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Nov 06, 2011

Planned Obsolescence

Passage: 1 Corinthians 5:1-13:13

Preacher: Eric Stapleton

Series: Life Together--First Corinthians

Category: Law and Gospel

Keywords: law, gospel, rules, jesus, obsolescence, old testament, new testament, revelation

Summary:

Paul, in 1 Corinthians lays down a lot of rules or 'law.' Why? If we are set free from justification by the 'law' why are all the rules necessary? In this message we explore five significant purposes of God's Law

Detail:

 

Let’s pray.

1 Corinthians 11:16

16 If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.

 

I think that should be the tag line to every sermon. Someone like me could just come up here and say just about anything they wanted and then validate it with Paul’s statement in 1 Cor. 11.

 

Context is everything isn’t it. Well, Paul in that scripture is actually referring to propriety within a worship service. And some of the content just before this verse demands an understanding of the cultural context to which Paul was speaking. In the previous verses Paul basically says it’s not OK for women to come to church with short hair and it’s wrong for men to come to church with long hair. Why would he say something like that?

Well in that 1st century Greco/Roman culture it was perceived that short hair on a woman was the sign of a prostitute or shame and conversely, long hair on a man beyond the age of 10 was considered a sign of femininity or homosexuality.

 

Then he tags it with, “if you don’t like it, there’s nothing we can do, this ain’t Burger King.” When you paint it like that, it seems downright offensive. I mean I’m American, I want my freedom to express myself, I want my independence. I want my freedom. With all these rules how can you say, I’m free?

 

Rules, Rules, Rules! Paul, from 1 Corinthians 5 through 12, it’s basically rules—he tells the church how to live, how not to live, how to be married, whom to have sex with, whom not to have sex with, how to worship. Why?

 

I wonder if to those believers at Corinth, it seemed like a bait and switch, “you can have eternal life and it’s free!” Free? Some freedom, seems like a prison sentence, some might say. Why all the rules? Indeed, I hope to answer that today. I’ve titled this message Planned Obsolescence…here’s an illustration.

 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2KLyYKJGk0

Planned Obsolescence  

Planned obsolescence or built-in obsolescence[2] in industrial design is a policy of deliberately planning or designing a product with a limited useful life, so it will become obsolete or nonfunctional after a certain period of time.[2] Planned obsolescence has potential benefits for a producer because to obtain continuing use of the product the consumer is under pressure to purchase again, whether from the same manufacturer (a replacement part or a newer model), or from a competitor which might also rely on planned obsolescence.

What does that have to do with the Bible? What does that have to do with God and the text in 1 Corinthians? I’ll answer this more definitively at the end.

It’s like this, these products talked about in the video here are designed to have a limited usefulness. Some of these products we depend on greatly, so we get frustrated when they, as designed apparently, to cease to function and we clamor to replace them. We long to get the upgraded version. You see we are geared to be so dependent on them that we get as frustrated with them as if the product intentionally broke. Almost as if it was a person. But the difference is that the product was designed to fail and people aren’t. Let me say that a little differently. Products that people design are destined to come to an end, but people, whom God designed, are not. God wasn’t working from a design template of ‘Planned Obsolescence’ when he created us. Our bodies die but our souls are eternal. For it is appointed to man once to die and after that, the judgment. Hebrews 9:27. Good or bad, saved or unsaved we all move past physical death to meet our maker—some to eternal life and others to eternal, conscious punishment.

We are not disposable. We are eternal, designed by our perfect maker with an eternal guarantee. But sometimes we get frustrated with other people or ourselves and we regard such as disposable objects. When they fail to meet our needs, we upgrade. It could be friend, family, spouse or maybe even a group of persons—a job, a school, a club, a church body…Upgrade to version 2.0. 

That’s the reason for the rules. We are saved and inherit eternal life solely because of what Jesus did on the cross. That is because of Jesus Christ dying on the cross, everything thing bad that we have done and are going to do is paid for, done deal. If you can believe that and truly embrace that you have eternal life, heaven, paradise everything opposite of death, pain and suffering.

