Gospel Goodness - Worth Fighting For! The Apostles' First Council

you

Acts chapter 15 if you're new with us

today we are going through a series on

the book of Acts looking at the early

church and some of the different

characteristics of the earliest

Christians and how they serve the Lord

and the things that the God that God did

among them and we're seeing the good the

bad and the ugly and very often those

things are all mixed together and as we

see what God did in the earliest

Christians we see what God is doing and

wants to do among us too because the

story continues do you realize that you

are living part of God's history God is

still at work the the beginning of the

book of Acts starts by saying the

Apostle Luca wrote it says in my

previous book in the Gospel of Luke I

wrote about everything that Jesus began

to do and teach among us well in the

book of Acts we read about everything

that Jesus continues to do and teach now

through the Holy Spirit in the church

God is at work and we are a big part of

it we are in this little corner of God's

kingdom we have a role to play so as we

read these stories and we read about

what happened we need to see ourselves

in this and say God how do we fit how do

I fit as a Christian so in Acts chapter

15 we're going to read about a conflict

anyone remember a couple weeks ago I

preached in the other side in the joint

service on conflict remember the

argument between Paul and Barnabas well

before that we read about another

conflict where there's another conflict

that I want to start by telling you

about that was between the two big guys

in the early church the Apostle Paul and

the Apostle Peter now we know that

sometimes conflict is necessary

sometimes it's good sometimes it's

needed because important things neither

need to get hammered out and so I want

you to visualize in your head in

discipleship you remember the the little

pictures I used of two karate guys one

karate guy throwing the other guy down

and their stars and their fighting going

on well sometimes a good fight is

necessary because we need to hammer

through things so

before we get into this I want you to

visualize for the purpose of

understanding the debate that was going

on in the early church that we need to

understand once you have visualized a

cafeteria right a dining room and people

on one side of the dining room are

Orthodox Jewish Christians from 2,000

years ago so they have traditional

Jewish clothing where they'll have the

tassels coming out of their shirts

though that their ear locks grow long

they'll be wearing traditional clothing

the people on that side of the dining

room are eating kosher foods right never

been to the grocery store and you've

seen the the kosher I'll there's some

good stuff down there right well they're

eating just the kosher foods foods that

are carefully selected that are clean

according to the Mosaic law on that side

of the dining room they're observing

certain rituals of cleansing is not just

to wash their hands which is a good

thing to do right but also ritual

cleansing 'he's to symbolize that

they're clean as they eat this food so

these on this side of the room there

you've got Christians who are Orthodox

Jewish Christians now I want you to

visualize on the other side of the

cafeteria another group of people who

are Gentile Christians these are

Christians who are not Jewish so they're

all wearing different kinds of clothes

right maybe some people are wearing some

wild I don't know wild clothes that an

Orthodox Jewish Christian might not wear

they're eating really whatever they want

so there's some good pork chops going on

on that side right very non kosher

they're not going through the same

rituals that are going on on the Jewish

side of the room right all the people in

the room in this cafeteria are

Christians but you got the Jewish

Christians on one side and the Gentile

non Jewish Christians on the other side

there was a division between the two

groups in the early church because we

need to remember that all the early

Christians at first were Jewish they

viewed Christianity as a Jewish sect so

when Gentile

non Jews started becoming Christians

there was a distinction between the two

groups so imagine this dining room and

in the dining room imagine the Apostle

Peter right and the Apostle Paul just

imagine how ever you want to picture

that modern Oh big beards sandals I

don't know the Apostles right Peter and

Paul are in there now before for a while

they're moving freely back and forth on

both sides of the room sometimes they're

sitting on the Jewish side sometimes

they're sitting on the Gentile side and

they are easily mingling back and forth

then a group comes now this is all in

the city imagine this in the city of

Antioch where the Gentiles were starting

to become Christians but then some

Jewish Christians from Jerusalem come to

visit these are hardcore in Spanish we

would say raha tabla these are hardcore

Jewish Christians who follow the Old

Testament laws who keep kosher who their

males are all circumcise their they

follow the customs but they also believe

in Jesus right so they come from

Jerusalem and they're mingling of course

on the Jewish side of the room because

there's a belief that if you eat if

you're an Orthodox Jew in the this is

2,000 years ago and you eat with the

Gentile you actually defile yourself so

they've got to be separate right so

they're on the Jewish side of the room

and when they came guess what the

Apostle Peter did before he used to

mingle freely on both sides of the room

