Welcome to expound, our verse-by-verse study of God's word. Our goal is to expand your knowledge of the truth of God by explaining the word of God in a way that is interactive, enjoyable, and congregational.
Father, we give You our attention. We give You our undivided attention. It's the very least we could do for all that You have done for us, to us, and even through us. Lord, as the cross is before us, as the world is behind us, as we have stepped out of darkness into light. In a very real sense, historically, we've done that in our past. We've left the worldly system, that which dominated us, and we've been placed under Your care.
We've been drawn to You by the Spirit. We live under Your control and jurisdiction. But also, Lord, we step out of the world temporarily tonight in this place. We gather, Lord, experiencing the remembrance of a covenant, the new covenant, the final covenant that you have made with mankind through Jesus Christ.
We have nothing but gratitude, because we owed a debt that we could not pay. And You paid that debt You did not owe.
Lord, help our hearts, our minds, to be tuned in to that. Because Lord, what it shows us more than anything else, the overarching truth is that if You loved us that much to pay for us then, You will go to no extent now to draw us to Yourself, to take care of our needs, to minister to us.
I think of the words of Paul. If He didn't spare His only son but freely gave Him up for us, how shall He not then with Him freely give us all things? So Lord, we're in good hands. We place ourself in Your hands tonight. In Jesus' name, Amen.
So there was a couple, and they were thinking about going on a trip to the Holy Land. A dream for many, many believers. And the idea was that they would first go down south in the Sinai desert, where Mount Sinai is.
Oh, that just got this husband's attention. And he said to his wife out loud, oh, wouldn't it be fabulous to stand on top of Mount Sinai and shout the Ten Commandments. And she looked over at her husband as only a wife can, and said, I think it would be even better if we just stayed home and kept them.
Well. A tour to the Holy Land notwithstanding, that's always been the problem. It's not the saying of them, it's not the shouting of them, it's not the reading of them. It's the doing of them that has always been the problem. Keeping them.
How do we keep God's law? You remember when a young man came up to Jesus. He's been called the rich young ruler. And he said to Jesus, good teacher, what must I do that I might inherit eternal life?
I've always loved our Lord's answer-- why do you call me good? There's only one good, and that is God. Now, either Jesus was saying, I'm no good, or Jesus was saying, I am God. You just called me good because you recognize something about me. No one is good except God. Why do you call me good?
And then He said, you know the commandments. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not murder. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness. Honor your father and your mother.
And then the young man said this. Now listen to what he said. All of these I have kept from my youth. None of us can say that. I can't say that. I wouldn't dare stare eye-to-eye with Jesus and say, I have kept all of the commandments since I was a kid. I just broke one, thou shalt not bear false witness. I just lied to Jesus.
That shows you the level of self-righteousness this rich young ruler was living at to make such a statement, I have kept them from my youth. So Jesus, knowing that he hadn't, decided to begin with the first commandment, you will have no other gods before you. And Jesus knew that this man served money, served wealth, served status, that he had already broken the first commandment.
And to prove it to him, Jesus said, OK, if you've kept them all, then, from your youth, if you're a complete keeper of the commandments, then do this. Sell everything that you have and give that money to the poor. Then follow me and you'll have treasure in heaven.
It says the young man went away sorrowful, because he was quite wealthy. He wasn't willing to even keep that first commandment, and Jesus showed him, no, you haven't kept it. You say you have kept it, but you haven't. You've broken the commandments.
Now it is important to realize that they are called commandments. The Lord does give a command, several of them. Ten of them. We read them last week. We're not going to read them again. We left off with one, and we'll pick up on that tonight.
But they are not ten suggestions. They are ten commandments. They're not ten great ideas. They're ten commandments.
The Hebrew text, and the Hebrews, the Jews, don't call them the Ten Commandments. They call them the Decade of Words. The Decade of Words, or the ten words. Aseret ha-devarim is the Hebrew. Aseret ha-devarim. Say that. No, I'm just kidding. You don't have to. I wouldn't expect you. The ten words, the Decade of Words. These that govern our relationships with God as well as with people.
Now we left off, as I mentioned, with one commandment, and here's why I did. And I left it as a cliffhanger last week. I said that all of the commandments, the last commandment is markedly different from all of the other previous commands. Now here is why.
All of the commands up to this point have dealt with outward action. Now we take a turn. The final commandment has to do with inward attitude. So we understand that God's law isn't just to govern the outward actions, but how we think, what goes on in our heart, what goes on in the place where nobody sees. And that is where you process thoughts in your heart.
