Christ, the Law and the Gospel

Scripture: John 1:17, Romans 7:7-12, Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Date: 05/31/2014 
Lesson: 9
"Grace not only frees us from the condemnation of the law, but it enables us to keep the law in the way that we are called to do."
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Welcome to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church. Wherever you are and however you are joining us - whether it's through television or you're an online viewer, we welcome you. We have some special hymns this morning, as we do every week. I hope you have your hymnals out. We'll start with hymn #92 - 'this is my father's world' this comes as a request from melanie in belize, eunice and leone in New York, John or jean in italy, and elena, andrea, bianca, and demetar in bulgaria.

This is an old song but a really, really good one and it talks about God's second book - nature. So let's sing the first - actually, all three verses. Let's sing all three verses. This is our father's world and why should my heart be sad? There's a lot of things that happen but - that are bad and that would really cause us to forget whose world it really is, and I'm thankful that we know whose it is. If you have a special request, you can choose any song in the hymnal and visit us at 'www.'. If you click on the 'contact us' link, we'll be happy to hear from you. Our next hymn - our new hymn - we're getting really, really far in the hymnal. I'm very excited. This last song - hymn #104 - it's called 'my shepherd will supply my need'.

It's the last song in the section of the hymnal that talks about the faithfulness of God. It's actually the twenty-third psalm so if you haven't heard this version and you love saying and reciting the twenty-third psalm in your devotion or your early morning worship, try singing it this way as we learn it this morning. This comes as a request from mike in New York, ralph and variety in the bahamas, doug in australia, and steven in grenada. So let's sing all three verses - 'my shepherd will supply my need'. Let's pray.

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you so much that you are always with us, whether we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Lord, we know that you will be with us, guiding us, convicting us, making sure that wherever we go, wherever we might fall, you will lift us up. We're happy for your Sabbath day, Dear Lord, and we ask that your spirit be with us as we learn and listen to your holy word this morning. And we ask for a special blessing with our speaker. We love you. In Jesus' Name I pray, amen.

Our lesson study today will be brought to us by pastor chris, our senior pastor at Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church. Good to see you here this morning and thank you choristers for leading us through those beautiful songs. Isn't it nice just to sing some - for some of us they might be old favorites. For some of us they might be, actually, new songs that we are learning together, but what an absolute delight to just sing together. And now, let's study God's Word together.

I trust you've had a good week and we certainly welcome you, each one, and all those who are joining us also via satellite or whether you're watching this from the comfort of your own home - television or computer - we welcome you as well. We also want to - while we're talking to our online viewers and those that are joining us by tv, we also want to let you know we have a special offer you want to call in for. It's a free offer. It's the little booklet written by Joe Crews, 'riches of grace'. It's offer #152.

You can call in to -866-788-3966 or -866-study-more. And it's, again, offer #152. Well, we are having a wonderful time studying through this Sabbath school quarterly, aren't we? This is a fabulous study talking about Christ and his law and we've got lots to get into again here today. Please, if you have your lesson open - open your lesson - we're going to look at our memory text here, it's John chapter 1 and verse 17. We'll start with the memory text here this morning.

It says, "for the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by" - who? - "Jesus Christ." The key thought to this study - and I just want to - we'll start with this - the key thought to this study is that God's law and God's grace, both of them provide significant evidence - powerful evidence for God's love for us - for you and for me - and his desire, of course, to save us into his eternal kingdom. This is the thrust - the summary, really of the study here and, hopefully, that's what we get when we're done with our time together. Now you know as well as I do, and you've probably read some books or some things that have stated some pretty quirky laws that exist here, even here in the United States. And now a lot of them spin around the internet and we're not a hundred percent sure, with some of them, whether they're all that legitimate. Some of them we do know aren't.

Some are fabricated. Some are just simply taking a law that does exist but removing it out of the context and so it sounds very obscure to us. For example, you're probably aware that it's illegal to ride an ugly horse in wilbur, Washington. So don't be riding an ugly horse in wilbur, Washington. I'm not even sure I knew there was an ugly horse, did you? They all look pretty good to me.

