Survey of the Ten Commandments

In the New Covenant #1

Fred R. Coulter12/3/1988

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Let's just review some of our understanding that we covered in part five so we get our bearings where we're headed with this particular sermon, which is going to be that the laws of God are spiritual—which has a much more profound meaning to us—much more validity to the laws and commandments of God.

Also, as we saw going through the book of Hebrews that the sacrifice of Christ is the sacrifice that now supercedes all of the other animal sacrifices and temple rituals that we found under the covenant with Israel.

We also saw that the covenant with Israel, with the sacrifices and rituals, only justified them to the temple. They did not have their sins forgiven spiritually in heaven above, because they were not offered spiritual eternal life—salvation! They were offered physical blessings for obedience in the letter, with physical rituals so they would be a nation under God.

When we come to the New Covenant, as we learned through the book of Hebrews, we have something entirely different. We now have salvation—which is spiritual; we now have eternal life—which is offered to us that we will live forever. Not just being blessed in the land, not just have physical well being, but a covenant where we will have the promise of eternal life and an eternal inheritance. Not one that is just physical on this earth.

Because of that, the Protestants say since there is grace in the New Covenant, 'therefore, we don't have to keep the commandments of God.' However, most of that is aimed at the Sabbath and the Holy Days of God, but it is also aimed at that they can set their own laws, they can set their own agenda, they can do what they want and decide. It becomes very, very confusing.

You also have people who believe that you don't have to keep the Holy Days of God. You have people who believe that none of the commandments are binding at all.

So, what we're going to do this time is go through certain sections of the New Testament and see that the laws of God, the commandments of God, have always been spiritual and Holy and applying at all times.

Let's begin with something that we all understand. Because a law is not written down and codified by God:

  • Does that mean that the law does not work?
  • Does that mean that the law is not in effect?
  • Does that mean that because God has not written it down for us to read or see that the laws do not work?

Let's just take, for example, the laws of our bodies. Did the law have to be written down—before the human heart would beat—to state that the average human heart is going to have so many beats per minute? No! That was part of the creation. The laws of our body were created in us.

What about the law of gravity? Did God have to wait for Newton to define the law of gravity for it to work? If the law has to be written down before it's effective, then that's what people are saying. But it's really not so, because the laws of God involve more than just something written down. They are spiritual; they are automatic; they work on all people at all times in all ages.

Let's see what we are told concerning the laws of God. Let's understand why this is so very important. A change of covenant does not mean that God is abolishing the laws; does not mean that they are done away; does not mean they no longer exist.

  • We saw with the Adamic Covenant that there were laws, there were commandments, there was sin.
  • We saw that Abraham was blessed because he obeyed God's voice, kept His commandments, His charge, His statutes and His judgments.
  • We saw that with the Covenant with Israel that it was codified in such a way that it could become national law.

But all those laws existed previous to the covenant that God made with Israel with Moses as the mediary at that particular time.

Paul, in expanding this now—going forward—into the New Covenant we have here in Romans 7:12: "Therefore, the Law is indeed Holy…" Having something Holy means that it comes from God. Just like when Moses went up on the mountain to see the burning bush, the voice came out of the burning bush and said, 'Take your shoes off for the ground on which you stand is Holy ground.' It was Holy because of God's presence being there. It wasn't Holy because of just something of the ground itself. God's presence made it Holy.

With the commandments of God they are Holy because God created them. "…and the commandment Holy and righteous and good" (v 12). They are all good!

Verse 14: "For we know that the Law is spiritual…" That means that it does not depend on having it written down someplace for someone to read, or chiseled in stone so that we have it for a memorial. NO! "…the Law is spiritual…" and that's a broad statement including all of the laws of God. They are spiritual.

So, when we come to the New Covenant, the New Testament, how we live our lives then becomes an entirely spiritual thing. There are laws to be kept. They function and work automatically.

Example: Because a person does not have the law written down, you shall not murder, does that mean the effects of murder and death do not take hold on these people? Yes, it affects them!

  • When someone is murdered, do they die? Yes, they do!
  • When someone is a murderer, do they suffer the consequences of that in their own mind, their own heart? Yes!

They just recently arrested a mass murderer and they cornered him and he had a shootout with the police. The police didn't kill him. They wounded him and strapped him down on the gurney to run him off in the ambulance to the hospital, and he kept pleading with them to shoot him, 'kill me, take me out of my misery.' Was he suffering the penalty for having become a murderer? Yes! Was he holding in his hand the Bible so he could say 'this is a law, God made it; it's written down here'? NO!

The laws of God do not have be written down to be affective. They are always affective! We'll see how they are affective.

Let's see what the Apostle Paul begins in telling us about the laws and commandments of God; how that they are always operable. It is true! All the laws and commandments of God are always operable on all people at all times everywhere, whether they have the knowledge of their existence or not.

Romans 2:11: "Because there is no respect of persons with God." God is not applying Sabbath-breaking only to the Jews. No, the whole world is suffering from Sabbath-breaking. God is not applying the law of idolatry only to Jews. No, the law of idolatry applies to all people. They suffer the penalty for their sin, because we know very clearly that sin is the transgression of the Law, that whosever transgresses the Law, sins!

It doesn't say that sin is the transgression of the Law that has been written down and it's only a sin if you know it is. It doesn't say that! It applies! God is no respecter of persons!

