Our human nature struggles with Law, with mandates and methods and motivation. Law is about doing. Grace is about our being — Who are you? Something more than Law. Man of God. Believe and be born of God. New heart and new spirit is put into us. (2 Kings 4:8-10; 1 John 5:1-5)

Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon # 11534
11:00 AM on 9/2/2018

 

 

P. Schaller

Victory in Jesus. We are a happy group of people today… (He’s pointing out people in the audience). Would you stand with me and praise God and worship God and say it a few times. Halleluiah, praise the Lord. Thank you, God. We need you, God. Let’s say that together. Help me. Love me. Encourage me. Bless us. Teach us. Guide us. Let me leave my lousy attitude. Let it go. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Fill us with your spirit. Let me live in the light and walk in the light. Praise the Lord.

Why did you come to church today? Turn to your neighbor and ask them. Stewart Lucas, why did you come? To get fed. He came to get fed. Why did you come P. Ralph? To be blessed. To be built up. To learn something. I came to get healed. I came seeking. I came to find. I came to be fed. I came to understand something. Look at the Peterson family over here. Give a wave! We’re going to have a good lesson today.

How about what is legalism? Do you know? Maybe you could say I know it when I see it. How many have been in a legalistic church? Maybe some of you haven’t been and don’t know what it is. Legalism is our subject today. The finished work grace message we’ll explain and teach that this morning. The Lord will show us some fresh things. When you have law, and you live by law, then it’s very easy for us to – when we all have the same law, it’s easy for us to look at others and each other. If you keep the law, you can say I am one that keeps the law. When you break the law, I am someone who has broken the law. I am bad and this person is good. I have kept the law and you broke the law. Jesus came to a very religious country, Israel, filled with people who said I have kept the law. Someone else, I have not kept the law. Jesus was in that bringing another message, the Gospel, another message. I want to take that apart a little bit and teach it to you. I want to lead you in something amazing, a new way of life and thinking. It’s very encouraging because Jesus is amazing. Our new life is amazing. For the sake of the exercise, turn to your neighbor and say what legalism is. Maybe you will learn something.

2 Kings 4, tomorrow is a picnic and P. Scibelli will be there. Give a message. They meet at Patterson Park. You are welcome. In the past, we did it at Oregon Ridge in the countryside. Perhaps we will go back there but tomorrow it’s in the city. It will start about 1:00, the short program.

2 Kings 4:8, a great woman, meaning an important woman, some notoriety, some fame.

vs. 8. I want you to see something about legalism. Legalism is law. Ten Commandments. These lines represent commandments. Moses had 620 laws. All kinds: civil laws, falling off a roof, your ox disturbs my property. Your son rapes my daughter. The priest dressed in a way offers the blood. The animal sacrifices the oil, the entry into the tabernacle. All of it is important law. God made an agreement with the Jews. Basically if you keep my law, we will bless you.

De 28:32, if you do my law and keep it, you will be blessed. If you do not keep it, you will be cursed. Law is a big part of our Bible. Laws and rules and regulations. We realize this as we are students of the Bible and history and religion. In our understanding, it is important we would understand the curse that there is living under the law. The law is severe. We read that in our O.T. in different ways. There is very little mercy under the dispensation of law. That organized frame that is called law. This is law and the second thing about living by law is me. My nature. My nature. We call it the osn. Old sin nature. I don’t enjoy the law. The law will work sometimes on my behalf. Then I would enjoy it. There are times I wouldn’t want it. It’s for my advantage to not obey it, not to live by law.

There are a few elements here that enter into the picture. Not only what I’m doing but who I am. We have these two verbs “to do” and “to be.” When we talk about law, it’s more about what we are doing. Are you keeping the Ten Commandments? Living by these rules. How do you behave in public? How do you carry yourself? What kind of image do you give to people? We generally want people to have a good idea about us. We are tax payers. We keep the rules and laws of the land. Then it feeds our pride and who I am as a person, my dignity and self-respect and image of who I am. Third is my motivation in keeping the law. Usually the method is my osn, my discipline and my osn and I’m motivated for self-respect. I’m motivated by what the public says about me. If I’m religious, I’d like the church to have a good impression of me and how I’m a righteous person.

