Justice and Mercy

Scripture: James 2:10, Romans 6:23
Date: 10/19/2011 
Because there is mercy does that mean we do not have to obey the law?
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Hello friends. We are so thankful that you've come and you're joining us for this new series of special presentations called doctrines that divide. As you can tell from my wardrobe here there's going to be some visual effects connected with the presentations dealing with some of the outstanding doctrinal differences between seventh day adventist Christians and our Christian friends from other denominations - evangelical, mainline denominations. We're going to be exploring those differences from the Bible to better understand what is the truth regarding some of these sensitive doctrinal teachings. Before we get to our study for tonight we're going to begin with a word of prayer.

Loving father, we're so thankful for the truth. We're very thankful for your word. We believe it's your will that your people might be one. Help us now to study these things that we might come together based on 'thus sayeth the Lord.' We thank you and we pray this in Jesus' name. You know, there are about 34,000 different Christian denominations in the world.

Now I didn't say ,000 religions. ,000 Different Christian denominations. Most of them sprang up since the reformation about 500 years ago and they continue to split and divide over, typically, doctrines. Doctrine is a very divisive thing. This week - if you're from the Sacramento area - you know that a sister church right around the corner from us - lovely people - were in the front pages of the religious section over a major division regarding the doctrine of gay marriage, in particular.

I was on the phone with the pastor there today and praying for him because - just a terrible struggle to go through - church splitting. And I wish I could say that our church was immune to these things. Now there's one philosophy that sometimes we approach these things - we say, 'look, we're Christians, let's not disagree and let's avoid talking about doctrine. But that's not really the answer and I don't think that's the answer that Jesus wants either. The key is for us to find out what is truth.

Now, I could have a lot of programs and talk about all the different things that these ,000 churches agree on but, you know, that may not be very fruitful because when Jesus comes back he is coming back for a united people. The Bible tells us in the very near future there's going to be a polarizing between Christian groups - professedly Christian groups. One is going to have the Mark of the beast and the other is going to have the seal of God. And you know what's going to divide them is doctrine. And so, we need to understand what the Bible really said.

Jesus said, 'I've not come to send peace but a sword.' Now, I don't want to cause any more problems than the church already has, but I think we need to honestly look at these very important divisive doctrines today because we need to know where we stand when Jesus comes back. And that's the reason we're having this unique series. Now, let me explain what we're doing. I am a seventh day adventist Christian. I have not always been a seventh day adventist Christian.

I'd like to believe I first came to Christ - and I was a Christian. I was sincere and I was genuine, but I did not understand or believe or accept at that time the doctrines that the seventh day adventists believe. Then over the course of two or three years, in studying and being exposed to a broad spectrum of different beliefs, I settled down over 33 years ago and became a seventh day adventist. And as time has gone by, I am more convinced than ever that these teachings are the closest teachings to the teachings of Jesus in the Bible. And frankly, it grieves me that so many dear Christian people are confused about what some of these pivotal truths are.

Now, I also want to say right at the beginning, I believe that there are millions of loving, sincere, spirit-filled Christians in a broad spectrum of different denominations. But what we're going to be focusing on during this series is I'm going to take some of the primary differences between seventh day adventist Christians and when I stand over here I'm going to represent Pastor Doug - that'd be this side - though I won't always be showing you this side. And please don't read anything special into the black and white suit. If you want to know the truth, they were on sale at penney's or sears, I forget. It was a great deal and we just needed two of the same brand that were different and this is what she came back with so - and then we took it to a Christian tailor - one of the members who did a magnificent job, I think.

It might start a new trend, you never know. But this is a visual thing so when I'm over here I'm pastor doug, I'm a seventh day adventist. When I come over here, I'm going to be a person we'll call pastor barney. Now, you know, I was thinking of maybe pastor jim or pastor bob and I thought, you know, that's probably going to resemble too much of the living and so I thought 'I'll just pick pastor barney and probably there's another pastor barney around the corner I didn't know about and I don't want to offend anybody,' but let's just call him pastor barney. He represents a conglomerate of mainline evangelical beliefs that are non adventist.

And some of them don't agree with each other and I know that. And when I stand here I'm going to be representing a mediator. So I'll be a referee. And when you see me do this - it's a fashion statement. So, I just realized when I do that it actually matches right up the back, doesn't it.

