Better Than Rules
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ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode 17 · 2 years ago

Better Than Rules

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Freedom is better than rules. Jesus sets you free from rules to live the life you’ve always wanted. Stop worrying about rules and starting living!

Well, Hey, welcome to part four of our series life with no rules. I'm so glad that you've been joining us for this series where we've been looking at this amazing, abundant life that you can live. And so, whether you're a rule breaker or a rule keeper, I believe God's got something more for you and I'm excited in this session we get to dive into what that's something more looks like. But first I just want to give you a quick recap of where we've been. In part one we looked at rules and the role of rules in our world and and how we respond. In the last two sessions we looked at two of those major responses. We like to keep the rules as rule keepers, or we just don't like to keep the rules, or we're not very good at keeping the rules as rule breakers, and the positives and negatives of both of those outlooks on life. And so, whether you are a rule keeper or a rule breaker, I believe there's something better than rules, and that's what we're going to talk about today. And to illustrate this point, I want to show you a illustration of a job that you might have. Imagine with me that you are working on a beautiful, beautiful campus. You know, you can picture it in your mind. There's lots of buildings, there's lots of beautiful lush grass and there's flowers and flower beds and it's just a beautiful place. There's sidewalks that Zigzag and and there's lamps that light the pathway. You know that place and this is your job description there, at that place. Seven to five am. Start the cart and get out of the garage. It's five and seven hundred and twenty seven fifty eight am. Drive around the campus collecting trash. Pick it...

...up with the grabbers and put it into the trash cans on the rear of the vehicle. Make sure to pick up all the rappers and cups you see. Don't Miss Anything, or else you're fired. Seven hundred and fifty eight to eight hundred and twenty six am, drive back to the garage and drop off your trash pickings. Eight hundred and twenty six am to fifty nine am, cut the grass. Make sure you don't miss do it in a diagonal pattern. Don't miss a blade. Twelve o'clock pm to you know, you get the idea. This is a job of following the rules. So many little rules. Who would even sign up for this type of job and could anyone even do it? And maybe if there was a micro manager boss, you could get somebody to do it and follow the rules, but would they really even enjoy it and would they even stay in this job for very long? I imagine that this job has so much turnover, especially if they enforce the consequences for not living up to the standards that this job description sets. And if they don't enforce the rules, then the campus probably doesn't even look that nice anyway. This is a job of a micro manage job, but imagine you had the same job at the same beautiful campus, the lush grass that the sidewalks, the flowers, and instead this was your job description. The job description was make this the most beautiful campus in the country. This is a job of vision. It's more worried about the production that you have rather than the input that you put in. It doesn't matter when you sit in that Mower, it matters that you mow and you do it well. And this Casta a big vision that someone will get excited about. They can...

...imagine themselves winning some awards for the best campus in the country, or or just the honor that you feel that man, people recognize the good job that you do. This is a job, a vision. But yeah, sure, some trading needs to be done and and someone needs to judge what you know makes it the best looking campus, the most beautiful campus. Someone's got a judge that. Someone's got to define that, and that's where the beauty of an example comes in. So now the job description is this. Make this campus the most beautiful campus in the country, just as that state college over there. So now you have an example, something to follow. So if you hung in there with me through that illustration, you'll be ready to receive what Jesus tells you about life. He says if you try and follow the rules, you will be living that micro manager job. God Gave Ten Commandments to Moses, as we read about in the Old Testament, and there was about a total of six hundred and thirteen rules or laws that the nation of Israel had to follow under this agreement that God had with his people. And that's a lot of little rules to follow. And so when Jesus, who was born Jewish, under this law when he was born, he came and said, noe, you know, there's there might be six hundred and thirteen laws, but really there's only two. You Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Love God and love others. He simplifies it all to give you that vision job, that big picture that you can live into.

