The Law

Posted on 03/05/2006 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband

TRANSCRIPT:

Please stand to your feet and click-touch the pulpit for a notecard. If you would like some worship animations, just click-touch the first step of the altar.

Let's welcome the presence of the Lord today, preparing our hearts and minds to focus on Jesus, as we bless God and are blessed by him.

Lord Jesus, thank you for being here with us today! For you promised that where two or three of us are gathered together in your name, you are there in the midst of us. Whether we're gathered together in a physical building or in a virtual building as we are here today, we know that you are right here with us both corporately and with each one of us individually right where we are.

We want to bring a sacrifice of praise to you today. We realize a sacrifice isn't something that costs us nothing. Sometimes we might not feel like praising you, or we might be too embarrased, or things just aren't going our way and we're just not "in the mood"; but we know that a true sacrifice of praise is one that costs us something, and it is that kind of praise that blesses you most and brings us more fully into your presence.

So accept our sacrifice of praise and worship, Lord, and cause our hearts to be open to your Holy Spirit, and to your Word.

And it's in the name of Jesus we pray.

Amen.


Let's sing to God together, lifting our voices in praise. If you don't know the words, you will find them in the notecard you received by click-touching the pulpit.


* to join in worship with us, visit livingsounds.org*


WE BRING THE SACRIFICE OF PRAISE

We bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord
We bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord
And we offer up to You the sacrifices of thanksgiving
And we offer up to You the sacrifices of joy


THERE IS POWER IN THE BLOOD

Would you be free from the burden of sin?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you over evil a victory win?
There's wonderful power in the blood.

There is power, power, wonder working power
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is power, power, wonder working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Would you be free from your passion and pride?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Come for a cleansing to Calvary's tide;
There's wonderful power in the blood.

Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Sin stains are lost in its life giving flow.
There's wonderful power in the blood.

Would you do service for Jesus your King?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you live daily His praises to sing?
There's wonderful power in the blood.

You may be seated.

The last few weeks we've been discussing Jesus' message in Matthew chapters five through seven.

In chapter seven, he concludes his message by saying if we hear the words he had just spoken and live by them, we are like a wise person who builds our house on the rock; when the rains fall, the floods come, and the winds beat upon our house, it will stand because it is founded on the rock.

If, on the other hand, we hear the words he had just spoken and do not live by them, we are like a foolish person who builds our house on the sand; when the rains fall, the floods come, and the winds beat upon our house, it will fall, and its fall will be great.

This week we're reading from Matthew chapter five beginning with verse 17 where Jesus says:

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

"I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

"Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

"For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."


From this point on, Jesus goes into more detail about what the commandments really mean. After all, since Jesus IS the Word of God, who would understand it better than he?

He tells us murder and adultery begin in the heart. He then outlines some practical ways we can keep the spirit of the law, which is summed up in loving the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and loving our neighbor as ourselves.

I've heard men teach that when Jesus came, he did away with the Old Testmanent. I've heard them say that we can learn lessons from Old Testament stories, but it has been stripped of its authority, and only the New Testament remains.

However, this isn't what Jesus says. And we must remember that throughout the New Testament, every time Scripture is mentioned, it is the Old Testament to which they are referring.

The Old Covenant was one of animal sacrifices as a sacrifice to apease the wrath of God on sin, but not to permanently wash it away. The New Covenant is one of the perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God, Jesus the Messiah, who, being the Son of God himself, lived a perfect and sinless life, then became sin for you, and for me.

The Old Covenent was one of outter symbols and rites, which were shadows of inner spiritual things to come. The New Covenent is the revelation of God in his Son Jesus, the opening of the heavenly veil so that we can have a restored relationship with God, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to teach us and enable us to put into practice the inner truth of the Old Covenant's outer laws.

In the Old Testament, God's presence filled a temple made with hands; in the New Testament, God's presence fills temples made without hands, namely our bodies.

In the Old Testament, the power of God resided in a box named the Ark of the Covenent; in the New Testament, the power of God resides in human hearts, released through humble, child-like faith in God and heart-sourced obedience to his Word.

