THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 10-2-11
LESSON TITLE: “WHAT GOD HAS JOINED TOGETHER: THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS”
“If God is for us, who can be against us,” Romans 8:31! Is God on your side on this wondrous Lord’s Day?
It is my hope and prayer that He is, as I welcome you to our program. We are glad that you have chosen to assemble before the almighty God today. Furthermore, as those who love and desire to serve Christ, what a privilege and opportunity this is to worship His glorious name. I hope and pray that we will each do our best to participate in this worship to God and to offer those sacrifices which are acceptable in His sight.
So, as we begin our reverence to God the Creator of all, won’t you bow with me before His throne at this time?
Now let’s join right into our song of praise with the first hymn of the day. Won’t you do your part in praising God at this time, as we sing together, “How Beautiful Heaven Must Be?”
(SONG # 1)
Isn’t it great to have God on your side and to know that He will always do what is best for those whom He loves? This is exactly what Paul was talking about in the passage which we read earlier. In fact, a few verses back proves this very point. Let’s read verse 28, there it says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” You see we serve a God who cares enough to give us all we need, to work all things to our benefit, and to be on our side as long as we are faithful.
However, I want us also to notice that these verses not only deal with what God has promised, but what is required of us as well. Paul says we must be among the “called” of God. This means that we have obeyed God and become a child of His. Secondly, notice that to which we are called, the verse says, “His purpose!” You see, our lives and service must be about God and His will. Now when God’s Will is evident in our lives then we see that He is there, caring for us and extending His love to us in every way. We are certainly blessed as those who love God to have a God who is so active and involved in our lives!
Finally, I want us to notice the pattern of Paul’s life as we read from 2 Timothy 2:10. There he says, “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” This good man of God was willing to endure all things for who, “the elect.” No doubt he learned this loving lesson and example from Jesus Christ, who was willing to go so far as to even die for our sins. But ultimately, Paul mentions what all things are about as well. He said, “That they also may obtain the salvation!” God wants all men to be saved. And to those who obey His will and live the commanded life He will reward them with eternal life.
So when Jesus comes again to judge the world, where will you be in your life of service for Him? Will you stand waiting, ready and prepared to ever be with God? Or will you be cast away from His presence and be told that “he never knew you!” the choice is ours and we are making the decision every day in the lives that we live. Just what will you do for Jesus?
As far as our main lesson of the day, we will be continuing our discussion entitled, “What God Has Joined Together!” Our specific topic of the day focuses on, “The Old and New Testaments!” So please stay with us for this study from God’s Word, and I will be leading our thoughts at the appropriate time. Now let’s join together in our next song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “Home Of The Soul.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
One of the greatest and perhaps one of the most difficult challenges we have as Christians is to not only know the Word of God and to grow in the Word of God, but to rightly divide it. We’ve all no doubt heard the text in 2 Timothy chapter 2 verse 15 which says, “Be diligent to present yourselves approved to God a worker who does not need to be ashamed, but rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” We find here the need for a diligence, a commitment to the things of Christ and specifically even for instance as the Old King James says, “To study to show thyself approved.” So when we study, what is it that we study to know God? The Bible! And when we look at the Bible, what is it that we are to do as we read the Bible? The verse here says, “To rightly divide it.”
Have you ever wondered why there are two then books which make up the Bible, why there is that which is referred to as the Old Covenant and the New Covenant? Most of us are aware that the Bible was written over a period of over 1500 years by over 40 different authors and even as we think about that, we see great unity and purpose and really a theme that goes throughout and that theme is the Will of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
But again why is it that we have what is referred to as the Old Testament and the New Testament? Well as sure as we have the New Testaments that will fit into our theme today, that “What God Has Joined Together” we should not separate. We need to understand what testament we are under but at the same time understand the significance of both testaments so we not only know their value, but so that we understand the complete Will of God. With that in mind, I would that you turn back with me first of all to the book of Exodus.
In the book of Exodus chapter 19 we find that Israel now having left Egypt and there coming up on Mt. Sinai and you remember the Law that was given at Mt. Sinai to God’s people and we see that as they are camped there at the base of Mt. Sinai that God says something to Moses in verse 3 as Moses goes up to Him. Why? Because God has called him. And then God says, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the children of Israel. You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I bore you on eagle’s wings and brought you to myself, but now therefore if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people for all the earth is mine, and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a Holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” And you know what we read after that? Eventually we read in chapter 20 The Ten Commandments and throughout the rest of the book read “the Law of Moses” that was given to who? It says here, “The house of Jacob and the children of Israel.” These were the words to God’s people of old.
