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If no longer in use,
it quickly becomes obsolete
I only saw the first Star Wars movie—not any of the follow-ups, but I think everyone knows who Yoda is.
He has a famous line which gives me the title to today’s message—The Gospel of Yoda.
The Millenium Falcon, which appeared in the first film, was a worn-out junker of a starship, but it was full of surprises underneath its hull.
It managed to escape becoming obsolete and appeared in the ninth and final episode of the Star Wars franchise.
On our planet, however, we have become familiar with and almost comfortable with built-in obsolescence.
We’ve all heard the term and we basically know what it means.
The phrase refers to a manufacturer’s ability to make something that is destined to become obsolete.
Obsolete means that it is no longer produced or used; out of date.
It was not too many years ago when a 20-year-old car was eligible for antique tags, because most would not last that long.
Today, though, a 20-year-old automobile is quite common to see on the highway due to advances in manufacturing and maintenance schedules.
However, the problem comes in when that old buggy needs repair.
There was a time when a manufacturer was required to maintain parts for the car for much longer than the 10 years than they now have.
I have been in a situation more than once in the past few years where a repair took weeks while we scoured the nation looking for parts hidden in the dust of some auto parts store.
Obsolete before its time.
Designed to wear out and become useless.
Refrigerators no longer last 20 years.
If you can get 5 years out of it before your first repair bill, you have done quite well.
Let’s apply this concept to our Bible.
We have two parts to the Bible Christians use for their sacred writings—the OT and the NT.
We probably never really stop to think about what those terms mean, but we should.
We simply accept the concept that one is old and the other is new, and make no distinctions beyond that.
However, contained within those two separate anthologies are statements which should help us to understand how to approach them.
We have been taught that the Bible is the inspired word of God and should be our guide for all things pertaining to a life of godliness—and that is true to an extent.
The problem comes in when we do not make the necessary distinctions between the old covenant and the new.
Let’s take a few moments today to consider some things concerning our view of the scriptures.
In our gospel reading today from Matthew we hear Jesus saying over and over again
You have heard it said…but I say
We know that the word “but” contradicts everything that goes before it.
Jesus contradicted what the Jews had been taught about anger, divorce, lust and oaths.
He contradicted their approach of legalism governing only the outward behavior.
Jesus called for a higher standard by going to the heart of the matter—which is the heart.
For out of the heart come evil thoughts,
murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.
For instance, when He talked about murder in the sermon on the mount, He went beyond the physical act of killing someone and called for a more subtle understanding of the law.
He said that just being angry with someone will bring the same punishment as murder.
Can you imagine life without parole for flipping somebody off on the highway?
Prior to this section on the law in His sermon on the mount, Jesus made a statement which has confused many people.
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets;
I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
People will argue from this verse that fulfilling does not mean getting rid of the law.
They gain strength for their argument from the fact that Jesus said He wasn’t going to abolish the law.
Notice, though, that we have that little conjunction of contradiction once again.
How do we handle that?
Jesus was saying there is a distinction between simple negation and completion.
Consider something you have bought with time payments attached to it—a car, or maybe a house.
You still owe some money on that purchase.
You can abolish that contract by just walking away from it, but you will pay for that since it is against the law.
The correct way to abolish that contract is to fulfill it by paying what you owe.
Once it is paid off, though, the contract no longer exists.
It no longer has any power over you.
There is nothing more for you to do in relation to that contract you signed.
It is good news when you get that notice in the mail
PAID IN FULL
The really good news is that this is exactly what has happened to the law through the death of Jesus.
All of the requirements of the law were fulfilled in the crucifixion, and as a result, the law no longer has any power over us at all.
by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances,
that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two,
so making peace,
The word “abolish” simply means to put an end to, or to render useless.
Jesus put an end to the law with all its ordinances and requirements.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Whenever someone begins to share these kinds of things, there is always someone who will get upset and say something like, “You’re just giving people a license to sin!”
I never knew anyone needed a license to sin.
People are gong to do what they are going to do.
The law does not keep anyone from breaking it.
The law simply prescribes what is to be done when someone violates it.
We need to be done with that objection to the abundant grace of God in our lives.
Besides, if we truly believe the Bible is the inspired word of God given to teach us about a life of godliness, then we should be aware of what it says about the law and sin.
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight,
since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
The law does the very thing we don’t want to happen.
It causes people to sin.
You know it’s true from your own experience.
Tell a child not to do something, and they will work every possible angle trying to do what they were forbidden to do.
We’ve talked about this before.
It is much easier to decide to eat healthy than it is to decide to not eat sweets.
The law, the negative, just doesn’t provide the motivation for living right.
In Romans 7 where Paul is discussing this problem between what we want and what our abilities are, he gives us this rather lengthy explanation.
For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law,
were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.
6 But now we are released from the law,
having died to that which held us captive,
so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. …
8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment,
produced in me all kinds of covetousness.
For apart from the law, sin lies dead.
Rom 7:5-6, 8
There is no license to sin given by being free.
It was the bondage of the law which caused us to sin.
Grace is the power to be free from sin while legalism keeps you chained to and in bondage to sin.
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,
4 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.
I hope that you are beginning to see that the law has been done away with in Christ and no longer has any application for us.
Maybe some of you have noticed that I very seldom make any reference to anything from the OT.
I’ve got many preacher friends who almost always begin their sermons from the OT about a behavior that got the Israelites in trouble, but what is the result of that?
You end up with a people who fall into one of two categories—they either feel like I’m glad I’m not like those people, or
They feel like they can never measure up to the standards being set—neither of which are beneficial for a godly life.
Now, let’s get back to the idea of being obsolete.
The point to all this is that the OT is obsolete.
Obsolete means that it no longer has any purpose or usefulness.
I know that scares some people, but please understand—I am not making this stuff up.
then he added,
“Behold, I have come to do your will.”
He does away with the first in order to establish the second.
This section of the letter to the Hebrews has been discussing the old covenant in relation to Jesus.
Remember that I have told you before that the letter to the Hebrews was used to show how Jesus was superior to absolutely everything the Jews held dear in their religion.
Prior to this, the writer had used a simple analogy of law to show that the OT is no longer valid.
For where a testament is,
there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
17 For a testament is of force after men are dead:
otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator lives.
The new covenant has a much greater power than the old.
The new covenant enables us to do that which we were never able to do while we under the law, because the new covenant goes to the heart of the matter like Jesus talked about in the sermon on the mount.
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,
declares the LORD:
I will put my law within them,
and I will write it on their hearts.
And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Friends, we live under a new covenant in the Lord.
The old manner of trying to be right with God by trying and striving to keep as many of the rules as we could is no longer valid.
We now live according to the gospel of Yoda.
We no longer strive for our acceptance with the Lord.
We simply do, because of what Christ has done.
You are free to live your life without fear of what is on the other side of this life, because
the law of the Spirit of life
has set you free in Christ Jesus
from the law of sin and death.