Love and Law

Love and Law

Scripture: Romans 12:1-21, Romans 13:1-14
Date: 09/18/2010  Lesson: 12
Paul offers practical advice about living life as a living sacrifice to God.

Culture And The Christian (PB) by Joe Crews

Culture And The Christian (PB) by Joe Crews
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome this morning to Sacramento Seventh-day Adventist Church here in Sacramento, California. A very special welcome to you that are joining us right here in our sanctuary. We really have very little visitors, but the church is actually quite full this morning, so it's good to see our members here. A very special welcome to you that join us every week, across the country and around the world, whether live on the internet streaming this morning, through radio, television, however you're joining us, we truly believe that you will gain a blessing by worshipping with us this morning.

So open up your hymnals here in the sanctuary and at home and sing along with us. Hymn number 578, "so send I you." This comes as a request from lionel in belgium, gabriella in California, zoila in Canada, laurel in new zealand and royalee in south africa. Hymn 578, we'll sing the first, second and the last verse... [Music] As we were singing that, I was thinking every single one of us are sent. And we have a promise of eternal life that is just around the corner if we just hang on a little while longer.

If you have a special hymn that you would like to sing with us on a coming Sabbath, I invite you to go to our website. And that is found at saccentral.org. And there you can click on the "contact us" link. And you can request any hymn in the hymnal that is your favorite, or not, and we will sing that with you on a coming Sabbath. Our next hymn we're going to sing is hymn number 590, "trust and obey.

" We're going to sing the first, the third and the fifth stanza of this. And this comes as a request from anelle, jasmine, veronica and maureen in the bahamas, barbara in California, robert, suku and boule in Canada, chandra in florida, dale and beth in Georgia, charlene and luis in honduras, bob and Paula in Idaho, mr. Vitali in kazakhstan, lester, margaret in Maryland, janice in mauritius, nosaku in Minnesota, veronica, kreshon, angel and jasmine in namibia, anita in New York, jamie, jenny and victoria, North Carolina, jenny in South Dakota, denise and dorothy in Texas, charise in united kingdom, John and jan in Utah and Ruth in Washington. Hymn number 590, "trust and obey," the first, third and the fifth verse... [Music] Let's pray.

Our Father in Heaven, precious Lord, wonderful Savior, there are not enough words on this planet to describe who you are and what you are to us. So Lord, as we humbly come before you this morning on your holy Sabbath day, we invite you into our hearts and our lives. And we ask you to please fill us with your Holy Spirit so that first we trust you completely. And then all of our obedience is just purely out of love for you. Be with pastor mike this morning, Lord, as he brings us Your Words.

And Lord, just infuse us with Your Words, your spirit, that we can leave from this place changed forever, and that we can share your light with those around us, that we can go home with you soon, Lord. We're so looking forward to that day. Just bless us, and Lord, again, we praise your name this morning, not because of who we are but because completely of what you've done for us. You have saved us, and we thank you. And we pray these things in your name, Jesus.

Amen. Our study this morning will be brought to us by pastor mike thompson who is the health and outreach pastor here at Sacramento central. That was a beautiful prayer. Thank you, jolyne. Well, here we are in Sabbath school, and yes, there's the offer.

Before we begin, offer 715. It's called, "does God's grace blot out his law?" It's offer number 715. You can get this if you call 1-866-study-more, or 1-866-788-3966. I believe that's in the continental United States. So you'll probably see that on the screen those of you who are watching at the end of our presentation this morning.

I'd like to welcome you all. We're on lesson 12 already. And the time certainly flies. And it's "redemption in Romans." And there's a memory text, which I'd like to read. It's from Romans 12:2.

Read the following. "Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." There's one major thing about life and about ourselves that we can do nothing about. As hard as we try, we will never be able to kind of negate this. And that is this issue of conformity. We will always be conformed to something.

Can't be conformed to nothing, 'cause if you've conformed to nothing, then you've conformed to nothing. So we have to be conformed to something. And we become conformed to that which the mind conforms itself to. The ideas, the thoughts, the direction of the mind. That's what we think, that's what we become, and that's what we become conformed to.

