The Controversy

The Controversy

Scripture: John 1:17, Acts 15:1-29, Hebrews 8:6
Date: 10/14/2017  Lesson: 2
"What are some of your favorite Bible promises? How often do you claim them? What choices are you making that can stand in the way of having these promises fulfilled in your life?"
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Good morning, friends. Welcome, again, to Sabbath school study hour, coming to you here from the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church near Sacramento, California. A very warm welcome to those joining us online and our online members, and those watching on the various television networks, a very warm welcome to you. Also, to the members and the visitors right here at the church, always good to see you week after week. Very excited about our lesson for this quarter dealing with the book of Romans.

We actually started a brand-new lesson quarterly last week entitled salvation by faith alone: the book of Romans - and today we're on lesson #2 in our study, called the controversy. Now, for our friends who are joining us, if you don't have a lesson quarterly, and like to study along with us, you can go to the Amazing Facts website, just amazingfacts.org, and you can download lesson #2 entitled the controversy and you can study along with us. We also have a free offer that goes along with our study today, a book written - entitled feast days and Sabbaths. This is our free offer today. Those in North America, if you would like to receive it, call us on our resource phone number.

That number is 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer #179. If you're outside of the country and you'd like to read the book, just go to the Amazing Facts website and you can read it for free at the amazing facts online library. Again, it's called feast days and Sabbaths. Well, before we get to our study this morning, I'd like to invite our song leaders and they'll come forward and lead us in lifting our voices in song. Thank you Pastor Ross.

Every week we sing together as part of our worship to our Lord and Savior. Today we're going to sing about the mighty power of God - hymn #88 - we're going to sing all three verses. You know, we can take rest and assurance in the fact that there is nothing that passes on this earth without God's permission. This is his world - he created it - it is still his world and he is about to come and restore it to its perfection, restoring us to perfection to take us home. I'm so grateful to our Savior and our Lord.

At this time, Pastor Ross will lead us in opening prayer. Let us bow our heads for prayer. Dear Father in Heaven, thank you, once again, that we are able to gather together and open Your Word and study this very important book - the book of Romans - talking about salvation by grace through faith. And we ask the Holy Spirit to come and guide our hearts, our minds - such an important subject, Lord, that we need to understand and we need to be able to share these truths with others. So bless our time together, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen.

Our lesson this morning is going to be brought to us by pastor doug. Thank you, Pastor Ross. And thank you to our singers and our song leaders - and welcome everybody - those here - part of our regular class. We're glad to see each of you here today. And we know that we have a few visitors today and a few of our regular folk are probably over at the maranatha celebration that they're having today.

But we're glad that you're here. We're glad for our extended class that is watching with us. We know that we've got, not only some students, we have some of our Granite Bay members who are tuning in from around the world. We've tried to develop a means here, at Granite Bay, where people who are isolated can be part of our church and if you'd like to know more about that, simply go to granitebaysda.org and we'll be happy to talk to you. We don't want folks to be disconnected and isolated out there.

Just before we get to our lesson, which is a good one, on Romans, I want to remind everybody that we're having a special program. You know, in the introduction of Romans, we talk a little bit about martin luther and, as some of you know, October 31 is going to be the five-hundred-year anniversary for that pivotal point when martin luther nailed his theses on the doors of the wittenberg church and it, kind of, created a shaking in the Christian world that unraveled into the protestant reformation. We are going to be doing a special series right after that anniversary - Amazing Facts is going to be at the general conference worship auditorium; we're doing a special revival series - it's called foundations of faith, and it'll be airing on most of the channels where you're watching this - hope channel, 3abn, Amazing Facts streaming, Facebook, and others. We'd like to have you - encourage you to think, now, about planning and joining us for that foundations of faith. We're going to be going through some of the foundational teachings and, if the reformation was to continue today, were there some things that the great reformers missed that maybe the world - the Christian world - needs to rediscover? We'll be talking about those issues.

It's November 3 through 11 - November 3 through 11 - and probably on this network you're watching right now. We hope that you'll pray for that and plan on tuning in. Okay, with that lengthy introduction, I want to get to our study today, on the book of Romans. Today we're in the second section - second lesson - it's called the controversy. And we have a memory verse and the memory verse comes from John - the Gospel of John - 1:17 - John 1:17 - and we invite you to say this together.

You ready? "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." Now - and that's not a hard verse to memorize, is it? This lesson, today, is not going to be delving deeply into the book of Romans. What we're going to be talking about is why was the book of Romans written and who is it written to? You really need to understand that because then, as you go through the various chapters in the book of Romans, you'll say, 'ah, now I know why he said that.' Turn with me to the book of Hebrews - Hebrews chapter 11 and, if you go to Hebrews 11 and, oh, let's see, you can start in verse 37. Paul, here, is talking about the great heroes of the faith, all through Hebrews 11. He itemizes these great heroes of faith and then he, sort of, summarizes that discourse and he says, "there were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented - of whom the world was not worthy.

