, in fact the lowering of moral standards instead of raising them.
Those of you here who experienced the Second World War may remember that happened to civilian life. British citizens had so many laws governing every aspect of their lives that a man could scarcely live without transgressing some. And the result was people tried to dodge the law, until dodging it became normal and habitual. And when that happens, the moral standard has begun to rot from underneath. It may partly account for the enormous decline in standards which we have today.
What was Yah'shua (Jesus) destroying by His regal attitude towards the Talmudic Jewish law? A third time we ask the question. And the answer is, He was destroying all hope of law as a method to obtain the standards of the law.
As we all know, He was not abolishing law. He was not denying the necessary standards. He was not implying that Christian standards are lower than the Jewish. He went so far as to assert that not one jot or tittle would pass away from the law, that is to say, not even the smallest letter of the law, or even part of a letter, could be abolished. And as if this were not emphasis enough, he said that except Christian disciples reached a higher standard than that of the Scribes and Pharisees they simply would not enter the Kingdom of Heaven!
Let us be absolutely clear on this. The situation is not as one French peasant thought it was when reproved by his priest for committing some specific sin: "But, father, I thought Christ died for our sins so that we could go on committing them and reach heaven just the same!"
No, Christianity does not abolish laws of morality. It does not wink at cheating, lying, prostituting, adultery or stealing. The spiritual life cannot be lived in independence of moral standards. But what Yah'shua (Jesus) destroyed was all hope of making people live up to those standards independent of surrendering their lives to Him totally and of receiving the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) as their comforter and guide. We can only obey the Torah by having the Lawgiver live in our hearts. And to do that, we have to yield total sovereignty of our lives to Him by confessing and yielding up any and every sin attitude and habit that prevents Him from doing so completely.
So, finally, then, how did Yah'shua (Jesus) fulfil the Law? And how can the Church or Messianic Fellowship, in so far as it is true to Christ, fulfil it today? And the answer can only be, by attention to the spirit of the Torah as well as to its letter. That is why, in the Sermon on the Mount, you will find Yah'shua (Jesus) stressing motives underlying the things we do. So hate is equivalent to murder, and the lustful eye is equivalent to adultery.
But there is even more than this. Yah'shua (Jesus) fulfilled the law by bringing in the person of Himself as the incentive to keep it. The truth is, love of a person will get us all to do what no amount of rules and regulations could ever hope to accomplish. For love, people will go to the ends of the earth and even throw their lives away. So Yah'shua (Jesus) brought the way of love as the incentive to all true religion. Yahweh's love in us, our love for Yahweh; "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." That is the basis of all real religion which lifts us up to higher standards. Not just a command, but a statement! Not just a prohibition, but an offer! This is the royal way by which the Torah (Law) is kept. And when you hear this way adopted in any local church or assembly, you hear the authentic ring of Christianity. Not law first, but love first, and then the law is far more likely to be kept. This was ever Yah'shua's (Jesus') way. And I hope we keep it in his New Covenant Church (Assembly) and I hope that from every preacher in this Church (Assembly) you will always hear the authentic ring of Christian preaching.
As traditional Christianity becomes progressively more lawless and immoral, we are experiencing in the Messianic movement something equally horrendous and destructive - that old Talmudic spirit of forcing rules and regulations down people's throats and making them offenders for a word. And whilst we must absolutely preach Torah, we must first of all preach and live the love of Christ. Without it, Torah becomes a millstone around our necks. If we will but administer love, then the Torah will usually take care of itself, and people will understand what it is that under girds that love in the first place - not merely a wishy-washy sentimentality, but a passion for that which is concrete and everlasting. Love cannot in any case flourish in lawlessness.
The politicians in this country are soon, if they get their evil way, to pass a law making it a crime that will lead to prison sentences, to preach that homosexual behaviour is a sin or that abortion is murder. Since the last war, we have been witnessing in Europe a new kind of legalism, not based on true principles, but on their very opposite. The European Union, led as it is by Satanists and witches behind the scenes, is gradually introducing laws throughout all its member states, that is going to make deviant thinking - let alone behaviour - a crime, the purpose of which will be to persecute and eventually destroy the true faith. This it will not do in the name of false forms of Christianity as it has done in the past through Catholicism and other evil creeds, but in the name of "democracy", "freedom", and "peace". A new kind of Talmud is arising all around us - a Talmud, not made from perverting Yahweh's Law, but an attempt to do away with the Torah and agapé love altogether. The European Union has already changed our calendar and declared Monday to be the first day of the week so that it can force its Sunday-Sabbath laws, when throughout all earth's history Sunday has always been the first day of the week and Saturday the true Sabbath. It is creating mountain loads of new rules and regulations in Brussels so that we are already veritably swimming in them and cannot possibly avoid breaking them, giving again another pretext for the powers-that-be to find flimsy excuses to arrest and prosecute believers. And the same thing is happening in North America. All but those who are promiscuous and demonised will flourish in the presently evolving system here - the rest will be conveniently eliminated.
Of course, the powers-that-be vehemently deny these things and have developed the art of hiding themselves behind various politically-correct catch phrases which sound nice on the surface but which are no more than smoke screens. Before long it will not be legal to criticise anyone in positions of authority, or promiscuous lifestyles, or religions (except Christianity, of course). Whether we care to admit it or not, we have been ever so slowly - but now at an accelerated pace - discovering that we have been living in an evolving dictatorship.
We therefore face two kinds of legalism - legalism within Christianity and legalism within the state. People are being spiritually crushed and don't know it. There was a time when Huguenots could leave France for freedom in England, and the pilgrim fathers could leave England for the freedom of the New World. But with the advent of the global society and an emerging one world state, there will be nowhere else to flee to for liberty. Satan, in his final attack before his overthrow, is going to attempt to surround us and crush us like rats in a trap.
A few days ago I saw a vision what is going to happen to NCCG in the United States. That might sound a bit odd since the Church/Assembly barely exists there today, though we are planning to change all that, Yahweh willing, this year. I saw several congregations raised but many were crushed by the Adversary because they were either too worldly and not build upon high enough spiritual ground.
We really don't have time to delay anymore. Everywhere, around the world, we must gather and build. Everyone has a part - all are priests and priestesses to Yahweh. All have work to do, and all are equipped with the gifts to accomplish it. It is time to confront, and be done with, habitual sin-areas. It is time to stop procrastinating the day of repentance and of salvation before it is too late. It is time to make difficult but necessary choices. It is a time to be committed. But to do this, we must look beyond the letter of the law - beyond (though not in place of) theology - and to its spirit, and the glue which binds it together. And that glue is the eternal love of Christ. Then misunderstandings will dissolve and we won't have to fumble so much for the right words to say, for will all know one another's hearts. I pray that will happen now and we launch ahead in this work to which we have been called, giving our all for the Kingdom and for the King. Amen.
The application of general ethical principles to particular moral problems, or reasoning which is specious or oversubtle
A Letter in Response to this Sermon from the USA
I just got back home and found your sermon waiting for me and I can't thank you enough. I had studied and studied or thought I had and never really got the message until now. It seems so clear now and I love you folks for taking the time to send this to me. I being a widow don't get to go to Sabbath service each Sabbath Day as I have a spinal injury that prevents me.
I realize that we are at a cruical junture with our commitiment to our Eternal and now is the time to as they might say either "put up or shut up". When we really give thought to our salvation it should be his way or no way. Or at least that is my thoughts on it.
I pray that your work will continue and reach out to this dying world.
PM (26 May 2002)
This page was created on 14 May 2002
Last updated on 14 May 2002
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