25 Feb 2024

Be Holy, For I Am Holy [Leviticus 19-20]


God's people are to be set apart from the world. So God gave Israel the laws that should inform their conduct in Leviticus 19. We see that these laws are good. They are good in and of themselves & they are good for human flourishing, for they flow from the good law-giver, the LORD. These laws are also summarized in the 1st and 2nd great commandments, which speak of love. And these laws are God-centered- that they are to be obeyed because of God Himself. As we reflect on the laws in the Bible, we learn that the Law serves as: 1. A Guardian- to lead us to Christ by showing our need for forgiveness. 2. A Guide- to show us what it means to love God. 3. A Gauge- obedience to God is the best evidence of true salvation

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As mentioned, we are going through the book of Leviticus. It's a third book in the Bible. It's a book that maybe many people have not really been familiar with. We hope that you can see that this is a book about drawing near to God. And I think we are coming to pass the midway. We have another four sermons in this book before we will call it a, a day for Leviticus and move on to another series.

Uh, Singaporeans, we are a bunch who really loves to travel, isn't it? You go all over the world, different cities, and you will have a high chance of meeting a fellow Singaporean there. And it is not hard to identify a Singaporean overseas. The moment a Singaporean opens his mouth, you can tell he's Singaporean. From his accents and his Singlish, we are easily told apart.

You can tell a Singaporean also by the way he pats the seat before he sits down. You can maybe identify a Singaporean at the market or at the shopping mall when he tries to bargain for a cheaper price. You may also tell a Singaporean apart when he tries to chope seats overseas. I'm not sure whether that works, but this is instinctive maybe for a Singaporean. So a Singaporean can be told apart.

Now can a child of God be told apart? Can God's people be told apart? Can God's people be identified amongst the people of the world? That is the idea when God said, you shall be holy. The word holy means to be set apart. That separateness, that apartness, that distinctiveness is what holiness is all about. You shall be apart, separate, holy, for I, the LORD your God, am holy. I'm apart from this world.

This is not the first time God mentions this. He said it in Leviticus chapter 11 with regards to clean and unclean food and how Israel is to refrain from unclean food and in that dietary restriction, they are to be set apart. And then we see the rituals and cleansings. So that apartness in ritual, is now repeated in apartness in the actual, in the sense it is not just about ceremony, but in the way they will live their lives, in the way they conduct themselves.

You shall be holy to Me, chapter 20 goes on to say, for I, the LORD, am holy and have separated you from the peoples that you should be mine. So we're going to look at two chapters, actually just one. Chapter 19 is going to give us the code of conduct. The laws regarding living a separate, apart life from the rest of the Canaanites. And then chapter 20 will be about the punishments if you should not obey God's commands. But in all these commands, God is saying, this is the way I want you to be distinct, marked out, separate, holy from the people around you.

So, I propose, I'm not going to spend a lot of time in chapter 20 because the prohibitions or punishments are quite obvious and we have looked at some of the things in earlier chapters. But we're going to spend our time mostly on chapter 19. I'm going to, number one, run through what their requirements are, what the law states. And then we're going to kind of distill some simple principles from a simple reading of that chapter and finally end off by saying, how is this chapter, or the law, relevant for you and for me today, alright? So very simple, we're going to run through, take out some principles and see its relevance for our lives.

1. The Particulars

So number one, let's look at the particulars of the commands. Let's look at the individual order from God, or orders from God. It starts off with honoring your parents. Very interestingly, the first mention here is to revere your father and your mother. I think this is from the fourth commandment in Exodus 20, as you would recall. God also says, you should keep My Sabbaths and this is, sorry, that one was fifth commandment, this is the fourth commandment, honor the Sabbath. Then do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal. We read in verses 5 to 8 some rules about the offering of peace offerings to the LORD.

And in verses 9 and 10, we see a unique law where God says when you reap the harvest of your land, when you come to Canaan, you would sow, you will have farming, but you will not reap of everything in the harvest, you shall not reap it to the edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest, so you leave some things behind.

Same thing for the vineyard, you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the grapes that are fallen, you shall leave these things for the poor and for the sojourner.

So this is the basis by which we read about the story of Boaz and Ruth. She was so poor, no place to find food, she would go to the harvest and she knows that God has ordered Israel to leave some of the harvest and the vineyard behind, because God cares for the poor and for the foreigner in their land.