But it's just as simple as that. And so we want to make sure as Christians looking for the second coming of Jesus that we are conformed to that which is good and safe for us, and that which is to the glory of God. Because there are eternal consequences that await us at the end of life's journey. And whatever we have conformed ourselves to, it'll be a good end to the journey, or it will be otherwise. Therefore as Christians, we want to be "not conformed to this world--" because that was the admonition in the verse there: "do not be conformed to this world, but be ye transformed through the renewing of your mind, that we may understand what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

" That's the kind of thinking we want to have. And as we understand that, then God can hopefully have his way in our lives. And God's will for us is holiness. It is righteousness that conforms. Yeah, we conform to something.

But if we have a mind that loves righteousness, our minds will conform to his law. And if we have hearts that love righteousness--and I'm going to get on in a few minutes about the difference between the two. We'll have hearts that hunger and thirst for righteousness. That's how we need to be. That which results in a life of faith and obedience.

Because only those who abide, conform to God's law through faith and loving obedience, those are the only ones in whom, in whose eyes their law-keeping is accepted in God's eyes. So it all begins in the heart. So today I want us to consider some aspects of God's perfect will for us as Christians within the context of law and love so we can hopefully have them exist in our life in a sweet harmony as God would have it. So I'm going to try and, try and be a reformed Sabbath school teacher and stick to the lesson. And I'm going to attempt to go by each day.

So see how we do, okay? So let's begin in Sunday, living sacrifices. And would somebody be kind enough to read Romans 13:2. Oh, I am sorry. I fooled ya. Romans 12:1.

Romans 12:1. Yeah. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." Thank you, very well read. I appreciate that. Every animal that was sacrificed in the old testament system had to be a perfect specimen of its kind.

It had to be without any blemishes, without any imperfections, without any spot if it was to be acceptable to God. And here in Romans 12:1, we find this picture being used to illustrate how we are to be presented to our God, how we are to present our bodies to him, not as a sacrifice to be sacrificed as it were, and put to death, but as a living sacrifice. Not as a sacrifice for sin, but as in a figurative sense, a living sacrifice that is clean from sin, that we live our lives to his glory, possessing a pure body undefiled by unhealthy and unholy practices so we can be without blemish before God as holy vessels, not in our own righteousness because we don't have any. We don't have an atom, we don't have a crumb, we don't have a scrap. And the sooner we realize that, the more God can have his way with us.

We need to be acceptable in his sight as holy vessels, not in our own righteousness, but in the righteousness of Jesus. Everything centers in Jesus, which brings me to my next point. You see, you cannot--you never will be able to offer up your body as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable unto God unless you first offer up your heart. Your heart has to come before your body. And unless you offer up your heart first, you can do the best you want with your body.

And you may do pretty good by human reckoning, but it's all to no avail. Psalm 51:17, here the sacrifice of the heart comes first before the body can become a living sacrifice acceptable to God. Psalm 51:17 says, "the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart--" there it is-- "a broken and a contrite heart, o God, that will not despise." So that sacrifice of a broken and a contrite heart again it begins with Jesus. Because as we come to Jesus, maybe struggling to want to be a clean-living and holy vessel, but as we come struggling to Jesus, and we let him, he'll take that heart to the cross. And he'll melt it.

And he'll soften it. And he will change it. And he'll break down all its hard defiant walls, its cold defiant defenses, through a Revelation of his love. Hence Romans 2:4 says, "it's the goodness of God that leadeth thee to repentance." So the heart has to go first and be dealt with before the body can become what God wants it to be, as a living and a pure, holy sacrifice. Because as Jesus gets the heart first, and he possesses it with his love, he in turn possesses that heart with his righteousness and his sanctifying power.

And then when that happens, we're where we need to be. That's where the new birth begins. And it's all about conversion. It's all about the new birth. And we can do everything else besides and miss the point.

But you give the heart to Jesus, and the body and the actions of the body will all fall into line. But that's where it begins. And so resting then with a heart that Jesus has got, resting in the peace and joyous assurance of salvation in Christ, then we're able to exercise the strength and ability that he imparts to us to live in harmony with the pure, righteous principles of his law. And as we do that, that includes the issue of being able to be faithful stewards of these marvelous vessels that God has given to us. And then we're able to get it all together and know how to live a life that is healthy and pure so this vessel can be presented to God as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto him.

And again, not as a means of earning merit, but I like to put it this way. I was talking to a gentleman a few days ago who's started to come to our church. He may be here somewhere, I don't know. If he is, I'm glad you're here. But he was asking me about the law, Seventh-day Adventists.

