14 October 2000

"For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ"-John 1:17 Moses stood in a precarious position: he stood between God and His people. His job was unpopular: he must give God's people the law. If you will read the law that was given to Israel, you will understand Moses' plight. The law restricted; it laid responsibilities upon their shoulders; it represented a big NO, you can't do that! Who likes that word? Yet, maturity will tell us that NO is a word that protects and gives boundaries of safety. But, even then, it comes across a little crass. The law will never make us feel good. It was not designed to do so. It was given in love from a loving Father to protect His children and keep them from harm. When we see that principle we appreciate it. Allow me to illustrate God's law. A few months ago our family was given a Labrador puppy. Kokimo is his name. I could go into great detail about his chewing habits and my golf shoes but our main concern has been containing him in a safe environment. He has dug under the fence; ran through the fence; and opened the gate. Today he has a noticeable limp because he wandered into the street on one of his outings. Here we come to the law. It is like the fence. It says no, "thou shalt not", yet it is for our good and protection. Today, there are a lot of broken fences. A broken fence is different that those we see and purposely cross. A broken fence is one that is unseen. When I was growing up we had a few head of cattle. Our pasture was close by the rail-road tracks. From time to time a tree would fall across the fence and the cows would wander aimlessly on the tracks. We lost a few cows on the tracks due to broken fences. Some of God's feces have been broken today by lofty trees of this world who have forgotten their Creator. Their fallen positions have allowed many of God's people to wander innocently and ignorantly across fences to their own hurt. Let us raise them up again for the good of God's people and for the honor of Christ. A few weeks ago, I reminded our congregation of the "nakedness" chapter: Leviticus 18. Many fences may be found in this chapter. The word "nakedness" is listed 24 times. Among the fences you will find, "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination". Though scientists will tell you that they have made many genetic discoveries, we find those who had crossed this fence, repentant and washed at Corinth(I Cor :11). Change is not only possible, it is profitable, it is peace. We all have our weaknesses to divers lusts and sins. Let us not place this one in a category by itself and destroy the fence. In this chapter, you will also find, "thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbor's wife" along with many other fences that Hollywood has made vogue in our society. Last week, I wrote about abortion. Another broken fence. Many innocent people have crossed it unknowingly. We could write all day about broken fences. As you drive along the streets you will see many dead animals that either had no fence, or broke out of a fence. You might think that the animals would look along the streets and see their kindred lying around dead and wounded and figure out the danger involved in that black ribbon of asphalt. Do we? Many questions are raised today concerning God's law and its significance to the New Testament Christian? Are we to keep it? If so, what part, when and how much? To this we answer, "The ceremonial law has been done away with. Yet, all of God's fences remain intact today." God's moral laws, how He feels about sin and what He has said about sin has not changed. These are God's fences, not Moses'. Today we find a freedom that was not enjoyed in the old law dispensation even though the moral law is till intact: "Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ". We have wandered. We have all been on the other side of one fence or another. Some have been afforded great grace and escaped serious injury. Some are crippled; some have lost their joy in life; some have lost their life. It is wonderful news to learn that even though we have broken the law, Jesus has fulfilled it for us. His righteousness has become ours. That is grace. Our respect for the fence today should not be one of fear, but rather one of love for the One who erected them. Our respect is in proportion to our love. When we cross the fence, we have a throne of grace to find great forgiveness Today, we do not throw the law at God's people. We kindly raise the fence and make it noticeable. May God help us all to stay on the right side of the fence. Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, in Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Visit our web page at www.primitivebaptist.org/donaldson/ Singing begins at 10:30 each Sunday morning followed by preaching at 11:00. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor