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Sermon #30 — 1st John Series


      Title:                     The Law of Christ’s Kingdom


      Text:                                  1 John 3:23

      Subject:               The Law of Faith

      Date:                                Sunday Evening — April 7, 2013

      Tape#                              1st John #30

      Readings:           Mark Henson and Ron Wood



Every nation, every kingdom has a code of conduct which its citizens are required to obey. This code of conduct is the law of the land. The church, the kingdom of Christ, also has a law. It is a law higher, holier, freer, and more delightful than any law upon the earth. This evening I want to preach to you on — THE LAW OF CHRIST’S KINGDOM.


Brethren, we are the subjects of the King of heaven. And his law is written in our hearts. What is the believer’s law? The Apostle John tells us in the plainest words possible. — “And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another as he gave us commandment.”


I am addressing this subject this evening with much concern. I am fearful lest any of you should be carried away with the yoke of bondage. There are many who hold firmly to the doctrines of grace, who are yet under the law; and they try to bring the people of God back under the law as well. Dear friends, the law and the gospel are like oil and water; they will not mix. Ishmael, the covenant of works, must be kicked out of the house. He cannot dwell under the same roof with Isaac, the child of promise.


There is the law in all its terrible glory. The Ten Commandments fall upon us from Sinai, like crushing tables of stone. Yet, there are some who love that old law so much that they cannot get through a Sunday without the law being read in their hearing, accompanied by the mournful petition, — “Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep thy law.” Some are even so foolish as to enter into a baptismal covenant for their infant children, promising that they shall keep all God’s holy commandments, and walk in them all the days of their lives.


How foolish are those who live under the law! What cruel deceivers they are who try to bring God’s children back under the law! They want us to wear a yoke which neither they nor their fathers could bear. Many are the poor people of God who daily groan under the awful burden of the law. Every Sunday they go to church hoping to find comfort and peace by the gospel; but the preacher knows only the whip of the law. They are taught to seek righteousness where it cannot be found, peace where there is only terror, and assurance where there is only condemnation.


I wish that in every church where the law is preached as a rule of life, a means of justification, a means of sanctification, a basis of assurance, or a measure of godliness, these words may be printed in some conspicuous place — “Ye are dead t the law by the body of Christ…Christ is the END of the law!”


God the Holy Spirit teaches us to look away from the killing ordinances of the old law. It is written, “as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse, for it is written: Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” With determined hearts, let us turn away from all trust in our obedience to the Ten Commandments; and with joy, submit to the law of or text. “This is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ.”


My soul, no more attempt to draw

Thy life and comfort from the law.


The law brings death, but never life. It gives misery without measure, but never comfort. All that the law can do is convince and condemn. When will religious people, especially preachers, learn the difference between the law and the gospel? What deadly potions of witchcraft are given in most places of religious worship! The preacher mixes an ounce of gospel to a pound of law! Even a grain of law is enough to destroy it all. Our doctrine is and must be all grace or all law. It cannot be both. There is no mixing of the two. — “If by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace; otherwise work is no more work.”


Free from the law, O happy condition!

Jesus hath bled, and there is remission!

Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall,

Christ hath redeemed us, once for all.

Now are we free; there’s no condemnation!

Jesus provides a perfect salvation!



Proposition: This is the thing that I want you to see —– Though the believer is entirely free from the law of Moses, he is not licentious; the law of God is established in his heart.


In this church we will not be subject to any creeds, confessions, or covenants written by men. The children of this household will not be bound by signing any documents or covenants. We have but one requirement of faith. — “Believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ.” If you believe, you shall find a warm welcome here. And we have but one rule of conduct for our members, — “Love one another.”


Divisions: Now as we look at THE LAW OF CHRIST’S KINGDOM and the establishment of that law in the hearts of God’s elect, I want to make three statements:

  1. Every man outside of Christ is under the law.
  2. The believer is entirely free from the law.
  3. Yet, the children of God are not lawless.


The Word Law


Let me be clear in my speech. I want no one to misunderstand me. The word law is used in the Scriptures in many ways.

  1. Law sometimes means the entire Volume of Inspiration. The revealed will of God is spoken of as the law of God.
  2. Sometimes the law refers to the Pentateuch, the five books of Moses, Genesis to Deuteronomy.
  3. Sometimes the law refers to the ceremonial institutions of the Old Testament.
  4. And sometimes the word law refers to the moral law, the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments.


Now, it is the moral law, the Ten Commandments that I refer to in this message. The child of God is not under the moral law in any way.


Under Law


1st — Let me begin by saying that EVERY PERSON OUTSIDE CHRIST IS UNDER THE LAW. If you are an unbeliever, without Christ, you are under the law to God. All men, by nature, are under the law.


Every man is obliged to keep the law of God perfectly. In heart, mind, and spirit you must perfectly obey God’s law. Your thoughts as well as your actions must conform exactly to the requirements of God.

  1. Yet, you have no ability to obey the law. The law requires perfection, but it gives no strength to perform.
  2. Indeed, you have in every point broken the law.


Being guilty of sin, every man is under the curse of the law. We broke the law in the fall of our father Adam, and we break it by our own transgressions. Since all are guilty, all are condemned without excuse.

  1. Every man is condemned. The law of God written upon a man’s conscience condemns him.
  2. Every man is under the bondage of the law, unable to free himself from its curse and condemnation.


Free from the Law


2nd — But, I hasten to say that EVERY BELIEVER IS ENTIRELY FREE FROM THE LAW! (Romans 6:14, 15; 7:1-4; 10:4). This is the blessed liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. There is no sense in which the child of God is the servant of the law. Those who try to force God’s people into subjection to the law run contrary to every principle of the gospel. Let me demonstrate the fact of our freedom from the law by answering some questions.


Why was the law given? — If we insist that the law has no dominion over the believer, what was the purpose of the giving of the law? (Galatians 3:19)


1.    There are some things plainly set forth in the Scriptures which the law cannot do.

  • The law cannot justify a sinner (Galatians 2:16).
  • The law cannot sanctify a believer (Galatians 3:3).
  • The law cannot make a believer acceptable to God in any measure.
  • The law cannot give assurance.
  • The law cannot comfort.
  • The law cannot provide a believer with a true motive and incentive to serve God.


Righteousness and holiness are never produced in any measure by the law (Galatians 2:21).


2.    Yet the law was given for a definite purpose.


We do not diminish the law. We do not make the law void. Rather we establish the law of God. It is holy, perfect, and just, and good. But we must not make the law what God never intended it to be.

  • The law was given to convince men of sin, by revealing the perfect character of God.
  • The law was given to condemn sin in the flesh — “That ever mouth may be stopped and all the world become guilty before God.”
  • The law was given to point men to Christ (Galatians 3:24-25).
  • The law was given as the standard of judgment.


How are we freed from the law (Galatians 3:13; Romans 7:4, 8:3; 10:4)?

·      The righteousness of Christ.

·      The death of Christ.

·      Faith in Christ.


How free are we?

·      We have no curse from the law.

·      We have no covenant with the law.

·      We have no constraint by the law.

·      We have no commitment to the law (Romans 10:4).


Why must we refuse to be entangled again with the law (Galatians 5:1-4; 1 Timothy 1:7-10)?


NOTE: The legalist is the real antinomian.

(Jude 4)


Not Lawless



3rd — BUT THE CHILDREN OF GOD ARE NOT LAWLESS (1 John 3:23). The believer is, by the new birth, made the partaker of the new covenant; and he is brought under the influence of a new law, the law written on his heart in the new creation of grace (Compare Jeremiah 31:33-34 and Hebrews 8:8-10; 10:16-17).





Don Fortner








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