I said, "yeah," I said, "we-- we believe--i believe it's important to live a life in harmony with God's law and to keep the Sabbath, 'cause God has put a blessing in the Sabbath. But you know, I don't try to keep the law as a means to become righteous or a means to become saved." I says, "Jesus saves me, but I want to keep the law as an expression of thanks and appreciation to him. Because it's no honor to him if I go out and steal. It's no honor to my best friend if I go and take my neighbor's wife. So I want to be faithful and obedient to the limit to say, 'Lord, this is my expression of thanks, because you saved me first.

'" And also as well in the Great Controversy, I want to keep the law to show who's side I'm on. Doesn't that make sense? You know, there's a lot of people out there, and they're looking for Jesus to come. Well, you know, it's easy to say, "I love Jesus. Oh, I love Jesus so much." "You do? Well, I'm glad you do. But how do you show who's side you're on?" It shows whether you keep, or you live a life in compliance to the Ten Commandments.

That's why it's such an important entity of the Christian experience in its right place. What comes first? The heart into the hands of Jesus. And this is what we read also as well in--going back to Romans 12:1, he says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God," the mercies of God. When you realize the mercies of God that have been exercised towards you, when you realize you're an object of this, this fathomless ocean of mercy, this great damn that broke at the cross. You know that dam was breached at the cross.

And that great ocean is still flowing through. And it'll flow through for all eternity. And when you realize you can get just washed away in that beautiful tidal wave of God's mercy and love, I want to do something in return. I want to love him back. And I want to be obedient to his will.

And I want to keep this body. I want to keep this body pure and clean for him, because that's another way of showing that I'm not conformed to this world, but I'm being transformed through the renewing of my mind as I've given my heart to Jesus. Does that make sense? Well, I'm glad. And separating us from this world, by the way, as you know God calls us to dispense with things which are bad for us. And sometimes we were going along and suddenly we realize, "you know what, Lord, I didn't realize that this thing was in my life.

" God is very merciful to us. It just doesn't dump it all on us straight away. Now yeah, we got to turn from sinning. We have to be willing. That's important.

But we don't always see ourselves in our fullest light as we should 'til we're going along life's journey. And along the way, Ellen white says that God leads his people on step by step, each step calculated to reveal what's in the heart or in the life. And as always, as God is separating us from the world and he wants us to become living sacrifices, he may reveal things as we go along and we find that there's maybe just a little thing here. Just this little thing before my vessel can truly be a clean vessel acceptable to God. It may be just that one last little cigarette, you know, just that one.

It may be just that one, that little glass of wine, Lord, just one little glass of wine that I have with my meal. It may be just that one little shot of caffeine in the morning to get me up and to get me going. Have you heard this? It's just this one last little thing. And somebody might well turn around who maybe has got one of these last little things and say, "you know, pastor mike, it is. It's just a small little thing.

" Well if it's such a small little thing, why do we make it such a big thing when we're asked to give these things up? If it's so small, why make a big issue? If it's so small, just get rid of it then. And that tells us this very often I think. We don't know people's hearts, so we have to be careful. But I put this out here. It may be that you have this little thing argument with God.

And if you get down on your knees, God might show you actually that this little thing argument is actually a smokescreen for a perverse and rebellious heart that does not want to conform to God's will. So what do you do? It's not that bad is it? It's not that bad, 'cause it's just one little thing. You know, it was just a little bite, a few bites out of a few pieces of fruit, right? Adam and eve could have used the same argument. "Well, it's just a little bite out of a little piece of fruit, you know." Well, it's not the size, whether it's big or small. It's the fact that God says, "don't do it.

" And if something is wrong, it is wrong. And if God says, "I want you to separate from this," then you need to separate from it because God knows far better than you do what's good for yourself. And it can be that one little thing that can just get in the way so that in the long haul, it remains that one little breach around the back of your house, got all the front door boarded up, all the windows boarded up, chimney boarded up, but there's that tiny little window at the back of the house. And that's all the devil needs to get inside. And when that heart is vulnerable like that, it can be that little thing that in the long haul the devil will use to take you down for good.

So let's not argue with God. Let's not trifle with these things. Anyway, we need to--there's a lot more I could say there, but we have to move on, 'cause I'm trying to be a reformed Sabbath school teacher and stick to the lesson. Let's go to Monday. This is "thinking of one's self.