They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise," - all these great heroes of faith and he itemizes - he talks about gideon and he talks about Elijah and he talks about Sarah and Abraham. He said, 'they had a great testimony, but they did not receive the promise - "God having provided something better for us," - now, he says, 'they' and 'us'. Who's the 'they' and the 'us' that he's talking about? The people who lived before Christ's sacrifice and us, who have now seen the sacrifice. There is a - something of a rift that happens in the Bible, in that everything you read before the new testament, they are looking forward in faith to the coming of the Messiah.

Then, in the new testament, - 'rift' is not the right word - there's a division, I should say - in the new testament - word, testament, covenant - same word - you see the reality - it talks about the advent or the first coming of Jesus - his birth. Very first things you read in the new testament, it says, 'this is the genealogy of Jesus Christ'. It tells about his heritage and how he came and his birth, and you get the details on his birth in Matthew and Luke; Mark and John don't really talk about that, they talk about his ministry, but you see that some - there's something that happens. Now, what's going on? Go to the book of Romans, we will read just a little bit of Romans today. Romans chapter 1 and it says, "Paul," - it introduces the author - "a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the Gospel of God" - and he talks a little about the Gospel - "which he promised before through his prophets" - before the advent of Jesus - "in the holy Scriptures, concerning his son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David" - and that's there in Matthew - "according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit" - that's how you begin the Gospel of John - "of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

" - All the Gospels end with that - "through him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations" - now catch that phrase, there - "for his name," - because some of the early Christians, that were all jews, believed that the Gospel was really for the jews, and so, when they went to rome, the early Christians, we learn, went to rome and they began to tell the other jews in rome about Jesus, gradually the Gospel then seeped into the gentiles and the jews were saying, 'well, you need to keep all of the Jewish laws' or 'you are second-class Christians because if we are a Jewish Christian, we really have, sort of, superior privileges to the Gospel.' Now, can you understand that? I mean, even Paul said, 'to the jew first.' Jesus said to the woman at the well - she said, 'should we worship on mount gerizim? And you say it's in Jerusalem' - and Jesus said to her, 'salvation is of the jews.' That's what he said. And so, there was this big dispute that was happening in rome, among the believers there, that Paul needed to settle - and the way he settles it, he writes the book of Romans. And, in the book of Romans, he lays out the Gospel and that the Gospel is for everybody. He explains the differences between the old covenant and the new covenant and he talks, at length, about the jew and the gentile, and he explains that all of us are related to adam, Jesus being the second adam - all that's in Romans. And so, when you understand the background, the book of Romans really comes alive and so it's very helpful.

And so, if you go to the first section - under Sunday - and we're going to talk about a better covenant - and, as you're finding that, you know, I thought I'd just read something to you from martin luther's commentary on Romans. We're, as I mentioned last week, we are really delving into holy ground - all of the Bible is holy - but when you get into the book of Romans, you've really got - the Gospel is consolidated here - it's concentrated - it is the cream of the milk of the word, when you get into Romans. Here's what martin luther said about it in his introduction to his commentary on Romans. Of course, this is the english translation, because he wrote it in german: "the epistle is really the chief part of the new testament, and the very purest Gospel, and is worthy that not only every Christian should know it word for word" - do you know the book of Romans word for word? - "Every Christian should know it word for word, by heart, but occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul." So how did martin luther feel about the book of Romans? It's the purest Gospel - you ought to know it word by word. I'm trying to remember whether it was polycarp or clement, but one of the early church fathers had the book of Romans read to him every week - the entire book - they thought it was that important.

And so, I bet I made you all sit up a little more, right now, with that introduction, right? 'Wow, I better pay attention to this.' They believed that it was - the essence of the Gospel was found in this book. Now, he's writing the book because there's a misunderstanding of the covenant and who the Gospel is for. Under the section a better covenant, I'm going to read to you a few statements - go to Hebrews chapter 8, verse 6 - Hebrews 8, verse 6 - "but now he has obtained a more excEllent ministry, inasmuch as he is also mediator of a better covenant," - alright, so what covenants do we have? Your Bible's divided in two principle sections. What are they called? Old and new what? Testament. Testament.

The word 'testament' and the word 'covenant' - same thing. So you've got the old and the new covenant - usually I don't say it that way. If I tell you, 'we're going to turn to the old covenant, now', you probably think we're going to, like, you know, Exodus. If I say, 'now, let's go to the new covenant', you wouldn't know whether or not to go to Jeremiah or Hebrews, but the new covenant/old covenant - new testament/old testament - those really mean the same thing. And so, when it says he's a mediator of a better covenant - better than what? Than the old.

Who is the he? Jesus - mediator of a better covenant, because he is the high priest, he is the sacrifice, and it's his blood. It's not a marble building that was torn down, it's not the blood of a calf or a goat or a sheep, and it's not The Sons of levi, who were often flawed people. And so, that's why it's a better covenant. And it's based on, the Bible says, better promises. We'll get to that in just a minute.