But then you know someone's got to define what love is, how dod and who judges what love is? Well, that's where the genius of the example comes in. Jesus says what's often called by pastor Andy Stanley in Atlanta. He calls it the platinum rule. If Love One love God and love others was the great commandment, the Platinum Rule is love one another, just as I have loved you. That's what Jesus says. Love one another, just as there's the example. I have loved you. And so what does it mean to love? Love like Jesus. who gets the judge if you're loving or not? Well, the example, the LAWGIVER, Jesus does. And so if we do this, we will be freed up to live a life with no rules. Well, I technically there is one rule, but you know, we can call it something else. And so when we live this way, when we embrace this way of living, we are set free. There is freedom to be found here. And the Apostle Paul, who lived about twozero years ago, wrote a lot about this freedom that you can experience, that we can experience in life. And one of the Times he wrote this was a letter that he wrote to the church in Galatia in about fifty a D and and the rest of our time together today we're going to look at his words that he wrote in this letter. So Galatians Chapter Five, he writes this. So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law. See, Christ sets you free with with his one command to love one...

...another, just as Jesus has loved you, and he gives you the power to live that out. But more on that power next time in our final session, session five. So freedom is much better than slavery. But why does following the rules make you a slave? Well, for one, you're always worried about what rules you're following or not following and to what degree you're able to follow the rules, and what happens when you don't live up to the expectations the rules set. You're worried about facing the consequences that come as a result of that. And and how do you get up from under? Whoever is enforcing the rules are making up the rules, because, you know what, they're probably going to be making up more rules. And so what do you do about that? You know, more rules, more slavery. And in the case of that job description earlier, if you force somebody to work through all of those rules, it will look and feel a lot like slavery. And when you want to leave and you can't, well then it really is slavery. So if you're trying to follow the rules and then you aren't free, and if you aren't free, then you're not following Christ. Paul says it this way. He says listen, I Paul tell you this. If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. And now, if you're not familiar with the Bible, what I just read was probably really, really strange. And even if you are familiar with the Bible, this phrase, this sentence, this verse, still is very, very strange. What is Paul saying here? Like, why in the world would a decision that parents make...

...when a baby boy is born determine anything about someone's stat us with God. That makes no sense and on the surface you're right, it doesn't at all. So what's Paul saying here? Well, he's using this graphic picture. That was a real issue of the day two thousand years ago. See, circumcision was a major part of this law, this this agreement that God had with the nation of Israel. He gave it to Moses and the ten commandments and those six hundred and thirteen commandments that God gave in circumcision was a major part of this, and so baby boys were supposed to be circumcised on the eighth day in Jesus was that and this log made Israel distinct at the set, apart from the other nations that were around it, and this was a big theme, a big goal of the law that God gave to Israel. They were supposed to be a different kind of people and this particular action of circumcision took on a life of its own about twozero years ago, when Jesus lived here on this earth. It was such a divisive issue, literally because there was people that Jesus was calling to follow him that were not Jewish and because they weren't Jewish, they didn't have the same rules or standards as the Jewish people and they weren't circumcised. That wasn't a part of their culture. The Jews, which had that rule, that had that culture, they were circumcised. And then the gentiles, those that weren't Jewish, they didn't have that rule about circumcision, and so they weren't circumcised. And so Jesus invites all these different people to follow him to be made right with God, and they're different and they're following different set of standards, of different set of rules, and Jesus says it doesn't matter. So it's a very, very tricky,...

...very this divisive issue, because you you can't fake a circumcision. I mean you can't do it halfway, and I mean you either are or you aren't. And so they had to figure out what was really going on here and what really mattered. And so it really mattered to Paul and it's so it. He says it again, this important point. He says it again and this is what he says. He said, if you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the law of Moses. For if you're trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ, you have fallen away from God's grace. See, Paul is cutting a clear line here. If you want to follow the rules to be made right with God, well, good luck. You better follow them all and in doing so you can't rely on Christ to make you right with God. But the only way that you can be made right with God is through Christ and in a relationship with Jesus. Adding anything on top of that ruins the whole thing. So we've got a group of people that are trying to follow the raw law, the follow the rules, the rule keepers and and even the rule breakers. They're just not very good at it or they don't want to. But then we've got a different group of people. Paul calls them in verse five, people who live by the spirit, and we're going to talk a lot more about this next time in session five. But God is introducing us to a way of living that doesn't just give us rules to try and live up to, but he actually empowers us to live the life that we want to live, that you want to live. So it's these people that live by the spirit...