Well after these words are spoken, it is interesting that over in chapter 34 of Exodus that now God adds something else that He wants Moses to do with these words. In fact, in verse 27 of chapter 34 he says, “And then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Write these words for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with (whom?) Israel.” Brethren, when we look back to the Old Testament, the Old Covenant, as it really is better referred to, we find an agreement that was made between God Almighty and His people of that day. Why do I say that? Because God said that. When we read of that covenant we see it was made with Israel. Are you an Israelite? Certainly you are not a literal Israelite that came out of the land of Egypt or one born directly of the seed of Jacob as such, but there certainly is the concept of a spiritual Israel that is mentioned in the New covenant but not in relationship to what is being said here as God said, “Moses, I make this covenant with you and the house of Jacob or Israel.”
Well the reason this is so important is because we have many today even in our time who claim that we’re still under the Old Law, that we still are required to follow all of the things that are found under the Old Law. Have you forgotten what is in the Old Law? Have you forgotten that it is referred to as a very difficult and judgmental law, as a law that the people chose not to follow? They had fault. That it is referred to as a “handwriting of ordinances” that was actually against us and the reason is because man was not willing to commit themselves to God to keep that Law.
That’s exactly what Jeremiah deals with if you turn over in the Old Testament as well to Jeremiah who proclaimed to a people who should have been keeping the Law that they were not keeping the Law. So there in Jeremiah 31 we find this prophesy. “Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.” Then he begins to say, “It is not according to the covenant I made with their fathers when they came out of the land of Egypt.” What covenant would that be? The covenant of Sinai. But it is a covenant, he says, that is different. A covenant where the laws will be in their hearts and even as verse 34 says there, “A covenant in which I will remember their iniquities no more.” Do you remember under the Old Law? They had a sin offering every year to push their sins forward to the next year. He speaks of a law here, of a day, when a law was coming that something was going to happen that would allow God to not only forgive someone of their sins for a year, but to forget that sin forever. What do you think that was? Jesus Christ.
And no doubt that’s why, as we move over to the New Testament that we find some of the same ideas and concepts presented. For instance, as we turn there to the book of Hebrews, guess what we find in chapter 8 and verse 7. The same quote that we just referred to in Jeremiah 31. In fact, he adds to that quote, verse 7 of chapter 8 in Hebrews, “For if the first covenant had been faultless then there would have been no place sought for a second.” There was something wrong with the first covenant with the first covenant and so there was a need for another covenant. But what was the problem with the first covenant? Look at the first part of the next verse. Because finding faults with them… What was the problem with the first covenant? The Israelites were not willing to fully submit to the Law of God. They did not keep His covenant as He had commanded them. The fault was not with God. God is perfect. God’s Law is perfect. But finding fault with them, there is a need for what? Another covenant, “another covenant” as He says “that will be made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,” and then He goes on further to say, “A covenant that would be in their hearts and in which their sins and lawless deeds (verse 12) would be remembered no more.”
But now hear verse 13 of chapter 8. “In that He says, a new covenant, He has made the first obsolete.” And that which is obsolete is growing old and is ready to vanish away.
As we look at the Old and New Covenants, I thank my God that I am not under the Old Covenant where the handwriting of ordinances were against me and difficult for me in the flesh to bear because of my weaknesses, but that I now have a greater covenant and you know what the book of Hebrews centers its whole thoughts on. Jesus Christ! A better covenant because of a better messenger, a better servant, a better sacrifice. There’s the reason why that we can know our sins are not only pushed forward any longer, forgiven by being pushed forward to the next year, but we know through the blood of Jesus Christ the perfect sacrifice, the perfect blood, our sins are forgiven and forgotten. That’s what the Hebrew writer says was happening in this period as was prophesied by Jeremiah many, many years before. Well you see we do have a better and greater covenant.
