Free from God's law or Moses Seat & God's law?
Needless to say many pastors teach we should be or are good Christians. When it comes to the sunday sermon most use the HBLT format and this includes...
1. Hook - a funny story, something to put people at ease & get their attention
2. Book - a short passage of scripture - usually consists of 2-3 verses
3. Look - three points you plan to address using modern examples
4. Took - drive home the point you want the audience to take home
While nothing is inherantly wrong with this format, it often minimizes the time to really study the scriptures, especially in today's fast paced society. In the past, it has been noted that pastors spent 30 hours or more preparing their weekly sermons, not counting the hours spent in prayer. Most pastors today will do a word search for "Love" or "Grace" and pick a few verses on whatever topic they plan to teach. One mega church pastor was asked how long it takes to prepare a sermon and his reply was about 1-2 hours. Unfortunately in American Christianity a lot of pastors do not study God's word and teach what it says, but instead they use the word to support their denominational beliefs, which sometimes are not biblical. Worse yet is the trend for pastors to pay a subscription to a sermon resource sites that provides everything a pastor needs to give a relevant discussion on sunday (packages can include video feeds, worship song lists that pertain to the topic preached, a list of jokes and stories, a script of the entire service, etc). Sounds like a great way to maximize one's time and resources and still get out a relevant message right?
However many don't see the fact it removes the pastor from the mix. The pastor is supposed to have a pulse on the congregation, to seek God, pray and pass on what God has for him and/or the congregation. With pre-packaged sermons many pastors do not even test what these teachings promote. Is this one possible reason why there is so much teaching that conflicts with God's word today.
"Okay but what does this have to do with God's law and Moses seat?"
Throughout the years we have heard sermons from many pastors of numerous denominations that promote a belief that God's laws, commandments and instructions in the Old Testament are... old. That the New Testament is what we are to follow and God's Old Testament laws are not applicable for today's believers. We just accept Jesus, love God, be a good person and bingo! We are going to heaven.
However we need to test everything against scripture. Does this teaching or belief "We are free from God's Old Testament laws" conflict with what Jesus taught? Surprisingly a lot of believers don't even know what Jesus taught because too many pastors don't search the scriptures either. Lets look at what Jesus taught not only to His disciples but to the multitudes...
"Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples saying 'The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say and do not do."
This should cause us to pause and ask the question "What was Moses' seat and what was taught from it?"
Moses' seat is referenced here...
"... Moses sat to judge the people and the people stood before Moses from
morning until evening... Because the people come to me to inquire of God.
When they have a difficulty, they come to me and I judge between one and another...
I make known the statutes of God and His laws."
If we continue on through verse 26 we see that Moses set up judges to help the people fear God, teach them His statutes, laws and show they how they must live which will result in peace. Note that disobeying does not bring peace. So when we fast forward to Jesus time, the only thing that could be taught from Moses seat was the first five books of the bible. It was where Moses, a type and shadow of the Messiah, showed how to be holy and set apart by living in accordance with God's instructions. There was no denominational biasedness or beliefs. It was the place where everything was tested against the word of God. In other words it was the final authority and nothing was taken out of context.
Speaking of context let us be clear that Jesus was NOT saying to obey everything the scribes and Pharisees were teaching. Jesus rebuked them on many occasions...
"... Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?"
"... Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect
by your tradition. Hypocrites!...."
"... All too well you reject the commandment of God that you may keep your tradition... making the word of God of no effect through your tradition, which you have
handed down. And many such things you do."
Again the only thing that could be taught from Moses seat was the in context word of God. The problem is many believers today ignore the fact that AFTER we are saved by grace our lives should produce good fruit - to be obedient to God's instructions not because we are trying to work for our salvation. Rather we are to obey because we are saved and no longer are slaves of sin but of righteousness (doing what is right in God's eyes). Now many pastors give King David as an example of how we are supposed to be; a person after God's own heart but they reject the commandments of God in their beliefs. Look at what David wrote in Psalm 119:44...
"So shall I keep Your law continually, forever and ever."