We go on to see, you shall not steal, you shall not deal falsely in business dealings, you shall not be dishonest, you shall not lie, this is integrity, you shall not swear by my name falsely, so if you swear by My Name, make sure you do it, and so profane the Name of your God, you shall not oppress your neighbour or rob him.

The wages of a hired worker, shall not remain with you all night until the morning, so if he works for you today, pay him today, he needs that money for survival. You shall not curse the deaf, when someone is deaf and you curse him, he may not know, so you may abuse that. And you shall not put a stumbling block before the blind, a blind man cannot see, so when you put something in front of him he doesn't know, he may trip and fall and you mock him, don't do these things but you shall fear your God, they may not be able to defend themselves but God will deal with you if you disobey and you mistreat them.

You shall do no injustice in court, you shall not be partial to the poor, just because someone is in a difficult state doesn't mean that you corrupt the, the justice that is required in the law, and just because someone is great and rich you should not curry his favour and sway your judgement in his way, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbour, this is what I want for my people.

You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbour, when you are called to give testimony you shall do what is necessary and not cause the man to lose his life unnecessarily.

You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbour lest you incur sin because of him, if he's doing something wrong, tell him, otherwise you'll be guilty of not telling him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself.

You shall not let your cattle breed with different kind, you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor shall you wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material. Now, previous laws make sense to us, right? Don't steal, don't lie, we all understand that. This one, wow, we won't understand and I tried to kind of do research on this. I think the best way to understand this, though I cannot conclusively say to you, is to understand this in the context of maybe pagan idolatrous practices. That's what the Canaanitish people do as part of their worship life to their Canaanite gods. So God says, don't do that, don't go along their Canaanite or idolatrous practices. I think that's the best explanation of these verses.

Then in verses 20 to 22, I didn't list out the verses, but just to say, that compensation and atonement will be needed when a man lies with a female slave who belongs to another master. Then in verses 23 to 25, interestingly, it talks about the fruit from trees that you will plant in the land of Canaan. For years one to three, you cannot touch the fruit there. Let it be what it is. Year four, when there is fruit, you can take those fruit, but you will not take it for yourself. You will present the fruit as offerings unto God. Only at year five onwards can you take the fruit and eat them. I think this is a law that reminds them all the produce comes from God. He is to be honored, trust Him, even if you have to give Him the first fruits first.

Then we see in verses 26 to 28, I think this is a chunk, again back to idolatrous practices. You shall not eat any flesh with the blood in it. We kind of looked at it in a sermon prior to this, because this are associated with omens and fortunes. We also read about rounding off the hair on your temples and marring the edges of your bird.. beard, not bird, but beard. How many of you shave your hair and your beard? You do?

Well, I don't think this is saying that you cannot do it today, so everyone should have long hair and long beards. But again, I think the context is likely to be some kind of pagan or cult, uh idolatrous practice. So you should not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves. So I think this is probably cultish, pagan practices that should be avoided so you don't take blood and so on. And so it is not that you can't cut your hair, but you should not do it at that, in that context in such a way that you are identifying yourself with those cultic or pagan practices.

How many of you cut your bodies? You don't? But how about your, your earring, or what do you call this, ear piercings? How many of you tattoo yourselves? Can Christians have tattoos? Well, I think, I don't think the Bible is saying you cannot have ear piercings. The Bible is not saying you cannot have tattoos. But I think these are with regards to occult practices, and therefore they should be avoided if they are linked to these things. By the way, I know a lot of ladies tattoo around here, alright? So, uh, I don't think this is a strict prohibition in that sense.

So we move on, verse 29, do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute. I think this is likely related to the occult temple or cultic prostitution. We looked at that in the earlier sermon already, and back again to this worshipful, positioning of these prohibitions, you shall keep My Sabbaths, reverence My sanctuary.

Now we move on then again to more manward laws. There's a switching on and off, as it were, back and forth between God and man, and we come to verse 31, oh sorry, this is still about occult practices, do not turn to mediums or necromancers, do not seek them out. So the people of Canaan do these things, and it is quite sad because we read about the first king of Israel, his name is Saul, and Saul turned to mediums and necromancers. The witch of Endor, if you could recall.

