The Law of the Land 3/5/2022
-We’re Jumping back in to our Pyramids Series on the book of Exodus
-and today the text we have ready to read is chapters 19 through 24
-I understand that’s a lot of bible
-But We’re not going to read every single verse. Instead we’re going to get up in the airplane and try to take a 30,000 foot view of what’s going on here
-We’re going to be looking at the Law that was given on Mount sinai.
-My goal is for you to have a solid understanding of the ins and outs of Jewish law,
-and more importantly I want you to have a solid understanding of how Jewish law relates to you
-That’s my goal
-My goal is for you to be able to look at these chapters in Exodus, or Leviticus, or numbers or Deuteronomy
-and for you to be able to read the law, all of the legal bits, all of the stuff that might not quite make sense.
-All of that stuff that’s like don’t wear multiple fabrics and don’t plant two different seeds in a field
-and all of that stuff that seems strange to you
-and for you to be able to pick it up, read it, and to understand how it relates to you personally as a Christian
-So if you have your bible I invite you to turn to Exodus 19 . We’re going to be starting in verse 1
1 On the first day of the third month after the Israelites left Egypt—on that very day—they came to the Desert of Sinai. 2 After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain. 3 Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel:
4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.
-Notice the language God uses here
-He says I carried you on Eagles wings
-God is painting this picture of a mother eagle rescuing her young, and carrying them to safety
-He’s painting this image for us of an eagle in the nest teaching her young to fly
-And the Law that is about to follow here is an example of that
-The purpose of God’s law for the israelites was to take a group of people who did not know God
-They did not trust God
-They did not have faith in God
-A group of people who had spent almost 500 years worshipping idols in Egypt
-and to train them like a bird teaches her young how to fly
-to train them how to become followers of the one true God
-Make no mistake that is a monumental task that God is taking on.
430 years is a long time.
-there are 430 years worth of bad habits and evil practices that the Israelites are going to need to unlearn.
-Because you can’t just pluck an entire nation of people out of Egypt and just expect them to know God overnight.
-they’ve had almost half a century of learning how to worship idols, learning how to follow Egyptian culture.
-and within a matter of 3 months, now, God is like.
-OK. You’re my people
-They needed the law. They needed that unlearning.
(Left handed, right handed, ambidexterous)
-So bible tool number one for today to keep in your back pocket,
-if you’re reading from the law, if you’re reading from Exodus, or leviticus, or Deuteronomy
-and you get to something that just seems weird.
-It just doesn’t make sense.
-all of the stuff about “not mixing fabrics” or not planting fields with two different types of seeds.
Chances are. There’s like a 98% chance that the reason those laws were there is because the Egyptians or the Caananites did those things.
-And God is trying to cut them off, cold turkey, from their old false religions.
Because he wants a people who are just his.
5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
-That word “covenant” is a very important theme that comes up in the bible again and again
-and you need to understand that covenant is just a fancy bible word for “contract”
-That’s what it is. God is drawing up a legally binding document for the Israelites to sign Much like a mortgage or a lease
-or any other legal document you would sign.
-And so God initiates this contract
-you are going to be my people
-you are going to obey me
He tells moses “we’ve initiated the contract, get the people together, get them prepared so that they can hear the terms of the contract.
-Have them purify themselves, abstain from relations, wash their clothes
-For three days I don’t want any other distractions, anything that woudl get in the way of preparing them for this contract
-Because this is the most important contract that you’re ever going to sign
-So I want you to spend 3 days preparing yourselves mentally, spiritually, and physically so that I, God, can hash out the details of this contract.
-And if you move down to chapter 20 we see the initiation of the contract
1 And God spoke all these words: 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. 7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. 8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. 12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. 13 “You shall not murder. 14 “You shall not commit adultery. 15 “You shall not steal. 16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. 17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
-These 10 commandments, these “ten words”
-are the heart of the entirety of Jewish law.
-And they’re the heart of our moral law today
-we see them in courthouses, we have them posted downstairs for our children’s church.
-Everything you read in the law of moses gets filtered through this passage.
-Think about our system of laws in this country.
-we have what is called a constitution.
-that’s the supreme law of the land
-the way it’s supposed to be set up is that every other law in our country is superceded by the constitution.
-It’s the lens through which we should understand everything else.
-we also have somewhere on the order of 30,000 other federal laws and statutes
-some of them are cumbersome, some of them are very generic.
-But if our lawmakers and courts are doing things correctly they are supposed to enact laws in accordance with the constitution
-and if a law is enacted that goes against the constitution
-or if a law is implemented in such a way that goes against the constitution
-the constitution is supposed to be the basis that we use to interpret all of the other laws.
-They’re all legally binding, they’re all backed up with the force of the federal government
-but there is a hierearchy of laws
-and it’s the same thing here.