but after they came he withdrew from the

Gentile side and started just sitting on

the Jewish side of the room now the

Apostle Paul did not appreciate this now

the Apostle Paul we can use our

imaginations he was not a man to suffer

in silence if he disagreed with

something he was someone who was very

comfortable speaking his mind so he goes

up to Peter and the vow in the book of

Galatians the Apostle Paul says when I

saw Peter doing this i rebuked him to

his face because he was clearly in the

wrong and he glint him

have it and he said what are you doing

you live like a Gentile and now you're

over here like he was angry and he made

a public confrontation of Peter these

are the two big guys this is peter and

paul this is a big deal now it wasn't

just because Peter was being clicky

although that's bad enough right it

wasn't just because Peter was being you

know marginalizing a certain group

although that's bad the real issue at

stake for the Apostle Paul was the

message that the Apostle Peter was

sending by sitting on the Jewish side he

was giving a message that says in order

to be saved in order to be a real

Christian a really good Christian it's

not enough that you just believe in

Jesus you also have to obey a bunch of

rules that are inherited from the Old

Testament traditions under Moses it's

great that you believe in Jesus but

according to these Judy izing Christians

you also need to believe in Jesus and be

circumcised if your guy you need to keep

kosher you need to follow the customs

you need to go to the temple you need to

be a Jewish Christian if you want to be

a real Christian and the Apostle Paul

would have nothing to do that he said no

way Christianity is not about following

the Old Testament rules it's about faith

in Jesus and for us we take that for

granted but that was a new idea back

then it was shocking it was scandalous

and they're thinking well you're saying

that they shouldn't obey the law it's in

the Bible isn't it so they shouldn't

obey the laws in the Old Testament Bible

and so there was a debate that happened

and what we're going to read about today

is how that debate led to the first

church council where the Christians

decided we need to get together and we

need to hammer out what we're going to

do about this because otherwise we're

giving different messages and we're

going to read about that council and

it's a big deal because there are some

things that we need to make a big deal

of in the church there are some things

we shouldn't write we don't need to

argue about the color of the drapes we

don't need to argue about music

Styles you don't even need to argue

about some of the which Bible

translation we use right we have

different preferences and strong beliefs

on that even some theological beliefs

are not central right some people

believe that Jesus is going to come in a

certain way others believe that it'll

happen after a certain season of

tribulation and everyone's got their

system worked out of exactly how it's

going to be and I have my own opinions

of what I believe but there's a variety

of interpretations about how Jesus

what's going to happen in the end times

before Jesus comes that we can agree to

disagree but there's some things we

can't agree to disagree on the nature of

Jesus the authority of Scripture the

divinity of Christ and what we must do

to be saved those are non-negotiables

they're worth fighting over so we're

going to read about this council we're

going to see three major issues that

came out of it that are still relevant

for us today and I'm going to need you

to do some thinking with me today okay

because this is this is kinda you're

ready to think okay we're not you know

that I'm going to try to be concise but

I'm gonna need you to stick with me

because the questions that come up one

what really is necessary for salvation

and this is a big deal because they

would add something to faith in Christ

they added following the Jewish customs

and today it's tempting for us in

churches also to add things to faith to

be necessary for salvation we need to be

careful of that where we can twist the

gospel number two we need to figure out

what to do with the Old Testament laws

have you ever read through the Old

Testament and there's a bunch of laws in

there and you're like well which ones do

we do and which ones don't we you know

and what I don't get it well we need

there's there is a way to approach that

and that came up in this debate will

talk about it and finally number three

if we don't become good or righteous by

obeying the rules then how do we are we

just supposed to just live like crazy

people and say well I believe in Jesus

so I can do whatever I want and I'm

still going to heaven there's some

people who try to do that we're going to

talk about well then what does it mean

to truly become righteous so you're

ready to dig into this Amen can I hear

nice amen i know it's raining outside

and

stuff but okay Acts chapter 15 we'll

start at the beginning Acts chapter 15

says certain people came down from Judea

to Antioch and we're teaching the

believers unless you are circumcised

according to the custom taught by Moses

you cannot be saved this brought Paul

and Barnabas into sharp dispute and

debate with them so Paul and Barnabas

were appointed along with some of the

other believers to go up to Jerusalem to

see the Apostles and elders about this

question the church sent them on their

way and as they traveled through

phoenicia and Samaria they told how the

Gentiles had been converted this news