In quitman, Georgia chickens are not allowed to cross the road. In mohave county, Arizona, if anyone is caught stealing soap that person must wash himself or herself with the soap until the bar is completely gone. And then, in Kansas, when two trains meet at a crossing - now listen to this - both shall come to a full stop and neither shall start up again until the other has gone. Not quite sure how to figure that one out. Now in almost every country we probably find odd laws or old laws that are still on the books because - and to now they probably appear very strange to us and even ridiculous at times.

This is probably because they don't address a real issue today in our current culture. At one time they were obviously needed and they were - it led to the establishment of this particular law. Can it be said that God's law is old or odd or outdated or irrelevant? Now, if it is any of those - odd, old, outdated, or irrelevant, could it be said that God is out of touch and distant from humanity, to give us something passe? It would make sense, wouldn't it? What does this type of thinking say about a person's view about the nature of God and his understanding of the Word of God? So in the average Christian's mind - and this is what we're really going to be dealing with here today, there's a conflict that exists between God's law and his grace. There's a conflict there. The two are at odds with each other.

There's a conflict between God's will and the cross. There's a conflict between the Word of God and God's will and the Gospel of God. And we know that there is no conflict existing between the two. Instead, there is perfect harmony that exists between the two. And we'll unpack this a little bit more as we move along in our lesson.

I want to invite you over to Sunday's lesson here - Sunday's lesson - 'sin and the law'. And you want to turn in your Bibles with me to Romans chapter , if you'd be so kind, and we're going to look here at verses 7 through 12. Romans chapter 7, verses 7 through 12. We're going to be taking a look at the healthy tension that exists between God's law and God's grace and why the two exist. Why the two are necessary for our salvation and answer the question, not just theologically, but also practically.

What practical application it has for us if the law somehow is obsolete and not relevant and we're just merely living under grace, so to speak. We'll talk about this as we move along. So we start here in Romans 7 and we come to a very interesting question that Paul asks in Romans chapter 7 and verse 7. Let's read together. Paul says, "what shall we say then? Is the law sin?" - And he says - "God forbid.

" - Now, if you read the previous verses, folk have had some challenges with these six verses preceding verse 7 because it seems as though Paul is suggesting that the law is not valid or we've been delivered from the law. Look at verse 6 - he says, "but now we are delivered from the law," - and so some folk come along and they're saying, 'well, listen, right there Paul's saying we're delivered from the law. We no longer need God's law. It's no longer necessary, it's obsolete.' Paul says in verse 7, "what shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid." Why is Paul asking this question? Why is Paul asking, 'is the law sin?' Why is he asking that? Because in his previous verses and in some other places even in Romans, in Paul's mind sin and law are very closely related. Very closely related.

In what ways would sin and law be closely related? In the same way in which criminal law and crime are related, you see. Something is criminal only when what depicts it as such? A law. That's exactly right. If a law depicts it, it's a crime. You break the law, naturally you're going to have the book thrown at you, aren't you? Yeah.

It's a crime because the law says so. If I'm driving out here and I'm going 55 miles an hour on howe avenue, am I breaking the law? I just want to make sure. Yeah, I would be breaking the law. What's the speed limit out there? Isn't it? Yeah, it's 40 - exactly. So the law says 40 - the speed limit is 40 - I'm going 55 - I'm breaking the law.

There's a law that says going in a 40-mile-an-hour zone is illegal and so it's criminal, so to speak, and I'm committing a crime. This is the way law and sin are related in Paul's mind. If you're breaking - of course, naturally you're breaking the law, you're committing sin. And Paul draws a very close relationship between the law of God and sin so that it necessitates him asking the question, 'am I saying law is sin?' And he says, what? "God forbid." 'God forbid.' What was Paul's actual view of the law? Was he saying the law was bad? The law was not necessary? The law was obsolete? What was his view of the law? Look at verse 12. Look at verse 12 here, it says, "wherefore the law is" - what? - "Holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

" That's exactly right. You know, laws are as lawmakers are. Laws are as lawmakers are. They reflect the mentality - the mindset, the heart, the character of the one issuing the law. And this law, Paul says, the law of God is holy.

Now just jump back with me to verse 7, because I want to make sure we understand that Paul's actually talking about the ten commandments - the law of God - the great moral code for humanity. He says there in verse 7, "what shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said," - what? - "Thou shalt not covet." What law says that? The Ten Commandments - that's exactly right. So Paul says - Paul is referring here to the Ten Commandments and he's saying that they are holy, and just, and good. They are holy because, well, in being holy they demand holiness and it is holy because it is agreeable - the law is holy because it is agreeable with the holy will of God.

