Losing Your Religion – November 3, 2019 (Full-Length Version)

Losing Your Religion – November 3, 2019 (Full-Length Version)


– Hello, Alex Sasser here
hosting another episode of “Touching Lives”
with Dr. James Merritt. We are so glad
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touchinglives.org/letter to register today. Thank you again for joining us. And now here’s today’s sermon
from Dr. James Merritt. – Let me just say
thanks for being here. I wanna say hello to
our Mill Creek campus watching online, those
who are watching by TV, those here at Sugarloaf. I wanna begin with a question and I wanna see how many of you
will guess the right answer. Here’s the question. What is the fastest-growing
religious group in the United States today? Now you might hope or think
evangelical Christians, you might say Catholics,
you might say Pentecostals. But actually, it’s
a trick question, because by far
and away right now the fastest-growing
religious group in America are the nones. N-O-N-E-S. These are Americans who say, “We are completely
religiously unaffiliated.” 25%, an all-time
high for our nation, 25% of people in
America now say, “We don’t wanna have any
religious identity at all. “We don’t care anything
about religion. “We’re not in the churches,
we’re not in the synagogues, “we’re not in the temples. “We’re just into it
any way whatsoever.” And in a way, you
can’t blame them because, to be honest,
choosing a religion and trying to choose a religion can be very frustrating
and very confusing. Because on the surface, it appears that religions
are radically different, but yet they’re really not. Because at the end of the day practically every
religion in the world is trying to answer
the same two questions. The questions they’re trying
to answer is, number now, how do you relate to God? And number two, how can you
have a relationship to God? Now, not only do all religions basically ask the
same two questions, the interesting thing is they basically give
the same answer. They couch it in
different terms, they have different platforms, they’ll taint it in
different things, but at the end of the day, here’s their answer
to the question. How you live before you die determines where you
go after you die. That’s basically their answer. In others words, what
you do this side of death will determine
what happens to you on the other side of death. But then you’ve got all
these religious debates that are going on, for example. I was in a home this week
of a beautiful family, they’re not believers, and we were having
a good conversation, I got to share the
Gospel with them. They may be they’re here
today, I hope they are. But this is what they said. “It really doesn’t matter
which religion you practice. “Just pick one. “We’re all trying to
get to the same place, “we’re just kinda
taking different paths.” But then you’ve got some
people on the other side and they say, “No,
there’s only one religion “that has the right
prescription, has
the right formula. “It’s one-size-fits-all. “And if you wanna be
rightly related with God, “you’ve gotta practice
our religion.” Well, when you realize
that you’ve got over 4,200 options
to choose from, when you realize the
buffet of religions is so unbelievably
huge and so big, it really isn’t any wonder
that more and more people are throwing their
hands up and saying, “Alex, I’ll take
none for a thousand. “I just don’t think
I’m interested.” And this is why this book
that we’ve been studying called Galatians is not only
relevant, it is so refreshing. ‘Cause let me tell you
what Paul is doing, and by the way, if you don’t
have a copy of one of these, get one before you leave today. We’re in “The Year
of the Disciple” and if you have one
of these copies, if you’ll just turn to page,
I think it’s page eight, yeah, page eight in
this little book, you’ll see where
we’re studying today. But here’s what’s going on
in the Book of Galatians for those of you who are
just joining us today. Paul was dealing with just
one religion, Judaism. And the reason why Paul
was dealing with Judaism was because he was a Jew. Well, in this church, in this group of early
believers called Galatians, there was a group of
people called Judaizers. They were people who said, “Look, we’re Christians
like you are. “We believe in
Jesus like you do. “However, Jesus is not enough, “grace is not enough,
faith is not enough. “If you really wanna
be right with God “and know that you’re
right with God, “you’ve gotta keep God’s law. “You’ve got to do good works. “You’ve got to be
Jewishly religious. “You’ve got to live the right
life to be right with God.” So Paul, who was a
former Jew himself, wrote this book not just to Jews but also to all religious people who were trying to
get right with God, and he’s what he’s saying,
it’s a mind boggling thing. Paul says, “It
doesn’t matter to me “whether you are a
conservative Evangelical, “you’re a Protestant,
you’re a Catholic,” or just pick, Baptist,
Methodist, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Pentecostal,
Church of God in Christ, Holiness Pentecostal,
Pentecostal Holiness, Pentecostal Unholiness,
it doesn’t matter. I don’t care if it’s Islam,
Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism. Paul wrote this letter
with one central message. If you wanna be right with God and if you wanna know
you’re right with God, buckle your seatbelt, you have got to
lose your religion. You say, excuse me,
you’re a pastor. Yeah, you heard me. You have got to
lose your religion. Because as hard as
it is to believe, I will tell you something
that might shock you, being religious, trying
to do the rituals, trying to obey the rules, trying
to follow the regulations, trying to keep the restrictions, it may not only not get
you any closer to God, it may wind up keeping
you from ever knowing God. It may wind up ever even
keeping you from God. We’ve been preaching
this series on Galatians, we’ve entitled it “Free at Last” because one of the reasons
that Paul wrote this book and one of the
reasons he’s talking to these believers in
Galatia was to let us know, look, Jesus did not come to introduce us
to a new religion. Jesus came to deliver
us from all religion so we can actually enter into
a relationship with a God who’s not captured
by any religion. So he’s dealing with these
people called Judaizers who are trying to tell
these early Christians what a lot of people
still believe, what a lot of you still believe. There are many of you I believe you come into this
church every Sunday, you hear me preach every week, and you still go out the door and you still deep
down think this. If I wanna be right with God and if I wanna stay
right what God, I’ve gotta keep the
Ten Commandments to the best of my ability, I’ve got to obey the law, and
I’ve got to follow the rules. Well, Paul does something
that’s just brilliant. Paul actually says why
don’t we go to the law and see what the law
says about the law? Why don’t we see
if you can pull off what you think you can
pull of by keeping the law? And what you’re
going to find out is he appeals to that
very law to show that what we want the law
to do, the law can’t do. What we would like for
the law to accomplish, the law cannot accomplish. And he shows us
even the law of God cannot get you to the God
that gave you that law. So whether it’s the law
that’s found in this book. Or you may have another book, your book may be the Quran, your book may be
the Bhagavad Gita, I don’t know what your book is. But Paul says, let
me tell all of you, if you’re trying to get to God through your particular religion and through keeping
your particular law and following your
particular rules, there are four things
you need to remember about all religious law. Number one: the law is a
curse, not a cure for sin. The law is a curse,
it’s not a cure for sin. Now, Paul knows he’s
dealing with people who love the Old Testament. They’re Bible scholars
in the Old Testament, they love to quote
the Old Testament. So he says, “Okay, let me
quote the Old Testament “and let me show you something
that may surprise you. “The law actually
curses itself.” ‘Cause here’s what
we don’t understand. The law does not commend
people who try to keep it. What the law actually does is condemn people because
they can’t keep it. So here’s what Paul says. Paul says, “For all who rely
on the works of the law,” for what? To be right with God,
to get right with God. So just fill in the blank. I’m relying on my baptism, I’m relying on my
church membership, I’m relying on paying my taxes, I’m relying on being
faithful to my wife, I’m relying on giving
money to the poor, I’m relying on not drinking
too much, not smoking too much, I’m relying on not
using bad language. Just add anything you wanna add. Paul said, “If you’re relying
on the works of the law, “you are under a curse.” And then he quotes the
law, as it’s written. “Cursed is everyone who
does not continue to do,” and can you guys see that word? Can y’all say it out loud? – Everything.
– Can you say it loud? – Everything!
– Yeah, what does everything mean? Yeah, great, you’re
on target, all right. It means everything. He’s saying you’re
under a curse. If you’re trying to get
to God by being good, if you’re trying to get to God
by obeying the commandments, you’re trying to be
good by being religious, you’re trying to be
good by keeping the law, then you better continue to do everything written in
the book of the law. So Paul’s been blunt. If you’re trying to
be religious enough, good enough, obedient
enough to get to God, he said you’re under a curse. You know what the curse is? The curse is not
disobeying the law, that’s not the curse. The curse is not
perfectly obeying the law, that’s the curse. He said you’re under a curse. If you’re going to
perform your way to God, you gotta meet his
standard, not yours. And God’s standard
is perfection. And since his law is perfect and since he is
perfect, think about it. If the law of God is
perfect, and it is, if God is perfect, and he is, and we’re tying to have a
relationship with a perfect God, logic itself says that I’ve
gotta keep the law perfectly if I wanna have a relationship
with God who is perfect. See, here’s the problem. One of the problems we have is we try to understand
how God’s law operates and we try to kinda
see it the way that we think our law operates. Let me give you an example. When it comes to human
laws, here’s what we do. We grade ourselves on the curve. And let me tell you
what I mean by that. I’ve heard this so many times. I said this to someone
about two weeks ago. They were visiting
our church and I said, “May I ask you a
spiritual question?” They said sure and I said, “Do you have a personal
relationship with God?” He said, “Well, I’m trying to.” And I said, “What do you mean?” And he started, I knew it was
coming, I’ve heard ’em all, “Well, I’m not perfect. “I’ve told a lie but I’ve
never committed perjury. “I’ve cheated on my test but
I’ve never cheated on my taxes. “When I was little
I stole a cookie “but I’ve never robbed a bank. “I’ve gotten in a lot of fights “but I’ve never killed anybody.” And so here’s what we say,
well, I think I’m good to go, because my good
outweighs my bad. And I’m not as bad as the guy
on death row, I mean, I’m not. And in a way we’re right,
in a way it makes sense. You’re not going to
jail for telling a lie if it’s not perjury. The IRS is not gonna come after
you if you cheat on a test, just don’t cheat on your taxes. You’re not gonna be locked
up for stealing a cookie, just don’t rob a bank. The problem is God’s law
doesn’t operate that way. God doesn’t grade on the curve. So let me put it this way. I don’t know how it is now
’cause things have changed. When I was a boy, when
I was going to school, there was a grading system. So an A would be 90 to
100, B was 80 to 89, C was 70 to 79, D was 60 to 69, F was anything below 60, okay? That’s not the way it
is in God’s school. In God’s school,
there are two grades. A+ and F. That’s the only two grades. You’re ready for this? Let’s see how good
you are at your math. So if you make 100 on God’s
test, what do you get? A+. What if you make
99, what do you get? You get an F. Now you may say, Lord, he
is a hard-nose professor. No, that’s not the problem. He’s holy and he’s perfect, and he only has one standard,
and that is holy perfection. And here’s our problem. He demands a holiness from
you you can’t produce. He demands a perfection from
you and you can’t get there. All of my life I’ve had
people say this to me. They worry about what
they call cheap grace and I’ve had people
really debate me on this. They say, “You guys
preach the grace of God, “you guys preach it’s all about
grace, it’s all about faith. “God loves you, he sent his Son. “You give your life to Jesus
and man you’re good to go “and then you can live
any way you want to.” Well, let me stop right there,
I’ve never preached that, and I don’t believe that. I do believe you’re saved
by grace through faith, but I believe when you’re
saved by grace through faith you don’t live the
way you want to, you live the way he wants you
to, that’s the difference. However, that said, I’m not
worried about cheap grace. You know what bothers me? Cheap law. You say, what do you mean? We’ve got this idea
that God will somehow grade us on the curve and accept anything
less than perfection and especially anything less than the perfect
righteousness of Jesus. So here’s the central point. Paul’s just getting right to it, I mean, he’s not
pulling any punches. If you’re trying to do enough, give enough, be enough to get God’s approval
and God’s acceptance, you are under a curse, and it is the curse of
trying to be good enough. You say, why is that a curse? Because you will never,
ever be good enough for God. It isn’t going to happen. The law is a curse, it
is not a cure for sin. But then he goes deeper. He says the law is a barrier,
it’s not a bridge to God. The law is a barrier,
it’s not a bridge to God. Now, if what Paul said is true, then the next conclusion
just naturally follows. Listen to what he
says in verse 11. He says, “Clearly no one,”
what does no one mean? – No one.