Verse 12: "For as many as have sinned without law…" Without the knowledge of law; it says, 'By the knowledge of the Law is sin.' So, this means they did not have the knowledge of the Law. It defines what sin is, but they still sinned. Why? Because:

  • The Law is spiritual!
  • The Law is living!
  • The Law is Holy!
  • The Law is in action at all times!

That's why God is no respecter of persons.

"For as many as have sinned without law…" If it were without law period, it would be a contradictory statement, because where there's no law there's no sin! This shows there had to be the Law in effect, though they did not have the knowledge of it.

I know that sometimes this becomes a little complicated and it sounds like you're talking in a circle and reasoning yourself round. But it really isn't so. It's just how Paul has written some of these things 'very hard to be understood' as the Apostle Peter said.

Verse 12: "For as many as have sinned without [the knowledge of] law shall also perish without [the knowledge of] law…" (v 12). What is the wages of sin? Death! That means they're going to die because they've sinned and they didn't have the knowledge of the Law.

"…and as many as have sinned within the law… [in the knowledge of the Law] …shall be judged by the law, (because the hearers of the law are not just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified" (vs 12-13).

Later we'll have quite a bit more to say about justification. Remember, justification under the Covenant with Israel was only justification to the temple. It was not justification to God the Father in heaven above.

Verse 14 tells us very clearly how this principle applies: "For when the Gentiles, which do not have the Law…" They did not have the Law given to them, so they did not have the knowledge of the Law as Israel had the knowledge of the Law, as the Jews had knowledge of the Law.

So, "…when the Gentiles… [those of other nations] …which do not have the Law… [they weren't blessed by having it given to them] …practice by nature the things contained in the Law, these who do not have the Law are a law unto themselves" (v 14).

He's saying the knowledge of the Law does not stop the effectiveness or the importance, or the action of the Law in people's lives. It is continually operable. We'll see Jesus' statement on the Law in just a minute. We'll see what He said, and then we'll have a clearer understanding as to what we are talking about when we come to the New Covenant or the covenant that is made with the Church—the covenant of spiritual eternal salvation. That may be a better definition of it, because old and new—though it is used in the sense in the New Testament—when you go back through the whole Bible and see there were many different covenants that God made had at different times for different reasons.

Verse 15: "Who show the work of the law written in their own hearts, their consciences bearing witness, and their reasonings also, as they accuse or defend one another)." We have here that the commandments and laws of God apply to everyone.

Let's see how this was further expounded by the Apostle Paul, trying to show the difference between Jews and Gentiles, or those of other nations.

Romans 3:9: "What then? Are we…[Jews; because we have the Law and the Word of God] …of ourselves better?…. [of other nations and Gentiles] …Not at all! For we have already charged both Jews and Gentiles—ALL—with being under sin." So, they are all under the penalty of breaking the commandments of God. They are all under sin. They are all subject to death. Whether they have the knowledge of it or whether they don't have the knowledge of it, human beings by nature are sinners! That's what Paul is saying very clearly.

Verse 20: "Therefore, by works of law there shall no flesh be justified before Him…"—spiritually in heaven above. We'll cover that very thoroughly when we get to: What are the works of law? and How has that become such a confusing issued in the New Testament? We'll see that that's the heart and core of the entire problem in trying to separate out what we should do in the New Covenant or the Church Covenant as compared to what was done with the Covenant with Israel. "…for through the law is the knowledge of sin."
Romans 5 tells us a little bit more about the effectiveness of the commandments of God. That is we learn with the account of Adam and Eve God commanded the man. God commanded the man and woman concerning eating the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God made it known unto them so that when they sinned they received the penalty of it, and that penalty was also passed on to all human beings. That's why the Bible says, 'In Adam we all die.'

Romans 5:12: "Therefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and by means of sin came death…" Death is the result or consequently death was passed to all men. That's called the law of sin and death, which is inherent within our members or another description of human nature.

"…and in this way, death passed into all mankind; and it is for this reason that all have sinned" (v 12). Many times people read this and say that men received death because they have sinned. You sort of get the implication that if a baby were born and somehow it was not able to sin that it wouldn't die. But that's not the meaning or the implication of it at all. It actually means "…it is for this reason that all have sinned." Sin and death was passed on to them.

Example: A newborn baby, can it die? Sure it can! Is it subject to death? Yes! Has it sinned? No! Hasn't gone out and overtly sinned. Doesn't even realize consciously that it exists such as we as adults consciously that we exist. But if it dies, it dies! When the child grows up the sin is automatically there. Children don't have to be taught how to lie; they do it automatically. They don't have to be taught how to be mean; they fight and war and hit each other when they're small. They grab and take and things like this. That's just the human nature in them. It's part of the law of sin and death.

There again is a perfect example: Does the Law only apply when you have it written down and you have a conscious knowledge of it. No, it does not!

  • It's living!
  • It's active!
  • It's moving!
  • It's applying at all times!

Rom. 5:13 is kind of a complicated verse, and in a sense it's one of those verses where it is hard to be understood because we're talking about law, we're talking about sin, we're talking about things that, in the English—and being over 1900 years removed from the Apostle Paul—are a little hard to understand. So, let's tackle that:

Verse 13: "For before the Law, sin was in the world. However, sin is not imputed when law does not exist." Let's understand what this is saying, because it seems like it's talking in a circle. "For before the Law…"—this terminology means until the laws given—through the Old Covenant—to Israel.

"…sin was in the world…."—that's why you can go back and research from Adam to Moses and you can find every one of the Ten Commandments, the breaking of those resulted in some sort of penalty, some sort of punishment.

