IT'S THE LAW
-In his book entitled, Words We Live By, Brian Burrell writes about an armed robber named Dennis Lee Curtis who was arrested in 1992 in Rapid City, South Dakota. Curtis apparently had scruples about his thievery. In his wallet the police found a sheet of paper on which was written the following code:
1. I will not kill anyone unless I have to.
2. I will take cash and food stamps—no checks.
3. I will rob only at night.
4. I will not wear a mask.
5. I will not rob mini-marts or 7-Eleven stores.
6. If I get chased by cops on foot, I will get away. If chased by vehicle, I will not put the lives of innocent civilians on the line.
7. I will rob only seven months out of the year.
8. I will enjoy robbing from the rich to give to the poor.
This thief had a twisted sense of law and justice and morals that was flawed. When he stood before the court, he was not judged by the laws and standards he had set for himself but by the higher law of the state.
-Likewise, there is a higher law for all of mankind that has been handed down by God—no matter how we try to twist it, we will be judged by these laws, laws that we are going to look at today
-Now, those of you who know something about your Christian faith will be quick to point out: Hey, we are under grace, not under the law—OT vs. NT.
-This is true, but that does not mean the law has no place—in fact, we could say the law has a very important place in our lives as it shows us exactly how far short we fall, pointing out our need for grace—so today I want us to look at the law and see what its place is for us today
-We are going to look at what we commonly know as the 10 Commandments—these 10 laws from God are the foundation of the Sinai covenant that God made with His people Israel. These verses are written in the form of a contract that was common in that day of a feudal lord laying out the terms of the relationship he had with a vassal kingdom that would be under his domain and rule. The 10 commandments could be looked at as the foundation upon which all the other laws in Exodus through Deuteronomy were built (similar to our constitution being the foundation of all the other laws of the land).—the 10 commandments, the law, are important even for us, so we want to consider them today...
1 And God spoke all these words, saying, 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. 7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. 8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. 12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. 13 “You shall not murder. 14 “You shall not commit adultery. 15 “You shall not steal. 16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
There are 3 assertions I want to make about the law:
1) We Broke the Law
1) We Broke the Law
James 2:10 (ESV)
10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.
-however, what we often run into are people who are banking their whole eternal state upon the supposed fact that they have kept or can keep the ten commandments—people mistakenly think that by following the letter of the law and not the spirit and heart of the law, that they actually keep the 10 commandments perfectly and are therefore OK with God.
-However, not only (as James says) is it true that if we break one are we completely guilty before God, we also find that every single one of us in some way has broken every single one of these commandments—You might ask, how can that be? Well, let’s consider the commandments.
-Let’s take 1 and 2 together—#1—to not have another god before our God means that there is nothing and no one who gets the preference, ever, in our adoration and honor—it means nothing in our lives ever gets more attention or glory. There is nothing anywhere in our lives that is near the same level as God.
-#2 speaks of making an image to represent God which is wrong because nothing in creation can do justice in representing the Creator—it is an insult to drag the Creator down to the level of creation----together these first two commandments tell us nothing should receive from us what God alone should receive—or put another way
Mark 12:30 (ESV)
30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
-to not give God what He deserves or to give the adoration He deserves to another is called idolatry--and people who have idols in their life are called: IDOLATORS----none of us have loved God with our everything--#1and 2 have been broken; we are idolators
-#3—The name of God represents His character and attributes—to take God’s name lightly, vainly, or profanely is to take God Himself lightly, vainly, frivolously, insincerely and profanely. It doesn’t have to be just cursing, but in any way that we bring disrepute upon His name and character or we do not give the reverence He is due breaks this law and all of this entails the sin of blasphemy—someone who commits blasphemy is a BLASPHEMER; and that too is us
-#4—The Sabbath day was Saturday dedicated to the Lord so no work was to be done. Although the Saturday Sabbath is no longer applicable to the church, it tells us to set aside time to cultivate our relationship with God and show our gratefulness because of Who He is and because of what He has done----when we go days or weeks without spending time with God we are telling Him we are ungrateful and He just isn’t that important to us. How often have we broken that?
