grace." That is nonsense. Abraham believed God, and God counted it unto him for righteousness. Abraham was saved by faith. Read Hebrews 11, it talks about all the Old Testament characters who were saved by faith. They were saved by faith, looking forward to the Messiah. We are saved by faith, looking back to Christ. Everybody is saved by Jesus. Nobody is saved by works. We're all saved by faith. We do not keep the law to be saved, we keep the law because we are saved. Jesus said, "You'll know them by their fruits." And if we've got the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, and Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments." Ephesians 2:8, he goes on to say, "For by grace you are saved through faith, not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast."

I like what D.L. Moody said, he's a great preacher. He said, "The commandments of God given to Moses in Mount Horeb are as binding today as ever they have been since the time they were proclaimed in the hearing of the people." And someone asked Billy Graham a question. He used to have a question and answer thing in the Dallas News, where they'd mail in questions. And the question was, "Does God still expect us to keep the Ten Commandments?" Here's the answer from Dr. Graham, "The Ten Commandments are just as valid today as when God gave them to Moses 3,000 years ago. Jesus said, 'I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of the pen, will by any means disappear from the law.'" And he's got much more. He said, "I could read you about that where--" He said basically the laws that were done away with were the ceremonial laws.

What motivates a person to keep God's law holy? It says, "Therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law." When you love somebody, that's when you want to please them. And when you love the Lord, you want to please Him. Again, Matthew 22, verse 37, great commandment, "Thou shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your mind." "For this is the love of God," 1 John 5:3, "that we keep His commandments." And notice He says, "His commandments are not burdensome." I tell you, you want a burden, live a life of sin, that is a burden. Jesus said, "My yoke is easy, My burden is light." Don’t believe the lie of the devil that the sinful life is the easy life. It is easier to swim against the current as a Christian and follow Jesus than to drift towards the waterfall and live a life of terror. It is a lot easier to be a Christian. Life is hard, but it's a lot easier to be saved than to be lost, to live with the guilt, and the shame, and the burden of sin, and to know you have no hope. This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.

Can I be a true Christian without keeping God's commandments? "Hereby do we know that we know him, if we keep His commandments. If someone says that I know Him and he does not keep His commandments," what does Jesus say? "He's a liar, and the truth is not in him." So, people say, "I love the Lord. I love the Lord. I love the Lord." While you're stealing from your neighbor, you're saying you're loving the Lord. You don’t love the Lord. There's a lot of people out there who say, "Oh yeah, I love the Lord, but you know, He knows that I've got these--" If you love the Lord, I'm not talking about the stuff where we fall because of, you know, the nature of sin. If we love the Lord, we will not willfully persist in a life of sin. We will do everything. We will agonize, we'll strive, we'll--there's effort in the Christian life.

I don’t know how to tell you this, friends. Those who say you just come to Jesus and there's no struggles, they're not telling you the truth. The Bible says we wrestle, we strive, we run, we fight, we war. Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life. There is effort involved in the Christian life, but it is so much better to have that peace in your heart and to know that you have an endless hope because of Jesus instead of a hopeless end.

What law is it then that was nailed to the cross? And this is where some people get confused. You can read in Colossians 2:14. Now, you need to--you might want to take a few notes. And this will be in the supplemental material if you're following along. We've got a lesson that talks about written in stone. And it explains the difference between what laws are nailed to the cross, the Ten Commandments, and these ceremonial laws. Colossians 2:14, "Blotting out the--" Now, I underlined that. What's it say? "Handwriting that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross." Now, if you go to Exodus, it talked about commandments and ordinances that were against us. You go to Exodus 32, let's find out what was nailed to the cross. Exodus 32:16, "Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God engraved on tablets." God wrote an engraving of the Ten Commandments. It is God written, it is not the handwriting of man. But what Moses wrote as far as the ceremonial law and ordinances you can read in 2 Chronicles 33:8. I want you to notice there he says, "They will take heed to all that I have commanded them." So, God is speaking, "All that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and--" So, after He says whole law, and then He says and, what does that mean? And means what? You're adding something to it. "And the statutes and ordinances by the hand of Moses." Ordinances, handwriting, the ceremonial laws contained in ordinances.

Now, where did they put the Ten Commandments? Was it--in the Ark of the Covenant. Where were the ceremonial laws placed? You read in Deuteronomy 31:26, "And take this book of the law," written on paper, "and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that they may be there as a witness against you." Do you remember what Paul said in Colossians? Handwriting, ordinances, against us. It is so clear when you are a Jew like Paul, and he understood the Old Testament, and he's talking about the handwriting of Moses that was in the ceremonial laws, placed outside the ark to witness against us, not talking about the Ten Commandments. Big difference between the two laws. Ephesians 2:15, "Having abolished the law of commandments contained in ordinances."

So, are there some laws that are nailed to the cross? Can you nail stone to anything? Not very easily, huh? It was the ceremonial laws that were nailed to the cross. This is the laws contained--that contained the annual Sabbaths, the meat offerings, the drink offerings, so many things that revolved around the sanctuary and its services. Ten Commandment law is eternal in nature. Was it a sin for Joseph to commit adultery with Potiphar's wife? Would have been. Yeah, he said, "How can I do this terrible thing and sin?" Ten Commandments hadn't been written yet. It was still a sin before that happened. Was--did God tell Cain--he said, "Sin is at your door," when he was thinking of murdering his brother? You mean way back in the garden of Eden, before Moses wrote, "Thou shall not murder," murder was a sin. Ten Commandments go all the way back. They're eternal in nature. The ceremonial laws did not appear until the exodus, and they ended with the cross. They're temporary. They were to help us recognize Jesus. So, Paul goes on to say, "Let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival, or a new moon, or Sabbaths, which are a shadow." The Sabbaths, and the new moons, and the festivals that were shadows of things to come, the substances of Christ.

All right, number 16, I want to tie this off now. Who does the devil especially hate in the last days? Getting back to Revelation here. The dragon, who's that? We learned that's Satan. It tells us, "Was wroth with the woman." What woman is he wroth with, true or false? The true church. And how is she identified? "He goes to make war with the remnant of her seed that keep the commandments of God." You got that, friends? The devil in the last days has launched an all-out war with the people of God that still teach and proclaim his law. He hates the law. By the way, just a simple principle, you ought to like what God likes, and hate what the devil hates. Matter of fact, just make it your practice to do what bothers the devil, and you'll be okay. And don’t do anything that bothers the Lord. You can't please them both. You can't serve two masters.

Why does God give us His law? He says, "These things I've spoken to you to make your life difficult." No, he says, "I've spoken these things to you that your joy might be full." He wants us to have joy. How many of you want to have joy? It goes on to tell us, "He that keeps the law, happy is he," Proverbs 29:18. Do you want to be happy? Jesus promises a blessing on those who obey, "Blessed are those who keep his commandments." And it goes on to say, "Great peace," Psalm 119, isn't that a neat picture? Talk about sleeping like a baby. "Great peace have they which love thy law, and nothing will offend them." Don’t you want that kind of peace? That peace comes from having a relationship with Jesus.

Friends, this is really one of the most important subjects because it's so strange that here we're living in a time where Christians are fuzzy about something as basic as the Ten Commandments. I would think we'd notice that when God gathers a nation together and He speaks to them audibly in His own voice, on a mountain with thunder and smoke, that He takes stone, not paper, and He writes it with His own finger. And He says, "Put it in the most sacred location in your nation," the golden box in the middle of the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctum of the sanctuary. He says, "This is My Word. I spoke to you My will." And for Christians to say they love Jesus, who have the audacity to say, "He doesn’t care about that," or, "That's no longer important," where in the world do we get that idea? I'll be telling you where that idea comes from later. But friends, the bottom line is, do you love me? If you know how much Jesus love you because he died to save you.

I remember hearing a story about a man, he was driving too fast through this suburban neighborhood, and he saw the red and blue lights. And he pulled over, and the police man came up, and he said, "Oh look, officer. I wasn’t going that fast. I know I didn’t stop completely at the stop sign, I kind of rolled through it, but I looked around before I did. And can you give me a break? And after all, I'm almost sure you go to the same church I go to." And the officer didn’t say anything, he walked behind the guy's car, and he started writing. He got really mad, the driver. He said, "Man, he could have given me a break, you know?" He just started slamming on his steering wheel, and he thought, "My insurance is going to up," and he was all upset, and he was fuming. And finally the policeman came over, he tapped on his window, and he just rolled the window down that far. The policeman popped the piece of paper through the crack in the window. The guy was being very rude now. And the policeman got in his car and drove off. The guy picked up the paper, it wasn’t a ticket. It was a note. And the policeman said, "I know you, Bob." And he said, "I'm going to let you go today." He said, "I just want to let you know that a speeding driver killed my daughter 4 years ago, and I'm really struggling to forgive, and I'm hoping that one more act of forgiveness is going to help me today. Please slow down."

So, here's the question. When that guy pulled away, do you think he drove different? He was forgiven, even though that officer had lost a child to a speeder. When you look at the cross, Jesus is hanging there not just for the sins of the world, He's hanging there for your sin. He's hanging there for your lawlessness. And He says, "If you love Me, please don’t keep doing the things that hurt you, and they hurt Me, and they hurt others." Your disobedience not only hurts God, it not only hurts you, it hurts your neighbor. And because you love God, and because you love your neighbor, and because you love yourself, you want to be obeying God's law. You will be blessed, you will have peace.

Would you like that, to have peace, friends? Are we saved by obeying the law? Are we saved by grace? But if we're saved by grace and if we love Jesus, will we want to obey His law? Let's ask Him to help us now. Father in heaven, Lord, we're so thankful that You’ve given us Your Word. You’ve expressed who You are in those letters that You wrote in stone, but they're letters of love. Help us to hide Your Word in our hearts, Lord, that we might not sin against You. Give us the power of Your Spirit, and new lives, that we cannot only be hearers, but doers of the Word. Without You, we can't do anything. But we believe through Christ, all things are possible. And we pray this in His name, amen.

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