Online Text Sermon - The Law as Schoolmaster, Galatians ch.3 v.24
|Preacher||Rev. Maurice Roberts, Inverness|
|Sermon Title||The Law as Schoolmaster|
|Text||Galatians ch.3 v.24 |
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Let us turn to the Epistle to the Galatians chapter 3 and the text is found at verse 24. This is Galatians, in the New Testament, chapter 3, verse 24: "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (Galatians 3,24). "The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (text).
Before we have anything important to do in life we need to prepare ourselves for it. You would not, if you were invited to go the Queen, simply get the bus down to the palace without some preparation. You would pay attention to what you were to wear. You would give some thought as to the words you would use when you met Her Majesty the Queen. Because when you meet kings and queens and great people, obviously you have to be on your best behaviour and you have to remember who you're speaking to and how you're going to speak.
The same will be true if you were a footballer; if you had some important match to play, maybe in one of the great sides of this country, or perhaps even one of the ordinary football teams you could not just simply rest for the whole week and then expect to do your best on the day. You would need to prepare and you would spend the week in training. You'd be running to keep your body fit and you'd be kicking the ball so as to make sure you were in full practice. The same is true with examinations; you don't just walk into the examination room when school examinations or college examinations are being held, if you do that, you know that you're going to fail. No, you have to practice first. You revise, you go over the notes, you think over what you have learned and you try to spot the questions. And you imagine how you can use the information you've learned in the question paper when you see it. So for all these things, you prepare yourself in one way or another.
Now the Bible is given to us by God to prepare us, to prepare not for meeting the king, or queen. Not preparing simply for some examination in this world but to prepare us to meet God in the end; because we're all going to have to meet God. And there are many foolish people in this world who are just not preparing themselves for that meeting. They're really like people who are asleep. They don't realise that in the end of life they're going to have to meet God whether they like to do or not, whether they believe in Him or not. And they're taking no trouble over it all. They're not thinking about it, they're not preparing for it. They're not even considering what they will need to know and do and be in order for that great interview with God. I'm looking today at words from the Bible that show us how to prepare for our meeting with God. I have given you the text, I give it you again, Galatians 3, verse 24: "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (text).
I'm going to look here at four things with you. First of all at the law and ask what it is? And at this word schoolmaster, to ask what it means? Then, thirdly, I'm going to look at the question of being brought to Christ, which we're told about and finally what's meant by being justified? And all these four things come from the words in this text: "the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (text). Let me tell you again the four things I want to look at: first of all "the law". What do we mean by "the law"? Second, this "schoolmaster". And third, what it means that it has brought us to Christ. And lastly what it means to be "justified by faith". And all of this deals with one subject, and that is the subject of preparing for the meeting with God. Preparing for the day when we're going to have an interview with God.
Now some people say 'I don't believe in God' and 'I'm not interested in God', but it doesn't make the slightest difference. There are some people who may not believe in Australia but it doesn't make Australia disappear. What we believe doesn't alter truth, it doesn't alter the reality. Some persons may say 'I don't believe in the south pole', but the south pole is there, whether people believe in it or not and whether people believe in God or disbelieve in Him doesn't in any sense alter the fact that God exists.
1. THE LAW
So then, let's look at these words this evening. What is meant by "the law"? Well, the law means the 10 commandments. There were indeed other sorts of law in the Old Testament: there were ceremonies and special holy days, and sacrifices and sprinklings with water and sprinklings with blood. But I don't think that's what's meant here so much as the 10 commandments. So what we're referring to here when we listen to this word law is God's moral law; the standard of right and wrong.
Let me just remind you what the moral law, these 10 commandments, say, because they're given to us by God to be the standard of what is expected of us all. God expects us to be like these commandments. There are two parts to the 10 commandments; what we call the first table of the law and then the second table of the law. The first table of the law deals with the way we are to think of God and the way we are to treat God and the way we are to speak to God. And then the second table of the law deals with the way we are to talk to one another and speak to one another and the way we are to treat one another. So the moral law, the 10 commandments are perfect, absolutely perfect. They tell us exactly how we are to live and it covers everything, there's nothing in all our lifetime that's not covered in one way or another within the 10 commandments. The way we are to treat God first of all and then the way we are to treat one another.