If you look - now, if I were to ask you - okay, let me just take my Bible here and see if I can illustrate this and be somewhat - alright, that's close enough - new testament - old testament - do you see a difference? Now, my Bible's got some, you know, notes and commentary in the beginning - it's got some in the end, so it sort of evens out. But, if you take a Bible without any commentary and notes and concordance, you're going to see about three quarters of the Bible is old testament, one quarter is new testament. So where do you read the new covenant? You find it first in the old testament. That kind of surprises people. Let me read it to you - Jeremiah :31 - you actually find it a few places in the old testament.

Jeremiah - you can remember that - Jeremiah 31:31 - it's like the days in a month, okay? "'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'" - a couple of things I want you to notice: first of all he says 'a new covenant' - he says these aren't the days yet, but they're coming. He's prophesying when the Messiah would come, okay? Who does he make the new covenant with? You know, a lot of people out there that are dispensationalists believe that the new covenant is made with gentiles and I've met people, they say, 'well, you know, the old covenant was for the jews, the new covenant is for the gentiles.' It seems intuitive you would think that, but it's not true. Because when - we just read, the new covenant is not made with gentiles, it's made with jews. In fact, I challenge you to show me where in the Bible it says God has made a covenant with the gentiles. Now, there are promises to the gentiles, but you don't see a covenant.

And so, in order for any gentile to be saved, he is grafted in, Paul says in Romans, he is grafted into the covenant that God made with the jews. So you can understand why the jews would go to the gentiles in rome and say, 'look, only way you're getting to heaven is through the Jewish Bible and through the Jewish covenant, and so you've got to keep the Jewish feasts.' And so there was a great deal of confusion. Paul had to clarify all that and we're getting into that now. So don't miss that. Who does he make the covenant with? 'I will make a covenant with the house of Israel and the house of judah.

' Go to verse 33, "'but this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days,'" - he said, 'not yet, but it's coming - "says the Lord: 'I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I shall be their God and they shall be my people.'" Alright, typically when you're making a covenant with people - I'm involved in doing a contract with somebody right now - I'm not going to tell you about it, but this is how the contract works: this person e-mailed me and they said, 'first let's get a verbal agreement between both parties. They said, 'no sense writing it all up - it's a lot of work - if you don't have, at least, a verbal agreement of what we're going to write up.' And you might even start with, what they call, an m.o.u - a memorandum of understanding. That means, here's the covenant terms - here's the terms, you agree to the terms - then you get the lawyers. They're expensive so you don't get them until the last thing. Then they write up the contract and, if there's two parties involved, you have at least two parties sign it.

Now, if for some reason I said, 'look, this is not working out. I don't want to go by this covenant anymore.' And they say, 'you're right, it isn't working out. I don't want to go by it anymore either.' I'd say, 'okay, look, if I'm going to tear up mine, you need to tear up yours, because if I tear up mine and you've still got yours, I'm still accountable because you've got a written document that proves I made an agreement. But I'll tear up mine, you tear up yours - that's gone.' Okay? When was the old covenant torn up? Do you see any tearing happening around the time of the cross? What gets torn? The veil. When Jesus dies, the veil is torn.

Is it torn by man or by God? By God - it's in the temple - it's in God's house. And, during the trial, the high priest tore his garments. Those were the robes that man wore, and it was done by man. So you have a new priesthood and a new temple - the old is torn. It is passed away, Hebrews said.

We are not under the old covenant. We do not sacrifice lambs. We do not keep the ceremonial parts of the law. The ten commandment part of the law is eternal in nature - it's in the new and the old testaments. The ceremonial parts of the law began with the covenant God made with Abraham - with circumcision.

It was expanded with the Exodus - with the Jewish feasts - those things were nailed to the cross. We're going to get to that in just a minute here. So, he said, "I will put my law in their minds," - so, is the new covenant a different law? Same law, different place. Same law - better promises. The old promise, God gave the Ten Commandments and the people said, 'all that the Lord has said, we promise we will do.

' They said, 'we will do it.' It's based on their promises - bad promises - new covenant, God says, 'I will' - old covenant, the people said, 'we will' - new covenant, God says, 'it's my promise, which is better than a human promise. I will write my law in your heart.' So its based on his promise. The law is the same. You see, the problem is we've sinned and broken God's law. So God doesn't say, 'I'll make a new covenant - I'm going to throw out the law.

