The Law Prepares us for Life with Jesus!

Pastor Jeffrey Schone

Worship Theme: The Law Prepares us for Life with Jesus!

First Lesson: Isaiah 12:1-6 (NIV)
Second Lesson: Romans 7:1-13 (NIV)
Gospel : Luke 15:11-32 (NIV)

Music:

  • Remember Your Love
  • K-1st Grades: He is the Way, He is the Truth, He is the Life
  • CW 916: Today Your Mercy Calls Us
  • CW 654: Jesus Sinners Does Receive
  • CW 576: Amazing Grace

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Message: The Law Prepares us for Life with Jesus!

Pastor Jeffrey Schone

Intro—What is the Law – God’s Holy Will for all People for all Time—how we should think, how we should feel, how we should act…how we should live as God’s children, imitating, incorporating, rejoicing in the life of God our Father. This is the Law.

  • The Apostle Paul summarized this Holy Will of God, or the Law, when he wrote: “love is the fulfillment of the Law.”
  • Jesus summarized the Law of God when he quoted the OT and said: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 And… ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
  • Moses summarized God’s Law and what it means to love God and love your neighbor by writing down the 10 commandments.

  • The apostle Paul wants us to understand the reality of God’s Law – and the vivid reality that Paul wants us to understand is not only the nature of God’s Law, but the effect of God’s law in us and in our lives. How does the Law function? What does the Law do? What results does the Law produce?

    It’s helpful, in this regard, to go back to the time of the Garden of Eden before mankind’s fall into sin. God expressed his holy will for men and women in the perfection of the garden. And Adam and Eve knew God, and they knew God’s holy will. They rejoiced in God’s Law and were able to follow God’s Law with their hearts and minds and hands. For Adam and Eve, the Law served as a mirror in which they could see….

  • How beautifully aligned they were with God’s will
  • How like God they were, having been created in his holy image
  • How capable and willing they were to love as God loves
  • How one with God they were, how connected they were to God, how alive they were with God

  • For Adam and Eve, God’s Law was like “spiritual exercise equipment;” so that as they obeyed and rejoiced in God’s Law, they became stronger and stronger in their own holy life, in their own loving, and in their own living with God.

    But when the Fall came and they sinned…everything changed. To be sure, God didn’t change and God’s Law didn’t change—but the Law’s function and effect in their lives changed drastically.

    Now, the Law still serving as a mirror showed them horrible things!

  • How separated and far away from God they were
  • How selfish and evil and unlike God they were
  • How incapable and unwilling they were to love as God loves
  • How guilty and condemned…How dead they were to God

  • For sinners like you and me, the Law functioning as a mirror is a dreadful thing!

    But…In our lesson, Paul suggests that calling the Law a Mirror that shows us our sin may not be descriptive enough. Not only does the Law uncover and reveal the ugliness of our sinful nature, but the Law actually arouses and incites our sinful nature to greater and greater sinfulness.

  • When a farmer uses a cattle prod to poke and shock the backside of a bull, that bull gets moving!
  • When a Cowboy kicks his pointed metal spurs into the tender underside of a horse, that horse starts galloping.
  • When you poke wild animals in a cage with pointy sticks, those animals hiss and scratch and bite wildly.

  • Paul wants us to know that the law of God, which is good and holy in itself, serves as a goad and a prod to our sinfulness…And why? so that our sinfulness becomes utterly sinful to us.

  • You see, if we don’t understand our own evil, we will lapse into thinking that we are fairly good.
  • If we don’t recognize the depth of our rebellion against God, we will start to think that our sinfulness is just a minor relationship flaw that we repair and make right on our own.
  • If we don’t see in clear and frightening detail that we are dead in our sins, we will walk through our earthly lives unaware of the sharp sword, the cruel noose, the eternal punishment that surely awaits us.

  • But if we can clearly see our sinfulness in the mirror of the Law…and if we are alarmed and frightened by our own wickedness through the goad of the Law…if the Law makes it clear that we stand condemned and helpless and hopeless before God—then it serves us.

    In Paul’s words, when the Law goads us on so that we can see our sin as utterly sinful…

  • so that we realize how foolish it is to think we have some ability to fix our sinfulness,
  • or how impossible it is to think we can wash away our own guiltiness,
  • or how absurd and ridiculous it is to think that we have the strength to escape death and avoid hell

  • When we see our sin as utterly sinful…then God can speak to us about Christ and lead us to his cross.

    On the cross of Christ, God put to death the raging bull that is my uncontrollable sinfulness. He put to death the galloping horse that is my untamable sinfulness. He killed the caged beast that is my ferocious sinfulness. When Jesus died on the cross, I died with him and I died to sin and I also died to the law as my enemy and my curse.

    We were stuck with the law as a mirror and a goad—and we were never free from its sharp condemnation. It was, as Paul alludes to, like an unloving husband to whom we were bound. But when a spouse dies, the bond of marriage is broken. When Christ died for us, our bond to the Law as an accuser was broken.

    Now we are free in the marvelous forgiveness of God to belong to Jesus who rose from the dead. Now we are free to be united to Jesus’ life and strength and power and love. Now we are free to love our God and love our neighbor for Jesus’ sake--not because we must according to the commandment, but because we can through the power and promise of our Savior. AMEN.