The Book of the Law

              “Then Shaphan the scribe showed the king, saying, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king. Now it happened when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, that he tore his clothes. Then the king commanded Hilkiah the priest and Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, Achbor, the son of Michaiah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah, a servant of the king’s, saying, “Go inquire of the Lord for me, for the people and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found; for great is the wrath of the Lord that is aroused against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.” (2 Kings 22:10-13)            INTRODUCTIONJosiah, king of Judah, was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned 31 years in Jerusalem. In his 18th year, God’s Book of the Law, which had been lost, was found in the house of the Lord. Hilkiah was the High Priest at that time, and he found the Book of the Law. It had been “lost” in the house of God. Today, the Book of the Law has been lost in many of the houses of God. In the very place where it ought to be most treasured, God’s Word has been “lost”! Many of the houses of God have become nothing more than entertainment centers – by design and purpose of those who are supposedly shepherds of the flock of God. Today many churches have purposely abandoned God’s Word. Others have systematically declared that various parts of God’s Holy Word are either not true, or not applicable to “the church” in today’s world. Many of these churches do not read God’s Holy Word at all. There is not even any pretense to teach God’s Holy Word, and there is certainly no reverence for God’s Holy Word! Obviously, this does not pertain to all churches, but there is much confusion reigning in many churches professing to be Christian. The self-proclaimed leaders of certain mega churches have written books on “how to grow your church.” There are self-proclaimed church “gurus” who are traveling around telling individual churches, and in some cases entire denominations, how to grow their church. Invariably, these plans and programs involve some, or, all, of the following plans and programs:1.      Stick to safe principles that do not cause conflict, such as “God loves everyone” and everyone is ultimately going to go to Heaven. (Obviously, this is universalism. It is contrary to Scripture.)2.      Many of these churches have capitulated to entertainment-centered services. They provide some sort of rock music, complete with drums, cymbals, guitars, and other forms of musical instruments on the stage, usually being played to a “rock” beat by young musicians. Many of the songs that are sung to this rock music are commonly referred to as “praise music,” which someone once said consists of “three words, two notes and lasts an hour.”3.      There is virtually no pretense of reading the Word of God. There is no singing of the great hymns of the Christian faith, most of which are either written from Scripture and contain Scriptural theology, or support the Word of God and theology.4.      Sometimes these churches have what may be referred to as a “homily” pertaining mostly to the felt needs of the congregation and aimed at their feelings. There is usually very little or no reference to God’s Word, and frequently these lectures are filled with platitudes and moralisms without any reference to the Holy Scriptures. Truly, much of what is going on in these churches is, as the apostle Paul said to his young protégé Timothy, “a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” (2 Timothy 3:5)5.       Many of these national and international leaders have capitulated within the last few years and are saying that Christians, Jews, and Muslims (and in some cases others also) all worship the same God. Indeed, the pope of Rome has recently declared that even atheists will go to Heaven if they do good works. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones described what was going on in the late 50’s and early 60’s by saying that these “so-called church leaders were considering everything but the Son of God.”God gave His people His Word. He gave His people His commandments, and in Deuteronomy, God commands His people to hide these commandments in their heart; to write them upon the doorposts of their houses; to tie them as frontlets before their eyes; and, to teach them diligently to their children when they lie down and when they rise up and when they sit in their houses and when they walk along the way. Today, however, there is an attack on God’s Word. There are certain groups of people proclaiming “separation of church and state” who are attempting to eradicate the public reading and display (even in the churches) of God’s Holy Law and God’s Holy Word.            The Word of God is being lost in the temple i.e. in the church!IN THE BEGINNING“In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters and God said let there be light and there was light. And God saw the light that it was good. And God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light day and the darkness He called night. So, the evening and the morning were the first day.” (Genesis 1:1-5)“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him (the Word of God – Jesus) was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:1-4)   God has revealed in His Holy Word the beginning. He has also revealed in His Holy Word what will occur in the last days. He has revealed instructions to His new creation, which is the church of God, that we are to go and make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. He has established certain men, which he has described in His Word as being apostles and prophets and evangelists and pastors and teachers to shepherd the flock of God. These men particularly are described in Scripture as having a specific and particular responsibility. It is not the purpose here to discuss the fact that there are no longer apostles existing in the church, but merely to point out that according to Scripture contained in Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus (Chapter 4:12-16) the purpose for which these men had been placed in the church is clearly revealed. Their duty and responsibility is described as follows:“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; til we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect  man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”To fulfill these responsibilities and these duties it is incumbent upon the pastors and teachers and evangelists and those who have been placed in positions of authority “to shepherd the flock of God” to read the manual and follow it! U. S. Air Force pilots are given arduous training and preparation to fly the most advanced fighters in the world. These fighters are designed with multiple defenses, including being designed to make their radar image so small as to be practically undetectable. Nevertheless, despite having many defenses and many weapons, there may be a necessity to eject. If that eventuality were to arise no pilot wants having to get out “the driver’s manual” at the time he needs to eject to determine how to fire the ejection seat and how to make sure that his parachute works. He has been given extensive training and practice on all phases of the aircraft including how to eject. A pilot in such a situation is not going to try to come up with some new and interesting methodology to get out of his airplane. He will do what he has been taught! It is the same for the business of the church. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said “the business of the church and of preaching is not to present us with new and interesting ideas. It is rather to go on reminding us of certain fundamental and eternal truths.” In this day and age many in the churches seem to be abandoning the preaching and teaching of God’s Word in search of “new and interesting ideas” to “ add to the numbers of the church,” or to “entertain the congregation,” or to design the worship service for pagans. They have abandoned the revealed will of God and His Holy Word. There is a great need to understand that, just as in Josiah’s day, the Word of God has been lost in the houses of God!MAKING DISCIPLESIt is the particular and specific responsibility and duty of the pastors and teachers and those who have been placed in authority to shepherd the flock of God, to “make disciples of all nations.” The way in which we are told to do this is revealed in God’s Holy Word. Jesus, after telling his disciples that “all authority in heaven and in earth has been given unto me,” (Matthew 28) tells them (and us) to make disciples of all nations by “…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” Jesus does not say continue to come up with new and innovative ideas. Jesus does not say that in the year 2013 it would be necessary to come up with new and innovative programs and policies to compete with the entertainment industry. What the Lord Jesus is saying to His church, which is settled once and forever, is to teach others to “observe all things that He has commanded us.”In the Gospel of John in Chapter 17, the Lord Jesus Christ, in what is sometimes referred to as “Christ’s High Priestly Prayer” says that “the world has not known God.” When God reveals himself to any person through the Lord Jesus Christ, we are made new creations. We begin to “love not the world neither the things of the world…” and we really don’t want anything else. Indeed, in John 17:3 Jesus says, “This is eternal life that they might know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” What we are actually seeing today across and around the world is exactly the same. Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, still makes men (mankind) new. “If any man be in Christ he is a new creation.” (II Corinthians 5:17) The way to make disciples is revealed by the Lord who has all authority in heaven and in earth and it is to preach and to teach the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. What was true in Jesus’ day is still true today. The world still does not know God! Indeed, the greatest need in the world today is to know God!The world cannot know God except that the Word of God be preached and taught to all men everywhere. Not all will receive the Word of God, as is greatly demonstrated before our very eyes in this time in the world. We see that all men did not receive the Word of God in Paul’s day in Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth in the very first chapter. Nevertheless, we have one mission. We are to proclaim Christ crucified. We need to recognize that God’s Holy Word has been lost in many of the churches of God. Not only does the world not know God, but in many cases, the church does not know God. The “church” is continually trying to come up with new and innovative ideas to satisfy men with things that cannot satisfy them. It’s like trying to feed a hungry group with wind. It will not satisfy them. Alas, many in the church professing to believe God, do not know God and they do not know God’s law! (Martyn Lloyd-Jones Commentary on Ephesians circa 1964)In Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, he describes those who do not know God. They are under the wrath of God. In Romans 1:18 and following, the apostle Paul says that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness!” The apostle Paul goes on to say in that first chapter that“…because that which may be known of God is manifest in them for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing themselves to be wise they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man and birds and four footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness in the lust of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who has blessed forever. Amen” (Romans 1:19-25) Has not the law of God been lost in the temple (church) of God? Is there any hope? Is there anything that can be done? The short answer is yes! Through the Lord Jesus.THE REMEDYThe remedy for the condition of ungodliness that is prevailing in many of our churches, not only in this country, but around the world is the same as it has always been. We are still to preach the Gospel of Christ. We are still to make disciples of all nations. We are still to teach them to observe all things whatsoever that Jesus has commanded us.A.    A TRUE STORYOn one occasion I had the privilege of talking with the former pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Frank M. Barker, Jr. I remarked to him that I had never heard him preach a sermon without preaching, teaching, explaining, and expounding on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Dr. Barker explained to me that God had brought home to him the necessity of proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. He said first came the realization and knowledge that the Gospel of Christ is God’s power unto salvation to everyone that believes, both the Jew first and the Greek. Second, the Gospel of Christ does not grow old. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is “the same, yesterday, today and forever.” It is God’s power to change children “who are by nature children of wrath” into children of God adopted into His family and made heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.”Dr. Barker related to me that on one occasion he had had the privilege of leading a woman to Christ who had described to him that her husband was in the Army and was not a Christian and that she was worried for him. She asked Dr. Barker if he would talk to her husband. He, of course, said that he would. After some period of time went by, Dr. Barker noticed that this woman was in the congregation one morning with a man who was in uniform and Dr. Barker assumed that the man was her husband (he was). As Dr. Barker related the events, he preached what he said was to him “a fine sermon.” (He did not preach specifically the content of the Gospel of Christ.) After the sermon, He went down to speak to the woman and her husband and was surprised to find that the husband was not present and the woman was in tears. She told Dr. Barker that she had told her husband that if he would only come to church with her to hear Dr. Barker that her husband would hear and understand the Gospel of Christ and she had been disappointed that Dr. Barker had not proclaimed the Gospel of Christ in his sermon. Dr. Barker related to me that at that time he had purposed as the Lord led him to include the Gospel of Jesus Christ in every sermon.B.     THE CONTENT OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRISTThe Gospel of Jesus Christ is, of course, the proclamation of who Jesus is and what He has done. This revelation comes only from the Word of God. That is the reason why the rediscovery of the “lost” Word of God is so vitally important in our churches. Jesus, is God the Son, who according to the passage of Scripture which is set out above from the Gospel of John, has made all things from the beginning. He is God, and is with God, and in Him is life! Indeed, Jesus himself says that He is “the way, the truth, and the life and no man comes unto the Father, but by Him.” The amazing question is why would anyone think to try to come to the Father by any other way other than by Jesus? Why would the pilot who has to eject from his aircraft try to figure out some new and innovative way to make it to the ground when he has an ejection seat and a parachute that if he simply follows the directions will take him safely to the ground? The answer truly is that the God of this world has blinded the eyes of many. Including, many who are proclaiming themselves to be leaders in the church of God.      Even more amazing is that we are clearly told in many places the content of the Gospel of Christ. For example, the apostle Paul sets out in his first letter to the church at Corinth in the 15th chapter beginning with verse one the following:“Moreover brethren I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you – unless you believed in vain.For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.”Preaching the content of the Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ is the remedy. It is not complicated, nor is it hidden. We are called to preach the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. Do you know people who do not know God and do not know that they are lost? Be zealous to tell them of Jesus who is mighty to save. Preach the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ to this person or persons. Don’t worry about the result, that’s God’s business. You simply trust and obey. Call on them to surrender their will to the Lord’s will. That’s really what repentance is. It is a surrender of my will to God’s will and a determination to turn from my sinful way of life and turn to God’s revealed way to live. It involves returning to God’s law which is “more to be desired than gold, than much fine gold.” It is to receive through faith the sheer gift of forgiveness of all of my sin that I have ever committed or ever will commit. As I purpose to walk in the light that God gives me, or, as Paul writes to the church at Rome in the 8th chapter of his letter to the church at Rome “to fulfill the righteousness of the law,” I will get more light. Someone wrote many years ago that “light received bringeth light, light refused bringeth night. Who shall give us power to choose if the love of light we lose?” This is a true summary that as we get light we should endeavor to walk in the light, and amazingly God gives us more light. As we repent from our sin and place our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, God works the miracle of the new birth in each of us and brings about reconciliation with Himself by the blood of Christ. We are told this in Scripture in many places but particularly you can see that in the 2nd chapter of Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus.Therefore, let as many of us who are in positions to shepherd the flock of God be found faithful. Whether it be a small flock or a large flock, we are all called to shepherd the flock of God. Some have been given special responsibility as a pastor or a teacher, or an evangelist. If you are in that position, be diligent to be found faithful. “Study to show yourself approved unto God. A workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” Don’t be concerned about the results, but do be concerned about proclaiming the truth of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. God will grant the results as it seems good in His sight.THE CONCLUSIONA.    MAKE SURE THAT YOU KNOW GODDo you know the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you have that divine nature abiding in you and giving you new life in Christ? If not, surrender your will to the Lord’s Will and ask Him to take control of your life AND to direct your path, to give you saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentance unto life. The world is doomed! The world still does not know God. The most needed thing in the world today is not a new economic system, or, a new form of energy to be developed, it is to know the true and living God through the Lord Jesus Christ. In Him is life and it is the light of the world. It is nowhere else to be found! Preachers need to wake up! Call on your preacher and encourage him to preach the old, old story. Call on him to preach God’s Word. Help him to find God’s Word which is true from the beginning and is from “everlasting to everlasting!” Pray for him and keep on praying. If your preacher refuses to preach God’s Word, or if he is not being true to God’s Word, or if he is not preaching “all things whatsoever that [Christ] has commanded, ask him why not. Explain the truth to him. Tell him of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. Perhaps he’s not saved. There are many people who can scarcely believe that their preacher may not be saved, but it is true. Some of these men do not know the Lord God. Be zealous to tell both them and others of Jesus who is mighty to save. Tell your family. Tell your friends. Tell all that you know, and ask God to prepare the way for you to do these things and give you wisdom and knowledge and understanding and boldness and courage to be obedient.The Lord God has created all things. He created the heavens and