You shall stand up, so now back to man, you shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man. Reminds me of a, in an MRT station or MRT train, you see an elderly person walk by, if you're sitting on the reserved seats, you should stand up for them, respect them, honor the face of an old man, you shall fear your God.
So it's really interesting, right? The fear of God is applied to the commands for the deaf, for the blind, for the elderly. Seemingly people who are defenseless and cannot defend themselves, God says you fear Me, you treat them well, and not just them, but also the sojourners, the strangers, the foreigners, the aliens, you shall, you shall not do him wrong, you shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself. So the loving your neighbor as yourself is applied in verse 18 to your fellow countrymen, but it is not limited to your fellow countrymen because in verse 33 and 34, you love the strangers too.

So the Scribes and Pharisees later on in Jesus' days, have totally misinterpreted Leviticus 19:18. They say you shall love your neighbor but hate your enemies, but God says no, actually you love your people and you love the strangers, you shall love even your enemies, you shall love people who are not like you, you shall love the strangers.

Again a call to equity, to justice, you shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity, you shall have just balances, just weights. In the old days, you want to cheat people in the market, you just change the weights. One kilo become actually 500 grams. And you say, auntie, I sell you one kilo of fish, actually it's only 500 grams. Unjust, God says you shall not cheat or treat people in an unjust, unjust manner, and so you shall observe all My statutes and all My rules and do them. So, this is how Israel should be a holy people, different from all that the Canaanites are doing.

2. The Principles

We have run through the particulars, the individual commands, let's now look at the principles. So very simply, I just observed three very simple things from this 37 verses.

Good Laws

Number one, I noticed that the laws are good laws. I think any one of us here would say, these are good laws. These are helpful laws, these are just laws, these are righteous laws, these are kind laws, compassionate laws, because God cares for the disadvantaged, for the poor, for the needy, for the elderly, and for those who are without family in the land. These are very good laws.

If a nation could do these laws, it would be a blessed land, isn't it? These are laws that help the nation flourish. These are good for the people, for society. But most of all, I think these are good laws because they come from a Good Law Giver. God is a good God. There are people today who think that somehow God is cruel and bad and wicked and so on. That's, that cannot be further from the truth. The standards, the requirements that God sets for Israel are good laws. I think any reasonable person would be able to conclude this.

Great Commandment-related Laws

Number two, I observed that these laws are related with the great commandment. They are great commandment related laws. You say, what's the great commandment? Jesus said, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind. And He says, this is the great and first commandment. And the second commandment is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Leviticus 19:18. And He says, on these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.

So, there are 613 laws in the Old Testament. And if you boil them down, it's actually expressions of the ten commandments, uh, the ten commandments found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. And these ten commandments are also distilled further into two commandments.

So, these laws that we read in Leviticus 19, I think could easily also be grouped into these two categories. First vertical category of loving your God. Second horizontal category of loving your neighbor. And loving your God would look like this. For Israel, you remember Me on the Sabbath. You shall have no other gods, don't have any graven images. You offer to Me your peace offerings according to the way I told you to. Don't take My Name in vain, do not profane it. Do not follow the cultic practices of mixing, breeding, sewing clothing. There is a latency before you can eat of the fruit because I am your God, trust Me, and honor Me with your first fruit. Keep away from cultic practices, keep My Sabbath, reverence the sanctuary, and by no means go to mediums and necromancers. That's what it means to love Me.

What does it mean to love your neighbor? Well, it is not a vague, wooly idea, but very concretely, it means you revere or honor your parents. You leave some in your field and vineyard for the poor and the sojourner. You don't steal, deal falsely lie, oppress, or rob, don't withhold wages. Do not curse the deaf, do not cause the blind to fall. There must be justice and truthfulness in the court. You do not hate, but you help him and reason with him, rebuke him for his good. You do not take vengeance or bear grudge, you love your neighbor as yourself. I think that is a summary of the second table here. You compensate lying sexually with a slave who does not belong to you. You honor the elderly, you love the strangers, you do justice. Don't cheat in your dealings.

So, as mentioned, this is a highlighted verse because Jesus quoted from it in Matthew 22. So God's laws about holiness are good laws. God is not telling Israel to be different in a bad way. You know, some people today just like to stand out, they like to be different, so they dress different, they act different, but sometimes they do it in a bad way, it's a destructive way.

But God is calling Israel to be different in a good way, wonderful way. And we see that holiness is actually about love. Think about it. Be holy, for I am holy. What does it mean to be holy? To love God and to love man. Holiness is about love.

