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THE FAITH OF JESUS
Lesson 20
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Satan has obscured the importance of the first four commandments from most of the world.  He has especially cloaked the fourth commandment, which contains divine instruction on worship, in darkness.  Satan’s purpose for doing this quite simple.  If people forget their Creator, they will turn to other gods, for man needs a god of some kind.  Man needs something to look up to – something to worship.  We were created with this need.  And if man forgets his Creator, he creates his own god(s).

Satan has had enormous success in displacing the creator with man-made gods.  The trumpets correct this.  People all over the globe will be awakened to the knowledge of the true, living and omnipotent God!  The everlasting gospel will contain a clarion call to worship the Creator on His holy day.

Review the fourth commandment on preceding page and notice the following:

  1. The seventh day of the week is holy because Jesus rested on the seventh day to commemorate the creation of the world!  He made the seventh day uniquely different from the other six at creation!  See Genesis 2:2,3.
  2. The seventh day alone is holy.  The other six days are for our use and work.
  3. Knowing that Satan would lead the world to forget the Sabbath, Jesus begins the fourth commandment with, “Remember.”

But the law of God was nailed to the cross

If you ask most Christians about the Ten Commandments, they will agree that nine of the ten are valid and important.  It’s against the law to steal, kill, commit adultery, curse God or worship idols.  In fact, most of the Christian world is comfortable with nine of the Ten Commandments are readily acknowledge that they are the basis of morality.  But ask most Christians about the fourth commandment and you’ll suddenly hear that the Ten Commandments were nailed to the cross and not binding.

It is the my opinion that lawlessness abounds in America for this simple reason.  For two hundred years Protestants clerics have taught that the ten commandments of God are not binding.  If we would reason from cause to effect, we would recognize the hopeless state in which our society finds itself is due to the practice of this very doctrine.  Where there is no law, there is no order, safety or harmony.  The alternative is chaos, death, suffering and evil of every sort.

Many Christians can’t reconcile the simultaneous harmony between law and grace.  They, however, do exist and harmoniously relate.  We need grace because there is a law.  If there were no law, grace wouldn’t be needed!  In fact, if there is no law, there can be no sin! See Roman 4:15 and I John 3:4-6.  And grace does not do away with the law either!  Romans 3:31

In practice, the harmony of law and grace is easy to understand if you are married.  When two people are united in love, there are certain nonnegotiable rules that must be followed.  Faithfulness is one such rule.  So it is with our Creator.  If we love Him, we will abide by His non-negotiable rules.  These are known as the Ten Commandments.

Different people

People may be grouped into a variety of categories concerning the Law of God.

1.      There are people ignorant of the requirements of God’s law.  These have not had sufficient reason or opportunity to know and inquire about God’s will.

2.      There are people who are negligent or careless about God’s law.  These people know about God’s law, but pursuit of earthly things make religious interest and practice a low priority.

3.      There are those who observe the law as a final ritual necessary for salvation. These people think they keep the law and feel justified by their assumed righteousness.  Being technically right is very important to these people.

4.      There are people who believe there is no defined or implicit law.  These people don’t believe the Ten Commandments are necessary or binding today.  Many Christians hold this to be true without realizing the consequence of what they believe.  When pressed on this matter, most Christians admit that nine of the Ten Commandments should be lived by.

5.      There are people who openly and defiantly rebel against God’s law.  These don’t want to know God and don’t care what He says.

6.      There are people seeking to know God and sincerely want to live in harmony with the principles of God’s law.  These are willing to go, to be and do all that God asks.

This last group lives by faith.  They realize that the law of God is based on two great principles:  love to God and love to man.  The first commandments show our love to God and the last six show our love to man.  These obey the commandments of Jesus out of gratitude and love for his salvation.  They well know that obedience does not merit or bring salvation.

There is a two-step process to harmonizing the life with the law of God.  First, a person must realize that he cannot save himself through obedience to the law and that inherently, our nature is attracted to sin or lawlessness.  This is why we need grace – for all have sinned.  Secondly, those willing to live by faith recognize that Jesus alone can transform our sinful nature.  By opening our minds and hearts to the sweet influence of the Holy Spirit, we receive power to be over comers.  Sinners become saints through this miraculous process!  Using an analogy, it means we must be born again every day.

The final exam is a test of faith

Jesus has carefully designed the final exam of earth.  By allowing Satan and his forces to gain control of the world for a short time, He will see who has the faith to be obedient!

