Because the Lord is Your God-2
June 30, 2019
I want to tell you how connected the Old Testament and the New Testament are. When Jesus was asked, and more than one occasion, He was asked, "Of all the things that God has ever said, what is the greatest? What's the foremost of all that God has said?" Jesus answered and He said, "The greatest, the foremost is this, that you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all of your soul, with all of your mind, with all of your strength." Now, that comes right out of the book of Deuteronomy. He's connecting then right there, the heart of God in Deuteronomy, to the heart of the Lord that's poured out through His Son. Then He continued, the second one is like it. "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." That one comes right out of these verses in Leviticus 19. I'm telling you Leviticus is one of the most amazing books in the Old Testament. He connects the two directly together.
I. God’s People Care about Others
Then he said, "On these two commandments," those two, hang the entire law and prophets, which is the say the entire Old Testament hangs on those two things. The Book of Leviticus, it's about worship, but it's about how to live, how to live as God's people. Because He is the one who rescued them. He took them by the hand, lead them out of slavery and oppression. He defeated their enemies. He gave them the land that He had promised to give. He said that the very presence of God would be with them. All of this is found and demonstrated in Leviticus. Then He says, "The Lord is their God, and therefore because the Lord is your God," He said, "Do not live as they live in Egypt, the place where you came from, and don't live like they live in Canaan, the place where you're going, be different. If you're God's people, I want you to be distinctly different, because the Lord is your God."
I tell you this is where it applies to you and me. The same is true for you and me. God redeemed you, God has called you His own son or daughter, He's given you eternal life. He's given you every promise that's behind the name of Jesus. The Lord is your God. Therefore, you, as a Christian, follower of Jesus Christ, should be different. The thing from the world, different, live differently. You're in the kingdom of God now, that's the point. You have an opportunity to have relationship to the Living God. Therefore, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. These verses in Leviticus 19 tells you what it means to love your neighbor as yourself, and why. Why should you love your neighbor as yourself? Because the Lord is your God. Because He's your God, He wants you to live different, distinct. Don't be like the rest of the world, be different.
A. Be generous to those in need
He's going to show you what it looks like. These verses, in Leviticus 19, give us a tremendous insight to it. Of course, I'll cover the other verses around it on Wednesday. We're going to be in Leviticus 19:9. "Now, when you reap the harvest of your land, when they get into the promised land and you start planting and harvesting, do this. Do not reap to the very corners of your field. Neither shall you gather the gleanings, the leftovers. Don't go and pick every leftover that's left in the field, no, leave those, leave them. Leave the corners too. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of the vineyard, leave them, leave them for the needy. Leave them for the foreigner, the stranger in your midst. Because I am the Lord, I am Jehovah, and I am your God." I want you to be different. I want you to be generous. I want you to take care of those that are in need.
Then He goes on to say, "You shall not steal, you shall not deal falsely, nor lie to one another." This is about your neighbor, how to love, be honest in your dealings. Verse 12, "Do not swear falsely by my name." I swear in the name of God, they would say. Don't swear falsely. Then profane the name of your God, because I am. I tell you what, He repeats it over and over and over. Because I am Jehovah. I am your God. Be different.
Verse 13, "You shall not oppress your neighbor." Do not rob your neighbor. Then He said, "The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you all night until morning." Which is to say, is very common in the agricultural society. When a worker works in the field, at the end of the day, he gets paid. Very common in that date. You don't withhold. At the end of the day, you pay him. I remember when I used to pick berries when I was young. I picked berries when I was young. I know. That's how it works when you get to pick berries. You pick berries all day, and you turn in your ticket, and you get paid at the end the day. That's the same idea.
Verse 14 is interesting. "You shall not curse a deaf man." That's just sad that He even has to say it, because that's just mean. You shall not curse a deaf man, nor shall you put a stumbling block before a blind man. Was your trip over it on purpose? Why would anyone do that? Tell you what, the world in which we live in today? He says, "No, you shall revere your God." That's a good word. You shall revere. Honor your God by how you live. Then He repeats it again, "Because I am Jehovah, and I am your God." "You shall do no injustice and judgments. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor shall you defer to the great." Judge your neighbor fairly, everything fair. You shall not go about as a slander. Some say tail bear, gossipers, in other words. Don't speak poorly of your people. You're not to act against the life of your neighbor. Then He says it again, "I am Jehovah. That's why. I am Jehovah."
