Sermons

Summary: Grace over Rules & Regulations. (Powerpoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

SERMON OUTLINE:

(1). Refuse to judge by externals (16-17)

(2). Reject false authority (18-19)

(3). Repudiate religious rules (20-23)

SERMON BODY:

Ill:

• There once was a man who owned a record company.

• Can the older folks explain what records were to the younger folks!

• (They were of course vinyl-disks that looked a little bit like black Frisbees!

• Besides running the record company ;

• He spent many hours in production listening to the “master disc,”

• From which was the record and all subsequent records were pressed.

• Over the years his ears became adept at catching the “pops and sizzles,”

• The imperfections that had to be eliminated in the master disk;

• Or they would end up on every successive record.

• One day someone remarked to him that he had a great job;

• That listening to music all day long must be very enjoyable.

• His response was insightful - he said,

• “You know, I haven’t listened to the music in years.

• When I turn on my sophisticated home stereo,

• No matter what recording I’m listening to, all I hear are the ‘pops and sizzles.’”

Transition:

• It is important to remember and learn from this little illustration;

• That a wrong focus will ruin our enjoyment of the Christian life!

• If we focus on the “pops and sizzles,” – that is the ‘rules & regulations’;

• We will lose the beautiful music – that is our song – Jesus Christ!

Ill:

• I think the greatest rule makers of all time had to be the Pharisees in Jesus day;

• In contrast to the two commands of Christ,

• The Pharisees had developed a system of 613 laws for people to keep.

• 365 of those laws were negative commands;

• And 248 of those laws were positive laws.

• There laws designed to help people in their spiritual lives;

• But their laws only created a heartless, cold, and arrogant brand of righteousness.

BECAUSE THEIR LEGALISM CONTAINED AT LEAST TEN TRAGIC FLAWS.

• (1). New laws continually need to be invented for new situations.

• (ill: regulations of men are like weeds in a garden, each time you look there is another one)

• (2) Accountability to God is replaced by accountability to men.

• (i.e. Pharisees were always on the prowl looking for people who had broken their laws)

• (3) It reduces a person’s ability to personally discern.

• (i.e. You don’t think for yourself – you do as you are told or face the consequences!)

• (4) It creates a judgmental spirit.

• (i.e. The law keepers are spiritual, God pleasers while everyone else is sinful)

• (5) The Pharisees confused personal preferences with divine law.

• (i.e. Over a period of time - the Pharisees laws soon out-weighed God’s law in their importance)

• (6) It produces inconsistencies.

• (i.e. Human laws are flawed and will soon start to contradict themselves)

• (7) It created a false standard of righteousness.

• (i.e. People measured themselves against each other – “I’m more spiritual than you!”)

• (8) It became a burden to the Jews.

• (i.e. It was impossible to live by so many rules and regulations)

• (9) It was strictly external.

• (i.e. These rules are outward acts done for others to see – they cannot change the heart)

• (10) It was rejected by Christ.

• (i.e. Jesus always kept the law of Moses 100%,

• But he constantly, deliberately again and again broke the laws of the Pharisees)

Ill:

• Consider the story of Hans the tailor.

• Because of his reputation, a rich man visited his shop and asked Hans to make him a suit.

• But when he came to pick up his suit,

• The customer found that one sleeve twisted that way and the other this way;

• One shoulder bulged out and the other caved in.

• The man somehow managed to pull and manipulate his body to fit this misshapen suit;

• As he returned home on the bus, another passenger noticed his odd appearance;

• And asked if Hans the tailor had made the suit.

• The man replied; “Why yes he did!”

• The passenger then remarked,

• “Amazing! I knew that Hans was a good tailor,

• But I had no idea he could make a suit fit so perfectly someone as deformed as you.”

Transition:

• Often that is just what we do in the church.

• We get some idea of what the Christian faith should look like from others:

• Then we push and shove people into the most grotesque configurations;

• Until they fit that ideal!

• Brothers and sisters that is madness!

• It is a legalistic straight jacket which in time will only lead to bondage!

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