All you have to do is just witness Sodom and Gomorrah. Was that breaking the commandment: 'you shall not commit adultery'? Absolutely! Was it also breaking other commandments which were later clarified and codified for Israel about how they should have their sexual behavior? Absolutely, it was! This makes it a little bit hard to understand, and this is where the Protestants get in there and think and say, 'Well, sure, we do away with the Law.' NO!

This should more properly read: "For until the Covenant given to Israel sin was in the world… [because the laws and commandments of God define what sin is and still apply.] …However, sin is not imputed when law does not exist." This is clearly saying:

  • laws did exist
  • commandments did exist
  • penalty for sin did exist

before the laws given by Moses and the Covenant with Israel.

Verse 14: "Nevertheless, death… [the wages of sin is death] …reigned from Adam until Moses, even upon those who had not sinned in the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the One Who was to come." That's referring to Christ; Adam was the figure of Christ to come. The sum of this is telling us that the laws of God are:

  • spiritual
  • Holy
  • active
  • moving
  • apply to all people at all times

—whether they are in covenant with God or not. In covenant with God then makes another category or application of it in our lives as we saw in the book of Hebrews.

What did Jesus Christ say concerning the commandments of God? In Matthew 5 we find form the very words of Jesus Christ. Of course, since it was very important for Him to define these things, very important for Him to make it absolutely clear what He intended to do, let's read of what Jesus taught. Keep in mind as we're going through this, how we read several times how that in Deut. 12 God says that you 'shall not add to what I've told you, or take away from it.' We have here a further clarification of how absolutely and important and binding all the commandments and laws of God are:

Matthew 5:17—Jesus said: "Do not think… [don't let it even enter into your mind; don't conclude] …that I have come to [destroy] abolish the Law or the Prophets…" Very interesting statement—isn't it? Destroy here does not mean He came to annul.] (He said): …Do not think that I have come to [destroy] abolish the Law or the Prophets…"

  • What did we learn?
  • What was one of the very first things that we learned concerning the Law and the Prophets?
  • When Jesus was ask what was 'the great commandment in the Law,' what did Jesus say?
  • You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, and with all your strength—this is the great and first commandment! The second is like unto it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself—and upon these two hang all the Law and all the Prophets!

Let's talk about the Prophets. We've been focusing in on law so much that sometimes we forget the Prophets. What had the Prophets been commissioned to do? To show the people their sins! Every pronouncement of Jeremiah against all the people of Jerusalem and Judah was based upon their breaking of the commandments of God. You read the book of Isaiah, the book of Ezekiel, anyone of the Prophets—it hangs upon loving God, loving your neighbor and all the laws that are attenuated to that.

So, Jesus made it abundantly clear, v 17: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill." When Protestants read that statement, they say. 'Well, Jesus fulfilled the Law! He did it for us, therefore, we don't have to do it. We don't have to worry about keeping those commandments. All we have to do is be concerned with loving God.'

Is that true? We'll see that that is not true! He said 'until all be fulfilled.' This could also read until everyone is fulfilling it. Do the laws of God and the commandments of God in this New Testament time, or the Church Covenant time, apply to the Church?

Verse 18: "For truly…"—verily, amen, so be it—remember: Jesus never lied; Jesus never sinned. So, when He says, verily, amen, so be it, He's saying, 'That's the way that it is.' Or you could say, 'Of a truth…'

"…I say to you, until the heaven and the earth shall pass away… [One quick, simple little test: Is heaven still here? Yes! Is the earth still here? Yes! Now what?] …one jot or one tittle shall in no way pass from the Law until everything has been fulfilled" (v 18)—or everyone fulfilling it.

  • Does God tell us that He knows the end from the beginning? and The beginning from the end? Yes!
  • Has everything been fulfilled that God has talked about? No!

We find in the book of Revelation that all sinners, commandment-breakers, are not going to be in the Kingdom of God. We find here in the situation that obviously, not everything has been fulfilled.

  • Is the Kingdom of God on earth? No!
  • Is God the Father here with New Jerusalem? No!
  • Has all of the promises of God been fulfilled? No!
  • Has all the prophecies been fulfilled? No!

Jesus is telling us: Don't even let this thought come into your mind, because it's not going to happen. I guarantee you by the very fact that heaven and earth are here, that it's going to continue on and these things will apply. He even breaks it down much more clearly for us to understand:

Verse 19: "Therefore, whoever shall break one of these least commandments…"

  • Which commandment is the least?
  • Which one do you want to consider the least commandment?

There are certain laws—like with the laws of the priesthood and the sacrifices—the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is far superior to that. It's not that those were done away, that's a wrong terminology. It really is. Those have grown old and were put aside because the sacrifice of Christ is greater—by a greater sacrifice, by a greater temple. So, whenever God has done something in the New Testament, He has not eliminated it from the point of view that there's no longer any requirement of it. What He has done, He has upgraded and spiritualized it so the requirements are even greater than they were under the Covenant with Israel.

Let's notice how this is here, and how He applies it, v 19: "Therefore, whoever shall break one of these least commandments  and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven…"—the Greek there means less than nothing.

That's kind of an awkward statement because theoretically in mathematics if you have a zero you still have something, because a zero is still a number. When you are less than nothing you are less than a zero. In other words, He's telling us clearly, you won't even be in the Kingdom of God.

Contrasted then, on the other hand, "…but whoever shall practice and teach them, this one shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven…. [Quite a different comparison—isn't it? Surely is!] …For I say to you, unless your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, there is no way that you shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven" (vs 19-20).

