Luke 16:16-17                     The Law and the Prophets                      7/25/2004      ßà

  • Until John? (Luke 16:16-17, Ezek 3:17, Heb 4:2, Jude 14, 2Pet 2:5, Rom 5:12-14)

 

 

 

 

 

#1.       The Law (Luke 10:25-28, Deut 6:5, Lev 19:18, John 10:34, 15:25, 1Cor 14:21, Gal 4:21-22)

 

 

 

 

 

  • Do We Know This God? (Psalm 119:97, John 16:2, Prov 28:9, 29:1, 21:4, 20:12, 15:8)

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       The Prophets (John 12:32-34, 2Sam 7:12-13, Psalm 89:35-37, Ezek 37:24-26, Dan 7:13-14)

 

 

 

 

 

  • Do We Know This God? (Isa 46:9-11, 45:6-7, 44:6-7, 43:3-4, 42:8-9, 41:4, 40:15-17)

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       The Law and the Prophets (Luke 16:16-17, 30-31, Pr 28:9, Psalm 119:97)

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Luke 16:16 (2X). As you know, I am not a topical preacher. I am an expository preacher. I preach from a chapter, or from a passage, rather than from a topic. But as much as I dislike preaching on topics, today I will preach on a topic, to unload this burden from my chest. The sermon today is titled, The Law and the Prophets (2X). The 1st thread running through this sermon is, “Do we know the Law and the Prophets that Jesus talked about?” The 2nd thread running through this sermon is, “Do we know this God of the Bible?” Both of these titles are intended as “warnings”. And when I say “warning” I do not mean something that could cause you to be mighty uncomfortable in your life on this earth, but when I say “warning” I mean it may cost you your soul. As you know, we who have been saved by the grace of God are placed in this world as a Watchman we read about in Ezek 3:17. Let me read this to you. Ezek 3:17, “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me”. We have been called to give a warning to the congregation of Israel, which is the congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ, that the Sword of the Lord is coming. And are you ready? Why should the congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ be warned that the Sword of the Lord is coming? The answer is, we should be warned for the many false gospels that are presently distributed in the churches. These are often false gospels that are O So Close to the true Gospel, but they are damning your souls. And the gospels that are most dangerous are the ones that are very close to the true Gospel. That is why I would like to spend some time today on the words of the Lord Jesus in Luke 16:16-17. Why did the Lord Jesus say:

  • Until John? (Luke 16:16-17, Ezek 3:17, Heb 4:2, Jude 14, 2Pet 2:5, Rom 5:12-14)

Lu 16:16  The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

Lu 16:17  And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

Until John” means “until the time of John the Baptist”. And then Jesus said, “Since that time the kingdom of God is preached”. Since what time was the Kingdom of God preached? It could not be since the time that John the Baptist appeared on the scene, because we read in Heb 4:2, “For unto us was the Gospel preached, as well as unto them”. The Gospel was preached to the OT people as well as to the NT people. Therefore Luke 16:16 must mean that the Gospel was preached since the time of the Law and the prophets. And when was that? Did the era of the Law and the Prophets start with Moses? No! That cannot be! We read in Jude 14, “Enoch also, the 7th from Adam, prophesied”. And we read in 2Pet 2:5, “But saved Noah, the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness”. And so, if Enoch and Noah were prophesying and were preachers of righteousness, then certainly the era of Prophets started at least at the time of Enoch. When was the Law given? When did the human race come under the Law of God? Was it at the time God gave the Law to Moses? No! Why did Enoch and Noah have to preach? They had to preach because the world was filled with sin. “But sin is not imputed when there is no Law”, according to Rom 5:13. Therefore the Law of God was in existence at the time of Enoch and Noah. In fact, the Law of God came into existence when Adam ate from the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We can read that in Rom 5:12-14. From that time forward all mankind came under the curse of the Law. It was a curse, because no man was able to keep the Law as perfectly as God commanded. And if we do not keep the Law perfectly, it is sin. And the wages of sin is to be eternally under the wrath of God in a place called Hell. Do we know this aspect of “the Law and the Prophets” that Jesus talked about? This is an essential part of knowing what salvation is. Salvation has to do with knowing God. But do we know this God of the Bible? Do we know Him as the infinite God, who is so perfectly righteous that He cannot allow anyone into His holy Heaven unless that person is as holy and righteous as God Himself? Do we know Him? You can ask yourself this question as you sit here in church and listen to the sermon, and your thoughts drift off to something else, and that is sin! Can you stop that! Or are you not able because sin has a hold on you? This is what we must discover as we apply these principles to our lives. Let us now look into more detail what the Lord Jesus Christ said in Luke 16:16. What is:

#1.       The Law (Luke 10:25-28, Deut 6:5, Lev 19:18, John 10:34, 15:25, 1Cor 14:21, Gal 4:21-22)

Put a sticker here in Luke 16 and please turn a few pages to your left, to Luke 10:25 (2X). What is the Law? Most people would answer, “The Law is the 10 Commandments”. But is this really so? It is remarkable, you know, that when the Lord Jesus talked with the Rich Young Ruler, or He talked with one of the Pharisees who was a lawyer about the 10 Commandments, he did not mention “the Law”, but He used the words “the Commandments”. You can check me out in Matt 19, or in Luke 18, or in Mark 10. On the other hand, here in Luke 10:25-28 Jesus used the words “the Law”.

Lu 10:25 ¶ And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

Lu 10:26  He said unto him, What is written in the law? How readest thou? (2X)

Lu 10:27  And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

Lu 10:28  And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

What is written in the Law? The answer given in verse 27 came out of the Bible. We read in Deut 6:5, “Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might”, and we read in Lev 19:18, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD”. In other words, verse 27 tells us that the Scrolls of Leviticus and Deuteronomy are considered part of “the Law”. Put this in your memory and please turn now to your right to the Gospel of John 10:34 (2X). The Lord Jesus made a profound statement, saying, “I and the Father are One”. Plainly the Lord Jesus declared that He was God. The Jews then accused Him of blasphemy and wanted to stone Him. But Jesus defended Himself by quoting from one of the Psalms. He said in John 10:34, 

Joh 10:34  Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

Jesus quoted from Psalm 82:1,6. Moreover, please turn to your right to John 15:25 (2X). The Lord Jesus gave His farewell address to the disciples. He spoke about sending them into the world where they will suffer persecution, like He also has suffered. He spoke about the world of the reprobate hating the bringers of the Gospel, like they hated the Lord Jesus Christ. Then He said in John 15:25,

Joh 15:25  But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

These words, “They hated me without a cause” are taken from Psalm 35:19 and from Psalm 69:4. And so, we can conclude that the Scroll of Psalms is also a part of “the Law”, because we have seen here four passages in the Psalms, which Jesus called “your Law”, referring to the Law God has laid down for all mankind. Put this in your memory and please turn now to your right to the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians 14:21 (2X). Here the Apostle Paul scolded the Corinthian church for being puffed up in their speaking in tongues. Temporarily these were messages from God to the Corinthian church. But when the Bible was completed God took this gift away in Rev 22:18. He said in 1Cor 14:21,

1Co 14:21 ¶ In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

In the law it is written”. Where was it written? This quotation came from Isa 28:11. And so we can conclude that the Prophet Isaiah was also a part of “the Law”. Put this in your memory and please turn now to your right to the Epistle to the Galatians 4:21 (2X). You find the Epistle to the Galatians right after 2nd Corinthians. Here in Gal 4:21 and following we are introduced to God’s providence. God executes His plans not in spite of man’s sins, but God executes His plans through man’s sins. Here the sin of Abraham provided a magnificent backdrop for God’s Covenant with His elect people.

Ga 4:21-22 ¶ Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?       For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.