– Ah you’re sharp, you’re with me. “No one who relies on the
law is justified before God.” So Paul says if you’re relying on keeping God’s commandments
to justify you before God, you’re automatically condemned because you’ve not perfectly
kept God’s commandments. Because the one thing
that every person that’s ever lived
or ever will live needs to be right with
God is to be justified. I’ve got to somehow get
God to look at me and say, even though I’m guilty, even
though he knows I’m guilty, even though I know I’m guilty, even though I know that
he knows that I’m guilty, even though he knows that I know that I know he knows I’m guilty, somehow I’ve gotta get that
God to look at me and say, “Innocent, acquitted,
justified.” And Paul said and the
law can’t get you there. The law will never justify you. It is not a bridge to
God, it is a barrier God. The law’s not the
way you get to God, it’s actually the wall that
separates you from God. Now, by the way, what many
religions are trying to do, and they’ll tell you this, is they’re trying to get
you justified before God and here’s what they’ll all say. You wanna be right with our God? Do this, don’t do that,
go here, don’t go there, say this, don’t say
that, keep our laws, keep our rules, keep
our regulations, and you just might get there. And Paul says,
“No, won’t happen.” So you may be asking a very
legitimate question right now. I would be asking it. Well, wait a minute. So if God’s commandments
and God’s law won’t help me get to God,
here’s a simple question. So why did God give
the law to begin with? Why did God give
the commandments? Well, I’m glad you
asked the question, I’m sure gonna let Paul
answer the question. Here’s what he says in verse 21. “Is the law, therefore, opposed
to the promises of God?” In other words what
he’s saying is, so is the law a bad thing? He says no, the law
is a good thing. Nothing wrong with the
law, the law’s perfect. “Absolutely not! “For if a law had been given
that could impart life, “then righteousness would
certainly have come by the law. “But Scripture has
locked up everything “under the control of sin.” And here’s what Paul says. This is where I want
you to listen here, I want you to join
real close and listen. The law was never given to show how good we are. It was given to show
how simple we are. So let me put it
to you this way. The law illuminates our faults, it cannot eliminate our faults. It can illuminate ’em,
it can’t eliminate ’em. So here’s what the law does. The law tells you, okay,
you wanna live a godly life? This is what a godly
life looks like. You go, great! And then the law turns
right around and says, ha, but you can’t do it. You can’t pull it off. It is an absolute impossibility. You can’t keep it. God’s law cannot
make you innocent, it can only prove you guilty. Here’s an illustration. You’re in a trial and
let’s say it’s a judge, not a jury trial,
it’s a judge trial. Now, if you’re in a judge trial, you already know going
into that court room there’s only one person
in this court room that can either
condemn me as guilty or confirm me as innocent. There’s only one person
in this court room that can either punish
me or pardon me. Who is that, who’s in
the room, who is it? – The judge.
– It’s the judge. He’s the only one
who can do it, right? The prosecuting attorney
cannot find you guilty. Your defense attorney
cannot find you innocent. There’s only one person
in that court room that can justify you. There’s only one person in
that court room that can say, “You are innocent,
you are free to go.” It’s not your attorney, it’s
not the prosecuting attorney, it is that judge. And likewise, the
one thing we need to even be allowed
into God’s presence, to have God’s approval, to
receive God’s acceptance, we’ve gotta be justified
by the Supreme Judge. And Paul says you will never
be justified by your religion and you’ll never be justified
by your righteousness. There’s nothing you
can do to justify you. You can only be justified
when the Supreme Judge declares you are justified,
which leads to the third point. Paul says the law
is a reference for, not a rival with Jesus. It is a reference for,
not a rival with Jesus. So let me just kinda,
here’s our problem. I think hopefully now
you understand it. The law’s perfect, we’re not. Only a perfect
person on their own can have a relationship
with a perfect God. And the only we can ever
be perfect on our own is to achieve perfection,
but we can’t do that. So what’s our problem? We’re under a curse. You say, boy, we’re hopeless. Oh no no no no, the law’s
still gonna help us out. You say, really, yeah. Because the same law
that just said to us you can’t keep me, you’re not
gonna get to God through me, as a matter of fact, you’re
under a curse because of me, that same exact law turns
around and refers us to the One who is perfect
and who can remove our curse because he perfectly
kept the law, and his name is? – Jesus.
