Bible study lesson 06 - The Law of God
Purpose: The law of God is the foundation of His throne in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Theme: The law of God is the standard of the Christian life.
Bible verses to read:
- Exodus 20:1-17
- Exodus 25:8-16
- Exodus 31:18
- Exodus 25:27-22
- Psalms 80:1
- Revelation 11:19
- Deuteronomy 4:13
- 1 Corinthians 3:16
- Hebrews 10:15-17
- Jeremiah 31:31-33
- Ezekiel 36:26-27
- Isaiah 14:12-13
- Matthew 6:9-13
- Matthew 5:17-30
- Matthew 7:21-23
In the last lesson, we learned that the Holy Spirit convicts us of our need of Jesus. We also learned that the Holy Spirit acts as a guarantee and reminds us that heaven is our home. Finally, the Holy Spirit teaches us to follow the law of God and empowers us to be able to do just that. Today we are going to look at the basic contents of God's law.
Let's open our Bibles and turn to Exodus 20:1-17.
- What is God's law?
- Answer (highlight to read): the Ten Commandments
Let's turn to Exodus 25:8-16
- After God handed down the Ten Commandments to the Israelites, what did He instruct them to build, according to verse 8?
- Answer: They were to build a tabernacle.
- According to verse 16, what were the Israelites also to build?
- Answer: They were to build an ark.
- According to verse 16, what were the Israelites to put into the ark?
- Answer: They were to put the Testimony into the ark.
What is that? Let's turn to Exodus 31:18 for the answer.
- According to the verse, what is the Testimony?
- Answer: The Testimony is the Ten Commandments, which were to be kept in the ark.
Let's continue reading Exodus 25:17-22 to learn more about what God is asking of His people.
So, let's do a quick recap:
- God gives His people the Ten Commandments
- He asks His people to make a place of worship (a tabernacle)
- In this place of worship, there was to be a box
- Inside this box, was the Testimony (the Ten Commandments written on stone tablets)
- The box was to have a lid called the mercy seat
- The mercy seat had two cherubim (angels) on either end of the lid
- In between the cherubim was a seat
- What do you call the seat upon which a king or ruler sits?
- Answer: a throne
As you can see in Exodus 25:22, the mercy seat was to be the earthly throne of God. If we turn to Psalm 80:1, we can see that when God's presence is between the two cherubim, He is enthroned upon the mercy seat.
- What did kings do from their thrones?
- Answer: They ruled the land and made laws.
It makes sense now that God's law was kept inside this throne from which He rules and governs the world.
Now, let's turn to Revelation 11:19.
- According to this verse, the temple of God was opened where?
- Answer: in heaven
- According to this verse, what was seen in the temple of God?
- Answer: the ark of the Covenant
What is this covenant? Let's turn to Deuteronomy 4:13 for the answer.
- According to this verse, what is the covenant?
- Answer: The covenant is the Ten Commandments.
When John (the writer of the book of Revelation) looked into the heavenly temple he sees the same box that was in the earthly temple. Just as the earthly box had the Ten Commandments in it, the box in heaven also had the Covenant in it as well!
I hope now you can see the connection between the earthly sanctuary in the Old Testament, the Ten Commandments, and God's throne. Now we are going to connect all this with the heavenly sanctuary in the New Testament.
Let's turn to 1 Corinthians 3:16.
- According to this verse, what is the connection between us and the temple of God?
- Answer: We are the temple of God.
- According to this verse, who is looking to dwell in you?
- Answer: The Spirit of God (also known as the Holy Spirit) is looking to dwell in you.
Just to recap:
- God has a temple in the Old Testament on earth
- God has a temple in the New Testament in heaven
- God also has temples in us as humans here on earth
Let's turn to Hebrews 10:15-17.
- According to these verses, what is God trying to put into His human temples?
- Answer: God is looking to put His law into His human temple.
Just as God put His law (the Ten Commandments) in the earthly sanctuary, and His law is seen in the heavenly sanctuary, God is also trying to put His law in us, his human temples. This means that God is empowering us through the Holy Spirit to keep the law. This has always been God's intention!
Let's turn to Jeremiah 31:33-33. Do these verses seem familiar? If you were a Jew reading this, then you would understand this to mean that God was going to empower you to live your life in a pleasing way to Him.
Let's turn to Ezekiel 36:26-27.
- According to these verses, what is the difference between having the law on stone and on our hearts?
- Answer: Having the law on our hearts means having a willingness to participate and follow God's law.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 further clarifies that there is no new content to the law, but rather, when the law is in your heart through the Holy Spirit, God is empowering you to live the life that you were previously unable to do. Your willingness allows the Holy Spirit to work in you!
Let's turn to Isaiah 14:12-13.
- According to these verses, what is Lucifer trying to do?
- Answer: Lucifer is trying to exalt his throne in heaven above God.
What Lucifer is trying to do is exalt his way of ruling the universe with his rules and laws. Not only is he trying to do that in the heavenly sanctuary, he is seeking to do the same in God's human temples - in us! Lucifer is trying to establish his laws in our hearts where God's law should be. If we turn to Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus tells us to pray for God's way of ruling the universe on earth as it is in heaven. That means in our hearts also!
Let's turn to Matthew 5:17-30.
- According to verse 17, did Jesus come to get rid of the law of God?
- Answer: No, Jesus came to fulfill the law.
Note that Jesus is not changing the Ten Commandments or getting rid of them to replace them with some easier commandments. Jesus is taking them and intensifying their applications to show us that these laws are to govern the feelings and motives of the heart. Jesus is NOT saying that it is okay to kill people as long as you do not kill them in an angry way! What Jesus is saying is not only that you cannot kill people, but you cannot be angry at them either!
Some people will try to tell you that "we don't have to follow the letter of the law, as long as we follow the spirit of the law." Let's take another example to examine this.
Scenario: The 7th commandment states that you should not commit adultery.
- Letter of the law: do not commit the physical act of adultery
- Spirit of the law: do not lust after that person
If we only followed the letter of the law, we would not be committing the physical act of adultery with another person, but we would be secretly lusting after them in our hearts. Now ask yourself, is it possible to follow the spirit of the law only? Could you commit the physical act, but not lust after the person? Isn't that impossible?
Hopefully you should be able to see that Jesus wants us to hold to a higher standard. Not only are we to outwardly follow the letter of the law, we are also to inwardly follow the spirit of the law. According to Jesus, if we are angry at someone or lusting after someone, we are still committing sin, even though we have not physically touched anyone.
Let us close the lesson by turning to Matthew 7:21-23.
- According to these verses, who will be able to enter the kingdom of heaven?
- Answer: Those who do the will of God.
Jesus starts off in these verses by saying He is here to uphold God's law to a higher standard. He ends these verses by saying those who do not follow the law will not make it to heaven and God will not know them. Satan is trying to distract to do things that may appear "holy," but they are not God's laws. God has His laws, and Satan is doing his best to keep them out of your hearts, so he can substitute them with his own laws.
Why don't we kneel down together and invite the Holy Spirit into our hearts to empower us to keep God's law and follow His will? Let's pray the Lord's prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) together and ask that God will help us to do His will on earth and in our hearts, as it it done in heaven.