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The Thread of Life – Part 8 (The Law)
July 4, 2021

The Thread of Life – Part 8 (The Law)

July 4, 2021

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Catch up on our series HERE

 

The Thread of Life – 31 Stories that point to Jesus

The Law that leads to Jesus

 

Good morning and welcome to Jesus Church (Happy 4th of July)

We are in a series walking through the stories of the Bible

  • Last week we covered the powerful story of Moses & Deliverance
    • Saw a man who was held back by 2 things (past & insecurities)
    • But God used his past… worked thru his insecurities
    • To further His promise of blessing & fruitfulness to the world
  • And there is so much foreshadowing we find in this story
    • God waging war against & bringing victory over the demonic
    • Deliverance from death by substitutionary lamb > Freedom
    • Salvation through the waters…
  • All things that you and I experience in what Jesus has done for us
    • He has waged war/found victory over the demonic
    • Delivers us from death by taking our place > Freedom
    • We find salvation through the waters of baptism

And we see the human condition in Pharoah

  • Perfect example of what happens when we harden hearts to God
    • God gave Pharoah 10 chances to change his heart
    • When it says God hardened Pharoah’s heart at the end
    • The Hebrew word is to strengthen or help one carry out
  • Its a word pic of the sun’s heat would do to aginst both clay & wax
    • The same sun will harden one / melt the other
    • What happens: Based on what the sun reveals
    • I pray when my heart is revealed… I would not be hardened

Today – We start 3 months after the Exodus

Ex. 19:4-6 (God speaking after everything He has done)

‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy (2nd time this concept used) nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

[PRAY]

Once heard of a young girl who got baptized at church

  • When she was baptized they gave her a Bible
    • She was so excited (pink, pictures, really nice)
    • Even had her name on the inside w/ note from her teacher
  • After service her family went out to celebrate for lunch
    • She was sitting next to her grandmother… showing off her Bible
    • Her grandmother told her it was such a lovely Bible
  • Little girl asked: Grandma… did you ever get a Bible at my age?
    • She said… Yes when I was a little girl my church gave me a Bible
    • Little girl completely serious: Oh so it only had Old Testament

Today we continue in the OT: Look at THE LAW…

And God is wanting to change the way he relates to His people

  • He wants to share life with them… wants to dwell with them
    • This is the First time sense garden of Eden
    • God is asking his people to make serious commitment
    • Gives them as list of commands to live by
  • Remember he has just introduced this idea of Holiness to Moses
    • Holiness – Quodesh (To be set apart or dedicated)
    • Now he is going to explain what it looks like to be “set apart”
  • Israel says “Everything the Lord has said, we will do”
    • So they buy in and make this commitment to God
    • God had made a covenant with man – Promising a blessing
    • Now man makes a covenant w/ God – To be Holy as God is Holy
      • So the world would see a reflection of God in these people

God starts with 10 Commandments

And in them – He gives a standard for people to follow because…

  • God kept his promise 2 Adam, Abraham, Joseph and now all Israel
    • God’s promise of fruitfulness & becoming a great nation is here
    • But to be a great nation… here is the path to it
  • So Moses goes up this mountain and leaves Aaron in charge
    • Moses is consumed by a cloud of God’s presence
    • This is a scary mountain – Things go near it… and they just die
  • God is hand writing these commandments for His people
    • Moses is on mountain – and he’s there for awhile (40 days)
    • During that time the people become impatient
    • Ex. 32 – The people tells Aaron to them a god to worship
    • Aaron says bring me all your (Bitcoin) gold
      • They fashion a golden calf
      • Aaron declares this as their god
  • Remember: This idea not just from anyone… Moses’ spokes person
    • He and the people have seen Gods power
    • They have promised God – but how easy is it to turn on Him
    • Even today people give God honor to with their lips
      • But not their lives
  • Moses comes down the mountain… Party likes its 1999
    • And this ends up being like Woodstock on steroids
    • Moses sees the party… sees the golden calf
    • Takes tablets and throws them down and breaks them
      • Remember we already know Moses has a temper