– Jesus, that’s right. So listen to what we read. By the way, Paul
is just going back, he’s just quoting the law,
that’s all he’s doing. He said, “Christ redeemed us
from the curse of the law.” How did he do that? “By becoming a curse for us.” How did that happen? Paul has written, “Cursed is everyone
who is hung on a pole.” Now, you see that word redeemed? I’m sure a lot of
you, if you shop, you know what that means. If you redeem something,
you buy it back or you cash something in. How many of you, just
out of curiosity, how many of you
remember green stamps? I know a lot of you are
going, what is a green stamp? Don’t worry about it,
but you’ll understand. Back in the day,
back in the day, my mom used to
collect green stamps. Some of you remember that, some of you remember
green stamps, right? So if you collected
enough green stamps, you could go to the store, do you remember green stamps? Okay, okay. We’re getting old. So green stamps, mom would
collect all these green stamps and I used to go with mom, there was a store down
in Flowery Branch, there was a store and we
would go to that store, it was exciting ’cause she’s
saved all these green stamps and you could go and you could redeem
something in the store, you could trade in
those green stamps for something in the store. That’s what that word
means, it means to buy back. It’s a legal term and it
refers to how a slave’s freedom would be bought or
redeemed by another person. Now, the reason why
Paul brings redemption into the conversation
is very simple. Because the only
remedy for our faults and our failures and our
fallings and our mistakes and our mess ups is redemption. Not religion. Not righteousness. Not rules. Not regulations. Not restrictions. Redemption. Well, why do we need redemption? Because our problem is not
that we’re just sinners and we fall up and we sin. We are actually slaves to sin,
we’re born in slavery to sin. And if you know
anything about slavery, you know there’s only one
antidote to slavery, only one. Freedom, that’s
all a slave wants. If you’re a slave, you just
one thing, you want freedom. So the only antidote
to slavery is freedom, however, the only way
that freedom will come is by redemption. For example, let’s
take two slaves. Let’s say that one
slave is a bad slave and one slave is a good slave. Let’s say that one
slave lies like a dog and the other slave
always tells the truth. Let’s say that one slave
goes to church every Sunday and the other slave
never goes to church. Let’s say that one
slave is been baptized and the other slave has
never been baptized. Jack, I’m gonna be
good to you today. Let’s say one slave is a
bulldog, one slave’s a gator. At the end of the day, what’s
true about both of ’em? They’re still slaves. It doesn’t matter whether
you’re a good slave. Listen, both slaves
can get up one morning and they can say,
“You know, today, “we’re gonna be the best
slaves we know how to be.” That’s fine. The problem, you
are still a slave. You will never be good enough
to get out of your slavery. The only way you’ll
get out of your slavery is somebody’s gotta
redeem you out of slavery. So here’s the statement
I want you to hear. I hope this will
turn the light on. The reason why keeping
the commandments won’t get you to God, being
religious won’t get you to God, doing your best won’t get
to God is real simple. Hear this. The law wants your
heart to write a check that your life can’t cash. The law wants your
heart to write a check that your life can’t check. The law says do this
and don’t do that. Well, guess what? Sometimes we do what
we shouldn’t do. And the law says say
this but don’t say that. But guess what, sometimes we
say what we shouldn’t say. And the law says go
here but don’t go there. Well, guess what,
sometimes we go where we’re not supposed to go. And yet we think, well, if I could just maybe
do my very best, God will cut me a break. And here’s what we’ve just
seen, that’s an insult to God. It’s an insult to
the law of God. It’s an insult to the
holiness of God to say, can you just cut me a break? Can you just give
me, I mean, listen, okay, I didn’t make 99,
I didn’t even make 90, but I did make 73
and it beats a 40. God says no, that’s not
way the law operates. The problem is we are
all enslaved to sin, we’re failures in
the eyes of God, we’ve all broken his law, and the cold heart truth is all of the king’s horses
and all of the king’s men cannot put us together again. And if you think that’s the
way it’s going to operate, you’re under a cure, and we’ve got to
realize that the fact that we cannot keep the
law shows us one thing. If I can’t keep the law, I need someone who can. I need someone who did. And this is why I love the fact that God called me
into the ministry. This is why the one thing
that excites me more than anything in my life. I’ve got one of the most
