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← The Law of Christ (Part 3) - Charles Leiter

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Showing Revision 1 created 06/15/2018 by Michael Okiei.

  1. Well, I won't review some of the things that I would normally review
  2. if we were speaking with a day or two in between,
  3. because everything is pretty fresh in our minds.
  4. This series is about the law of Christ,
  5. and we still haven't even talked about the law of Christ [Laughter].
  6. We haven't talked about what it is.
  7. But Paul says in Corinthians, there in this passage
    (we've been reading 1 Corinthians 9),
  8. he says, "To those who are without law, I became as without law."
  9. But then he wants us to realize, "not without the law of God,"
  10. and then he identifies that with the law of Christ.
  11. He says, as Christians we're in-lawed to Christ.
  12. And he doesn't give us much of a hint here
    as to what the law of Christ is.
  13. He doesn't really say anything, which ought to be an indicator to us
  14. that this was something so familiar to the early church
    that they didn't need an explanation.
  15. But what about it? Can you think of anywhere else in Scripture
  16. where the phrase "the law of Christ" is specifically used?
  17. Anyone?
  18. I mean, you just can't come up with something right off.
  19. But the fact is, it is used, Paul uses it in Galatians 6, so let's turn to that. (P)
  20. Galatians 6:1, he says, "Brethren,
    even if a man is caught in any trespass,
  21. you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness;
  22. looking to yourselves lest you too be tempted.
  23. Bear one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ."
  24. Now, there it is.
  25. And that helps a lot more to give a hint of what is going on –
  26. bearing one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.
  27. Look, the law of Christ has to do with loving one another.
  28. Now, that brings up a further question:
  29. Where would they get the idea that loving
    one another would be called the law of Christ?
  30. "Love one another" – what do you think? where does that come up?
  31. [Audience answers] It's one of the great commandments.
  32. Of course, you could say, "Well, that's the law of God."
  33. Why would they come up with "the law of Christ"? (P)
  34. Well, let's look at this in John 13.
  35. John 13, here we are at the Last Supper,
  36. and verse 34, "A new commandment I give to you,
  37. that you love one another, even as I have loved you,
    that you also love one another.
  38. By this all men will know that you are My disciples,
  39. if you have love for one another."
  40. And then over in John 15:12, "This is My commandment," –
  41. this is the law of Christ – "This is My commandment,
  42. that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
  43. Greater love has no one than this,
    that one lay down his life for his friends."
  44. And then in verse 17, "This I command you, that you love one another." (P)
  45. Now this is the Lord, here in the upper room on the very last night,
  46. and giving this new commandment to love one another.
  47. Love is the new commandment.
  48. Now the question is: Why does the Lord
    refer to this as a new commandment?
  49. Here they are, sitting around here at the Last Supper,
  50. and He says, "I want to say something;
    I've got a new commandment for you."
  51. And they all perk up...
  52. And He says, "Love one another." (P)
  53. I mean, has the Bible ever said that before? Absolutely!
  54. He is calling this a new commandment.
  55. So the question is, Why? What's new about this?
  56. God had told them to love one another before.
  57. In fact, we saw that was one of the two great commandments.
  58. So why was this a new commandment? (P)
  59. Well, let me ask you a question,
    was there anything else that was new that night?
  60. There was a new covenant.
  61. He holds the cup up, He says, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood."
  62. Now He is giving a new covenant;
  63. and in connection with the new covenant,
    He's giving a new commandment.
  64. You remember when the old covenant was given,
  65. we better turn back there and look at this, Exodus 24.
  66. We forget about the fact that when the old covenant was given,
  67. there was the shedding of blood, and there was a covenant meal.
  68. Exodus 24:7, "Then he took the book of the covenant
    and read it in the hearing of the people;
  69. and they said, 'All that the LORD has spoken
    we will do, and we will be obedient.'
  70. So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people,
  71. and said, 'Behold the blood of the covenant,
  72. (think of Jesus' words: This cup is the blood of the new covenant.)
  73. Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD
    has made with you in accordance with all these words.'
  74. Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu,
    and seventy of the elders of Israel,
  75. and they saw the God of Israel;
  76. and under His feet there appeared to be a
    pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself.
  77. Yet He did not stretch out His hand
    against the nobles of the sons of Israel;
  78. and they beheld God, and they ate and drank."