So what do these 10 commandments say? I'll give you first of all the first table of the law. And the first commandment says "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20,3), the true God, the God of the Bible, who is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are told by the first commandment we are not to worship any other gods. We are not to dabble in witchcraft, we are not to dabble in spiritualism, we are not to use wee gee boards or magic of any kind; superstition of any kind; we're not to deal with anything like that. We're not to deal with things that are forbidden by God. We're not to worship the virgin Mary. We're not to worship angels. We're not to worship the Pope; we're not to worship anything; any other god in all the world. There's only the true God who is the God of the Bible.
And then the second commandment tells us this: it says "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image" (Exodus 20,4) that means we're not to make any pictures of God; we're not to try and make God into the shape of anything. You know some people paint pictures of their god and if you go to some countries you'll see horrible statues of their gods. They look like dragons rather than gods. But the Bible says we're not to make pictures or statues or images of the true God.
And the third thing it says is "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain" (Exodus 20,7) that is we're not to swear; we're not to curse; we're not to blaspheme. I know lots of people are doing it and it's so common today for people to say 'Oh God this', and 'Oh God that' and 'Oh God the next thing'. We mustn't do it, never let that word 'Oh God' come out of your mouth unless you say 'Oh God' with love and reverence and worship. That's all right. But if you say 'Oh God' in a blasphemy and swearing way that's a sin against God. And people do it so commonly, I was in London just a few days ago for instance, to take one example, and I was in a queue of people getting some food in a little place where we were eating and the man coming up behind me was in a bit of a hurry or something and he said to me something like this 'Oh God' he said and I felt so sorry for him, poor man, he didn't know that that's forbidden, he should have known, but he didn't know and he was using the glorious name of God carelessly.
Now the forth commandment talks about the Sabbath day. "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Exodus 20,8). Not a day for shopping for instance, the Christian Sabbath is the Lord's day, the first day of the week, Sunday. Not a day for shopping and gardening and cleaning our cars and dusting in our houses. We have all the other 6 days for that. It's a day for worshiping and resting from these other things. It's a day for coming together to worship God, after all, God has given us 6 days for our own things and He's only asked for 1 day in the 7 for Himself and His worship. And that's not asking too much, 6 days you can do your work and clean your car and garden and all the other things you have to do. That's right, but on this day, says God 'No'. No shopping, no picnicking, no gardening, no washing of cars; we come together to the house of worship. And God will bless us for doing what He says. He will do us good, He will bless us and help us and He'll be gracious to us if we do these things.
Now that's the first four commandments; the first table of the law. My hand does this because I'm imagining in my own mind that's the shape of these two tables of the law. They were written with the finger of God, can you imagine that? They were given to the world through Moses and they were written with the very finger of God because they were so important. God didn't write much in the Bible directly. It's all His words but usually He spoke through men's minds and mouths. So the 10 commandments were so vital He actually wrote them with His own finger on these two tables of stone. That's why they're so important.
Now the second of these tables of stone deal with the way we are to treat one another. And of course that's very important because it's so easy to mistreat one another, there's so many people and they're crying their eyes out because other people are unkind to them or because other people are rough with them. The Bible tells us how to treat one another. And this is something of great interest to the Lord. How do I treat other people? And how should I treat other people? What's the right way that God commands? Well this is what's talked about now in the second table.
And the first of these commandments, commandment number 5 is this: "Honour thy Father and thy mother" (Exodus 20,12). Now that means that when we are children we must respect our mothers and our fathers. We must give them honour, we don't give them cheek. We're not disrespectful to them. We should love our mothers and love our fathers. And when they tell us to do things which are right we must do them with a good will and a good spirit and even when we're older as some of us who are. We have had our parents still living very old; my mother was in her nineties when she passed away. But even so, even when we're grown up and not children any more we still honour our father and mother and we never get cross with them and we never be disrespectful to them. In America it's very lovely to see how these boys and girls are taught when they see their fathers and mothers to say 'Yes sir' and 'No sir'. They don't just say 'Yes' and 'No' as we tend to do in this country these days but when a child addresses its father and mother in many families they are taught to say 'Yes sir' and 'No sir'. You see, respect and honour. Now if we did more of that and had more respect for one another it would be a much happier world. These commandments are not made to make people miserable but to make them happy and wise and to do the right thing. I've got other reasons that I'll look at in a moment. So then that's what the commandment number 5 tells us.