' That doesn't solve our problem, we've still got sin. The new covenant is, 'I'm going to help you keep the law by putting it in your heart.' And so you keep it through love. 'I'll put my law in their minds and write them in their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people.' Here's the other place where you find the new covenant in the old testament - go to Ezekiel 36:25 - this is all just really important foundation to understand Romans - Ezekiel :25 - and in a minute someone's going to read, for me, Revelation 14:12, okay? It says, "then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you" - by the way, is idolatry one of the ten commandments? - "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

I will put my spirit within you and cause you" - I will cause you - "to walk in my statutes," - the commandments - "and you will keep my judgments and do them." You see this new covenant there? Same principle. Now, I'm going to, hopefully, not confuse you, but I probably will. So when did people start getting saved under the new covenant, in the new testament or the old testament? You would think they start getting saved under the new covenant in the new testament. No, everybody is saved under the new covenant, and it starts in the old testament, because you are not saved on your promises and your works, you are saved on faith of his putting the law in your heart. Did Abraham keep the law of God to save himself, or because of love? Didn't Moses say, in the old covenant, 'I command you, today, to love the Lord your God'? Isn't that the new covenant written in the heart? In fact, in the ten commandments, do you find the words, 'showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments'? Isn't that right in the Ten Commandments? The key's right there.

Love me and keep my commandments. And so, when the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, - Jesus said, 'if you love me, keep my commandments.' The Bible says, 'herein is the love of God, that we keep his commandments and they are not a burden.' And so, you do find the old covenant where the people said, 'we'll be your people', but no one was really saved under their promises to obey. We're saved based on God's promise to write his law on our heart. The sacrifice of Jesus does not happen until the new testament, right? It becomes a reality there. Just look at it this way: the people in the old testament were saved by the new covenant, looking forward in faith, to when the Messiah would come.

The people in the new testament were saved by the new covenant, seeing the reality - but they're saved by faith too. You and I are saved by faith looking back at the cross, but everyone is saved by the cross. Nobody got to heaven by their works. So, is it still important, since we're under the new covenant, to keep the Ten Commandments? Let's look at a few examples: go ahead, dan, why don't you read yours for us? "Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." Now, would you agree Revelation 14 is talking about the last days? If you read the next few verses in Revelation 14, it says, 'and I saw one like The Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven' just a few verses later. So it's obviously in the context of just before the second coming, he says, 'here you've got - one group keeps the laws of the beast - it's got the Mark of the beast.

Another person keeps the commandments of God - they've got the seal of God and they're saved.' It's really clear in Revelation. Let me give you another one - Revelation 12:17, "and the dragon" - who is that? Satan. "Was enraged with the woman," - who's the woman? The church. It must be the true church, because she's clothed with light - "and he went to make war" - you've heard of the battle of armageddon - "with the remnant of her offspring," - the remainder of her seed - the remainder is the remnant of the last days. Two great characteristics - "who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

" So the very fact the devil is angry with those who keep the commandments means it's a good thing. Obviously, the devil's not going to encourage you to obey. But two things: she's got the law and the prophets - commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus. And if you look in 1 John 2 - first letter of John chapter 2, verse 3 - "now by this we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He who says, 'I know him,' and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

" I was doing a Bible study with someone, once, and they said, 'I'm under the new covenant, I don't need to keep the law.' He says, 'I love the Lord and I'm saved, but I'm not under that old Jewish law. I'm under the new covenant: just love the Lord and love neighbor.' I said, 'well, if you love the Lord, you'll keep the commandments.' He says, 'no, you don't need to keep the ten anymore, you just need to love.' I said, 'well, what does that mean?' I said, 'does that me you say, 'well, I love, but I can now steal, I can lie' - 'oh no, no, no, no.' He really had no problem with the ten commandments except one. You know which one it was. The Sabbath. And, while I was talking to him, I read him this verse: "now by this we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

He who says, 'I know him,' and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." He had no answer for that. So, continuing with talking about - oh, let me give you one more verse here - go to the book of James - this is in your lesson, I just didn't have it in my notes. James, of course, is just before Revelation. I'm saying that for my benefit because I'm having trouble finding it. Alright, here we go - it's just before - well, it's not just before Revelation - before - after 2 Peter? John - James - I want to go to James chapter 2 - what did I say - it's before Hebrews? Why'd you do that to me? I was right - here we go - alright, James chapter 2, go to verse 10, "for whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point he is guilty of all.

" - Now, what law is he talking about? - "For he who said, 'do not commit adultery,' also said, 'do not murder.' Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as one who will be judged by the law of liberty." So the Ten Commandments is even called the law of liberty. So does he want us to just hear it or do it? So the Ten Commandments are still in effect for Bible Christians. Alright, now I want to go to the section that says Jewish laws and regulations and you really need to key in on what I'm going to be sharing with you here. Go in your Bible to Exodus - let's just take Exodus 21 - " now these are the judgments which you shall set before them: if you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free.

.." If you go to chapter 22 of Exodus - "if a man steal an ox or sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, he shall restore five oxen for an ox..." - Here you've got just some statutes and then they had some ceremonial laws - you go to Leviticus 23, it talks about all the different Sabbaths - everything from passover to the day of atonement. And so, in the Bible, the law was sort of an all-encompassing word. It is all blended together. I love to tell you the ten commandments are clear and they do stand alone. It's in one segment altogether.

