Joseph Prince - Are There Commandments Under Grace?
Are you ready for God's Word today? All right, praise the Lord. Let's go right into God's Word, and I want to answer some questions that people have, especially pertaining to the law. There's a lot of ignorance still. There are people who are, who think that they're doing God's service, writing, you know, things, and trying to influence people, or preaching, or saying things that they know nothing about the law. The Bible says the law was written for the unrighteous man, amen.
Everyone knows what's right, everyone knows what's wrong. In their conscience, they know. They have to suppress that to live by a different lifestyle. They have to suppress their conscience. When God gave the law to man, God never gave the law as a main agenda. I said, God never gave the law as his main agenda. God's main agenda is a relationship with him based on grace, the same one that he had with Abraham. Abraham wasn't a perfect man, but God told Abraham, all right, "Abraham, you know, I want you to leave your country and go here and have a relationship with me," all right?
And Abraham just followed God. It was not the Ten Commandments. It was friendship with God. Abraham was the person in the Bible that God says is a friend, "my friend". God calls Abraham, "My friend". In the Book of James in the New Testament, it says Abraham was a friend of God. How many would like to be a friend of God? Amen, God's friend. God confides in you everything. Praise the name of Jesus. And let me just say this to you, being a friend, he's not even cognizant of the Ten Commandments because it was not yet given. The Ten Commandments will be given about 400 over years after the time of Abraham and yet, Abraham walked with God.
So, for those who insist that without the Ten Commandments, we cannot walk with God, let me tell you this, Abraham was a friend of God, and Abraham obeyed God in ways that would put a shame the average Christian today. Finally when God says, "Bring your son to a mountain and sacrifice him," he was willing to each do that, amen. Let me tell you this, by the way God did not pick his son. All right, it was a test but the thing was this, he loved God. He was a man of faith and the Bible says very clearly, believers, that when God gave the Ten Commandments, God knew that man could not. But man did not know he could not, so God had to give them the law that show that he cannot. God did not give the law for man to keep, God gave the law for man to know sin by. Are you listening? In fact, in Romans 5 it says, "Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more".
Now, the last time I preached on the last line, but let me just show you the first line. "Moreover the law entered," the first part there, the law entered. Now, you don't have to be a Greek scholar, you can just find a good concordance and look it up and look at a Greek word, all right? There are many of PC study Bibles now. You can look up the word, "the law entered," the word "entered". And I challenge any of you, look at the word "entered". The word "entered" is actually to come in privately, to come in by stealth, amen? It's not God's main agenda. The law came in by the side. God's main agenda is grace. Are you listening?
Galatians chapter 3 it says this "What purpose then does the law serve"? This is a question I want to ask everybody, all right, those of you who hear sometimes your friend telling you, you know, this idea is a dangerous doctrine, okay, let me ask you, what is the purpose of the law? What does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions. Now, what does that mean? Many people don't even understand. It was added because of... the word "added," this word here, prostithemi. This word means to annex, to add alongside. To annex, you know what's to annex? That means you add to the main agenda, you add something. It was added to the main agenda.
What's the main agenda that God had? Grace. It was added. Just now, the law entered, that word there is eiserchomai, which is the word "come in by stealth". The same word is used when the Apostle Paul was describing false brethren that came in by stealth to observe our liberty. Same word is used, eiserchomai and here is prostithemi which is the word "annexed". The law was annexed to grace; why? Because of transgression. The word of "because of" is so that people would see sin as a transgression. As long as there's no law, it's not a transgression, it is a sin. We have sin, but we have not transgressed.
Let me explain, if you go to a country where, you know, it is wrong to drive 60 kilometers an hour, all right, and you transgress that. Now, because of there's a law there, you have transgressed. You are a transgressor but before you were a transgressor, you were a sinner. Sin is in us, but the law was added to make sin a transgression, a trespass. Do you understand that, amen? It was added to show man, this is a trespass, this is a transgression. If there's no law, doesn't mean there's no sin in man. There is sin, but it is not a transgression. So, the law is to show how sinful we are, not how righteous you are in Christ. Can I have a good amen?
Now, we come to the question, the question is are there no commandments in the New Testament? No, there are, there are. And our Lord Jesus himself said, I'm gonna go right now to John, 1 John 3, verse 20. Let me read through the entire thing and then you'll have an idea where some confusion comes in. "For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God". And we all agree with that, right, amen? Next, "And whatever we ask, we receive from him".