God made a huge investment for all people to receive that good eternal life. If you purchase something valuable, you take great pains for its care and maintenance. John 3:16 For God so loved you, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. Costly investment, you and me, the death of God’s son.

Now if you were to cart yourself over to Best Buy or you name the place and you spent an ungodly amount of money on some awesome piece of equipment, entertainment, enjoyment, etc, wouldn’t you want to make sure you knew how it worked? Wouldn’t you want the instruction manual? You open up he box and it’s there in the middle of the floor and it’s not doing anything. “I don’t understand. On the commercial the guy was riding it like a pony and he had a big smile on his face and the wind was all blowing through his hair and…this thing just sits there and doesn’t do anything.”

Folks, do you get it? God designed us and paid for us to do great things. What things? Things that reflect the image of a great God in whose image we were made. The glory of God is a man fully alive with every good godly attribute He put there inside of him.

Back to the text. In this book of the Bible, Paul seems to laying out, not a bunch of encouragement, but a lot of correction and rules.

In chapter five, they are being rebuked for sexual immorality,

‎Paul opens 1 Cor 5 with :

It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife.

Contrast with Lev 18:8

‎ 8 ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is your father’s nakedness.

 

Paul continues to speak against immoral behavior like idolatry, swindling, slandering, etc. These are also covered in Lev 19

1 Corinthians 6:18–20 (NIV84)

18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

 

He really seems to harp on sexual immorality in this book. You want to know why? Corinth was a port city, a lot of trade, lonely sailors and prostitution both male and female. Although there probably was a Jewish synagogue to start off with, many of the people in the church at Corinth were ex-pagans. Check it out.

1 Corinthians 6:9–11 (NIV84)

9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

 

“That is what some of you were…but you were washed, you were sanctified.”

This is also important to understanding why there are so many rebukes, corrections and rules in 1 Corinthians.

Corinth wasn’t in Israel. It was in the heart of a Pagan empire that was without God. Even if the church started from a synagogue, which it probably did, even those Jewish believers were surrounded by an ungodly culture that had been that way for thousands of years. All the civil laws, the customs, the art, the religion, all of it was produced without the true living God as the center of reason or inspiration.

This was very much the opposite from the culture that Judaism created. This same Judaism that Jesus was born into, this same Judaism that Paul was well educated in. This same Jewish culture from whence came the law, prophets and writings of the Old Testament. Hebrew culture, it’s laws, art, customs, festivals, religion was inspired when not outright commanded, by God. Completely opposite of the situation at Corinth. Or was it?

The Hebrews or Jews after all, God’s chosen people. Oh, by the way, don’t be too confused by my use of Hebrews and Jews. The Jews are a subset of The Hebrews. The Jews is short for Judeans as in the tribe of Judah. Judah was one of the twelve original tribes and the largest remnant of the nation of Israel. Israel got its name from the grandson (Israel) of a guy named Abraham who himself became a small army of nomads called Hebrews of whose name was derived from a descendent named Eber. The Eberites eventually became known as the Hebrews. In ancient documents found near Egypt they are referred to as the Apiru, a nomadic people who invaded the land of Canaan. Canaan requested help from Egypt for this menace, but didn’t get it. I wonder why.

So, the Jewish culture was, in sense, apart from the corruption, was God given culture. ‘Twas not always the case. For the first several hundred years of their history, the Hebrews like the Corinthians, didn’t have laws, customs, festivals, their own culture. They had nothing. In fact for four hundred years of their history, they were slaves living in a debased country not their own, Egypt. Egypt with its many gods and myths was probably just as, if not more debased than the culture that the believers in Corinth lived in. The Hebrews (that is the nation of Israel) lived in ungodly Egypt, steeped in and enslaved by its ungodly culture. Finally, via some significant changes in the weather and one heckuva tsunami, God delivered the Hebrews from their bondage. But because they were so used to living in a culture not given to them by God, they needed to learn how to live the way God designed them to live. They needed the law. So, God gave them the law.