How can righteousness that you may have exceed that of the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees? I want you to study and read all of Matt. 5-7 and you will see that Christ has taken what has been a commandment said of old time and He's saying, 'You have heard this said of old time, but I say to you…' And every one of these commandments now do not originate from the outside, now are not dependent upon a physical action, but they are dependent upon the mind. They are dependent upon the thought. The Bible says, 'As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.'

We saw in the book of Hebrews that the whole purpose of the Covenant with the Church is to have the laws and commandments of God written in our hearts and our minds so that we operate that way, so with the Holy Spirit and Christ in us become the governing factors within our life.

Because that is so, then there becomes a distinction between a work of law—which is done out here for a justification to the physical temple—becomes something that cannot be transferred over to the keeping of the commandments spiritually for the Church Covenant.

Let's see what Jesus said so that we get a contrast, so that we understand the difference that Christ is portraying for us, Matthew 7:13: "Enter in through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter through it." That means that the majority of all people are going that way, because there is a way that seems right to human beings and 'the ends thereof are the ways of death.'

That's why Christmas time becomes such a fascinating thing to really study as a Christian. We know we shouldn't do it. We know it's pagan. But human beings, in order to feel justified in their own minds appear good. So, they do good things. They feed the homeless, the clothe the naked, they house those who have need—for the short period of time.

  • Has it eliminated the homeless?
  • Has it eliminated the hungry?

NO! But they think this is really good. They think because of this then they are better people.

  • Better in whose sight?
  • Are they better in God's sight because they're keeping the commandments of God?
  • Are the better in human beings' sight because they've done for all humans to see it?
  • What makes them better because they do this?

Even though God says that yes, you should take care of the poor, the hungry. But:

  • Does that make you a saint before God?

No, because you see, there's even a goodness of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil—which still has the evil in it.

  • How can you do good when the whole thing that Christmas is based upon is a lie?
    • Jesus was not born then!
    • God says don't get involved with the Christmas tree!
    • The presents were really given to Jesus, not to each other!
    • It's all based on commercialism!
    • You tell children lies, that Santa Claus exists and he brings all of these presents!
    • And just like Satan does, and you wrap family reunion and doing good things and everything becomes wonderful and good.

It's really a distraction to keep you from knowing God. It cuts you off from because that very thing is sin! This is why Jesus said the way that leads to destruction is broad.

Let's just take Europe alone for an example: Did the Christmas-keeping Germans kill and destroy the Christmas-keeping French? Yes! So, Christmas didn't solve the problem—did it? No, it didn't! That's why the broad way, which seems the good way for people, leads to destruction.

Verse 14: "For narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life, and few are those who find it. But beware of false prophets… [because people believe what they're told by their church leaders] …who come to you in sheep's clothing, for within they are ravening wolves" (vs 14-15).

In the San Francisco Bay area we have a radio station called KGO—a talk show station. On Sunday morning there's a fellow on there who says he's a card-carrying Catholic, but he's more like a card-carrying New Age—believe anything; anything that is good you go ahead and do. I heard him the other morning and mostly I can't stand to listen to him more than about five minutes, because he's so far wrong it's incredible. But he said, 'Why shouldn't the society accept two homosexuals who live together, who love each other, who cause no people problems, and they live their lives in obedience to the law of the land. Why should they not be accepted by God?

People say, 'Oh, that's nice and good, what a wonderful thought that is. We can…' NO! God says that homosexuality from the beginning is unacceptable, so whatever you do from that point on really doesn't make any difference to God. The basis is built upon the foundation of homosexuality.

They could not stand having told them that that's not the way of God. But here's a 'minister,' millions of people listen to him and he says on his program called 'God Talk'—I've never heard the voice of God on it, yet—and people believe that and say, 'he's knowledgeable, he understands about God, he knows about the Bible. He doesn't! That's one of these false prophets. Jesus said to "…beware of false prophets…"

Verse 16: "You shall know them by their fruits. They do not gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles, do they? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a corrupt tree produces evil fruit. A good tree cannot produce evil fruit, nor can a corrupt tree produce good fruit" (vs 16-18). It's interesting that He talks about trees. I just brought up about Christmas. You read the history of the Christmas tree and you are going to be absolutely surprised, amazed!

All you have to do is get the book Mystery Babylon by Ralph Woodrow. Read that and it will tell you where the Christmas tree came from. There's another book called Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop, and another called The Golden Bough by Sir James Frazer. Those will tell you all about those 'religions' that are involved in the worship of trees and so forth. It's interesting that Jesus uses the analogy of a tree—isn't it?

Verse 19: "Every tree that is not producing good fruit is cut down and is cast into the fire. Therefore, you shall assuredly know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but the one who is doing the will of My Father Who is in heaven" (vs 19-21).

I want you to read this verse and let it sink in. It's not because of the goodness of your heart that you invite God into your heart—because you're so good—and you say the Lord is Lord, and you go live your life and do whatever you want to, the way you want to and just ignore God because you're such a good person.

Verse 21: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but the one who is doing… ['poieo'—an active present tense participle ongoing] …the will of My Father Who is in heaven."

  • Is the will of the Father stated in the commandments of God? Yes!
  • Is the will of the Father stated in the love of God? Yes!
  • Is the will of God broader and greater than just a definition of the Ten Commandments? Yes, it is!

The will of God covers a broad area—doesn't it? Certainly does! You can't avoid it!

Verse 22—Jesus makes it abundantly clear now: "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy through Your name?….