  79. We don't even think about that.
  80. There was a covenant meal, the shedding of blood, and the giving of law. (P)
  81. Now what have we got in the upper room?
  82. They're sitting there, they're having the covenant meal;
  83. He says, "This is My blood of the new covenant."
  84. Now He says, "I've got a commandment to give you along,"
  85. not a book with 613 laws,
  86. "I've got one thing I want you to remember."
  87. Isn't it something?
  88. And it's the one thing we forget really quickly.
  89. I have seen situations as a pastor,
  90. "I've got this hard problem with so and so,
    what am I going to say to them?
  91. This is a mess, what am I going to say?
  92. And as soon as I got to the point where my
    heart was filled with love for that person,
  93. I knew immediately what to say to them."
  94. But when you are angry or frustrated or whatever, you don't know what to do. (P)
  95. You see, it is not the idea, beloved,
    that in the Law of Moses we've got 613,
  96. now in the New Covenant you go through
    and list all the commandments in the New Testament,
  97. and you've got this new code of law.
  98. That's not what it is.
  99. You don't have that. You don't need that.
  100. What you've got in the New Covenant
    is signposts pointing you to the life in the Spirit.
  101. And this is the big one: He says, Love one another.
  102. That's the big one. That's going to be the hardest thing.
  103. I mean, to truly love one another,
  104. He said that's going to be the hardest possible thing.
  105. And it's also the thing that He puts in your heart.
  106. There's nothing more demanding than this,
  107. there's nothing more exacting, there's nothing more difficult.
  108. But there's nothing more liberating, is there? Just love one another. (P)
  109. So, why does He call it a new commandment?
  110. Because it's associated with a new covenant.
  111. It's part of this whole thing.
  112. He's saying, "In the new covenant," as He is getting ready to leave,
  113. He says, "This is what I want you to keep foremost in your minds: Love one another."
  114. And so, Paul later, he knows what this means,
  115. he says, "Bear one another's burdens,
    and thus fulfill this commandment, this law of Christ,
  116. this new commandment that He gives to you. Love one another." (P)
  117. So it was new in that it was part of a new covenant.
  118. What else? Well, it's new because it has a whole new depth of meaning.
  119. It's one thing to say, "Love one another," but He didn't say that, did He?
  120. He said, "Love one another, as I have loved you."
  121. Now, that just raised the bar out of sight.
  122. It's new. That's a new commandment.
  123. Never, in all of human history, has there
    ever been a revelation of duty like this.
  124. Love as Christ loved – that's the highest revelation.
  125. It's the most wonderful - the most exacting -
  126. but the most wonderful revelation of man's duty that has ever been given.
  127. And so, to love others as much as Christ loved us by His actions,
  128. we'll talk about that more in a minute.
  129. But that was a new commandment. That's something new. (P)
  130. And so, why is this a new commandment?
  131. Well, it's associated with a new covenant;
  132. it gives an entirely new depth of meaning to the word "love" –
  133. we know love by this, that He did such and such, you see.
  134. All right.
  135. But what else? Well, there's a third reason that it's new.
  136. Let's just turn to this in 1 John 2:7, John brings this up,
  137. "Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you,
  138. but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning;
  139. the old commandment is the word which you have heard.
  140. On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you,
  141. which is true in Him and in you,
  142. because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining."
  143. What's new about this? Well, the thing that makes it new
  144. is that there's something that has happened in you, if you're a Christian.
  145. He says, in a way this is just the same old thing,
    it was all through the Old Testament.
  146. But he says, it's new now because the true light is shining,
  147. the day is already starting to dawn.
  148. Something has happened in you. It's true in Him and in you.
  149. And the true light is already shining, the darkness is passing away. (P)
  150. You can feel a little bit of what this means to love.
  151. In fact, we know that we've passed from death to life because we love.
  152. It begins at conversion.
  153. This is what God meant whenever He said, "I'll write My laws on your heart."
  154. Remember that, in the New Covenant?
  155. "I'll write My laws on your heart."
    What does He write on your heart?
  156. I remember I was a brand new Christian,
  157. and first thing I think when I get up in the morning,
  158. "Wow, I don't want to light a fire in my dwelling
  159. from 6:00pm Friday night to 6:00pm Saturday night."
  160. No, that's not the law that He writes on your heart.
  161. Or, "I really don't wanna...
  162. No longer do I want to wear garments
    that are cotton and polyester."
  163. That's not the law that He writes on your heart.
  164. But what He does write on your heart is:
    "Love for God and love for your fellow man." (P)
  165. I remember I walked to work, and there was a guy at that filling station
  166. (I used to work for 50 cents an hour, that tells you how old I am),
  167. and I despised that guy.