made all the Gentile the believers very

glad when they came to Jerusalem they

were welcomed by the church and apostles

and the elders to whom they reported

everything God had done through them

then some of the believers who belong to

the party of the Pharisees stood up and

said the Gentiles must be circumcised

and required to keep the law of Moses

raha dabla right hardcore the Apostles

and elders met to consider this question

after much discussion Peter got up and

addressed them brothers you know that

some time ago God made a choice among

you that the Gentiles might hear from my

lips the message of the gospel and

believe God who knows the heart show

that he accepted them by giving the Holy

Spirit to them just as he did to us he

did not discriminate between us and them

for he purified their hearts by faith

now then why do you try to test God by

putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke

that neither we nor our ancestors have

been able to bear no we believe that it

is through the grace of our Lord Jesus

that we are saved just as they are the

whole assembly became silent as they

listened to Barnabas and Paul telling

about the signs and wonders God had done

among the Gentiles through them when

they finished

James spoke up this is James the brother

of Jesus actually so James spoke up and

said brothers he said listen to me Simon

has described to us how God first

intervened to choose a people for his

name from the Gentiles the words of the

prophets are in agreement with this as

it is written after this I will return

and rebuild David's fallen tent its

ruins I will rebuild and I will restore

it that the rest of mankind may seek the

Lord even all the Gentiles who bear my

name says the Lord who does these things

things known from long ago it is my

judgment therefore that we should not

make it difficult for the Gentiles for

turning to God instead we should write

to them telling them to abstain from

food polluted by idols from sexual

immorality from the meat of strangled

animals and from blood for the law of

Moses has been preached in every city

from the earliest times and is read in

the synagogue's on every Sabbath then

the Apostles and elders of the whole

church decided to choose some of their

own men and send them to Antioch with

Paul and Barnabas they chose Judas

called barsabbas and Silas men who were

leaders among the believers and with

them they sent the following letter the

Apostles and elders your brother's to

the Gentile believers in Antioch Syria

and Cilicia greetings we have heard that

someone out from us without our

authorization and disturbed you

troubling your minds by what they said

so we all agreed to choose some men and

send them to you with our dear friends

Barnabas and Paul men who have risked

their lives for the name of our Lord

Jesus Christ therefore we are sending

Judas and Silas to confirm by word of

mouth what we are writing it seemed good

to the Holy Spirit and to us not to

burden you with anything beyond the

following requirements you are to

abstain from food sacrifice to idols

from blood from the meat of strangled

animals and from sexual immorality you

will do well to avoid these things

farewell so the men were sent off and

went down to Antioch where they gathered

the church together and deliver the

letter the people read it and

were glad for its encouraging message

Judas and Silas who themselves were

prophets said much to encourage and

strengthen the believers after spending

some time there they were sent off by

the believers with the blessing of peace

to return to those who had sent them but

Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch

were they and many others taught and

preached the word of the Lord until they

had their own fight but we talked about

that already let's pray dear God thank

you for this text and I thank you for

the power of the gospel to transform our

lives God in this day and age we can't

be playing around with the message God

the gospel is the power of God for the

salvation of everyone who believes

everyone Jew Gentile people from every

tribe and tongue and lord I pray that we

would be a people who know the gospel

the real one that we don't mix it that

we don't dilute it we don't change it so

speak to us today as we meditate on

these things in Jesus name Amen so they

had a powwow they had a church council

where they got together and there was

some arguing that went on right there

was some back and forth some people said

no the Gentiles should be circumcised

they got to keep kosher others were

saying no way that they're going back

and forth other church councils

throughout church history like where

they hammer out different types of

doctrine like the there are different

councils the Council of Chalcedon and

Nicaea where they hammered out certain

Creed's of what Orthodox Christians

believe some of these councils the

arguments would get so heated that it

would come to blows right these people

took what they were dogged about

seriously so there was an argument going

on finally there was a particular

individual who stood up who spoke who

had a big impact his name was James

right now you know about the Apostle

James right James and John the guys who

requested to sit on Thrones remember him

one of the twelve that James had already

been killed he was the first martyr this

James who ended up becoming one of the

mainly

of the Christians in Jerusalem someone

we don't talk about very often but he

was actually Jesus's blood half-brother

literally he was the Lord's brother he

