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April 14, 2022 8:00 am
What we are entering into, to discuss today is perhaps the most difficult issue in all of theology. Understanding how the relationship of the moral law summarized in the 10 Commandments to the church to Christians and in the age of of grace hello and welcome once again to the truth pulpit with Don green founding pastor of truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. I feel right today as God continues teaching God's people. God's word will begin a two-part lesson about morality and obedience in the Christian life and on. There are countless people who don't profess faith in Jesus Christ. Yet they live, what many would consider a good and moral life.
But the Bible says that's not enough. Why is that well-built, sad to say these friends simply don't understand the high standard of God knows your listening today my friend. I want you to understand that Jesus Christ said that you and I are to be perfect, even as our heavenly father in heaven is perfect. That's a standard that we cannot meet. It's not enough for you and me to be better than the next guy that we see sitting next to us. We need to see that God standard is absolute perfection in that perfect standard is reflected in the 10 Commandments. That's why we are airing this series, please open your Bible and stay with us as we study God's word together. Thanks Don and Fred. Let's join our teacher now for part one of this message, called the moral law and Christian obedience fear of the truthful.
Today we are going to consider the moral law and Christian obedience. That's the title for today's message.
The very nature of biblical salvation is that you cannot save yourself man does not have the capacity to save himself. He cannot be good enough to earn God's favor. He is a sinner separated from God. Scripture says in John chapter 3 that men actually prefer darkness to light that they cannot obey God's word because I don't even want to do as it says in Romans chapter 8 man has broken God's law. He falls short of God's glory and the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ is this, it's that Christ has come, and he has helped us he has done a work on our behalf that we might be reconciled.
Despite our guilt and unworthiness. Jesus Christ in his perfect sinless life when he walked the face of the earth for some three decades.
He perfectly obeyed the law of God, and he did it on behalf of of his people. Jesus Christ perfectly paid the penalty and and and absorb the wrath of God that was rightly against sinners when he shed his blood for us on the cross of Christ was acting as as a representative as a substitute for those who would believe in him. His obedience fulfills the requirements of the law of God, and for those who believe in him. He graciously shares that merit with them so that we approach God, not in our merit, not on anything good that we have done but exclusively trusting in the merit of Christ as being the point of access to a holy God.
And along with that, that the fact that Christ shed his blood is the only possible thing that can can wash away your sins.
If you're not in Christ. Today you have sin that clings to you. You have sin in your account. There is an infinite debt that you owe to your creditors so to speak, the most holy God. You have sin and you have a debt that you cannot pay and the good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ is paid the penalty of sin is paid the debt that our transgressions have created on our accounts and he paid it when he shed his blood at the cross Scripture say that the blood of Jesus his son cleanses us from all sin broken and a contrite heart.
Oh God, you will not despise, and so we can come to God through Christ.
It's the only way that we can come we come with humble broken hearts. We contrasting not in ourselves looking outside of ourselves, not to our obedience but to the perfections of Christ, the perfect shed blood that he has spilled on our behalf and we approach God in that way. And in that way alone so that as I said sometimes in the past to meaningfully say that you are a Christian is to make a profound statement about yourself and about Christ to save for someone to truly say that there Christian is to make an open confession that I am in my own self.
I'm a sinner who deserves the judgment of God and I believe that Christ intervened on my behalf. He paid what was necessary for me to be reconciled with God and I trust nothing of my own self. Nothing of my own works. My tresses entirely in the Lord Jesus Christ and in him alone for my reconciliation with God, and if it were not for Christ. I would be destined to rightly perish miserably for all of my eternity.