This was after his period of sin, transgressing God's law by committing adultery, lying, murdering, etc - he basically broke all the ten commandments, dishonored God and the people by his actions. Yet when he saw the truth, repented and walked in obedience to God's law, David experienced freedom, enlightenment and a clear path in which to walk out his life with God...
"The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul... the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes... the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb."
"Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law,
that You may give him rest from the days of adversity..."
"Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord!"
"The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver."
"Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing causes them to stumble."
No where in scripture do we see where God's law, commandments and instructions have been done away with when they are properly applied in our lives AFTER we are saved by grace. This is confirmed by the Messiah Himself when He said "I have not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it" meaning He is now our example on how to rightly walk out God's law in our lives today. Yet despite the clear teachings from Jesus, many are still looking for what God's will is for them.
If your wondering what His will is for you, or how you should live your life then simply read the scriptures...
"I will delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your Law is within my heart."
"For the commandment is a lamp, and a law of light; reproofs of instruction are a way of life." Proverbs 6:23
Unfortunately many well intentioned believers still think God's laws, commandments and instructions have been done away with, yet have these people probably have not read the warnings...
"One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination."
"That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children
who will not hear the law of the Lord..."
"... you have departed from the way; you have caused many to stumble at the law. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi says the Lord of Hosts. Therefore I also have mad eyou contemptible and base before all the people, because you have not kept My ways but have shown paritality in the law." Malachi 2:8-9
Pretty harsh warnings when it comes to God and His law which many have changed and distorted. The modern day sermon is void of in context teaching and its easy to see when we quote only half a verse. Consider the following...
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..." Hosea 4:6
Now many pastors stop there and surprisingly a lot of believers don't know there is more to the verse. Doesn't anyone test what the pastors are teaching these days? Apparently not. Let us read the rest of the verse and see why the people are destroyed...
"... because you have rejected knowledge I will also reject you from being priest for Me..."
Now few people have read this but what knowledge is being talked about and why would God reject them from being priests i.e. pastors? Let us continue on...
"Because you have forgotten the Law of your God,
I will also forget your children."
Hosea 4:6 in full
You see we have been swayed that new ways are acceptable to God and many have been taught what is contrary to scripture. That is passed on over and over again with no one testing what is being preached. The laymen have been lazy and have given up their responsiblity to study and search the scriptures for themselves. Instead they handed that over to someone with a college degree that has been taught God's law has been done away with and they in turn teach that to everyone (or they don't even broach the subject of God's commandments at all). Its no wonder our churches are filled with peole and pastors who compromise on God's word and it results in continued sin. The adultery and divorce rate in the "church" i.e. "the Bride" is on par with the world! The problems that only once plagued 'sinners' who were not saved are common among the pastorate, and widespread in the body.
So what happened? Where did we 'lose it'? It all goes back to the enemy and what he has been doing since the beginning...
"He (the enemy) shall speak pompous words against the Most High, he shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law..."
The enemy's plan from the time of being kicked out of heaven for rebellion and sin, has been to get people to NOT follow and obey God in two ways. First, the "change times" refers to God's feasts & Sabbaths. The second, refers to changing God's law - so we do not obey His instruction. Perhaps this is the reason why the Messiah taught the following...
"Did not Moses give you the Law (from God), and yet none of you carries out the Law?
Why do you seek to kill me?"
"For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisess and teachers of the law (which they ignored and instead changed &/or made up new commandments),
you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."
Even Paul addressed that the law, when used properly (obeyed after being saved by grace) said it was to be a way of life and to be followed...
"Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not!
On the contrary, we establish the law."
We are to follow God in Spirit and truth, in word and deed so that our walk is patterned after the Messiah, Jesus the Christ. The Jews were following the commandments of God and added a bunch of additional rules that He rebuked them for and that their hearts were not circumcised. You see there needs to be both grace and obedience in our lives. When change the word of God to mean we no longer need the instructions of God, we then stray off the path of righteousness. In closing, everyone needs to spend more time in God's word, testing everything and walking as the Messiah walked. If we relinquish our duties over to someone else, we are stil accountable for God on judgment day for our actions. There will be no pastor standing with us to take the heat if what we do is wrong. So the question is... Are you free from the law or are you seated and learning His word?