Tag Archives: law

Peninsula Community Church 

The Power of God’s Word

June 24, 2018 

Psalm 19:7-10 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.

Let me begin with a question this morning. What would you pay for a document or a tool that would give you solutions to life’s problems and would bring you great joy and wisdom? The fact is, we already have such a tool and such a document. It is called the Word of God. The problem, however, is that somewhere along the line, we have replaced the Word of God with psychology, secular counseling, new age philosophies, and secular mindsets. So many today do not believe they need God, therefore they believe they do not need His word! How sad and misplaced that is. It is sad because we have turned to those things that fail to embrace the power of God’s word as the source for help and assistance the with issues we face. Please note, that I am not opposed to counseling, but counseling apart from God’s word is not a healthy pursuit. 

In complete disclosure the outline of this message is one that I heard given by John MacArthur at Jack Hayford’s pastor’s conference a number of years ago. It is his outline but I have added my ideas and thoughts to the message. As we look at this passage, we find that Psalm 19 allows us to look into David’s heart and gain a greater understanding of the power of God’s word to bring change. Here we find that David lists six attributes of God’s word and what those attributes, when properly applied, can accomplish in the life of the believer. As we look at this passage, we must not miss the reality that all six of these attributes have one thing in common. All six attributes contain the phrase “of the Lord.” This settles the issue of authority and it confirms the source of the Word of God. The Word is powerful and sufficient because it has divine origins. This is the law of the Lord and not of man. Let us look at these six attributes this morning.

In verse 7, we find that the law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. In essence, the law of God is the source and guide for all of man’s conduct. Today, man’s moral compass is off kilter. The result is that we seem to be flying upside down. The problem is that when Scripture is rejected as the sole moral compass of our life, we are left to our own devices to make sense of life. When that is our focus it does not always end well. I am thankful, however, that we have been given a fixed point of reference, and that fixed point of reference is the Word of God. Once we lose that, we are indeed lost. 

David says the law is perfect which carries the idea, not so much of being flawless, but that the Word of God is complete in every way. God’s law covers every aspect of life. It leaves nothing out. It is sweeping and complete in its effect. It is the completeness of the Word that gives it the power to restore the soul. Because it restores the soul, it can transform everyone who applies the Word to their heart and their way of life. Through God’s Word, that which was broken is made whole. That which was dead is now alive. That which was lost has been found.

Secondly, David proclaims that the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The essence of this passage is that God’s Word is the testimony of the Lord. It is God’s self-revelation. To know God, read the Scripture and through it’s pages we see Him revealed. That is because the Bible is God’s personal testimony. It is the revelation of who He is.

David states that the testimony of the Lord is sure which means that it is absolutely reliable and trustworthy. The result of its reliability is that it gives the simple wisdom. The word simple, as used here, means to be ignorant and without understanding. In the Hebrew language, the root of the word means “an open door.” To have an open door means that we let everything in but we also let everything out. Scripture says that even a fool is thought to be wise until he opens his mouth. From a mental standpoint this term relates to the inability to discern and distinguish truth from fact.

Today, we are encouraged by many to be open minded, but in those days, if you were to say you had an open mind, people would say, “Well close the door.” The point is, you need to know what to keep in and what to keep out. A door is a point of discretion. When it comes to the mind, you should not be proud that you let everything in and for that matter everything out. We must close the door and be aware of what goes in and comes out of our mind. The word of God does that for us. It teaches us discernment. It teaches us to have good judgement and higher standards. It teaches us to distinguish between truth and lies. It takes the simple and makes them wise.

Third, the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart. Through Scripture comes doctrine, dogma, and propositional truth. As the Word of God, it sets down truths to be believed and these truths are right. This is not so much right as opposed to wrong, but it is a matter of heading in the right direction. Therefore, it is the Word that sets us on the right path. 

In Psalm 119:105 David proclaimed, Your word is a lamp unto my feet and light to my path.” The Word is not just a lamp and a light, it is the path. In life, there is a way which seems right unto a man, but that way ends in death (Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25). Scripture’s testimony is that we are to walk in the precepts of God. It is all about the path we are taking. Thus, when you walk in His way, the result is rejoicing in the heart. His way is the path of joy. It is through God’s Word that we receive exuberant joy that overflows into celebration. It is the right path.