Consider the issues carefully.  Circumstances will be so desperate that obeying Jesus will be impossible except by faith!  In other words, those who render obedience to Jesus will only be able to do so through faith in His promises.  This is why John identified the remnant as follows,  “then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make was against the rest of her offspring – those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”  Revelation 12:17

The third angel

But, if you still have doubts that John was talking about the Ten Commandments when he described the remnant, look at the last message given to the world.  John says, “A third angel followed them (the first two angels) and said in a loud voice: ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath.  He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.’  This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.”  Revelation 14:9-12

These verses contain the most solemn threat ever presented to the human race.  The issue is worship!  This message will sound when Satan appears on earth in person.  This message is specifically focused on the lamb-like beast.  Notice the following points:

  1. If any man worships (submits to) the beast that sets up the image, (the lamb-like beast) he will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the Lamb of God!
  2. If anyone receives the mark or permit or worships the image (the one-world confederation), he will receive God’s wrath full strength!
  3. Those refusing to worship Satan must be patient in their suffering.  They are identified as obeying God’s commandments and remaining faithful to Jesus.

Of the Ten Commandments, only one deals with worship in an external way.  Satan knows this, and for this reason he has lead the world into worshiping on days other than the Lord’s day.  According to the Bible, the Lord’s Day is Saturday.  Jesus said, “The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”  Mark 2:28 Many Christians mistakenly think that Sunday is the Lord’s Day even though the Bible never says the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day.

Reasons to worship on Sunday?

There is no scriptural support for Sunday worship.  When Protestant America makes and enforces laws regarding the sacredness of Sunday to appease God, America will quickly go from national apostasy to national ruin.  During the trumpets, this nation will enact laws enforcing worship on Sunday, a day that is clearly and openly defiant to the law of God Almighty!  At this time, clerics will use certain scriptures to deceive people into thinking that worship on Sunday is scriptural.  Here are the texts they will use:

Some will refer to Acts 20 for evidence that the apostles practiced Sunday worship.  Notice, “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread, Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.”  Acts 20:7

Note:  In the Bible, a day begins at evening and ends in the evening.  Since creation this has been an unchanging process.  See Genesis 1:5.  The Jews also regarded a day from evening to evening and kept the Sabbath from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown.  See Luke 23: 50-56 and Leviticus 23:32

The timing described in Acts 20:7 is as follow:  Paul stayed with the believers at Troas for seven days (Acts 20:6).  On the evening of the first day of the week, at suppertime, the believers came together to eat supper with Paul and to say good-bye.  The first day of the week in Paul’s time began Saturday at sundown, or what we now call Saturday evening.  Paul preached until midnight and then journeyed to Assos the following morning that was Sunday morning.

So Paul met with believers on Saturday night to eat supper and say good-bye.  Does this change or abrogate the fourth commandment of God?

Some Christians argue that Paul insists that offerings for the poor be taken on the first day of the week.  Notice: “Now about the collection for God’s people:  Do what I told the Galatian churches to do.  On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.  Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem.”  I Corinthians 16:1-3

In Paul’s day, money was not a common medium of exchange as it is today.  Most trading was done with barter; a person traded a chicken or something for cloth or pottery.  Paul’s instructed the Church in Corinth to begin each week by setting aside a sum of money so that when he came to them, they would have the money to send to the persecuted believers in Jerusalem.  Paul would not be able to travel with roosters, goats, pottery and other things of value.  Again, the question is asked, “Does Paul’s instruction change or abrogate the fourth commandment of God?”

Some Christians suggest that worship on Sunday is proper because Jesus arose from the dead on Sunday morning, the first day of the week.  Yes, the resurrection is important, and the Bible does provide a celebration of the resurrection!  Its called baptism.  Notice what Paul says, “What shall we say, then?  Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means!  We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?  Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”  Romans 6:1-4

Does baptism change or abrogate the fourth commandment?  Not at all.  In fact, only eight texts in the New Testament mentions the first day of the week and not one of them say that the sacredness of the seventh day was transferred to Sunday!

 

What was nailed to the cross?

 

Many Christians argue that the Ten Commandments were nailed to the cross.  Yet, this doesn’t solve the problem.  Whatever happens to the fourth commandment happens to the other nine!  So what was nailed to the cross? The key word here is “shadow.”  Notice what Paul said to the believers in Colosse.  “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.  When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature.  God made you alive in Christ.  He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.  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.  These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.  Don’t let anyone who delights in false humility and worship of angels disqualify you for the prize.”  Colossians 2:9-18

If you look at these verses carefully, you’ll see that Paul is talking about the regulations regarding religious feasts, New Moon observances and Sabbath days.  The Sabbath days that Paul is talking about are not found in the Ten Commandments.  Rather, the term Sabbath days here applies to Sabbath “feast” days such as the Passover or Day of Atonement.  See Leviticus 16:31, 23:26-32.  These feast days fell on different days of the week (like our birthday) because they occurred on the same date each year.  When a feast day and the seventh day simultaneously occurred, it was a special holy day!  The death of Jesus incidentally, took place on such an occasion.  The Passover in 31 A.D. occurred on the seventh day Sabbath that year!  See Mark 15:42-47 and John 19:14.