How many of you want that? Whatever we ask, we receive from God. Okay, Father, mark them, Lord. How many, how many again? Let me see. Angels take down notes, okay. Whatever we ask, we receive from him because we keep his commandments, because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. Stop, if we had stopped there, a lot of people will say, "You see, you see, you see"? And they'll be challenging you on the commands of Moses, what we call the mosaic commandments, the Ten Commandments. Thank God God explains it. I said, thank God. It goes on to say, "And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment".
All right, now, when did he give us this commandment, our Lord? The last day of the Lord's Supper, or before he died, he gave us this new commandment. In fact, in John 13, it tells us this in John 13, verse 33 and 34, 34 and 35, "A new commandment". Say, "new". Now people, what I understand is new means what? New. You cannot read the Ten Commandments into this. Some people, when they see the commandment, they think Jesus is rehashing something. They think Jesus is saying what the commandments is saying, "Thou shall love your neighbor as yourself".
So, some people say, "Well, the new commandment's the same". What did Jesus say? "A new commandment I give to you that you love one another as I have loved you". Now, this is the antithesis of the Ten Commandments. It's the opposite. The Ten Commandments, the second one is what? There are two tablets, two tables of the law. By the way, Moses came down, Moses, it's the first time medicine was ever mentioned in the Bible. Moses came down the mountain with two tablets. "Oh, Pastor Prince, you're so corny". You're right, you are so smart. Yup, two tablets and we still call it tablets today. It's back, back in vogue, man.
Some of you sitting down there, you're reading your Bible on tablet. It's as old as Moses and stiff too, unbending. I prefer a book. Anyway, he came down on two tablet. The first set is God saying, "Love me," four commandments of the ten. The second set is, "Love man as you love yourself. Love your neighbor as yourself". And neighbor there refers to Israel, it's for Israel, just for Israel. All scholars will agree with this, it's not referring to the loving the Ammonite, the Moabite, all right, loving the Philistine. It's referring to love your neighbor, neighbor Israelite. And how you love him? As the Lord loves you? No, as yourself, okay, got it? Are you with me so far?
So, first set, first tablet, God is saying, in essence, "Love me with all you can, with all your heart". Second tablet, "Love your neighbor as yourself," he told Israel. Now, this new commandment, love one another, it's not love your neighbor, it's not no more Israel. It is all believers. "Love one another as I have loved you". So, it behooves us to find out how much he loves us or else, how can I love you if I do not know how much he loves me if I'm not focusing on how much, on his love for me, how can I love you? Because the new commandment is, "Love one another as I have loved you".
So, God blessed every ministry that unveils from the pulpit, the love of Jesus. They're helping you fulfill the new commandment! "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another". That's kind of sad because when you think about what the Lord says that the world will know us by, it's by our love for one another. It's not by our cross that we wear, nothing wrong wearing a cross, all right? It's not by the words you speak. It's not by your saying you're a Christian or filling a form saying, religion, "Christian". It is about our love for one another, isn't it? God doesn't say, love one another when y'all share the same truths. Just say, love one another. It's sad where the body of Christ is today. We should unite around the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, not around our petty differences. "By this all will know you're My disciples, if you love one another".
Now, go back to 1 John, okay? Whatever we ask, we receive from him, we want that because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. "And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment". Now again, this these two commandments, so to speak, all right, which is actually... by the way, just let you know that the entire passage here, four commandments. Four times the word "commandment" is mentioned, which I think is an allusion to the first tablet, "love me". But let me show you the difference. It's the opposite of the commands of Moses. I'll show you how it's the opposite, okay?
The first one, this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ. Now, what is that meaning of believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ? Now, whenever you find this, you find whenever Jesus Christ is mentioned in the context of the gospel, this is the same writer, John, who wrote in his gospel, "A new commandment I give unto you".
All right, this is the same John that said this, listen, we love because he first loved us. All right, in fact, he went on to explain, this is chapter 3, right, chapter 3? Next chapter is chapter 4, in chapter 4, verse 19, you know what it says? We love because he first loved us. Now, your King James and your New King James put, we love him, him is added. All right, but actually we love him and we love one another because he first loved us. So, it's the opposite. The commands of Moses, and I say Moses.
People say, "Pastor Prince, it's God's commandments". Yes, but you read carefully, the law was given by Moses. It's almost like God almost disassociate himself in a sense like God is saying, "Demands is from Moses, supply is from Jesus my Son, supply is from me". Are you listening, people? Now, we love because he first loved us? We love God and we love one another because he first loved us. God bless, and supply, and anoint, every minister, every ministry, every church that preaches and unveils the love of God. The people will end up loving God. They will end up loving one another, but for the lack of unveiling the love of God.
