Monday, November 10, 2008

Singe best one-off Sermon on the Role and purpose of The Law

Please listen to the sermon. Click the play button to the right in the "Law of Moses and the Ethic of the Kingdom" link. You can listen to it here, or you can download and listen later.

As I say in the title, this is the single best one-off sermon that I've ever heard on the role and purpose of The Law. I've spent some time in my own writings as well as linking other sites, articles and audio trying to show that Jesus has completely fulfilled the Law or Torah (which is to say, the entire Scripture) in Himself. By doing this, by fulfilling the Law in Himself, He shows Himself to be the true "Israel" (the One that the Law prophesied of). Jesus has fulfilled the calling of "Israel" because He is the true "elect" Son of God who is, in Himself, what Israel was called to be--the faithful son, servant, disciple, and witness.

We misunderstand the purpose and role of The Law because we misunderstand the purpose and role of Israel--and they are intimately connected. As our Pastor states in his notes (and the full PDF link will be provided as with the previous Sermon on the Mount Series posts): The Law defined "Israel" and demanded that the convenant nation be "righteous" by authentically and faultlessly fulfilling its identity and calling; (by) being God's son, servant, disciple and witness.... The Law demanded that Israel be Israel....

Remember, Paul tells us (in agreement with the whole of the Scripture) that the Law served the Promise. This tells us that the Law was not intended to behave in any way that did not directly implicate the promise. So the question becomes...what promise? Paul tells us that the promise is the covenant that He made with Abraham. And since the Law, which came well after the promise, "does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise" (Gal. 3:17), it is the promise, the Abrahamic Covenant, that is the progenitor or source of the Law (and thus Israel) which, Paul says, only serves to bring the promise to its fulfillment. In other words, the Law is the means by which the promise moves forward (as a first-level fulfillment) and is but one stage along the path of the ultimate fulfillment of the promise. And that fulfillment, as Paul says, is coming of the (singular) Seed to whom the promise had been made--Jesus, the Christ.

So as you can see, the Law served the promise by prophesying of the One to whom the promise was made. The nation of Israel, as the "first-level" fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant (as the "seed" of Abraham and the (elect) "son" of God), was also prophetic as it spoke (in and of itself) of the One who to come who is the true "Seed" of Abraham and the true (elect) Son of God. The New Testament (especially Paul) has never viewed the nation of Israel as the heir of the promise, as the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant. Jesus Christ is everywhere understood in the NT as the true Israel and the One to whom the promise was made; and that's because Christ is the One who is the fulfillment of all the Scripture. It is Christ alone who has accomplished the purpose of God; and He does so not primarily because of what He does so much as who He is! He fulfills the Law not simply because He perfectly obeyed the commandments (which is how contemporary Christianity so often understand this); He fulfills the Law because He is the One of whom the Law spoke of as the true and perfectly righteous human being ("Israelite", in the redemtive historical context). Jesus is the "seed" of Abraham and the Covenant (promise) is fulfilled only in Him!

Here are the notes and brief summary of this message which is a continuation of our Sermon on the Mount series at SGCC. Please read the notes (click the "Part 19" link) in conjunction with listening to the sermon. The notes only go so far; the audio fills in the spaces.

Part 19: The Law of Moses and the Ethic of the Kingdom

Brief Sermon Overview:

In Matthew 5:17-48 Jesus addressed in broad terms the relationship between the ethic of His kingdom and the Law of Moses. That relationiship follows the larger biblical structural pattern of promise and fulfillment (5:17-18), and this message considers and summarizes the core aspects of that pattern as applied to the Law of Moses by Jesus in this context and throughout the New Testament.

13 comments:

jeleasure said...

GGM,
Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law. But, what if He willed to not die on the cross. Would He still be the fulfillment of the Law?
I'm asking because, as you said, most view Christ as the fulfillment of the law because he did fulfill the Law. Christ could not just show up and die on the cross without regard to actually living and abiding under the Law.

Also, your audio link was here earlier. I planned to come back and listen but the link is no longer here.

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Hey Jim,

The link should work. The sermon is a little over an hour, so give yourself plenty of time to listen.

Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law. But, what if He willed to not die on the cross

This is not possible because Jesus' "will" was one with the Father's "will". Jesus fulfilled the Law in Himself in the sense that He was the One that the Law spoke of (as I pointed out). As the true "Israelite" (human being), He would, of course, be in conformity to the Law as He lived out His life. But because He was the One of whom the Law spoke about and prophesied of, His fulfillment goes far beyond the simple fact that He "kept" the Law.