Fourth, in verse 8, David proclaims, the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. This is not a book of suggestions. This is not a book of good thoughts and nice ideas. These are commandments from the sovereign king of the universe who has total authority over every aspect of life. Notice here that the commandments of the Lord are pure. The idea presented in the Hebrew language is that the commandments are clear. They are transparent and translucent, and not opaque. They are not hard. The commandments are not pointless because God made them clear and understandable. To say the Bible is not clear is an indictment of God as that would put us in an impossible situation. This is the problem that arises if we do not believe that the Word is clear. God does not ask us to do anything that He does not make clear through His Word. By following the commandments of the Lord, we can see clearly what He has intended for us, and it becomes easy to obey His commands. 

Fifth, in verse 9, we find that “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.” The way fear is used here is a reference to reverence, awe, and worship. The fact is, the Bible is a manual on worship. It tells us how we should worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Scripture defines the One to be worshiped and how He is to be worshiped. This is a testimony to Scripture’s inerrancy, it is clean and it is pure. How do we know? We know this because Scripture never changes and it lasts forever.

Finally, the judgments of the Lord are true, they are righteous altogether. In society today, we do not like the term judgement, but the reality is judgement is a necessary part of what God does. Judgment is the act that makes grace what it is. Without judgment, grace would not be such a beautiful gift. The difference between our judgments and His judgments is that His judgments are absolutely true and accurate.

The truth is, Scripture gives us God’s verdict on everything. It is decisive and true. In a world of lies and in a world of deception, Scripture is absolutely true and reliable. As a result, the phrase, “they are righteous altogether,” can be translated as producing comprehensive righteousness. In John 17:17 Christ proclaimed, Sanctify them by thy truth, thy word is truth.” His Word is that which sanctifies and brings glory to His name because it is true and it is reliable. 

When all is said and done we know this, Scripture is God’s law, God’s testimony, God’s precepts, God’s commands, God’s manual on worship, and it is His judgments. It is comprehensive, perfect, sure, right, clear, clean, and true. It totally transforms the whole person. It makes the undiscerning skilled in all aspects of living. It produces an unassailable joy. It makes the dark things light, and it endures forever. Every culture, every place, every age, and every person finds it relevant and that it restores life.

As a result, when we look at verse 10, we understand the value of God’s Word in our life. Listen to David’s words. The Words of God “are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.” The Word of God is more precious than anything. It is to be desired more than the best gold. It better than anything the world has to offer as it is eternal, powerful, and all sufficient. It is more precious than the best commodity the world has to offer. It is sweeter than anything life can bring.

I love John MacArthur’s comment in this regard. If you have a choice between the Word of God and GOLD, choose the Word of God. If you have a choice between the Word of God and MUCH gold, choose the Word of God. If you have a choice between the Word of God and much FINE gold, choose the Word of God. The point is plain. The benefits of knowing and doing the Word of God are greater than all that money can buy.

For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14

Copyright © 2018 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom

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No Longer Condemned

Peninsula Community Church

August 21, 2016

No Longer Condemned

Romans 8:1-5 – There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

I love Romans 8. I love it because it is regarded by many Christian scholars as the greatest chapter of all the Bible. In fact, in reading many of the commentaries on Romans, Chapter 8 has been described as “the mountain peak” of Scripture and “the chapter of chapters for the Christian believer.” Many commentators quote a German author by the name of Spencer who many years ago said “If Holy Scripture was a ring, and the Epistle to the Romans a precious stone, Chapter 8 would be the sparkling point of the jewel.”

For me personally, Romans 8 and in particular Romans 8:1 is one of those passages that have been used in my life to stake a claim to Christ’s promise of hope and the abundant life here on earth, as well as the life to come. You see, for such a long time I felt condemned on several levels. For one, I believed that if I just followed all of the rules everything was going to be ok. Boy was I wrong. I followed the rules, did what was right, and yet things continued to fall apart in my life. The result was a sense of failure and a sense that God could not do what He said.

Not only was I being condemned by my actions but I was also being condemned and judged by those around me. Although it was not always a reality, I felt that people would discourage and judge me rather than build up and encourage me. I allowed the voices of others to determine what I would do and be, rather than being obedient to Christ’s plan for my life. The downside is that I became more concerned about what people thought about me than being obedient to God. When I failed to live up to what people thought I should be, I began to sense a huge level of condemnation and judgement being imposed upon my life.

When I came to Christ I felt a bit betrayed and lied to as the pastor implied that everything would be great if I just followed the rules. The rules were different but the emphasis was on keeping the rules and not on a relationship with Christ. As a believer, I turned to Scripture but because of my religious background and the teaching I received, I was once again condemned because I never felt I could live up to the all of the rules and the requirements that were laid out. I was being counseled that I needed to follow all of the rules and be obedient. That all sounded good and it sounded right so I began to attempt to follow the rules and be the obedient person I needed to be. The problem however is that I would read the Scripture to see what the rules were rather than to determine who God was. The result was that my life sounded much like the words of Romans 7. The things I wanted to do I didn’t do and the things I didn’t want to do I did (Romans 7:13-20). It was a battle royal for my mind and my heart.