-#5—Honor our parents—to honor parents means to obey them and show them the respect that they are due. When we don’t obey we are called rebellious. And let’s face it, nobody here has ever obeyed their parents perfectly—that makes us REBELS
-#6—You shall not murder—you say, aha, got you on this one, I never killed anyone—well, Jesus said:
Matthew 5:21-22 (ESV)
Matthew 5:21–22 (ESV)
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’
22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
-If you ever hated or despised anyone in your heart, Jesus just said it is murder in the heart—those who murder people are called MURDERERS
-#7—You shall not commit adultery—you say again, aha, I’ve been faithful to my spouse—well, Jesus said:
Matthew 5:27–28 (ESV)
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
- enough said; we do that—people who commit adultery are called: ADULTERERS
-#8—Don’t steal—don’t take what is not yours. Have you ever taken a pen or other item from work; have you had a time you never returned something you borrowed; have you ever done something during your job’s work hours that was not work-related (FB, games)? Those are just a few examples of taking something that is not yours; and again something we all do—people who steal are called: THIEVES
-#9—Don’t give false witness—It initially speaks against telling lies about people (especially in a court situation), but by extension speaks about all lies that are told to others or about others. Have you ever gossiped…told just a little white lie…stretched the truth or exaggerated—people who lie are called: LIARS
-#10—Do not covet—it means not to envy something that is not yours. It means in your mind not to strongly desire something that is not yours to the point that it obsesses your thoughts or you wish you had it and the other person didn’t. This is covered in materialism and greediness—and the apostle Paul calls it IDOLATRY as well—we’ve all been greedy…
-After looking at these 10 commandments and if truthful with ourselves, we have just established that every one of us is: A GREEDY, UNGRATEFUL, IDOLATER, BLASPHEMER, REBEL, MURDERER, ADULTERER, LYING THIEF
-Let me ask you, are you sure you want to stand before God and dare to say to Him that you kept His 10 commandments—no because we are all guilty of breaking God’s law…
2) We are Condemned by the Law
2) We are Condemned by the Law
-Knowing all this, then, what does the law do to us and for us
7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. 13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.
-If I can give you a quick synopsis of what these verses say: the law is good in a sense in that it points out to us the sin we have committed against God--but because we have sinned against God, we are condemned to His wrath because the wages of sin is death and a perfect Holy God of justice must punish the guilty. He cannot be holy and just and then merely overlook any breaking of His law.
-The biggest problem that we experience with the law is that it does not have the power to bring us closer to God. Sure, the law tells us what we have done wrong, but it doesn’t tell us how (if at all possible) we can make things right with God
-And what Paul emphasizes here too is that it is impossible for us to keep the law because of the sinful nature we have inherited from Adam. Our flesh cannot fully follow those 10 commandments that we have read today. It is impossible by our very nature. So the law condemns us by pointing out how we have sinned against God. The law reflects God’s moral standards and character, and every single one of us has broken them. And it tells us that there is absolutely, positively nothing that we can do to get right with God
-This is all bad news—but praise the Lord, it doesn’t end with bad news—here’s the good news:
III) We are Set Free from the Law
III) We are Set Free from the Law
1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
-What the law could not do for us, God did Himself by sending the Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said:
Matthew 5:17 (ESV)
17 “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.
-What we couldn’t do, Jesus did. All these 10 commandments were lived out perfectly by Him
-He fulfilled the righteous requirements that these 10 laws (as well as the hundreds of others that are based on these 10) by His life. Then by His death He broke sin’s power, paid for the punishment we deserved under condemnation, and freed us to live out the law by the power of the Holy Spirit.
-What the law couldn’t do, Jesus did. But to obtain the benefits of what Jesus did you must receive it by faith. Not just some belief in facts, but a complete trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ. That is, by faith and repentance, surrender your life to Jesus.
-There is nothing we can do to change the law that condemns us or change our standing in the law; the law stands as is. The law is perfect and unchangeable, and we are condemned by it.
-A preacher once tried to explain God’s law, and he used some examples to describe the law. He talked about there being the law of the stop sign and the law of fire. Human governments can pass laws that are binding as long as man wants them to be, but then later can be repealed: such as a city wanting to put in a new stop sign. The city council can vote to put the stop sign in; but years later can vote to take the stop sign out.
But then there is the law of fire. The law of fire says if you put your hand in fire you will get burned. Now all the governments in the world could pass laws saying fire will no longer burn; but guess what, they can stick their hands in the fire after passing the law and they will still get burned. This law is everlasting and man cannot change it.
-God’s laws are like the law of fire. They are everlasting, they reflect His morals and character, and man cannot change them. We have broken them all and by their very nature they condemn us eternally. If we would be judged based on our performance according to the law, there is no other verdict but guilty and there is no way to get around it.
-But praise God for Jesus, Who fulfilled the law for us, took our punishment for breaking them all, and gives to us what we do not deserve—eternal life.
-If today you think you have a good standing with God based upon the law (10 commandments), you need to repent and believe before it is too late...
-Christian, not only can you not be saved by law, you cannot please God by law either—it is all by grace through faith. Maybe you need to come forward today and receive grace and be freed from trying to keep a law you will never be able to keep. Christian, maybe you need to come to the altar and praise God for a Savior who freed you from law, sin and death…