(Video) Some of you are shocked those laws are in the Bible, others are shocked that a president on the US would know that much scripture.
Maybe what’s most amazing is thousands of years later, Jesus would tell us that we’re to look for HIM in the Old Testament.
In Luke 24, Jesus is speaking to 2 disciples and he says:
“How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! (Luke 24:25)
Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” (Luke 24:26)
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)
Series: Jesus on Every Page
In a series – Jesus on every Page – 4 week series. I’ll be speaking, Pastor Marshall will be speaking, pastor Cindi will be speaking.
And we’re mirroring the series in Outlet @ 5pm. So what’s cool is you can come to any of the 3 services, and you’ll still hear the message for the week.
Goal : ‘Jesus filter’.
So the goal of this series is to get you to see the Bible with the ‘Jesus filter’ turned on.
I’m sure most of you know about instagram and all these filters that you can put on your photos to make them look better.
The beautiful thing about the Jesus filter – it doesn’t make things look better then they actually are. The Jesus filter does make the Bible more beautiful but it does it by making us see it MORE clearly.
Jesus says when you read the OT with him at the center, you’re actually reading it correctly.
Jesus centered bible
Before we dive in, I’d like to recommend a cool bible to you. This bible is called ‘The Jesus Centered Bible’. We sell it in the word shoppe which is our book store. And many of your bibles have the words of Jesus in red in the Old Testament. Well this bible has that, but also all the places where it’s editors believe the Old Testament is talking about Jesus is in BLUE. – So it’s a super cool way of diving in to the Old Testament and seeing how it points to Jesus.
Last week: Jesus – Creation.
Last week: We talked about seeing Jesus in Creation. Who John would refer to as the word of God. And that Jesus was present and active in the story of creation and John in fact would say that the whole world was created through Jesus.
Today : Looking for ways we find Jesus in Old Covenant Law.
I was actually planning on going another direction today, but after talking with people after last weeks sermon, I knew we had to spend some time here.
The first 5 books of the bible are called the ‘Torah’ or the law of moses. But specifically the last 3 Leviticus and Numbers and Deuteronomy is gonna contain most of these laws.
Some make a lot of sense, some seem strange, and some seem barbaric.
“No one whose testicles are crushed or whose male organ is cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 23:1)
Is this important? It’s the word of God
No one can be a worship leader (I.e., priest) if they have bad skin, bad eyesight, bad posture, are too short, or have damaged testicles. (Leviticus 21:16-20)
What’s the deal with all this testicle talk?! It’s making half of us uncomfortable.
Mediums must be put to death,. (Leviticus 20:27)
Which makes me happy that I’m an extra large.
Where is Jesus here? – In the shadows.
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. (Colossians 2:16-17)
(He’s giving examples of OT laws. He’s saying ‘Don’t divide over that stuff.’)
These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Colossians 2:17)
That’s the thing about shadows. Is they can give a pretty decent idea of what the real thing is, but it’s not very clear and you don’t get all the detail.
Think of shadow puppets. You make your hands in a way that look like a bird. But you can’t tell what color the bird is. Or what kind of bird it is. Not that I would know that anyway. But it’s just a rough idea.
So anything we clearly see in Christ supersedes anything we THINK we see in the Old Testament.
Another thing about shadows is they’re easy to misinterpret. Where you THINK you see something, but you really see something else.
So it’s good to look at the Old Testament to find images and shadows of Jesus, but we also understand that it’s not usually gonna be as clear as when we look at Jesus directly.
Christians have struggled.
Christians have for a long time struggled with what to do with this portion of scripture.
We believe that this is the inspired word of God, but sometimes page after page of testicle talk leaves you to wonder ‘How is this helpful?’
Ceremonial, Civil, and Moral Law
16th-century Europe – remember all those big guys – Martin Luther, and John Calvin. These guys were very big on explaining to us how we are to interpret the OT laws.
Their explanation: The laws could be divided into 3 separate categories:
Ceremonial Law / Civil Law / Moral Law
Ceremonial: If you look at these laws, a lot of it just about how to make a sacrifice correctly, and what makes you clean or unclean. – So it’s about the ceremony of religious worship.
