The people of God have arrived! (In a manner of speaking) They have been delivered and brought into the presence of God. He has entered into a covenant with them and now, He calls Moses close and describes what the lives of redeemed people look like.
The Book of the Covenant -SERMON AUDIO
In the last couple of posts / sermons from The Book of Exodus, we have looked closely at the giving of the Law to God’s covenant people, Israel. We have seen the perpetuity of the Moral commands. They are a reflection of God’s own character and His imprint upon men who are made in His image. They are discarded by fallen men and so as God redeems us, He reestablishes our hearts to love His commandments and gives us the desire to honor Him by striving for obedience to them (Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekiel 36:26-27, Hebrews 8:13).
God does not give the commandments and then leave the people to figure out what life under them looks like. In Exodus 20:22-23:20, He describes, in a fair amount of detail, what life in the covenant looks like. There are laws regarding worship at the beginning and end of this Book of the Covenant.
Exodus 20:22-26 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘You have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. 23 You shall not make anything to be with Me–gods of silver or gods of gold you shall not make for yourselves. 24 An altar of earth you shall make for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you. 25 And if you make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it. 26 Nor shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed on it.’
Exodus 23:15-18 You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt; none shall appear before Me empty); 16 and the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field. 17 “Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord GOD. 18 “You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread; nor shall the fat of My sacrifice remain until morning.
In between are laws regarding Social Concerns, Personal Injury and Property Rights. There is a mixture of Expounding on the Moral commands and maintaining separation from the influence of the pagan peoples in the land. When it is all said and done, the gist of this whole section is that the People of God are to act toward one another and even toward slaves and foreigners with fairness, integrity, kindness and humility. When Jesus said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40) He was not adding to the Law or restating it. He was simply directing the attention of the Jewish leaders to God’s original intention for it.
The Apostle Paul would later say to Pastor Timothy as he was giving him instructions to deal with false teachers who were distorting the Law;
1 Timothy 1:5-7 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.
This Moral Law is not only for Israel, as I have stated in previous posts! Christians should have a positive view of the Law as the standard of God that regulates the life of His redeemed people!
Romans 13:7-11 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. 8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,” “YOU SHALL NOT MURDER,” “YOU SHALL NOT STEAL,” “YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS,” “YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. 11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
Certainly, it is a ministry of death to those who are not redeemed, but to those who know Christ, it is a reflection of the Great God who loves us and sent His Son into the world to redeem of from our lawlessness!
Titus 2:11-15 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. 15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.
Kindness, gentleness, love and humility are not merely Ancient Jewish virtues! They are God’s standard for the conduct of His redeemed people in both Testaments!
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
The evidence that we are redeemed people is best demonstrated in our attitudes toward our neighbors and our family members! Puritan Divine, Thomas Boston comments on the 5th Commandment, saying;
“Relative duties (how we treat others) are the great trying points of the work of Christianity, which, if anything, will try what metal people are of. A man is that really which he is relatively (in how he treats others). And if there be any defect in the professor of religion, search for it in his relations, and it will readily be found in one or all of them.”
And so, Christian, listen to the sermon below, consider the fruit of your profession and seek the Lord for a heart to obey His commandments. Christ has certainly born the weight of our failure if we are His redeemed. All have sinned (Missed God’s mark of perfection), yet Christ was “Him who knew no sin” and through Him, by faith, we receive His own perfect righteousness as a gift (2 Corinthians 5:21) . Yet, if we know that it was “on account of sin” (Romans 8:3) that Christ came into the world to redeem us as rebels, can we who are dead to sin continue in it? (Romans 6:2)
The Gospel is not just about keeping us out of Hell. It is about making us into who we ought to be!
Romans 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
Salvation is All of Grace! We do not work our way into God’s favor. Grace is by definition, Favor that is not deserved and Kindness that has not been earned! The evidence that we have received God’s grace is that we become the people that He intends us to be!
Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Does the Law of God and its demands on your life make you angry and bitter because you don’t want anyone telling you how to live?
Does the Law of God make you proud that you are not like that tax collector over there… (Luke 18:10-14)
If either of these are the case, your heart has not been renewed. There is a stone beating in your chest right now.
Does the Law of God make you see God’s great holiness and your duty (out of gratitude for your redemption) to honor God and love your neighbor?
If so, your heart has indeed been renewed.
As one who is already redeemed, the Law in not the source of your fellowship with God, Jesus’ perfect keeping of it that is credited to your account by faith, is the basis of that relationship. The new heart is the fruit of that relationship. Do you walk like the Redeemed people of God, or do you walk like and Egyptian? That is the question you need to ask yourself. Not are you perfect! Honoring the Law is a source of Mercy.
Jeremiah 31:32-34 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
But, What is your attitude toward God’s rule in your life?
The Book of the Covenant -SERMON AUDIO