  168. And I walked in there, I'm a new creation, I love.
  169. Isn't that amazing? He has written His law on your heart.
  170. It's the big stuff.
  171. Paul says, "Concerning love for another, I have no need to write you,
  172. because you yourselves are taught of God to love one another" (1 Thess. 4:9).
  173. So that's something that happens: every Christian loves God.
  174. Every Christian.
  175. Paul calls Christians by that,
  176. he says, "We know that God causes all things
    to work together for good to them that love God."
  177. That's another name for a Christian.
  178. "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ,
    let him be accursed" (1 Corinth. 16:22).
  179. And all Christians love their fellow man.
  180. "We know that we have passed from death
    to life, because we love the brethren.
  181. If anybody hates his brother, he is a murderer;
  182. and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him" (1 John 3:14-15). (P)
  183. So this is in you when you become a Christian.
  184. God writes it on your heart. He writes the law of love on your heart.
  185. And one of the brothers mentioned, Jesus brings this up,
  186. Matthew 22:36, "A certain man came to Him,
  187. and he said, 'Rabbi, what's the great commandment in the Law?'
  188. And He said, the greatest thing of anything there is in the Law is,
  189. 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.' "
  190. Now, why didn't He just stop with that?
  191. The guy didn't ask Him, "What's the second greatest commandment?"
  192. Jesus volunteered it.
  193. He said, "The second is like it."
  194. How is it like it? It has to do with love. "
  195. The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' "
  196. Now why did He bring that up? why did He volunteer the second one?
  197. Because He wanted to lay the foundation for an important teaching.
  198. He says, "On these two commandments hang the whole Law and the Prophets."
  199. What Jesus is saying is, "These are the big ones;
  200. and everything else hangs on that, it depends on that."
  201. Love is the big thing. (P)
  202. A Brother and I were talking about: adultery is not a big thing to God;
  203. now listen to me, stealing is not a big thing to God;
  204. murder is not a big thing to God;
  205. except as it relates to breaking the law of love.
  206. Now let me say it another way: adultery is a really big thing to God.
  207. He hates it.
  208. Why? Because it's breaking the law of love.
  209. But you see, what Jesus is saying is,
  210. all these commandments hang on the Love commandments.
  211. Murder hangs on the Love commandment.
  212. It's not something in itself, it has to do with the fact
    that it is breaking the Love commandments.
  213. Why are the Love commandments so big?
  214. Because God is love.
  215. The Bible never says God is justice.
  216. It says He is just, but it doesn't say He is justice.
  217. But it does say He is love.
  218. Isn't it amazing, we have a God who is love.
  219. And that law that everybody hates so much
    is just an expression of who He is. (P)
  220. So, here you have a God who is perfect love;
  221. and He gives you a law, He says, "Look, don't curse a deaf man."
  222. Now what kind of a God would give a law like that?
    Well, a God of love.
  223. "You shall not place a stumbling block in front of a blind man."
  224. Here comes this blind man along,
  225. you say, "Let's have a little fun with him. Let's stick something there."
  226. Do you realize if you love that man, you'll keep that law automatically.
  227. God makes a law, He says, "Look, there's an open pitch, you've got to cover that."
  228. Why? Because it relates to love.
  229. "You've got an ox, it gores people, you've got to confine it."
  230. You go through those list of laws, what are they?
  231. They're hanging on love. (P)
  232. Now this is amazing.
  233. One of those men came to Jesus, he said,
  234. "Rabbi, what must I do to have eternal life?"
  235. He said, "Read in the Law, what does it say to you?
  236. What does the Law say?"
  237. And he says, "Well, you shall love..."
  238. This guy must have been a pretty amazing Bible scholar actually.
  239. He says, "It says you shall love the Lord your God
    with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength;
  240. and your neighbor as yourself."
  241. Jesus didn't say, "Well yeah, but there's 611 other commandments you gotta keep."
  242. He says, "You've answered correctly; do this and you will live."
  243. He says if you'll do those two things,
  244. you will fulfill everything, you'll have eternal life.
  245. The problem is, nobody has ever done any of them for five minutes,
  246. except for one Person - the Lord Jesus. (P)
  247. But think of this:
  248. When He said there's a first commandment and a second commandment,
  249. He wasn't saying there's a long list -
    there's the third, and the fourth, and so on.
  250. He said, "These two take in everything. They really do."
  251. If you love your neighbor you're going to tell him about the Lord;
  252. it doesn't take some commandments about sharing the Gospel.