The Jews confused the law of God with the law of Moses much like we do today.  Even though one set of laws was written by the finger of God, and the other, by the hand of man, the Jews never did understand the relationship between the laws.

Note:  The lesser law of Moses, containing the ceremonial rules, was kept in a pocket on the side of the ark, while the Ten Commandments were kept inside the ark.  See Deuteronomy 10:1,2, 31:26 After a permanent temple was erected in Jerusalem, the laws of Moses were not kept in the pocket on the ark and consequently, they were lost for awhile!  See II Kings 23:2

The Jews loved to argue about the laws.  An expert lawyer even challenged Jesus with a test to see which law was the greatest!  See Matthew 22:34-40.  As said before, the Jews misunderstood the purpose of the laws and as a result, spiritually degenerated into a great legal system of darkness.  See Matthew 23:2-15.

When Paul began to explain the purposes behind the laws, and show distinction between them, you can understand the Jewish lawyers’ intense hatred for him.  When Paul claimed that ceremonial laws were now meaningless, this was too much!  He was captured and eventually died in prison for his convictions.  See Acts 21:27-36 Paul was very explicit.  The laws that were nailed to the cross were shadows of the real thing. The ceremonial laws requiring the sacrifice of lambs was no longer necessary because the Lamb of God had died and the shadows was fulfilled.  In other words, ceremonial laws were temporary until their meaning was fulfilled.  Consider Paul’s dilemma.  How could he get the Jews to cease doing something they had been doing for 1,800 years?  We have the same dilemma.  How do we get Christians to worship on Saturday when Sunday observance has been around going on 1,800 years?

Paul is very clear in Hebrews 10 and Galatians 3 that the ceremonies never brought salvation in the first place; rather, they were temporary and were designed to teach us about salvation!  Paul wrote the book of Hebrews about 33 years after Jesus returned to heaven and he is very clear that the seventh day Sabbath of the Ten Commandments is to be observed.  Paul says,  “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.”  Hebrews 4:9,10 In fact, all through his life, Paul faithfully observes the seventh day Sabbath.  (See Acts 13:44, 16:13, 17:2, 18:4-11)

Can’t break one commandment

If we take the position that Jesus nailed the fourth commandment to the cross, he nailed the nine others there too.  Whatever we do with the fourth commandment, we must do with the other nine.  John wrote the epistle bearing his name (1 John) about 70 years after the ascension of Jesus.  He didn’t believe the Ten Commandments had been done away with.  He says,  “We know that we have come to know him (Jesus) if we obey his commands.  The man who says ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him.  This is how we know we are in him.  Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”  I John 2:3-6

James wrote, “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right!  But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.  For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.  For he who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder’.  If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you are a lawbreaker.”  James 2:8-11

James brings us to an important and fundamental conclusion regarding the whole law, the ten commandments of God.  He says we must obey all the commandments.  If we break one, we’re guilty of breaking them all because the King’s law is only fulfilled by love.  We must first love God with all our heart, mind and soul and then our fellowman as ourselves.

Keeping the Sabbath will not save anyone.  This is why the final test is carefully designed to test faith.  Will you have the faith to obey God?

Summary

Solomon summed up the issues of life.  He said, “Now all has been heard:  here is the conclusion of the matter; Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”  Ecclesiastes 12:13,14

So here’s the conclusion.  Those who love Jesus will obey Him and keep His commandments even though Satan arrays the whole world in opposition.  The observance of the seventh day Sabbath will be the object through which the supreme test of love and faith for Jesus will come.  This test will expose those who love Jesus enough to live by faith.  This test will separate the entire world into two camps:  Those worshiping the lamb-like beast and those worshiping the Lamb of God.  This test puts an entirely new meaning on the concept that eternal life comes by faith!  Do you have enough faith in God to obey Him at any cost?  Where will you stand?

Quiz:

1.      What is so spectacular about the 144,000?

2.      What does the first angel’s message say?

3.      What does the second angel’s message say?

4.      What does the third angel’s message say?

5.      How are the remnant identified?

Memory Verse:  Hebrews 4:9,10  “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God for anyone who enters Gods rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.”

Notes:




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