beautiful granddaughters on the planet, she’s
sitting right there, her name is Presley. She wanted me to say
that, so Presley, you’re one of the most
beautiful granddaughters on the planet. Okay, are you a happy girl? Good. Pop loves you, you’re
pop’s baby doll, all right? I love that girl. I mean, I’m telling you, I
really do love that girl, but that’s not what
excites me the most every morning I get up, nothing. I’ve got a great marriage. I’m excited about being
married to my wife but that’s not the thing. What really drives me more
than anything is the Gospel. There’s somebody that did for
me what I couldn’t do for me. I didn’t keep the law,
you didn’t keep the law, none of us have kept the
law, but he kept the law. And because he kept
the law for us, he can remove the curse
of the law from us. Because he kept the law, he can remove the
curse of the law by taking our punishment
for breaking the law. See, the law was given to show
us two very simple things. Number one: we’re not perfect
and we can’t keep the law. And listen, if you don’t
believe that, I can’t help you, and I’m wasting your time. You are not perfect. And I know you’re
saying you know that, yeah, but it’ worse. Quit trying to keep the law, quit trying to obey
the commandments ’cause you think that’s
what’s gonna get you to God, ’cause you can’t
do it perfectly. But then it shows
us a second thing. We need a Savior who is
perfect who can keep the law. So it says the law-breakers
and the law-breaking have to be punished
’cause God’s holy. God doesn’t say, well,
boys like be boys, let bygones be bygones. He can’t do that to be
a holy righteous judge. So because it has to be
punished, he sends Jesus, and here’s what Jesus does. Obeys the law perfectly. Never says the wrong thing,
never does a wrong deed, never utters a wrong word,
never thinks a wrong thought. Keeps the law perfectly. So Jesus took our punishment. He took the curse for us so he
could take the curse from us. That’s why the one
thing we’ve got to have to be free from sin,
free from shame, free from guilt,
free from grief, is not found in religion, it’s
not found in rule keeping, it’s not found in regulations, it’s not found in righteousness, it is found in redemption, and that is only
found in the cross of the Lord Jesus
Christ, period. So, here’s the point. You will never be right with God until you lay down the law and
lose your religion to Jesus. You’ll never be right with
God until you lay down the law and you lose your
religion to Jesus. And that leads to the
last thing, you ready? The law is an advocate for,
not an addition to faith. The law is an advocate for,
not an addition to faith. Now Paul comes at this
climatic statement when he reminds us the law
will tell you what to achieve, but the Lord will tell
you what to receive. So he says this. “Clearly,” that is, look, by now I think you’ve got
it figured out, clearly. “No one who relies on the
law is justified before God.” Why? “Because the righteous”,
i.e. the justified, “will live by,” and
say that word out loud. – Faith.
– Faith. They’ll live by faith. And then Paul is so brilliant, I mean, Paul knows
how to twist a knife. He says okay you Judaizers,
you Jewish boys and girls, you wanna go back to the law and the lawkeepers and all that? Okay, let’s go
back to the father who got all this stuff started,
let’s go back to Abraham. He says this. “He redeemed us in order that
the blessing given to Abraham “might come to the Gentiles
through Christ Jesus, “so that by faith
we might receive “the promise of the Spirit.” So Paul said all of this
to make one central point. You wanna be accepted by God? God wants to accept you. But he will only
accept you his way. And it has nothing to do
with your performance, it has nothing to do
with your position, it has nothing to do
with your popularity. It is not a matter of
what we do for him, it is simply a matter
of accepting by faith what he has done for us. And let me tell you,
this is something, I mean, Paul is so brilliant. Why does he keep
quoting the law? Why does he keep going
back to the Old Testament? Why does he go back to Abraham? He’s making a point and I
don’t want you to miss it. You know what he’s
telling these Judaizers? “Hey guys, this grace by faith
thing I’ve been preaching, “that’s the way
it’s always been. “It’s never changed, it’s
never been different.” So let me just
disabuse some of you of a notion you’ve carried
out all of your life. You say, yeah. In the Old Testament, people
were saved by keeping the law. No they weren’t. Go find that in the Old
Testament, you can’t find it. You won’t find anywhere
from Genesis to Revelation where anybody, not Moses,
not Joseph, not Abraham, not Daniel, not Isaiah,
not Jeremiah, not Ezekiel. You won’t find anybody
anywhere in the Bible where is says they were