  253. I mean, you can just go down through the list -
  254. if I love my neighbor, I don't want to steal his wife,
  255. I don't want to steal his car.
  256. And as you go through the New Testament you'll find this.
  257. I won't look up all the verses because
    we just had lunch, but they are so many.
  258. 1 Timothy 1:5, he says, "The goal of our instruction..." -
  259. why, why are we spending this time,
  260. why are the preachers up front there?
  261. Is the goal of our instruction that we might know what the symbolic meaning
  262. of the tenth toe of Daniel's image is for prophecy? No!
  263. "The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart,
    an undefiled conscience, and a sincere faith."
  264. That's the goal of everything.
  265. Paul says, "Owe no man anything, but to love one another."
  266. He used "love" in order to fulfill the Law.
  267. He is writing to Gentiles in Galatians,
  268. he says, "The whole Law is fulfilled in one word, 'Love one another' " (Gal. 5:14).
  269. The whole thing.
  270. They didn't know all the ins and outs of all those commandments,
  271. but he just tells them, "If you just love, you'll fulfill the Law." (P)
  272. Maybe I ought to give you the references anyway.
  273. We've got time, we'll look at some of these.
  274. 1 Timothy 1:5. I mentioned 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13, he says,
  275. "May our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you;
  276. and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another,
  277. and for all men, just as we also do for you;
  278. so that He may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness."
  279. That's how you grow in holiness - growing in love.
  280. In Galatians 5:13, he says, "For you were called to freedom, brethren;
  281. only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh,
  282. but through love serve one another.
  283. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word,
  284. in the statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' "
  285. Amazing statement!
  286. And then in verse 6 of the same chapter:
  287. "In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything,
  288. but faith working through love." (P)
  289. Galatians 5:22, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love" - first thing.
  290. Galatians 6:2, "Bear one another's burdens,
    and so fulfill the law of Christ." - love again.
  291. 1 Peter 4:8, he says, "Above all (above all - most important thing),
  292. keep fervent in your love for one another,
    because love covers a multitude of sins."
  293. Colossians 3:14, he says, "Beyond all these things put on love,"
  294. after he has gone through this whole list,
  295. "which is the perfect bond of unity."
  296. And Ephesians 4:31 and on, "Let all bitterness
    and wrath and anger and clamor and slander
  297. be put away from you, along with all malice.
  298. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other,
  299. just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
  300. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;
  301. and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you
  302. (you see, that's a new commandment,
    Love one another as I have loved you)
  303. and gave Himself up for us,
  304. an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma."
  305. One more, Romans 13:8, "Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another;
  306. for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
  307. For this, 'You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder,
  308. You shall not steal, You shall not covet,'
  309. and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying,
  310. 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
  311. Love does no wrong to a neighbor;
    therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (P)
  312. So this is a central thing.
  313. Now think of how much more wonderful the law of
    Christ is, than going back to the Law of Moses.
  314. Just think of this in some areas.
  315. Suppose some brother receives a gift, somebody gives Chad a new car,
  316. and he already had a car that was better than mine.
  317. And so, you know, I think back to what Moses said, "Thou shall not covet."
  318. And I try not to covet, you know,
  319. and I do fairly well as long as I don't look at his car.
  320. Think of that.
  321. But suppose that I love him as Christ loved,
    and somebody gives him something,
  322. what's your immediate response?
  323. You praise God, because you love the person.
  324. Your attitude is not this attitude of "I've got to try..."
  325. It's one that fulfills it automatically. You're delighted. (P)
  326. Here you're going down the street,
    you meet some woman that's immodestly dressed,
  327. and you have the thought, you know,
    "The Law said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' "
  328. Now how does that compare to, if you've just come out of a prayer meeting
  329. (your heart is full of love), or you're out on the street witnessing,
  330. and you see that same person totally different?
  331. You fulfill the law in a much higher level,
  332. because you're concerned for the soul, you love the person.
  333. You love them. (P)
  334. There was an evangelist a couple hundred years ago,
  335. I think maybe he was in Boston, he had just been converted.
  336. Maybe it was a little less than two hundred years ago.
  337. Anyway, he was a new Christian full of love for God,
  338. and this woman came up and propositioned him.
  339. Now he didn't realize what she was asking at first,
  340. and then he finally thought, "She's a prostitute."