Now let's go on quickly, I must be brief here obviously - commandment 6 tells us "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20,13). Now that's very sensible, we're not to kill anybody. We're not to kill another human being and we're not to hurt them, let's never stamp on people or punch them or bruise them, we're not to do that. That's a sin says God, that's wrong. We mustn't hit people, we mustn't attack people, we mustn't jump on people so as to hurt them, that's wrong. Anything that hurts another person says God, is wrong. We mustn't do that.
And then commandment number 7 says "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (Exodus 20,14). That's something more for grown up people. It means that when we are not married we daren't treat anybody else as though we were married to them before we're married to them. As soon as we're married to somebody then we become one flesh and we belong to one another and it's alright to be very friendly and intimate with one another. But before we're married says God we mustn't do that. You must be a little bit at a distance from one another, of course you can be friendly and kind but only so far, no adultery says God, no going too far.
And then the next commandment number 8 says "Thou shalt not steal" (Exodus 20,15). We're not to steal from one another. We're not to steal from other people. Because even though others are not noticing God can see. And I remember a story years ago which stuck in my mind; that there was a man who was a father and he had a son. And this man wanted to get some cabbages so he went into the farmer's field with a sack and he was going to steal these cabbages, you understand, and put them in the sack like this. And the little boy was with him and the little boy was watching and the father didn't know much about the commandments but the little boy had been to the Sunday school so he watched his father and before the father began to put these cabbages in the sack he looked this way and then that way and then this way and then he saw nobody around so he just bent down to put the cabbages in the sack, when this little boy said 'Daddy' 'Yes' he said, 'You looked that way and that way and that way, but' he said, 'You didn't look that way'. God was looking down and he had forgotten that. You see whatever we do God is looking down, always, God doesn't go to sleep. He doesn't take a nap He's always watching. And even if people do things in the dark with closed doors and the windows shut and the curtains drawn in pitch dark, God sees everything we do.
Now the eighth commandment tells us we're not to steal as I say. The ninth commandment tells us not to tell lies - very important. Telling lies is a great sin. And the tenth commandment tells us we're not to be greedy, selfish, covetous, lustful. See the trouble is all our wickedness begins in our minds. Somebody has a new car and I say to myself I wish it was mine so I try to get in it - I open it you see and I try to drive off. Now I would never have done that if the thought had not first come into my mind. So the Bible says we're not even to think that sort of thing. If he's got a new car then thank God that he's got it and be very glad and happy that he's got it. Better that he should have it than you should have it. God will give you what you need if you trust in Him.
Now one thing more about this law, the 10 commandments or the law which is mentioned here - it can tell us a lot of things which we should do and it can tell us a lot of things we shouldn't do. But there's one thing the 10 commandments cannot do: they cannot forgive our sins. The 10 commandments were not given to us to forgive our sins. And all the sins we do get more and more and more as we get older until we get so many sins we have millions and millions of sins, every one of us, I'm not talking about other people, I'm talking about all of us; we're all the same. All the wrong things we've thought and said and done. And we cannot get to heaven by our own goodness, by our own good works. I say that because plenty of people try to do that, they try to get to heaven by keeping the 10 commandments.
In the summer time you notice from time to time that a fly gets into the house, happens in our house, not very often, but every now and again, a fly comes in through the door or through the window. And what they do is they make for the window - have you noticed? And the fly tries to get through the glass, it buzzes and makes a lot of noise, it's trying to get through the glass which is, let's say, an eighth of an inch thick. And you know that this fly can go on buzzing and buzzing and buzzing if it likes for a hundred years, it still will never get through the glass. But it keeps on trying to get through the glass. Now that's a picture of how people are when they try to get to heaven by keeping the 10 commandments or being good. We cannot get to heaven by our own goodness anymore than a fly can go through glass. It is impossible. But most of the people in this world are trying to get to heaven that way. They say, if I'm only good enough and if I'm religious enough and if I'm well enough behaved I'm sure I'll get to heaven. Let me tell you dear friends you won't get to heaven that way. The moral law, the 10 commandments is never given to us by God to be a ladder to get to heaven. It's a terrible mistake.