saved by keeping the law. That’s not how they were saved. A matter of fact, you know what? The Jews even understood they couldn’t keep
the law perfectly. You know how I know that? Because millions of lamb and
millions of gallons of blood flow throughout the
whole Old Testament. Why do you think the
Jews everywhere they went from the very beginning
of their religion, why do you think
they set up shop? So they could sacrifice lambs. Why do you think they did it, why do you think all
these lambs were killed? Because it was a
picture of redemption. A price had to be paid. You do the crime,
you pay the time. So every time the Jews
would get together, they watched that priest
slit the throat of that lamb, and he’d poured out that blood and that sacrifice would
be placed on the altar, here’s what they were doing,
here’s what they were saying. “We get it, we understand it. “All of our good works
don’t mean anything. “Trying to keep all
those commandments? “It can’t happen.” So by faith they trusted that God would take the
sacrifice of that lamb, and through that sacrifice and
until the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus Christ came and made, he would accept that
sacrifice as payment for and redemption of their sins. That’s why, hear me loudly
and hear me clearly, the message of the Old
Testament is no different than the message of
the New Testament. It’s exactly the same. How are we saved in
the New Testament? We’re saved by
grace through faith. How were people saved
in the Old Testament? They were saved by
grace through faith. The law always pointed to grace, it never pointed to goodness. It always pointed to faith, it
never pointed to fulfillment. And that’s why there’s
always going to be only two choices you can make when it comes to having
a relationship with God, finding acceptance with
God, and knowing God. Okay, you’re gonna make
one of two choices, and you can’t have it both ways. You’re either going to try
having a relationship with God with your goodness
or God’s grace. You can’t have it both ways. You’re either gonna try
having a relationship with God with your religion or his redemption. So here’s where you gotta
decide what you are. You’re either the Home
Depot do-it-yourself guy. You’re trying to
do it all yourself. You’re trying to do
all you can for God. And you’re hoping, man,
I hope he takes it, I hope he accepts the
paper that I’ve written. I hope he takes the
life that I’ve lived. I hope that my good
outweighs the bad. And maybe maybe maybe maybe
maybe maybe he’ll take me. Or you’re coming
to God and saying, I wouldn’t trust the best
five minutes I’ve ever lived to get me to you. I’m putting all of my trust
in what Jesus has done for me. – [Man] Amen. – That’s the ballgame. That’s what you gotta decide. That’s what you’ve
got to understand. Because from one end of
the Bible to the other, if you’d like to know,
let me just tell you this. And I’ll wrap this up,
I’m getting through early, I’ve got 2 1/2 minutes and
I’m not even gonna take it, so Merry Christmas. The Bible’s not hard to
understand, it’s really easy. No, there are part of it
that are hard, I get that. But as a whole? No, it’s real simple. Can I give you the message, you
might wanna write this down, can I give you the message
of the Bible in one sentence? It all has to do with the law. Okay, you ready? This will be worth coming to
church for, here’s the message. The lawmaker became
the lawkeeper and died for me, a lawbreaker. That’s the message of the Bible. The lawmaker became
the lawkeeper and died for me, a lawbreaker. And when you finally
understand that, here’s what you’ll do. You’ll lay down the law, you’ll lose your religion, and you’ll find what I found
as a nine-year-old boy. Everything you ever need at
the foot of Jesus Christ. – We are so glad
you tuned in here on the Touching
Lives digital channel and we hope you enjoyed
this sermon today. Be sure to click
and follow this page and feel free to leave
any comments below. We would love to hear your
thoughts from today’s message. And before I go, let
me share with you an exciting announcement about the upcoming Journeys
of the Apostle Paul Tour with James and Teresa Merritt. This 10-day tour includes
stops in several of the cities where Paul preached during
his missionary journeys, including Athens, Philippi,
Berea, and Thessalonica. Learn more at touchinglives.org, or email us at
[email protected] to request a free brochure. Thank you so much
for watching today. I’ll see you right here next
time for another episode of “Touching Lives”
with Dr. James Merritt. – [Announcer] “Touching Lives,”
teaching people everywhere who Jesus is and
why they need him. This program is sponsored
by Touching Lives Ministries and is made possible
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