Look at that commandment. Verse 21 of chapter 5, you shall not covet. Now "covet" means "yearn." You can't show anybody that you're yearning. You can hide that quite easily. You can look at something or someone and yearn or desire after them, and that's inward. That's not outward.
You shall not covet your neighbor's wife. You shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his donkey or anything that is your neighbor's.
This is the tenth commandment, and this last commandment that governs not just the action but the attitude is the one commandment that, according to Paul, when he was studying through the law, he came across this one, and he now understood, uh-oh. The law of God is much deeper than I have been letting on. It's much more profound. It is much more pervasive than everything I have learned in Judaism up to this point.
It is the one commandment, Paul said, that killed me, that slay me. I'll read to you his own words. In Romans, chapter 7, he writes this. Romans 7, I'm reading out of verse 7 through 9. "What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not. On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law, for I would have not known covetousness unless the law had said, you shall not covet. But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law, sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment--" that commandment, thou shall not covet-- "came, sin revived and I died. "
Our Lord Jesus hinted at this on the Sermon on the Mount. And when he started talking like this, I'm sure all of the religious, pious, Jewish people got all confused, upset, dropped their jaw, went [GASP]. Took their breath away.
This is what He said. You have heard that it was said by those of old, you shall not murder. They went, yep, that's right, never done that. But I say unto you, Jesus continued, if you hate your brother in your heart, you're a murderer.
You have heard that it was said, you shall not commit adultery. And again, they stiffened their spine. That's me. I've never done that. But I say unto you, continued Jesus, if you lust after a woman in your heart, you've already committed adultery with her.
Now our Lord is showing them, it's not just the outward action, it's the inward attitude. And that last commandment-- you shall not desire, yearn, covet-- shows this, and it's the one commandment that Paul just said, it killed me. It rose up and it killed me. It slayed me.
Because Paul had been saying, did this, did that, didn't do that, didn't do that, all of the outward stuff. But inwardly, I'm way far from God.
And you see, there is a relative righteousness that most people live with. Goes like this. OK. I've done a few bad things. I've broken some of the commandments. But basically, in my heart I'm a good person. Right? That's how it goes. Basically, she's a good person. He's a good person. I'm a good person. We're all good.
Now you understand why Jesus said to the rich young ruler, why do you call me good? When you say "good," you have to understand there's a difference between our definition collectively of good and God's definition divinely of good. And in God's book, there's only one good, and that's God.
As Paul was meditating on that, he said it just absolutely killed him. But there were a lot of self-righteous Pharisees that held to that.
Now, verse 22 of Deuteronomy, chapter 5. And look, we only have a few verses to continue. These words-- I know what you're thinking, by the way. You're saying, I know we have just a little, but you've taken all this time on one verse, so.
"These words--" aseret ha-devarim, the ten words, these words-- "the Lord spoke to all your assembly in the mountain from the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness with a loud voice. He added no more." In other words, he gave 10, not 613, not 52, not 5. He gave 10 and no more. "And he wrote them on two tablets of stone, and he gave them to me."
OK. Two tablets. I'm imagining that he came down the mountain with one tablet in one hand and one tablet in the other. Right? There were two sets of commandments. Not just two tablets, there were two sets of them.
There was the set he carried down the mountain, but what happened to that set? He broke them. He got all mad at the golden calf and broke them. You know the story. So now they're destroyed.
So, the Lord told him to engrave another one, cut another one, and he did. So the first set of commandments were cut out of rock by God and written on both sides of those two tablets by God. God actually wrote. Wouldn't you love to see God's handwriting? He wrote on both sides of those two tablets.
But that set was destroyed. The second time around, he says, Moses, I've already been through this once. This time you make the tablets. So he did, and then the Lord wrote on that second set.
So the first set was destroyed. The second set was kept in the Ark of the Covenant in the tabernacle later on in Solomon's temple in Jerusalem as a reminder of that covenant.
Now what was written on those two tablets? Well, these words. These Ten Commandments. An ancient Jewish source says that when he came down the mountain with two tablets, actually all Ten Commandments were written on one set, and all Ten Commandments written on the other set. So essentially, comes down with two copies. One's the first one, and the second one is a carbon copy, if you will. A cc.