was the one who wrote the letter at the

end of the New Testament Santiago James

he was the in heat the Lord's brother

right and in the movie the ad movie

that's on that comes to an end tonight

that I've been watching that changes a

lot of things so it's not all right out

of the Bible but it's good stuff they

have James in it and it looks just like

what you picture Jesus like and it

occurred to me well of course they're

related they're they're half-brothers

right half brothers because they have

the same mother but different fathers

right James had Joseph as his father

Jesus had the Lord Yahweh God as his

father amen so but they probably looked

alike so you know not only did he grow

up with Jesus not only did he at one

point fight with Jesus we read in the

New Testament where his mother and

brothers body gone nuts so they didn't

understand him at first but eventually

he came to believe in his brother not as

his brother but as the Lord of Heaven

and Earth right and he ended up becoming

a leader in Jerusalem and a very

influential one because he was also a

rabbi and he was looked at as someone

who really was a hardcore a Jewish man

so the traditional Pharisees and the

high priests and the Jewish Christians

respected James so when James stood up

and said you know guys Paul is right

these Gentiles were making their life

difficult we're asking them not just to

become Christians but to become Jewish

we shouldn't do that we shouldn't make

it difficult for them to become

Christians I just want to pause right

here you know sometimes we make it

difficult for people to become

Christians it's not enough that they

meet Jesus oh no no you know you can't

come to church dress like that you gotta

get it taught you gotta know you can't

you can't come as you are no we make it

difficult now people need to come as

they are get to know Jesus then let

Jesus change or work in their hearts as

he chooses to do sometimes we put

barriers that are unnecessary and so

James is seeing that following these Old

Testament laws is just going to make

life unnecessary but can you imagine the

argument well if these people don't obey

the laws then what are they going to do

just live like a bunch of in Spanish

there's a saying vanna vivere con motivo

synlait are they going to live like a

bunch of goats without law I don't know

why goats need law but it's a saying

right I think it is live in like a bunch

of crazy people we got to have some

rules for them right so they give okay

so they go back and forth what about

eating food sacrificed to idols they can

eat food sacrificed I so let's say they

shouldn't do that sexual immorality

they're just going to go out and sleep

around no they shouldn't sexual

immorality so they give them a few rules

no food that's from meat that's been

strangled and no blood so they say ok as

long as we give them these rules then

that's it they're they're good so they

put that in the letter they sent it out

and for the Apostle Paul apparently it

was good enough right because he took

the letter he said ok good enough there

are sometimes you gotta meet in the

middle right sometimes you're not going

to get everything you want you got to

kind of meet in the middle but the

Apostle Paul did not agree with all four

of these rules he just agreed with one

of them the sexual immorality what

because he makes a big deal out of that

that that that is still in effect you

know along with the other ethical laws

but the other free he makes it very

clear that he disagrees with in the

letters that he writes he said you know

what because in those days they would

eat food meat that came from animals

that had been sacrificed to idols right

and now the Apostle Paul makes it very

clear no worshipping idols but if you go

to the market and there's some meat

there that comes from a cow that happens

to have been sacrificed to an idol it's

not your fault just give thanks to God

for it and buen provecho eat up right

you know and so that was his thing and

and he clearly disagreed with those

dietary restrictions that were there but

he was like well good enough I'll bring

the letter and then I'll write my own

letter and so he wrote the letter to the

Romans to the Corinthians where he

clarified what he really thinks but so

let's talk about that because you can

see the worry of people people think if

we don't have a bunch of rules to tell

us what to do well we don't want people

to be

shins who think that I can believe in

Jesus and then I can go just live

however I want and it's okay right you

ever you've heard that and you you've

observed that we don't we don't want to

be hypocrites who have a godly face in

church and then on Monday morning at

work we're a totally different person so

what do we do with this the Apostle Paul

helps us figure it out now the first

step was to hammer down what is

necessary for salvation it's really

important that we make it clear that

there is only one thing necessary for

salvation we need salvation is a gift

from God received by faith that's it God

throws you a life preserver and your

only job is to grab it and he saves you

right faith through grace not by

becoming Jewish by obeying the Old

Testament laws faith a loan believing in

Jesus the minute you put your faith in

Jesus you are innocent before God if you

die at that moment everything you have

ever done is washed clean and you were

treated as righteous and innocent before

a holy judge faith alone we are saved by

grace through faith the Apostle Paul

says in Ephesians 2 8 and 9 we are saved