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"'…And did we not cast out demons through Your name?…. ['We used Your name, Lord. In the name of Jesus Christ be gone!'] …And did we not perform many works of power through Your name?'" (v 22). We fed the poor, we homed the homeless, we gave to those who had need. What wonderful Christmas', Lord. Oh, and those Easter parties were so magnificent.' All of those breaking the laws of God.

Then here's what Jesus will say to them, v 23: "And then I will confess to them, 'I never knew you….'" That's quite a shocking statement—isn't it? Isn't that going to be a shocking statement when they're resurrected and say, 'Lord, look what I have done for You' and Jesus says, 'Who are you? I don't know you.'

The New Testament tells us that hereby we know that we love God 'when we love God and keep His commandments and His commandments are not grievous.'

  • Do you keep the commandments of God?
  • All of them?
  • How do you keep them?
  • What is your motivation for keeping them?
  • Are they part of your heart, mind, soul and your being the way that you live everyday?
  • Is your life under the grace of God through Jesus Christ that you can be in right standing with Him?

That's what it's all about! In going through the Covenants of God it's far more than do we keep the commandments of God or not. We'll see what Jesus told the young man when he came to Him and said, 'Lord, I want eternal life.'

"…I will confess to them, 'I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who work lawlessness.'…. [Where are they going to depart to? The Lake of Fire! (Matt. 25)] …Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and practices them, I will compare him to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock; and the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew…'" (vs 23-25). All I want you to do in thinking of this is think of the greatest hurricane that we've had in these last 200 years. Think of all the death and destruction that took place. Think of all the homes that were destroyed and ruined. Your spiritual life is the same way.

  • What are you building your spiritual life on?
  • Are you building that on Jesus Christ?
  • Are you building it on the Word of God?
  • Are you really building it on the things that God wants it be built on?

or

  • Are you constructing your own religious house?

Jesus tells us that if you do His words, v 25: "And the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house; but it did not fall, for it was founded upon the rock." We find in 1-Cor. 10 that Jesus is that Rock.

Verse 26: "And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not practice them shall be compared to a foolish man…" We're not just talking about commandments alone. We'll see, commandments, yes, they are required, keeping of them, yes. You cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless you keep the commandments of God. It's that clear! It's that abundant! It is that sharply defined in the New Testament. So, if you're not keeping His sayings—more than just commandments—He says:

Verse 26: "And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not practice them shall be compared to a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand; and the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it" (vs 26-27).

Picture in your mind also what happened in Bangladesh with all of the floods. There were as many as 50-million people homeless. Everything that they owned swept down the river.

Verse 28: "Now it came to pass that when Jesus had finished these words, the multitudes were amazed at His teaching; for He taught them as oneWho had authority, and not as the scribes" (vs 28-29). Yes, He had the very Authority of God, coming in the name of the Father!

Matthew 19:16—very interesting verse; this becomes part of the whole understanding of the New Testament: "Now at that time, one came to Him and said, 'Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?'"

People want to do good things. People like to do things; it makes them feel good. But you really can't do good things unless you do it God's way! unless you do all of it! unless you have the right attitude! We're going to see here that this man was a pretty righteous man as far as keeping the commandments is concerned.

Verse 17: "And He said to him, 'Why do you call Me good? No one is good except one—God. But if you desire to enter into life, keep the commandments.'" It's required for eternal life, but we're going to learn that commandment-keeping alone, and works of law alone, cannot bring eternal life. It is a condition! But they themselves cannot bring eternal life.

Verse 18: "Then he said to Him, 'Which?' And Jesus said, 'You shall not commit murder; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother; and, you shall love your neighbor as yourself'" (vs 18-19).

I might as well stop and answer right here: Protestants will argue, 'See! It says nothing about the Sabbath.' Well, He didn't mention the first four commandments here. Why? Because at that time the first four commandments were also the practice and law of the land! They did have the right God. Those who went to the temple and followed the commandments of God didn't have any other gods or idols before them. They weren't taking the name of the Lord in vain, and they were keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days because it was part of the law of the land. That was not the question at this point; it was the man's conduct. So Jesus brought all these things out.

Verse 20: The young man said to Him, 'I have kept all these things from my youth. What do I yet lack?'…. [Hey! I'm qualified right now. I've been doing this since I was a little tyke.] …Jesus said to him, 'If you desire to be perfect, go and sell your property, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come and follow Me.' But after hearing this word, the young man went away grieving, because he had many possessions" (vs 20-22). So, in effect he did have idolatry! His own possessions!

What are we learning from this? That commandment-keeping is important, but you cannot rely upon it for eternal salvation! You cannot receive eternal salvation unless you keep the commandments. It's just like a hand in a glove, you must have both.

Let's see something important concerning faith and commandments, because the two intertwine. A very important principle: When you've done everything that has been commanded that's not sufficient, so you can't rely on commandments alone. God wants your heart. He doesn't want just the outward external obedience.

Luke 17:5: "Then the apostles said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith.'" Of course, everyone wants to grow in faith—don't they? Sure they do! Everyone wants to have the kind of faith that Jesus talked about.

Verse 6: "But the Lord said, 'If you had faith as a tiny mustard seed, you might say to this sycamine tree, "Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea," and it would obey you.'" That's an awful powerful amount of faith. But the real key is that it's a lot harder, and it takes more faith and belief to willingly love God and to keep His commandments than to pick up a tree and move it. That's only a physical external thing. But to change this carnal mind is the toughest thing in the world, and only God can change that!

