Summary: Grace over Rules & Regulations. (Powerpoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
(1). Refuse to judge by externals (16-17)
(2). Reject false authority (18-19)
(3). Repudiate religious rules (20-23)
• 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.’”
• 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!
• 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)
• 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.”
• 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!