The Old Testament was not erased. In today's passage, Jesus tells us that until heaven and earth pass away, not one little stroke of a pen will pass away from the written law.

We no longer sacrifice animals, for Jesus is our sacrifice who paid for all the sins of humanity with his blood.

We no longer are required to celebrate traditional feasts, for Jesus promised in the book of Revelation that he is standing at the door of your heart, and if you hear his voice and open the door to him, he will come inside and have a perpetual feast with you, along with great joy.

We no longer are required to adhere to manifold restrictions and ordinances on the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath, for we read in Hebrews chapter four that there is another day of rest set aside for God's people, that rest being rest from our own works, and that day being the day called "today." We also read in Romans 14:5, "One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind."

Should we still tithe, or bring ten percent of our income to God? In Luke 11:42 Jesus says we should. And my wife and I have seen the results of obedience in this area richly blessed in our own lives, as well as the lives of many of our friends and acquintances.

Should we still not murder? Should we still not commit adultery? Should we still not steal, lie, or covet?

Jesus said the commandments have not passed away, and we are to live by them.

So where do we find a balance? How do we know what applies to us today? How can we apply the whole Word of God to our every-day lives?

I'm glad you asked!

The first thing you must do to live by God's whole Word is this: You must read it! If you wait for your pastor to tell you all of God's Word, you'll go to your grave with only a fraction of the truth and accompanying blessings that are prepared for those of us who live by that truth.

None of us will ever in this earthly life know even a fraction of the mind of God as layed out to us in his Word; but we can know what he reveals to us as we read his Word, and we can be diligent, studying the Words of Life as the life they are, the spiritual bread that feed our spirits and keeps them alive and helps them grow strong and effective.

The whole Bible is true, from the first chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of Revelation.

The whole Bible is relevant and alive, and is for us as much today as it was four thousand years ago.

The whole Bible reveals to us the whole of God, and if we cut out the parts we don't like or deem outdated, we will know far less of God, and will therefore not be able to have as intimate fellowship with God.

Finally, Jesus tells us that unless our righteousness exceeds that of the religious leaders of that day, we will not enter the Kingdom of God.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law in the first days of the New Testament were characterized as looking holy and clean on the outside, but being full of darkness and death within.

The religious leaders were very religious indeed, they obeyed the letter of the law of the Old Testament, but they did not obey it in spirit.

Jesus came to fulfil the law, to take it from a thing of outward symbols and rituals to a thing of inward attitudes and actions of the heart.

All of Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, point to Jesus, and the more of Scripture we embrace, both Old and New Testaments, the more clearly we will be able to see Jesus.

And the more clearly we see Jesus, the more we will be transformed into his image, from glory to glory.

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

"I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

"Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

"For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."


The ministry team can come stand accross the front as we go to the Lord in prayer.

Lord God, thank you for your word. Thank you for teaching us, for challenging beliefs we may hold dear, for stretching us and thereby helping us grow.

For those here who have not yet asked Jesus to come into your heart, to forgive you of your sins, and to be the Lord of your life, Jesus is once again knocking at the door of your heart as he has so many times before. Today is the day to listen, to hear his voice calling you, and to open your heart to him and let him come inside.

If this is you, pray this prayer with me from your heart, and today can be the turning point in your life, your day of destiny, your day to discover the joy for which you were created.

Pray with me now...

Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God, and that you died for my sins, and that you rose again from that now-empty tomb so that I can be raised again from the death of my old life and have a brand new start.

Come into my heart, Jesus. Forgive me for my sins. Be the Lord of my life. I surrender my heart and my life to you. Make me a part of the family of God. Thank you Jesus. Amen.

This altar is open for ministry and prayer. Feel free to come and kneel, spending time alone with God. If you would like for someone to join you in prayer, or if you have just accepted Jesus into your heart, please talk to one of the ministry team.

To the rest of you, feel free to pray with us. If you need to go, you are free to do so, but we do hope you'll stick around in the next room for our time of fellowship in a few minutes.

May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.