And, of course, it is just because it is compatible with equity and with right - with rules of equity and with of what is right. And then, it is good because it was given for the good of mankind - for the conservation of peace and also for order in the world - so it makes the observers also good. Those who follow the law - it makes them good as well. The intention of the law was to reform and to better mankind. One writer said, 'wherever there is true grace' - and we're talking about law and grace here this morning - 'wherever there is true grace, there will always be an assent to this fact:' - what fact? That the law - the commandment - is holy and just and good.

That's - when someone acknowledges that, there is true grace being revealed. Well, what advantages did Paul find in the law of God? Insomuch that he said it was holy and just and that it was good? Look at verse 7 with me again - looking at verse 7 in Romans 7 - he said, "what shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin but by the law;" and so, for Paul, the law was revealing - the law was revealing. This was one of the benefits - the advantages - that Paul found in the law. It revealed the facts.

Look at verse 17 - verse 13 - "was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might" - what? - "Appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful." You know, something that is straight discovers or reveals something that is crooked. Isn't that right? Yeah, and if you looked in the mirror this morning when you got up it just told you the truth, didn't it? Did that make the mirror bad? No, the mirror is actually fulfilling its purpose and its function, correct? Now if you go see the doctor, the doctor presses here. The doctor asks you to stick your tongue out and go 'ahhhh'. He looks down there and he says, 'you've got a problem.

' Does that make the doctor bad because he's pointed out a problem? No, it's actually fulfilling his function, his purpose. That's why he's there. The law of God reveals something and what the law of God reveals to you and I is that we are sinners in need of a Savior. That's what it actually reveals. You know, you look in the mirror in the morning, the hair's kind of discombobulated, you know, maybe a little drool or something going on and 'I've got to clean up.

I've got to get the brush. I've got to wash my face. I've got to do those things.' The mirror's function is to tell you the truth. I don't know too many folk that get up and they look in the mirror and they go, 'oh, how could you? How could you tell me the truth?' And rip that mirror off the wall and then throw it down on the ground? Not going to happen. Aren't you grateful for the mirror that tells you what you look like in the morning? Because when you leave your house and you've got a piece of - I don't know - from that green smoothie juice you had in the morning - stuck right there and you're smiling all throughout church - all throughout the day.

No one's going to tell you it's there. You can be sure of that. But the mirror, he's your friend. He's going to tell you exactly what's there and make sure that you floss or do something about that problem. So Paul says that one of the advantages that Paul found in the law was that it was revealing.

And that was a good thing. That was a good thing. He said, 'I had not known sin but by the law, for I had not known lust except the law had said, 'thou shalt not covet.' It's interesting that Paul uses that one - that commandment - the last commandment - to refer to - reference the law he's talking about. Why did he not refer to the one that said, 'thou shalt not kill?' Or the one that said, 'thou shalt not steal'? There may have been a couple of reasons for that. When you - I think the average person recognizes that murdering and stealing is pretty wrong.

But perhaps the average person doesn't recognize that wanting something isn't that bad when compared to murdering and stealing or committing adultery, so to speak. But God thinks it's bad and equally as bad, and he wants us to think so too, you see. Perhaps another reason why Paul highlighted this particular commandment was, not only because it had to do with those items that the commandment talks about: coveting your neighbor's wife or your neighbor's goods, but anything - anything that God's will prohibits. It takes on a broader perspective when we think about it this way. This is a commandment or a sin that lays at the foundation of most sins - the unholy desire for something - the unwanton desire for something that we ought not have.

For eve, she was told not to take of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but she wanted it bad enough so she went after it. God said, 'don't. Thou shalt not covet.' It lay at the foundation of - it lays at the foundation of most sins. It brought sin and woe into this world. And so, Paul is talking to this one because he recognizes also that it's not just - it's not just the letter of the law.

You know, Paul was a pretty good guy. I mean, from all accounts, if you looked at him, apart from the fact that he was murdering Christians, if you looked at his general life as a religious teacher he was a pharisee of the pharisees - he was a pretty good guy and as far as the letter of the law was concerned - keep the Sabbath and tithing and all of these things - he looked pretty good to the untrained eye or to the human eye at least. But this commandment reveals - it goes to the heart of the matter. It goes beyond the surface. It goes directly to the heart - the things - the thoughts and intents of the heart.

