First Baptist Church of Minneola
Why We Need the Law
- INTRO - This morning we return to our series “Grace and Power.” We suspended the series through the holidays.In our last message from this series we talked about blocked blessings, bought blessings, and blessings that abound.This morning we will consider for aspects of how the law touches our lives.READ - Our passage is Galatians 3:15-22.ILL - My parents let people into their house by the side door. They make everybody family right away and nobody is expected to ever use the front door. I doubt it even opens anymore!Once you enter Dad and Mom’s house, you walk through a garage modification and straight into the kitchen. Just to your right as you enter the kitchen is one side of Mom’s refrigerator (Yes, Mom’s, not Dad and Mom’s… the kitchen is Mom’s and she will tell you so. Besides that, I way rather eat Mom’s cooking than I eat Dad’s attempt.)The refrigerator is an interesting, somewhat random, collection of pictures, magnets, and notes. Just ahead is the “whiteboard” with notices of doctor’s appointments and other important messages.Jennifer has a good starter refrigerator magnet and note collection going. I did get her to purge it once, but recently gave in and now our kitchen once again has a growing magnet collection.I think this is a thing, at least with the women in my life. Jennifer’s mom had the same habit. But for Jennifer it had a bit more meaning. See, my mother-in-law spelt out the law for Jennifer on the side of the refrigerator:Do all things without grumbling or disputing;Now, I don’t know the reason for the verse being there, but I do get the idea; at least in the kitchen where there is lots of dishes to wash, trash to go out, and cooking needing tending.Rules, laws, messages, reminders, all sorts of stuff in these kitchens.Now, if I were to pick on Jennifer for a moment, I’m sure the “law” didn’t control her behavior. Rules simply set boundaries for appropriate behavior. Jennifer’s Mom communicated how she wanted her daughter to interact with her and others.But rules have a limit; they don’t create the obedience they command.Rule guide, but do not create behavior.Just consider the great number of people in jail, prison, and on probation… millions. We have more laws today than we’ve ever known. Yet, more people than ever are incarcerated. The US, Florida one of the worst states, has one of the highest percentage of people in prison among all the countries. Laws don’t create compliance.This is true of our law, but, also, of the Law of God. Moses recieved the Law from God. That Law called for righteousness. But, it did not create righteousness. This is the weakness of the Law; it does not make in us the desire to to the thing it commands. It guides, but does not drive our right desire. Paul, in our passage this morning, tells us the Law cannot give “life.”Because the Law can’t give life, we need something; we need someone. We need God to make us alive.The Father gave His Son by raising Him from the dead, and He can give us life through the presence of the HS. That is the sort of life we need to live the way God desires us to live.Our world is one of laws, rules, and policies. People are putting down, putting up, and putting out there laws for all of us all of the time. We live much like the Israelites; we tend to think there is life in the laws; God’s Law or man’s law. We do this because we are fallen creatures. It part of being broken; we look to rules to find life.You ask, “How’s that paster?” Consider children. They focus on the rules thinking the rules are the source of life. But, maybe they do this because they observe their parents doing it? If we think about it, look honestly at our own hearts, we’ll see how quickly we go to rules or laws in order to get some kind of power for living from them. It’s pretty tempting for Christians who take God’s Law and human law very seriously.TRANS - Let’s see what the Bible has to say on this subject.The Law & Promise vv.15-18Let’s take a look at some basic Bible teaching; look at this text in its own context.God promised to bless humanity through Abraham (vv.6-9).Then the God blocked the flow of blessing through the Law (vv.10-14).Therefore, what God promised to Abraham does not come through the Law. To put it another way, the Law is the curse that prevents God’s blessing.Now we come to today’s passage. Paul teaches how the Law relates to the promise. How does the Law God gave to Moses at Mt. Sinai relate to the promise God made to Abraham “All nations will be blessed in you”?The Jews believed they were the ones God promised His blessing. They reasoned, as some do even today, God promised His blessing to Abraham’s decedents. They claim that in order to be blessed, you must become Jewish and embrace the Law with its works and practices.ILL - I get all kinds of offers in my mailbox. The one on the street and the one on my computer. Most offers are pretty fantastic sounding. Get a new iPad, get $200 free for signing up, get your first year for free, and the list goes on.The offers sound pretty good, pretty amazing. Often all I need to do is call a number or click something on the screen.Ever get sucked into one of those schemes? The sound “too good to be true” ones? If you have, you know how they work. Once they get you with some great promise, you come to understand there is more to their story. The promised gift has much more and often becomes increasingly complicated.Paul tells us that the promise