So, the first commandment, "Believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ" is actually the opposite of the first tablet. The first tablet says, "Love me". But the first commandment, believe on the name is that you must believe God so loved the world, he sent his Son Jesus Christ. "Believe in my love to you". What is the new commandment, all right? Loving one another comes in a while's time, all right, as we see in the Last Supper, but here it's saying believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ. God so loved the world, he sent his Son Jesus Christ. To believe on the name of the Son Jesus Christ is to believe that God loves you.
So, the law of Moses says what? "Love me," God says, but the new commandments says what? "Believe in my love for you. Receive it into your heart". And the more you believe it, you're keeping the new commandment. And whatever you ask, God will answer your prayer. Keep yourself in the love of God, wow. I tell you this it's amazing, when you know the love of God, it produce love in your heart. You don't need commandments. Even though it's a new commandment, it's a play on words. It's like a new commandment yet, you know, you don't even feel it's a commandment. The old commandment tells you do or die. The new commandment says, "I know you are hungry, I command you, eat. I know you're tired, I command you, sleep". How hard is it? It's your nature to love, amen?
And then go back to 1 John 3, all right, the next one is, "And love one another". And we know that this goes back to the Last Supper when he gave us a new commandment. "As I have loved you," Okay, hello? Now, drop down to 1 John 4:10, "And this is love". Now, we're about to have a definition of love. Are y'all ready? We're about to have a definition of love. "This is love, not that we love God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins". Again, this is the first part of the new commandment, all right, to believe that God loved us. Number two, "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another". Second part of the new commandment, "Because God so loved us, we also ought to love one another".
Our church, if you tell me, "I still believe in keeping the law," then John has done something wrong because John says, "This is love, not that we love God". Hey, but loving God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, is the sum total of the law. And now John boldface tells us, love is not we loving God.
Now, muse on that for a while. If you insist that we're still under law, John has done us wrong in teaching this. But no, friend, John is the disciple that leaned on Jesus's breast and heard the heartbeat of heaven. He's the one that says, "This is love". It is not we loving God. It is not the law. It is he loved us and sent his Son. When no one cared, God cared and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins and that's why John who wrote all this remembered, when he was a young teenager leaning on Jesus's bosom, not trusting his love for the Lord, but resting in the Lord's love for him, he was the only one standing at the foot of the cross. All the disciples fled. There was one though, one who boasted of his love, his name was Peter.
Peter says, "If all the other disciples forsake you, Lord, I will never forsake you". "And where you go, I'll follow, I'll follow, you'll always be my true love, my true love". Y'all can scream at such bad singing, something is wrong with you. I can sing better actually. He boasted of his love for the Lord. John calls himself the disciple whom Jesus loved. Doesn't have very reverent, most honorable, and all these kind of title. He just said, "You want to call me, give me a title, call me the disciple whom Jesus loves". He was keeping the new commandment, and guess what. John was the one at the foot of the cross that was able to serve the Lord in his dying moments. "John," "Master," "behold your mother". He adopted Mary as his mother. He says, "Woman, behold, your son". He was able to give the Lord some comfort and relief in his dying moments. Want to be used by God?
You know, there are five times that phrase "disciple whom Jesus loves," this is another sermon, okay? I won't go into it. Five times that phrase is used and every time it's used, you find John loving Jesus. It's amazing. The more conscious you are seeing yourself as the Christian, as the believer whom Jesus loves, as the one Jesus loves, you love him most, and John wasn't conscious he was loving the Lord most. No wonder 1 John is so full of, "Beloved, beloved, beloved, beloved, beloved". You read that just now, right? "Beloved," and beloved is agapetos, agapetos. You know what's agapetos? He's saying, you loved once, listen, you loved once, if our heart condemn us, you love once, behold what manner of love the Father. You loved once, we need to always remind one another and we are loved, we mind our children that they are loved.
And husbands, be patient with your wife. When the Bible says, "Husbands, love your wife," it sounds so romantic. We think, love, "Yeah, baby, I love you, baby". And our thoughts are a different kind of love, you know what I'm saying? Not that kind of love. How about this definition of love, the first definition, or rather the first characteristic, "Love suffers long and is kind". So, husband love your wife. How about this, husbands, suffer long with your wife. Are you married? And be kind. That means there must be is reason why you're suffering long. I'll close with that, my time is up. Give him praise, come on, church, hallelujah. Thank you, Lord. We loved because he first loved us, amen, church, amen?