Listen to the message
(To download: Right Click, choose “Save Target As…”)
Sun am 21 July 2013 – Pastor Kobus Swart
Deut. 28:1-2, 15; Gal. 3:1-14; Rom. 4:3-6; Heb. 3:15-19; Heb. 4:1-3, 7-12
We read Scriptures over and over again but we still have old lenses and we interpret them the same old way and miss the depth of what it says. Let’s Read the following Scriptures with new eyes.
Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God ….. But it shall come about, if you do not obey the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you (Deut. 28:1-2, 15).
In this passage, therefore, the blessings are conditional.
How does the apostle Paul see this?
You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? This is a now word, a present truth to the Church: Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. There is a switch here from Moses to Abraham. We need to make this switch; if we do not, we are going to mix the reading of Scriptures and we will not know that we are mixing two things. We need to follow what God said and why God honoured Abraham and what God said to Moses and why it did not work. Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. No “if” here; he believed! Many Christians still believe in curses. When I become a believer, I became a new creation having no past. I came under a whole new dispensation of faith. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. We are not sons of Moses; we are sons of Abraham, he is the father of our faith. Abraham did not have to work for it, he just had to believe. How does one get faith? Faith comes by hearing a Word from the Lord; a rhema spirit-activated Word from the Lord; that activates faith. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. There is a leap over the “works-earned” blessings, the “obedience-earned” blessings. I am not advocating disobedience. Yes there are certain laws, such as what a man sows that he will reap, but there is a law that is above that. For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “The righteous man shall live by faith.” However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “He who practices them shall live by them.” Here is the good news: Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (Gal. 3:1-14). Do not talk about curses and put yourself back under the law. Do not be like Israel who said, “All you have said, we will do” (Josh. 1:16). They were never able to obey the law! He who fails in one aspect of the law has failed them all.
Take a quantum leap across the law and see the finished works in Jesus Christ. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law. He became the curse and dissolved it, in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles (Gal. 3:14). The non-Christian is waiting for this message that will make the blessings accessible; and there is only one message, the finished works of Jesus on Calvary.
The blessings of Abraham are unconditional and unlimited. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works (Gal. 4:3-6). If you work, what you receive is what you earned; we were raised that way that you do not receive anything for nothing; but this is by grace, it is not by works!
While it is said, “Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me.” Who are they? The ones who received the Law! For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief (Heb. 3:15-19). This shows the value of true faith, the importance of believing.
Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest … (Heb. 4:1-3). Can we become more effective and operate from a place of faith?
He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” That TODAY is still open, it is a kairos season, it is now, you do not have to wait for anything; it is accessible. “Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword (Heb. 4:7, 11-12). How does faith come? By this living Word; that is our gateway into rest if we respond. Let us labour to enter that rest. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the living, active Word of God. Say good-bye to a life of stress and welcome a life of rest and fruitfulness. We are not under the law; we are given access by grace to the finished works of what Christ accomplished on the cross. Make this high on your list of priorities, to labour not to labour; labour to enter that rest.