Then verse 17, "You shall not hate your fellow countrymen in your heart. He's giving a direction in regards to what's going on in the heart. You shall not hate your country. Don't have hate in your heart. You may reprove your neighbor, okay, but do not incur sin by hating him.
Verse 18, "You shall not take vengeance." Now see, this is right out of the New Testament, or maybe the New Testaments right out the Old Testament. "You shall not take vengeance, nor shall you bear a grudge against the sons of your people." Here's that famous word that Jesus quoted, the second of all the things that God's ever said, here's the second greatest. "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Then He adds, "Because I am Jehovah. I am the Lord, and I am your God." That's why.
These are the verses we're going to look at. We'll do the other verses on Wednesday. I want to look at these verses and apply them. Starting with this. "God's people care about other people." God's people. You're distinct, you're different. Because the Lord is your God, have God's heart. Now, this is not natural, because everyone who was born on this earth is born selfish and self-centered. Every person born on this earth is born selfish and self-centered. This is not natural to care, as God is calling people to care. He cares. He's concerned for those less fortunate, for the broken and the hurting, for the widows and the orphans. You could do a study on the heart that God has for the unfortunate, and you could write an entire book on it. Because it's woven through the entire Scriptures. He wants you to have the same heart that He has. Why? Because He's the Lord, and He's the LORD your God.
That's what He says in those first verses there, 9 and 10, "Be generous." Be generous to those in need. What a beautiful way. This provision-- They didn't even have social welfare program. This was their way of taking care of the needy. They had to go out, they had to go and do the work, they had to go and harvest, they had to go and reap. It was there, it was a provision. The farmers were to leave the corners and the gleanings.
The book of Ruth makes this whole thing, this whole provision famous. You might remember the story, because Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, they come back from Moab, which is on the east side of the Jordan River desert. They come back broken and poor, but they have a kinsman-redeemer by the name of Boaz.
Ruth is told by Naomi, "Go and glean there." You know the rest of the story. Boaz, kinsman-redeemer, takes notice of her. Then of course the famous story is that he falls in love with her, and then Ruth becomes the great-grandmother of King David. It becomes famous, but that's the provision that He made for the poor, they were poor. She was Moabite, a foreigner. This is tremendous. He says, verse 10, He gives the reason, "Because I am the Lord, your God." Because the Lord, your God, be generous, because God's heart is generous. You be like your God.
What He shows also, we have to recognize when He says, "I am the Lord your God," what He's saying is, "You do these things as I'm asking you to do, and I'll bless your harvest." You carve off the corners and leave them for the needy, I'll bless the rest of your harvest. I will bless your business. I will bless you when you have a heart that God wants you to have. To bless others, Matthew 5:7, "Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive. God will see to it." God will see to it, it's an action of faith. God will bless you.
Luke 6:38, it's another word, "Give and it will be given to you. God will see to it." They were poured into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over. "For by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you in return." It's the Word of God, the promise, the faith.
B. Be true because God is the truth
Then He goes on to say, in the next verses, "Be true. Speaking of dealing honestly, be true because God is the truth." One of the famous verses I love to quote, quoted often, where Jesus said, "I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life. No man comes to the Father, but by me." Those words, "I am the truth," so truth is not just something to know, truth is not just something to understand, truth is the quality of character. It's something to live, it's something to become. Truth is a person, and His name is Jesus Christ. He is the truth. See, you're in the kingdom of God now, that's the point. You're in the kingdom of God now. God is the King. Truth is part of His nature. In your dealings, in your business dealings with people in your life, be honest, value truth. Value truth in the inner man, because God is true.
Psalm 51:6, a very famous verse, "Behold, you desire truth in the innermost being. In the hidden part, you will make me to know wisdom when there's truth in the innermost being." That's why He says, in verse 10-11. He makes it very practical, and He says, "Do not steal, do not deal falsely, do not lie to one another, be honest in your dealings because the Lord is your God, and He desires truth." Be honest in your dealings.