A lot of the other statutes and judgments - ceremonial law, health law, civil law - it's kind of all co-mingled. And so, it's not clear delineation, but the health law is true all the time. Is it always a good idea to wash after you've touched something dead? Is it a good idea if you find one of your pots - it's a clay pot - and there's a rat in it that's made its nest - you might throw that pot away because it's hard to clean it out of the porous clay? But if it's a steel pot you can go cleanse it and boil it and maybe reuse it? You know, it's in the Bible. They had a lot of really practical health laws that are still true today - the laws of sanitation - things you're supposed to eat and not supposed to eat it's still true today. If you look at the blood type and the stomach of a jew, it's not going to be any different than the blood type and stomach of a gentile.

Matter of fact, there's a lot of jews, their blood types are going to be interchangeable with all kinds of different gentile blood types. And so, the idea that, 'well, God had health laws for jews and yeah, they'll live longer because they follow them, that doesn't apply to gentiles' - that's absurd. So the laws that word - and civil law - now it depends on what government you're in. A lot of the civil law around the world is based on the law of Moses. The difference between first, second, third degree murder, you first find in the Bible.

If there was not murder with intent, you could flee to the city of refuge. If it was accidental manslaughter, there was hope. And so, they had different laws that were some civil laws. But let me give you an example here. Go to Colossians chapter 2.

I want to read something to you. This is often used when people learn the Sabbath truth and they quote it back to seventh-day adventists - Colossians 2:14, "having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us," - now there's two things I want you to remember - handwriting - can you please say that? Handwriting. Handwriting of requirements that was against us. Can you please say 'against us'? Against us. I want it to stand out in your mind because we're going to read it.

It's very important because he's talking about something was wiped out - taking it out of the way - nailing it to the cross. The terms are pretty clear: wiped out, out of the way, nailed to the cross - something's going away. What is going away? Well, he said it's handwriting against us. Let's find out what he's talking about here - having nailed it to the cross - if you look in Nehemiah - now here's what I'm going to - here's my hypothesis I'm going to give you on that. He's not talking about the ten commandments, as some have suggested.

He's talking about the ceremonial laws. There's a difference between the Ten Commandments and the ceremonial laws. If you look, for instance, in Deuteronomy 4 - I'm going to go to Deuteronomy 4:13 first - "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. And" - three-letter word I'm stretching out there - "the Lord commanded me" - Moses is speaking - "at that time to teach you statutes and judgments," - so he said, 'you got the Ten Commandments and the Lord told me to write down for your statutes and judgments. They were written by Moses.

Who wrote the Ten Commandments? God. By hand. God. Look in - yeah, by hand - handwriting - there you have it. Nehemiah 9:13 and 14, "you came down also on Mount Sinai, and spoke with them from heaven, and gave them just ordinances and true laws, good statutes and commandments.

You made known to them your holy Sabbath," - okay, so that's all part of the Ten Commandments - "and commanded them precepts, statutes and laws, by the hand" - by the what? Hand. Hand is what you use for handwriting - "of Moses your servant." So you've got the law written by God's finger on stone, and you've got the things by the hand of Moses. Let me give you one more. Chron - someone's going to read, for me, Deuteronomy 31:26, in a minute, okay? Chronicles - this is very important - 2 Chronicles 33, verse 8, "and I will not again remove the foot of Israel from the land which I have appointed for your fathers - only if they are careful to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses." Now I've given you three verses - the Bible says in the mouth of three witnesses, at least, that these things should be established - where he makes a distinction - Ten Commandments and by the hand of Moses - I just read that. So, what about the word against us? Please read, for me, Deuteronomy 31:26.

"Take this book of the law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there as a witness against you;" a witness what? Against you. Against you. So what was the witness against them? The Ten Commandments in the ark or the book of ceremonial laws that were put in a pocket or compartment outside the ark? So there's a distinction God made: one is handwriting of Moses outside the ark; ten commandments written by God inside the ark. What's inside the ark is holy, is eternal, it's stone - the other was paper, written by the hand of man - taking it out of the way, wiping it out, nailing it to the cross. There's a difference between the ceremonial law and the Ten Commandments.

This difference the Romans did not understand. Paul needed to explain to them what they needed to keep and what they no longer needed to keep. Now, with that lengthy introduction, I want to read the rest of Colossians 2. Go back to Colossians, please - you'll be glad you did - go to Colossians 2, verse 15. I'm going to re-read verse , "having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us.

" - Notice, against and contrary to us - what does that mean? I'll tell you later - "and he has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross" - and then you keep reading in Colossians verse 15 - 2:15, "having disarmed principalities and powers, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival" - now when he says 'food or drink', he's talking about ceremonial food and drink offerings. He's not talking about 'you can eat anything', because Paul was pretty clear you can't eat anything - "so let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival" - they had food and drink offerings with the festivals - "or a new moon or Sabbaths," - any Sabbath? - "Sabbaths which are a shadow" - ten commandment Sabbath was not a shadow. It came at creation. The ceremonial Sabbaths were shadows of the Gospel - they were part of the feast days - "which are a shadows of things to come," - they were shadows forward - looking forward to something that was going to come - Jesus - you still with me? - "But the substance is of Christ.