God-centred Laws

Thirdly, I think these laws are God-centered laws. The reason why you do these things, God says in Leviticus 19, is because of Me. It's God-centered. The motivation to doing these things is found in God Himself. You can't miss this because it says, you shall be holy for I, the LORD your God, am holy. Do it because I am holy, because of Me. Because I'm a good God to you who will bless you with the land and give you milk and honey. I'm a good God who delivered you from Egypt and will lead you into the promised land. Do it because of Me, because you fear Me. So do not abuse the deaf and the poor, do not abuse the elderly, fear your God. And again, if you have missed this from the Scripture reading, let me repeat to you, this is how God repeats, I am the LORD, I am the LORD, I am the LORD. Do this, I am the LORD. Do this, I am the LORD. Do this, I am the LORD. He is saying, the reason why you should obey is because of Me.

So very quickly, we understand that God is calling Israel to be a distinct people, to be holy, in actual conduct of life. It will be seen in the particulars listed. It is not vague, it is very specific. And these laws teach us principles about how God is good. And His laws allow for human flourishing. These laws teach us that holiness is really about love at the end of the day. And these principles, or these laws teach us that the reason why we do what we do must be because of God Himself, unchanging motivation.

3. The Pertinence

Finally, I answer the question, what does it mean for you and for me, therefore? What's the pertinence of the laws that we read of in the Old Testament and here in Leviticus 19? Is it relevant? Is it something we have to do? Well, I will just look at it from a principial or a general principle point of view. When I look at the law, when you look at the law, I think the first reaction for anyone who has just come across the Ten Commandments or the laws in the Old Testament, their immediate response will be this, "OK, if your heart is tender and soft, you would say, okay, let me obey these laws so that God will accept me".

So the Bible, you say, has plenty of laws and God's will when He gives these laws is so that I can know them and do them and somehow get saved by them. So immediate response, let me obey these laws so that God will accept me. And I don't think this is an unreasonable supposition that this is your first reaction. I would say this sounds good, but it's actually a really bad idea.

This is our first reaction. And this may be the thinking some of you are still having today. I say to you, it sounds good, it sounds holy, it sounds wise, but it's actually a really, really bad idea. Don't think like this. Why? Because you will never, you will never be able to obey the laws to such a degree that God will accept you. The reason is because God says if you break one law, you break the entire law.

And the story of Israel is one of repeated utter failure. Israel could never obey these laws. So God allowed Israel to be a nation to show us all, even if we know the laws, we can never obey the laws in our strength because we are so sinful and corrupt and or, or spoiled, spiritually speaking. So the law cannot save us. Galatians 3 tells us, for all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse.

So if you think that coming to church, learning the Bible is so that I can obey God to get saved, you are cursed. You are in deep trouble, you are hopeless, you are condemned. For it is written, every or cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law and do them. The critical factor is that you can't just say, I obey one or two, God will accept me. I must obey all in order for God to accept me if it is based on my performance. No wonder, cursed be everyone.

Now it is evident, therefore, Galatians says, that no one is justified before God by the law. So the point of the entire Bible is actually very interesting. Yes, it gives you the Ten Commandments, but the Bible is saying categorically the law is not meant to save you. The law is not the road you should tread upon in order to arrive at the celestial city. You don't try to climb up to heaven by your own obedience to the law because the standard required is absolute perfection and therefore the laws are not meant to save you.

Okay, then, like that, you talk about law for what? What's the purpose of the law? You say so long. Well, let me suggest to you three reasons why God gives the law.
The Law Serves As A Guardian

Number one, the law serves as a guardian. This is what I take from Galatians 3:24. So then the law was our guardian. The word guardian here, you think about Guardian Pharmacy, actually not the same thing. Guardian is some kind of a nanny in the old days. If you are from a rich Greek or Roman household, you may not have time for your children, so you will hire a guardian, a pedagogos in the Greek.

It's like a nanny who would take care of your son, who would teach your son, raise your son until he arrives at such a state that he is ready to enter adulthood. Then he's no more under the pedagogos. He's relieved of his duties. But the pedagogos or the guardian is responsible to get this boy ready for the next stage. So the Bible says the law is our guardian, our nanny, our pedagogos. It is not the ultimate thing. One day it will go. But it is necessary to prepare us for the next stage. And what is the next stage?