Leviticus 18:3 (NASB95)

‎ 3 ‘You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you shall not walk in their statutes.

 

The Corinthian believers were steeped in godless culture but they were saved by God, not by fiery hail and a crashing sea but by the death and resurrection of Jesus, they also now needed to know how live as God designed them to. Just like enslaved Hebrews of old, they didn’t have a God based society and culture and like the Hebrews they needed law.

Yes, I said law. Sometimes when we read the New Testament, we can so readily apprehend that law always refers to Old Testament Law, the ceremonial law and the Ten Commandments and how somehow that doesn’t really apply to us now because we’re under grace. And certainly that would apply to the ceremonial law—circumcision, hand washing, sacrifices, etc. But we still have guidelines to live by. In terms of our faith and the Bible, This is “Law”: what we should do to be right in God’s sight. Some may say, but Eric, you can’t be justified by keeping the law. That’s only true because nobody does keep the law perfectly. Just because you don’t does not necessarily mean you can’t. Stay with me here. Because if you can’t, if you are unable to, truly, then you aren’t responsible. I hear lies like, “you’re only human.” Really, “only human?” Human means created in the image of a holy and perfect God. “Only? human.” Again, just because you don’t keep God’s law, doesn’t mean you can’t, it just means you don’t. And because you don’t, you can go to Hell. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that Jesus took your sins, your continual refusal to obey God’s laws, on himself. There is a scene in The Passion where a Roman soldier is wailing on Jesus’s already torn open back, with a whip studded with sharp metal bits. Seeing the rage on the soldier’s face one could be inspired to say, “how evil! That man must truly be filled with Satan to mete out such torture and cruelty on one so innocent.” Really? I say no. I say that man who actually beat Jesus wasn’t filled with Satan. I would say he was much more likely filled with God. God’s wrath coming down on Jesus for your sins.

That’s the good news, or the Gospel. Because of what Jesus did, you are made right in God’s sight. Jesus DID obey God’s laws. So, briefly, law is what we should do, gospel is what Jesus did do because of what we didn’t do, but should have.

I paint that picture because it is all too easy to read this text and say, “hey, at least I didn’t sleep with my father’s wife or swindle or at least I’m not a prostitute.” I’m telling you, there’s been worse come through these doors. And I can say that too can be covered by God’s eternal life guarantee. My point is with that, is we are responsible for our own sin until we consciously and deliberately hand it over to Christ and accept His forgiveness. If we don’t first recognize our responsibility for our sin, we don’t need Jesus.

Romans 5:7–8 (NIV84)

7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 

Today, if you can accept it, I’d like to propose that the Law (Biblical rules about how we should live, etc.) has four, even five significant purposes for us.

 

They are. To point us to Jesus, To enjoy life together, To enhance our lives (this one and the next), To point us back to Jesus and the last one…I’m going to leave that one for the end. What I want you to take away from this message to find a love for God’s law so that you meditate on it, and obey it.

 

We’ve just visited the first one: to show us that we need Jesus Christ.

 

Purpose of the Law #1: To show us our need for Jesus Christ

 

Back to the text. In chapter 7, Paul instructs about marriage and divorce. He talks about sex in marriage. Turns out he’s in favor it. What he is not in favor is married couples abstaining from it for extended periods of time.

1 Corinthians 7:4–5 (NIV84)

4 The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

 

So, if you’re married and not having sex, get with it, see a doctor, pharmacist, counselor, pray, figure it out, whatever.

In chapter 8, Paul instructs the people to give up their freedom for the sake of others, that is to say…well, see for yourselves.

1 Corinthians 8:9–13 (NIV84)

9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.

 

Hmm, this exhortation seems to be pointing to another use for the law other than merely pointing to us to Jesus. There’s something else afoot here. He seems to be alluding that we sacrifice our freedom for the sake of others.