" And I'd like somebody to read Romans 12:3. "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." Thank you very much, jeff. The prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 42:21, gave a messianic prophesy about Jesus. He said he will magnify the law and make it honorable. And Jesus did do this.

And there's too main areas where, you may think of more, but I thought of two, two main areas where Jesus demonstrated this, where he magnified the law. The first one is the law is spiritual. It tells us that in Romans 7. Paul says, "the law is spiritual," but he says, "I'm carnal, sold unto sin." And that's a problem by the way. You can't keep a spiritual law if you're still carnal if Jesus doesn't have the heart.

Okay? Anyway, so the law is spiritual, and Jesus made that very clear. The law is spiritual. When you read his sermon on the mount, it goes very, very deep. And also the second point, the law is an expression of divine love and an expression of God's righteousness. But Jesus in his life was a demonstration of God's law of love.

He not only taught those things, but it was seen in his life. Ever he was kind and unselfish and loving and self-sacrificial for the good of others. He was all of these things. And it was this that touched people's hearts in their lives, 'cause they would look at him. They were so used to looking at the pharisees.

Along comes this unpretentious-looking person. But there was something in his face, there was something in the way he spoke. There was something about him that people said, "he's different. He's different. I want to know him.

" And it was just the way he was. It was just an--well, you know what I'm trying-- I'm trying to find the words. Jesus, he had it. And people were drawn to him. But in all of this, now this is the next point I want to make here in line with the lesson.

For it says, "for this I say unto you, through the grace given unto me that every man that is among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought." And Jesus is an example of that also. Everything he did, he did in meekness and humility. And when true heaven-born love is the driving force behind everything that we do, all our acts in fulfillment of God's law, there'll be no seeking for rewards or desire for recognition. "You know, I'm going to do-- I'm going to do something kind of--are you all watching? All watch now. Here I go.

There's the poor widow. There she is jingle, jingle, jingle..." Jesus wasn't like that. And actually we're not like that, are we? Kids are. What you see is what you get. But as adults, we know we have to be a little more subtle, so we do it more sophisticated, but we're just as bad.

In Philippians 2, it says, "let nothing be done through strife or vain glory, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than themselves." Is that the natural thing to do? Is that the natural way to be? Absolutely not. I'm not like that. I'll just come clean and tell you. I'm not naturally like that. I was raised to love to be an actor at school.

I produced my first rock and roll show when I was 9 years old. I was just full of ego. I loved to show off. I loved to be seen. And I can be like that even yet, just being honest with you.

But you know what I have to do? And I do it. Praise God it works. I give Jesus my heart every morning. I did it this morning, so I can stand here and I think I can honestly say I'm not trying to impress anybody. But I need him, because an hour from now I'm preaching in Granite Bay and there may be a desire for pastor mike to pump his chest out and show what a bad preacher he really is.

I want to be humble like Jesus was. We do nothing through strife or vain glory. And when Jesus lives in our hearts, when he lives there. And we ponder his example of humility and meekness, the sweet graces of love and kindness and humility, they just grow up inside like this silent, growing, sweet-smelling blossoming plant. And it becomes our nature to be like that.

And you know, when you're like that, you don't have to prove anything. You can walk in a room full of people and you don't have to show your best profile or, you know, "I forgot my tie." You can just be yourself and be happy to be that way. That's what Jesus is like. And that's what little kids are like. And that's why Jesus loved them so much.

That's why I like to use them as an example to show us how we need to be. And so if Jesus, as a sinless human being--yes he had a fallen nature, but he had a sinless life--if Jesus, as a sinless human being in this weak humanity that we have, it was a necessity for him to humble himself, then how much more do we need to follow in his footsteps and to make ourselves of no reputation, especially when the real tests come, when you actually do something which is actually very good. And God approves of it. And you have that sweet assurance. God is pleased with what I did.

Then somebody comes along and they take the credit. And they run before the audience and say, "see what I did." And you're sitting there thinking, "but I did that." You know, when I was a kid-- I hate to tell you this, 'cause well my mother taught me how to make rag dolls. I was just about 7 years old. So she--i was on holiday one time. And she said, "son, let me show you how to make rag dolls.

