Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Uses the analogy of an "invisible fence" to explain Christian boundaries vs. spiritual freedom. Student ministry PowerPoint presentation.


Slide Graphic – sign: “NO TRESPASSING. Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again”

Slide Text –

These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men (Mathew 15:8-9)

(Note: I gave the following to our drama group, and they made a hilarious video. This did a great job of getting everyone’s attention for the lesson)

A man in a car slows down as he approaches a stop sign, looks in both directions, then drives on without ever coming to a complete stop. A policeman turns on his siren and pulls him over. The man seems baffled – “What seems to be the problem?” “You ran that stop sign, sir.” “No, I’m sure I didn’t” “Yes sir, you did, you failed to come to a complete stop” “But I did slow down” “Yes sir, you did, but you are supposed to stop.” “But I could see that no one was coming, I was perfectly safe – that’s all that matters” “No sir, you have to stop, I’m writing you a ticket.”

Next day – the same thing. The man slows, looks, then speeds through the intersection. The policeman pulls him over again. Both seem frustrated. The policeman insists the the man was supposed to stop. The man insists that slowing down is the same thing. Another ticket.

Third day – the same thing. The man slows, looks, then speeds through the intersection. The policeman pulls him over again. This time the policeman walks up to the window, doesn’t say anything, then suddenly grabs the man by the shirt collar, pulls his head out of the window, and begins hitting it repeatedly with his police club. “Now”, he says, between blows, “do you want me to stop, or do you want me to just slow down?”

It seems there was a difference. Stop means stop.

As a Christian, what rules apply to us? Did God give us any “laws” in the Bible that still apply to us today? What is the punishment for breaking them?

39 Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. 40 Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the LORD your God gives you for all time.

Deuteronomy 4:39-40

[What Does the Bible Say About Laws?]

Slide Graphic – sign: “Is there life after death? Trespass and find out”

Slide text –

John 14:15 says which of the following?

1. If you love me, you must keep my commandments.

2. If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

3. If you keep my commandments, I will then know that you love me.

Number 2 is correct. Jesus wasn’t saying if you keep My commandments, you will prove to me that you love Me. Jesus already knows whether you love Him or not! He was saying, if you fall head over heels in love with Me, you will be able to keep My commandments!"

If Jesus had said one of the other two, it would have been all about the law. It would have said that the way to heaven is like striking a deal and forcing God to hold up his end. It would have been like passing a test and proving your worthiness to go to heaven, practically on equal footing with God.

The true translation is about a relationship. Keeping the commandments is a commitment resulting from love, not the test. Two people in love sign a marriage contract and bind themselves with vows. This is natural. Lovers are driven by their passionate natures to bind themselves together with promises. Nearly every love song you hear on the radio is about a person in love making promises to his or her beloved. Love doesn’t follow after the promises as a result of them – it precedes the promises. The promises result from love.

So, what laws did Jesus give? What are the boundaries we are supposed to live within?

[What Does Jesus Command?]

Slide graphic – Osama Bin Laden

Slide text –

Jesus replied: “ ’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

This is it – the Great Commandment. Given to us by Christ himself, who told us when he gave it that every other command is simply a special case of this one. So, what does it mean to love your neighbor? I have some really strange neighbors. Am I supposed to love them? Who all is my neighbor? Just the house next door? Are you my neighbor? Am I supposed to love everyone in the world? Am I supposed to love Osama Bin Laden? Am man responsible for the heinous deaths of thousands of innocent people? Hitler? Stalin?

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