by grace through faith that means I

trust in God's promise not by works so

that no one can boast and say I did

something to earn my salvation right now

we need to be careful about that because

when we have too many rules that we dump

on people right away sometimes it can

become you got to do this to become a

Christian no but you become a gear is

just trust in Jesus with your whole

heart give now faith is not just saying

yeah I believe that's not faith right

the devil believes in God so if you

believe in God well that's just the

starting point faith is trust right

traith faith is doing a stage dive and

trusting that Jesus is going to catch

you right that's faith it's putting your

life in Jesus's hands

it's letting Jesus be number one he

takes me over it's the kind of faith a

person puts in another person when they

get married you're trusting your life to

that person in a way there's that faith

there's that dedication there's that

giving yourself to God but it's faith

alone that saves you so we are not

called to add anything to that see we

don't say you need Jesus and a religious

ritual that's why what we teach about

baptism in this church is that baptism

is a sign of salvation baptism doesn't

earn your salvation we baptize people to

demonstrate that they belong to Jesus

but if they've really put their faith in

Jesus they're already saved before they

get baptized otherwise the minute

someone prays let's find a bathtub right

we want to because you knows what could

happen you know no we believe in in

salvation by faith and then the works or

any or religious symbols that God gives

us are done to help us understand that

and to declare it publicly but they're

not part of earning our salvation that's

important because there are some

churches that say until you actually get

dunked you're still going to hell right

and we say no the minute the thief on

the cross the man who is dying next to

Jesus remember the story he was a thief

he he was being killed just like Jesus

he turned to Jesus and knowing i am here

because I deserve I'm getting what I

deserve he knew he was a sinner he

looked at Jesus and said and he knew dis

man's done nothing wrong Jesus he said

remember me when you come into your

throne he believed that Jesus was a king

a king who would live again a king who

could save him and give him Resurrection

and eternal life and that man Jesus

looked at him and said truly truly I say

to you before the Sun sets tonight you

will be with me in paradise that man

never gave an offering to the church he

never took a discipleship test right he

never although you need to take your

disciple

but he never took a discipleship test he

never got baptized he never said he was

sorry for the things he did he never he

never even went to he just believed in

Jesus and that's all he goes to heaven

salvation by grace through faith now the

Bible makes it very clear though that

real faith will change your life right

if I really that man had miraculously

survived and gotten down from the cross

you better believe he wouldn't have gone

back to his life of crime right there

would have been some changes not because

he had to but because he wanted to

because God was changing his life real

faith will change you if you have prayed

to accept Jesus or if you think you're a

Christian and there's no difference

whatsoever it is el mismo sin verguenza

que nunca you're the same shameless

whatever as before and no changes

whatsoever well then maybe we need to

come to the altar and you're just try

this again because real faith is the

seed of Jesus in your heart you will

change if real faith is inside you now

it's not overnight it's a process but it

will happen faith without works is dead

okay so real faith will produce change

but the change doesn't earn your

salvation we're clear on that amen so

okay what rules do we follow then jesus

said if you love me you'll obey my

Commandments right well the Bible's full

of Commandments like getting circumcised

like keeping kosher like well then which

Emma are we supposed to obey thee all

the Old Testament law now Jesus makes it

clear when he says that and here's my

commandment just in case you're

wondering love one another as I have

loved you it's not so complicated

anymore it all boils down to two

Commandments hear o Israel the Lord your

God is one God and this is really simple

you shall love the Lord your God with

all your heart with all your strength

with all your soul with all your mind

and

you shall love your neighbor as yourself

that's it that is it if we obey those

two we're doing everything God wants us

to do now that needs to be clarified

exactly what does it mean how do I love

my neighbor how do I love God but what

do we do with the Old Testament laws I

believe in the old testament and I hope

you do too the old testament is the

inspired Word of God I believe every

page every letter is inspired and

blesses you if you read it The Book of

Leviticus you know all about all the say

I believe will bless you if you study it

I got a buddy who has dedicated his life

to studying Leviticus he is Leviticus

man and and it's amazing you read his

stuff and you just want to worship god

you're like wow this is great and we're

going to try to get him here to speak

someday don't worry but but the Old

Testament is good but how do we know

which laws to follow which not so ok

you're ready for a little bit of I want

to talk about the old song and I need

you to pay attention with me for a while

here ok this is going to put your