" Well, trust me, I'm not a dolly boy. I'm man enough; I played rugby in school. But I was bored to death, so I thought, "well, okay." So she taught me how to make these little rag dolls, you know. I'm stuffing their arms full of stuff and sewing their heads on and sewing buttons on their eyes. Looking back that must have been abominable looking creatures.

But I thought they looked pretty good. Anyway, my cousin, janet--i was an only child, so my cousin janet was like a sister. She'd come for a few days and then we'd fight and then she'd leave. So she came and she got on the bandwagon making these dolls. And obviously she was a girl, so hers were much better than mine.

But I still made more, 'cause I had a head start. So my mom said, "why don't you go down to the orphanage?" There was a Godfrey walker children's home. So we go, and they said, "give them to the children." So I thought, "oh, that's a good idea." So janet said, "that's a good idea." So we go down to the Godfrey walker children's home, I knock on the door, and we got all these rag dolls. And I made most of them, you know, hideous as they still were. Anyway, the lady in charge comes and we explain that we'd made these for the children.

So she took them, and she smiled at janet and she said, "thank you so much. That's so kind of you." And she didn't look at me. So you know what I'm thinking, you know. "These are my dolls! I made most of these!" I got no credit. And was I hurt? Yeah, I went home with my tail between my legs.

Well, you know, kids, you can kind of excuse that. But still as human beings, our natural thing is if we've done something good and we've done it right, and especially if it's something that God approves, I don't want anybody else really getting credit. We can be so much like that. But you see, when God permits us to become humble and meek before his throne, all that's gone, whether it's hideous abominable-looking ragdolls you don't get credit for, or some other wonderful thing you might do as an elder or a deacon or a deaconess or even a pastor. You see, we've all got to learn humility and meekness.

And there's one or two ways we can learn it. We can volunteer right now to go to the cross and say, "Lord, here I am. I'm a proud, arrogant being. But I'm here. I'm going to give you a chance to make me sweet, clean me from sin.

And I'm here because I know I need to be humble. So here I am, Lord, I volunteer to let you do that in my life." And he'll do things to answer that prayer, not always particularly pleasant. But when it happens, remember what you prayed for, and praise God that it's happening. He loves you enough to bring along the things that rub your face in the dirt sometimes. He's done that to me many times.

That's one way you can learn humility where you're not seeking the credit. Or you can learn it another way, and that is to learn humility and be humiliated and filled with anguish on the day of judgment when Jesus comes, and you find for one reason or another you have not allowed him to cleanse you from sin, from the impurity and the pride. Either way, we're going to be humbled. So if we're wise, and if we've got discernment, if we know what's good for us, and to the glory of God, let's ask God to humble us now. Can you say, "amen," to that? It's what we need.

And God will do it in a way that is--we'll see his love for us as he does that. And here's the thing, you see, we will desire then to magnify the law to the glory of God like Jesus did, and not for any other hidden agenda that's ground in self. And the more we are like that, the more God will be able to entrust us with more of his power to do even greater things. I want to read a statement from "Desire of Ages," page 436. It's about Jesus.

It says, "before honor is humility. To fill a high place before men, heaven chooses the worker who, like John the baptist, takes a lowly place before God. The most Christ-like disciple is the most efficient in labor for God. The heavenly intelligences can cooperate with him or her who is seeking not to exalt self, but to save souls. He who feels most deeply his need of divine aid will plead for it.

And the Holy Spirit will give to him glimpses of Jesus that will strengthen and uplift the soul. From communion with Christ, he will go forth to work for those who are perishing in their sins. He is anointed for his mission. And he succeeds where many of the learned and intellectually wise would fail." Isn't that beautiful? Is that beautiful? Yeah, okay. That's what we need.

I'm going to conclude this other little bit here with another statement from "sanctified life," page 14. And the heading in this, "why Christ was rejected." See if you can get this. It speaks for itself. "Jesus was constantly employed in works of mercy--" that's how he showed that God's law is a law of love-- "shedding light upon the pathway of all. Yet, he did not call upon those with whom he mingled to behold his unexampled virtue, his self-denial, self-sacrifice and benevolence.

He sought neither gain, nor honor. His wonderful acts of healing were performed in as quiet a manner as possible. Humility and meekness characterized his life. And it was because of his lowly walk and unassuming manners, which are in such Marked contrast to his own that the pharisees would not accept him." That is so sad that these men who were members of the remnant, they actually turned away Jesus because he exemplified in his life the meekness that they were supposed to have. That's a scary thought, but you see, friends, if God doesn't have the heart first, the body, the mind, is not conformed to his standard, his will.