And so, I'll be going back and forth and representing these different positions. Now, I think it's interesting that this year - it was actually March 3rd - usa today did a special report where the headlines were dealing with the fastest growing church in North America. And this is from March 2011. The usa today headlines read, 'adventist's back-to-basics faith is the fastest growing u.s. Church.

Newly released data shows that seventh day adventism is growing by 2.5% in North America - a rapid clip for this part of the world where southern baptists and mainline denominations, as well as other church groups, are declining.' And then one might naturally ask, 'why?' Frankly, I'm disappointed we're growing so slowly. I think when God pours out his spirit in the last days, we're going to see an explosion of pentecostal proportions - no allusion to a particular denomination there - but that power of pentecost will be spreading it. But the reason I believe the seventh day adventist church is growing is because people are looking for stability - when they read their Bibles for themselves they go, 'oh!' And they find that these really are biblical beliefs. Now, when you think of seventh day adventists of a broad spectrum of doctrines you might consider, what doctrine pops into your mind first? The Sabbath. Now the reason that the Sabbath is there and that it does come to the front is because seventh day adventists believe the ten commandments are still in effect and, as a result, you've got one commandment that begins with the word 'remember' - we figured that God meant that.

But you'd be surprised, in the last 150 years, how many mainline Christian denominations have begun to question if the Ten Commandments are even still in effect. And so, tonight we're going to talk principally about what salvation is in relationship to the Ten Commandments and if the Ten Commandments are still valid - if God expects Christians to keep the Ten Commandments. And that's going to be our first question that we're going to deal with. And maybe what we should do, just so you see that it's fair, we'll flip a coin and see - heads I win, tails you lose, pastor barney. So, heads - I win.

So, I want to tell you right up front, if you thought for a minute that this is going to be a fair debate, it's not. I am a seventh day adventist Christian. Obviously I am biased. This is not even really a debate. I'm just coming over here - matter of fact, why don't you say hello to pastor barney for a second.

Good evening my beloved. And so, this is pastor barney over here. He is going to represent - he's not going to get fair time tonight, I'm just sharing that with you. If anyone says that wasn't fair, you're right, it wasn't. But I'm doing this to help illustrate what some of the most common answers are and I should also tell you, in fairness, that I have preached in and worshiped with Christians in baptist churches, methodist churches - I taught methodist Sunday school - church of Christ, pentecostal, nazarene, four square, and I could keep on going - all over the country.

So I have a pretty good feel about what the beliefs are and what the answers are to some of these biblical conundrums. So for question #1, we're actually going to let pastor barney start first. Do we need to keep the ten commandments? All right there's a Scripture we're going to consider. That silhouette is strangely familiar. Romans chapter 6, verse 14 - and I'm going to be going through a lot of Scriptures very quickly.

You may not see all of them on the screen. Hopefully you'll see at least a reference on the bottom of your screen. "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law, but under grace." There you have it Pastor Doug, you're not under the law - you don't have to keep the ten commandments anymore - we are now under grace, as opposed to being under the law, the Ten Commandments. So when you start teaching about the Ten Commandments, you're being legalistic. Another verse often used, Galatians 3, verse 13, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law.

" The law is a curse - we've been saved from that curse so why would we want to go back and be under that curse any more? All right pastor barney, please allow me to deal with that now. Before we figure out what the lord has saved us from, we need to know what is sin. Romans chapter 6, verse 23. "Sin is the transgression" - no I read you - "the wages of sin." Sorry - I was jumping to another verse. Romans 6:23.

"The wages of sin is death." So the curse that the Lord has delivered us from is the curse of death. When it says that you're not under the law but you're under grace, it means you are no longer under the penalty of the law, but because you're not under the penalty of the law, does it mean you don't need to obey the law anymore? The definition for sin is it's the transgression of the law. That's 1 John 3, verse 4. And so, if sin is the transgression of God's law, if there's no sin, well you don't need a Savior. If there's no law, there's no sin.

No sin, you don't need a Savior. You can understand why the devil would like that doctrine or that misinterpretation of things. Not under the law. Suppose for a moment that a policeman enters a convenience store in some major city and he spots a man that is stealing - he's walking out the door and he is stealing three loaves of bread for his hungry children and maybe one twinkie for himself. And before he gets out the door, the policeman grabs that man by the collar and he handcuffs him and he starts to write him up and the man falls down before that policeman and says, 'please have mercy on me.