So he copied it. But there's no evidence of that at all. We don't know it. This is just Jewish legend. Another says that on one tablet were five commandments, on the other were the other five. It is my own personal belief-- I can't prove it, there's just no way to prove it-- that on one tablet the first four commandments were written. And the second, six were written on the other one.
Two tablets. Why? Because there were two classifications of commandment. The first four commandments were Godward, man's relationship with God. The second set were manward, man's relationship with man.
God is basically saying in the Ten Commandments, I want two basic things from you. I want supreme devotion to Me, and I want sincere affection for others. Supreme devotion, sincere affection. Reverence, respect. Revere god, respect people. Those are the two basic things.
Now Jesus summed it up by the word "love." Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. You can sum them all up by that. But the commandments, the Ten Commandments, divided into two, the first four, the second six. The first four are vertical, second six are horizontal. Dealing man with man, or person to person.
So he wrote on them, on the two tablets of stone, and he gave them to me. Now do you-- just throw this in. Do you remember a few years ago when a judge, Justice Roy Moore, had a monument of the Ten Commandments that he had at the, I think it was the state courthouse there in Alabama? And then a federal court demanded he remove them. Do you remember that? And they had cited it's separation of church and state, and all of that. So he took them away.
The judge was making a statement by having the Ten Commandments there. Right? It was symbolic to him. The symbolism was unmistakable. God's law is always greater than man's law. When we govern ourselves, I as a judge recognize that the American jurisprudence system has taken largely its cues from God's law in the Ten Commandments. And he is correct. He is saying, I am under even a greater authority than the law of this land. That is God's authority. That was the symbolic statement of Judge Roy Moore.
But the removal of the Ten Commandments with the voice of the ACLU and all of the other groups, was also symbolic. Also symbolic. They were saying, we don't want God's law. We don't want to be under God's law. Our law is enough. It's sufficient. We don't need God intervening in our world.
Now this sentiment is nothing new. 30 years ago, my generation was told by other people in my generation, question authority. Question moral authority, question political authority, question spiritual authority.
At one time, there was a moral consensus in our country. At one time a parent could tell a child, do what is right. Don't do what is wrong. Nowadays that is a nonsensical statement. It is a perfectly logical fallacy, because right and wrong haven't been clearly defined by ultimate right and wrong. So that statement, do what is right, don't do what is wrong, is on a floating existential scale. So at one time, it was do what is right. Now the law is, do what you think is right at the time.
So god gave Ten Commandments in two tablets, one dealing vertically, one dealing horizontally. If you were thinking what I said you were thinking a few minutes ago, you were right, because now I've just covered two verses in that set. But we're making progress.
"So it was when you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness while the mountain was burning--" oh, by the way. Just to press it a little bit further, there was that monument of the Ten Commandments that was removed by the Supreme Court.
Now a group in Detroit, Michigan has raised $100,000 to build another statue, a 9-foot, 2000-pound Satan in the shape of a goat. And they have raised the $100,000 and they've made this, and their desire is to place it in the state capitol of Arkansas next to a monument of the Ten Commandments.
So just to show you how this country, or groups in this country, trying to gain ground, that years ago you couldn't even have got a project like that off the ground. The money has been raised. The statue has been made. The designs are in progress.
OK. "So it was when you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, that you came near to me, all the heads of your tribes and your elders, and you said, surely the Lord our God has shown us His glory and His greatness. And we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire. We have seen this day that God speaks with man, and yet he still lives."
Let me take you back to the original setting. You don't have to turn there, but the setting as in Exodus chapter 19. They're at the base of Mount Sinai. The Bible says that Mount Sinai was completely enshrouded in smoke. Because it says God descended in fire on top of that mountain, and the smoke went up like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked, in the earth around it quaked.
It wasn't a beautiful sight. It wasn't meant to be beautiful. It was a dreadful sight. This is perfect, just, holy God meeting with people. They didn't see anything except the volcanic-like eruptions, but they heard the voice of God. And that encounter, they said, unbelievable that humanity has been able to encounter that, and we're still alive.
"Now therefore--" verse 25-- "why should we die?" In other words, so far, so good. We haven't kicked the bucket yet. We saw a lot of cool stuff, and wow, that's amazing. But we don't want to press it any further.
"For this great fire will consume us. If we hear the voice of the Lord our God anymore, then we shall die. For who is there of all flesh who has heard the voice of the living God speaking from the midst of the fire as we have and lived?
Well actually, I'd like to answer that question. Because they were looking at him. Moses had already seen the Lord appear in a burning bush some years before that. He was still alive. And he was the one who was up on Mount Sinai when the Lord spoke and was that close to the fire, and yet he survived.