Civil: Basically these are the laws of the land, and the penalties if you break them.
This was a theocracy. This was a nation state where the nations law and the nations religion were in a lot of ways one and the same.
The reformers say those two are done away with.
Because we don’t have sacrificial ceremonies anymore, because of Christ.
And we don’t live in the civil society that is Israel 1500BC.
Moral law: But the moral law is still in effect. So if there’s something that’s an issue of morality, we still have to obey that.
Which is not bad, it’s decent attempt, but that leads to a way of reading scripture where we’re trying to put all these laws into these difference categories.
The problem: The Torah, (The OT books of the law) aren’t written like that. It never makes those real nice clear distinctions. – It makes zero claim of having those 3 categories.
Again, it’s not a bad attempt, but it’s not perfect.
The Apostle Paul gives us a better way.
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:6)
So when it comes to the law, we follow the Spirit, but not the Letter.
We follow the principle, not the precept.
A precept is a specific command that is bound to time and place.
A principle transcends time and place.
Kid ugly faces at sister. I remember when I was a kid, I wasn’t allowed to make ugly faces at my sister. Why? B/C my face would freeze like that.
- Precept: Don’t make faces at your sister.
- Principle: Be nice to your sister.
Go through some laws.
And so we’re going to go through some laws here.
We’ll come across a number of laws and some of them you’re going to feel like: “Yeah we follow that.” Others “God, that sounds horrific.”
And we’re not just saying ‘How can we make this tolerable?’ We’re making it even harder and saying ‘How can we see Jesus in these laws?’
GO TO BIBLE
“ ‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. (Leviticus 19:9)
Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:10)
So if you were a farmer, the law was that you would leave the edges of your field unharvested next to the roads. It’s for the poor. They could go a get some food and eat from your field.
Do we have to obey that today?
Well no. I’m not a farmer.
Well what if you were? Are you bound by this law?
Is it ‘Civil’ ‘Ceremonial’ or Moral?
We don’t have to worry about it, we just say ‘What’s the embedded principle?’
- Precept: Don’t harvest to the end of your field. Leave it for the poor and the foreigner.
- Principle: Take care of the poor.
Does that look like Jesus? You better believe it!
So we don’t throw out the verse as if it doesn’t apply. No it applies, it’s just the principle that we apply, not the precept.
“ ‘Keep my decrees. “ ‘Do not mate different kinds of animals. “ ‘Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. “ ‘Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. (Leviticus 19:19)
Ok, so you might be thinking ‘I don’t know much any mating animals, so I’ll skip that one. Although a half dog half lizard would look a lot like a pet dinosaur, which sounds pretty awesome. But I do wear clothes.
There may have been a time where people wore pure wool or like pure leather, but modern day, a lot of stuff is blends. I mean look at a leather jacket. There’s probably 7 materials represented there.
I mean we could just check each other’s shirt tags to decide who to stone after service.
Do we have to obey that today?
No. At least not the precept. But we do obey the principle.
- Precept: Don’t mate different kinds of animals, or plant two kinds of seed, or wear clothes with two kinds of materials.
- Principle: The people of God are called to not blend in with the world but to be something completely different.
Sticking my nose up. Man I used to think that just meant sticking my nose up at people who believed differently. Now I think that’s part of the world that we’re called to be separate from. That we love and embrace the ‘other’ and that’s one of the ways we’re different.
“ ‘Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it. “ ‘Do not practice divination or seek omens. (Leviticus 19:26)
So what’s the deal with that?
Well essentially, we find that in these pagan cultures that eating different organs of animals would give you different kinds of energy. And the blood was seen as having the ‘life force’ in it.
So not only would you eat your steak rare, you’d actually drink the animals blood in a religious ritual would give you their life force.
God says none of that.
- Precept: Don’t eat any meat with the blood still in it or practice divinations or seek omens.
- Principle: The blood of Jesus is more than enough. You don’t need to add anything to him. There’s no power that you need to seek apart from him.
“ ‘Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard. (Leviticus 19:27)
I’m very disappointed with some of you.
“ ‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:28)
Wow, that’s awkward. You probably see some tattoos on this stage from time to time. I have my fair share of tattoos, plus a few more.
So what’s the deal here?
Practice in the surrounding nations is tattooing yourself for the dead.
You would be able to pray to the dead, and the dead can help you.
Tattooing yourself for the dead was part of pagan rituals.
God : “None of that.”
So are we bound by that? No. But there’s a principle there that still applies.
- Precept: Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves.
- Principle: You don’t need to seek any power apart from the power God gives.
Reading the Law for principle is something Jesus does.
Reading the Law for the principle and not the precept is something that Jesus himself does.
In Matthew 12 we read about Jesus doing what we were just talking about doing: Going into someone’s field and eating around the edges. Just one problem, it’s the sabbath, where they’re forbidden to work, and maybe if you’re picking food that’s kinda like work you know, and so the pharisees (letter of the law people) call him out on it.
He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? (Matthew 12:3)
He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. (Matthew 12:4)
‘Showbread’ / Consecrated Bread.
If you’re not familiar with the story David and his men are on the run. They’re being chased by evil King Saul and his men. So they go and hide in the tabernacle where the priests are. And they’re hungry. And sitting there is what’s called the ‘showbread’ or the consecrated bread. Which the OT law says clearly : “Only to be eaten by the priests!” – David says “Yeah but we’re hungry, we’re gonna die. I think I know God’s heart and that he’s always motivated by love and so I know that in this situation that he would be fine with it.” And they eat the bread. God gives them the thumbs up.
And so here in Matthew, Jesus is saying that even David knew how to interpret the law through the lens of love.
Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? (Matthew 12:5)
“If you try to obey the letter oft he law, you’re never going to be able to. It’s filled with contradictions.
Jesus says: For example, the law says “You must not work on the sabbath! That goes for everybody!” And then the laws says “Priests you work on the sabbath.”
There’s no way for a priest to obey the letter of the law perfectly.
So what do you do about it:
I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. (Matthew 12:6)
Jesus says “Focus on me, I’m greater than the whole system.”
A few more scriptures
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (Romans 10:4)
How do you fulfill the whole law? By putting your faith in Jesus Christ and imitating Him in everything you do.
The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. (Hebrews 7:18-19)
By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear. (Hebrews 8:13)
Ever imagine the bible would call a huge part of it’s own literature obsolete?
The bible isn’t obsolete, the covenant it talks about is obsolete.
So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. (Galatians 3:24)
Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. (Galatians 3:25)
The word guardian here is like a parental guardian. But now that we are sons and daughters of God, we don’t need that guardian anymore. We’re reunited with our father.
The law we are called to follow is the law of love.
Whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8)
Challenge this week : Read – law. Leviticus 19.
And so would encourage you this week. Read through some Old Testament law. Leviticus 19 is a great place to just dive in. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d say. But go in asking this question: In what way does this point to Jesus?
There will be plenty of times where you say ‘I have no idea’. We’ll do this imperfectly. We’re imperfect and we do everything imperfectly.
But as a whole, you’ll get more out of your bible when you learn to read it the way Jesus read it. With Jesus at the center.
Holy Spirit We have something that the typical person of the Old Testament didn’t have. And what’s that? We not only have the example of Jesus but we have: The Holy Spirit. Who leads us in the way of Jesus, the way of love.
In every decision you make, especially the big ones, ask the question ‘What does love look like in this situation?’ That will help you make the Jesus directed choice.
Friday – Memorial service.
This past Friday, we had a memorial service for a beautiful 16 year old boy. 1500 people were here. I mean, we have 837 seats in the sanctuary. So it was wild. Try to imagine the amount of work that goes into something like that. People had to get off work to come and usher and run sound, and clean up. But the question is this: ‘What does love look like in this situation?’
So there was never a moment of discussion of ‘should we do it.’ Of course we do it. B/C that’s what love DOES.
So what does that look like for you?
- What does that look like for you in your parenting?
- What does that look like for you in your marriage?
- At your job?
And then the prayer would be ‘We invite you Holy Spirit, to show us what love looks like our lives, and God give us the grace to move forward with it.