It's not just the action but it's the Spirit, you see, and this is why Paul is focusing on this commandment as well. Now I think it's important for us to remember, as well. You know, we can be appearing to be keeping the law - the rich young ruler came to Jesus and said, 'what shall I do to inherit eternal life?' Well Jesus said, 'keep the law.' 'Well, I've kept it from my youth up.' And Jesus said, 'well, go sell everything you have and then come follow me.' Did he go sell everything he had? Why? Because he coveted what he had. He didn't put God first you see. From the surface he looked like a pretty good guy, but on the inside there was - his heart wasn't connected to the heart of Christ fully and completely.

And so this is a very important lesson for us to understand and to learn. You know, there are some that would suggest - and they turn that concept on its head and they go to another extreme and say that the Spirit matters only, but the letter of the law - obeying the letter of the law doesn't really matter. A friend of mine who's traveling around with his wife - he meets all types of individuals and he's always trying to engage them in Bible study and talk to them about God's Word and the truth of God's Word and talk about Jesus and in his encounters he often meets with individuals when he talks about the Sabbath and obedience to God and the obedience from a motive of love. He always gets - always gets - many times gets the response, 'well, keeping the law doesn't really matter, it's the Spirit. You know, as long as it's in your heart it's okay.

' I find that kind of odd. I find it very odd that you can be keeping it in your heart but not keeping it externally. I'm driving down the road - I'm on howe - I use a lot of car illustrations, I don't speed normally, but here you're driving down howe 55 miles an hour, a policeman pulls you over, 'well, what do you think you're doing? This is 40 miles an hour?' 'Officer, forgive me. It was in my heart to obey.' Do you think he's going to look at you and say, 'I understand son. It's okay.

Off you go. Be on your way. Have a happy day. As long as it's in your heart to obey, that's all that really matters.' Do you think he's going to say that? No. Maybe we tried that before.

It didn't work, did it? You know, those types of things don't work. 'Honey, I love you. It's in my heart to love you, but I'm going to go visit somebody, you know, she's an old girlfriend from way back. But it's in my heart to love you. I just want to let you know.

' Do you think your wife's going to accept that? Do you think she's going to be content and happy or 'it's okay, as long as you love me in your heart you can fool around with anyone you want.' Do you think she's going to say that? Hang on a second. I think I deserve a bit of a stronger response there. Do you think she's going to say that? No - no, definitely not. And if she says something contrary, there's a problem. We need to sit down and we can visit together.

If it's in your heart to obey, guess what you're going to do? You're going to obey. That's right. That's exactly right. And so don't be fooled into this idea that it's the Spirit of the law that matters only, not the keeping of the letter of the law. If it's in your heart to obey, you're going to be obeying.

You're going to be fulfilling the letter of the law, by God's grace, of course. Now, so for Paul - I want to move along because we have to get to the other days but, for Paul, he was thankful for the law. The advantages he found in the law - one was because it was revealing. Number two - it was humbling - it was humbling. Verse 9 - let's look at that - Romans 7, verse 9.

He says, "for I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." What's he talking about here? What's he talking about here? Just picture that guy cruising down the street in his corvette or in his mustang and he's driving down - and he's just swerving in and out of traffic, cruising at speeds unbeknownst to - well just speeds - crazy speeds - high speeds. He's just having a good time and he thinks he is alive. All of a sudden, out of the corner of his eye, he sees a sign on the side of the road that says, 'speed limit 40' and he's going 65. He's getting faster and faster, isn't he, this guy? But he's going 65. What's supposed to happen to his mind? It's supposed to alert him to the fact that he is outside of the law - he's breaking the law.

He was cruising. He was alive - he thought he was alive, at least, without the law. But when the commandment came sin revived. He recognized that he was doing the wrong thing. And so, for Paul it was humbling, you see.

The law makes a good man look pretty bad. That's the truth. The law makes a good man look pretty bad. An individual may have - may be keeping the letter of the law on the outside, but on the inside there's nothing really going on. It's just motions.