But they were just like all amazed, saying, wow, this is amazing. We're alive. We're not dead. That's always a good sign.
But look at verse 27. There's a conclusion to their amazing statement. "You go near--" now we're talking to Moses. They say to Moses, "you go near, and you hear all that the Lord our God may say, and tell us all that the Lord our God says to you. And we will hear it and do it."
Wow, this is amazing. Look at, the ground is shaking and it's like the mountain is erupting, and God is speaking, and we're still alive. But Moses, why don't you just go a little closer and here what God has to say, and just tell us. We don't want to die. So you're the lab rat. If you come back alive, then good. Tell us what God has to say, and we'll do it.
"And then the Lord--" look at verse 28. "Then the Lord heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and the Lord said to me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken to you. They are right in all they have spoken.
But look at verse 29. "Oh, oh that they had such a heart in them that they would fear me and always keep my commandments that it might be well with them and their children forever."
I love their heart, God says. I love their sentiment, I love their desire. But oh, if they only had the capacity to do what they promised they would do. If they only had the kind of heart that would allow them to live up to all of these commands, like the rich young ruler boasted that he had, but he never did.
"Oh, that they had such a heart that they would fear me always and keep my commandments that it would be well with them."
Now I take you back to what Paul says in Romans. The law is good, he said. And he elaborates on that. He says, is the law bad because it produces death, and shows us how bad we are? No. It's very good. The law is good, he said, but I am carnal, sold under sin.
God's standard, there's nothing wrong with God's standard. There's nothing wrong with God's law. The trouble doesn't lie within the law. The trouble lies within the heart of man, and fallen man doesn't have the ability to keep the standard of God.
So while the law was given, both the moral law, the ceremonial law as well, there was built into the law a sacrificial system whereby their failures, their sins, would be expiated, covered over, by the death of animals, the shedding of blood. Without the shedding of blood, God said, there is no remission of sins.
"Go and say to them--" verse 30-- "return to your tents." In other words, go back home. Just like you said, I'm going to go up to the mountain, hear what God has to say. I'll take it from here. You guys just go home. Go back to your tents.
"But as for you, stand here by me and I will speak to you all the commandments, the statutes, the judgments, which you shall teach them that they may observe them in the land which I am giving them to possess."
Those verses speak to my heart. They zero in for me personally on what my role is. You see, I'm exceedingly blessed. The Lord has enabled me to have a full-time position at this wonderful church called Calvary of Albuquerque. You have commitments during the week. You have work deadlines. You have to travel. You have to show up at a certain time and do a certain amount of work to collect a paycheck.
The Lord has blessed me with the ability to search His word. It's the ability that I wouldn't expect anyone else to have. So the Lord shows me my task. Enrich yourself. Learn what God has to say. Find out exactly what God has to say, and then tell others what God has to say. That's the job of a pastor. That's the job of an expositor. Don't tell people your opinion. Preach the word, Paul said to Timothy. Be ready in season and out of season.
In Acts, chapter 6, when there was a dispute among the early church, the apostle said, look, I know there's a dispute and I know there are needs. But we're not going to leave the word of God and serve tables. We'll find people that are gifted by God, enabled by His Spirit, to do these things. But we will give ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word.
I thank the Lord that he gives me the time and the ability to pore over scripture day by day and week by week, because I want to make sure that I tell you what God has said, and what the balance of the interpretation is according to the scripture, so that I can say, like Paul said to the Ephesians, I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.
But that is the role of a minister. That's why James says, be not many teachers, for you receive a greater condemnation. When you teach people what God has to say, you better make sure, number one, God says it. Find out what he says. You will receive a stricter judgment or higher accountability.
So he says, Moses, I'm going to teach you these things. You're going to teach it to the heads of these tribes and the leaders, and they're going to teach it to the people. So I just believe, if you think you want to be called into ministry, you may want to zero in on these verses.
Because listen, any pastor, any teacher worth listening to, has spent time in the text and is familiar with the text. And that person's worth listening to. You want to find out what God is saying, because he or she has discovered for her small group or women's Bible study or church what God is saying in the Word. You want to make sure they're listening before they speak.
No wonder Paul said to young Timothy, who was being groomed for ministry, be diligent, or study, to show yourself approved, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. And that takes time to do that. So build yourself up in the Word, and then build them up in the Word. That's the idea of those verses.