I remember once we were shopping with our kids many years ago and doing some Christmas shopping or something. It was wintertime, at least. We had gone through the cash register. Before we left the store, I was going through the receipt. I'm not cheap, I just like to make sure that everything is done right. I'm going through the receipt. I realized, "They didn't charge us for those winter gloves." They didn't charge us for those. They're there in my cart. I thought, "You know what? This is the teaching moment."
We had three girls. I gathered the girls together and I said, "Girls, look at this receipt. They didn't charge us for the gloves. What do you think we should do?" "We should go back." I said, "Yes, we're going back." That's what I said. We all trooped over to the cash register. "Excuse me. Sorry, but you didn't charge us for these gloves. Please do that." There is the idea. See, not only does it hurt others to deal falsely, it hurts you, He's saying. You're robbing yourself of character, you're robbing yourself of integrity. Those are of great value. Proverbs 22:1, "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches." It's a good word, a good name. To look yourself in the mirror and know that God is doing something, not that you're perfect, but that God is doing something.
When I was in grade school, I forgot what grade it was now, maybe second, third grade, I stole something. I can tell you to this day what I stole. It's embedded in my mind very, very deeply. I stole a marshmallow orange peanut. Anybody remember these? They were amazingly delicious. I stared at this marshmallow orange peanut for a long time before I decided to put it in my pocket. It just so happened that the butcher watched me this whole time put it in my pocket, and followed me around, then said, "Young man, what's in your pocket?" I had to show him, and then I had to tell my parents, then I had to work to earn that penny, because that's about what they were back in those days. I had to bring it and give it to the manager in person. My parents were teaching me a lesson, because my career as a thief ended right there. I learned something. Losing one's integrity hurts deeply.
He says in verse 12, "Do not swear falsely by my name so as to profane the name of your God. I am the Lord." See, it was common, and I think maybe people do it today to some degree, I suppose, but it was common for men to try to convince people of their honesty and their integrity by swearing in the name of God. I swear it, I swear by God's name, God's honor. "I swear by God's name." He said, "Don't you ever swear in God's name and then not do it. I am the Lord, your God." Now, Jesus, in Matthew 5:37, actually brought a correction to that. He said, "Let your statement be yes or yes, or no and no. Anything beyond this is evil." In other words, say what you mean and mean what you say, and let your integrity stand on your word.
It's like we have a phrase for it today, "He's a man of his word." "She's a woman of her word." That's a great aspect of character. When you say it, you can depend on it because you mean it. That's a character, because the Lord is your God.
C. Be goodhearted and kind
Then He also adds this in the next part, which is to say, "Be good-hearted and kind." Be good-hearted, be kind, because the Lord is your God. See, do not curse to deaf. He says, "Do not put a stumbling block before the blind." To me, it's sad that He would even have to say such a thing. It's a tragic commentary on human nature. This is very likely the way things were in Egypt where they came. Just plain mean-spirited to curse the deaf, because they can't hear, they can't hear the curse, but everyone else can. Thus, the point is to laugh at the one who is deaf. It's mean-spirited to put a stumbling block before the blind, he can't see it, but everyone laughs.
You know our modern times are interesting. We have advanced technologically. We are the most advanced technological society and people this world has ever seen, but the character and nature of man has not advanced. I've never seen in my life more mean-spiritedness than I'm seeing today in the world in which we're living. Anybody else agree? It's a tragedy that we're seeing. Here's the thing, God is saying that He's offended when the weak, the deaf, the blind, the orphan, or the widow is hurt. You can be sure of this, God will defend them. God will defend them, God will settle all accounts, God will defend them. See, He says, "Be good-hearted and kind because the Lord is your God." He is kind, and He is good- hearted.
Let me give you some verses. Psalm 82:3-4, "Defend the poor, defend the fatherless, deliver the poor and the needy, and free them from the hand of the wicked. Stand up for them." That's what he's saying, "Stand up for them." Proverbs 31:8, "Open your mouth for the mute, stand up for them, and open your mouth for the rights of the unfortunate. Stand up for them."
