DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

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The Old And New Law
 

1. Jesus changed the old law on several occasions. He did not feel bound.

Matthew 5:21-43
21 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'
22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca, ' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.
23 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,
24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
25 "Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.
26 I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
27 "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'
28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
31 "It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.'
32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.
33 "Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.'
34 But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne;
35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.
36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.
37 Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
38 "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'
39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.
41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
43 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'


2. Examples of Old Testament law.

Leviticus 20:9-10
9 "'If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother, and his blood will be on his own head.
10"'If a man commits adultery with another man's wife--with the wife of his neighbor--both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.


Exodus 21:17
"Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.

Exodus 22:18
"Do not allow a sorceress to live.

Exodus 23:10-19
10 "For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops,
11 but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what they leave. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.
12 "Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest and the slave born in your household, and the alien as well, may be refreshed.
13 "Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips.
14 "Three times a year you are to celebrate a festival to me.
15 "Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in that month you came out of Egypt. "No one is to appear before me empty-handed.
16 "Celebrate the Feast of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field. "Celebrate the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field.
17 "Three times a year all the men are to appear before the Sovereign LORD.
18 "Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast. "The fat of my festival offerings must not be kept until morning.
19 "Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God. "Do not cook a young goat in its mother's milk.


Exodus 34:18-21
18 "Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in that month you came out of Egypt.
19 "The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock.
20 Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons. "No one is to appear before me empty-handed.
21 "Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.


If you are going to obey some of the law, then shouldn't you obey them all?

James 2:10-11
10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
11 For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.


Through the centuries people have tried to bind on Christians certain laws from the Old Testament. During the first century, some people tried to bind circumcision as essential for salvation.

Today, people try to bind the Sabbath as essential in pleasing God. Both circumcision and Sabbath keeping are part of the old law. Galatians and Hebrews were written to address this question.

3. Galatians chapters 2 till 5 address those details.

a. Galatians 2:16
know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

Man is not justified by observing the law.

b. Galatians 2:19
For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.

"I died to the law".

c. Galatians 2:21
I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"

You cannot be saved through the law.

d. Galatians 3:10-11
10 All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law."
11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith."


You must do everything in the law. You cannot pick and choose.

e. Galatians 3:19
What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator.

The law was temporary.

f. Galatians 3:25
Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

We are not under the law.

g. Galatians 3:26-27
26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,
27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.


Baptism is essential today.

h. Galatians 4:8-11
8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.
9 But now that you know God--or rather are known by God--how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?
10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!
11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.


There are no more special days.

i. Galatians 4:15
What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.

Legalistic Christianity steals your joy.

j. Galatians 5:1-6
1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.
3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.
4 You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
5 But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.


Living under the old law is useless. It alienates you from Christ.

Yes, we are free from the law. Yet we are not free to sin.

Galatians 5:13-26
13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.
14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
15 If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.


4. The old law is abolished.

Ephesians 2:14-16
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,
15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,
16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.


The old law is cancelled.

Colossians 2:13-15
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,
14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.
15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.


Do not let anyone judge you in regard to -- a Sabbath day.

Colossians 2:16-17
16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.
17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.


Clearly the laws about the Sabbath are abolished, cancelled and not binding today.

5. On which day should Christians meet?

Acts 20:7
On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.

6. The new covenant replaces the old. We are not bound by the law. The Sabbath is part of the old law.

Hebrews 7:10-11
10 because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.
11 If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come--one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?


The curtain of the temple was torn from top to bottom. We now come to God through Christ, not through the law.

Matthew 27:51
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.