' Now as soon as he's been caught - it's on the video cameras in the convenience store - he stole the bread, he was heading out the door, he wasn't paying, and he looked shady. And he stuck them in his backpack and as soon as he's caught he's under the law. He's handcuffed. He is under the law. He's guilty.

He's under the penalty of the law. He's going down to the station, he's going to pay a fine, he's going to maybe go to jail. But he falls down before the policeman and says, 'officer, please have mercy. I've got hungry children.' And the policeman says, 'all right, I'll tell you what we're going to do.' He walks over to the cashier, he says, how much is the bread?' And he says, 'I'll pay for the bread.' And he tells him, 'put the twinkie back.' And he says, I'm going to unlock the handcuffs and you're free.' As soon as the policeman pays his fine, he's free. He is now under grace.

And so, as soon as his handcuffs are unlocked, he says, 'thank you officer.' He unzips his backpack and he goes up the aisles - he starts to just shovel things in his backpack because he's no longer under the law but he's now under grace. Is that a right interpretation? So the idea that now we're no longer under the law and so we are free to break the law - what would the end of that be? I don't think that that follows the Bible. James chapter 2, verse 10. "For whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, 'do not commit adultery' said also, 'do not kill.

' If you don't commit adultery, yet if you kill" - now where do you find don't commit adultery and don't kill? Does everyone here need me to read the Ten Commandments or do we know that those are two of the Ten Commandments? This is new testament. "Whoever said 'do not commit adultery' said also, 'do not kill.' If you don't commit adultery, yet if you kill, you're become a transgressor of the law. So speak and do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty." He says we're not only to speak it, we're to do it. And then, you know, one of my favorite verses is Deuteronomy 5:29. "Oh," - and this is the Lord speaking.

This isn't Moses. "Oh, that there was such a heart in them that they would fear me always and keep all of my commandments that it might be well with them and their children forever." God is saying, 'oh that they would fear me and keep all of my commandments always for them.' Because whenever we sin and break God's law, it hurts us. Pastor Doug, that was from the old testament, it doesn't count. Okay. Well, what's your next argument pastor barney? Now we're going to deal with not being under the law because you got a variation between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law.

All right. Romans chapter 7, verse 6. "But now we are delivered from the law being dead, wherein we were held that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not the oldness of the letter." The Ten Commandments - it's the letter of the law. Corinthians 3:6. "Who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant" - not the old covenant anymore - Ten Commandments is the old covenant.

"...the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit;" - there you have it again - "for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." And if you read verse 7 - if you're questioning what that letter is he's talking about, he says, "written and engraven in stone." Now how can you escape that Pastor Doug. It says, 'we're not under the spirit' - I'm sorry - 'we're not under the letter, we're under the Spirit.' The letter is the part of the law that was 'written and engraven in stone.' How many laws were engraven in stone? It's the Ten Commandments. It says, 'we're not under the law and we're not to go by the letter anymore, we're to go by the Spirit. So, obviously we don't need to be controlled by that which was engraven in stone. Okay pastor barney, let's address that.

There is never a conflict between the letter and the Spirit. In other words, if you are keeping the Spirit of the law, you will always be keeping the letter of the law. But it is possible for someone to try to keep the letter and not have the Spirit and that's what Jesus and Paul are talking about. An example would be - if you look in your Bibles in Matthew 5:27. Jesus said, - and this would be including verse 28 - "you have heard that it was said by them of old 'you will not commit adultery.

' - Now where does that come from? One of the Ten Commandments - the seventh commandment. "You shall not commit adultery, but I say to you whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Now, the letter of the law says, 'don't commit adultery.' the Spirit of the law says, 'it's not just an action, it's also an attitude.' And by the way, it works both ways, it's not just men looking at women, it's women looking at men. It's talking about an attitude. Jesus also said 'you've heard it said by them of old that you shall not swear falsely.' And he says, 'but I tell you let your yes be yes and your no be no.' Letter of the law says 'don't bear false witness.' But he said, 'let even your intentions of your heart be honest.' Letter of the law says, 'you will not kill.' the Spirit of the law, Jesus said, is if you're angry with your brother without cause you're guilty of murder.' And so, Christ is simply saying and Paul is saying, 'don't be governed by the letter, the action, and forget about the attitude, the Spirit of the law. We should be keeping both the letter and the Spirit.