The battle continued to rage within me until I grew in the Lord and in my understanding of the Gospel. I came to a couple of conclusions that began to change my life. I would like to share these with you. First of all, I discovered that the law/the rules were weak and were powerless to accomplish what I needed (Romans 7:5-6; Romans 8:3-4). My study and my understanding led me to see that the law was a good school master (Galatians 3:24 ASV). It was a good teacher but it was powerless to make a difference in my life.

I love the commercials from Life Lock Security company. You may have seen them. In particular I love the one where there is a bank robbery in progress. Those in the bank look to the guard on duty to help them. His response is that he is not a security guard he is only a security monitor. Because he was only a monitor he was powerless do anything about the robbery. I love what happens. During the robbery, he leans over to those on the floor and says “oh yeah, there’s a robbery.” The law in itself was a good monitor for sin and was good at pointing to sin in our life but it continued to be powerless to do anything about the sin. The work of the law was critical in that it served to detail the boundaries of our life. We need boundaries and we need guidelines but those guidelines do little to change our heart or our mind. We need something different. We need Christ.

That brings me to second thing I learned. To live a life without condemnation is a choice. The choice is centered and focused on how we live. Paul offers us two choices. We can live by the spirit or we can live by the law (Romans 8:4-8). You see the law according to Paul brings sin to life. We must understand that the law did not create sin because sin was was a part of man’s life long before the law was given to Moses by God. In fact we see sin full blown in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).

In our final moments here I would like to look at this phrase. But I would like to look at this phrase in reverse in order to build a case for God’s grace and the freedom that comes as a result of His work on the cross. Paul statedTherefore there is now no condemnation.”

We begin with the term condemnation which is defined as (1) the expression of very strong disapproval or (2) the action of condemning someone to a punishment. It is to be condemned or judged. Condemnation is a legal term in that you are given sentence equal to your crime. Paul has already declared the penalty for sin was death. Remember his words. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). But through Christ there is eternal life thus the penalty of sin of has been paid. It is for that reason there is no condemnation for us. No sin a believer can commit; past, present, or future – can be held against him if that sin has been forgiven, since the penalty was paid by Christ and righteousness was imputed to the believer. And no sin will ever reverse this divine legal decision.

The second word is this passage is the word “no”. In Christ, there is NO condemnation. In the New Testament when writers wanted to emphasize a particular word, they would put it at the beginning of the sentence. That was their way of saying, “This is important.” In the Greek the first word is not “therefore.” The first word in the Greek is the word “no.” The fifth word in our translation is first in the original because Paul wants to emphasize in the strongest possible way that there is no condemnation. That’s why he took the word “no” and moved it to the front. There is therefore, no condemnation. You might translate it this way: “There is no condemnation—none whatsoever—for the believer in Christ Jesus. Secondly, Paul uses the strongest word possible for the word no in the Greek language.

Do you know what that means? We may stumble, we may fall, we may trip, we may make a thousand mistakes, we may sin and we do, we may get off the path, we may go astray, we may have a thousand problems, but for the believer in Jesus Christ, there is, therefore now, no condemnation because God has said it is so. You can struggle, but you’re not condemned. You can fall, but you’re not condemned. You can trip, but you’re not condemned. You can stray off the path, but you are not condemned because God has said He will not condemn those who are in Christ Jesus.

The third word in this passage is the word “now”. The gift of no condemnation comes to us as a gift but a gift that must be received. Now speaks of a future hope but a present reality. The word now “distinguishes two conditions of a man, namely, his condition under the law, and his condition under grace,—that is, his natural and his supernatural conditions. For by nature we are children of wrath, but now God has rendered us accepted in the Beloved. This benefit was effected the moment you accepted Christ as your Savior. The “now” contrasts the believer’s new state with the old, which had passed away. Hallelujah!

And finally there is the word “therefore.” The word therefore is a powerful word that must not be taken lightly. It is a word that directs our attention to something that comes before. In this case the word points us back to what Christ has done for us. I love the way Romans is laid out. He begins in Romans 1 & 2 by defining the life without God. H continues to show us why we need Christ and He shows us the way of escape And the power of change that comes to us.

For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14

Copyright © 2016 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom

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