GS24-14 Grace and Truth

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Step Into Grace & Truth
Bill Giovannetti
I'd like to share our key Scripture and then get into the message God has for us today.

"For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." (John 1:17)

My talk today is part of a series. The series is called Giant Steps. This is our series for this whole year.

It's about taking steps so that we are finally moving beyond the things that keep us stuck—the dysfunctions, addictions, the weaknesses, the character deficiencies, the discouragements, bitterness, anger... all that.

So that a year from now we're not stuck dealing with the same problems keeping us stuck today.

So my talk today is part 14 in that series, and the title is: 
Step Into Grace and Truth
 
Back to our verse:
"For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." (John 1:17)

This little verse has two sides to it.

On one side, you have the Law. On the other side, you have grace and truth.

On one side, you have Moses. On the other side, you have Jesus Christ.

On one side, the law was given. On the other side, grace came.

The big idea here is that God has flipped a gigantic switch. He flipped the switch from LAW to GRACE.

And the follow up big idea is that since God has flipped the switch from LAW TO GRACE, you should too.

When God gave the Law to Moses, he did it on a mountain. It's called Mount Sinai. When God gave grace to the world, he did that on a mountain too. It's called Mount Calvary. And Mt Calvary gives you access to a third mountain, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Let's take a look at those three mountains.
"For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." (John 1:17)

Three Mountains

Mount Sinai - The Mountain of Law

The scene on Mt Sinai happened about 1,500 BC. The Jews had lived for a generation in Palestine, the land God gave them. Famine drove them to Egypt for food. They temporarily relocated there, always meaning to go back to their ancestral home. But the Pharaoh of Egypt made them slaves. God sent Moses to set them free.

Through a mighty miracle, God parted the Red Sea, brought his people through, and washed away the pursuing armies of Egypt. Now they are on their way home. But along the way, God gives them his Law.

This was a really intense moment. It's literally frightening. Here's how the Bible describes it.

"Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. [17] And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. [18] Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. [19] And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. [20] Then the LORD came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up." (Exodus 19:16-20)

The Bible actually says that even Moses was afraid and trembling going up that mountain. That is how God gave his Law.

But the whole thing was solemn and serious. The thick cloud covering the mount. Lightning flashes and thunder rolls. The sound of a trumpet blast, louder and louder. The stern declaration that no one should even touch the holy mountain of God or they would die, for God is that holy, that exalted, and that pure.

No wonder the people trembled.

The law revealed God's demands. This is what it means to be holy. This what it means to obey God. This is what it means to be righteous, and to be a good neighbor, and to love, and to serve and to worship.

Laws for what to eat, how to eat, and when to eat. Laws for how to dress and how not to dress. Laws for holy days. Laws for sacrifices. Laws for rituals. Laws for how to clean and how not to clean. Laws for marriage, for sex, for farming, for raising children. Laws for every picky little area of life.

These are the Ten Commandments plus 613 more commandments to make the 10 Commandments clear.

On top of all that, the Jews added thousands and thousands of more laws to make sure nobody even came close to breaking the law.

The law was overwhelming.

The Law was a massive burden.

It was a moral burden, because it had to do with right and wrong.

It was that way on purpose. Because the law revealed God's demands and his demands were for absolute and utter perfection all the time and in everything.

So the law not only revealed God's demands...

The law also revealed mankind's failures. You shall, you shall not. You shall, you shall not. You shall, you shall not. That's the law.

And no one could ever live up to it. That was the point.

So that moral burden also became an emotional burden: trying to measure up, try harder, do more, obey better, serve, giving sacrifice, guilt, shame, proving yourself, climb the ladder, conquer your own addictions, heal your own dysfunctions, strive for perfection, and pay a price when you fall short. You failed again. You blew it again. You should be ashamed of yourself. You're guilty. You're hopeless. You're condemned. You're not worthy.

Ever heard any of those voices? The law of God is hard wired into every human conscience.

Every single law was an accusation chiseled in stone, shouting forth human failure and weakness and sin. It is a spotlight showing a person what a mess they are. Failure. Loser. Condemned. The law was a burden.

"For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, 'CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT CONTINUE IN ALL THINGS WHICH ARE WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO DO THEM.'" (Galatians 3:10)

The law is a burden. The law is condemnation and death. The law is guilt and shame. The law is a dead end to anyone with a conscience.

The law was given through Moses.

And that leads to the second mountain...
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