Doug Batchelor - The Law of the Lamb - Part 1
Did you know it's against the law to doze off under a hair dryer in Florida? To play hopscotch on Sunday in Missouri? To hunt camels in Arizona? To insert a penny in your ear in Hawaii? To tie a giraffe to a telephone pole in Atlanta? To catch mice without a license in Cleveland? To put a skunk in your boss' desk in Michigan? To detonate a nuclear weapon within Chico, California city limits, which carries a punishment of $500.00? To bathe less than once a year in Kentucky? To pawn your dentures in Las Vegas? Yes, there are about two million laws in the U.S. and if a person could review them at a rate of about two a day, you'd be qualified to act as a law-abiding citizen in about 6,000 years. Yet the Lord was able to summarize the entire duty of man to God in just ten simple precepts that contain about 325 words. Jesus said God's law boils down to two crucial principles: love for God and love for our fellow man. Join me now, friends, as we consider the relevance of God's law in our lives today.
So tonight we have a very important program and it's dealing with the subject of the law of God. Now, the title of the series is the Law of the Lamb because Jesus is God the Son, amen?
God put His word - the Ten Commandments - on two tables of stone. This is the Law of the Lamb. It is written by the Lord - by His own finger. Now, where did the Ten Commandments come from? We always picture, you know, Moses up on top in the mountains there. Some have got pictures of Moses in the their mind - he's writing the law - but you read, in the gospel of John, 'All things that were made were made by Him.' Who is that?
It's talking about Jesus, and He's the one who's responsible for giving us the law. So some people think that the law of Jesus in the New Testament is different from the law of the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament. It's the same God that gave both laws. So there's a lot of confusion, even among Christians today, about 'What law do we keep?' 'Which laws were nailed to the cross?' And 'How do Christians relate to the Ten Commandments without being legalists?' And then there's that question: 'Is obedience legalism?' interesting question - sort of a rhetorical question. How does this all relate to revelation? Follow me.
If you go to Revelation chapter 14, verse 9, it tells us there that, "Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, 'If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, the same will drink the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of his indignation.'" Here's one of the most fearful curses and plagues pronounced in the Bible - it's actually in the New Testament - and it's pronounced against those who worship the beast. And you can read on, it says, "He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb." Going down a little further in that same chapter, it will contrast the ones who are not worshiping the beast and it says, "Here is the patience of the saints" - this is verse 12 - Revelation 14:12 - "Here is the patience of the saints: here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." Notice it doesn't say 'Faith in Jesus' - it says ‘Faith of Jesus'.
Now that's a characteristic you find throughout Revelation - those who are worshiping the beast are breaking one of the commandments because the Bible says you're only to worship God and you're not to pray to idols. And it talks about making an image to the beast. Look, for instance, in Revelation 13:15, "He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast. That the image...should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed." Well, if you're a believer in God and you're commanded to do image worship, what do you do? What would be wrong with image worship? Is there a command that forbids us from image worship? Is that only in the Old Testament? Or does John, also in the New Testament say, 'My little children, keep yourself from idols'? And so, this is a commandment you find going all the way through the Bible. We need to understand the relationship between the saved Christian and the law, if we're going to be ready for the last days and what's coming.
And, again, it goes on to say - Revelation 13:15, that those that do not worship the image of the beast would be killed. Then you jump, now, to the book of Daniel. And, if you look in Daniel 3, verse 10, some of you remember that Daniel had three friends named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - and their Hebrew names were Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah - they refused to bow down and worship the image of the king and the king had said whoever does not worship the image will be killed. Do you notice the echo coming from Daniel into Revelation? Very similar language. Those who do not worship the image of Babylon would be killed. We're going to be talking about Babylon in our next presentation. They said, 'We cannot bow down to your image, our law forbids it' - the law of God. That's something we're going to need to know for the last days. "And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace." They faced a tremendous test. What happened? Did God preserve them?
Because they put the law of God first. They stood up for God and His word and God stood up for them. Jesus, Himself, went into that fiery furnace with them and air-conditioned it. He preserved them. The only thing that was burned were the ropes that had bound them. Then you go to Daniel chapter 6 - remember, there's a parallel between Daniel and Revelation. The king - King Darius - makes a law and he makes "...a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any God or man for thirty days, except you, o king, shall be cast into the den of lions." There - a first commandment - what does that say? - first of the ten? 'Thou shalt not have other gods before Me' - right? Daniel said, 'I’m sorry, God's law forbids me from making you my god, King Darius. I’m putting the law of God ahead of the law of man.'
Doesn't Peter say we ought to obey God rather than men? Is the day coming, in the future, according to prophecy, when the beast power is going to be compelling people to worship something God forbids? So do we need to understand the right relationship between the Lord and the law, if you're going to be a Bible Christian? Because it says a lot here about the commandments of God. So let's delve into our lesson to get a right understanding of the law, without turning into legalists as we study these things in the light of prophecy.