I remember when I was in high school, I was in gym class. We were going to play basketball that day, and gym class was just getting started. As I was coming into the gym, there was a bully, and this bully, right before my eyes, he came up to this little kid, young kid, took the ball away from him, pushed the kid and said, "I'll take that", and I don't know what happened. Something snapped in me, and I went after the bully. I'm confessing here that I went after the bully, and he ran away from me, but I caught him. Okay, I put his arm behind his back, and I said, "Don't you ever do that again." I didn't say it with a smile on my face. I said, "Don't you ever do that again."
The most interesting thing happened. Two years later, that bully got into a car accident and became brain damaged because of the car accident, but then God opened the door for me to take him under my wing. It's like God was going to knit our lives together, and we became friends, and we went to outdoor school together. We were counselors in the same cabin. It's like, God, you are amazing, how you knit our lives together. God gave that opportunity. God wants us to be good-hearted and kind, because the lord is your God, and you shall revere him, He says.
II. Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
Then He culminates in that great verse, love your neighbor as yourself. See, these next verses lead to that famous command. The second of all the great commands, love your neighbor as yourself. He says you can summarize all of these laws with these two commands. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. Because God is love. That is His nature. You're in the Kingdom of God now, and our God is the King, and He wants you to have the same heart that He has.
A. Let your speech always be with grace
That's why he then goes on to say, and we can summarize it this way, let your speech always be with grace.
Verse 16 says, "Do not go about as I slender among your people, because the Lord is your God." I tell you that I've just said it, the world is full of hatred and animosity, but He says, but you're in the Kingdom of God now, put off the ways of the world, put off the ways of the world. You're in the Kingdom of God now. Put on the ways of Christ.
Many years ago, when that movie, The Star Wars movie came out, there was this scene where this stormtrooper, some of you remember this scene. I love this scene. The stormtrooper escapes. Remember, that was Finn. He escapes and he leaves the dark empire, and he escapes only to crash on the nearby planet. Then I just love this scene because as he's leaving the crash site, he's walking into the desert, he's removing the old stormtrooper armor piece by piece, leaving it in a trail behind him, and I saw that, I thought, "Oh no, there's a picture for you right there." That's a picture of taking off the old ways of the world. You are in the world, the world has their own ways of doing things, but you're in the Kingdom of God now. He says don't be slander. Let your speech always be with grace, there's some great verses.
Colossians 4:6, "Let your speech always be with grace as though seasoned with salt." That means it's good, it's pleasant. When you add salt to food, it brings out the goodness, the flavor, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
Then Ephesians 4:29 is a key verse for believers, because it's a tremendously powerful word. He says, "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear it.
Now, the key to that verse is the Word No. None, nada, nichevo, no, none. Let no unwholesome word, which is to say none, let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only a word that is good for edification according to the need of the moment. Words are powerful, words can build up, words can tear down. He says, be very careful, because words can be so hurtful. If you love God, then love your neighbor. Speak well of them. One of the most powerful expressions of that is the words that proceed from your mouth.
James 3:9-10, "With the tongue, we bless our lord and Father, and with that, we curse men who have been made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth, come blessing and cursing. My brethren. These things ought not be this way.
James 1: 26, "If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue, he's deceiving his own heart, and this man's religion is worthless.
Luke 6:45, where he said, "The mouth speaks from that which fills the heart. The good man", he says, "the good man out of the good treasure of his heart will bring forth what is good." That's just a great word. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart will bring forth what is good. Just like the evil man who's got an evil heart, will bring forth what's evil, because the mouth speaks from that which fills the heart.
B. Let go of hurts; do not bear a grudge
Then he brings us to this word where he's telling us, we can summarize it this way, Let go off the hurts, do not bear a grudge.
I tell you, there are many new testament verses that just speak to these same truths. It's the same heart that God expresses in both the Old and the New Testament. For example, in Romans 12:14, and then 17 to 18 it says bless, those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone, if possible. Far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men, because in the world, see, there's an unspoken rule in the world, and that is, hey, whatever someone does to you, that you get to do the same to them. After all, it's only fair. That's the rule in the world, whatever's fair. If they raise their voice at you, that means that you get to raise your voice at them.
If they spit words at you, then you get to spit words at them. That's only fair. That's a principle of the world. You're in the Kingdom of God now, and a whole different set of principles apply now, because you're in the Kingdom of God. God is the King, and He says, I am the Lord and I am your God. In Matthew 5:43-45, Jesus was teaching, and Jesus said, "Now, you have heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, but notice this here, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.