Asks Aaron: What happened?! He just keeps digging his hole deeper

Ex. 32:24

So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”

  • Like… That’s a 6 year old excuse (Sad Irony)
    • Sad irony… God is writing commandments as Israel breaks 1st 2
      • One – no other gods
      • Two – no graven images
  • Moses is still mad… Melts down calf and pours it into water supply
    • Forces them to drink the water
    • This is the original – Wash mouth out with soap
    • I don’t think I’d ever cross Moses again after that… dude’s crazy
  • Next Moses draws a line in the sand – asks who is on Gods side
    • Some decide not to follow God (How dumb can you be)

Ex. 32:27-28

Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’” The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died.

Funny thing… I never heard that story in Sunday School

  • Levites end up becoming the priests and spiritual leaders
    • Partially because of their obedience here
    • 3000 of their own people killed
  • Sounds harsh to us b/c we don’t understand the seriousness of sin
    • Sin is a disease that will not go away on its own
    • God will not mess around when it comes 2 sin (cares too much)
    • And it might seem extreme to us
      • The flood is extreme
      • The plagues are extreme
      • This seems extreme
      • Jesus dying on the cross is extreme
  • And this isn’t popular – Jesus dying seems ok… but not others
    • But sin is breaking our promise with God (it’s literally adultery)
    • And God uses marriage vow illustration over and over in Bible
    • B/C That’s what a relationship with God is supposed to look like
      • And the unfaithfulness of His people destroys this picture
      • Its why unhealthy/toxic marriage as devastating as divorce

Now Moses has to go back up the Mountain… Get replacement set

  • Many of us know 10 Commandments – See them as moral code
    • Don’t murder
    • Don’t steal
    • Honor your parents
  • But these are just the 1st ten… total number of commands are 613
    • All found in the first 5 books of the OT (Torah or The Law)
    • And when u read them… easy to think: what do I do w/ these
    • Obey them… some of them… all of them – B/C I don’t get it…
  • And we have to ask: What’s the purpose of The Law
    • And remember: Torah means “Law” but the Torah is a STORY
    • That shows us who we are and who God is

Disciple John will later clarify what God reveals through the story

1 Jn 4:16-17,21

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. GOD IS LOVE, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world… And this command we have from Him: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

The point beginning/end: Learn 2 love God & others

But from beginning we continue to reject God and his love

  • And God makes this promise of love to us anyways
    • God rescues Noah from the flood
    • God rescues his people from slavery
  • Now God asks his people to make a covenant w/ him (agreement)
    • And the commandments are the terms of that agreement
      • Some are about rituals/customs that set his people apart
      • Others are about social justice & morality
    • And by following these – they would show world what He is like
      • Which we know: God is love

So the rest of Torah isn’t continuing a list… it’s continuing the story

  • And the 613 commands are only a selection of this agreement
    • And these are broken up and placed strategically in the story
    • All showing who God is/we are… who we are with/without God
  • And if you are looking – You can see a clear pattern
    • 1st Moses Gives the first laws: No other Gods… No idols
      • What is the first thing Israel does…
      • Great and idol and worship it
    • Then Moses Gives some more laws
      • And there are more stories of rebellion
    • More laws… more rebellion… more laws… more rebellion
      • Start to see point… no matter how many laws – Still rebel

But at the end of this story we call the Torah

  • Moses gives this speech as they prepare to go to promised land
    • Tells them – I know u aren’t going to follow all God’s laws
    • You’ve prove that you are incapable of that (true love)
  • Moses says the problem: They have hard hearts
    • Now we just got through Pharoah and his hard heart
    • And we think… that’s talking about the bad guy in the story
    • But really it’s just talking about the story of humanity
  • And we realize… not only do guys like Pharoah have bad hearts
    • We humans all have hard hearts
    • The Hebrew word picture of the hardened heart (clay/wax)
    • Without allowing God to intervene… All hardened by the sun