It's conformed to the world and the thinking of the prince of this world. And that's why we can look at light and say it's darkness and look at darkness and say it's light. And that's why we can look at those who are following in the footsteps of Jesus and meek and humble and sweet, and we say...we brush 'em off. That's a scary thought. May we never follow in the footsteps of the pharisees.

Okay, I've got another page. I know it's here. I don't know what it was about, but let's see. Oh yes, yeah. "Relationship to government," moving on to Tuesday.

We got 18 minutes left, so we're not doing too bad. Romans 13:1-2, again would somebody please read Romans--andrew's over here. Let's have andrew do his usual reading. "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God, the powers that be are ordained of God.

Whosoever therefore resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance of God, and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. Thank you very much, andrew. Appreciate that. Yeah, so we're called here to be model citizens right? To be subject unto the higher powers. And some days you wonder, I'm not being political.

Let's take the last 50 years in the United States of America. There's been time over 50 years people have got up in the morning and have thought, "well, I don't think much of this government. I don't think much of the federal government, the way they're taking all my tax money. I don't think much to the state government. I don't think much to the local county government.

All they want to do is reach inside my pocket, misapply funding," and all this kind of stuff. So this verse here, to be subject unto the higher powers, it's sometimes something we have to accept by faith and do it because God tells us we should do that. Let's remember that because, you know, alright, the United States, it's not paradise. I know that. But I tell you what, it's paradise compared to a lot of other places that we find upon this earth.

Absolutely, we don't realize just how fortunate we are, but you know you've read Revelation 13. You've read the Great Controversy. We all know that things are going to take a fearful turn for the worse immediately following the second coming of Jesus. And I think we're already on that path, we've been on it a while actually, where the government will do far worse than reach deeper into your pocket for more tax money. They're going to start reaching into your church to meddle with your beliefs and practices and to try and adjust your conscience.

Well, that's where the line has to be drawn, because as the apostle said when they were taken to task, we ought to obey God rather than men. We need to recognize the magistrate, we need to pray for the King. Well, you don't have one, but sometimes there's presidents that wish they were Kings. The human nature is human nature. So we need to pray for those in government, especially so.

They have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. But when they start to reach into your religious beliefs, that's where you stand up. Other than that, we need to comply and go along with the government. "You mean pay more tax, pastor mike? Maybe a v-a-t tax?" They've had that in england, so I'm already used to it. Yes, we need to be model citizens.

Even when things do start taking a turn for the worse, we need to remain as model citizenry as much as we can. And even here when we see the first Sunday laws as it were, start to be enacted where, for example, businesses are closed down. And the workshops are closed down. We need to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. You see, we've been counseled not to cause unnecessary offense.

And if the law comes out, and it's a civil law, but you know where it's heading, and it says, "no work on Sunday," you should not work. Ellen white counseled our sisters not to hang washing out on Sunday if it's going to cause offense. We need to cease work. But you know what we can do? We can go out and do missionary work. So I know it sounds a little twisted thinking here, but initially in some ways, those first Sunday closing laws might actually serve to advance the spread of truth because there'll be more Seventh-day Adventists out knocking on doors hopefully to give out "the Great Controversy," while we still might have a window of time.

And that window of time, beloved, is getting smaller and smaller and smaller. From the lesson, there was a statement from "Acts of the Apostles," 69, "we are not required to defy--" sorry-- "we are not required to defy authorities. Our words, whether spoken or written, should be carefully considered lest we place ourselves on record as uttering that which would make us appear antagonistic to law and order. We are not to say or do anything that would unnecessarily close up our way." There's a lot of counsel right there in that last sentence. We are not to do anything that would unnecessarily close up our way.

Here's where when God has the heart, he gives us wisdom in the head. And he stops us from being foolish zealots going out to do heroic things. For example, it just pops to mind so I can't give you the reference, but some of you are aware of it I'm sure. I believe it was in France during the time of the reformation. Some of the reformers in their zealousness, they went out and they posted these posters around condemning the authorities, condemning the catholic church.

It was all very true, but you know what happened? The authorities came down upon them and they just crushed them. And what actually happened was the work of the reformation in that area at that time was actually set back. So yes, we'll get a chance to be brave. You'll get a chance to be a hero or a heroine. But don't choose that moment yourself.