Then He gives the parable, v 7: "But which of you having a servant plowing or shepherding will immediately say to him when he comes in from the field, 'Come and sit down and eat'? Rather, will he not say to him, 'Prepare what I may eat, and gird yourself, and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterwards you may eat and drink'? Is he thankful to that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not…. [here's the answer]: …Likewise you also, when you have done all the things that are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants, because we have done that which we were obligated to do'" (vs 7-10).

That's why commandment-keeping cannot save you alone. It's part of it. But it can't save you alone, because that is your duty! That is what God requires, not only of you, but of every human being on earth. Maybe that will help us clarifying and understanding concerning the commandments of God.

I'm going to briefly go though the Ten Commandments that we find here concerning the New Testament. We'll take each one of these Ten Commandments and we will go through and see how that in the New Testament that these commandments were upheld and applied. We will also see with this that there is more to it, as we saw with Jesus saying, 'Who keeps these sayings of Mine,' and how important that they are.

John 14—let's see what it is that we need to obey and keep and do. We have the clearly defined for us. We see that as the Covenant with Israel, so the Covenant with the Church. It's based upon love; it's based upon commandment-keeping. But with the Covenant with the Church there is the grace of God that is applied to each individual life. The grace of God is something we need to understand in relationship with the covenant; then when we understand that thoroughly, then we will be able to go to the book of Galatians and we will understand how everything fits in.

The book of Galatians, without understanding all of this background—I know it's been a little lengthy and laborious, but you cannot approach the book of Galatians unless you are firmly, solidly rooted and grounded in the knowledge of God's Word so that you know what it's talking about.

John 14:15: "If you love Me, keep the commandments—namely, My commandments."

  • Do you love Jesus?
  • Do you love God the Father?
  • Are you keeping His commandments?

Remember, don't ask which! They all apply! Remember what Jesus told the rich man, He said, 'Go sell all that you have.' There's no commandment that says go sell what you have,' except that Jesus said it. Do Jesus' words then become His commandments? Yes, they do!

Verse 21: "The one who has My commandments and is keeping them… [actively participating, living, doing, practicing them as a way of life] …that is the one who loves Me…" It's an ongoing active thing.

  • Christianity is not static.
  • Christianity is not something that you do for two hours on Sunday.
  • Christianity is not something that you do when you get a good feeling inside of you.
  • Christianity is something that you do continuously!

That's why it's the 'straight and the narrow way.' It's not easy to do, especially living in this world the way it is today.

But Jesus said, v 21: "The one who has My commandments and is keeping them, that is the one who loves Me; and the one who loves Me shall be loved by My Father… [Do you want God the Father to love you? Do you want God the Father—as it says here]: …and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him." God does that in a special and a particular way.

  • Not that you're going to see a vision
  • Not that you're going to see the face of Christ
  • Not that you're going to have an idol weep or an icon cry and bleed

NO! Here's how it is, v 23: "Jesus answered and said to him… [when He was asked, 'How are you going to do this, Lord?'] …'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word…'" All the words of God become the commandments of God—don't they? What is the name for Jesus in the very first chapter and verses of the Gospel of John? In the beginning was the Word and the Word with God, and the Word was God!' Think about that! These words!

"…'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him'" (v 23). As we see by the rest of Luke 17, by the power of God's Holy Spirit! That's how God manifests Himself.

One of the clearest ways to know that you're beginning to be called by God is if the commandments of God and the way of God begin to make sense in your mind and in your heart as a way to live. Then God is beginning to manifest Himself to you. You will love God for that. And He says, "…We will come to him and make Our abode with him."

Verse 24: "The one who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the Word that you hear is not Mine, but the Father's, Who sent Me." Very important! Very profound! Absolutely meaningful for the Church Covenant, or what is commonly called the New Covenant. Now we are dealing

  • not just with the blessings of physical things
  • not with longevity of life
  • not with peace in the land

But we are dealing with:

  • spiritual, eternal life
  • spiritual eternal promises
  • spiritual well being and happiness and blessedness

forever in the Kingdom of God:

  • loving God forever
  • loving Jesus Christ forever
  • inheriting the kingdom of God forever

I emphasize that so that when we come to the point when we read a difficult Scripture concerning a work of law and how that cannot save you, you're going to understand why that cannot do it.

Now let's look at some of the other Scriptures and we'll start out with the first commandment:

You shall have no other gods before Me

We'll see where Jesus was teaching about having no other gods before the true God. Not only just in the form of something that is called a god, but something that you make a god of. Here is how it becomes applied even more stringently, because we are now not dealing in the letter, we are dealing in the spirit.

Matthew 6:24 "No one is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other…" Because Jesus said you have to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and being; so you can't serve two masters. That's a true principle that applies in anything.

Have you ever worked on a job where Mr. A or Mrs. B was the boss and you don't know. Then one pulls against the other, and pretty soon you have to make up your mind: Who are you going to follow? A or B? If you don't want to follow either one of them, then you quit and go get another job—right? It's the same way here with God. You're either going to love God and serve Him, or you're going to find yourself in a desperate situation.

"…or he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon" (v 24). Quite a powerful statement—isn't it? What is the god of this world today? Money! Inspired by whom? Satan! You cannot serve God and mammon—very clearly! The first commandments is you shall have no other gods before Me!

  • Rev. 9:20-21 also applies; it covers quite a few commandments including idolatry, thievery, murders, fornication

You can take these two Scriptures here and you have a whole host of Scriptures that are there which list out the various commandments as to why God is bringing death and destruction upon them because they won't repent. It also says there that they worship demons. When people worship demons they have other gods before them.