" Christ is not the shadow, he is the substance that creates the shadow. So Paul is saying, 'don't let anyone judge you about keeping' - now do some people still go around and say, 'you've got to keep the feast days'? I mean, they had the same problem then we still have today. He says those things were taken out of the way, they're handwriting, nailed to the cross. That's why Paul says, in Romans , 'one man regards one day above another; another man regards every day alike. If you're going to regard the day to the Lord, you regard it.

' He never mentions Sabbath in Romans 14, he's talking about the ceremonial disputes. Look in Leviticus 23, there's like six or seven ceremonial Sabbaths and he specifies the seventh - or the seventh day of the week commandment separately. Alright, and here we're going to now delve into the custom of Moses, under this next section - this would be Tuesday - in acts you read, "and certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, 'unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.'" Now we've touched on this just - friends, I know those of you who just went through 14 weeks of Galatians with me, you're thinking, 'didn't we just talk about this?' Yes we did. And so I know some of this is reviewing some of what we covered when we went through Galatians - some of the very same verses, but it was a problem, also, in Romans, we need to understand. So there was a dispute in the early church and it delves - it goes all the way into acts 15 and they're saying, 'unless you keep these ceremonial laws - things like circumcision - you cannot be saved.

Well, that's heavy stuff. I mean, you and I might argue about the seven trumpets, hundred and forty-four thousand - last week I taught a class on Daniel 11 - a lot of disputes about some of the details in Daniel 11. You and I might disagree, but I'm never going to tell you, 'unless you agree with me on Daniel 11, you cannot be saved.' There are some people out there, now, not too many, but there are a few people out there that are saying that the lost truth the church needs to rediscover before Jesus comes back is the feast days - and unless you keep them, you cannot be saved. There are some people out there that are saying the trinity is not biblical and unless you understand the new truth about the Holy Spirit and that Jesus was created, you cannot be saved. They're making it a salvation doctrine.

Well that gets pretty serious. You have to deal with it when people start saying 'you cannot be saved unless you agree with me.' Right? And you and I might disagree on a lot of minor points, but it's pretty heavy when they say, 'you can't be saved.' Well, that became a big issue. Why did they say that? Go to Genesis 17:10 - "this is my covenant" - God told Abraham - "which you shall keep, between me and you and your descendants after you: every male child among you shall be circumcised;" - and he later says 'an eternal covenant' - and you think, 'wow' - why did he say it was eternal? Because it is, in the sense that, unless you are born again and you experience the new birth, which is circumcision of the heart - do you know even Moses said that circumcision was a symbol of the heart - way back in his day. That's repeated several times in the new testament. The passover is called an eternal covenant.

Why would he say that if you don't need to always keep the passover? Can we still sacrifice lambs and bring them to the temple? But whenever you celebrate the Lord's supper, isn't that a passover? When Jesus had the first Lord's supper, didn't he say, 'with longing I've longed to eat this passover with you'? We don't call it a passover. He's changed it. He made - Jesus made a very clear change. He said, 'as long as you drink this cup and eat this bread, you do show my death until it comes.' And so, there's spiritual value in the other feasts, but we don't need to keep those dates. It says, 'as often as you do it.

' He didn't say once a year, just, whenever you do it. And so, God made it pretty clear that the reality was here and what the Spiritual significance was. John chapter 7, verse 21, Jesus answered and said to them, 'Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses,...'" - Because God gave it to Abraham - "'(but from The Fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?'" Jesus was telling the religious leaders 'you break the Sabbath in order that you might keep the law of Moses and where are your priorities?' Acts chapter - oh, actually - I'm sorry, this is a quote from the book Acts of the Apostles, page 200, "while looking to God for direct guidance, he, Paul, was ever ready to recognize the authority vested in the body of believers united in church fellowship. He felt the need of counsel and, when matters of importance arose, he was glad to lay these before the church and unite with the brethren in seeking God for wisdom in making right decisions.

