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November 27, 2019 1:00 am
Legalism is the elevation of man made tradition to be on equal level as the commands of God.
Some even quoted above the word of God. Legalism is the keeping of man-made laws and traditions and rules of thumb about the church and on the rough man-made laws and that we need to obey outside of the church about about the church that you make those and you place those above what God said or equal to it and thinking that this is what God wants. Legalism is the thinking that the keeping of man-made tradition is going to give you favor with God. Legalism is in some tradition has truly been far more important than the word of God itself. Legalism is that religious spirit that says that if I go to church for one hour a week.
I can live like the devil for the rest of the week. Legalism is the religious spirit that says that unless you worship a certain way. Unless you are baptized a certain way.
Unless you follow certain liturgy. Unless you do this or you do that you're not a great Christian legalism is the condemning of one sin but then winking on the hall a lot of sins.
Legalism is the focus on those things that are not necessary for salvation and making them almost as important as the gospel itself. Dr. John Edmund Haggai writes in one of his books. The story that took place back in the 30s. It was a gathering of the world Baptist women alliance in Berlin, Germany, and their the German Baptist women To the port to greet their American counterparts.
When the German women looked at the American women coming with the big hairdo's, and heavy makeup. The German Baptist women at the time believe that's a sin that so they gathered together had a prayer meeting and they began to pray for these lost American Baptist women and they prayed against their sin of makeup and hair do, and a parade and then he began to weep and the tears was flowing into the beer mugs there when the American way. Baptist women got word about this, they began to pray for the Germans for drinking beer lesson I grew up in legalism. I know it from the inside track. I remember the preacher would make absolutely sure that everyone of us boys knew that dancing playing cards is going to get you to hell in man I used to be terrified and identified cards. But the one thing that he would rile against is what he called the sin of the cinema the sin of the cinema and he would lean on the pulpit and say where will you be and what will you do if Jesus returns you out of the movie God is my witness, terrified of Jesus coming back before I see the ending of the movie. I think my family will tell you I really don't go to movies that often and I've never enjoyed the experience. Legalism messes you up. It can mislead people into thinking that you can be a great Christian.
If you just don't do certain things, but let me balance this I need to balances while we all understand the problems of legalism.
So many of the younger Christian generation today have gone to the other extreme, and they have made grace into license today. There are very few young Christians who are discerning and judging what they see what they hear where they go.
What they read who they associate with, and they have converted grace into license.
The Bible has a word for those who turn grace into license, and it's called carnality. This goal, and that is why we need to understand the grace of God we need to have a proper understanding of grace we need to have proper comprehension of what grace is all about. We need to have a proper appreciation of the grace of God I wanted to hear from this one a biblical Christian is a balanced Christian and a balanced Christian will refrain from sin no. Not for any other reason but because they know of the price. The Lord Jesus Christ has paid and that sin and for that sin, because they know that only through the power of the Holy Spirit of God can. They have power over that sin that they can be victorious over sin. They know that the reason they obeyed the living God, the reason to obey the word of God. The reason to obey the commandments of God is simply out of love for the Lord Jesus Christ gave his all to redeem us out of reverence for him.
Out of respect for him out of adoration for him, not by trying to buy him off no less paganism today. We conclude this series of messages. The God who pursues us and from Luke chapter 15 as we going to look at the attitude of the older brother the attitude of the older brother remember from the very beginning of the chapter. Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees, who are the legalists of all legalists is speaking to those Pharisees who have kept all of the rituals. The outward appearances and interpretations of the Old Testament by gurus on rabbis and special people rather than the word of God itself. All but while they kept all of these rituals.
Their heart was in the far country. Their heart was not with God and that is why the Lord Jesus Christ really comes to this part and he in effect saying to them, Mr. Pharisee, let me tell you you are the older brother, Mr. Pharisee, the older brother is a portrait of you Mr. Pharisee you are the one who kept all the external rituals and the interpretations of the word of God but your heart is far from God. You are the ones who may condemn one sin but then you rationalize and justify and dignify unforgiveness and you rationalize and you dignify bitterness and envy and gossip and backbiting in the smearing of the reputation of those with whom you disagree and most legalists in the Christian church sympathize with his older brother. In fact, I can tell you you don't hear too many sermons on the older brother there always govern the younger boy and man the rebellious boy that will condemn their younger brother, but somehow the skip this part about the older brother. Do you know why you know why because while the sun kept the tradition's he was gritting his teeth while he attended to the outer appearances and easy that's why Jesus called the Pharisees supplicants because in the biblical lands.
