The Foundation of God Standeth Sure.

 

Scripture: 2. Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

Hymn of Consecration: The Church Has One Foundation

I want to talk about Jesus this morning. I want to show you Jesus in a place that you may not have seen Him before, in His law. It is as we behold Jesus that we are changed into His character. Jesus is the Pearl of Great Price. Jesus is the Hidden Treasure buried in a field. The field represents the Bible. So lets open our Bibles on a quest to see Jesus perhaps in a new place this morning.

Let us open our Bibles and read together from 2 Timothy chapter 2. Our text is verse 19.

19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

God’s foundation is His law. God’s law written with His own finger in sapphire stone, spoken audibly under a canopy of angels in the presence of millions is the clearest verbal representation of Himself incarnate. Jesus, the Son of God, is presented in His incarnation in the Decalogue in two ways. First there is the description of His Divine-human character. The law tells us what the character of God is in humanity. It tells us who God is in flesh. Second it is a beautiful, most powerful series of promises. It tells us what God has promised to do in our hearts and lives and in our flesh when we are as attentive to Him as Jesus was.

Before we turn to Exodus 20 and see for ourselves the character of incarnate God and feel again the power of the promises of God in human flesh, there is one other aspect of God’s law we might consider. We may also take time for a couple of illustrations of the fact that the law is God’s prime verbal instrument of salvation.

God’s laws are descriptions of reality. The orderly cause and effect relationships that God has appointed as the basis of reality can be described in words. This description we call law. And because God Himself, His character, His orderly, ultimately consistent ways are expressed in reality, all of God’s laws are expressions of and descriptions of not only of reality, but of Himself. God’s laws describe both reality and His character. There are two parts to reality: the seen and the unseen. There is a consistent relationship or link that connects the seen and unseen. The descriptive statement of this link or relationship is called law. This relationship can be called a law of cause and effect. The point of knowing these laws is to know God. It is by beholding God that we become changed into His same image, from glory to glory. Having seen and fallen in love with God, we are changed from rebellion and ignorance into loving, grateful obedience. Having been changed we are enabled both by desire and power to be able to cooperate with God’s will and ways. It is power to know these cause and effect laws so that you want to and are made able to work in harmony with them. Belief and faith in God as the Author of reality, and the grateful and willing obedience to His will as expressed in His laws is the foundation of God’s government. And you notice what else our text says:

"having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."

God notices those who are looking at Him and seeking Him in His law, or anywhere that He has revealed Himself. God sees those who are being changed into His character image. It is by giving Him their attention and beholding Him, especially in His law that the change occurs. And those who take the name of His only begotten Son need to be genuine and real. Reality is shown in their works. A seal is used to this day to show authenticity. The authenticity of our taking the name of Jesus is shown in our character as revealed in our works, and words, and attitude.

The concept of law and the required obedience to law is one of the most contested points in the great controversy between Christ and Satan. Satan has proposed that a universe without law would be true freedom. God has built His universe of freedom based and founded on disclosure and free choice. The disclosure of reality is called law. It is called in Scripture, "the law of Liberty"! (James 1:25; 2:12) So Satan has made God’s law the target of his most studied and intense focus of attack. Satan has tried to give the law of God the worst reputation and has tried to make it appear that the law is the opposite of grace and goodness. Satan has said that any conscious attempt to obey God’s will as expressed in Scripture is works and legalism. To strive to obey God is fighting against love and grace. Have you felt these attacks of Satan on the law of God in your life and in your experience? Instead of the reality of that disclosure which tells us that disobedience causes death, Satan would have us believe that it is the disclosure of reality by God in His law that causes death and suffering and sickness and all the results of disobedience. However, believing a lie does not change reality.

I recently read three statements that I want to share with you. These statements tell us that the law of God is the way to live the life of power and victory that we are all called to in Jesus. Jesus is the way. And God’s law is the way to live the Christ-like life. The whole universe is waiting for what Jesus has told them would happen. Jesus has told the universe that as a result of His life and death, He would have a people on earth that would perfectly reflect His character. When this takes place, many here on earth who see it will accept Jesus as their personal Savior. The gospel is going to end in greater victory and power than it began with Pentecost. However, most of the world will reject Jesus and hate His faithful followers as the cause of all the trouble in the world. Then Jesus will come and rescue His loyal subjects from the world just in time to save them from death. This dramatic rescue will end the night of sin and sorrow that has caused so much pain and suffering in heaven and on earth. This full and final demonstration of the character of Christ and the climactic rescue of those who love Jesus in spirit and truth, are the next big events on Heaven’s calendar. Are they the next big events on your calendar? Beloved, I believe the time is at hand.