"Therefore, you shall be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God has commanded you that you may live, that it may be well with you, that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess."
So there is the standard given. There's the standard, which no generation has fully kept, as Paul says in Romans and in Galatians. "By the doing or the keeping of the law shall no flesh, shall no person, shall no one, be justified."
So I hope by now you have a good question floating around in your head. If that's true-- and I believe it to be true-- then what purpose does the law serve us now, us believers, not under the covenant of the law but under a better covenant, a covenant of grace? So why are we reading this? Why are we studying this?
Here's how you ought to use the law. As a compass, as a thermometer, as a mirror, and as a road sign. Now I know I need to explain.
You want it to be a compass. You want to find out what these ten categories are all about, because God is dealing with the big ten, the top ten categories of humanity, of human life. Use it as a compass to get your bearings. These are the general categories. God wants oversight over them. They're pretty general. They're pretty all-encompassing. Use it as a compass to get your bearings as to God's general rule, His moral law over people.
Second is a thermometer to gauge your love for God, to see if you're the kind of person who says, I don't need to do what it says there, I'm under grace. You don't understand grace, friend. Jesus said, if you love me, you will do what I say. You'll keep my commands.
So to say of any law of God, it's not good, defeats what Paul writes about in Romans. The law is good. I am carnal sold under sin. The problem is with me. So you read it, I read it, and it says, do this. Yes, I want to do that in order that I might honor You, Lord. I want to honor my father and my mother, that I might honor You. I don't want to cover after that person or that thing, because I want to honor You. So that will be a compass for you, that will be a thermometer to gauge how hot your love and commitment is.
Third, we talked about this Sunday, a mirror. Right? The law shows you how dead you really are, how dirty you really are. That's really its purpose. It brings you face-to-face with your guilt. That was its purpose, according to Paul in many, many places.
But number four is a road sign, to point the way somewhere else. It's a road sign. You look at the law, you see what it says, but it's pointing to Jesus. What did Paul say to the Galatians? The law was a paidagogos. Doesn't say that in our translation. That's the Greek word.
Paidagaogos, a tutor, a schoolmaster. Somebody who supervised you early on to give you the general principles, but really to point you to maturity to come to Christ. Once you've come to Christ, said Paul, you don't need the tutor any longer. It's done its job. It's a road sign.
So it's a mirror. It shows you how dirty you are. But it then is a road sign. It points the way to the fountain. There is a fountain, writes the hymn writer, filled with blood drawn from the Immanuel's veins. And sinners plunged beneath that flood, they lose all their guilty stains.
Now there was a man in the New Testament beside the rich young ruler who, like the children of Israel, said I am going to keep God's law to the max, every part of it. His name was Saul of Tarsus. He became Paul the Apostle.
His testimony is incredible. This is what he writes to the Philippians. He said, "Finally, my brother, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. Be aware of dogs--" don't have time to really exegete that-- "beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation. For we are the circumcision who worship God in spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."
Though, though, now Paul is pointing back to a time when he did have confidence in the flesh. He was so, well, overconfident, self-righteous, that listen to what he said. "Though I might also have confidence in the flesh, if anyone else thinks that he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so."
Here's his pedigree. "I was circumcised the eighth day of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews. Concerning the law, I was a Pharisee. Concerning zeal, I persecuted the church. Concerning--" now listen-- "concerning righteousness which is in the law, I was blameless."
Wow. Why would Paul say that? Simply, he wants to show you how self-righteous he once was. I thought I was something. I thought I was so amazing that I was a Hebrew of the Hebrews, the creme de la creme. I've kept it all. Every bit of it. Blameless.
Now as a Pharisee, he not only kept the written Torah, but he kept the oral law, all of the little things added to it by the interpretations of rabbis. He says, I was blameless. That's his self-righteousness.
See, this is, by the way, the danger of religion. Whether it's a list that you work off as a Pharisee or the list you work off as whatever church you were raised in, and you think that by doing certain things, keeping certain rules, going through sacraments or regulations, you're going to go to heaven.
It's you have your list, and you go, oh yeah, I need to do that. Check. Need to do that. Check. Need to do that. Check. I've done them all. I'm going to heaven. You feel smug. You feel righteous. But it's just a self-righteousness. You have enough morality to keep you out of trouble. You don't have enough righteousness to get you into heaven, because you don't get there by your own religious righteousness or self-righteousness, but only by His work.