The same gives of buildings and almost painted them white and they look great from the outside, but inside was nothing but dead bones and Jesus said Pharisees, you are like supplicants.
He said you always make sure the cup was clean from the outside but you don't care how filthy it is on the inside and that is the older brother in the story he kept his heart, far away from God, but he stayed home he went to church, but he was sour and bitter and angry and he had a loveless heart. No wonder God hates legalism because legalism gives the impression that you can be saved or can be accepted by God by keeping the traditions in the outward appearances.
Legalism is Satan's theology literally legalism puts Satan in charge of a church with me illustrate you from the words of the apostle Paul from the Scripture.
He wrote a lot of epistles, the two that stand in contrast, is the one to the Corinthians in the one to the Galatians now. The Corinthians were now for their lack of discernment for their carnality and for sin, and he was writing to correct so much of that and yet he called them Saints. In his letter to the Galatians before he even says hello. He started ripping the shirt off their back. What was their sin. Yeah, they wanted to add that tradition to Jesus for salvation.
And Paul is saying is Jesus plus nothing equals salvation, and that is why he was indignant and he called them foolish Galatians before he can even say anything else I wanted to hear out on this one. The older boys legalistic heart is manifested greatly, supremely in the fact that he could not forgive his younger repentant brother. This is about the most important. If you get nothing else out of this message, you must understand that if you want to be like your daddy, your heavenly daddy you must forgive, like your heavenly daddy, and how does your heavenly daddy forgive. We saw in the last message we saw how he never, never hold your confess sin against you know when you come and say forgive me if it's done, he does not back up your sin on the hard disk in order that he may use it in evidence in the future and his wife clean. That's how your daddy forgives and that's how you and I must forgive. When we refuse to forgive unrepentant person. Your relationship with your heavenly father become strained and we see that clearly in the story here. He said very clearly because forgiveness is not an optional for the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ forgiveness is the only key that will unlock the handcuffs of hatred and bitterness and envy forgiveness opens close doors to unanswered prayer's forgiveness lines. You will with the will of God. Forgiveness lines your heart with the heart of God and the older brothers indignation turned into range when he heard what his father had done see the Pharisees could not accept the fact that the God of Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Moses and Elijah's and Joshua would forgive unrepentant Gentiles, they could never accept that it doesn't fit into the box and yet it's all in the Old Testament that God will open his arms wide to receive whomever whomsoever Right in the Old Testament all but the two papyri because it didn't fit their box in the Pharisees anger toward Jesus for preaching grace tuned into range on the day we called Good Friday and they called out, crucify, crucify him. We don't want the God of grace. We are on the God of the rituals who will accept this because were in control because he is in control is another very important teaching seminar that I wanted to miss. It's vitally important in the culture of the day and the time Jesus was speaking to those people. It is a given for the older brother to preside over all the families festivities. He is the host of the banquets of the family regardless of his personality. Whether he's shy or not, whether he's extrovert or intimate has nothing to do with it. This is part of the territory.
This is part of his responsibilities. This is part of his duty that his job as an older brother, but in the case of this older brother not only does he let his father down by the presiding over the family celebration, but he makes the scene outside of the house he insults his father by not fulfilling his duties but he creates an open rupture in the relationship with the father, beloved, listen to me very carefully in the eyes of God the father the all the board's rebellion is just as serious as a younger boy's rebellion, God does not have a big sin in the small sin. Sin is sin in his eyes.
And that's why when he redeem you he redeems you from all your sins; where to get this well. Look at verse 28 of Luke 15. Look at verse 28 Jesus said the father had to leave his house and the guests and go out to entreat his oldest son.
Now listen to me. This is never, never, never, never, never, never done in the context of the culture never.
The father never goes out to entreat the sun. The sun is the one who would entreat the father the father never pleads with the sun.
The sun pleads with the father.