This brings us to the second purpose of God’s Law. To help us live with each other.

Matthew 7:12 (NIV84)

12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

 

If you don’t agree well then, we have no other practice and neither do the churches of God. Knew I’d get that one in there.

If you go back to the Old Testament during the time after the Hebrews were set free from Egyptian slavery, they spent forty years receiving and trying to wrap their heads around God’s law. Beyond the ten commandments, they received laws regarding every part of life, including—marriage, diet, festivals, art, culture, conflict resolution, civil law, criminal law, hygiene, health, labor, insurance, agriculture, military procedures and most importantly, worship. Many of those headings were about Life Together. The name of the preaching series we’re in now. The Corinthians were relearning how to live life together.

Also, the more people there are, the more ‘sinners’ there are, the more need for rules. Back to the analogy of production. Some guy develops this new thing and he calls it an electric iron. Its use is to flatten out the wrinkles in your clothes. And instead of heating the iron plate up over a fire or stove, you plug it in. Instead of spraying water or dampening the fabric to be ironed, you pour the water in the hole in the iron and set a dial to the fabric setting and it works. He’s designed the product to perform a truly wonderful function. It gets produced, marketed and three months later he gets several letters of complaint about his product claiming that it doesn’t work, they plugged it in and it didn’t flatten out wrinkles. So he realizes he needs more explicit instructions or law if you. Repackages the product, adds a new law, “if product fails to operate when plugged in, please make sure the power toggle switch is set to the O-N position.” They weren’t turning the thing on. He thought it was obvious. But then he gets more letters of complaint than ever before. “The thing burned my house down.” Sigh. Back to the instructions. “When finished using the Happy Fun Joy Joy Deluxe Iron, please make sure the power toggle switch is set to the O-F-F position.” It’s true, read the packaging on any of your household appliances and figure out how many rules don’t need to be there. Trust me they need to be there. Some fellow sinner out there created the need for it.

How ‘bout this one. Deuteronomy 25:11–12 (NIV84)

11 If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, 12 you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.

 

Really, why did Moses think of that? What kind of cage fighting did they have Egypt? That kind of stuff isn’t even in a Tarantino film.

You get my point. God designed us to operate a certain way and when don’t operate the way we were designed to, we cause harm to others and steal their joy.

I graduated from Moody Bible Institute here in Spokane about eight years ago.

When I started there 10 years ago, there weren’t a lot of restrictions in regard to being student there. Like, I didn’t have to agree to not drink alcohol while I was attending. I wasn’t required to refrain from wearing certain clothes or dance or not play cards or go see a movie of my choosing. Well at the Chicago campus it was different…lot more restrictions there. At the time, I was grateful for being in Spokane and indignantly passed judgment that Moody in Chicago they were a bunch of Pharisees. But then in Chicago, the demographic was different. In Spokane forty percent of the students were local and/or over the age of 25, like myself at the time. And the population was decidedly smaller than Chicago. My graduating class was like under 20 students. What was it last year? Maybe four or five times that.

Guess what. The population and the demographic at the Spokane campus changed. More students, more younger students…more rules.

Even in your households, if you ever have had to live with other people, roommates, family members, spouses there end up being rules. The rules grow like bushes it seems.

What are some of the rules in your house? How ‘bout these? Brenda would love these to be our house rules. We’re working on it.

* If you get it out, put it up.
* If you sleep on it, make it up.
* If you wear it, hang it up.
* If you drop it, pick it up.
* If you dirty it, wash it.
* If you open it, close it.
* If you turn it on, turn it off.
* If it rings, answer it.
* If it howls, feed it.
* If it cries, love it.

We did find that when we adopted our children, we had to adopt more household rules like “When eating bring the food to your mouth, not your mouth to your food.” OK, I’ll give you a second to picture how that one developed in your mind. Got it?

So rules, we do need standards, rules, guidelines…law. They don’t save, they point us to Jesus and they help us enjoy life together.

Purpose of the Law #2: To help us enjoy life together.