-all of these laws are God’s law, all of them are backed up by the authority of God
-but the israelites were meant to view them and enforce them through the lens of the 10 commandments
-and in fact as we get into chapter 21, if you look closedly we’re going to see that everything that follows is really just a clarification of these 10 laws.
-That’s how we should think about the law.
12 “Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death.
13 However, if it is not done intentionally, but God lets it happen, they are to flee to a place I will designate. 14 But if anyone schemes and kills someone deliberately, that person is to be taken from my altar and put to death.
-This is a clarification of Exodus 20:13
13 “You shall not murder.
-Because the question comes up
-life is messy
-and we want to know, when God says “don’t murder” we want to know about all of those edge cases.
-what happens if I kill someone on accident?
-is that technically murder?
-and so God gives clarification on that.
28 “If a bull gores a man or woman to death, the bull is to be stoned to death, and its meat must not be eaten. But the owner of the bull will not be held responsible. 29 If, however, the bull has had the habit of goring and the owner has been warned but has not kept it penned up and it kills a man or woman, the bull is to be stoned and its owner also is to be put to death. 30 However, if payment is demanded, the owner may redeem his life by the payment of whatever is demanded.
-Again this is a clarification on the law,
-Honestly if we were to compare these laws to our own governent, they’ a lot more like Supreme court cases, then laws the way we think about it.
-Right, in our system, congress passes a law. (well, they’re supposed to)
-but then if there’s a question about it, it goes to the supreme court
-and the court says yes, this is constitutional, here’s clarification on it,
-here’s how it should be enforced
-here’s a more specific understanding of things.
-And the israelites of the day were expected to be aBLE to draw the principle behind the law.
-We live in a loopholes society today
-We live in a world in which if it’s not specifically written in stone, then it’s not law.
-take the law about the bull as an example
-if that law were written today, exactly how it says in the bible
-Someone had a dog with the habit of biting
-and they’ve been warned multiple times you need to keep your dog on a leash
-and then that dog goes and bite someone.
-If that were written today in an american law code
-they’d have a lawyer combing through the documents and he’d say your honor, my client is innocent.
-Because the law mentions Bulls, it makes no mention of rotweilers
-there fore my client is fully within the bounds of the law.
-And in our culture if that were the case, the man would be found not guilty
-that’s how our laws are set up.
-If you tried doing that to a judge in ancient israel they’d laugh you out of hte court.
-because they understood that he principle behind the law was the important part, not the details .
-And so we’re not going to read all of these for sake of time
-but you can see as you go down
5 “If anyone grazes their livestock in a field or vineyard and lets them stray and they graze in someone else’s field, the offender must make restitution from the best of their own field or vineyard.
-this is just a clarification on what it means to not steal.
-so that nobody can come back and say “technically I didn’t steal. My cows just happened to be grazing in their field”
-and the bible says nope nope nope. no loopholes
-if there’s a sin in your life
-and you justify it to yourslef
-chances are you’re probably guilty
-if you say to yourself “well, technically
-No. God doesn’t deal with “technically’s”
-he’s not a fan.
-And so God goes through the 10 words, the foundation
-and then he gives the ordinaces , the law. the specific ways in which the israelites in that culture were meant to interpret the 10 words
-And I encourage you to read through all of those
-some of them are strange to our culture, some of them seem like common sense.
-But they get through all of these laws and ordinances and clarifications
-and then they ratify the contract.
3 When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.” 4 Moses then wrote down everything the Lord had said. He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the Lord. 6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he splashed against the altar. 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.” 8 Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
-We see that the covenant is ratified.
-the covenant is signed.
and the law is officially established.
and from this point forward, in the history of israel, you end up having 613 mitzvot, 613 laws that the israelite people are under between exodus, leviticus, numbers and deuteronomy.
and those laws range drastically from laws like “you shall not murder”
all the way to really obscure purity laws about defiling skin diseases and food laws about what kinds of animals you can and cant eat.
-And one of the most difficult questions that people often ask is:
-the big thing that’s always on everyone's mind
-which of these laws do I need to obey.
-And the answer is
now i want to be absolutely clear, none of these laws bring us salvation, none of these laws can save us. that's not what im asking.
im just talking about the question “which of these laws should i strive to follow if i want to be an obedient follower of god.
i feel like thats a fair question to ask, ismt it?
i love god, i want to do everything i can to be obedient, because he saved me, because i love him..
-we already talked about the importance of drawing out principles over the details
-but the question still kind of lingers, doesn’t it?
how do i know which of these laws i should be striving to follow?
-and it’s really not a simple answer
-I would love to give you a simple answer
-But I really can’t
-think about it.