What's that saying? "Discretion is the better part of valor." That's not cowardice. Jesus knew times when it was the right time to just slip away, let things cool off. That wasn't cowardice; that was wisdom. And we need to ask God to give us that same kind of wisdom. Now as it progresses, of course, Sunday-keeping is going to be not just on the surface strictly civil law to stop people working.

We know, we know what's-- we know the authority. We know the power that's working underneath this. There is an agenda. And finally, Sunday-keeping is going to be something that is going to be done. And if you obey that, it's going to be done knowingly as reverencing the man of sin.

That's where you just can't quite go along with it. And more than that, it will progress to be not just that, but there will be enactments which finally will outlaw the seventh-day Sabbath, 'til finally you've got the full-blown experience here of the Mark of the beast. When that comes, you'll get a chance to be a hero. But a humble and a meek hero with the love of Jesus in your heart, and an ego that's crucified. You'll get a chance then to gentlemanly-like take the gloves off and let the final conflict begin.

You can, as you do that, as we do that, and pray God we're faithful, our motives will be impugned, even though we're trying to be still model citizens, but it's just that with this issue we have to acquiesce to the law of God. Our motives are going to be impugned. Our actions are going to be misconstrued. We're going to be looked upon in a bad light. We're going to be looked upon as traitors to this great country, the United States.

But you know, it's the-- and the national Sunday law is going to become an international Sunday law. So all God's people everywhere are going to have their backs against the wall. And they're going to have to stand there and say, "I'm sorry, but now is the time especially to be out in the open. I must obey God rather than man. I cannot do this.

" So as luther said, "so help me God." That time's coming. But until then, let us be the best citizens that we possibly can. I'll tell you this real quick. You know, it's easy to get out with placards and start making a hootenanny of things. Jesus never did that.

We have a right in this country for peaceful demonstration. I'm not saying that's wrong. I'm not saying that's wrong. But I remember one time when I was in wichita, Kansas. For some reason I found myself just passing by the courthouse.

And there was two groups of people. There was one of the senators was going to come out. I think it might have been the--anyway, one of the senators was going to come out and speak on the steps. But there's two groups of people. Down by the road there was the--those who are in favor of abortion.

What is it, pro-life? No, pro-choice. They were the pro-choice people. They had their placards. And up near the steps there was the pro-life people. And you know who was the most decently behaved? It was the pro-choice people.

The pro-life people, they were rude. They were belligerent. I saw a minister there as well among their midst with his dog collar on. And I stood there, and I thought, you know, I'm not for abortion, but I'm certainly not for behaving like this. So I think you get the picture.

Anyway, let's move on to Wednesday, "relationship to others." Romans 13:8, if somebody would read Romans 13:8, that would be just wonderful. "Owe no man anything but love one another, for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law." Thank you very much, steve. I appreciate that. In the lesson, it quotes the above text of course. And it asks the following question, "how are we to understand this text?" What steve just read there.

"Does it mean that if we love we have no obligation then to obey the law of God?" Well, of course the answer is no. And you've heard all these arguments before. And I see my good friend, pastor, evangelist, eric flickinger back there. Eric's answered this many, many times around this country, around this world. He did just a few weeks ago here when we had our meetings.

Well, obviously not. No, it doesn't give an excuse. For when we--when we love others, when we show love to other people of necessity, whether we like it or not, we're actually fulfilling the principle of the law of God. Law of God is two tables, "love God with all your heart, your mind, your strength and your neighbor as yourself." We're actually doing that. But some people, those who want to try and get the law of God off on the side here because the fourth commandment's involved in that.

And that's the real sticking point with many of them. They build a groundless argument around tHis Word or this term, "fulfill." And that in turn is built around an erroneous understanding or erroneous definition of love, love and--I'm going to deal first with love. You see, love as they think is just a feeling. You just love people, and you just do good. Yeah, but love is a doing word, right? If a young man says to a young woman, "I love you," you know, she may have had these guys before lining up and say, "oh, I love you.

Your eyes are so beautiful--" "okay, I've heard all that before. Prove it." They want to see something, right? And love is a doing word. And it's the same with the love of--with the law of God. If you say you love God, let's see it. Where's the proof of what you're talking about.