In chapter 9

1 Corinthians 9:24–27 (NIV84)

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

 

Ok, here Paul talks of discipline and making is body a slave as if he were an athlete competing for a prize. What prize?

 

Well, I think Paul really was a sports enthusiast. When he wasn’t evangelizing and beating his body into submission, he had himself cold one and was watching some Monday Night Football. All kidding aside, whether it was in his past before he became missionary or while on the road, Paul was well acquainted with athletic competition. He uses this idea of a victor’s crown on several occasions in his letters. But what does he mean by it?

2 Timothy 4:8 (NIV84)

8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

 

Paul, is talking about some special reward or acknowledgment for his efforts by Jesus. This isn’t talking about heaven or eternal life as the crown as the prize, this has to do with his efforts for the gospel. If you really love Jesus and look forward to seeing Him someday, this is exactly the thing worth striving for. We’re flattered if someone we admire pays us a compliment, the more important the person is to us and everybody else, the more flattering the compliment. The more cherished. Who could be more important than Jesus?

 

To someone who doesn’t love Jesus but merely submits out of fear of judgment, this could seem worthless, but to the rest of us, this is worth it, to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

 

You can get a flavor from a parable that Jesus tells, the parable of the talents, I’m not going to read the whole thing:

 

Matthew 25:22–23 (NIV84)

22 “The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’

23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

 

To share the whole parable and teach it in its context and compare it with other one he tells about the workers in the field all getting the same pay would require more time real estate than I have today. What I want though is for you to catch a flavor of the dynamic of the rewarding of good work. I don’t know exactly what Paul is talking about when he says crown, but I do know that from the time of Cain and Abel all the way through to Revelation this dynamic of good performance being rewarded is there. Who gets the glory? God gets the glory but our reward is to share in our master’s happiness in this life and the next.

 

Luke 6:22–23 (NIV84)

22 Blessed are you when men hate you,

when they exclude you and insult you

and reject your name as evil,

because of the Son of Man.

23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.

Revelation 22:12 (NIV84)

12 “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.

 

That’s not talking about Heaven or just what we do with the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Heaven is won for you based on what Christ has done. His reward is a bonus—and no Mohammed, it’s not ninety-virgins. I personally can’t see that as a reward. I just think that’d be an incalculable pain on a number of levels.

Psalm 1:1–5 (NIV84)

1 Blessed is the man

who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked

or stand in the way of sinners

or sit in the seat of mockers.

2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither.

Whatever he does prospers.

4 Not so the wicked!

They are like chaff

that the wind blows away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

When are living our lives in the way they were designed to be lived, it will bring us joy and fulfillment. It’s not always convenient or easy or our first choice to live how we were designed to. Any mechanic can tell you that whatever tool you can reach always becomes a what? A hammer. Any good mechanic will tell you that’s not a good practice. Because why? You ruin your tools for what they were made for. But that requires effort, time, planning, preventive maintenance, etcetera.

Purpose of the Law #3: To enable us to live fulfilling lives in this life and the next.

But what if you don’t. What if you are saved? You believed in Jesus Christ and received Him as your savior but you kind of like the old ways. Go for it, you’re saved. But then, ten years, twenty years down the road, tell me how it’s working for you, really. Prove to me that you’re better off for it. I’m confident you won’t be able to. I saw a funny demotivator poster.

Hard Work Pays Off After Time, But Laziness Always Pays Off Now

In an age of push button fulfillment, it goes the same way with God’s righteousness. I mean you put an apple or a carrot in front me next to a bowl of M&M’s…which one am I going to choose?

So, you make the poor choice and go back to your sinful ways/lifestyle. Before you can come back to Jesus what do you need to do? You need to recognize who moved. You? Or Jesus? How do you recognize that, usually? Remembrance or re-exposure to God’s law in some form.

2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV84)

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

 

Note: it’s not the living by the rules that makes you right with God it’s your relationship with Christ. The law just exposes when you’re not walking with Christ at any given moment.