  341. He burst into tears. And then she burst into tears.
  342. What is that? He was full of love for her.
  343. She never had anybody love her. You see the difference?
  344. Instead of saying, "You wicked woman, what are you doing?"
  345. It's the law of Christ, and it's such a higher level. (P)
  346. Giving: you know, "Well, I paid my tithe, and I've got it taken care of."
  347. How different is that than loving as Jesus loved – He gave everything.
  348. You know, you might have to give away, not one dollar, but all ten of them,
  349. and you might have to give away your billfold.
  350. Or, you might not give away anything.
  351. Why? Because you're led by the Spirit of God, teaching us, you see, teaching us.
  352. It's the law of Christ, it's not a list of rules and dos and don'ts.
  353. It cannot be codified, it's too incisive to be codified. (P)
  354. Let me give you an example.
  355. Some of you have read this and you're aware of it.
  356. This is Evangeline Booth,
  357. who was a daughter of William Booth, founder of Salvation Army.
  358. Evangeline Booth: "As one who ministered often to the dregs of society,
  359. she found herself one morning outside the large iron gates
  360. of a local police court and temporary prison.
  361. Waiting for the gates to open she heard the
    shuffling of heavy feet and loud, agitated voices.
  362. In her own words (and I'm quoting from her),
  363. she says, 'The gates opened wide, and I witnessed a sight
  364. which, if eternity could wash away from my mind, time never can.
  365. It was a woman.
  366. Two policemen walked in front and two behind.
  367. (Now the Salvation Army, in the early days,
  368. they reached out to the lowest of the low and they were full of life).
  369. Two policemen walked in front and two behind.
  370. One stalwart man firmly held the right arm and the other the left.
  371. (You got six guys escorting this woman out).
  372. Her hair was uncombed and matted and disheveled.
  373. Her right temple was blackened with bruises.
  374. Clots of dry blood stood upon her left temple.
  375. Her clothes were torn and bloodstained.
  376. She tried to wrench her arms from the grasp of the policemen.
  377. The very atmosphere of the morning
    was laden with her curses and oaths.
  378. She tossed her head wildly as the six policemen
    dragged her down the passageway.
  379. What could I do?
  380. One more moment and the golden opportunity to be of help would be gone.
  381. Could I offer a prayer? No, there was not time.
  382. Could I sing? It would be absurd.
  383. Could I give her money? She could not take it.
  384. Could I quote a verse of Scripture? She would not heed it. (P)
  385. "Whether it was a divine suggestion or not, I did not stop to think,
  386. but the impulse of a burning desire which filled my heart as she passed
  387. made me step forward and kiss her on the cheek.
  388. Whether the police were taken off their
    guard by my extraordinary action,
  389. relaxed their grasp, I do not know.
  390. But with one wrench she freed her arms and clasped her hands
  391. as the wind spread her matted, disheveled hair,
  392. and she looked toward the grey skies and said, 'My God.'
  393. She looked around wildly for a moment
    and then said, 'My God, who kissed me?
  394. My God, who kissed me?
  395. Nobody has kissed me since my mother died.' (P)
  396. "Lifting her tattered apron she buried her face in her hands
  397. and, like a little lamb, she was led to the vehicle which took her to prison.
  398. Later I went to the prison in the hope of seeing her,
  399. and at the door stood the warden.
  400. When I approached the warden,
    she said, 'We think her mind is gone.
  401. She does nothing but pace up and down her cell,
  402. asking me every time I go in if I know who kissed her.'
  403. 'Would you let me go in and speak to her?' I asked,
  404. 'I am her only and best friend.'
  405. The door was opened and I slipped in.
  406. Her face was clean. Her eyes were large and beautiful.
  407. And she said, 'Do you know who kissed me?'
  408. Then she told me her story.
  409. 'When I was a little girl of seven years old, my widowed mother died.
  410. She died very poor, although she was of genteel birth.
  411. She died in a back basement in the dark.
  412. When she was dying she called me to her,
    took my little face in her hands,
  413. and kissed and said to me, 'My poor, little girl.
  414. My defenceless, little girl.
  415. O God, have pity on my little girl;
  416. and when I'm gone, protect her and take care of her.'
  417. From that day to this, nobody ever put a kiss upon my face until recently.
  418. Then again she asked me, 'Do you know who kissed me?'
  419. I said, 'It was I who kissed you.' (P)
  420. "Then I told her of Him whose life was so
    much more tender than mine could ever be,
  421. and how He went to the cross and bore our sins upon Himself
  422. and was wounded for our transgressions,
  423. that He might put the kiss of pardon upon our brow.
  424. In Him she found light, and joy, and comfort,
  425. and salvation, and healing, and love.