Now not so much time can be spent on the other 3 points. But the second of the three points to come is this: you notice that in the text it says "the law was our schoolmaster" (text). And the "schoolmasters" the second thing I'm going to look at.
2. THE SCHOOLMASTER
What's meant here? Well a schoolmaster in the days when the Bible was written was somebody who was paid not so much to teach the child, but to accompany the child from their house to their school. Their job was to be with the child travelling on foot from the house to the school and the school back to the house. Of course there were no buses in those days. There were no motor cars, there were no bicycles. People walked to school in the days of the ancient Greeks and the ancient Romans. The motor car had not yet been invented of course as you all know. So you can picture it: here's the young boy going to school and he has his satchel or his bag if you like round his shoulder and beside him is a tall burly man and the father of the boy is paying money for this man to take him to school and take him back home. And he is called here a schoolmaster. He's not actually the teacher you understand, but simply to accompany the boy to and fro.
Now in the case of the boy being at school like this, if this is the schoolroom the boy sits at the desk and this schoolmaster will sit at the back somewhere and he had either a cane or leather belt and if he saw that the boy was not listening or was fidgeting or if saw the boy was not paying attention or was being cheeky his duty was to call the boy to the back and he would give him a belt on the hand 'And now go and sit down and be good' he'd say. And the boy would have to say 'Yes sir, I'm sorry' and he would go back to his seat. And his duty, the schoolmaster's duty, was to be stern and to frown at the boy and to growl at him when he didn't do his duty. He was to put the child in a fear of doing what was wrong. Now that's what this text of the Bible, this verse of the Bible is talking about. It says the law is like a schoolmaster it growls at us and frowns on us, it makes us afraid of the wrong things that we do, it makes our conscience afraid of God.
Now we have 2 words that I'm going to use here, and then I'll use an illustration to show the difference. The reason why God has given these 10 commandments is not to save us as I pointed out, it is to make us afraid of the sins that we have done. One of the terrible things about this world is that many people are not afraid of doing wrong. I was in London for a few days, I had to be there at the conference and what a place London is, what a place - a terrible place at 2 o'clock in the morning you get people standing outside this house shouting at one another. They'd been drinking or something and they're shouting this terrible language, cursing and blaspheming God, at the top their voices at 2 o'clock in the morning. They have no fear of anybody. Now that's a shocking state of affairs. When people do what is wrong they need to be made to be afraid. Now we use 2 words, I'm going to give you the words and then I'll explain the difference between them.
The moral law was given to us by God to give us conviction and compunction. Now those 2 words are difficult let me explain them. Supposing here we have a candle. You know there's a candle holder and there's a candle and its been lit up so its now burning, there's the candle flame. Now conviction means lighting a candle inside your conscience and showing you what is wrong with your life. You can imagine in an old house there's an attic at the top of the house and nobody goes in there except, maybe once every few years. And you can imagine somebody going up the stairs into the attic and opening the door, but it's perfectly dark, so you can't see anything in the attic and you don't know whether it's clean or dirty or anything. But then if you light a candle you can see the whole place is covered in dirt and cobwebs in the windows. And the whole place is thick with half an inch of dust. You didn't see it before, well that's like your life. People don't see the cobwebs in their life and the dust in their life and the dirt in their life and the sin in their life until God in the moral law lights the candle. That's what we call conviction. I remember when I got this conviction. I was a boy aged 18, and I hadn't got any knowledge of the Bible really at all, just a little. But God began to light a candle in my conscience and I began to see the dirtiness of my life, I began to see that I was a sinner. And I began to be afraid. I remember being on a train, and the train was going along at a great speed and I began for the first time in my life to realise that if the train crashed and I was killed I wasn't fit to go to God, I was only fit to go to hell. And I began to be afraid because God was lighting a candle in my mind. We call it conviction.