This can be confusing so I’ll go to another portion. There is something that entered our life that we didn’t have before. This woman received a prophet. I perceive this is a man of God. I realize that this man has a walk with God. I would like to have for him a stool, and a bed, and a table. Isn’t that what she wanted?

vs. 10. He will come here and be with us. Because I believe – I’m saying it. It’s not written here – there is something more than law. There’s a man of God. There’s something more than just my OSN and us being honored and respected. I would like to hear something fresh from the man of God. I would like the Spirit of God to move in our family. I’d like to know something more than law. I want to find the grace of God, the ways of God, the mind of God. I perceive this man is a prophet. Stop right there. This man has something going on with God. I want that in my life.

In the Book of Acts 16, it looks like Timothy found that with Paul. Paul came to Lystra and Timothy started moving with Paul and traveling with Paul. He realized he was a man of God. He had found something. Let’s go to our next portion. Law and grace and three things. Mandate. In grace, we have the same mandate. Same law. But there is a difference. You shall not commit adultery. That’s one of the laws. You could say I won’t commit adultery so I’ll live by the law. So you don’t.

1 Jn 5:1-5. Am I going to fast? Are you listening? Someone in this room is not listening. Hold it. Listen. Turn to your neighbor and say are you listening? Are you in tune? This message will be useful. I believe that. I think it’s fantastic.

1 Jn 5:1 born again, born of the Spirit. Born of the incorruptible seed. A sinner is born of God. God did it. He elected us. He gave his Son. He shed his blood. He became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God. Christ is in you, in your body, in your spirit, in your soul. Christ dwells in us. We are born of God.

This woman said I perceive this man is a man of God. Let’s make a room for him. Prepare a place. We need him. He will bring something. We will learn something. We will know something from God. We have the law. Okay but you have the law but point #2 you have the method you live by is your self-life or your OSN. You have your flesh to keep the law. You keep the law by the flesh. In the Greek world, they had these masks with a stick. In the theater, they put the mask there. They would act their part with this mask. This is what our flesh does. We kept the law our flesh says. But on Friday night, I have a secret little room nobody knows about it. We keep the law. We really do. But in the private chamber of my heart, deep in the cellar of my heart, nobody knows but I have another life. But we keep the law. This is my OSN. Legalism is an empty message of religious activity based on behavior and image of righteousness but does not go to the heart of the person. The heart of the person. The reality. When Jesus comes, and you are born again. Born in you is a new nature. A new heart and a new spirit. A new heart and a new spirit, a new way of fellowship, of life. Something we didn’t have before. Another thing about legalism is when you live by the law, by your sin nature, and thirdly, your motivation in doing it is actually glorifying self. Why are you keeping the law? Because I am that kind of person. Why do you keep the law? Because I am a Christian. This is the way I am. I am able to do this and keep the law and do the right things I’m supposed to do. This is me. My righteousness. Have you noticed me lately? Have you noticed how I lived in the last five years in this church or with these people?

Someone borrows money from me and I don’t mind if they don’t pay me back in Lk 6: 35, but I will always remember they didn’t pay me back. It bothers me and I’ll deal with it one day. Law. I love the law. We’ll talk about it in a second.