Do ye not hear the law”? And then followed a quotation from Genesis. God is letting us know that Genesis is also a part of “the Law”. What have we seen so far? We have seen that Gen, Lev, Deut, Psalms, and Isaiah are all called “the Law”. There are many more proof texts I could offer, but these should be sufficient to make my point. To the question, “What is the Law?” we can answer, “The Law is the entire OT, from Genesis to Malachi”. And therefore, when the OT saints sang from Psalm 119:97, “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day”, they did not exult over the 10 Comm, but they were exited about the Bible of their day, the entire OT. The question then is:

  • Do We Know This God? (Psalm 119:97, John 16:2, Prov 28:9, 29:1, 21:4, 20:12, 15:8)

Please turn to Proverbs 28:9 (2X). You find the Scroll of Proverbs in the center of your Bible, right after Psalms. Do we know God like the OT saints did, who sang Psalm 119? Remember, salvation is “Knowing God”, and particularly knowing the God of the Bible. In this 21st century the majority of people going to a church do not like the God of the Bible. In fact, the Lord Jesus warned us in John chapter 16 that most church-people will persecute those who bring the true Gospel. The Lord Jesus said in John 16:2, “Yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service”. Let us face this question honestly. Do we know the God of the Bible, or do we already have a preconceived notion how the God of the Bible must be, so as to please all mankind. We read in:

Pr 28:9 ¶ He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

What is God saying here? As we have seen, the Law refers to the whole Bible. For the OT saint it was the entire OT. For the NT saint it is the entire OT plus the NT. The NT is even more lovely than the OT because the NT introduces us directly to Jesus, the Savior, the Kinsman Redeemer. Do we love the Word of God? This is a characteristic of the NT saint. And woe unto us if we do not love the whole Bible. It indicates that we have never been saved. If we are not saved, it means that we turn away our ear from hearing the Bible. It means that even our prayer shall be abomination in the sight of God. There would be nothing that we can do that is pleasing in the eyes of God; rather it would all be sin. And for such a person our God would have no mercy. Please turn the page to Prov 29:1 (2X).

Pr 29:1 ¶ He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

Paraphrased, God says that the unsaved man, especially the unsaved man in church who has often been reproved, shall suddenly die and his awful destiny will be sealed without remedy. These are typically people who have heard that they must repent and believe on the Lord Jesus, but they have postponed any serious thinking about matters of eternal life. They have been too busy with earthly things. But God says, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee” (Luke 12:20). Please turn to Prov 21:4 (2X). God has partitioned the entire human race into the elect and the non-elect, also called the reprobate. God has no intention to save any of the reprobate, but God’s entire program for this world, and for the history of this world, is for the purpose of saving His elect, not forgetting even one of them. In the OT the elect are often called “the righteous”, and the reprobate are called “the wicked”. The wicked go to Hell for all their sins, whereas the guilt of all the sins of the righteous are placed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered the just penalty for all those sins when He suffered on the cross in our place. In Prov 21:4 God states the condition of the wicked:

Pr 21:4 ¶ An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.

Even the daily work of the wicked, like plowing a field, is sin. It is as much sin as their high look and their proud heart is sin. This is how totally depraved all mankind is. This shows us that none of us can claim that we deserve salvation for the good that we did. Before our salvation there is nothing we did that can bear the stamp of God’s approval. Now turn the page to Prov 20:12 (2X),

Pr 20:12 ¶ The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.

Whether someone hears the Gospel and can see the Kingdom of God will depend entirely on God

giving that person spiritual ears to hear and spiritual eyes to see the Kingdom of God on this earth and in the Bible. This we can only hear and see with ears and eyes of faith. Here again in Prov 20:12 we see that salvation is entirely a gift of God’s grace. Please turn a few pages to Prov 15:8 (2X). Here God contrasts the elect and the reprobate, or the upright and the wicked. God says in:

Pr 15:8 ¶ The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

Paraphrased God says that even the most noble work of an unsaved person, like offering a sacrifice in the temple, is an abomination to God. On the other hand, even an apparently insignificant action of a saved person, like a silent prayer, is a delight in the ears of God. The question is, “Do we know this God?” Are we familiar with this God of the Bible, who has so much compassion and love for those whom He chose to save, but is utterly rigid in His righteousness toward others whom He does not want to save? Do we know this God who wants us to be excited about the Law and the Prophets?

#2.       The Prophets (John 12:32-34, 2Sam 7:12-13, Psalm 89:35-37, Ezek 37:24-26, Dan 7:13-14)

Please turn to the Gospel according to John 12:32 (2X). Why are the Prophets mentioned? Is this not redundant? We have already seen that the Prophets are included in the Law. However, to make it absolutely clear that the entire OT is in view God used the expression “The Law and the Prophets”, or “Moses and the Prophets”. This expression is only found in the NT, and it refers to the entire OT, from Genesis to Malachi. God applied the expression “the Law and the Prophets” particularly in John 12:32 –34. Let us see how God applied this here. The Lord Jesus Christ said in John 12:32,

Joh 12:32  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

Joh 12:33  This he said, signifying what death he should die.

Joh 12:34  The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?

The Lord Jesus spoke of His death on the cross. The Jews understood this very well. They argued, “If you are the Messiah”, and you speak of your death on a cross, why do we read in the Law that when Messiah comes He will be with us forever? And why do you insist that you must be crucified if you are Messiah?” The question is: Where did the Jews get this from, and where did they read this in the Law? Well, there are many places in the Bible where they could have read that Messiah would be with them forever. Let me read to you from 2Sam 7:12-13, where God says, “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.” “He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.” This promise is repeated in Psalm 89:35-37. This promise is also repeated in Ezek 37:24-26. There God says,

Eze 37:24  And David my servant (refers to a son of David) shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.

Eze 37:25-26  And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.          Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.

Some people take this to mean that Christ would set up an earthly kingdom reigning from the city of Jerusalem for 1000 years. But this is not possible, because these verses refer to a Kingdom that will be an everlasting Kingdom. This earth will be destroyed, and therefore Christ cannot set up a Kingdom on this earth that will last forever. Other passages referring to Messiah setting up a Kingdom that will last forever are in Isa 9:7, Dan 7:13-14, and Micah 4:7. In other words, there is an abundant number of references to the Prophets that are also called “the Law”. Therefore, “the Law and the Prophets” unmistakably refer to the entire OT. The prophets stated these messages from God in such a way that we can read there of God’s providence, or the hands of God, working to do all His good pleasure for His own glory. Do we know this God who inserted verses in the Bible that must be interpreted spiritually? Do we know this God who caused the history of the world to conform to His eternal plan that was conceived in the Counsel of God before the foundation of the world. It is not that God in His omniscience knew what was going to happen, but God in His Counsel conceived of a world history that was tailored to saving His elect in the most God glorifying way, and God’s providence made it come to pass. Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Isaiah 46:9 (2X).

  • Do We Know This God? (Isa 46:9-11, 45:6-7, 44:6-7, 43:3-4, 42:8-9, 41:4, 40:15-17)

He is the Almighty, infinite God, who speaks and things and things come into existence. He is not a god who does battle with the forces of evil to keep the damage to a minimum. God does not accomplish His goals in spite of the sins of people and of fallen angels. God accomplishes His goals through the sins of people and of fallen angels. And when all is said and done God has it exactly according to His plan. God says in Isa 46:9-11,

Isa 46:9-10  Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,       Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

Isa 46:11  Calling a ravenous bird from the east (Cyrus), the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.

God planned it this way, and God accomplished it exactly as He wanted through the sins of the heathen king Cyrus, who was hungry for power, and who executed God’s plan as stated it by the prophet Isaiah about 150 years before it actually came to pass. Why does God bother to tell us that? God gave us the reason on the previous page. Please turn to your left to Isa 45:6 (2X). There we read

Isa 45:6-7       That they may know from the rising of the sun, and  from  the  west,  that  there  is  none

beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.   I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD (Jehovah) do all these things.

Do we know this God? God says, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I Jehovah do all these things.” God says that He is responsible for all the things that come to pass in this world today, except for sin. God is not responsible for the sin in this world, but God’s plan will be accomplished, not in spite of man’s sin but through man’s sin. The sins of Adolph Hitler were entirely in God’s plan, because through Hitler’s sins, which were felt throughout the whole world, some of God’s elect were led to salvation. God states this again in Isa 44:6. Please turn to Isa 44:6-7,

Isa 44:6  Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

Isa 44:7  And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them.

God appointed the ancient Chinese people, and the Indian people, and the Aztecs, and the Incas. It was impossible for them to become saved because they lived and died in a Christless universe. God appointed them to live and die that way. Only God knows why He has done so. He gave up certain people, but He saved His elect. We can see that again in Isa 43:3,

Isa 43:3-4  For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.                   Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.