If you will now, turn with me over to the book of Colossians because I think Paul, to the Colossian church, helps us to understand a little bit better about this concept of the Old and New Covenants, when the Old ceased and when the New came into effect. For instance there in Colossians chapter 2 read with me if you will verse 14. He says, “Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements which were against us.” Guess what he has just been talking about. He’s been talking about circumcision. What law was circumcision under? It was under the previous law. He says, “Those things that many are imposing on you under the previous law, those things aren’t binding.” Why? Verse 14, “They have been wiped out. The handwriting of ordinances which were against or contrary to us.” And how and why were they taken away? Verse 14 goes on to say, “And He (Jesus) has taken it out of the way having nailed it to the cross.” Isn’t that interesting that when Jesus died on the cross, we know His blood was shed and in the shedding of His blood, guess what the result was. The result was the ending of the Old Covenant and the enacting of the New Law of Jesus Christ. Why? Because we know that someone cannot and is unable to serve two masters. You can’t serve two laws. You can’t serve the law of the United States and the law of England at the same time. You are a recipient and when challenged to obey the law of that country which you dwell in or which you have submitted yourself to. Well you see the same is true with God. Are we going to follow the covenant of Christ or the covenant or the agreement of Moses? Did I make the agreement with Moses and the covenant and sign the paperwork when Moses gave the law to Israel because I am an Israelite? Certainly I didn’t because what I signed the agreement to was that which was sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
That’s what Hebrews says in Hebrews chapter 9 as we return to Hebrews. He speaks about the testator and says how that “a new covenant cannot be enforced until the death of a testator.” The testator is the one who seals the New Covenant. Guess who that testator was. Jesus Christ! He gave a new opportunity through His blood and then he goes on in chapter 9 and 10 to say how “the blood of bulls and goats under the Old Law was not enough, but how that the blood of Jesus Christ being perfect as God in the flesh was perfect and therefore able to save not only Israel but to save all men that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”
I also want you to look with me to the book of Galatians because when we talk about the Old and the New Covenants, just because we are under the New Covenant and to focus on the New Covenant doesn’t mean somehow that the Old Covenant is somehow insignificant or is not a great teacher because without the Old Covenant we really couldn’t understand many of the truths of the New Covenant and vice verse. That’s how interconnected that they are. So what part does it play? I like the way Paul put it there in Galatians chapter 3. He said this. He said in verse 22, “But the scripture has confirmed that all are under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Verse 23, “But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the Law, kept for faith which would be revealed after.” At one point they were kept by the Law until what? Faith! Faith in whom? Jesus Christ through the bloodshed! But then he goes on again in the next verse to say this, verse 24, “Therefore the Law was our tutor to bring us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.” Was the Old Law a Law of Christ, as it was referred to? Certainly not! It was the Law of Moses. The Old Law was something bringing us in prophecy, in teaching, in fundamentals to Jesus Christ so that when Jesus came that we might be justified by faith in Christ and we might then be what? One who our sons and daughters (verse 26) in Jesus Christ. Verse 25 even goes so far to say, “But after faith has come, the faith of Jesus, we are no longer under the tutor.”
Well what is the Old Law? The Old Law is our schoolmaster. It is that teacher that shows us all the fundamentals and the foundation of what Jesus did, why He did it and how He accomplished His tasks through all the glorious works and elements found in the New Covenant. But it is only in the New Covenant that I find the true story of the gospel of Christ. And what is it that saves man? The Gospel of Christ! What is the power? The Gospel of Christ! What is it that man looks to in order to know God? The death, the burial and the resurrection of God that is found and delivered and revealed fully in its content? The blessed Bible that we have!
And so let me challenge us this morning to understand not only how beautiful both covenants are but how tied together and intricately woven they are, yet that we are under a New Covenant that has been brought to us and explained through an Old Covenant. Therefore may we understand that the Old Covenant has become obsolete. It is a great teacher. It is a great trainer, but it is not the covenant which we serve. Well today, what do you serve? Do you serve Moses or Christ? I always find it interesting at the Mount of Transfiguration that they wanted to build three altars, Moses, Elijah and Jesus and the Father said, “No, only Christ.” Who will you serve today? What Law will you give yourself to in order that you have eternal life?
(SONG # 3 - “I Am Thine Oh Lord!”)
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to us all. We invite you to join us every First day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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God has certainly blessed us by giving us the Bible! Furthermore, how wonderful it is to have the Gospel of Christ, for us to follow today. The question is, will you rightly divide the word of God and obey God’s Will in His Way?