That's what the confession of Christ means as one writer said it's in on a life I did not live on a death. I did not die another's life, another's death I steak my whole eternity. That's the sense in which we trust in Christ and so those who repent and believe in Christ receive this perfect gift. This perfect standing with God as a free gift of undeserved grace God accepts us in Christ, not on the basis of anything that we have done which leads us to question that is profoundly significant for a study of the 10 Commandments. If all that is true, and it is if all that is true then why are we concerning ourselves with the study of the moral law of God, which is summarized in the 10 Commandments. Why does this matter. If the law has been fulfilled on our behalf. If the penalty that the law requires has been satisfied by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, then why concern ourselves with such an extended passage is over such an extended period of time. Why concern ourselves with something that you say has been satisfied in Christ. We want to look at it from the eyes of Jesus look at it through the teaching of Jesus, who showed us in his exposition of the law that the law still has a role to play in the life of his disciples. With that thought in mind, I invite you to turn to Matthew chapter 5 verse 17 Matthew chapter 5, beginning in verse 17, which will kind of work as our foundational text here. Matthew chapter 5 verses 17 through 20 Jesus Christ immediately corrects any false notions about the purpose of his coming of his life, death and resurrection, and he tells us this in verse 17 he says do not think that I came to abolish the law or the prophets. I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then, and Knowles, one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Now what we are entering into, to discuss today is perhaps the most difficult issue in all of theology. Understanding how the relationship of the law applies to the church to Christians in and in the age of grace and let me just summarize this for you. For now, even though the law has been fulfilled on our behalf in Christ, its requirements have been met on our behalf in Christ is penalty has been paid on our behalf. In Christ the moral law still has authority in our Christian lives. Even though our obedience is not the ground upon which God accepts us. Let me say that again the moral law still has authority in Christian living is not the ground upon which God accepts us because God accepts us in Christ. But there is still a role for the moral law to play and it still has authority in our lives.
Think about it this way, the moral law summarized in the 10 Commandments it does something additional that is often forgotten when these matters are discussed. The moral law is a revelation of the will of God is a revelation that that manifests his own holy character.
It shows us what God desires and what it is that pleases him, so that as we understand the moral law in its depths and in its breath. We have before us an understanding of how it is that we approach life in a way that pleases God. Too often, when the 10 Commandments are ignored consistently over time and an individual Christian life or in a Christian pulpit. The result, I fear, is this is that we are left to people or begin to think that it's just their own sentimental notion about loving God, or what their sentimental subjective notion of what the will of God is that they rely upon to guide them in life and in and how they live. And God did not intend it to be such a subjective variable approach. He gave us the moral law so that we could see what pleases him. We do not have to say this a dozen times because I know that there will be people in other places just dying to jump on in and to misrepresent my teaching on this, which is just consistent with reform teaching what I'm teaching you is consistent with what the best reformed theologians have taught since the days of Luther the moral law for the Christian does this. It shows us the will of God so that we can please him with the way that we live. It guides us in other words, it also does something else.
It shows us the remaining pollution of our nature. The remaining sin that is in our lives. It humbles us by showing that even as believers. There are just countless ways that we fall short of the glory of God so that it teaches us humility as we see the remnants of sin in our nature and at the same time it gives us lofty aspirations as we see how God is holy and this is how he wants his people to respond to his holiness as it says in the second table that gives a specific direction on how we are to love our neighbors. This is not left to our sentiment.
This is not left to an emotional and emotional approach to life. There is objective structure that gives us a sense of direction for every aspect of our life in the 10 Commandments reveal that to us in a way that is undeniable when they are properly understood and properly applied, takes time to soak it in. That's why were going to take our time with it, looking for the time a few months from now where we've considered all of these things carefully, and then we have the opportunity to to start to move forward into think about them in a bright and Proper Way, Scripture goes so far as to say this, that obedient Christian lives are are part of the way that God's law is fulfilled, turn to the book of Romans chapter 8 Romans chapter 8 in verse one, you see a summary of everything that I said by way of my introduction. The fruit that the result of salvation for those who have repented and put their faith in Christ alone is this, Romans chapter 8 verse one. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, we are free from the terror of the law because Christ has fulfilled it on our behalf. There is no need for us to be afraid of eternal judgment. No need to fear the place that doesn't exist that some call purgatory. There's no need to fear that because Christ has satisfied everything that God requires on our behalf. And yet, as we continue on in our Christian lives, what salvation has done it is freed us from guilt. It is freed us from condemnation, but now through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, God has equipped us so that we can actually respond in loving obedience to what he is required in in his law versus two through four. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Your freed from the power of sin. Your freed from the penalty of sin. Verse three for what the law could not do week as it was through the flesh, God did sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.
Okay, so that purpose clause so that expressing what follows after genuine salvation of true conversion. What follows after true conversion, verse four, so that the requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit. In other words, has the spirit of God works in your heart. Over time your life grows in its obedience to the law, not because you're trying to earn God's favor through your obedience, but it is the natural response of the child seeking to please his parents with obedience to what they require. That's what love is expressed in obedience as were going to see Spirit empowered obedience to the moral law of God flows from true salvation. JC Ryle guides us in our thinking about the moral law when he says this in his reflections on the Gospel of Matthew. He said this in a quote. Let us not suppose for a moment that the law is set aside by the gospel or that Christians have nothing to do with it. Christ refers his people to the moral law as their guide for holy living. He cannot save us.