thinking caps on there are three types

of laws in the Old Testament okay that

for our purposes one there are civil

laws civil laws these are the laws that

have to do civil laws that deal with the

nation of Israel you see in the Old

Testament God had hit God's people and

the nation of Israel were one God's

people were also a geopolitical nation

they were a country of people so to be

part of God's people you also need to be

a citizen of that political country

Israel so there's a lot of laws that are

like their constitution as a nation

taxes service in the military how the

land is distributed what a king is

supposed to do festivals that are

supposed to be observed okay so there

are civil laws number two there are oh

and there's also public health law's in

the Old Testament about what to do with

a house that has mildew right how do you

handle these things those kind of things

number two Sarah

mo niall laws these are laws that have

to do with the functioning of the temple

so there was the temple where they would

offer sacrifices and there were very

strict ways that the priests were to

offer the sacrifices and so there were

all kinds of laws regulating the

functioning of the sacrificial system in

the temple ok now along with that there

were a bunch of laws that would provide

guidance for people about how to obey

certain ceremonies that would have

symbolic meaning of holiness in their

life for instance the dietary laws

keeping kosher there were certain

animals you could eat and certain

animals you could write so they would

keep kosher there were cleansing laws if

you were unclean for whatever reason and

that wasn't physical uncleanness but it

was combined so if you touch a dead body

not only do you need to wash your hands

but you are also ceremonially unclean

and you need to go to the priests offer

sacrifice take a few days away from the

camp until you are ceremonially clean as

if it's not just germs but there's

almost a moral film of dust over you

that needs to get washed off right it's

a ceremonial symbolic laws about

cleansing and rituals related to that

now there's a third category of law and

these are the ethical laws these are the

laws that say thou shalt not murder

right thou shalt not commit adultery

thou shalt honor thy mother and thy

father ethical laws of how we should

bathe now these are the three types of

laws in the Old Testament Jesus made it

very clear he said I did not come to

abolish the law not a single line of the

law all of the law is good all of those

different types of laws are good and

Jesus said I came to fulfill those laws

not abolish it Jesus is the fulfillment

of every category of these laws civil

we'll start with the ceremonial laws the

sacrifices in the temple

that temple was not just a physical

building but if you read in the Bible

their sections that tell them very

carefully how they were to build that

temple because the physical temple

reflected a spiritual temple in heaven

it's very mysterious I don't understand

but but that it's almost like a portal

to heaven and it had to be precise

because it reflected something on the

other side and Jesus when he died went

into that spiritual temple and offered

his body as a sacrifice for sin so that

there would be no more killing sheep and

goats and birds and pigeons praise the

Lord all the animals are free and safe

and Jesus offered one sacrifice himself

not in a human temple but in a spiritual

temple so now no need for sacrifices no

need for a temple no need for a priest

because we have a sacrifice Jesus Christ

we have a priest Jesus Christ we have

payment for sin Jesus Christ and the

ceremonial laws circumcision that marked

you as a Jewish person well now we have

a circumcision of our hearts when we

receive Jesus now it's not so much

washing your hands although everyone

should wash your hands before you eat

just for good hygiene but it's not

spiritual anymore right now when they

when Jesus wouldn't observe the washing

he said it's not what goes into your

mouth that makes your heart unclean it's

what comes out of your mouth that makes

you unclean and so clean this is now of

the heart right and God doesn't just

clean the outside anymore he cleans the

inside finally Jesus fulfilled also the

civil laws of Israel now the nation of

Israel has been replaced by a new nation

the people of God the new Israel of God

we are a new nation on earth a new

kingdom that is not based on a political

country but is based on a relationship

with Jesus Christ in the presence of the

Holy Spirit this is a new nation that is

populated by people from every tribe and

tongue

a nation and language and we have one

King Jesus and that all the Old

Testament symbolism of Israel is

fulfilled in us I believe God is still

dealing with literal Israel he has a

purpose for them but we are the

fulfillment of the all the laws related

to the nation of Israel all the

festivals that they observed were

fulfilled in moments in Jesus's life the

Passover festival fulfilled in Jesus is

sacrificed Pentecost festival the in

gathering of the harvest fulfilled on

the day when Peter preached and 3,000

people came in the Holy Spirit was given

all those festivals had symbolic meaning

the Sabbath itself now we have a new

type of rest rest in jesus we enter into

the Sabbath rest of God so there's no

need for sacrifices no need for a temple

no need for the religious festivals no

need even for the Sabbath although

there's there's sort of a creation basis

for that cycle of rest but all of that

has passed away in light of the glorious

