Sermon Twenty The law and the Gospel

john                                                            audio clip

I am listening to Francis Chan whilst writing this, he is talking about being lukewarm. The Pharisees and Scribes were anything but lukewarm and we are told by Jesus to be more faithful than them. They were outwardly as perfect in their religion and life as any human can be. We are called to aim for that perfection both outwardly and inwardly.

More than the Pharisees. They fasted twice a week, they tithed double the amount needed and they prayed for hours. Now there were ones who were full of pride like the one in the Temple with the tax collector, sure he didn’t need God at all but there were sincere ones too. They were not all full of themselves, they were deeply involved in their work, they felt called to the job and completed it with great devotion.

We are called to more. More mission, more witness, more inward worship, more fellowship, more pure in heart, more gracious, more compassionate, more grateful, more thankful, more full of praise, more full of joy, more, more, more.

Pray to the Lord to help us in these tasks, because in our own strength we cannot accomplish them. Ask him to help us in our giving. Ask him to help us move away from the greed of society and move to a simple way of living. Ask him to guide us in our prayerlife. Ask for me as well as yourselves because I am asking for you too.

We have to grow up and take on these grown up tasks. As a community of Christ followers we need to fess up the areas we need to work on and then work on them. Are you fed up with people saying I am a neat freak or a control freak or a spendthrift or whatever and then three years later they are still in the same place, they haven’t grown, they haven’t tried to change at all. So imagine the things we all keep hidden and haven’t grown or changed any of it. Look to the Pharisees and remember Christ expects more from us. We are to ever be drawing closer to Him, each day, each week and each year letting go of those attitudes and personality traits that are not of God. Living in Christ and through Christ we can let go of anything, we can be healed from our propensity to malice, envy, gossip etc. etc and we can embrace the gifts of God, the beautiful fruit of the Spirit that truly sets us apart from the world.

Jesus fulfilled the law, he didn’t come to destroy it. He did come to destroy what humans had made it. Those Ten Commandments in the Old Testament, way back in Exodus – they still apply. So we can’t pick and choose which ones to keep. But more than that, on the inside of our hearts we are to keep them. So we must be watchful of what we allow ourselves to be close to. We all know what the things are we need to keep away from. For a glutton – keep away from the cream cake. For the adulterer – keep away from whoever it is turns your head. For the gambler – keep away from the bookies. For the thief – keep your mind away from those sneaky thoughts etc. etc.

We are living in a world that finally is coming to the truth of how innate child sexual abuse has always been, at the same time when it is easier than ever to view images that might move a person into that life. We don’t live under the Law, we live in the love of God but because we live in the love of God we want to follow the law. Our past life or human side or the devil wants us to turn away from the Lord. But seriously once we have experienced his love how can we turn away. The Spirit guides and convicts us if we even think of straying so we always have the choice.



  1. @”We are called to more. More mission, more witness, more inward worship, more fellowship, more pure in heart, more gracious, more compassionate, more grateful, more thankful, more full of praise, more full of joy, more, more, more.”

    uh uh… no matter how much MORE we do, we can never do it.

    the pharisees depended on the Law.

    those who are not lukewarm, are those who are HOT, are those under Grace. not Law.

    under Grace, we do not do more works.. under Grace, we rest in the finish work of Jesus.

    the pharisees did more works than any of us. they are experts in righteousness. but the only Righteousness acceptable by God is the Righteousness of Faith.

    – grace and peace

    1. Totally hear you and agree, Wesley believed that we work in response to his love and grace when we are in the state of grace but before that we live under the law or completely ambivalent to God

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