There's the shell, but there's no kernel, so to speak. The law may be in the hand and it may be in the head, but the law's not in the heart, yeah. There's a notion of the law but there's not the power of it in the life, you see. And so for Paul it was a humbling experience. That was one of the benefits he found in the law of God.

That's a good benefit if it leads you to seek the one who can help you, amen? Sure. Alright, we're going to move on to Monday's lesson here. Let's continue talking about the relationship between the law and grace - the law and Israel - the law and Israel. Deuteronomy chapter 30, verses to 18. Let's go there.

And I have someone reading Deuteronomy chapter 6 and verse 2. Who would have that? Just raise your hand. Deuteronomy 6 and verse 2 - thanks, mike. And we'll come to you in just a moment. Let's go to Deuteronomy chapter 30 and we're going to read verses 15 to 18.

You know, God chose Israel to be his special people - his chosen representation - representatives on the earth. Why did God choose Israel among the nations? To be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation - and reveal his law to them. Why did he do that? Deuteronomy chapter 30 and verses 15 through 18. By the way, in Exodus 19 and verse 6 - this is where God declares his people as his chosen people - a holy nation of peculiar people, so to speak. That was just before he issued the law, there in Exodus chapter 20.

Why did God choose Israel from among the nations to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation? And why did he give the law to them? Why? Deuteronomy chapter 30 and verses 15 through 18. It says, "see, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; in that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land wither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other Gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, wither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:" so God puts before his people blessings and curses, life or death. Life if you keep my commandments.

Is there anything bad about the commandments if they produce life and longevity? Nothing bad about them that way - absolutely no way - very good - nothing bad about them at all. God gave his law to his people. Why did he choose them? Because his election was based upon mission. It was mission driven. He raised up this people.

God's purpose in blessing Abraham - bringing him these promises of blessing and to make - so that Abraham would make God's will and his blessings be made known to others was for that reason: to showcase God's grace and his lifestyle to nations - as they exalted God's name, you see. You can read about that in Deuteronomy chapter 28, verses 1 and 10. He didn't choose them because they were bigger. He didn't choose them because they were prettier. He didn't choose them because they were the best.

He chose them because he made a promise with Abraham and Abraham's children and that, through them, they would be a blessing to the ends of the earth. And they would be a blessing only if they obeyed God's law. Only if they kept God's law. Very, very important to understand. There's nothing in the history of Israel that pits God's law against his grace.

There's nothing - there's nothing. God's grace was available to write that law upon the hearts and minds of his people and they were to keep it and to live it and, in so doing, man, what a blessing. What a huge blessing they would have been if they had followed through. God's plan was for the Kingdom of Israel to expand beyond the borders God had given them and for the Kingdom of God to grow on earth - to encompass, perhaps, even the entire world. His plans and expectations for his people were high.

He said, 'if you do this you'll be the head and not the tail.' Incredible blessings are in store for God's people who keep His Word and keep his law. Deuteronomy chapter 6 and verse 2, we'll read that at this time. Thanks mike. Deuteronomy 6:2, "that you may fear the Lord your God, to keep all his statues and his commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged." Alright, so God's intention - thank you - God's intention for his people in keeping the law was that their life might be what? Prolonged. What a blessing - to be a blessing for them and so they would, in turn, be a blessing to others.

You know, a lot of people consider God's law to be very restrictive and confining, but if we view God's law, perhaps as a fortress to the soul - to the heart - protecting us from the enemy who is the devil. And those Ten Commandments are ten solid gates keeping the enemy out, would we view, then, the commandments as being restrictive and inhibitive and a curse? No, as a matter of fact, that's what we've been reading. The commandments were designed to be a blessing and to preserve God's people alive and to prolong their days. Talk about grace. Talk about wonderful, wonderful grace - you're driving down the highway - there I go again, driving - I like driving.

I hope you do too. You're driving down these winding roads going up to the sierras - not down the winding roads, you're going up the winding roads - going up to the sierra, but you've got guard rails in some places. I don't know why they don't have them in other places, but you've got guard rails in some places. Are those there just for good looks? Are they there to ensure that your driving experience is less than ideal and to ensure that your driving experience is miserable? Is that what the guard rails are there for? No, what are they there for? To protect you. To preserve your life.