This is the first of the three statements that tell us that God's law is the revelation of Jesus that gives us victory in Christ.

 

God has given His holy law to man as His measure of character. By this law you may see and overcome every defect in your character. You may sever yourself from every idol, and link yourself to the throne of God by the golden chain of grace and truth. {God's Amazing Grace 80.1} 

The law of God discloses this golden chain of grace and truth. Jesus is the golden chain of grace and truth. The Decalogue is the clearest spoken and written revelation of Jesus. It tells us what we need most - the loving character of Jesus.

 

 The glory of Christ is revealed in the law, which is a transcript of His character, and His transforming efficacy is felt upon the soul until men become changed to His likeness. They are made partakers of the divine nature, and grow more and more like their Saviour, advancing step by step in conformity to the will of God, till they reach perfection. { God's Amazing Grace80.3}

 

 Christ designs that heaven's order, heaven's plan of government, heaven's divine harmony, shall be represented in His church on earth. Thus in His people He is glorified. Through them the Sun of Righteousness will shine in undimmed luster to the world. { God's Amazing Grace 80.5}

 Now the question is: "How does the law of God transform our characters and natures?" By what mechanism does the law of beholding change us into the character image of what we behold? How does the law let us see and overcome every defect in our character?

This is the way it works. The great unseen causes that shape our character are three in number. Faith, hope and love are the three big three prime movers in life. They have been called "the motors of the soul". Everything we do in life is the expression of our faith, hope and love. The reason that the judgment focuses on works is because the works are seen. The faith, hope and love in life are the invisible causes. The effects of these invisible causes are seen in what we do.

So we come to the question, how does the Decalogue change our hope, faith and love?

 

Psalms 19:7 The law of the LORD [is] perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD [is] sure, making wise the simple.

 

Psalms 19:8 The statutes of the LORD [are] right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD [is] pure, enlightening the eyes.

The question is how does God’s law do all these things. How does the law of God convert us. How does God’s testimony make us wise unto salvation. Above all how does God’s statutes or laws, rejoice our hearts and enlighten our eyes?

There are two ways that the law of God is effective in overcoming every defect of our character, making us wise, rejoicing our hearts and enlightening our eyes. Do you want this? First, the Decalogue is the great disclosure or verbal and written revelation of God in flesh. God, His perfect, incarnate, human character is revealed in the Decalogue. It is by beholding that we are changed. God's law reveals Jesus. Jesus is who is being described in the law. By beholding Jesus in the law our faith, and love, and hope are centered in and fixed on Him. By beholding we are changed in faith, hope and love. With godly faith and hope and love, godly actions follow like night and day follow each other.

 

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18

This is another of God's laws. What we focus on; what gets our attention; what we behold changes us into its likeness and character. For this reason, guard well the avenues of your soul.

Secondly all of God’s laws are promises! All of God’s biddings are enablings! You may sever yourself from every idol, and link yourself to the throne of God by the golden chain of grace and truth which are the promises of God. I want that! The Decalogue are ten promises of what Jesus will do in us on condition that we are willing to die daily in the same way that Jesus did. By God’s grace we may all experience the fulfillment of God’s promises in our lives daily as we comply with the conditions as Jesus did!

 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:4

We can illustrate the fact that God’s universe operates by law. The first illustration is from human anatomy and physiology. 

 

The cell is the smallest unit of life in the human body. However, each cell is like a microscopic universe. Heaven’s order, heaven’s harmony, heaven’s plan of government is illustrated in the structure and function of the human cell.

 

On the left is the appearance of the nucleus of a cell through a high powered microscope. On your right is a drawing of a cell with the part sticking up the nucleus. The nucleus is the control center of the cell. The control center contains the instruction set that it faithfully follows.