Maybe I can kind of illustrate it this way. Sunlight, has a spectrum, right? We think it's just kind of white, invisible light, but as you put it through a prism, you see sunlight is broken down into, what is it? Red, orange, green, blue, indigo, all those seven colors. You see it. There's a spectrum. And it breaks it down.

And love actually is like the prism that you shine the law of God through, as you shine the law of God through the prism of love. You get a ten-point spectrum: Ten Commandments. First four are facets of that spectrum are our love to God. And the last six are they part of the--last part of the spectrum of law of love, which is how we behave toward our neighbor. And here in this passage here, Romans--where were we? Romans 13:8, it says, "owe no man anything but to love one another, for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

" Very next verse is a spectrum. And it breaks down love, and we see here there specifically mentioned five of the last six commandments from the second table of the law. Let's look in verse 9, "for this, thou shalt not commit adultery," there's the seventh commandment, "thou shalt not kill," sixth commandment, "thou shalt not steal," the eighth, "thou shalt not bear false witness," the ninth, "thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Jesus quoted that from Deuteronomy. It's actually in Deuteronomy 19:18, and Jesus quoted it in Matthew 19. And then verse 10 follows to summarize what's just gone before.

It says, "love worketh no evil to his neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." So love shows itself in a very concrete fashion. We don't kill our neighbor. We don't steal from him. We don't take his wife. We don't covet.

Can't always see that, but God does. So I hope you get the point. But that fulfilling of the law, moving on to the second part here, fulfilling of the law does not mean that the law is abolished, does not mean abolition as some would teach. It's a bit like saying this. You complete your driver's ed course, okay, learning to drive.

You fulfilled all the requirements of the driver's ed course in accordance with the driving laws of the state of California. Then you're given a license that then permits you to drive on the wrong side of the road at 100 miles an hour. That's ludicrous, right? But some people, that's the kind of thinking that they have when it comes to the moral law. So to fulfill the law does not mean you abolish. You fulfill its requirements.

Today and the next day and the day after that through the grace of God. Matthew 5:17, Jesus said, "think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." Jesus came to fulfill those spiritual principles, not to abolish them, but among other things to set as an example of a Godly and a law-abiding life. Now when eric was here a few weeks ago, he was dealing with this very thing. And he put it this way, and I liked it so I've stolen some of your thunder, eric. Eric said this, he said, "let's suppose we take that word 'fulfill' then, as some people would like to apply it to mean destroy or to abolish.

" Alright, take it and put it in this passage that Jesus said. He said, "think not that I have come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." Now "think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy," but to destroy it. It doesn't make sense does it? I thought that was really good, eric. Thank you. And still in Wednesday's section, I'd like us to note the following paragraph from-- it's about the eighth line down on this particular page where you find this verse here.

It says, "the law truly can be kept only in the context of love." And we kind of looked at this this morning. It can only be kept in the context of love. And as I'm looking at the clock, we got to Wednesday and time is about gone. So I want to conclude with this. If you want to live a life of obedience to the law, you first have to surrender to the law.

What do I mean by that? In Galatians it speaks of the school master, of the law being a school master that brings us to Christ. As the law with its spiritual power probes deep into the soul revealing our sinfulness and brings conviction. And that law takes us to the cross. That's when we surrender and lay it all down at the foot of the law. We surrender to the law and say, "you're right.

You're right. You've got me all figured out, you know, you got me inside out. It's all written down. I quit the fight." Surrender to the law at the foot of the cross. Then when Jesus comes in and fills us with his righteousness, it gives us power and grace.

It clothes us in the robes of his righteousness, not just outwardly, but he clothes the character. And he adorns every thought and the righteous purity of his holiness. And then he writes his law upon our hearts. And then we can keep the law and it becomes just a natural part of our experience with him. We got as far as Wednesday, and I didn't quite finish.

But anyway, I got to conclude there. So thank you for being a good class. And may God bless you all. And here's the offer. It's offer 715, "does God's grace blot out his law?" You can call 1-866-study-more, or 1-866-788-3966.

Thank you for joining us for this broadcast. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at amazingfacts.org. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs, including "Amazing Facts presents," "central study hour," "everlasting Gospel," "Bible answers live," and "wonders in the word." You'll also find a storehouse of biblical resources geared towards answering some of your most difficult questions. And our online Bible school is just a click away. One location, so many possibilities, amazingfacts.org.

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