Sermon for 3rd Sunday in Lent, March 7, 2021
Rev. Jerry R. Lyle
The Old Testament lesson of Exodus teaches that transgression of the law is sin. The question of the Old Testament law is relevant for New Testament Christians is sometimes raised. Which, if any , of the Old Testament laws is the Christian who is “under grace” to keep? The person who would discount God’s revelation in the Old Testament may be attempting to avoid some reality of life. Jesus affirmed that He did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. That is to say He came to give the Old Testament its true meaning. He did not mean ceremonial and sacrificial laws were valid for the church. Christ’s sacrificial death ended the validity of the sacrificial system. Therefore, the entire Bible must be understood and interpreted in the light of he revelation in Christ. When this is done and the person approaches the law in the spirit of Christ, there will be no problem concerning how much of the Old Testament revelation pertains to the Christian.
Revelation brings more than an awesome sense of divine presence. It may bring renewed assurance of God’s commitment and call for human obedience. At Sinai, God revealed who He is and what He wants His people to be. The value off these words is that they reveal not only the identifying characteristics of God’s people but also the very heart of the Maker of all life. His intentions for human existence, and His hopes for the quality of life He wished to share. Clear? I pray so.
In Psalm 19 this morning, praise for the Creator and for he Source of divine law is the basis for repentance. Verse 11 turns the pronouncements about the Lord in third person to direct second person address. The basic prayer is that the outer an inner person in perfect conformity with one another will be pleasing in the Lord’s sight. This will require forgiveness of hidden sins as well as presumptuous, willful sins.
In 1st Corinthians, we are taught the measure of the power of God in multiple ways. Some ways are biblical; others are not. Faith recognizes that the greatest demonstration of God’s power is in the salvation He brought to us. Only God’s power can transform a broken, sinful life into a rich and full life patterned after the very life of Christ Jesus. Only His power can guarantee eternal life which death cannot tough. To talk of power in such ways sounds foolish to unbelievers. Only God’s revelation lets us recognize Christ’s atoning death as the epitome of power. To those who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior, understanding and clarity are given in abundance. To those who have rejected Christ, human wisdom is limited in understanding the ways of God. To the unaided human intellect, God’s provision of salvation is utter folly!
Finally in the Gospel of John, it was nearing the time of the Passover in the Temple at Jerusalem, a time when Jesus knew the crowds would be large and He had a message to deliver that would catch them by surprise. Most if not all the people, would have said that the Temple was the eternal way to God’s presence. Jesus Christ is. Jesus was about to upset everyone’s “apple carts,” or in this case the money changers tables! He established Himself as the authoritative way to God by cleansing the Temple and by predicting His own death and resurrection. The resurrection is the ultimate sigh of Jesus as the way to God’s presence.
Jesus’ miracles provided the crowds He was the true Passover Lamb providing delivery from sin. The faith brought by the signs placed the crowds closer to Jesus that were the spiritually blind people in the Temple. They did no have saving faith, entrusting their lives to Christ. As God’s Son, Jesus could see all their thoughts and knew they were attracted to His power, not to His mission which was to reveal God and His mission. Beloved, when Jesus said, “Tear down this Temple, and I will rebuild again in three days,” I pray you know He was not talking about the physical Temple, He was talking about His death and resurrection.
I pray your Lenten Season is going along ok. Always pray before reading Scripture, and it will be opened up for you to both read and also comprehend! Blessings.