' Now, it is possible for a person to say, 'you're keeping the letter of the law, you're legalistic' and they're not keeping the Spirit, because some people are consumed with the outward appearance of obedience. This is what Jesus was condemning among the pharisees. It was all the external appearance. But he said, 'it's not in your heart.' But it is not possible for a person to keep the Spirit and break the letter. Think about how silly this would sound.

If a person said, 'I am going to keep the Spirit of the law of not looking at the opposite sex and lusting. I may commit adultery but I won't be thinking it in my heart. Is that possible? Or for a person to say, 'I will keep the Spirit of the law and not be angry with my brother without a cause. I might murder him but I'll love him in my heart while I'm doing it.' So the Bible is talking about a consistency between keeping the letter and the Spirit. It's not just the action.

God wants us to do it from the heart. And so, keeping the Spirit does not abolish the letter. The letter is kindergarten. the Spirit is college. So we're to have the whole thing.

All right. Another common - I've got to make sure I'm on the right side of these doctrines here. Pastor Doug, the Ten Commandments are the old covenant. And I think that all of us agree here that we are now under the new covenant. - And I want to know how the silhouette can be taller than me.

- Proof for that is Deuteronomy chapter 4, verse 13. "He declared to you his covenant which he commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments, and he wrote them on two tables of stone." Is there any question then? I mean, who can deny that the Ten Commandments are the old covenant? That's what he wrote with his own finger in stone. And it says that 'we're not under the old covenant now, everybody believes - even seventh day adventists, I understand, believe that we're under the new covenant now. So, why are you trying to put people back under the old covenant again? Hebrews 8 - this gets serious - if you just read things by themselves, it can be confusing. That's what I'm going to do as pastor barney.

Deuteronomy - I'm sorry - Hebrews 8, verse 7. "For if the first covenant had been faultless, then there would be no place sought for the second." Hebrews 8, verse 13. "In that he says, 'a new covenant' he's made the first obsolete. Now that which has become obsolete is growing old and ready to vanish away." There you've got it friends. Take it from pastor barney.

I just read it to you out of the new testament - that the old covenant is the Ten Commandments, it is obsolete, prepared to vanish away, and faulty. It said all that. Now, how are you going to deal with that? Ha ha! Okay now. Let's keep reading now pastor barney. You need to read everything that it says here about that verse there in Hebrews.

First, I want you to know in Romans 7:12, how can the ten commandments be passed away when Paul - new testament - says that 'the law is holy, the commandment is holy and just and good.' In fact, everything you're going to find - the Bible says, in describing the Ten Commandments, - are the very same characteristics of God himself. You name a characteristic of God - especially if you read psalm , it describes his law with the same characteristics as himself. So to abolish the ten commandment law and say that it's faded away, you're going to end up starting to get rid of God and erase him, himself. You can also see here where it says in Romans 9, verse 4. "Who are Israelites? To whom pertaineth the adoption and glory in the covenants" - plural - "covenants and the giving of the law.

" - Wait a second here. You mean the covenants are separate from the giving of the law? That's what it says. They're two separate things. "The covenants and the giving of the law." Well, I thought the ten commandments were the old covenant. Here's where people get confused.

A covenant is an agreement. The subject of the agreement may not change. For instance, if you and I sign a contract and you're going to buy my house, we make a covenant - we get an agreement. You get a copy. I get a copy.

We agree to it. If you back out of that agreement, my house does not evaporate. An example would be - I was just reading today - lee harvey oswald, do you remember? You may not remember, but he's the one who assassinated jfk - John f. Kennedy. Before that day, I think it was or 1960, he had become disgusted with the u.

s., Even though he had been a marine, and he decided that he wanted to sort of renounce his u.s. Citizenship and he went to the u.s.s.r. And asked to be received as a citizen there, which they did, and after awhile he got bored and he asked if he could come back. But when he renounced his citizenship - your citizenship in the u.s. Is based on the constitution.

When a person renounces their citizenship, the constitution doesn't change. Their citizenship and their covenant to uphold the laws of the land - you're agreeing to support the constitution. If you say, 'I don't want to be an American anymore' and you leave the country, the covenant might be broken, but the constitution doesn't change. And you know, there's a couple of ways a person might become a citizen. Some are by birth and others are naturalized by taking a test.

And it's interesting that - I've got a friend who was just voted in as a u.s. Citizen. He started telling me the stuff that was on his test. I realized that he knew more about the constitution than I did. Sometimes people who are converts to Christianity know more about the Bible than people who are born into it.

