I Have a Question - Part 4

Scripture: John 14:26, 1 John 2:4, Colossians 2:14
This broadcast continues in a series answering Bible questions sent in by listeners. The first question is, "Don't you believe that the Holy Spirit leads individual Christians?" Another question is, "Is it not true that Moses' law of the Ten Commandments was nailed to the cross?"
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Our broadcast today will be concerned with more sincere Bible questions that have come to us from our faithful listeners. We do so appreciate the many letters that have come in from you and also the questions you've sent to be answered on the broadcast. For several days we've been involved in this series of question and answer programs. In this way we're able to deal with subjects that might be of particular interest to individual listeners. And here's our first question today.

Don't you believe that the Holy Spirit leads individual Christians? I believe I've been baptized with the Holy Ghost and that He will show me what is right and wrong.

Now this question raises a very interesting point that we should discuss for awhile today. There's absolutely no question, of course but that a Christian is guided and directed by the Holy Spirit. At least, he should be under the direction of that power from above at all times. The Bible describes the work and mission of the Holy Spirit in very specific terms; for example, in John 14:26 we read this: "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." Again, in John 16:13, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth." And then again in John 16:7: "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment."

Now, please notice that in all these texts the work of the Holy Spirit is primarily to guide, teach, and convict of sin. As long as we allow that Spirit of God to guide us into the things Jesus taught, to be convicted of our sins, we're in safe paths; but let's never forget that the Spirit will not guide anybody contrary to what the Word of God teaches. The final judge of all truth must be the written Word of God and not our feelings or impressions. In other words, the conscience is not always a safe guide. The Scriptures say "there is a way that seemeth right unto a man but the end thereof are the ways of death." The Bible, in fact, speaks of a "darkened conscience" and an "evil conscience" and a "seared conscience". As long as the mind and conscience are educated by the Word of God, there'll be harmony, of course, but unless the Word and the individual are operating in perfect obedience and harmony, there can really be a problem here. Too many people are moved by vague impulses and impressions and ecstatic feelings. Just remember this: Satan can use feeling in accomplishing his purpose, especially if we don't stick closely to the revealed Word of God. I've often had people tell me, "Well, I just feel that it's alright for me to do this or do that." Well now, friends, it doesn't matter how you feel. It's what the Bible says that really counts.

The Bible also says in 1 John 2:4: "He that saith I know him and keepeth not His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him." This means that true believers will not follow their feelings which may be contrary to the Word of God, but will obey the law and the Word above everything else. Jesus said, "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." You see, there is a work that needs to be done by those who believe. The works prove the faith. "Faith without works is dead," James tells us. So in answer to the question, I would say that one can surely pray for and expect the Holy Spirit to lead him in the Christian path, but just be sure that the mind and heart and life has been illuminated by the Word of God first of all and that you're following the Word above everything else. If there should be any conflict between the Word and the feelings you experience, just be sure you take the Bible in every case.

Alright, now, we move on to the next question which has to do with the Law of Moses.

Is it not true that Moses' law of the Ten Commandments was nailed to the cross and is therefore no longer applicable for Christians living today?

Friends, I want it to be absolutely clear that the moral law contained in the Ten Commandments was never abolished. That's not the law of Moses. You see, that's the law of God. It's true that some ordinances came to an end at the Cross, but let's be careful to identify those ordinances correctly. In Ephesians 2:15 we read this: "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace." Again, we read in Colossians 2:14, "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross." Now these two verses clearly reveal that a certain law came to an end when Jesus died. It says that the ordinances were blotted out, nailed to the cross, abolished at the time of Jesus' death on Calvary. But, my friends, is this the Ten Commandment law? Absolutely not. The great moral law of the universe has never been referred to as ordinances. Colossians 2:16 goes on to describe that law which was done away with. "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." Now certainly there is nothing in the Ten Commandments about meat offerings or drink offerings or new moons, is there?

Somebody might say, "Well, what about those shadowy sabbath days mentioned in the text?" Well, friends, this is not talking about the seventh-day Sabbath of the Ten Commandments. There was nothing shadowy about that original Sabbath which Christ made before sin ever came into the world. Shadows and ceremonies appeared as the result of sin and pointed forward to the deliverance which would come through Christ, so this text could not be referring to the seventh-day Sabbath. But were there some other sabbath days besides the seventh-day Sabbath? Yes, indeed. In fact, turn to Leviticus 23 and you will find four Jewish festivals referred to as sabbaths even though they fell on different days of the week every year; for example, in verse 24: "Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation." Now this festival came on a set date every year and was called a yearly sabbath or an ordinance. It was a shadow or type of the coming of Christ as a Savior.

In verses 27, 32, and 34, other yearly sabbaths are brought to view in which people were to rest. Verses 37 and 38 sums it up this way: "These are the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: beside the sabbaths of the Lord." Now please notice, friends, how the yearly shadowy Sabbath days were clearly distinguished from the seventh-day Sabbath of the Lord. They were included in the ceremonial law of Moses but the Lord's sabbath day was in the heart of His Ten Commandment moral law. There's great confusion unless these two codes of law are recognized and forever kept separate.

Just remember that man had the least to do with the Ten Commandments than with any other part of the Bible. God spoke that law directly to the people and they heard it with their ears. Exodus 20:22 tells us: "And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven." And then Deuteronomy 4:12, 13, "And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only Ye heard a voice. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone." Now after speaking the Ten Commandments, God wrote them with His own fingers on the tables of stone. Then Moses was commanded to put those tablets inside the Ark of the Covenant.

Now, on the other hand, think of the law of ordinances for a moment. They were rules which concerned the sacrificial offerings, circumcision and typical feasts pointing forward to Christ. God did not speak these things directly to the people. He gave them to Moses to deliver to them. God did not write them at all. Moses wrote them. They were not engraven on stone but written in a book and that book was not placed inside the Ark but it was placed in pockets in the sides of that Ark. Notice this text now in Deuteronomy 31:24-26. "And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, that Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee." Now you notice that Moses wrote it; he wrote it in a book; and it was placed in the side. Furthermore, the Law of God is eternal, according to Psalms 111:7, 8, but the ordinances were to be blotted out and abolished as Colossians 2:14 makes very clear.

Perhaps the best distinction could be made by asking a few questions. The day before Jesus died, a man conscious of guilt was under obligation to bring a sin offering as an expression of faith that God would send His Son to die as a substitute. This was the only way that man could be forgiven his sin. It would have been a sin for the man to refuse to show his faith in that way. But was it a sin for the man to refuse to bring that offering on the day following Jesus' death? Of course not, because the blood of Christ had been shed and no one needed to shed the blood of sacrifices anymore because the true Lamb had come. But let me ask you this was it a sin to break the Ten Commandments the day before Jesus died? Yes, indeed, it was just as wrong to steal or break any of those commandments the day after He died as it was the day before. Then we must admit that the two laws were different. They were not on an equal basis after Jesus died. This fact is recognized by practically all churches in their official dogmas and creeds.

It's not some new, strange teaching that we're presenting here in answer to this question. You'll find in the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England a distinction made between the law of ordinances and the Ten Commandment Law. You'll find John Wesley making that distinction; Martin Luther making it; and Billy Graham in a recent answer in his syndicated column, also gave the same distinction between the law of commandments contained in ordinances and the Ten Commandment law.

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