Sons are like their fathers. Father in heaven blesses those. What did Jesus say when he was on the cross? "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do." It's a powerful word, powerful. You become like your Father, your God. In the book of Romans, Paul also says this, Romans 12:19 -21 he says, "Never take your own revenge, Beloved", same word. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, which is to say, it is written vengeance is mine. "I will repay", says the Lord. In other words, trust God to settle the account.
God settles all accounts. I'll tell you what, that that verse was a great verse to me. It was a great verse to me. When our daughter was killed and they could not find her, the killer, it could not find the murderer. That verse meant a lot to me, God will settle all accounts, God will settle all the accounts, let go. God will settle all accounts.
Then he goes on, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If your enemy is thirsty, give him a drink, and in so doing, you will heed burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." It's a great word, and this is the New Testament principles that are born right out of Leviticus. Because it's the same heart, because it's the same God.
Many of you perhaps read the book or saw the movie The Count of Monte Christo. There's an illustration that comes out of this, where Abbe Faria, this old man, a priest, and his young Edmond Dantes are wrongfully imprisoned. Abbe Faria tells young Dontes that when he escapes and finds the treasure of Sparta, he must use it for good, the old man says, "Only for good." "No," says Dantes, "I will surely use it for my revenge." Faria, breathing his last, says' "Here now is your last lesson, do not commit the crime for which you now serve the sentence, because God has said, "Vvengeance is mine, I will repay." "I don't believe in God," says Dantes. "It doesn't matter," says the old man, "He believes in you." I just love that line. At the end of all of it, Dantes finds the treasure of Sparta, but then at the end, Dantes stands on this island that was once his prison. Overlooking the ocean, he says, "You were right, priest, you were right. This, I promise you, and God, that which I once used for vengeance, I will now use for good. Rest in peace my friend, rest in peace."
This is a great saying because, it speaks of the same thing. The heart matters. The heart that we have matters, and he's describing to us what that looks like to have a heart after God. Be different, be distinct, and he's describing that it has to do with the heart. How you relate to people around you. Bless, bless and curse not, speak well. Let the words that come out of your mouth be words that edify, are good, bless. The heart matters, you're in the kingdom of God now. You're in the kingdom of God now. Be like your King, be transformed, be like your King.
Father, thank you so much because we love to see your heart after us. Now, Lord, I pray for everyone in this room, that we would be convinced, we would be convinced that you transform our hearts. We're in the kingdom of God, we want to be like you, our Father, and as we look at our own hearts, we recognize that there are some things in areas in our lives where we need to transform our heart, we need to be different, we need to be changed, we need to be transformed. This evening, church, as we're before the Lord, would you say to the Lord, I want a heart like yours. God, you're my Father, I want a heart like your heart. I want to bless the people around me, help me, help me with my heart. I want to be transformed, I want to have your heart, I want to be like you, God, I want to bless. Church, tonight, is that your heart? Would you say that to the Lord tonight? Is God doing a work in your heart, in your life? Would you say to the Lord that, I want to be like you, God? There's some things in my life that need to change. I want to be like you. I need your heart, God, I need your heart.
If that's you, if that's your prayer, if that's your-- that's what you're asking God for, would you just raise your hand to say it. God, I want to be like you, just raise your hand to the Lord, I want to be like you, God. There are some things that need to change in my life, I want to be like you. I want your heart, you're my Father, I want to be like you. Father, thank you for everyone who says yes to the work of God and the Holy Spirit luthing, drawing us, convincing us that your way is higher, your way is better. We want to be like you. Lord, thank you so much for all that you're doing in us, we give you thanks, we give you praise in Jesus name and everyone said. Can we give the Lord praise tonight?
On behalf of Calvary Chapel Worship Center and Pastor Richard Jones, we thank you for ordering this message. Our prayer is that God will use it in your life to increase your knowledge and your love for him. If we may serve you in any way, please contact our church office at 503-642-2003, or on our website at www.CalvaryHillsboro.org.
On behalf of all of us at Calvary Chapel Worship Center, and Pastor Richard Jones, may God bless you,