But that's a different subject, maybe for another night. Now let me read, with that understanding, let me read in Hebrews chapter 8, verse 6. It says here - well, first of all, when God read the ten commandments - who knows what chapter that's in when he first gave the Ten Commandments? Exodus 20. Exodus 20. You read in Exodus 24, after God spoke the Ten Commandments, he then wrote them down - Moses brought them a written copy - the Bible tells us then, "he took the book of the covenant" - Exodus 24:7 - "and he read it in the hearing of the people.

And the people said, all the lord has said, we will do." They made an agreement based on their promises, right? Now, with that in mind, listen to what Paul says again in Hebrews 8 - the verse that pastor barney just read but he left some of it out. Verse 6. "Now, he has obtained a more excEllent ministry by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant." - A better agreement. - "Which was established upon better promises." - Whose promises? God's promises. "For in that the first covenant had been faultless, there should have been no place sought for a second.

For finding" - here's the fault - "finding fault with" - it? No. It says, "finding fault with them." Who broke the covenant? The Ten Commandments or the people? And so what changed was the promises of God. The fault was with the ones who made the agreement. You can have two people get married and they make a covenant. And one person can be faithful and say, 'I will never let go of you.

' But the other one, if they're free, they can break that covenant, isn't that right? There are two parties involved. God said, 'I'll never break my covenant. The thing that I've spoken I will never change. I will keep my promises.' But our promises aren't so good. That's why the new covenant is superior, because it's based upon a different sacrifice.

It's not the sacrifice of the lambs and goats and oxen, it's based upon the promises of God - better promises and a better person. A better mediator. It's Jesus, it's not a high priest. And so, yes, we are living under the new covenant. Now, maybe it would be a good idea for us to read the new covenant.

You can read here in - I'm going on - in Hebrews chapter 8 - he says, 'not according' - and this is in verse 9 - oh actually, I want to read verse 8. "For finding fault with them he said, 'behold the days are coming' says the Lord, 'that I'll make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of judah.'" Now, pastor barney, can you show me where in the Bible God makes a covenant with gentiles? Hearing no answer, I'll assume there's none. "'Not according to the covenant I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, because they continued not in my covenant and I regarded them not' says the lord, 'for this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel.'" - Who does he make the covenant with? "'I will put my laws in their minds and write them in the hearts. And I will be their God and they will be my people.'" You notice, it's based upon better promises. These are the promises of God.

So, the new covenant is what law? It's the law of God that is written in the heart. Wait a second, Pastor Doug, you're trying to put these people under the bondage of the Ten Commandments, yet Jesus came and he perfectly kept the commandments because he was a jew. He kept it for all of us so we don't need to keep it. Christ has fulfilled the law. You've all heard that, haven't you? Matthew chapter 7 - I'm sorry - Matthew chapter 5, verse 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 and fulfilled the law. He kept it perfectly. Christ said, in John chapter 15, 'I have kept my father's commandments.' So we don't need to keep the commandments because we keep them through him. We don't need to keep them anymore because he kept them for us.

He fulfilled the law so that now it's been abolished and now we're under the new covenant of the law. Luke 16:16. Here it says, "the law and the prophets were until John." Now, if the law and the prophets were until John, speaking of John the baptist, then after John the baptist, we're not under the law anymore. Now we're under the new covenant, which is simply based upon love. And again, Galatians 3:19.

What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions until the seed had come. Who was the seed that it's talking about there? The seed of the woman from Genesis 3:15. Jesus is that seed. So the law served a purpose until the seed should come. Jesus the seed came.

He kept the law perfectly. He fulfilled it. We don't need to keep the law anymore, it's been fulfilled in Jesus. I wish I had a quarter for every time I've heard that. Sorry, I should have changed sides when I said that.

I'll come back now. And again, Jesus said, 'I've kept my father's commandments.' Now, it's tough being bipolar. I'm sorry. It's easier for me than some people. All right.

Pastor barney, you didn't read the first part of John chapter , verse 10. Jesus said, "if you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my father's commandments and abide in his love." So, how does Jesus want us to keep the commandments? He said, 'you keep the commandments as I have kept the commandments.' Yes, Jesus did fulfill the law. What does the word fulfill mean? It means to fill full. Jesus, in his life, he filled it full. The Bible prophesied in Isaiah that the Messiah would come, he would magnify the law, and make it honorable.