I realize this is a very cursory summary, but if I went in great exhaustive detail into every one of these things, then we would really find ourselves in trouble even getting through this with 50 sermons. We don't want to do that.

Idolatry

1-Corinthians 10—tells us about idolatry; how we are to handle it; how we are to keep ourselves from it.

  • 1-John 5:21—where the Apostle John said, 'Little children, keep yourselves from idols.'

1-Corinthians 10:14—this is New Testament, Pauline doctrine: "Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry." Get away from it; have nothing to do with it. What will idolatry lead people into?

Verse 19: "What then am I saying? That an idol is anything, or that which is sacrificed to an idol is anything?" NO! Before God they're really nothing! They're really, absolutely nothing when compared to God!

However, if you get close to them, associate with them, have superstitious feelings toward them, then you are getting into things that are idol-worship.

Verse 20: "But that which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God; and I do not wish you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord, and the table of demons" (vs 20-21). Very clear understanding concerning keeping the commandments here in relation to idolatry. Do not do it.

In many of these Scriptures we find that there is more than one commandment mentioned. All of the commandments apply.

Revelation 21:8—these are the ones who are not going to inherit eternal life. These are the ones who are going to die forever, be forever dead in the Lake of Fire; their memory blotted out; lest than nothing; not even existing.

Revelation 21:8: "But the cowardly, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone; which is the second death."

Does God mean business concerning commandment-keeping? Absolutely, He means business! I could give you a whole list of other Scriptures that we could go through showing concerning that we are not to participate in idolatry.

Colossians 3—so we get another understanding concerning idolatry. Again, it's talking about those sins that are transgressing more than one commandment. But in this particular case I want to emphasize concerning idolatry.

Colossians 3:5: "Therefore, put to death your members which are on earth—sexual immorality, uncleanness, inordinate affection…" There's no commandment in the Old Testament that says, 'thou shalt not have inordinate affection.' This covers every thought having to do with improper sex, idolatry, improper affection and love toward those things that are not right.

"…evil desires… [lusting and evil of the mind] …and covetousness, which is idolatry" (v 5). I think it's very fitting that at Christmas time they have a tree, which is an idol, and everything is based upon coveting, which is idolatry, and they go spend all their money and buy all the presents.

As a matter of fact, there are a lot of merchants who say If they didn't have Christmas they would not have a business. That's really not a true statement, if they really understood the Truth of God. But many of them today, because it's all wrapped up in this Christmas idolatry of the great Babylonian religious system, and they've all been 'made drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication' they say 'we can't get along; we're made rich on this thing.' God says it is idolatry!

Let's see something the Prophet Ezekiel told the leaders of Israel when they came to him and said, 'Oh, Ezekiel, tell us what the Lord has to say.'

Ezekiel 14:1: "And some of the elders of Israel came to me and sat before me. And the Word of the LORD came to me, saying… [He's sitting here with the elders out in front of him, the Word of God came into his mind and here's what he has to say]: …'Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts…" (vs 1-3). An idol can be anything that you put between you and God! Not only is it something you make with your hands; whatever you put in your heart! Whatever you love more than God!

  • Is it car?
  • Is it a person?
  • Is it a home?
  • Is it possessions?
  • Is it an idea?

I had an interesting conversation with someone and they said, 'We're not living in Bible times; these things don't apply to us today.' I said, 'You think you know more than God? You think you have greater understanding than God? Is that really what you're telling me?' Well, I didn't mean that exactly! I said, 'That's exactly what you mean, because God knows the beginning from the end, and the end from the beginning, and it spans the whole plan for mankind and God. So therefore, at anytime from Adam until God the Father is on the earth, guess what? We are living in Biblical times! That kind of shocked him; that kind of took him back.

But it is true. We are today living in Biblical times. We are living in a time when more is being fulfilled and the way of prophecies and the carrying out of the plan and work of God than ever before in the history of mankind. We are today living in Biblical times!

  • Therefore, the laws of God apply!
  • Therefore, the commandments of God apply!

Like He says here, they "…have set up their idols in their hearts and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces. Should I at all be inquired of by them? Therefore. speak to them, and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Every man of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and comes to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him according to the multitude of his idols"'" (vs 3-4). So, God is going to apply His laws, His commandments.

  • Matt. 15
  • Mark 7

Where the traditions of the elders made null and void the effective commandment of God in a persons life, on the surface. Rejecting the commandment of God that you can keep your tradition. Is that not an idol? Yes, it is!

  • Acts 15:20—that they avoid things sacrificed to idols
  • Acts 2:22—that those who rail against idolatry, do they commit sacrilege, which is equated with idolatry.
  • 2-Cor. 12:2
  • Rev. 2:14, 20—Where the Church is corrected because they allow those people to eat things sacrificed to idols.
  • 1-Thess. 1:9
  • 1-John 5:21
  • 1-Cor. 6:9
  • Eph. 5:5

If you want a more in-depth study, you can take just this one commandments and perhaps study it for two or three weeks, just going through a concordance and look up every place in the Bible where it talks about idols and statues and images; go back into Num. 33:52[transcriber's correction] where God says to 'even destroy their pictures.' So, the pictures become idols.

  • Rev. 21:8
  • Rev. 22:15
  • 1-Peter 4:3

All of those talk about idolatry, and in every case they talk about more than idolatry.