...that eagerly wait to receive, by faith, the righteousness God has promised us. These people are made right with God, have the righteousness of God, not because of anything that they do, but they receive something that God has promised. They receive it by faith, and faith is the way that this righteousness is accredited to your account. For when we place our faith in Christ, Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. So stop trying to be rule keepers and rule breakers. Stop thinking and living in these categories. People led by the spirit who placed their faith in Jesus have no benefit of keeping the rules or breaking the rules. Paul says what's important is faith, because faith is what makes you right with God. But you can't see faith. What does faith look like in your life or in someone's life? Well, remember what Jesus said earlier. He said Love, love one another, just as I have loved you. Love God, love others. This great commandment, this platinum rule, is what faith looks like. That's what Paul says. He says what is important is faith expressing itself in love. So in the following verses, Paul goes on to talk about this freedom that you are called into. He says don't get caught up in the rules, but he knows that it's easy to get caught up in the rules because we all want to be right, live right, do right, and so this rule way of thinking spreads so easily, but it's confusing. So stop believing it and stop giving into it and be free. And Paul believes in this so much that he takes time to defend himself against the lies that people are saying about him and his teaching, and then he gets a little...

...violent in verse twelve, so make sure you check that out. Galatians five, verse twelve. So what is the conclusion that Paul gives us to a life led by the spirit, where you're free from rules. Well, instead of thinking about what you did to please God or what you did to badly fall short, Paul says you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters, so don't worry about the rules, rest in what Jesus has done for you. Trust him. He made it possible for you to be right with God. So I want to pause for a minute and give you the opportunity to make a clear decision line today. That you're going to stop trusting in rules and start trusting in Jesus. So maybe you've found yourself a rule keeper. You are great at following the rules, you like following the rules and you've done a lot of really great things in your life. Maybe you're a very religious person, or maybe you're just a great person that you've got life figured out that you don't even need religion because you're making a big difference in this world. But there's a part of you, or all of you, that's trusting in those good things to be made right with God. Would you decide right now that you're going to stop trusting in those things and start trusting in Jesus? And maybe you found yourself a rule breaker. You've done a lot of things that you regret and you aren't proud of, but you've never really had the chance to get ahead in life and it seems like things aren't going your way and you're so far gone from people and certainly...

God doesn't care much about you. Will you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone? He sees everything that you do and have done and he still loves you. He paid for it also. Would you trust him now? If you're making this decision today, I would just love and encourage you right now to just somehow show it. Raise your hand, just say God, I'm trusting in you, right where you are, no matter what is you're driving or sitting in your couch. Just raise your hand say God, I'm trusting in you. And then I want to ask you to do one other thing. Would you let us know a go to connect US church DOT ORG and and email us or send us a message anyway that you know how, because I would love to talk with you, I'd love to celebrate with you, I'd love to answer any questions that you may have. So please do that. See, God knew that we could not follow the rules and that's why he came to pay the consequences of breaking the rules on the cross when he died, and then he was buried and rose again to overcome sin, overcome death and invite you into a right relationship with God that's based on what Jesus has done, not about what we have done, and so encourage you to trust in Jesus. Next time in session five we're going to finish this chapter of Galatians and Paul talks a lot more about what a life with no rules looks like in the power that it brings in your life. We are free not to do whatever we want, but free to love and to...

...serve one another. It's powerful and you don't want to miss it. I'll see you next time.

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