The next stage is coming to Jesus Christ. You see, the law is not the ultimate thing. The law cannot save you. But Jesus can. So the law is like that nanny that prepares you so that you can come to Jesus. How does the law prepare us? The law shows us our sin. The law shows us our desperation. The law shows us our hopelessness. So in that sense, the law prepares us. Because a man will not appreciate Jesus and what He has done for us until we see our sin disease, and how hopeless we are.

So the law is our guardian. It shows us our sin, teaches us our sin, so that when we are ready, we would come to Jesus Christ in order that we might be justified, not by the law, but by faith. By faith in Jesus. So God gave the law to prepare Israel, that when Jesus comes, they would flee to Him and believe in Him. So the law cannot save.
If there's one thing you need to walk out of this session is, please understand whilst the law is very famous, the law is very well known in movies like The Ten Commandments or The Prince of Egypt, the law is not the ultimate thing because the law cannot save. The law only says to you, you are condemned, but Jesus saves. And you need to turn to Jesus by faith.

I always use this example, that the law is an x-ray machine that shows you our cancer of sin. But the x-ray machine cannot cure you. Only the doctor can. And the doctor is Jesus Christ. So use the x-ray to show yourself your cancer, but don't stay at the x-ray machine, go see the doctor. Go see Jesus. And in that sense, the law is our guardian. In that sense, the law is our nanny. The law is the x-ray machine that will drive us to Jesus Christ.

John Stott puts it this way, we cannot come to Christ to be justified until we have first been to Moses. The law, written by Moses, to be condemned. And, but once we have gone to Moses and acknowledged our sin, guilt, condemnation, we must not stay there. We must let Moses send us to Christ.

So this morning, please don't just come to Moses and say, ah, I know the law. That's not good enough. You're still going to hell for that because only Jesus Christ can save you from your sins. How does Jesus save us from our sins? Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law, the curse that the law shows to us, by becoming a curse for us. That's the only way you can be saved. Someone taking on your guilt and your sin and being cursed on your behalf. The law cannot do that.

The law can only tell you you are sinful. But Jesus can take your debt of sin and pay it all on the cross. And so on the cross, one of the final words He said, it is fully paid. That's how Jesus saves. That's why we call this the Good News. Jesus, who knew no sin, was made sin for us that you might be made righteous or made the righteousness of God in Him.

So what's the purpose of the law? Well, it serves as a guardian to point you to Jesus. So it's useful. Don't throw it out. In fact, you can't really help someone in the Gospel. You can't really share the Gospel if the person has not known his sins according to the law. It's a necessary part of sharing, I think, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Law Serves As A Guide

Number two, the law serves as a guardian for the unsaved, but the law also serves as a guide for the saved. It answers the question, what does it mean to love God? You know, Christianity is not just fulfilling some rituals. It's about a right relationship with God. It's about knowing the love of God for me and loving God. But the question is, what does it mean to love God?

Can I write love letters to God? Is feeling sentimental the height of love for God? Well, what does it mean to love God? To many of us, we think it's about emotions and feelings. No, I am not saying loving God is devoid of feelings. No, far from that. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength. It definitely involves the emotions. But I see that in the Bible, loving God is very concretely expressed in obedience.

Loving God must involve obedience to Him out of love for Him. See, Jesus told us that if you love me, you will keep my commandments. It's very concrete. You cannot say you love your parents if you keep on disobeying them. Just means you don't love your parents. You cannot say you love God if you are still living in sin today. Oh, I'm coming to church. I love God. No. I'm singing very loudly. I love... No, no. If you are indulging in any kind of sin in an unrepentant way, you cannot honestly say, Lord, I love you. Because if you love Me, you'll keep My commandments. This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And our love for Him would allow us to see His commandments in a brand new perspective. They are not burdensome.

If you really love someone, what the person asks you to do will not be burdensome. When Jacob loved Rachel, the seven years and the 14 years of labor were not burdensome. It passed by quickly. What's more, God's laws are not bad laws, they are good laws, they are laws about love. If you really love God, you will keep His commandments.

So, the law serves as a guardian for the unsaved so that they may turn to Jesus. It's helpful. The law is very helpful to the Christian to guide us in our Christian ethic. To help us understand what it means to be holy. What does it mean to love? What does it mean to love God? It's a very important guide.