the earth and all that is therein. Genesis 2 tells us the “history” of the creation of all things and that at that time, God declared that it was good! Adam and Eve rebelled, disobeyed God, and were banished from paradise. For those who want to proclaim that the greatest need in the world today is for an improved educational system, or an improved economical system, or some other man-created system, they need to understand that Adam and Eve were in paradise when they rebelled and fell. According to God’s Holy Word, Adam and Eve are real. They were our ancestors. Because of their sin we, who are their descendants, have been born sinners. The Bible describes us as “being by nature children of wrath.” Because we are “by nature” sinners, “children of wrath,” we choose to sin. The Scripture says that God, because of His great love wherewith He loved us, has chosen to redeem all of mankind who will surrender their will to the Lord Jesus Christ in true repentance and come unto Jesus through faith. In such a case, the Bible declares that all who have chosen to come to Jesus through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ have “passed from death into life and do not come into condemnation.” Nevertheless, all those who refuse to surrender their will to the Lord Jesus Christ and to place their trust in Him alone for their salvation are doomed! They will be damned! God’s Holy Word is true. The book of the law has been found in some places. Proclaim it and receive it as lifesaving truth that will raise the dead and give them eternal life in the Lord Jesus Christ.Near the end of Paul’s life, the apostle wrote to his young protégé Timothy. Paul was in prison in Rome, and Timothy was almost surely in Ephesus. (2 Timothy 4:19) Paul wanted to warn Timothy and so he told Timothy the following:“But know this that in the last days perilous times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traders, head strong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying its power. From such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of silly women loaded down with sins, lead away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth…”Paul goes in to tell Timothy the following “ but you must continue in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in the Lord Jesus Christ.”B.                 BE DOERS OF THE WORDPerhaps you have known from childhood the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, now you know, and I urge you to tell all that you know to everyone who will listen. Be zealous. We are in perilous times all around the world. Many sound commentators have consistently stated that we are drawing near to the return of Christ. We need to call men and women to surrender their wills to the Lord Jesus Christ in true repentance and place their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for their salvation. That, however, is not the ending point but it is the beginning point. We then desire to use “the weapons of our warfare, which are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds casting down imaginations and every vain thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,” and as Jude says in his epistle “to earnestly contend for the one true faith delivered to the saints.” We want to be “doers of God’s Word” and not merely “hearers of God’s Word.” The Word of God is not lost in all of the churches. The “Word of God is not bound” but is “alive and powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword and able to pierce to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and bone and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts.” As Paul writes to Timothy in 2nd Timothy in the 2nd Chapter to “remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my Gospel for which I suffer trouble as an evil doer even to the point of chains, but the Word of God is not bound. Therefore, I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.The great Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a child of God, and frequently referred to by many as the prince of preachers preached a sermon on March 11, 1888 regarding the infallibility of Scripture. This tells us of the absolute importance of the events that occurred during Josiah’s days when God’s book of the law was found, and it is equally important today that our churches repent and return to proclaiming the truth of God’s Holy Scripture. Spurgeon preached his sermon on Isaiah 1:20 which in part states “the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” This, of course, was proceeded by the call of the Lord to “come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” What Isaiah wrote, therefore, was spoken by Jehovah. Spurgeon closed his sermon on that Lord’s day morning with the following:            “By and by we shall all come to die. The death sweat shall gather on our brow, and perhaps our tongue will scarcely serve us. Oh! That then, like the grand old German emperor, we may say ‘Mine eyes have seen thy salvation,’ and ‘he hath helped me with his name.’ When we pass through the rivers he will be with us. The floods shall not overflow us; ‘For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.’ When we walk through the valley of the shadow of death we shall fear no evil, for He will be with us; His rod and His staff shall comfort us. ‘The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.’ Ah! What will it be to break loose from these bonds and rise into the glory? We shall soon see the King in His beauty and be ourselves glorified in His glory; for ‘the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.’ ‘He that believeth hath everlasting life;’ Therefore, a glad eternity is ours.            Brethren, we have not followed cunningly devised fables. We are not ‘wanton boys that swim on bladders,’ which will soon burst under us; but we are resting on firm ground. We abide where heaven and earth are resting; where the whole universe depends; where even eternal things have their foundation; we rest on God Himself. If God shall fail us, we gloriously fail with the whole universe, but there is no fear; therefore, let us trust and not be afraid. His promise must stand; for ‘the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.’ O, Lord, it is enough. Glory be to thy name, through Christ Jesus! Amen.”May the God of all peace who brought again our Lord Jesus Christ, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant make you perfect in every way to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be praise and glory and honor forevermore, and may He help you apply these truths to your life and that you would pass them on to others.Your friend and brother in Christ,                                         William Gray 

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