" So - I shouldn't have read that yet, I should have read acts 15 first and then read that quote. Go with me to acts chapter 15 - and I'm going to start with verse 2, because I think I read verse 1 - the book of acts 15 - this is important to understand, "therefore, when Paul and barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, " - what does Luke - I like when Luke says that - like when Peter disappeared from the roman jail, it says, 'there was no small stir among the soldiers what had happened to Peter.' When he says, 'no small,' that means a very big, right? And it says when there was no small dissension, that means they were all standing up on the table, they were all yelling at each other, there's blood on the walls - not quite - but they had a big dispute about whether or not you had to be circumcised to be saved - "they determined that Paul and barnabas and certain others of them" - they're going to send a delegation because they don't want one person coming back, they want to know what the official word is - "should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question." - They've got the apostles that were there and elders, like James, who was the brother of Jesus - "so, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through phoenicia and samaria, describing the conversion of the gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren." - So this - a lot of gentiles are being converted - "and when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them. But some of the sect of the pharisees who believed" - you know what that means? There were pharisees that had accepted Jesus, right? Not only does it say in acts, some priests accepted Jesus, some pharisees accepted Jesus. By the way, Paul was a former pharisee who had accepted Jesus. - "But some of the sect of the pharisees who believed rose up, saying, 'it is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

'" - Now are they talking about the Ten Commandments or the ceremonial law? Isn't that clear? - "Now the apostles and the elders came together to consider this matter. And when there had been much dispute," - not only was there dispute up in asia, there's dispute in Jerusalem - "Peter rose up and said to them: 'men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the gentiles should hear the word'" - he's talking about when he went to cornelius' house - "and believe. So God who know the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith." - It's by faith, not by works - "now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples" - speaking of the gentiles - "which neither our father nor we were able to bear?" - Okay, now that's very important. Peter, an apostle, is saying 'you're putting a yoke on them that we weren't even able to bear.' What does Jesus mean by that? Look in Matthew 23, verse 1. Now someone's going to read Galatians 5:1, for me - you'll have that, manjeet? I want to read Matthew 23, verse , "then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples, saying: 'the scribes and the pharisees sit in Moses' seat.

Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.'" - They create all these laws and these ceremonies and they put it on people and - so were there laws that were a burden? That's why Peter says, 'our fathers could not bear it.' That's why it said in Colossians 'that was contrary to us' 'taking it out of the way' 'nailing it to the cross'. Alright, please read for us, Galatians 5:1. "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." So there were so many laws that they had attached to the laws of God - you not only had the ceremonial law, you had all the man-made laws. They had laws about the Sabbath - they measured out how far you could walk on the Sabbath.

They had a ball of string that was your Sabbath ball of yarn - you'd tie it at one location and you'd unroll it to the other location and you'd measure how far you could go. They said, 'you can't carry a burden.' And so they spent hours and days discussing 'what is a burden?' And they finally said, 'anything not your clothing is a burden.' So, if you had a handkerchief it was considered carrying a burden on the Sabbath day. So, if you had a cold on the Sabbath, you had to sew your hanky to your clothes so it was actually part of your garment; then you could blow your nose in your clothes and you'd be okay. They did. They really had laws like this.

And so, they had all these burdens that they wouldn't lift with one of their fingers. Let me continue reading in acts 15. Go back there, for me. And so, Peter said - finishing verse 7 - "...God chose among us, that by my mouth the gentiles should hear the word of the Gospel and believe. So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

" - How are our hearts purified? By faith. By faith. "Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they." - Now Paul is saying, 'we' - jews - 'we'll be saved the same way they're saved. We're saved by faith.' - "Then all the multitude kept silent" - the dispute finally ended. Peter, sort of, had the last word - "and listened to barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the gentiles.

" - God was working - "and after they had become silent, James answered, saying, 'men and brethren, listen to me: Simon had declared how God at the first visited the gentiles to take out of them a people'" - so who was the first one? Peter - Simon - same one - through Peter the Gospel came to the gentiles - and cornelius - "and with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: 'after this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up; so the rest of mankind'" - meaning the gentiles - "'may seek the Lord,'" - come to Jesus and I will build - destroy my body and I'll raise a tabernacle to David - Christ's own body - "even all the gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord who does all these things.' Known to God from eternity are all his works. Therefore I judge" - now here's what they finally come up with - "that we should not trouble those from among the gentiles who are turning to God," - to Jesus - "but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood." So then they specify that, they write it in a letter, they send it back by Paul and barnabas, they send it with witnesses, and they said - now were they saying the gentiles, they don't need to keep the Sabbath, it's okay for them to steal and lie? Because they don't mention the Ten Commandments specifically. What they talked about was the things that the gentiles were having issues with. For one thing, they do mention the health laws because they say, 'don't eat blood.' So why would you say, 'you can eat pork, just don't eat the blood'? So, of course, - and, you know, I never hear a good answer when I talk to my charismatic friends or friends from evangelical churches, they say, 'why does it say that gentiles can't eat blood?' I mean, obviously, that's part of the health law. And most of the - I mean, you go buy your beef that's there at the Market, pick it up in its styrofoam container, it's often swimming in blood.

It's not kosher butchering that goes on there. And so, you don't hear them say that. So, obviously, it included the health laws; certainly it included the Ten Commandments. They were having problems with multiple marriages - that's why Paul said, 'husband of one wife' and they also had problems with idolatry. And so they specified the issues, but they didn't say you had to keep the feasts, they didn't say you had to be circumcised, and that's why they wrote those things to - Romans 14 and Colossians chapter 2.