So this is what he says. Now up to this point, up to this point, Paul writes to the Philippians, there hasn't been a testimony yet. You're about to read his testimony. So far it's been a bragimony. I was this and I was that, and boy, I was special. I was the Hebrew of the Hebrews. It's just all about what he thought, how cool he was. That was his bragimony.
Interesting. I hear people give their testimonies a lot of times, and they'll spend so much of the time talking about how bad they are, and I think it's to get the oohs and ahs out of the crowd. They go, wow, he really was bad. That's kind of like, cool. But no, no, it's bad. But it is kind of cool. But no, no, it's bad.
And then it's finally at the end of the testimony, and then I gave my life to do Jesus and he forgave me of my sins. OK. Elaborate on that. Talk about how He's changed you and made you a wonderful husband and father, a submissive wife, a responsible citizen, somebody who loves people. Talk about that change. That's your testimony. That's Paul's.
Look at verse-- well, you're not in it, unless you've turned to Philippians that quick. Listen to his testimony, verse 7. "But what things were gain to me, my standing, my rituals, my works, all those things that were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. But indeed, I also count all things loss."
In other words, 30 years ago I made a decision that I'm done with that. 30 years later, I'm saying, I still believe that. Same testimony. "I indeed count--" present tense-- "all things lost for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things. And I count them as rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering being made conformed to His death."
He says I count them, all these things. What things was he talking about? All the good things. Keeping the law, being a religious person, a Pharisee, trying his hardest to serve God. But-- those were good things-- all of these things, he said, throwing them away. I count them as loss. What things? Good things.
But listen to this. A good thing becomes a bad thing if it keeps you from the best thing. Did you hear that? A good thing, even all of your background in religion, is a bad thing if it keeps you from the best thing, a pure, real, honest, genuine relationship with Christ through His work, not your work. All of these things, and he says, I count them as rubbish.
It's a very interesting word. I really can't tell you what a literal translation of that word would be in English, because it would be profane. The word, "skubalon" in Greek, refers to the excrement of animals. It's the stuff they leave in the stall that stinks that you sweep out when you clean a stall. That's the skubalon.
He says, all of that religious stuff from my background that I was so proud of, it stinks. My life apart from Christ, even the best part of my life, the most religious, hardworking part of my life, I count it as dung, excrement, skubalon. It stinks next to His righteousness.
Here's what I want to close with for communion. In all of the world, in all of history, there are not thousands of religions. There are only two. There are only two. Only two approaches to God. You can take every belief system and put them in one of two categories.
Category number one, the religion of human achievement. I've done this, I'm working hard, I'm trying my best, I'm going to go to church. Human achievement. Most religions have that as their basic system. You work hard, you go through the rituals, you pay the tithes, you be a good little boy, and maybe you'll earn heaven. That's the religion of human achievement.
The second category is the only true approach to God. It's the religion of divine accomplishment. Not what you do. What God has done. In the first category, the word is "do." Do. Do this, do that. Make sure you do that. You didn't do that.
In the second category, the word is "done." It's been done. It's finished. It's over. You don't do anything. He did it for you on the cross. It is finished. The first category, you earn it. Second category, it's a gift.
Most people that I meet, apart from a real relationship with Christ, virtually everyone who has a religious background, apart from Christ, is in that first category. They put all of their eggs in that basket. I'm working hard, man. I'm doing my best.
Your best is never good enough. Your best, you on your best day times 365 days for a lifetime, isn't enough, said Paul. Hebrew of the Hebrews, Pharisee, upper echelon, blameless. It's dung. It stinks. It smells compared to the righteousness of Christ.
So here's the deal. Remember this text. 2 Corinthians 5:21. Listen to it. I'll just tell you. God made Him, Jesus, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. I call that the great exchange. God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Loosely translated, God treated Jesus like you and I deserve to be treated. So that he could treat you as Jesus deserves to be treated, You're forgiven. You're His child. He's washed you whiter than snow. The bill that you owe God is paid for. You can't add anything to it. You receive it as a gift. You don't earn it. You go, thank you, Lord. It's a gift.
That's why it's not like, well, you know, you believe this and I believe that. No. Jesus is the end of the law. He's the only person in history who fulfilled it. I didn't come to destroy the law, he said. I came to fulfill it. He kept it. He did it all.
He's the only one. He lived the perfect life you and I could never live, and then he died in our place, taking all of our shortcomings and all of our transgressions on himself so they He might say, free gift to you, if you receive me, everlasting life. Great exchange.
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