But let us never despise it" as Christ goes on from this statement that we read in Matthew chapter 5 he goes on, and he expositors what the law means to his disciples will that's us. Those who have believed in Christ or his disciples.
Christ word is our law. Christ word is is authoritative to us, and what did he teach us when he said I did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it well and the rest of chapter 5 he takes different statements from the law and explains their significance for his disciples. He obviously saw the moral laws having effect and authority in the lives of his disciples. So we do not agree with those who say that the 10 Commandments have been set aside for believers in Christ were just careful to define the purpose that they actually have. I'm going to do this.
I'm going to give you six reasons that true Christians obey the moral law, not perfectly. We do not obey perfectly in this life we don't obey in order to gain God's favor or favor is found in Christ. But the way that we respond to the loving salvation the Christ is given to us is expressed in obedience blessing awaits you if you heed the things we are about to hear from God's word and a clarity of understanding and what the Scriptures mean in your life is found in what were about to look at. It's all very practical. So let's just go through the six reasons very quickly. What are the factors, what are the influences that the spirit of God uses to produce obedience in your life. Why is it that a true Christian cannot be indifferent to sanctification why it is that he cannot be indifferent to being conformed to the image of Christ.
Why are those things true and necessary result of genuine conversion. Six reasons will go through them quickly. The first one starting with the cornerstone of God's character is this is that God is holy God is holy Scripture calls you to a holy life because of the nature of the character of God.
Look first of all, at first Peter chapter 1 first Peter chapter 1 just after the book of Hebrews and James. For those of you that have a hard copy of the Bible in front of you. First Peter chapter 1 verse 14 Peter is speaking to Christians here. He is not engaging in evangelism to the unconverted, he is speaking to those who are true children of God and he is instructing them on how to live in the midst of a hostile world and he says this in chapter 1 verse 14 he says. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the holy one who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior because it is written, you shall be holy, for I am holy. If you want to look at another passage turned over to first John chapter 1 verse five John again writing to true Christians emphasizing throughout this book, the importance of obedience as being a mark of genuine salvation. It's the exact same premise.
Simply using the word light instead of holiness. This is the message we have heard from him and announce to you that God is light.
In other words, God is holy God is through because that's true of God in him there is no darkness at all. Therefore, if we say that we have fellowship with him. This God who is light if we say we have fellowship with this God who is light and yet we walk in the darkness we walk in a life patterned in sin and disobedience.
Then we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his son cleanses us from all sin. The point of this passage in first Peter and here in first John, you know you can go through the rest of first John and see the symphysis again and again is a God is holy and God's moral law expresses his holiness.
It is a manifestation. It is a revelation of his holiness and the implications that it has for men. How we are to love God how we are to love our neighbor is found there in the moral law expressed in the 10 Commandments. So being in Christ is not set the moral law aside empowers us to keep it.
It empowers us to recognize its authority and to seek to have our lives conformed to it as the spirit of God works within us the point and what were saying here is this is it. This is inevitable. It could be no other way. My friends my brothers and sisters in Christ. If a holy God has genuinely saved you and genuinely made you one of his children and brought you into his family, then understand this, that he gave birth to you, to gain spiritual birth to you in order that you might be conformed to the family likeness that you might just as children show the physical traits of their biological parents that you would show forth the spiritual characteristic of the God who gave birth to you. You were born again you were born from above, the God who gave birth to you is a God who is holy and therefore it is obvious that there will be a principle of holiness that is at work in the lives of those who are truly saved could be no other way. How is it possible, I ask you, how is it possible that someone could have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them and live a life of indifference to the two obedience to God, live a life of utter rebellion against him and still be and still be in Christ that does not compute.
That does not make sense that is not biblical. That is not true salvation because true salvation is found when a holy God gives birth to new life to one who was previously walking in darkness as a result of that holiness will be the mark of those who truly believe there will be a growth in holiness done green bringing our lesson for today to a close. Next time, part two of his message called the moral law and Christian obedience. Well, if you'd like a copy of today's lesson we would like to share it with a friend. Just click on the truth. Pulpit.com. Once again, that's the truth. Pulpit.com are series titled God's forgotten law moves ahead. Next on done green I'm building right you can join us then as he continues teaching God's people. God's word truthful