Yes, I would have to agree with you pastor barney, there has only been one person who has perfectly kept the law, and that would be Jesus. But after we are born again and we become new creatures, he tells us that 'I want you to keep my commandments as I kept The Father's commandments.' Pastor Doug, I've got to disagree with that. He had different commandments. He was talking about keeping the father's commandments - yes Jesus kept the ten - but he said, 'you keep my commandments.' Jesus had different commandments from The Father. Wait a second pastor barney, who wrote the Ten Commandments? God did.

Who is Jesus? He's God. So who was up there on the mountain writing the Ten Commandments? Well, that was God The Father. Oh, I respectfully disagree. The Bible says, 'all things that were made were made by him' - speaking of Jesus. And that would include however he welded the Ten Commandments out of that rock and burned the words in with his finger.

"All things that were made were made by him.' The law of Jesus is not different from the ten commandments because it was Jesus, with The Father, delivering the law there on top of Mount Sinai. No answer for that one. Jesus' commandments are the Ten Commandments. He never told us we could break the Ten Commandments. So what does it mean to fulfill the Ten Commandments? You know, when Jesus was baptized by John the baptist, you have to understand the word fulfill, let the Bible explain itself.

You can read where he came down to the water - in Matthew chapter 3, verse 15 - John the baptist recognized that he was the Messiah and he said, 'wait a second here. You are the holy one of Israel. You want me to baptize you? Baptism is a symbol for washing away from sin. You are sinless. Why would I be baptizing you? You need to baptize me.

' And you remember what Jesus' answer was? He said, "suffer" - or allow - "it to be so now for thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness. Does fulfill all righteousness mean do away with all righteousness? If the word fulfill means do away with - and the way some people interpret it is Christ came to fulfill the law and they think that means Christ came to do away with the law. - But listen to what Jesus says in Matthew chapter 5, verses 18 and 19. "For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle will in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled." And you've got to keep reading. "Whosoever therefore shall break one of the least of these commandments" - and keep in mind he had just been mentioning the Ten Commandments on the sermon on the mount - "whoever will break one of the least of these" - that means as you look through the Ten Commandments, you can figure to yourself whichever one you think is the least important.

Jesus said, "whoever shall break the least and teach others to be breaking the least, he will be called the least in the Kingdom of heaven." Now this is often misunderstood. It doesn't mean he'll be in the kingdom but he's just going to have a lower rank, it means the people in the Kingdom call that person the lowest individual. They're not in the Kingdom. But the people in the Kingdom call them the lowest - whoever will teach others to break the Ten Commandments and, by their example, break the Ten Commandments - well, what is sin? Sin is the transgression of God's law. And that's why it is a very serious matter for pastors to be teaching people they don't need to keep the Ten Commandments.

That's a serious - that's a frightening thing. Jesus came to save us from our law breaking. Let me take a little detour here. And this - I apologize to the studio - this is not going to be on the screen - at least not right away - if you look in Peter chapter 3 - I'm using a new Bible for this presentation so the pages turn a little different - sorry, I meant Peter chapter 3. Peter chapter 3, and you can start in verse 15.

Just make a note of this. "And consider that the longsuffering of our lord is salvation as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, has written to you. As also in all of his epistles, speaking in them" - now Peter is talking about the epistles of Paul - "speaking in them of these things in which are some things hard to understand." In Paul's letters - epistles - are some things hard to understand. "Which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction as they do the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked.

" And the word wicked there can also be translated 'lawless.' What that means, very simply is, you look - make a note - virtually every time any pastor tries to say that you don't need to keep the Ten Commandments when you're a born-again new testament Christian, they'll turn to the letters of Paul that Peter says some people twist - because Paul said some difficult things because he was dealing with legalistic jews. It's really easy to understand James, but Paul was pretty deep at times. But it's also Paul who said what? Romans chapter 6 - "shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid! Certainly not!" So Paul is clear enough, but you've got to read all of it together because a person can hand pick things out of the writings of Paul and be led to believe that it's no longer important for us to keep the Ten Commandments. I know I'm not giving equal time. I'm sorry, but just bear with me here.

Maybe I will give you some more time here. Oh yeah. Let me read Ephesians 3:19. "For you know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God. We were talking a moment ago about what it means to fulfill the law.