and the Law don’t connect like that. The Law does not change or modify the promise:Brethren, I speak in terms of human relations: even though it is only a man’s covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it.Paul identifies to who God make the promise:Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.The key is this.Jesus Christ is the beneficiary of all of God’s promises.All of God’s blessings He wants to give us, God already gave to Jesus. That is why every blessing you seek, all good thing in the world, is only found in Jesus.Look how God tells us this:For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.Therefore, we share in the promises by coming to Jesus. We don’t come to Abraham by becoming Jewish or through the Law, but by faith in Christ.Jesus is where God is doing everything in the world. He is center of all God wants to do for you and me.Don’t make the mistake of the Galatians and that so many today do make. Don’t look anywhere for God’s blessings besides Jesus. Blessings are found only in Jesus Christ.TRANS - Once Paul helps others understand the truth of what God teaches about the promise, he goes on to explain the purpose of the Law.The Law & Sin vv.19-20“Why the Law then?”A really good question and Paul gives us the answer in v.19.God gave us the Law because of sin, until He dealt with sin through the death of His Son Jesus.That means God gave us the Law because of sin. That is the same reason the government writes laws; because of wrong doing. Parents make rules and school teachers post guidelines.Now, if children were never misbehaved, and we know that that to be a dream, there’d be no need for rules. If students never cheated, we’d need no punishment for cheating. If people were always upstanding, we’d not need laws.And, if the people of God were sinless, there’d be no need for the Law of God.See, God’s Law tells us something of who He is. His Law is intended to keep sin from getting taking complete control of our lives. That is Paul’s point.The Law, also, exposes sin.The Law helps us understand the nature of sin—its ability to control and confuse, to dominate and deceive.This is why we need to understand the purpose of the Law; else we get it all mixed up and wrong.All God created has purpose and is good. But, as we all know, even a good thing can be turned bad when used for the wrong thing. A “pat on the back” can encourage, but when done by an axe. An axe is good to cut wood, but not to encourage someone.Use your tools correctly. If this is true of an axe, the how much more of God’s Law! The purpose of the Law is to restrain sin; and in doing so helps us identify sin’s subtle and powerful nature.TRANS - Paul teaches on promise and sin. He teaches the purpose of the Law is not positive and many might think the Law is against the promise; that the Law hinders and does not help God’s purposes.Keep this in mind as we move forward.The Law & Life vv.21-22Law serves a negative purpose. It supposed to restrain, but reveals sin. This is what prompts Paul to ask in v.21:Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law.ILL - Do you know the Tax Law of our nation only help you get into trouble? They don’t give you free trips to Europe or brand new cars. You might ask, “are the Tax Laws out to get us?”That sort if thinking is what Paul expects from people as he talks about the Law. This applies to all sorts of rules. Think about it. While rules, laws, and ordinances have their purpose, they don’t give life. If you look at them to give that, you get the opposite: death.What? The Law can’t give motivation to do what it calls on us to do. It only guides us to do God’s will. It does not make you want to do God’s will. It helps you channel your desires in ways that bring God glory, but it can’t give you those desires.Know this. It is not the Law’s fault when you do not keep the Law. Nor is it God’s fault when you break His Law.God’s Law is weakened by flesh, our fallen nature.We’ve all inherited this from Adam and only find deliverance from it in Christ. That is whey Paul tells us in v.22:But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.This was true of Isreal and of us. This explains why we are marked by sin and judgment for breaking the Law. Even while Isreal was saved from Egyptian bondage, they were not saved from slavery to sin.But, there is hope. The message of hope is found in Christ Jesus:Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.Jesus died to deal with our sin. But what is more is Jesus rose from the grave defeating death and now gives us life through the HS.Now we life life focused on the promise of God and depend on the HS for strength and power.We live by the Spirit and not by the Law. It is the HS who causes us to love God and the things of God. If we live by the Spirit we “walk by the Spirit” and bear “the fruit of the Spirit”Conclusion and UsThis complex passage asks us to grasp God’s Law and its purpose for God’s plan of salvation.We’ve talked about the promise, sin, and the Law of life.Remember that the law does have purpose, but that is limited in our lives.Remember that we root our lives in God’s promises and not in the Law.Also, remember that we trust the Holy Spirit by faith for the motivation we need to live.Look to the Bible for the strength and treasure up what God has for you in Jesus.Trust the HS and do all to the glory of God.(end)
2 Corinthians 1:20NASB95
- In the Garden
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