If a shepherd brought his sheep inside the sheep pen and inside the gate, is he locking them in or locking the predator out? It's for their good, isn't it? Keeping the enemy out - keeping the wolves out - keeping the wild dogs out, you see. God's law was given to preserve life and to be a blessing. You know, when you look at the history of Israel, it is very interesting and I won't get into it too much here but, you know, during the times - primarily during the old testament period, prior to the Babylonian captivity - God's people - God's people had a problem. The problem was that they weren't an influence - or a positive influence - to the pagan nations around them. They weren't exerting a positive influence at all.

They were influenced, instead, by the nations - by their ways. They were influenced by those they were supposed to win and by being influenced by them, they didn't win anybody, technically. After the Babylonian captivity, God's people kind of got the message. They said, 'look, if we're going to prevent that from happening again these nations coming in and encroaching upon our freedoms and taking us - dispersing us amongst their nation or taking us captives or burning and destroying our nation - our cities - then we need to keep God's law.' And so that's what they started doing. Nehemiah started this and during the intertestimental period, some things began to change.

So during most of the old testament they were influenced by the nations around them, but then they came to shun the nations around them so that they could be lawkeepers, so to speak and, therefore, they won nobody that way either. Two extremes. You see the extremes here? One extreme: being influenced by those around you. They mingled, but mingled to their detriment. And then the other: they blocked people out.

They built up a hedge - a wall - around them so they could preserve their own integrity and obedience to God's law, but in doing so they shut people out from becoming participants of that great law that God had given his people to share with the nations. So the question is: how do we keep a healthy tension for us? How could Israel do it? How can we do it? How can we keep a healthy tension between living a holy life - being a holy nation - and being a priestly people that are called to serve and to teach others? How is it possible? How can we do that? How can we preserve our integrity while mingling with the worldly and the unGodly, all the while trying to win them, but not be influenced by them? How do we keep that tension healthy? Because there is a tension there and it has to be maintained at a healthy tightness, so to speak. If you think about Isaiah chapter 2, verse 3 - let's turn there real quick - Isaiah 2:3 - look at God's promise to his people - Isaiah chapter 2 and verse 3. You know, even the early church was prone to this problem. They were seeking to shut off - close themselves in from the surrounding people so that they could preserve the purity of the Gospel and God kind of messed with their plans and brought persecution on the church and so they actually ended up leaving Jerusalem and ended up spreading the Gospel into regions that, perhaps, may not have gone if the persecution didn't come.

But there's always been this idea or this desire - and it's a good desire to preserve your connection with Christ. You need to do that, but not to the extent of leaving off the opportunity in sharing Christ with other people. Some folk shut themselves in, read their Bibles, spirit of prophecy - they shut themselves in and - in order to keep themselves holy and pure and, all the while, not winning anyone. Some, under the name of winning others, go all types of different places - not so much to win people, just in the name to win people because they enjoy going to some of these places and it's a trap and causes people to come undone and fall into some gross sin - sin that probably they had given up before but have fallen back into. So how do we maintain this healthy tension? Look at Isaiah chapter 2, verse , "and many people shall go and say, 'come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

" God had a promise for his people, he said, 'if you are my holy people - if you're my peculiar people, keep my law. I'm going to bless you and folk from afar are going to come to you.' Because they've seen the word of the Lord - the law of God - being taught from this place and they're going to what? Come. So we ought to maintain the integrity of the law. We ought to be obedient to the law. This is a good thing - a very good thing.

And then you think about that little young lady - that little young girl who was taken away from her parents by the syrians when they were running border raids in these small villages on the outskirts of Israel. They took this young maid into the captain of the syrian army's house and she was servant to naaman's wife. And here she was in the midst of paganism and debauchery and foolishness, really. And here she was in the middle of that and still preserved her integrity. I mean, a young girl - talk about powerful parental influence in that life.

It was a girl who wasn't just - doing the right thing because her parents were around or had their eye on her. She was doing the right thing irrespective - even taken away. How did she preserve her integrity? How did she preserve the law of God in her heart in the midst of a lawless society - in even a lawless house? I mean, you think about the story and you know the story very well. Naaman ended up, to some extent, making some adjustments in his life where he wasn't going to bow down to, per se, these images, but worship the living God. That's a powerful influence, isn't it? A powerful influence.