-if the answer was, well it’s all god’s law, we should obey all of it
-well that really doesn’t work.
-Because the new testament gives us multiple places where it flat out says “this law does not apply to you any more”
-the laws about eating unclean foods are specifically removed for us
-the laws about circumcision are specifically removed for us.
-OK, so then what if we say “we don’t need to follow any of them” we’re not under the law
-well that’s not really true either
-that’s too simple of an answer also
18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’”
-Understand the fact that Jesus is absolutely afirming the law here
-Jesus says dont murder, dont commit adultery, dont lie…
almost as if it were a no brainer here.
-And in Matthew 5, not only does he affirm the law, he actually makes it more strict than the law of moses.
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall 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.
-That’s more strict.
that's saying “you shouldn't even think about adultery” let alone do it.
ok so what if we just say “the 10 commandments.” jesus seems to afirm the 10 commandments.. what if we just narrowed it down to those ones.
-and you can’t even say “well it’s the 10 commandments. Those are the ones I need to follow.
-you can’t even really say that.
-when’s the last time anyone here took a sabbath rest.
-That’s not what sunday is by the way.
-Going to church on Sunday is not the sabbath.
-that’s not the same thing .
-I know that we like to think that we understand this
-but I’m telling you this is one of those questions where
-the more you actually study it, the less certain you’re going to be about it.
-if you start reading through the new testament, trying to figure out which laws you need to obey
-I promise you, at the end of it you’re gonna have more questions than answers.
-Even reading through paul’s letters
-Read through romans
-I want you all to really think critically about his
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
-And you’re like Ok Paul, thank you
-my adherence to the law of Moses does not determine my salvation
-that’s a good thing
-so I’m not under the law
31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
-and maybe I’m the only one who wrestles with this
-Maybe you all are just like, oh, cool, we’re not under the law but we uphold the law. Good to know.
-And if you’re at peace with that, then good. Good for you. you can feel free to take a nap through the rest of the sermon.
-Becuase when I read that, my first thought is
-What do you mean, Paul?
-What do you mean uphold the law.
-And the imaginary paul that I’m speaking to is like
-Well you obey the law, I thought I was pretty clear.
-and I’m like,
-Which ones, Paul?
-I’ve been told multiple in this book that there are laws I don’t need to uphold
-what do you mean??
-we like to pretend that this is a really simple answer
-but the more you actually look into it, the more complicated it really can get
-But I want us to land the plane here and I want us to hopefully get a better understanding of what exactly paul meant. What exactly Jesus meant when he said the law is fulfilled.
1 Corinthians 9. Paul discusses this whole “under the law, not under the law” thing
19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.
20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.
21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.
-This is a hugely important concept to understand
-We are under the law of Christ, not the law of Moses
-Both of which are God’s law
-Christ is God, the Law of Moses was given by God
-But they are two different Laws, two different covenants.
-We are under the law of Christ
-And when we think about the Law of Christ
-there’s a couple of different components.
-the law of Christ is the law of Faith
-We’re not Justified by the law, we’re justified by our faith in Jesus Christ.
-The other aspect of it is the actual Law of Christ, the words that Christ spoke.
-It’s the new testament
-it’s the teachings of Jesus
-It’s following the pattern of Christ.
-But I think if you really want to dig down to the center of it
-and cut away all of it and really get to the heart of things.
-How should we be living as Christians.
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
-Everything in the Law of Moses was meant to train the israelites to do those two things
-Everything Jesus taught was meant to train his disciples how to do those two things
-Everything we read about in the new testament letters, from paul and peter, and james
-Was meant to train the early church how to do those two things
-That’s the law of Christ
-The point of all of it, the point of all of the thou shalts and thout shalt nots is for us to know what it means to love God and to love our neighbor.
-Thats what it means to be under the law of Christ.
I told you at the beginning of all this,
-that My goal was to get us to a point where we understand how we relate to the law, which ones should we follow, how we should interact with the law.
-and Jesus is basically telling us that the ENTIRE old testament. Every single word, everything in the law and the prophets should be read through the lens of “Love God with all your heart” and “love your neighbor as yourself”
-and if you can do those two things, then paul says you’ve already fulfilled the law
10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
-If you want to know how to obey god, if you want to know what to do to be obedient?
-you can start by loving him.
-and loving his creation.
-and if you’re still not clear what that is supposed to look like, well we have the perfect example.
13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
-Think about all of the people in your life you’d be willing to die for.
-off the top of my head I can count the people who I could without question say, yep I’d die for them
-I can probably count them on one hand.
-Now think about the way you love those people, the way you want what’s best for them over your own needs.
-And Jesus’ challenge here.
-Is for us to have that same level of love and care for a random stranger.
-for our enemies.
-And most of all for God.
-how have you shown love today?