The Bible tells us that he wants us to be full of Christ. So if Jesus in his life fulfilled the law, and if you are filled with Christ, then will we in our lives be more obedient to God? What's the difference between Christians and the people of the world? It's not like that bumper sticker that says 'we are just forgiven.' A lot of the problems people struggle with are sin problems and we need God to give us victory over our sins. Christians need to be hearing today that we can be new creatures - that we can obey. And Pastor Doug, I believe in obedience also, but you've got to make sure we're talking about obeying the right commandments. Jesus gave us a new commandment.

Let me read that for you. John 13, verse 34. Very simple. There's only two commandments now for the Christian. We're led by the Spirit.

He said, "a new commandment I give to you that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another." So the Ten Commandments are replaced with a supreme commandment of God in you. Just love. Don't walk around worrying about the letter and the details of the law, just love each other. Matthew 22, verse 37. Jesus said, "you shall love the lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your mind.

This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it. You should love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." The Ten Commandments have been hung. Just like some old cowboy that was rustling horses or something.

It's hung. All of that was hung on two commandments now, love the Lord and love your neighbor. Pastor barney, that's not what it means when it says 'on these two commandments hang the law and the prophets.' The word 'hang' there means like you take a mona lisa in your house and you put a nail in the wall and you hang it up in a position of respect and visibility. So the idea that the ten commandments has been strangled by the love for God and love for your fellow man is actually the opposite. Those two great commandments are a summary of the Ten Commandments.

Paul, of all people, makes that clear. Romans, chapter 13, verse 9. Paul said, "for this thou shall not commit adultery, thou shall not kill, thou shall not steal, thou shall not bear false witness, thou shall not covet" - what's Paul quoting from there? It was the Ten Commandments. "And if there be any other" - just to save space, because, you know, the second commandment you write it all out and the fourth commandment, they're the two longest, so Paul, you know, back then with a letter, scrolls and ink pens, he's just trying to be concise. He's quoting the Ten Commandments and he said, "and if there is any other commandment it is briefly comprehended in this saying namely, thou shall love thy neighbor as yourself.

" In other words, when Jesus said 'love the Lord with all your heart and love your neighbor.' You can summarize all of the ten commandments into those two commandments. It doesn't mean that there's some difference there, they're the same. Jesus just summarized it - made it clear. Mark chapter 10, verse 19. Rich young ruler came to Jesus and he said, "you know the commandments, do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.

" You remember he came to Jesus he said, 'good master, what good things shall I do that I might have eternal life?' What was it that Christ said to him? 'You know the commandments and he said, 'which?'' And Jesus began to recite the Ten Commandments. Now, I should probably make something clear at this point. There are like 300 commandments, someone has calculated, in the old testament that the jews had and - it depends on which rabbi you're talking to - there were a lot of commandments that had to do with levitical regulations and with sacrifices and with circumcision and with the temple and its ceremonies. And there were civil laws and there were health laws and there were social laws and all kinds of different laws, but those laws are different and distinct from the Ten Commandments. Not because I say so, but God said so.

When God gave the ten commandments did he do something unique and different than he had ever done at any other time? Did he ask Moses to do it? Or did God say, 'I am not even trusting this to a mortal? I'm getting my microphone and I'm going to speak audibly to the entire nation. They are going to hear my voice. And I'm going to take my finger and I'm going to write it down with my own paper and my own - well it's a rock. Stone. - And with my own finger so there is never any confusion.

' And when God does something like that you can count on it being eternal. The Ten Commandments God set apart and made unique and distinct. And, by the way, pastor barney, virtually every evangelical and Christian preacher from the time of Christ through the reformation believed what I'm saying right now, until the last years. As a matter of fact, seventh day adventists have been the means of some churches changing their position because they've been uncomfortable with one of the commandments so they had to get rid of all ten. I was doing some research in preparation for this series and I just typed in on the internet 'do we need to keep the Ten Commandments?' And I began reading some pastor expounding on it - it must be popular, it popped up on one of the first pages - talking about how important it is to keep the Ten Commandments and I thought, 'this is beautiful.

' And then I got to the bottom of the list and it said, 'of course there is an exception with the fourth commandment regarding the Sabbath.' And that's why there's been so much squirming over the subject of the law and that's why I thought it was important during this first presentation to talk about how do we deal with the law? Now, we've all sinned. We've all broken the law. And it's only through the grace of Jesus that any of us are going to make it into the Kingdom. But he doesn't save us to disobey, he came to save us from our sins - from our lawlessness. Well, Pastor Doug, the ten commandments are a burden and you are putting a burden on these people.