Question #1: Can God's moral law be amended or repealed? Now, I should probably tell you, when we say 'moral law' - we don't hear that phrase much anymore, but it was the term that was used for many years by Christians to describe the Ten Commandments - because there are many laws in the Bible - there's civil laws in the Bible, there were government laws, there were health laws, there were ceremonial laws, and then there was the moral law, which was the law of the Ten Commandments. And I remember, growing up, that any schoolboy used to know most of them because, in public school in California we had the Ten Commandments on the wall in our school. Does anyone else remember that?
I see a few hands. I guess I’m getting old. I see - anyway - some of you remember that? Public school - Ten Commandments on the wall. And you wonder if the epidemic of crime could be connected with our saying, 'Oh, we wouldn't want the kids accidentally keeping the Ten Commandments, because that would be a bad influence - religious influence.' No. Can God's law be changed? Psalm 89, verse 34, "My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips." God made a covenant. It's called 'the old covenant' but the law has not been changed. You'll find out about that a little later in the presentation. You can also read in Psalm 111:7, he says, "All his commandments are sure. They stand fast forever and ever."
In fact, if you've never done it before, I'd encourage you to read one little chapter in the Bible, it's called Psalm 119. I’m teasing - it's the longest chapter in the Bible - the whole chapter is 'How I love your law'. It's all about loving the law. People don't usually put law and love together, do they? It's like they're opposites. But, you know, when you really love the Lord, you love His law. All His commandments are sure. They stand forever. You can read Malachi, chapter 3, verse 6 - God says, "For I am the Lord. I change not." Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And so, His law is eternal in nature - the moral law. No, the reason that I don't believe that God's Ten Commandment law can change is because the Bible definitions for the Ten Commandment law are the same definitions that are given for God Himself. And so, if you're trying to do away with the Ten Commandment moral law, you're going to start finding yourself trying to do away with the character of God.
Let me illustrate: the Bible says 'God is good' - you can find that in Luke 18:19. Well, the Bible says, 'The law is good'. The Bible says 'God is holy' - the Bible says 'The law is holy' - Romans 7:12. The Bible says, in Deuteronomy 32, verse 4, 'God is just'. The Bible says 'The law is just' - Romans 7:12. The Bible says that God is perfect, God is love - the Bible says that the law is perfect, the law is love. It says that God is righteous - and I’m not going to read all of these verses to you - He is truth, He is pure, He is spiritual, He is unchangeable, He is eternal - every single one of those things that describes God, it also is using to describe the law.
Now, that should not surprise you if you're a Christian because one of the names for Jesus is 'The Word'. And one of the names for the law is 'The Word'. The law is, of course, the Word of God written by God's own finger. It's eternal in nature. Now what are you thinking right now? When I’m talking about the law, do you have good, warm feelings? Or does the word 'law' make you nervous? When you think of the law, do you feel peace or do you feel guilt?
Think about that. I’m not going to say anymore. According to the Bible, what is sin? There's a few definitions for the sin. The Bible says anything not of faith is sin, all unrighteousness is sin - you can read in Romans 3:20, "By the law is the knowledge of sin." So we learn about sin by the law. Well, that would make you think that 'I don't want the - 'I don't want the law because it's going to tell me about sin. I don't want to know about my sin; I already feel guilty enough, so if I look at the law, I’m going to feel bad.' No, it's not your enemy.
Another definition - a really good definition that you're going to find here in the Bible - 1 John chapter 3, verse 4, it says - and this is almost like it's right out of a dictionary, 'Sin is the transgression of the law.' and so, do we still have sin in the world today? It must still have law. Sin is the transgression of the law - what law?
And that's the next question, to what law does 1 John 3:4 refer? Well, you can read - the answer to that you can really get from Romans 7:7 - I know I’m giving you a lot of scripture, but I want to make sure that your understanding about this subject is really rooted in the word. He said, 'I had not known sin but by the law, for I had not known lust except the law had said, 'You shall not covet.' Now, when Paul says 'You shall not covet,' where do you find that? Which commandment is that? Commandment #10 - it says, 'Thou shall not covet' - so Paul is saying, 'I wouldn't have known about sin if it wasn't for the law.' And then he's referring, of course, to the moral law - the Ten Commandment law. And do we have problems with law keeping in the country and the world today?
Oh, it's pretty serious. I think I quoted this, actually, same quote to you in an earlier presentation - that "Every hundred hours, more youth die in U.S. streets than were killed in the Persian gulf warfare" - U.S. News and World Report. Another report tells us that the average 18 year old has witnessed 200,000 violent acts on television, including 40,000 murders, by the time he's 18 years old - a young person. So, if we are changed by beholding and, if people are spending all this time beholding evil, then is that going to have an impact on us? And it's also affecting the morals.