reality that those laws symbolized are

you with me so as I read the Old

Testament i'm reading pictures of what

we are living in reality now Jesus

fulfilled the law but there is that

third category of laws the ethical laws

so are we free now to commit murder and

to commit adultery and to dishonor our

parents right now kids are area of

course not the ethical law reflects

God's moral heart and Jesus fulfilled

that by obeying it perfectly and now by

sending his Holy Spirit he helps us to

live it out for real so those ethical

moral laws are still in effect and not

only if they still in effect but we live

them now not just externally but from

the heart Jesus had said you have heard

that it was written thou shalt not kill

but I tell you anyone who hates his

brother has already committed murder in

his heart so now we have a new type of

righteousness a new type of goodness

that can come from our heart because

it's not just about following rules it

is inorganic reality okay in the New

Testament the Apostle Paul

says the kingdom of God is not about

observing rules about eating and drink

it is about righteousness peace and joy

in the Holy Spirit see when you become a

Christian when I become a Christian a

Holy Spirit comes and lives inside of me

and starts transforming me from the

inside out I become a new creation the

Bible says if anyone is in Christ he is

a new creature a new creation the old

has gone the new has come all of this is

from God who is reconciling the world to

himself when I become a new person

things start to change inside me has

anyone here experienced that personally

as anyone here accepted Jesus in your

heart really receive Jesus by faith and

then you go and try to do some of the

same old stuff you used to do and you

just can't enjoy it anymore something in

you just says this isn't me anymore I

have a different identity I'm not for

this at something in you just says stop

that and sometimes it's hard to stop

because we still have what the Bible

calls our flesh that's not our physical

body but it's our sinful nature so we

have the Holy Spirit inside us but we

also have the flesh and they're

struggling with each other and they go

at it with each other and I have to

learn to live according to that holy

spirit inside me and starve the flesh

discipleship level 2 gotta starve the

monkey on your back right so he doesn't

grip your neck any tighter we need to

feed the spirit and starve the flesh so

that that flesh gets weaker and weaker

and weaker and the spirit becomes

stronger and stronger the Apostle Paul

says circumcision nor uncircumcision

means nothing what counts is the new

creation you're a new creation in Jesus

and here's where we see that the gospel

works guys we cannot water down the

gospel the people that are here and the

people that are going to be coming to us

are going to be dealing with big fat

hairy demons in their lives with sins

and temptations and addictions and

neuroses that will not be

oken myself help or or the list of rules

or some good psychological tricks people

need the power of God in their life and

that is not about becoming religious

it's about having a relationship with

Jesus so the Holy Spirit transforms you

and it works it works gloriously and it

amen and it is a happy process the

process of becoming righteous according

to the spirit is a joyful happy process

the Apostle Paul when the Galatians

started to obey a bunch of Jewish rules

again the Apostle Paul said what

happened to all your joy you used to be

so happy but now it's about obeying the

rules if you have fallen into legalism

and we all do at some point where we

make our relationship with God more a

list of rules than a relationship

suddenly Christianity ceases to be a

joyful relationship and it becomes an

obligation I've got to do it gotta do

this got to do that got to do this and

you're never good enough of course right

you're never good enough and of course

if you're not good enough but no one

else is either so you tend we tend to

become arrogant and judgmental of other

people when we live according to rules

rather than according to the spirit and

be hardened up you were hard on

ourselves and were hard on other people

and instead of becoming christ-like and

joyful we become increasingly arrogant

and miserable true holiness is joyful

and beautiful a holy heart is a

beautiful heart is a happy celebrating

heart it's a different type of relating

to God I know there's an illustration

that I use often and you'll forgive me

because I've used it before but I have

to use it one more time please bear with

me about a woman who was married to a

monster of a man who had a list of rules

for her to do you will do this and that

and that and that and it was a list of

rules and she slaved away working and

working and it was never good enough and

he was abusive and mean and finally this

man unfortunately passed away and went

on to the other side I God have mercy on

his soul this all a made-up story guys

don't worry about it and this woman was

like I never get married again

no more list of rules for me man no more

getting married I'm never going to try

that again a few years later a nice kind

man falls in love with her courts her

earns her love finally she gives in and

says yes right she finally says okay

I'll give marriage one more time and

this man loved her and treated her like

a queen and she loved him and and they

had a beautiful relationship and on

their first anniversary she says I'm

going to make him a special dinner and