The father never humbles himself before the sun but the sun is going to humble himself before his father is eager to understand in one day and one day this particular father humbled himself twice in one day, he humbled himself when his younger rebellious son returned and asked for forgiveness by running which never done and then he does it again with his older boy who was outward appearance was okay, but inwardly, his heart was far from God's heart was rebellious by coming out or leaving the party and leaving the house and coming out in the street in order to plead with him. What is that mean what is that mean it means this, please listen that God in Christ humbled himself that God in Christ did the unthinkable that God in Christ did the impossible that God in Christ did the unexpected that God in Christ did the extraordinary that God in Christ did what no one could fathom the God of glory would humble himself and dial across in order that he may redeem sinners, he humbled himself to the death of the cross for the Jews who were in the house under the old covenant, but the heart was far away from God and for the Gentiles who took all of God's blessings and all of God's resources, but then they dismissed God they ignored God he died for both those who were open rebellion and those who are in inward rebellion and only you know where you stand. The open rebellious son represents the Gentiles in inward rebellion son represents the Jews, and that is why you see the world at that time in their worldview was divided into two segments the entire world there with the Jews and the Gentiles. That's all of humanity. As far as Arkansas and that is why in Christ alone. Salvation can be found, whether Jew or Gentile in Christ alone. Heaven is possible in Christ alone credential is a reality. And these misguided leaders and teachers and preachers and pastors and priests who tell you that all the roads another lead to God.
All the roads would lead to heaven are contradicting the very words of Jesus as he and he alone humbled himself so that whosoever will come to him will receive forgiveness. All the members of the human race. The older boy represents the Jews, the younger boy represented the rest of the world and that is why Jesus left the ending of the story hanging up in the air. Somebody asked Mr. lines the story, it doesn't end this is sort of hangs in the air that was deliberate on the part of the Lord Jesus because the grand finale of the story is the open arms of that was stretched on the tree we call the cross and there was stretched to welcome whomsoever from every tribe and every race and every nation from every religious background from any background in the background of all from any age and from any and all sins for those who think that they have sinned greatly and those who thinks that they just send little for those whom I have only told a white lie in those who have broken every one of the commandments to God the father. Sin is sin number beloved friends. This is a true story and it is Bible doesn't say it's a parable because it's a true story of God the father, who in Jesus Christ and in Christ alone made it possible for anyone who would come to him be forgiven for those who will come to him and asked for his forgiveness to experience salvation and peace and joy and contentment and eternal life. The father loved both boys who represented all of humanity. He loved them both and that is why we take the gospel to the ends of the earth, and that's why we're committed to take the gospel to the ends of the earth from this place because God loves sinners whatever they might be. When who repent and turn to him and so the question that I pray to God will burn in everyone's heart and mind, not just today but for many days and maybe for the rest of your life.
I know it's a question that is always haunting me, like the older brother, like the older brother who stood in the way so that others were hindered from coming in. Are you just keeping the appearances I just doing the minimum are you looking around and seeing people dying and going to hell and you said yourself as long as I'm safe, right my family saved him okay I don't have to work number beloved friends. We need to care for the younger brothers and sisters who yet to come and repent and turn to the Lord just as we saw in the story today look you and me find it very easy to be like the older brother is justly the easiest thing in the world is the most natural thing in the world to get in the huddle and be under the roof of the father and happy in the hollow. It's easiest thing in the world is extremely easy for us. It's very easy to show no concern for those yet to hear and come and receive forgiveness and enter into covenant with God. God loves them and you and I must not only receive them but forgive father your word is truth, and has not changed in 2000 years. Those arms up and stretched on the cross while they physically no longer will not cross because the resurrection took place and you are in heaven, glorified by the open arms continue even today father.
There may be younger sons here today. People like the younger boy: the far country in the desperately need to come to the father I pray in Jesus name that they would not put it off there will come to you today. There are some, like the older brother who are living for self and get in the Christian huddle and don't think of those in the far country. They never moved by the desperation of father operating that you will move our hearts that we respond among us. Those who have a hard time accepting that you are in control and will not, I pray in Jesus name. Soften those hard times longer believe wherever we are. You're more than willing to welcome us in. Thanks for listening to this message from Dr. Michael use sat recently featured on leading the way. If you'd like to know more about us, please visit LTW.org@LTW.Ward