I don't know if you know that - it's just gone epidemic now - some of you probably heard about 2015, there was a website called Ashley Madison and some people that were really upset with what the goal of this website was: to encourage people to have affairs. Their motto was, 'Life is short. Have an affair.' and people could go and register there - and a lot of marriages were breaking up because of this website. They actually had a 37 million-people register.
5.5 of them had registered as women, so it was not just a problem of the men but, predominantly, it was the men. And the group said, 'If you don't take down your website, we've hacked all your information, we're making it public.' Well they didn't take it down and these people were not just threatening, they did make public 25 gigabytes of company data - the personal information and names of the people that had been using that website.
But that's a lot of people. There's only 300 million in North America - a lot of them are kids - 37 million people –
Investigating how to have an affair. Do you think we have too much law in the church? Or maybe people aren't hearing about the law of God? Oh, by the way, that's the seventh commandment - 'Thou shalt not commit adultery'. The Bible says that adulterers will not be in the kingdom of Heaven.
God wants us to keep His commandments. He's pretty clear about that. Now, the bottom line is a Christian follows who? What does the word 'Christian' mean? A Christian is supposed to be a follower of Christ. What did Jesus do? Did Jesus keep the Ten Commandments?
He said so. He said in john 15:10, "I have kept my Father's Commandments." That would certainly include the Ten, right? Some are saying, 'Well, Jesus only kept the Ten Commandments because He's a Jew. We're Christians now. He saved us from the law.' Have you ever heard that before? You know, when I first started reading the Bible and - you know, my mother was an actress. She was actually in the movie the Ten Commandments. And I even - before I was a Christian I remember seeing that Charlton Heston movie. She had a very little part - I don't want you to think she was a, you know, famous actress. Whenever my kids and I watch it I say, 'There's Grandma! There she goes.' It's a really short scene, but I get to say she was in the movie, and that makes me feel pretty good. So, I knew, you know, what the Ten Commandments were, but I was surprised, after becoming a Christian, to hear Christians telling me, 'Oh, but we're saved because of Jesus. Jesus kept the law so we don't have to.' and I thought, 'Really? You mean He died and took our penalty to give us a license to sin?' I thought He died - didn't the angel tell Mary to save us from our sins, not in our sins? Sin is my problem. I want to be saved from my sin. I don't want to be saved to continue with these things that cause all these problems in my life. I want to be delivered from these things.
By the way, in the book of Revelation, it's all a book about victory. If you read the message that Jesus gives to each of the churches - Revelation chapter 2 and 3 - seven messages, seven churches - do you know what He says to every church in every age? 'To him that overcomes, to him that overcomes, to him that overcomes - do you think Jesus would say that seven times and then say, 'It's not really possible.' of course He wants us to be obedient. What's the alternative? Jesus would heal somebody; He'd say, 'Go and sin no more or lest a worse thing come upon you.'
What is sin? Transgression of the law. So, when He said to Mary Magdalene, 'Go and sin no more.' or He said to that paralytic that He healed, 'Go and sin no more lest a worse thing come upon you.' He was talking about, you know, Mary almost got stoned - assuming she was the woman caught in adultery. We're not sure of that - but He said, 'Don't do that. It could kill you. Don't - sin is bad. It hurts you.' Jesus said, 'I’ve kept My Father's commandments. You can read in 1 Peter 2:22 - it says Jesus "Who committed no sin. Nor was deceit found in His mouth." Sin is the transgression of the law. Jesus committed what? No sin. Jesus perfectly kept the Father's commandments. Now, we haven't. All of us have sinned. We all struggle with temptation and sin every day, amen?
It's a challenge. But because we all struggle and we often fall, does that mean we shouldn't make every effort, by God's grace, to do His will? And what is the will of God? Not everyone that says, 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but they that do the will of My Father in Heaven.' What is the will of God? 'Lord, I love to keep Your law - I love to keep Your commandments. Your law is written in my heart.' Psalm 119 - I think that's verse 45. The law of God - He says, 'I love to do Your will. Your law is in my heart.' The will of God is the law of God. The law of God is the will of God. It's God's will that you don't kill each other. It's God's will that you don't covet - that you don't commit adultery, right? And so, if you love Him. So how many people have sinned?
We just sort of alluded to this - you can read, of course, in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." We've all broken God's law. And the penalty for sin, of course, is very serious. The Bible says, 'All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way. And the Lord laid upon Him the iniquity of us all.' So all of us have sinned. None is righteous, no, not one.