She preserved her integrity. She kept close to God. His law was in her heart. How is it possible? Of course spending time with God - these things we know - but spending time with God and true time with him, in allowing him to write his law in our hearts and in our minds, isn't it? You know, ultimately, it's going to be hard for any of us to be saved if we're not helping somebody else. Ultimately we become very narrow, very selfish, if we're not reaching out and helping and blessing others.

I think we understand where I'm coming from on that. And so we must be sharing. How do we preserve our integrity during that? We keep our eyes on Jesus. We spend quality time with him before we leave our house for the day. We're living in the attitude of prayer throughout the day.

We're looking to Jesus and trusting in his goodness and his grace. So God's plan for his people Israel, failed because they were influenced by the nations or they were - they, to preserve their integrity, kept the nations away. And yet, God's people today certainly can't be falling into the same trap, can we? There's two ditches here and we've got to be steering into the middle of the road. We've got to be driving in the middle of the road here and making sure that God's law remains in our hearts and in our minds and we're effective witnesses in bringing people to a knowledge of the true God and his grace and his Gospel for them. Well, we go to Tuesday here and 'the law and the nations'.

In the verses we've been given in acts chapter 10, verses 34 and 35, in acts 17:26 and 27, Romans 1:2 and 2:14, God is basically saying that there are some folk who are not exposed to his law and yet there remains a witness for them of the true God and you can read that in Romans chapter 1, verse 20. Let's look at that. How could these nations who were not exposed to God's law or did not come in contact with Israel, find a Revelation of God? Romans chapter 1 and verse 20 - notice what Paul says here: he says, "for the invisible things of him" - let me start again - "for the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:" so God says there is a powerful testimony of the creator God in creation and people can come to a knowledge of the creator God by the things that they see in nature. Now, we understand that nature is not the way it used to be - it's been perverted by sin - by the effects of sin and so on. But God says, 'still, there's a good enough witness there in the creation of the world - in nature - that testifies to there being a creator God.

' One would probably have to be pretty ignorant to not see that it takes an artist - a maker - an intelligent designer to bring about what we see today in the world. And so God has given nature as another Revelation of himself. There's the Word of God - some people were not privy to the law of God and God says, 'there is a testimony of me in nature.' So nature directs people to God - instills in them a desire to know God and become acquainted with him because other things just don't satisfy - fame and power and drugs and music and money and sex and those things. Those things don't satisfy. There is a standard.

There is a judgment and the law will be the standard of the judgment. The written law will be the standard and the law of conscience, developed by listening to the voice of God, will be the standard for some. This poses an interesting question too: if God is speaking - speaks to everyone through nature, what's the purpose of missionaries and evangelists? Well first, God has told us to go, has he not? It's a command. So it's not a suggestion, we're told to go. So God knows what he's doing, number one.

If he's told us to go, we ought to go - we ought to share. Number 2 - perhaps it's a little similar to, perhaps, a student who's been given a textbook in school - to read it and study it for themselves and figure it out. And, you know, some can do pretty good with that, but most cannot - most cannot. A student who's been given something to read - to learn - versus a teacher coming along and giving a lesson on that particular thing that's been read - there's a massive difference. You know, the light goes on - you remember back in the school days - some of you are still in school.

The teacher gets up - lecturer - professor - gets up, teaches, shares. It's like, 'man, I was reading that and I just couldn't quite get it. But now I understand that better. I see it from a new perspective.' You know, the light went on, so to speak. I would suggest that in us going and in us sharing and evangelizing and being missionaries and sharing the Gospel - the law of God - the grace of God - with others who may not know it - giving folk opportunity to understand the full - the full light of God's truth, not just guesses and glimpses through nature.

So God wants his truth to go, you see. So there's really not an excuse for us to sit back and say, 'you know, there's a testimony of God in nature. Nature is speaking. I'll hold my peace.' That's not the idea, right? Think about, just for a moment, the experience of the Ethiopian eunuch. You remember he was in his chariot - he was driving - and he was reading and it seems like he was reading Isaiah chapter 53.