Moses says: You need a new/transformed heart 2 follow God

  • And he is right… Israel fails over and over
    • They can’t follow the promise they made… “Lord says… will do”
    • And once again – Humanity rejects the promises of God
    • The story of the Law just puts it under a microscope
  • But God starts talking of idea of transformed heart Moses talked of
    • We see God speak thru Ezekiel
      • Said if they were ever going to live up to their covenant
      • God’s Spirit has to transform hard hearts into soft hearts
    • Then God speaks thru Jeremiah
      • When your heart is transformed… no longer feel like duty
      • These laws would then be written deep in their hearts
    • And Isaiah goes on to further explain
      • There would come a future leader… The Messiah
      • He would lead all the people in obedience to the law

So entire point of the law is 2 tell this connected story

And we see it all building inthrough Moses & 10 Commandments

  • But what we know is all of these stories point to Jesus
    • Abraham learning faith thru son Issaac – Points to Jesus
    • The exodus and sacrificial lamb – Points to Jesus
    • And the 10 commandments/Torah – Points to Jesus
  • And when Jesus comes on the scene: Agreed w/ Law & Prophets

Mark 7:21-23

For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person. (Covers all 10 commands there)

  • Says that the default setting of our heart is opposed to God’s law
    • But then he says that he came to solve that problem
    • When he says he came to “Fulfill the Law”
    • And when asked what needed to be fulfilled

Matt. 22:36-40

Teacher which is the greatest commandment in the Law? (Megas – Purpose/Point) Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

What is the point from the beginning/End: Learn 2 love God & others

  • And thinking about this might seem easy… but its anything but
    • Jesus further shows this isn’t just something to check off the list
    • Think we want 2 love… but far more demanding than we think
  • So Jesus quotes the Law – Don’t murder… That’s loving (not killing)
    • But then says: If u treat someone w/ disrespect or resentment
      • That also violates God’s moral idea of love
      • B/C you aren’t treating that person with love
      • In fact true love should even extend to our enemies
    • So even though what seems like a “Give me”
      • Jesus shows our hearts aren’t currently equipped
      • To fulfill even this basic command to love others

But even though we see the failures – Jesus brings story to fulfillment

  • As the Messiah – He fully loved God & others
    • Shows all the world what God is truly like
    • Does it thru compassion/mercy/sacrificing his own life
  • And after resurrection – Tells followers he would send God’s Spirit
    • And it would transform their hearts so they could fulfill law too
    • To love God & love their neighbor

As Paul would go on to say: The one who loves fulfills the law

  • So the story we read as we continue through the Bible
    • We think its about rules/laws/do & don’t do
    • But really its about the condition of our hearts
  • And we look at people we don’t like… they have a hard heart
    • And that’s true – But the law reveals who we are as well
    • And if we aren’t walking in the Spirit that Jesus gives us
    • We are no better than the Israelites worshiping the golden calf

How do we practice a soft heart… keep commands… so we rep God well

  • We learn how to love… we learn how the Bible says to love well

Gal. 5:13

You my brothers and sisters were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself”.

  • One really practical way to walk all this out… is to serve
    • If you don’t know where to serve… start in the church
      • B/C love happens thru serving
      • If you can’t serve… very hard to keep a soft heart
      • And w/o a soft heart… impossible to be effective for God
    • Great thing: the church is a very easy place to practice serving
      • I promise you… you start serving – It will change your life

Serving will bring you into Alignment & Harmony with God

Col 3:14,17

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (whole context is serving each other)… And whatever you do in word or deed, do It all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

It will bring you into unity with God and others

1 Jn 3:18-19

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hears at rest in his presence… and this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him and he in them. This is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

It will give you strength and fulfillment

1 Peter 4:8-11

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all tings God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

[PRAY]

 

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