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Big Lie

Scripture: Matthew 5:17, Matthew 15:3-9, James 2:10-12
If the Ten Commandments are still valid, why is the fourth commandment disregarded by many Christians? Discover the truth about the real Sabbath!
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One of the most amazing stories to emerge from the lavish Federal hand-out programs involved a Chicago street gang and the First Presbyterian church. According to testimony received by a Senate subcommittee in Washington, D.C. over $600,000 promised by the Office of Economic Opportunity was used to finance the criminal activities of the Blackstone Rangers who used the church as a hang-out and arms storage center. Out of all the conflicting confusion of charges and counter charges, one fact seemed to stand unchallenged: The pastor believed that the gang was justified in participating in civil disobedience because of the attitude of the police toward them.

Strange as it seems, we have actually come to a day when religious leaders and institutions are openly condoning disobedience to the basic laws of our government. And friends, don't think for a moment that they always stop at disobedience to man's laws. The whole philosophy is permeated with a permissiveness which also looks lightly upon transgression of God's law as well.

People are confused today. People often come and say: "I don't understand. As a child I was taught to memorize the ten commandments, I received a Bible bookmark or a gold star on a chart or something, because I memorized the ten commandments. Then when later in life I realized I wasn't keeping all those commandments, when I was old enough to know that there was one commandment that said, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy", I went to the minister and asked, "Why is it we don't keep this commandment?" Then I was told, "The commandments were done away with. They were nailed to the cross. We're not under the law, we're under grace. So go ahead and disobey God's commandments, that will be alright." So many say: "I just don't understand it. Why was I taught to memorize them if they're done away?" This is a very good question.

A similar confusion comes as we hear popular preachers everywhere preaching against sin. Those preachers quote the ten commandments as an evidence. They preach against adultery and quote the seventh commandment: "thou shalt not commit adultery." That's alright. They preach against idol worship and quote the second commandment: "Thou shalt not make ... graven image, Thou shalt not bow down ... ." That's perfectly alright. If you want to preach against swearing, quote the third commandment. That too, is very fine. It is perfectly alright in preaching against sin to quote the commandments as evidence that it is wrong; but, as soon as you mention the commandment that the popular churches quite universally disobey, then you hear a strange cry: "I'm not under the law, I'm under grace. I can disobey God's commandments."

It is a strange and crooked way of reasoning, isn't it? Yet it's a very popular kind of thinking in the religious world today! It is perfectly alright to preach against swearing and adultery, stealing, murder, and quote the ten commandments. But, if we preach about keeping God's Sabbath day, which is, also, one of the ten commandments, then suddenly, the ten commandments are nailed to the cross or done away, we're not under the law, we're under grace!

But when you begin to analyze this devious doctrine, it appears rather foolish. If we are at liberty to disobey the Sabbath command by saying, "The law was nailed to the cross, done away," or by saying, "I'm not under the law but under grace," then this reasoning applies to all ten commandments, not just one of the ten. But not very many people think it is just right to throw out all ten of the commandments. Some will say: "most of those commanments are repeated in the New Testament." It's true that many of them are, the Sabbath is repeated in the New testament very clearly for example, but there are some that are not repeated there. For God never intended that the law be repeated in the New Testament. It wasn't necessary. It was given in the Old Testament. The New Testament takes for granted that we are to keep them. The apostles all quoted from the commandments profusely. It is clear that they were still considered to be God's law and an expression of His will. Obedience to them was expected, as we will see in our study today.

The Bible is very clear that God's law is always to stand. I think of statements like the one Jesus made in Matthew 5:17, where He said, "Think not that I'm come to destroy the law ... I am not come to destroy ... for until heaven and earth pass, not one jot or one tittle (not the crossing of a t or the dotting of an i) shall pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Heaven and earth are still very much with us. Jesus said as long as they last, the law remains. And Jesus said not any of it was to be changed. He went on to say that anyone who breaks one of the least commandments and teaches others to do so, shall be called least by the kingdom of God. And those who teach men to keep them will be called great by the kingdom of God.

O, I hear some people quote that text in a strange way. They say Christ told us He came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill, and they say "to fulfill" means to bring an end", "to do away with". If this interpretation is true, notice how absurd it makes the statement of Jesus, to quote it with the meaning, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets, I am not come to destroy the law and the prophets, I am not come to destroy but to do away with." I wouldn't try to put such impossible contradiction into the mouth of Jesus! In Matthew 3:15 Jesus to John the Baptist said that they must fulfill all righteousness. I wonder if we are to think that they brought an end to, or did away with all righteousness! To fulfill righteousness means to live out that righteousness. Not to do away with it. Jesus came to live out the righteousness of God's law, not to bring an end to it.