What is the punishment for living a life of sin? You can read there, in Romans chapter 6:23, "The wages of sin is death." How come we're not dead yet? It's because Jesus, by His death, He's bought us time to make a decision and He bought eternal life for those that will accept His sacrifice in their place. But why did He die? For sin. What is sin? Breaking the law. Why would you want to do the thing that hurt Jesus so much? Yeah, sin is what killed Him - sin is what hurt Him. When God told Adam and Eve, if you eat the forbidden fruit, "In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
The penalty for sin is death. For us to continue, willingly living lives of sin - you read in Hebrews chapter 10:26, it says, if we continue to sin willfully, after we've received the knowledge of the truth - so people stumble and fall, and that's one thing, but to continue in known, willing sin after you know God's will, it says there's no more sacrifice for sins, but only a certain fearful looking forward to of judgment and fiery indignation that will devour the adversaries.
It's a dangerous thing to tamper and play with sin. Would you let your kids play in the street? Why, because you don't want them to have any fun? Or because you love them? So will God withhold anything good from His people, or is He only wanting us to stay away from what hurts us? Sin is deadly. It's poison.
Number 7: Do the Ten Commandments still apply to New Testament Christians? This is one of the most important things I want to make clear in this presentation. Absolutely. Matthew 19, verse 17, He said, "If thou will enter into the life, keep the Commandments." And the rich young ruler said to Jesus, 'Which?' and Jesus began to recite the Ten Commandments. Is that pretty clear? I mean, it's right from the mouth of Jesus. And Christ said, 'Do not think that I’ve come to destroy the law and prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.' And some think that means, well, that means 'Do away with'. No, fulfill means to fill full. Matter of fact, a little later - or earlier, actually, in the same book, when Jesus came to John the Baptist to be baptized, John said, 'Oh, you're the Messiah. You need to baptize me.' and Jesus said, 'Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness.' Now, does the word 'fulfill' mean 'do away with'? Would Jesus have said to John, 'You need to do this to do away with all righteousness'? No, it means 'to complete; to fulfill' all righteousness. Christ - Jesus said, 'Don't think I’ve come to destroy law and prophets, whosoever therefore shall break one of the least of these Commandments and teach men so, he will be spoken of as least in the kingdom of Heaven. But whoever will do and teach them, he will be called great in the kingdom of Heaven.' And so, Christ was very clear about the law. He said, 'Do not think that I’ve come to get rid of it.' I’ve got more verses on that in a minute. He said, 'If you love Me' - do what? 'Keep My Commandments.'
Again, Revelation 22 - this is a Revelation subject - "Blessed are they that do His commandments." Is it a cursing or a blessing?
It's a blessing. God - I’m talking about a blessing tonight, friends. You get this subject, you'll be blessed. How is it possible to keep the commandments? This is very important. Romans 8:3 and 4, "God sending His own Son...condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit." All of us kind of feel the war between the spirit and the flesh within and, through the power of Christ, we don't have to be controlled by the flesh. But you can be born again. God gives you a new heart - that's the new covenant. Philippians 4:13, "I can do" - how much?
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." He will give you strength through His word and through His spirit, to resist temptation, to get victory, to be overcomers, to live a new life.
I was doing a TV program - it was actually a Christian station where I was debating some other ministers on this subject. And one of them said, 'Nobody can keep the law.' and I said, ‘I'll agree that we've all sinned, but I don't agree that nobody can keep the law.' I asked him, I said, 'Do you believe that the devil can tempt us to sin?' He said, 'Yes.' I said, 'Do you believe that Jesus can keep us from sin?' The pastor said, 'No.' I said, 'So your devil's bigger than your Savior?' I read, 'Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.' And that 'I can do all things through Christ.' and 'Jesus Christ is the Author and the Finisher of our faith.'
And so there's - it breaks my heart, you know? It's doctrines of devils when even pastors are telling people - I hear it on the radio and, if you were driving with me in the car you'd really probably be entertained because I get - I start talking to the radio. I'll hear - I listen to Christian stations and I'll hear pastors - people call them with a Bible question: 'Pastor is it necessary to keep the law?' He'll say, 'No, we're not under the law, we're under grace now. We only need to keep two commandments: love the Lord and love your neighbor. Because Jesus gave us a new commandment.' And Jesus says, 'A new commandment I give unto you' And then he went on to say, 'Love the Lord with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.' What was Jesus doing when He said that? Quoting Moses. It's in Deuteronomy chapter 6 and it's in Leviticus 19:18. Jesus is saying, 'A new commandment' and then He's quoting Moses.
The idea of loving the Lord and loving your neighbor is the essence of the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are all about love. God is love. It's an expression of His love. First four commandments deal with love for God; last six Commandments deal with love for your fellow men. The whole law is summarized in love. If you love God, you won't break the first four. If you love your fellow man you're not going to kill him. You're not going to talk about him. You're not going to lie about him. You're not going to steal from him. 'Love is the fulfilling of the law' Paul says. Amen?