Thanks Jim, I'd stay longer to write more, but dinner is on the table.

If the link still doesn't work for you, let me know and I'll try something else. This really is a great sermon and should answer many questions as to how to understand Jesus and His relationship to the Law.

satire and theology said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
satire and theology said...

In other words, the Law is the means by which the promise moves forward (as a first-level fulfillment) and is but one stage along the path of the ultimate fulfillment of the promise. And that fulfillment, as Paul says, is coming of the (singular) Seed to whom the promise had been made--Jesus, the Christ.

Mr. GGM. Is your brother Mr. FFORD?

Yes, and why we have a new covenant replace the old one.

Quite orthodox and agreeable. I have just hit the bag and went for a long walk in the rain...time to eat.:)

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Thanks Russ.

No...my brother would be Mr. YYUGO. No government bail out for him, huh?

I honestly think that if people were to understand the fulness of who Jesus is as the fulfillment of the Law, there wouldn't be this needless preoccupation with the nation of Israel and the ongoings in the Middle East (and the Hagee heresy wouldn't have gained such a strong foothold).

Everything from Gen. 3:15 forward is singularly focused on the coming of the Seed of the woman to undo the curse, crush the serpent's head and recover Sacred Space--that's it! Every historical situation, people group, covenant, etc. serves that purpose. And the Abrahamic covenant is the means by which this Seed of the woman is recognized and fulfills His purpose. "Israel" is prophetic and serves this promise. Every subsequent "covenant" only serves the Abrahamic covenant until it is fulfilled in the New Covenant--in the Person of Jesus Christ (the Seed of David, the Seed of Abraham, the Seed of the woman!).

What is God's purpose in redemptive history? How does He accomplish His purpose? These are the two great questions that the Bible is concerned about. And in my opinion, we don't listen to the Bible, we don't hear the answer if we don't recognize Jesus as the Scripture portrays Him.

Sorry about the "preaching", but this is my soapbox and my passion, in case you couldn't tell. :-)

thekingpin68 said...

I honestly think that if people were to understand the fulness of who Jesus is as the fulfillment of the Law, there wouldn't be this needless preoccupation with the nation of Israel and the ongoings in the Middle East (and the Hagee heresy wouldn't have gained such a strong foothold).

I view Israel primarily as a democratic country that does have a place in God's end time plans, but to me is not a primarily theological focus. I focus on those in the Church and those outside and do the work I am guided to do. I think we are in basic agreement.

I have a newbie article with some nice old posters for yea Jason...

Russ:)

jeleasure said...

Good morning Jason.
When you have time, here is a worthwhile visit. Dave's Worship Notes - click here to visit.
He emailed me this morning and said he would be glad to meet you.
Jim

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Thanks Jim,

As a "worship leader" myself (although I really dislike that term), I'll visit here often, I think.

jeleasure said...

I do recall an entire blog entry based on how much you dislike being called a "Worship Leader". What was the alternative to this title?

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Hey Jim,

Sorry about the delay...very busy lately.

We never came up with an alternative. I guess "worship leader" is about as good as it gets. To me, as I said before, it gives the idea that the "before" sermon time is "worship" while the sermon time is...I don't know..."teaching"? But really, it is all "worship"--the singing, the Scripture reading, the "fellowship", the sermon, etc.

If you have any ideas about an alternate title, let me know! :-)

Thanks Jim.

jeleasure said...

Well Jason,
You lead the service in 'music'. Then there is teaching.
All inclusive, music and teaching = worship. Since you do your thing first, you are the leader which would make you 'Worship Leader'.
I was discussing with Dave Barnes, the music leader I sent a link to, as to what his motives are for blogging. He said, to communicate with his music team.
Maybe you can visit and bat, back and forth some music ministry blogs for Music Ministers

jeleasure said...

Hey Music Minister. Music Missionary. Worship dictator (nah). I still think worship leader is appropriate.

Anyway, here is a blog to another minister. I call her W.O.A.M. as an acronym to what she sings with. Visit her at Coffee, God and Me

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Jim,

I like all your ideas...especially "worship dictator"! :-)

You're probably right, "worship leader" does convey the right "idea", even if, in my estimation, people subconsciously separate "worship" and "sermon".

Oh well..."worship leader" it is.

Thanks for the links, Jim.