Alright, I'm running out of time here. So, let me - let me jump ahead here - so they send that message to them - acts 15:21 - something else I want you to notice - right after he give this - these laws - did they understand the Sabbath should still be kept? In the same chapter - look at acts 15:21 - "for Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city," - speaking of the gentile world - "being read in the synagogues every Sabbath." - So were the gentiles acquainted with the Sabbath? Right after they talked about the things the gentiles should remember, they mention 'every Sabbath in the synagogues.' And why did Paul go looking in the synagogues to arrest the jews? Because that's where they were preaching on the Sabbath days. So that was pretty clear. Anyway, I've run out of time. I think I pretty well covered what the issue was that Paul was dealing with in rome.

He's then giving the Gospel - the pure Gospel - in this letter to the Romans in a way that jew and gentile can understand - and you'll hear him often reference the jews and reference the gentiles in the letter as he then goes through the book of Romans because he's wanting them to be one church - and he still wants that today, amen? Alright, I want to remind our friends just before we sign off, we do have a book you'll really enjoy, it's called feast days and Sabbaths by Joe Crews. It is a classic. We'll send it to you for free. Ask for offer #179 when you call. The number again - 866-788-3966.

Read it and share it with a friend. God bless you. We will study His Word together with you again next week. Five hundred years ago, God used martin luther to inspire a great reformation, calling people back to the foundational teachings of Scripture; however, in the centuries that followed, the church has slipped off the bedrock of truth into the valley of Lukewarm worldliness. That's why, this fall, I'll be presenting a brand-new nine-part series called foundations of faith - a perfect series for anyone seeking a personal revival and renewal in their relationship with Christ.

Please plan, now, to join me in person, online, or on television and be sure to invite others to join you as well. The reformation continues. Let's face it, it's not always easy to understand everything you read in the Bible. With over 700,000 words contained in 66 books, the Bible can generate a lot of questions. To get biblical straightforward answers call in to Bible answers live - a live nationwide call-in radio program where you can talk to Pastor Doug Batchelor and ask him your most difficult Bible questions.

For times and stations in your area, or to listen to answers online, visit bal.amazingfacts.org. You've probably heard the expression before, 'if you don't like the weather in Texas, just wait; it'll change.' And you've also heard, 'everything is bigger in Texas - the ranches, the belt buckles, the cowboy hats...' But the most famous slogan about Texas is 'remember the alamo!' The violent battles and bravery of iconic heroes, have been the stuff of legends, throughout which entire cultures often draw their identity and pride, even long after centuries have past. And in Texas, the story of the alamo has been a rallying cry of Texas independence for 200 years. One reason that texans love to brag that everything is bigger in Texas is, of course, because Texas is the largest of the lower 48 u.s. States.

It's hard to believe that this massive state got its beginning in a very small Christian mission during the battle of the alamo. Every year this famous mission museum receives over two and a half million visitors from all parts of the planet, that are eager to get a good look at this legendary site. The alamo played a critical role in the Texas revolution. In December 1835, texans and tejano volunteers battled mexican troops quartered in the city, forcing general martin perfecto de cos to surrender. The victorious volunteers then occupied the alamo and strengthened its defenses.

Famous Americans like davy crockett, jim bowie, and colonel william travis made this location - this ancient mission - the beachhead - the last stand in an epic battle to win independence of Texas from Mexico. On February 23, 1836, the arrival of general antonio lopez santa ana nearly caught them by surprise. Undaunted, the texans and tejanos prepared to defend the alamo. For this small rag-tag group of rebels, the youngest of whom was about sixteen and the oldest seventy-five, was against the well-trained and organized mexican army of six thousand-plus soldiers. It was a fierce and lopsided battle, yet the small force of rebels was able to repel the troops for thirteen days.

Legend holds that with the possibility of additional help fading, colonel travis drew a line in the ground with a sword and asked any man willing to stay and fight to step over the line. All except one crossed over. The final asSault came before daybreak. On the morning of March 6, 1836, the thirteenth day of the siege, canon and small arms fire from inside the alamo beat back several mexican attacks. Regrouping, santa ana's soldiers scaled the walls and rushed into the compound.

The desperate struggle continued until the defenders were overwhelmed. By sunrise, the battle had ended and the garrison was slain. You know, historians may debate some of the details regarding the battle of the alamo, but none of them question the incredible sacrifice that was made and the courage that was displayed during that intense conflict. They made the ultimate sacrifice - giving their lives - and this is why the story of the alamo is so inspiring and so encouraging, you know? And that's why the Bible is so inspiring, friends, because someone was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice and give his life so you could have freedom and eternal life. Don't you think you could trust your life to a friend like that, that would give everything? The story of the Gospel is a story of courage and hope.

It's the story of God who will never leave you without defense and support. Jesus is the good news and the Gospel is a story worth remembering. For life-changing Christian resources, visit afbookstore.com or call 1-800-538-7275.

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