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain

I want you think about this and I want you to ask:

  • What is the vainest use of the name of God?
  • Is it just swearing on the golf course?
  • Is it cursing because you hit your finger with a hammer?
  • Is it cursing because something went wrong?
  • Is that the worst of taking the name of God in vain?

Most people would realize that that's not right.

The vainest, the worst, the most enslaving use of the name of God in vain are those 'religionists' who say 'the Lord said,' and the Lord has not said! When they come in the name of God and God has sent them! That is the most vain thing that can possibly be construed in using the name of God. God didn't send them!

Let's see what Jesus says about telling the truth. Also, in this particular case about swearing. We'll see how Jesus expands and expounds the commandments of God.

Matthew 5:33: "Again, you have heard that it was said to those in ancient times, 'You shall not forswear yourself, but you shall perform your oaths to the Lord.' But I say to you, do not swear at all, neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet; nor by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. Neither shall you swear by your head, because you do not have the power to make one hair white or black. But let your word be good, your 'Yes' be yes and your 'No' be no; for anything that is added to these is from the evil one" (vs 33-37).

We've already seen how liars are going to be in the Lake of Fire, but here in Eph. 4 we find some other admonitions for us in our Christian living; that that the commandments of God are part of the very way that we live, talk, act, conduct our lives and how we associate and fellowship with each other.

Ephesians 4:25: "Therefore, let each one put away lies… [that brings in another commandment—doesn't it? Yes, it does!] …and speak the truth with his neighbor… [that comes not only with just speaking with your neighbor, but also the Truth of God, the proper understanding of the name of God, the proper use of the name of God—so you're to taking it in vain; you're doing what God wants you to do. This fits right in with it.] …because we are members of one another."

  • Matt. 23:16-22—the condemnation of the scribes and Pharisees by Jesus. You will find that they say and they don't do, so therefore, they are using the name of God in vain.
  • Matt. 7:21—where all of those who said, 'Lord, Lord, haven't we done all these wonderful things?' That's taking the name of the Lord in vain.

The Sabbath

Now let's concentrate on something else that is very important—perhaps the key fulcrum of the commandment-keeping issue concerning Protestants, the Word of God and those who are professed Christians, and also it has to do with those who keep the Sabbath of God.

Let's see what Jesus did concerning the Sabbath. Let's understand that if you take the proposition that the Protestants have that Jesus came to do away with the Law, that we don't have to be concerned with it; Jesus came to get rid of those Jewish laws that we don't have to be Jewish. What do you think would be one of the very first things that Jesus would teach the people? Don't you think that He would have taught them: 'Look, folks, I came from God the Father and I'm telling you that you don't have to keep these commandments.'

If you take the logic of the Protestants that God gave these as a burden and a waste to the children of Israel, so therefore, since now 'we're under grace we don't have to be burdened with them.' Don't you think that Jesus would have said, 'Look, you don't have to worry about those commandments; just love Me and love each other and everything is going to be hunky-dory!' Not quite so!

Let's see what Jesus did, Luke 4:16: "And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and according to His custom, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath Day and stood up to read." And immediately said, 'Come back on Sunday because now it's going to be first day of the week. NO! It doesn't say that. I say that facetiously, because that's what people are led to believe that Jesus really intended. No, He didn't! IF He had broken the Sabbath He would have sinned and He wouldn't have been a sinless sacrifice for us.

Verse 17: "And there was given Him the book of the prophet Isaiah; and when He had unrolled the scroll, He found the place where it was written, 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; for this reason, He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal those who are brokenhearted, to proclaim pardon to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind… [not only just physically, but spiritually] …to send forth in deliverance those who have been crushed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord'" (vs 17-19).

So, He was preaching the Word of God. When did He do it? On the Sabbath! Why does the Sabbath become very important? I'm not going to go through a whole lengthy dissertation on the Sabbath. {Note sermon series on the Holy Sabbath—that covers all the basics and all the Scriptures}

Mark 2 covers those things that are absolutely essential for us to know concerning the Sabbath. Which day in the Bible is truly the Lord's Day—that is if the Lord is Jesus. Do you consider Jesus to be:

  • your Lord?
  • your Ruler?
  • your Boss?
  • your Master?
  • your High Priest?

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter

Scriptural References:

  • Romans 7:12, 14
  • Romans 2:11-15
  • Romans 3:9, 20
  • Romans 5:12-14
  • Matthew 5:17-20
  • Matthew 7:13-29
  • Matthew 19:16-22
  • Luke 17: 5-10, 23
  • John 14:15, 21, 23-24
  • Matthew 6:24
  • 1 Corinthians 10:14, 19-21
  • Revelation 21:8
  • Colossians 3:5
  • Ezekiel 14:1-4
  • Matthew 5:33-37
  • Ephesians 4:25
  • Luke 4:16-19

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Deuteronomy 12
  • Matthew 25
  • 1 Corinthians 10
  • Revelation 9:20-21
  • 1 John 5:21
  • Matthew 15
  • Mark 7
  • Acts 15:20
  • Acts 2:22
  • 1 Corinthians 12:2
  • Revelation 2:14, 20
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:9
  • 1 John 5:21
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9
  • Ephesians 5:5
  • Numbers 33:52
  • Revelation 22:15
  • 1 Peter 4:3
  • Matthew 23:16-22
  • Luke 7:31
  • Mark 2

Also referenced:

Books:

  • Mystery Babylon by Ralph Woodrow
  • Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop
  • The Golden Bough by Sir James Frazer

Sermon Series: Holy Sabbath

FRC:bo
Transcribed: 12-20-12

BOOKS