Then I think of what Jesus said in Matthew 15:3-9. He said we should not follow traditions of men which are in contradiction to the law of God. This makes us trangress the law. He said, "But in vain they worship me teaching for doctrine the commandments of men." He added, "You make the commandments of God of none effect by your tradition." So Jesus taught us that we should not disregard His commandments. When the rich young ruler came to Christ and said, "What good thing must I do to enter into life?" What was Jesus' answer? "If thou will enter into life, keep the commandments." (Not that by keeping the commandments he could earn salvation, but as far as following the will of God was concerned, in the commandments the will of God is revealed.)

God expects His followers to keep the commandments. In James 2:10-12 we see the duty of complete obedience: "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. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." Notice that the Bible calls the ten commandments the 'law of liberty.'

You know, there are some people who take some of Paul's statements and read them in such a way as to make it sound like Paul is doing away with the commandments and abrogating the law of God. Then they infer that we may ignore one or more of the ten commandments. But we must notice that when Paul reached his conclusion at the end of the chapter, Paul says, "Do we then make void the law of God through faith, God forbid, yea, we establish the law."

We may not be clever enough to follow all of Paul's reasonings, it is difficult in some places. Even Peter, as we have read, said Paul wrote some things that were hard to understand. So, I may not be able to follow all Paul's reasoning about the law, but there's one thing I'm very sure of, and that is this: That if I come to the very opposite conclusion that Paul comes to, something is wrong with the way I reason, don't you think so! I have not followed his thinking correctly. When Paul is all through with his difficult reasoning, he comes to the conclusion that the law is established, and not done away. If I follow Paul's reasoning and come to the conclusion that the law is done away, and that I can disobey it, I have failed somehow to follow Paul's good intentions, haven't I! We certainly can read Paul's plain conclusion that the law was to be upheld.

But you ask, "What are some of the answers to these seeming contradictions?" First of all in Ephesians 2 we read about "commandments and ordinances" which were separating a wall between Jews and Gentiles. Such as the ordinance of circumcision. There were some commandments that have to do with ordinances, with ceremony. Colossians 2 tells us about ordinances or decrees which were a shadow of things to come, a symbol of Christ. There were commandments that had to do with types and shadows of Jesus. Those things that illustrated His atonement, the ordinances of the old Jewish system. There were commandments that told them to bring a lamb and shed it's blood and sprinkle it on the altar. There were commandments that had to do with the priests in the sanctuary of Old Testament times. All these ordinances of the Old Testament were given to God's people until Christ should come. He was the reality to which the type pointed. When Christ died on Calvary's cross as the true sacrifice, all the symbol sacrifices of lambs and etc. came to their end. They had met the object to which they pointed. No longer were these commandments that surrounded the ordinances to be followed. So, the Apostle tells us that the commandments contained in ordinances, the bloody sacrifices came to an end when Jesus died on Calvary's cross.

There were also some special feast days, and days of solemn celebration connected with the services and ceremonies of the old sanctuary which were shadows of Christ and done away. Because they were commanded to rest on these special days, the days were also called Sabbaths. (The word Sabbath means rest). You remember the mention of these days in the Bible: The Passover, Pentecost, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles, etc. These days were shadows of Jesus. For instance, Jesus is the true atonement, so when His atonement was made on Calvary, it was no longer necessary to keep the old day of atonement. Jesus is the true Passover Lamb. So after His sacrifice, the old Passover services came to an end. You see, these days, which were ceremonial Sabbaths were nailed to the cross and came to an end. This is what Paul meant in Colossians 2 when he talked about the Sabbaths that were a shadow of things to come. These ceremonial Sabbaths came once a year like our Thanksgiving or Fourth of July. But the weekly Seventh-day Sabbath was not a shadow of Jesus, and as we learned, it stands always. The Passover Sabbath, our Fourth of July, celebrated their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, it was their independance day. It also showed forth the fact that it was through Jesus, as the blood on the door post, that they were delivered from the destroying angel, as well as from their masters. So, Jesus is our true passover. His blood covers our sin and we will not be destroyed in the punishment of the wicked. We are set free in Him from the enslavement of Satan.

But what about the Seventh-day Sabbath? Is it to be classed with these temporary ceremonial Sabbaths? Of course not. It was never a type or a shadow of Jesus. It was not part of the commandments contained in the ordinances. Rather, the seventh-day Sabbath was given by God in the ten commandments, written on tables of stone in the moral law that was to stand forever, the law which Jesus said will stand as long as heaven and earth shall last. So there's a very definite difference between the ten commandments which are moral commandments and the commandments contained in ordinances which had to do with the ceremonies of the old Jewish dispensation. And it is because the unlearned misapply Bible statements about these different kinds of laws that they become confused.

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