 

In every cell of the body, all the instructions that govern every aspect of the body’s structure and function are written. This instruction set is duplicated in the nucleus of every cell in the body. The cell uses that part of the total instruction set that applies to it. The instructions are written in protein. These proteins are called nucleoproteins. The shorthand for the nucleoproteins is DNA. These DNA molecules make up what we call genes. The genes are located in the chromosomes. These 23 paired things are what chromosomes look like under a microscope just before they divide. You have probably all heard of the X and Y chromosomes. They are different sizes. These last two chromosomes here that are different is size are the X and Y chromosomes. This spiral structure is the DNA molecule. This shows how it splits in two to reproduce an exact copy of itself in cell division. These proteins are the controllers of every structure and function in the body. The laws of the body are literally written in the nucleus of every cell of the body. The faithful obedience of every cell in the body to this instruction set is one of the ways that the body illustrates heaven’s order; heaven’s harmony; heaven’s form of government. There is always a perfect obedience in the cell to these instructions in the DNA. This instruction set has to be marred or changed to have a structural defect that we call a congenital defect. This instruction set has to be marred or changed to have what we call an inborn error of metabolism. This instruction set has to be changed or supplanted by other protein instructions in order to develop cancer. Cancer can only result from a change in God’s laws written in every cell or a usurped control of the cell by other proteins such as a virus or some other foreign protein.

The great controversy is illustrated in every cell in our body. Health and life results from the faithful performance of that part of the total instruction set that applies to that cell. And nature is faithful in the performance of every instruction in the DNA. The only way the cell can go wrong is for the wrong instructions to be given to the cell. God’s universe operates in obedience to laws. This is why Satan has thought to change times and laws. He knows that only in this way can he introduce sin into our world. In the same way that the DNA instruction set in the nucleus of a cell governs the cell so my faith, hope and love unerringly determines what I do. In order to get me to disobey or rebel against God, Satan must first get a false picture of God into my head. My ideals and understanding of truth must be distorted in order to get disorder and disobedience in my life. Before Satan could get Eve to sin, he had to change her view of God. In the same way that the DNA controls every function of the cell, so love, faith and hope are the emotions that control our souls. The great controversy is over the control of these great emotional motors. My performance of God’s plan for me, is the expression of my faith and my hope and my love. If you want to change your performance - change the object of your love, the focus of your faith and the vision on which you base your hope. The reason that works are the focus of the judgment is that works unerringly reveal our love, our hope and our faith. In the same way what we eat determines what proteins get into our cells. What our eyes watch determines what images and emotions get into our hearts. Therefore guard well the avenues of the soul. A misapprehension of God is the what makes sin possible. Our great need is a correct knowledge of God that inspires godly hope and love and faith. John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

We can illustrate this with a car. Hope is the steering wheel that we hold in our hands and hearts that determines the way we go. Faith is the windshield illustrating our world-view to see where we are going. Love is the motor that drives our soul.

When we have the faith, hope and love of Jesus then it is and only then that we live the life of Jesus. Ghandi is reported to have said, that if Christians would act like Jesus, all of India would come and bow at the feet of Jesus.

We can illustrate the victorious Christian life in yet another way.

A powerful tractor illustrates the power of God in the life. Minimal human power can move the controls. The power of the engine provides power far in excess of unaided human power. This illustrates the co-operation of the human and the Divine. When stuck in the mud a tractor illustrates the need of a power out of and beyond ourselves.

Let’s look at this law that has such power for conversion, instruction, and rejoicing. Let’s repeat this law as God spoke it audibly and as He wrote it with His own finger in blue sapphire stone. And as we focus on God’s law, let us ask Him to reveal Jesus to us and to fulfill His promise to write this law in our hearts. (Repeat with me)

 

Exodus 20:1 And God spake all these words, saying,

 

Exodus 20:2 I [am] the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

 

Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

 

Exodus 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth:

 

Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me;

 

Exodus 20:6 And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

 

Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

 

Exodus 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

 

Exodus 20:9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

 

Exodus 20:10 But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates:

 

Exodus 20:11 For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

 

Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

 

Exodus 20:13 Thou shalt not kill.

 

Exodus 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

 

Exodus 20:15 Thou shalt not steal.

 

Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

 

Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that [is] thy neighbour's.

The question is why doesn’t the converted covet his neighbour’s wife or house or car? It is because conversion means that imperfect, incomplete faith, hope and distorted love has been replaced by and transformed into the faith, hope, and love of Jesus. This transformation has taken place by two mechanisms that operate in the law of God. By beholding Jesus in the law they have become changed into His character image. By testing and experiencing the promises of the law they have been captivated by and have acquired the faith and the hope and the love of Jesus.

Let’s pray.