The Law Serves As A Guage

But finally, the law is also useful for those who are not sure if they are saved. Because the law also serves as a gauge. How can I tell if I am a Christian? There are so many people going to church today who assume they are Christians. And maybe some of you today, you're not assuming, but you're asking genuinely, am I really saved? How can I tell if I'm saved? Can I tell from my IC? Can I tell from my Christian name? Can I tell from my, my prayers before meals? Can I tell from the fact that I have a thick Bible at home sitting on the shelf? How can I tell?

The best way to tell if you are a Christian is do you obey the law? Now let me try to explain this. Jesus said, whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same, least in the kingdom. If you don't regard the law, you are least. But those who do them and teach them will be great. So in a kingdom, it matters a lot with regards to how you view, how you do, and how you teach the law.

Jesus, in fact, makes it even more explicit in verse 20, I tell you, heh, I tell you ah hah. Just remember, this is serious, this is important, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Now this is a bombshell statement, because the Scribes and Pharisees are the religious leaders of the day. It's almost like someone telling you, you should be more holy than your pastor, otherwise you're not going to heaven. Well, it may be very easy in our case, but in those days, it may not be very easy, at least in the mind of the Jew.

But what Jesus is actually doing is, number one, exposing the false righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. I, I don't have time, but I will just say that the Scribes and Pharisees all look good, but actually, they don't obey God's laws. They actually use God's laws and find loopholes to justify their own sinful behavior. And Jesus is saying, they don't obey the law. If you are to be part of the kingdom, you need to obey the law, because my people obey the law.

Now, careful, I'm not saying that they need to obey the law to earn salvation. But they obey the law to evidence salvation. My people will obey the law. In fact, it becomes even more clear, or clearer, in chapter seven, not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter. A lot of talk, but no walk. But the one who does the will of My Father, he who obeys My Father's will. Where is God's will expressed, supremely in the law.

John, I think, echoes the same understanding when he says, whoever practices righteousness is righteous as He is righteous. God is righteous, and if you are righteous like God, you will practice righteousness. If you belong to God, you will practice righteousness. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning. If you keep on sinning, you keep on disobeying, it just shows that you're not born of God, because no one born of God keeps on sinning. Because something has changed, God's seed is implanted in him. And he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.

By this, it is evident, it is clear, who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil. They go to church and some.., some don't go to church. No, nothing to do with your church attendance in particular, but whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God.

What's the best evidence of whether you belong to God or not? Practice righteousness, obedience to His laws, holiness in life. Whoever keeps His commandments abides in God, and God in him.

My last slide, my time is up. Obedience to the law, my friends, is the best evidence of salvation. I'm not saying obedience to the law is the entrance, I'm saying it's the evidence. I'm not saying it is the means, it is the manifestation. I'm not saying this is the purchase, I'm saying this is the proof. If in your life, after 10 years, you still are living in ongoing, unrepentant sin, like as in before, say what you will, the chances are you're not born of God.

And I'm not saying this out of meanness, I'm saying this because I hope that none of us will end up one day standing before Jesus and say, Lord, Lord, I, I've been to Gospel Light Christian Church, I say my prayers, I, I have a big Bible at home. And Jesus says to you, I never knew you, you never did My Father's will. If this is where you are, today is the day you can humble yourself and say, Lord, I have always been to church, but my heart has never been changed. Please have mercy on me, circumcise my heart, give me a new heart, may I be born again.

I think if there's just one of you who will do that today, it will be worth it all. I hope it will be you. I hope you will not continue attending church, looking Christian when you're really not yet born. May God, by His law, point you to Jesus Christ who saves. Let's bow for a word of prayer together.

Father, we thank You today, Your law is good because You are good. I pray today that the law will be used as a guardian, so that men and women today would realize their sinfulness and be led to Jesus Christ, the physician, the doctor who can save us from our sins. I pray your church will love You and not just talk about loving You, but we will walk in love in our daily obedience. Please forgive us our sins and grant us grace that we may be a people who will keep growing in practicing righteousness.

Then I pray, dear Lord, for those who may be deceived, for those who might have taken things for granted, but maybe today been awakened to the reality that they need to be born again. Please work in all our hearts. Thank You that you are a good God who is loving and merciful to an undeserving people. May we know Your love, may we love You more. We pray all this in Jesus' Name, Amen.


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