  426. Before she was released from the prison,
  427. the warden testified not only to the
    change in her life, but to its beauty.
  428. She was made, through Christ, the means of salvation
  429. to numbers of others who were down as low as she had been,
  430. and who were bound with fetters as heavy as those
    with which she herself had been bound." (P)
  431. Now what is that?
  432. What law are you going to say, "Kiss this woman now"?
  433. You see how different it is?
  434. The New Testament is not the idea God gave us a new list of laws.
  435. He didn't do that. He gave us the life of Christ,
  436. and He gave us some signposts saying, "Look fellows, this is radical.
  437. This is what it's going to look like."
  438. That's what He is doing in the Sermon on the Mount.
  439. And these things are things that God has given when we desperately need...
  440. How did she know to do that?
  441. She knew it because she loved people like that,
  442. and the Holy Spirit prompted her to do it right then;
  443. and she just did it, without thinking.
  444. That's what we need. That's what we're talking about.
  445. And beloved, I'm speaking for myself,
  446. we are so quick to become acting atheists
    and forget about the Lord Jesus,
  447. and read our Bible verses and do our thing, our Christian thing.
  448. But if you're full of Christ and full of love, it's totally different, isn't it?
  449. Totally different. And it's a living relationship.
  450. We have to be brought back to that over and over and over.
  451. It's not your list of rules. (P)
  452. Sometimes I go on trips overseas, come back,
    my wife's standing at the door,
  453. she's got a list: "Kiss husband. Hug husband."
  454. Do you realize how insulting that is?
  455. If you've got love in your heart you're going to do the right things.
  456. But a lot of times, that's the way we are treating the Lord.
  457. "I didn't do this, I didn't do this..."
  458. He's looking at something a lot bigger than that. (P)
  459. Now which of these things do you think will most convict of sin:
  460. the Law of Moses or the law of Christ?
  461. Here's an example - what I just read.
  462. I mean, it's convicting.
  463. I remember when I was a college student,
  464. I was staying with a family that was full of the Spirit of God.
  465. And there were always a lot of people coming there for meals,
  466. and the kitchen was just a beehive of activity -
  467. women fixing stuff and what have you.
  468. And one of the kids came in, right in the middle of all that,
  469. and had to get a glass of milk out of the refrigerator.
  470. You know, it's like he was already an annoyance.
  471. And then he opens the door up,
    and breaks the glass of milk all over the floor,
  472. right while they're preparing this big meal.
  473. And his mother turned around like this,
  474. she said, "Oh, Steven, I love you."
  475. She took his face in her hand.
  476. That did more to convict a self-centered college student.
  477. I mean, we were talking last night about college students.
  478. They'll come through your door, and they'll say, "Feed me, I'm yours.
  479. What can you do to serve me?" [Laughter].
  480. But to see that, you see, that's much more than the "thou shalt nots".
  481. It's convicting. (P)
  482. Watchman Nee tells a story, there was a Christian there in China
  483. where they had these fields that they would paddle full of water - rice fields -
  484. they would paddle them full of water using a bicycle-like contraption
  485. that has a water wheel on it.
  486. And this man paddled and paddled, filled his field full of water.
  487. And the neighbor came in the night and opened the gate,
  488. and let the water out, and it ran down to the neighbor's field.
  489. So the Christian came the next day, he saw that;
  490. he closed the gate, didn't say anything, filled his field up again.
  491. Next night, same thing happened.
  492. And it was time for prayer meeting, he came in and said,
  493. "I haven't done anything against my neighbor,
  494. I haven't said anything hurtful to him or anything.
  495. But somehow I feel like this is just not measuring up to Christ."
  496. And they prayed about it.
  497. The next day he opened the gate and filled his neighbor's field first,
  498. then closed the gate and filled his field.
  499. The neighbor came to him, and he eventually became a Christian.
  500. He said, "What, What, What is this?"
  501. It's the law of Christ! (P)
  502. When Jesus said, "If they compel you to go one mile, go with them two,"
  503. you know, the Romans had the right to compel you
    to carry their burden for one mile.
  504. So they yell at you and call you over there,
  505. you think, "Well, I'm doing pretty well.
  506. I'm not complaining, I'm not really angry, I didn't curse the guy,
  507. I'm not thinking bad things about him."
  508. None of that measures up, does it?
  509. So Jesus said, Go the second mile.
  510. It's during that second mile the guy is wondering,
    "What is different about this person?"
  511. I mean, he starts talking to you,
    and you have the opportunity to witness to him.