1 Jn 5:1b we love those that are begotten of him. We love our brothers and sisters. If we love Jesus, we will love our brothers and sisters. I’m sensitive in a church how relationships go with each other. There must be love and forgiveness. We must not know each other after the flesh. Sometimes when someone is from another country, you could say, if they are from Russia, we have Russians, so come to our church. They might say, I don’t want to meet Russians. We have Hungarians. We don’t want to meet Hungarians. Cameroon, etc. I don’t want to meet people from my own country. This is different. This is not a fellowship of the flesh but in the Spirit. We are looking for Christ in each other. Whether Russian or Chinese or American, we are fellowshipping in the Spirit of God. We have found a new life.

vs. 2. Love God and keep his commandments. I can tell I lost a lot of you. I didn’t make it simple enough. You’re not with me. You are not listening. You zone out. Maybe I’ll pick up a few more. It takes a little bit of work. Follow it. Legalism is when people read the Bible and obey the Bible based on their OSN. Their motivation is actually self. They are keeping the law, the rules and regulations because it’s proper, it’s needed, and it’s good for me. Maybe people will recognize who I am. I am doing this because I am a Christian and so on. This system is empty. It’s like the person with the mask saying I like you very much. You are such a wonderful person. Not all the time. It’s not really that great. It’s kind of empty you know. You don’t know the whole story. How lovely you are. How wonderful this is. It’s a world of psychophrenia and behavior that is also somehow empty. Christ came and he was who he was all the time. He didn’t care about this thing. That binds us and we worry about people and what they are saying and thinking. Have I projected the right image? Do you believe me what I’m talking to you? Jesus doesn’t have this mask. He is Christ and all the time truth and reality is in his heart. People were afraid he would find out who they really were. You don’t have God’s love in your heart. Why don’t you understand what I’m saying? My word has no place in you. You are not as righteous as you project to be. The rich young ruler asked Jesus what I must do to have eternal life. What’s wrong with that picture? Jesus said you keep the commandments. What did he say? All these I have done since my youth. Then why are you asking what must I do to go to heaven? If you’ve done all this since your youth, you should know you go to heaven. You have the mask. I’ve done all of this? Then you could easily sell all you have and give to the poor. You haven’t. You’re a phony. I know that. Jesus saw him go away and he was sorry. He had legalism adopting as a method of operating and missing the whole thing. It’s not about legalism. It’s about God. In that story, I think if we make a room for this man to come to our house we will have something. I think life is more about relationships than the law. Where people live by the law, they don’t have good relationships because they have this thing. They are projecting an image but inside hurting and dead men’s bones.

I was in the café talking after 9 service, and one brother said I have been in many legalistic churches. How does that work out for you? He’s been here for decades. How does that work for any of us? We love the children of God. This is the love of God that we keep his commandments. Two things to share with you. In our home, in our family, we take our shoes off when we come into the house as a habit. We taught our children take our shoes off. Imaginably one would say why. There can be different answers. Why? Short answer because I said so. That’s it. No discussion. Take your shoes off. Why? I’ll tell you later. It’s important. You will know. I’ll pull you aside. I want to talk to you and tell you why. I’ll share my heart with you. Your mother works very hard and she cleans the house. When we take our shoes off, we are saying we love you mom. Which story line works? Because I said so. This is how the law is. The law will tell you you shall not commit adultery but won’t tell you why. When the prophet comes into the woman’s household the prophet knows something, a secret. Jesus said I call you my friends because I tell you my secrets. I want to bring you into the inner circle. 2) Method. I’m going to keep the law but what is the method? By faith in what God says. His secrets spoken to my heart. New man. New heart. New spirit. Thank you Jesus. If you could know in your life how precious it is that you are born of God and the Spirit of God is in you and he is your teacher and will speak to you and lead you and help you. You will enjoy the law. You will keep the law and enjoy the law. It’s not what people will say about me or I want to project the right image. You keep it because it’s written in your heart. I take my shoes off because I love mom. This is the new life I have. It’s called the perfect law of liberty.

