Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Ten Commandments Part two: A Shadow set in Stone

Teaching Series - Part 2

A Shadow Set In Stone


Production Note: (Once we go live I am going to ask someone to come to the platform to assist me. I will give them a flashlight and ask that the house lights be dimmed. My assistant will attempt to shine the flashlight in such a way that I can make some shadow hand puppets on one of the big screens. We will want to capture these images on camera for viewers and post production edit potential. After making a few, hopefully recognizable shadow puppets and getting the congregation to guess what they are – I will conclude by revealing what they already know but aren’t focused on. These are neither dogs, nor rabbits and turtles … rather they are all shadows of my hands. I will conclude and lights will come up and I will make brief application as we turn to our beginning text.)

Colossians 2

16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

At one time, a shadow set in stone was the only reality known to the children of God. However, just as a shadow is but a dim outline of a body, the law was but that same dim outline – a shadow of the truth – but now we have the body, Christ Jesus, with all the clarity and detail which no shadow could ever reveal. The law was but a shadowy resemblance of a solid substance upon which the light was shinning.

Why embrace an obscure representation or attempt to make a lasting relationship with but a dim outline of the truth when the truth itself has been revealed unto us. The law is the shadow of Christ, the shadow of truth, set in stone, without depth, without dimension and without life.

Hebrews 10: 1 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.

A shadow set in stone can no more save a man than can the blood of bulls and goats. It takes life to begat life and no stone has that power. The law was meant only to represent a truth which it could never reveal. A shadow cannot touch you, comfort you or have relationship with you. We know the difference between a solid substance and a mere outline set once and for all in stone. Christ is the truth revealed while the law was but a shadow of that truth during which time the truth was kept concealed.

Hebrews 10

19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,

20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh.

Only when the light is come and we have seen the substance can we ever truly understand the shadow. And by the way … the shadow is not alive and the shadow knows nothing … it is but a shadow. The shadow does not determine nor design the body, rather the body defines the shadow.

Tonight we will continue our study of The Ten Commandments to help us discover the New Testament Revelation and the Grace-Filled Application of the law – A Shadow Set In Stone

Part One of this series asked and answered the question: Why? Why did God give us the law? As the Apostle Paul put it: What purpose does the law serve? (Galatians 3:19ff) Our studies Sunday revealed the law was a schoolmaster which was designed to bring us to faith. Once we come to faith, we are no longer under the law or its punishments, penalties and curses. However, this in no way encourages a person to become lawless.

When I was a child my mother taught me it was wrong to lie. When I lied she punished me. Today I am no longer under her law or subject to her punishment. However, it is still wrong to lie and lying can set me up to fail in life. She taught me right and it is now my responsibility to live right.

Let’s begin this evening’s study with a simple survey of the First Table of the Law as recorded in: Exodus 20

By the time the Children of Israel get to Mt Sinai in Exodus 20 it has been 45 days since they celebrated the first Passover and came out of Egyptian slavery, crossed the Red Sea and began their journey through the wilderness. God had provided manna in the mornings and meat in the evenings. The number of days are important here because they are a shadow of things to come. They will add up to 50 days between the killing of the Passover Lamb and the appearance of God in the fire on Mt Sinai.

The New Testament revelation of this Old Testament shadow confirms that Salvation came at Passover but the Power and Presence of God comes at Pentecost – 50 days after Passover, both in the OT and in the New!

It was on the day of Pentecost that God gave the Ten Commandments to His Children at Mount Sinai.

The Ten Commandments were written on two tables of stone, written with the finger of God. (Exodus 31:18)

When Jesus was questioned by the young rich ruler, recorded in Matthew 19, Jesus first recounted those commandments which were listed on the Second Table of the Law – those Commandments which deal with how man should treat man. Even though the young rich ruler had kept those specific commandments, he still felt empty and unsatisfied with his life and relationship with God. It was then Jesus pointed the way to eternal life … the key to eternal life is contained on the first table of the law – let’s read:

Exodus 20

1 ¶ And God spoke all these words, saying:

2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 "You shall have no other gods before Me.

It is vitally important in understanding the law that we understand God’s intent and how God is revealing Himself, His heart and His hope for the relationship He is offering to His Children. He begins:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”

When I was a much younger man, serving in the military, I was continually around very important and high profile world leaders. As a body guard for high ranking US and Foreign dignitaries and a personal driver and primary security for the Commander in Chief of All Allied Tactical Air Forces in Europe who was also the Vice Commander of NATO during the Cold War, I was continually surrounded by the most important figures and decision makers of the day.

Although I was a nobody, my boss was a somebody. Once while I was visiting with him in his office I saw a plaque on his desk, it read:

“In an official society where one man is officially superior to another, the superior, if he is a gentleman never thinks of it, and the subordinate, if he is a gentleman, never forgets it.”

In other words, you should never make your boss feel like he has to say, “I’m the boss!” It is a bad feeling to be forced to defend yourself or remind your followers that you are in charge. And yet, this is exactly what God is doing … why … evidently because He feels they need to be reminded.

It is important to remember who paid the price when they didn’t have to … at least, God thought it an important prelude to giving His commands.

· I am the Lord your God

· I’m the One Who brought you out of Egypt

· It was Me Who brought you out of slavery

Nobody else did this for you – it was Me! That should be enough to show you how I feel about you … when I could have chosen anybody … when others would have loved for Me to choose them … I chose you! (Deuteronomy 7:6-11; John 15:16; 1 Peter 2:9)

Now all God wants is for us to choose Him back! He is fully committed to the relationship, first and most, and He is asking for the same level of commitment from those whom He has rescued.

And, by the way, He has rescued you and me … all He still wants is for us to choose Him back! This is the shadow of a marriage to come – God is talking to the Body of Christ and every member in particular.

Commandment Number One: “You shall have no other gods before Me.”

Every commandment, each set of instructions, all laws of God and any decision God makes is always aimed at the good and the future of His Children.

God knows that no other god will love you, care for you, devote themselves to you or treat you the way He will. He can’t stand the thought of you marrying or being devoted to something else you worship more than Him. He is a jealous God … but a God who love you and is wholly devoted to you. (Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 4:24; Exodus 34:14 – His Name is “El Qanna” – A Jealous God {not the God of jealousy, but a jealous God})

God is acutely aware that all other gods are false gods with empty promises who are only in the god business for their own benefit and who in the end will leave you out in the cold to fend for yourself.

One of the gods men choose to replace the Lord of Glory is money. There are others, but money is at the top of the list. In fact, God says that the love of money is the root of all evil. ( 1 Timothy 6:10) And, those who serve money will end up straying from the faith and pierce themselves through with many sorrows. Jesus further said:

"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)

What is the NT revelation and grace-filled application of this first shadow set in stone?

Don’t let anything or anyone take the place of your first love.

Don’t allow anything to become more important to you than God. God does not like anything that demands or receives His time, His attention or His affection from you. He loves you and He knows:

“Ain’t nobody gonna treat you like Jesus …”

You don’t go a treatin anybody like Him!

Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him. (Matthew 16:24;19:21)

Is that clear enough for you? … just in case it was still a bit shadowy!

You shall have no other gods before Him.