  512. It all sounds so good, doesn't it brethren,
  513. until you're carrying that burden the first half a mile [Laughter].
  514. It's a lot easier to preach about it than it is to do it,
  515. because in reality it's sweaty and it's heavy, and your back is hurting.
  516. It's the same way with our spouses.
    It's the same way with our children.
  517. It's the same way in the body of Christ.
  518. There's nothing more costly than that.
  519. It's costly.
  520. But that's where it is. That's what we're talking about. (P)
  521. Another question comes up, How can you tell what real love is?
  522. Two college students living in sin,
    they say, "Well, we love one another."
  523. Jack Kevorkian, he loves his people so much he helps them commit suicide.
  524. Love is claimed to support abortion.
  525. So it sounds like Jesus left us a pretty flexible, mushy-type standard, doesn't it?
  526. But what did He say? He didn't say, "Love one another, "
  527. He said, "Love one another as I have loved you."
  528. In other words, all of His teaching, His holiness, His perfection, His life,
  529. everything about Him, His manner, all that, that's the standard.
  530. And that takes care of the problem.
  531. The conduct and life and person of the Lord Jesus Himself
  532. is the rule and duty of the Christian.
  533. We're called upon to be just as holy as He was. (P)
  534. In closing, what I want to draw your attention to here,
  535. is how the New Testament teaches ethics.
  536. You think about giving: how does the New Testament teach giving?
  537. "Well, you know, in the Law it says you're supposed to tithe,
  538. and I still believe that is still binding on us: we've got to tithe."
  539. Oh, the standard is a lot higher than that.
  540. That's a starting point. It tells you what is reasonable.
  541. For example, ten families ought to be able to support one.
  542. We know that's not too big of a burden, the Jews did that.
  543. You see, there's help from the Law;
  544. but it's not the standard for the Christian, it's just a starting point.
  545. It gives us a little thought of what they did then.
  546. But when you start looking at Christ...
  547. Well, let's look at it, how does Paul teach giving?
  548. II Corinthians 8:7, "Just as you abound in everything,
  549. in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness
  550. and in the love we inspired in you,
  551. see that you abound in this gracious work also.
  552. I am not speaking this as a command,
  553. but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also.
  554. (Love, love, love).
  555. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
  556. that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor,
  557. so that you through His poverty might become rich." (P)
  558. So, what is the example of giving?
  559. Well, here is one.
  560. He was richer than anyone has ever been,
  561. and He became poorer than anyone has ever been,
  562. that we might become rich.
  563. You see what a standard that is?
  564. It's so much higher than Moses, it's just unbelievable.
  565. You see what John was saying?
  566. "The Law came through Moses;
  567. grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17).
  568. Beloved, we are not diminishing in the least the Law of Moses.
  569. It was glorious, it was great, it was perfect.
  570. But you're talking about a candle in relation to the sun shining in its fullness. (P)
  571. The way we treat our wives: How should we treat our wives?
  572. Ephesians 5:25, "Husbands, love your wives,
  573. just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
  574. that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her
    by the washing of water with the word." (P)
  575. Serving: What about serving?
  576. John 13:13-15 says, "You call Me Teacher and Lord;
    and you are right, for so I am.
  577. If I then, the Teacher and Lord, washed your feet,
  578. you also ought to wash one another's feet.
  579. For I left you an example that you should also do as I did to you."
  580. There is Christ again, "Love as I love."
  581. You see how much is coming up? (P)
  582. Yielding our rights: Romans 15:1-3,
  583. "We who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of the weak
  584. and not just please ourselves ...
  585. For even Christ pleased not Himself;
  586. but as it is written, 'The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.' "
  587. So see, Paul says, Look, if you want to talk about ethics,
  588. there is nothing that you can use that's greater than the example of Christ. (P)
  589. Kindness: We read that in Ephesians 5:2, "Walk in love,
  590. just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us,
  591. an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma." (P)
  592. The way we treat the poor: James 2:8,
  593. he says, "If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law
  594. (or, literally, the law of our King, that is, the law of Christ)
  595. according to the Scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,'
  596. you are doing well."
  597. Verse 12, "So speak and so act as those
    who are to be judged by the law of liberty."
  598. That's what he calls this, the law of liberty.
  599. "For judgment will be merciless to the one who has shown no mercy;
  600. mercy triumphs over judgment."
