Understanding how Jewish laws from the Old Testament apply to the Christian life in the New Testament has been a hot topic since the time of Jesus! For example, “Does a Christian have to be circumcised?” “Do we still have to keep the Sabbath?” “Is it okay to eat pork and shell fish?” Therefore, today’s sermon will help you to understand how God wants you to apply the laws He gave to the Jewish people to your every day life.
2 Timothy 4:1-5, “1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage —with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
Matthew 5:17-20, “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 For truly I tell you, 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. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
The following notes are primarily taken from our past sermon, “Law & Prophets.”
LAW & PROPHETS
- TESTAMENT: A covenant made between God and man. In referring to the Bible, there is an, “Old Covenant” and “New Covenant.” The Old Testament/Covenant portion of the Bible has 39 books and the New Testament/Covenant has 27.
- FOUR MAIN COVENANTS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT BOOKS (BEFORE JESUS): (1) Genesis 6:18, the first covenant made with man between God and Noah. (2) Genesis 15:18, God made a covenant with Abraham. (4) Exodus 24:8, God made a covenant with Moses and the people of Israel. (4) 2 Samuel 7:28, God made a covenant with the house of David.
- ONE MAIN COVENANT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT BOOKS (WITH JESUS): (1) Hebrews 8:6, God made a new covenant with His Son Jesus.
- LAW: The “law” was considered to be the first five books of the Old Testament- Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, & Deuteronomy. Also, known as the “law of Moses,” “Pentateuch,” or the “Torah.” The law, containing 613 commands, was the standard for the Old Covenant.
- PROPHETS: The prophets referred to the books in the Old Testament written by the Jewish prophets mainly Isaiah-Malachi (but could also include all the writings except from Moses). The role of the prophets were to teach God’s commands, correct and rebuke God’s people when they disobeyed them, and give promises of blessings & judgment.
- GOD PROMISED THROUGH THE PROPHETS A NEW COVENANT: Jeremiah 31:31-34, “31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Also, Isaiah 55:3 & Ezekiel 36:26.
- JESUS’ SACRIFICE WAS THE FOUNDATION OF THE NEW COVENANT: Luke 22:20, “In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” Also, 2 Corinthians 3:6, Galatians 4:23-26, and Hebrews 9:15.
FULFILL & ACCOMPLISH
- FULFILL: Complete, to bring to completion or reality. Jesus came to “complete” the Law. From the New Living Translation, “17 Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.”
- ACCOMPLISHED: Achieved, to come to pass and finish. Jesus said the Law would not disappear until everything it pointed to was “achieved,” mainly salvation. From the NLT, “18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.”
- THE LAW=BABY SITTER FOR HUMANITY: Paul gave a great illustration of the Law being a “baby sitter/guardian” in Galatians 3:23-25, “23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.”
- SUMMARY: Jesus didn’t come to change or destroy the Law, but rather He came to complete it. After completing it He gave God’s people a new and better covenant based on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and His teachings. Hebrews 8:13, “By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.”
- HOW DO WE OBEY THE OLD TESTAMENT LAWS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT? By obeying what Jesus and His apostles taught. For example, Jesus completed the dietary laws and declared all food clean with prayer. Mark 7:19, “For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)”
- HOW TO VIEW THE OLD TESTAMENT LAWS IN THE NEW COVENANT: (a) Completed and still the same application or (b) Completed and different application. Therefore, generally speaking all the laws pertaining to the priesthood, temple, sacrifice, social/civil order, diet, and the like are complete and applied differently in the NT. However, the laws regarding morality have generally the same application (if not more- like with murder/adultery includes thoughts & words).
- GREAT RESOURCE: “60 Questions Christians Ask About Jewish Beliefs and Practices,” Dr. Michael Brown.
Chart was taken from, Grace Communion International.
WORKING IT OUT
- CIRCUMCISION: Galatians 5:5-16, “1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. 2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. 7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9 “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. 11 Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves.”
- SABBATH & DIET: Colossians 2:16-23, “16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. 20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self- imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”
Jesus came to accomplish the Law and bring about its full meaning in the New Covenant. Therefore, we are to fully obey Jesus’ teachings of the Law and Prophets as revealed in the New Testament!