Because even after we’ve been saved, we need reminding to stay in step with Christ.

John 14:15 (NIV84)

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command.

What does Jesus command? To love one another even as he has loved us or “to love our neighbors as ourselves. The law and the prophets hang on those commandments, loving God, loving people.” So, if you break a law of God from the Bible, you’re not loving God or loving people, not obeying Jesus.

So, Purpose #4 of the Law is the same as the first: To show us our need for Jesus Christ

Back to the text. Paul continues in Chapter 10 and 11 to give more instruction on celebration, fellowship and being away of idolatry. Paul also makes the connection between the believers at Corinth and the Hebrews of old in the desert.

1 Corinthians 10:1–6 (NIV84)

Warnings From Israel’s History

10 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.

6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.

 

Paul continues to give instruction on worship and the use of spiritual gifts in the context of a worship service, when to use tongues, prophecy etc. but at the end of all that, of all those rules about how to worship, how to live he, all these Christian rules or law, he says this:

1 Corinthians 12:31 (NIV84)

Love

And now I will show you the most excellent way.

 

He’s making a break between the rules and something else. Immediately, it’s about the rules regarding the worship service. But after hearing what he says next, you’ll see that it easily applies to everything he just talked about in the previous chapters.

1 Corinthians 13:1–13 (NIV84)

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

Only these three? What happened to “thou shalt not commit adultery?” What happened to “thou shalt not eateth meat sacrificethed to idols?” Those rules aren’t listed as remaining because when we’re walking in love the rules aren’t necessary.

The rules are there simply to expose the fact we’re not living in love.

1 Timothy 1:8–10 (NASB95)

‎‎ 8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully,

‎‎ 9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers

‎‎ 10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching,

The law was never plan A for God. The law was plan b. When sin entered into the world through our ancestors Adam and Eve, it created the need for rules. We weren’t even supposed to know the difference between good and evil, between right and wrong. There wasn’t originally supposed to be a concern over those types of things. The only rule they had was to not learn the difference between good and evil. That does sound like paradise. But because He’s God and He loves us He had to give us the choice to appreciate that. We chose to be smarter, wiser, better, faster than the perfection He had already placed in us. That doesn’t make sense but then neither does sin.

So, the Purpose #5 of the Law, if you can accept it,: is to become obsolete.

Revelation 21:1–5 (NIV84)

The New Jerusalem

21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

If there is no more death, that means there is no more sin. That, I believe is a logically sound argument.

Syllogism #1

1. If the source of death is Sin

2. And Death stops happening

3. Then sin has stopped happening

Syllogism #2

1. If sin has stopped happening,

2. and the The law is for those who sin.

3. Then, the law is not necessary.

 

 

Five Purposes of the Law

  1. To show us our need for Jesus Christ.
  2. To help us live with each other
  3. To enable us to live fulfilling lives in this life and the next.
  4. To show us our need for Jesus Christ
  5. To become obsolete.

That is mostly deductive reasoning on my part, but that won’t do for a lot…so I’ll leave you with this:

Matthew 5:17–18 (NIV84)

The Fulfillment of the Law

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

 

Folks, everything is pretty much accomplished by the end of Revelations 22. He wouldn’t even put a qualifier in there if it wasn’t valid. The Law will have accomplished all when all is judged and Heaven and Earth are renewed. That is the until he talking about.

 

The take away from this needs be that the law is valuable for pointing us back to Jesus, living lovingly towards one another, and enhancing our quality of life until we see Jesus face to face. Love God’s law, meditate on it, obey it joyfully as if it were the operator’s manual to a costly gift, the cost of which was Christ’s death on the cross.

 

That’s only applicable to those who know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. If you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, God’s laws are just implements of torture to remind you of how unworthy you are. God’s laws are then working against you. I would invite you to change teams as it were. Instead of being an object of God’s Wrath, would you like to be an object of his desire and approval? If you want to be right with God through Jesus, talk to me or pastor John afterwards.