  601. In other words, this law of our King - Love -
  602. if you're not in that category, judgment is going to be merciless to you. (P)
  603. How about laying down our lives for others:
  604. 1 John 3:16, "We know love by this, that He loved us, He gave Himself,
  605. He laid down His life for us;
    and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." (P)
  606. Not striking back: 1 Peter 2:20-23,
  607. he says, "What credit is there if, when you sin
    and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience?
  608. But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it,
  609. this finds favor with God.
  610. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you,
  611. leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
  612. who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth;
  613. and while being reviled, He did not revile in return."
  614. It's like any area of duty and responsibility,
  615. you can never find a better example than Jesus. (P)
  616. Humility: that's the last one we'll look at.
  617. Think of humility.
  618. You could say, "Well, Moses in his day was the meekest man on earth.
  619. Look at how he fell down and prayed for them."
  620. He was an example, wasn't he?
  621. But the humility of Moses is nothing compared to the humilty of Christ.
  622. He says, "Let this mind be in you that also was in Christ Jesus,
  623. who, although He existed in the form of God,
  624. did not regard equality with God a thing to be held onto, to be grasped,
  625. but He emptied Himself and came down, taking the form of a servant.
  626. Being made in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself
  627. by becoming obedient to the point of death,
    even death on the cross" (Phillipians 2:5-8).
  628. Now how can you have a better example of humility than that?
  629. There's nothing like it! (P)
  630. You see, all of this stuff just congeals together, it all fits together, perfectly.
  631. What's our example? Our example is the Lord Jesus.
  632. "Love one another as I have loved you."
  633. You could sum it up if you read 1 Corinthians 13,
  634. and instead of putting the word "love" in there, just put "Christ" in there.
  635. "Christ is patient, Christ is kind and is not jealous;
  636. did not brag, was not arrogant, never acted unbecomingly;
  637. did not seek His own, was never provoked,
  638. did not take into account the wrong suffered;
  639. did not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoiced with the truth.
  640. He bore all things, He believed all things, He hoped all things..."
  641. Why? Because He was love incarnate.
  642. What is God? God is love.
  643. What you see in Christ is, you see God walking around as a man,
  644. perfectly fulfilling love to God and to His fellow man. (P)
  645. Now look at where we've come.
  646. We're new creatures in a new realm;
  647. we have a new commandment that has been written on our hearts;
  648. we have new hearts.
  649. We have a new standard, and we obey, not by following external rules,
  650. but by the outworking of an inward power.
  651. And the standard is Christ.
  652. He is the ultimate and final revelation of the invisible God and His will for us.
  653. And He is at work in us right now to will and do of His good pleasure. (P)
  654. Now, these things that I have said to you have been criticized by some.
  655. They say, "Look, if you don't have the Ten Commandments,
  656. if you don't have the Law of Moses, you don't have any objective standard.
  657. You're just adrift on a sea of subjectivism."
  658. Well, beloved, we have the whole Bible.
  659. We have Christ's example.
  660. But like I said, this is too incisive to be codified in a list of rules.
  661. You cannot get a list of rules to plumb the depth of Christ's being!
  662. Only He can do that by His Spirit in various situations,
  663. like that example that we read.
  664. You could never possibly list them all.
  665. It's happened down through church history over and over and over,
  666. the Spirit of Christ working in His people
    has caused them to say and do things...
  667. Haven't you experienced it yourself
    when the Holy Spirit is with you and God is real?
  668. You say things that you would not have said otherwise. (P)
  669. I remember sitting out in my van years ago, reading my Bible in the morning.
  670. And it was one of those times where the
    Lord just drew near to me in a measure,
  671. and He was real.
  672. First thing I thought of, "There's my neighbor over there,
  673. I want to talk to him about the Lord."
  674. I would not have done that, apart from the Holy Spirit prompting.
  675. That's all we need, beloved.
  676. All we need is to be in touch with our Lord,
  677. and to have the help of His Spirit.
  678. That's all we need. That's all we need.
  679. That's what we're talking about when we talk about the law of Christ. (P)
  680. I had a pastor write to me from a different country.
  681. He was offended by my book, and he said,
  682. (Now think of this, I'm holding up Jesus as our standard),
  683. he said, "I can't believe that you would deny the moral law of God."
  684. Deny the moral law of God?? Jesus?
  685. But he wanted a list, you see.
  686. May God help us.
  687. These are wonderful things, like I said, to talk about.
  688. The Lord is worthy of our glorifying Him.
  689. But it's hard, come Monday morning, isn't it, when you're at work.
  690. We need help.
  691. We need the Lord's help. Amen.