James 1:25, James 2:8, the mask but liberty, there’s no mask. It’s just life. You’re not caring about what people are saying or thinking about you. You’re not caring about the law as a label or badge of your honor. My integrity, my reputation, my image in the public. You don’t care about it. He hung on the cross in shame. As an example of how he didn’t care what people are saying or thinking about people. He cared about laying down his life and showing love and manifesting the true nature of the law. The nature of the law is God, love. It’s fulfilled in one word, Love. The third thing in the grace column is God glorification. What is your motivation? Glorification. To glorify God. What are you doing? We are glorifying God. Don’t you know your denomination is in trouble or the head office or what people are saying about you? Okay but does it glorify God to hang on a cross. Does it glorify God to be a throw away person. Maybe. I don’t need to worry about the things of the flesh. You’re caring more about the things of the Spirit. Here’s a good one. A man and woman are engaged to get married. They decide they are Christians and they decide to move in and live together before marriage. What do you think about that? What is your view of that? I have to say in my heart God what do you say? Everybody does it. The world we live in and all this. If that is the basis of our decisions, what are we even doing going to a church when the culture decides for me how I live? All areas of life. I would like to hear what God is saying. What is the commandant?

vs. 3b. His commandments are not grievous, burdensome. Why aren’t they burdensome? On this side, they are burdensome because of my osn. On this side, they are not grievous because of my new man, my new nature. I’m wanting to find out if I should live with my girlfriend before I marry her or live with my girlfriend period. I want to get counsel. I want the prophet to be in my house. I will go to church and listen to what the Scripture is saying. In my new nature, I’m hungry and thirsty for what God is saying. If I obey God in this area, he will give me secrets. We say to the child, be sure to take your shoes off. Why? Just trust me. Take your shoes off. I’m living by faith in what Dad said. I don’t understand everything but I live by faith.

I don’t live with my girlfriend because I live by faith with what God has said not to commit fornication, sex outside of marriage, Eph 5. You get married and then have sex with your wife. That’s the order. I want to do what I want to do. That’s how it is. Fine. It’s you life but if you want to have a challenge and glorify God. I don’t want to hear it. It’s about me and my happiness. This is how I’m living. Fine. You can live any way you want. There is no police here. It’s what’s in your heart. We love each other and keep his commandments because they are not grievous because of our new birth. Whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world.

vs. 4. The world is filled with the left side here: law, osn, and self-glorification. That’s all it is. Many expressions of it. No law. Hedonism. You can have anything you want. Just don’t find God. Don’t have God. If you have God, you are an enemy of the world. You overcome the world and the ways of the world. When you have God, you have joy and peace and a new motivation. We’ll finish up here.

1 Jn 5:4 don’t live with your girlfriend. Do it by faith. Do it the right way. Glorify God. Give the glory to God. Do it by faith. Maybe you’ll have a spiritual revival in your life. God is in the bedroom. God is in my life. How did that happen? You lived by faith. God gave you a revival in your spirit. You find God everywhere. Why did you get the blessing?

You honored God by faith, Rom 1:17. Legalism. I’m not interested in it. I have it on the surface and I know what it is. By nature, we are all legalistic. We all have pride. When you have pride, you don’t see it in yourself. Other people see it in you and don’t see it in yourself. We are all a bunch of proud people judging others for not being proud and we’re all proud. Legalism is linked to pride, behavior and is empty. Legalism is a curse on the human heart. Take off your shoes. I know one day the Lord will tell me one day. Don’t sleep with your girlfriend Jesus says. It’s not tough. I give you the grace. Walk with me and honor that girl. If you honor her before you get married, the day will come when he says my husband is a man of integrity and honor. He honored me before marriage and he will honor me all the days of my life by his grace. Who is he that overcomes the devil, the osn, the stiff religious mentality of judgmental people? We believe he is the Son of God. You got something cooking in you. That’s why you come here to the church.

Your fall schedule many times is very busy but never replace anything in your fall schedule for coming to church. The church is a place to get a message. He’ll restore your soul. You’ll get build up. You have to give something to your children. When you have a mask like this as a way of life, the first one to find out about it is your children. He says it but doesn’t do it. In Christ you say son, I’m not a perfect person but I love you. I’m here for you. It’s for real. When that is happening, then you’re able to be effective with you family. Okay, Amen. My voice is cooked.

 


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