Intro. Moses has just shared with the people the Lord's commandments and His judgments, and the people promised:
I. "ALL THAT THE LORD HAS COMMANDED, WE WILL DO."
A. They made a solemn vow before the Lord to obey His law.
1. The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.
2. The statutes of the Lord are right.
3. The judgments of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.
B. Upon hearing them, there was really nothing to argue about. I am in full agreement with the commandments that this is the right way to live.
C. They promised to do all that the Lord had commanded, yet they broke their promise, and they broke the law of the Lord.
D. David spoke of his love for the law.
O how love I thy law! it [is] my meditation all the day.
I hate [vain] thoughts: but thy law do I love.
I hate and abhor lying: [but] thy law do I love.
1. Though David loved the Law of the Lord, and acknowledged that it was just and true, yet he broke the law of the Lord.
2. David was guilty of breaking several commandments; he coveted his neighbor's wife, committed adultery with her, then had her husband killed.
3. How many laws must you break to become a lawbreaker?
a. Just one.
b. The old English game of sinner.
c. James said if we keep the whole law, yet violate in one point, we are guilty of all.
d. Paul wrote:
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
E. Paul spoke highly of the law:
Wherefore the law [is] holy, and the commandments are holy, and just, and good.
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
1. Yet in speaking of the law, he said: "For I desire to do that which is good, yet I can't seem to find a way to do what I know to be good. For the good that I want to do, I do not: but the evil which I know to be wrong, I find myself doing.
F. What then is the problem, if the laws are holy, just and good, why do we not just keep them?
1. Why did Israel break their promise to God?
2. Why do we break our promises to God?
G. Paul declared that the law was spiritual and we are carnal.
H. Our carnal nature is sinful.
1. Paul wrote I know that in me, that is in my flesh, there dwelleth no good thing.
2. To the Ephesians he wrote: We were by nature the children of wrath even as others.
3. God Who sees all and knows all has made an assessment of mankind:
There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps [is] under their lips: Whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet [are] swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery [are] in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.
II. THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL LIED TO GOD WHEN THEY SAID THAT THEY WOULD DO ALL THAT GOD COMMANDED THEM TO DO. SO WE HAVE LIED TO GOD WHEN WE MADE PROMISES.
A. God knew that they were lying when they promised to keep His laws. He knows that you are lying when you make promises to Him.
B. How many of you have made promises to God that you have broken?
1. There are certain things that you promised God that you would do for Him, yet you didn't do them.
2. There were other things that you promised God that you would never do again, yet you did.
C. Man seems to have a history of broken vows and promises.
D. Why do we make promises to God?
1. Usually it is to seek to make a deal with God. "God if you will just do this for me, then this is what I will do for you."
2. David said:
I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows, Which my lips uttered, and my mouth spoke, when I was in trouble.
E. We make promises to ourselves that we break.
1. I think of the alcoholic, who has made so many promises never to drink again.
2. The person who promises to never smoke again.
3. The person who promises to himself that they are going to lose ten pounds.
F. I do not believe that the problem is a lack of sincerity. When a person makes a promise to God or themselves they are completely sincere.
1. I believe that they even believe themselves when they make the promise.
2. I believe that our disappointment with ourselves when we break the promise shows our sincerity.
3. God is never disappointed when you break your promise. He knew all the time that you could not keep it.
4. You see, making a vow is to put trust in our flesh, and Paul said, I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, there dwells no good thing.
III. IS THERE NO ANSWER FOR ALL THESE FAILURES TO KEEP OUR PROMISES TO GOD?
A. I guess the first answer is not to make promises to God.
1. Instead of promising God what you are going to do, pray to God that He will help you to do that which is right.
2. When Peter failed the Lord, Jesus said to him, "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
3. He has said the same thing to me many times. The problem is not a lack of willingness on my part, but the weakness of my flesh. As Paul acknowledged, "To will is present with me, but I cannot seem to find how to perform it."
B. If God would just leave us here, then Christianity would be like every other religion, setting unattainable goals and rules.
1. People are attracted to religion because of the ideal ethics that they espouse.
2. The ethics that Buddha taught are beautiful and idealistic. So with Confucius and Mohammed. But they could not infuse the power to live by the ethics, you are always seeking and hoping to ultimately attain.
3. The same is true of the ethics that Jesus taught. People are attracted to the idealism taught in the Sermon on the Mount.
4. The mistake is seeing them as just ethics and then trying to put them into practice.
C. What sets Christianity apart from the religions?
1. Jesus not only taught the right way to live, He fully practiced what he preached.
2. He made provisions for forgiveness for failure.
3. He then promised to come and indwell your life to give you the power to live the way God wants us to live.
a. You will receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be witnesses of me.
b. In that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you.
D. God has not changed His laws to accommodate our weakness. But He has taken residence within us to empower us to keep His ideal. Paul explains this in Romans 8
[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace.
Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.