Philip happened to be in that area and he was one of the deacons of the early church and he asked, 'do you understand what you're reading there?' And what did the Ethiopian - what did the eunuch say? Do you remember? He said, 'how can I except somebody help me - teach me? And so Philip taught him. That day he was baptized. In a moment Philip was whisked away - all of a sudden ended up in another town somewhere - miracle of the Holy Spirit - just 'poof!' - Gone - spreading the Gospel. Amazing. But here was a man who was even studying the Scriptures but needed somebody to help him understand it to a fuller extent, you see.

And so we have a commission. We have a mission to the world - to the nations - to peoples of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. Let's go to Wednesday, 'grace and truth'. Now I'm going to see if I can blend Wednesday's and Thursday's together here - 'the law and the Gospel' and 'grace and truth'. Let's see how we do here.

John chapter 1 and verse 17 - we go back to our memory verse here - and I also have a text for someone to read for us: Ephesians 2, verses 8 through . Who's got that one for us? Ephesians 2, verses 8 through 10? Okay, beautiful. Thank you. Alright. John chapter 1 and verse 17, let's read that together.

It says here, "for the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." Now some would probably have us believe that Jesus is pitting Jesus giving law - or giving truth and grace against what Moses gave and that is the law of God. What's actually meant by this statement? The law was given by Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Jesus is not - is not undermining the validity of the law. What is he actually doing? What is he saying? He's saying, in essence, what Jesus did here is brought light - the light of truth - and gives a complete understanding of grace. That's what he's saying.

He's not saying Jesus came to bring grace and truth and, therefore, the law Moses gave is obsolete and irrelevant and not necessary, he's simply saying that he came to bring light - of a complete understanding of the grace of God. And that's what Jesus did, did he not? He came to fulfill the law. He came to magnify the law, according to Isaiah. Jesus came to magnify the law and to make it great. So what does grace do? What does grace actually do? I mean, we are - there's no doubt we are impacted by sin.

There's no doubt about that. Romans 6:23 says, "for the wages of sin is" - what? - "Death." No doubt about that. In Romans chapter 7, verse 24, Paul cries out - he says, "wretched man that I am, who shall be able to deliver me from this body of death?" Wretched - sin - wages of sin - death. Ephesians chapter 2, verse 1 tells us that we are like dead men walking. We're dead in trespasses and sin.

That's our state, you understand. Hollywood has received a lot of money popularizing the notion of zombies and half - people half dead, half alive or dead living - walking. They didn't need to do that, there are plenty of folk walking around today that are zombies. We are - in our natural state we are like dead men walking, you see. What does grace do? Ephesians chapter 2, verses 8 through 10.

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Alright, amen. So grace not only frees us from the condemnation of the law that comes to us when we break God's law, but it enables us - grace enables us to keep God's law. In other words, God's grace is both pardon and power, which equals complete restoration. That's the purpose of law and grace.

That's the Gospel package. You can't have one without the other. Law highlights our need of a Savior. We flee to Christ and Christ forgives us and brings us out from underneath the condemnation of the law. We are justified - treated as if we've not sinned - and we're given the Holy Spirit.

This is called grace. It forgives us and, given the Holy Spirit, we're now given power to walk in the dictates of that law. That law is now fulfilled in us and through us by the holy spirit. This is grace. And anything short of this is not grace.

If it's just half of that it's not grace. Biblical grace is restorative. It brings us back to our original state. Forgiveness? Yes. Ability to live right? Absolutely.

Pardon and power. This is the Gospel package. Well, we've got to wrap up and we've come to the end of our study here today. Remember that God's law, together with his grace, provides powerful evidence of his love for humanity and the desire to save us into his eternal kingdom. Both these things reveal God's incredible love for us and he wants us saved at last, amen? No doubt about it.

Again, for those that are viewing us, you want to call in and pick up your free offer. It's offer #152. Call in at 1-866-study-more or -866-788-3966. We're so glad you joined us today and God bless each one of you. Did you know that Noah was present at the birth of Abraham? Okay, maybe he wasn't in the room, but he was alive and probably telling stories about his floating zoo.

From the creation of the world to the last day events of Revelation, '' is a free resource where you can explore major Bible events and characters. Enhance your knowledge of the Bible and draw closer to God's Word. Go deeper. Visit the amazing Bible timeline at ''. In six days God created the heavens and the earth.

For thousands of years man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week. Now, each week millions of people worship on the first day. What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who is behind this great shift? Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed. Visit ''.

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