We know the history of these verses. God drew the children of Israel out of Egypt, but He drowned their enemies in the Red Sea. Not one of them escaped. God did that. Do we know this God of the Bible? I do not mean if we have figured Him out. But I mean: Have you read these verses, which speak of the might and the wisdom of our God? Have you read how sovereign this God of the Bible is? Let not anyone dare to usurp His glory! Look to the left in your Bible God says in Isa 42:8-9,

Isa 42:8-9  I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.   Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.

This says that God does not like it when we claim to have a part in our salvation. When we believe that we are saved because we have accepted the Lord Jesus as our Savior, we have in fact robbed God of His glory. We must give Him all the honor and all the glory for saving us. We did nothing good. God planned to save His elect, God did it, and He did it without our cooperation. We should not claim that we did something good by accepting the Lord Jesus. Look to your left. God said in Isa 41:4 (2X),

Isa 41:4  Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.

God called the generations of people from the beginning of time. He chose  His  elect,  which  was

only a remnant, but God gave value to this remnant when He elevated them to the status of sons of God. To the rest of unsaved mankind God speaks as in Isa 40:15-17 (2X). Look to the left in y. Bible,

Isa 40:15  Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.

Isa 40:16  And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.

Isa 40:17  All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.

Do we know this God? Have we seen this before in the Bible? Satan has not won! Satan holds a worthless bag of trinkets. All things work out to give the glory to God, because this is the end of what God has in view: To give Him all the glory. Let us now return to:

#3.       The Law and the Prophets (Luke 16:16-17, 30-31, Pr 28:9, Psalm 119:97)

Please turn again to the Gospel According to Luke 16:16 (2X). We have seen what the meaning is of the Law, and we have seen why God adds “the Prophets”. Now we should examine the expression “the Law and the Prophets”. We read in Luke 16:16-17,

Lu 16:16  The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

Lu 16:17  And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

How important is it to know about the Law and the Prophets? The Lord Jesus stressed the importance of the Law and the Prophets in the end of this chapter. Here is the parable of the Rich Man and the Beggar Lazarus. Both the rich man and the beggar died. Lazarus ended up in Heaven and the rich man ended up in Hell. Then the rich man pleaded to send Lazarus back to earth to warn his five brothers of the danger that they will end up in Hell. We read in Luke 16:30,

Lu 16:30-31  And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, or if they do not want to listen to the Law and the Prophets, then nothing will persuade them to listen, because they are spiritually dead. They cannot hear. They will not hear. They will not believe. They do not know God. They do not know the God of the Bible because they were never willing to listen to the Law and the Prophets. But should people today still read and study the OT? Absolutely Yes! The Bible is one whole. Many churches today distribute only the NT. That is a BIG mistake. God says in Rev 22:19 that we may not take away from the words of the Book of this Prophecy. If we give people only the NT we give them the message that it is not important to study the OT. It is a crime to lead people astray in this direction. We would be planting the seed that it is OK to do away with the OT. By this action we would show our contempt for Rev 22:19. This is not how we learn discernment. We learn discernment by paying close attention to everything God says, and especially Rev 22:18-19. If I may paraphrase the Parable of the Rich Man and the Beggar Lazarus, I would say the words of verse 31 as follows, “If they hear not the whole Bible, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead”. If we do not want to listen to the whole Bible, then we find ourselves in the shoes of the man in Pr 28:9, He that turneth away his ear from hearing the Bible, even his prayer shall be abomination. What went wrong when we ignore deliberately some parts of the Bible? We then say by our actions that we like God some of the time, but when God speaks about election and reprobation we do not like Him any more. Or when God speaks about His sovereignty and His omnipotence we don’t like Him any more. Or when God speaks about hating the wicked we don’t like Him any more. Can you see how ridiculous it gets? When WE say with the saints of old Psalm 119:97, “O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day”, we do not refer only to the OT, but we also love and meditate on the NT. If we have been saved then we love the whole Bible as the Word of God. Only by looking at all the verses can we get a glimpse of the mercy and grace of God. Only by studying “the Law and the Prophets” can we learn what great things God has done for Himself, and what He has done for His glory.

AMEN.                 Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.