she spent all day cooking the meal just

like he likes and she's cleaning the

house and she's scrubbing behind and she

behind the couch or she's cleaning out

the dust she finds one of those old

lists that she used to have and she

breaks down and weeps because she

realized she was doing everything on the

list and much more but she was happy to

do it because she wasn't operating out

of obligation but out of love the gospel

is based on love for Jesus the law of

God is now no longer written here but

here the Bible says in the Prophet

Jeremiah of chapter 31 the new covenant

will not be like the old covenant I will

write the law on their hearts so that

the law is written here of a law of love

where you'll learn what to do because it

comes from within and it might not

always be easy because our flesh is

struggling but it's an internal change

not just an external change and there's

another verse where in the Book of

Ezekiel says I will take out your heart

of stone and I will give you a heart of

flesh I'll put a new spirit in you and I

will move you to obey my decrees that is

a happy process holiness and serving God

and living a righteous life is glorious

and happy and abundant and beautiful

everything you hear in the movies is a

lie they're trying to tell you that

living an immoral life and being on the

street in the shoot-'em-up that that's

exciting that's not exciting that's fake

that's false it's a lie of the devil

true joy true excitement is living for

Jesus Christ in holiness and

righteousness and doing what he calls

you to do

beauty is from the heart God will do

this for us if we'll stick with the real

gospel and not add to it now don't get

me wrong we're going to work at this

disciples I want you to take

discipleship I want you to cooperate

with the Holy Spirit but I don't want to

produce Pharisees I want us to be sons

of the Living God we are not slaves of

God we are sons of God I don't want my

son to just feel like he's gotta work to

earn my love I want him to know that I

love him and then do what do what I tell

him to do because I love him not out of

fear but out of love amen and that's

what we want to be we have not received

a spirit of fear that makes a slave but

the spirit of sons and daughters and by

that spirit we cry out Abba Father and

that spirit transforms us that's why

they needed to have a good fight that's

why the Apostle Paul rebuked Peter

because he was changing the gospel and

the gospel is the power of God for the

salvation of everyone who believes so

I'm going to invite the musicians and as

we wrap this up today again it's very

appropriate that this is on Father's Day

because when we fall into legalism it's

very hard to love God as a father

because God becomes our our slave master

he becomes the one who gives you rules

rules rules and ours never good enough

but god the father is the one who says

my little son everything that I have is

yours and you were always with me you

know you need to open your heart to that

father to the heavenly father to the to

the power of the Holy Spirit to

transform us and to give us a heart

based righteousness in goodness that

shines out of us and this is an

appropriate way to celebrate Father's

Day say god that's the kind of

relationship that I want with you a

gospel relationship gospel goodness amen

so i invite you to stand with me today

and and really what I'm inviting you

today to do is simply receive again the

good news just receive it again that God

loves you that Jesus died for you

your life changes and as you make

decisions to follow him he won't love

you any more than he already does right

now but that he can change and transform

us and give us a righteousness from God

that is by faith that is given by him

but is real he can set us free some of

us here struggling with sins and

temptations and addictions and messes

that seem impossible to solve God's

grace God's goodness God's love can

solve any mess that you bring to him but

it's just an issue of coming to him and

saying god I want to be a real Christian

I really want you in my heart the

genuine authentic relationship with the

Holy Spirit so let's pray together let's

open ourselves to him and dear God we

come before you again and Lord there is

no better way to celebrate Father's Day

when to come to you and say Abba Father

we want to know you we want to love you

and we want to truly experience your

grace and your power in our lives god I

thank you for the gospel I thank you for

the good news that Jesus died for our

sins and that he gives us innocence

before you god I thank you that you also

give us a beautiful heart a new heart

that is like Jesus's heart and lord I

pray in Jesus name that we would simply

receive that by faith today and we would

learn to live according to our royal

identity god I pray for people here

today who are struggling with

significant sins and joy just seems like

the furthest thing from their hearts I

pray God for a revelation that you died

for each one of us Lord that you did it

all that when you died on the cross and

you said it is finished that it really

was finished you did everything we need

and all we need to do is believe in you

and trust in you let it be Lord God let

us be a people of the gospel the people

of grace the people of faith of people

of joy and a people who reflect

holiness of our Savior that the holiness

of the Holy Spirit would dominate our

lives Lord God we yield ourselves to you

in jesus name amen amen and amen as we

sing just again I invite you just yield

to him yield to your father