Pastor barney, which commandment is an in particular burden to you? Why you're - it's just - it's all works oriented. You talk about 'oh you've got to keep the Sabbath.' It's just works, works, works. Pastor barney, the Sabbath says to rest. I'm telling them to rest. You're telling them to work.

You're the one who's putting them under the burden. That was a low blow. I'm going to go back over here and give him a fair shot. Now, it does say something about that. He said the Ten Commandments can seem like burden.

Acts chapter 15, verse 10. "Now therefore, why do you tempt God to put a yoke on the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?" The law is a yoke - it's a burden - and we're not to be putting that on the disciples. I don't have a problem with that, because that was dealing with a lot of the ceremonial laws that were a burden, but they never gave them permission in the new testament to break the Ten Commandments. Stop interrupting, it's my turn. Galatians chapter 4, verse 24.

"Which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, which gives birth to bondage." Now, who can disagree? What law was given on Mount Sinai? The Ten Commandments. Given birth to what? To bondage. "Which is hagar.

" So, Pastor Doug, do you believe anybody has been able to keep the Ten Commandments perfectly? Just one person. That's Jesus, right? That's right, he's the only one. So then why are you telling people now that they are supposed to keep it since we've all acknowledged that nobody is keeping it perfectly? I believe that there are some who, through the grace of God, were able then to become obedient. There are a few that are given, here in the Bible, at least an honorable mention. You can read, for instance, in Genesis chapter 6, verse 9.

"This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God." Now, I know that he had that episode with the vineyard and a problem there, but the consistent pattern of his life was one of 'just and obedient - walked with God.' Genesis 6, verse - I'm sorry - Genesis 26, verse 5. "Because Abraham obeyed my voice, kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws," and I was actually surprised you did not bring up that objection by saying the ten commandments began at mount sinai and were just for the jews. Okay, I want to use that one.

I'm saying that. Well, the problem with that is Abraham lived before the ten commandments were given and God says he has laws and commandments long before Moses came around and God spoke them from the mountain. Job 1:1. "There was a man in the land of uz whose name was job and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and shunned evil." So, whatever that means, however obedient these guys were, that's how I want to be. Pastor Doug, you notice that you just read all those verses from the old testament.

That was the old testament people and they were trying to be saved by works. We're now living in the new testament time. We are saved by grace. Well here's one from the new testament. You can read in Luke 1, verse 6, speaking of zachariah and elizabeth, "and they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and the ordinances of the Lord blameless.

" So whatever they did, that's all I'm praying for, that God will do in me and for me to give me that experience where I can walk before the Lord. Pastor Doug, you keep referring to these people that existed before Jesus died on the cross. Zachariah and elizabeth were jews. Pastor barney, you know, I can't understand why you have such a problem with there being a different kind of salvation for the jews than there is for new testament Christians. Do you believe that God has two different kinds of salvation? Or is everybody saved under the new covenant? Well, there's two different dispensations.

You've got the gentile dispensation and salvation and then you've got the Jewish dispensation and salvation. You keep quoting from the Jewish dispensation and trying to put that burden on these dear people here. We're gentiles and we're under the new covenant now. All right. Pastor barney, you plan to go to heaven some day? Absolutely, yes I do.

And I hope I see you there, because I'm not going to get there without you because we're the same person. But, here's a problem that you're going to have. The new Jerusalem is built on 12 foundations that have the name of the 12 Jewish apostles. And the 12 gates of the new Jerusalem have the names of the tribes. Please tell me where is the gentile gate? Well, one of them might have been a gentile.

No, pastor barney, all The Sons of Israel were Jewish. There is no gentile gate. That's why the new covenant is made with people who become spiritual jews and we are all grafted into that olive tree. God doesn't have two different kinds of salvation. So here's the big question friends.

Would we want to wilfully sin? Or does God want to save us from our sins? Jesus said, 'if you love me keep my commandments.' We want to ask the question, is it possible for us to be new creatures and to be transformed by the grace of God? I believe it is, friends. And I want to make a special appeal to each one of you. Believe that God can give you a new heart. That's the new covenant. And help you to be not only a hearer but a doer of the law.

Yes, we've all sinned and God sent his son to save us from our sins so that we could be new creatures with new hearts and be transformed by his power. And that's our appeal for each one of you. We've got a lot more to talk about, so we pray you'll continue to tune in for this special series dealing with doctrines that divide. We'll cover more in our next presentation.

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