Well now what is compunction? Now compunction is this: it's when God as it were takes your finger and He puts it into the flame of the candle until you feel the pain and the burning. I had that too when I was 18, I realised I was a terrible sinner, so much so I was afraid of God. For the first time in my life I began to be afraid of God and I realised that I was a wicked sinner. Now that was conviction and compunction. And how did that come? It came to me through the Bible, through knowledge of the law, the 10 commandments. It destroyed my self-confidence. I wonder if there is somebody here who has began to see the dust and the cobwebs in their own life and when you look back in your life you realise you have not lived a perfect life, far from it, you've lived a life which is very sinful - well that's a good thing, when that happens it's a good thing. It's a good thing to know that you're a sinner, most of the people don't even know it, they're going to hell with their eyes wide open. Nobody has told them, that's why we have churches and Bibles to tell people that they are needing God's forgiveness.
3. BEING BROUGHT TO CHRIST
Let's go onto the third thing which tells us this: it says, "the law was our school master", thirdly "to bring us unto Christ", "to bring us unto Christ" (text). Now who is Christ? Well, He is different from us, Christ is the name we give to the Son of God, He is God Himself, the eternal Son of God. There is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, these are the three persons of God, now Christ is the second person, the Son of God. And He came down into this world, He was born into the world - being God, He became man "the Word was made flesh" (John 1,14). When did it happen? 2000 years ago. He was born at Bethlehem, born of the virgin Mary, it was a miraculous birth - it had to be - so that He would be not a sinner like you and me but holy, without sin. And He came to save us, that's why He got the name Jesus. God said that when this little baby boy is born you must give Him the name Jesus which means Saviour. He shall save His people from their sins (Matthew 1,21). He didn't come to condemn us He came to save us.
And He did that by 2 wonderful things in His life. First of all He kept the 10 commandments. He is the only person in the history of the world who perfectly kept the 10 commandments. Isn't that amazing? He lived all those years, 33 years in this world with all the temptations, the wicked things coming into His mind from outside, and all the suggestions and evil words, He heard people curse, He heard people blaspheme, He saw the way they lived in wickedness, but all the years of His life Christ never once, not for a moment sinned against God. He never broke any of the commandments. That's the first things He did to save us. And the next thing He did to save us was this: it was to take our sins upon Himself. They were laid upon Him and He was crucified upon the cross at the end of His life. He allowed them to nail His hands and feet to the cross - that wooden cross there outside Jerusalem - He allowed the sins of the world to be punished in Him. My sins and your sins, Oh friends this is the most wonderful thing of all, Jesus bore our sins Himself. Isn't that wonderful news? He allowed God to curse Him for us.
Now I have a story which helps a little bit to understand what this means. Let me give you the story it comes from America. There was a very rough school years ago in America and no school teacher could look after these boys properly they were just so wild. It was in the days when the American continent was a pretty raw and rough place, it's not like that today, but it was in these days. This is a frontier school right up on the outskirts of civilisation as they were moving westwards and this little wooden school of maybe 20 boys and they were absolutely unmanageable. And one school teacher would come and they couldn't stand it, another would come and he couldn't stand it and so on. And these boys knew that they were winning. Whoever came along they were winning and every school teacher had to clear out, he couldn't take anymore, until one day a new teacher came. A little fellow, a quiet fellow and of course the boys were very good for an hour or two sizing him up.
And the first thing that the teacher did was this: a got his chalk on the blackboard. 'Now boys', he said, 'you're going to make the rules not me, you tell me what rules we're going to have in this school'. Alright this was new, no teacher had ever asked for that before. So the boys looked at each other in amazement - 'we make the rules?' 'Oh yes' said the teacher 'you make the rules'. Well one boy thought and he said 'I know Sir, if a boy steals another boy's lunch he must be punished'. 'That's good', said the teacher. So he wrote that down on the blackboard so they could all see it. If a boy steals a boy's lunch he is punished. Now said the teacher 'What will the punishment be?' The boys had never heard this sort of thing before, so they got their heads together. And one of them speaking for the rest, he said, 'Sir', he said, 'I'll tell you, the punishment will be he must come to the front, and must have his shirt stripped off his back, he must lie over the desk and you must hit him Sir, six times with the cane on his back'. 'Fine', said the teacher, 'A good one'. So he put it on, 'You all see it, you all see the rules?' 'Yes sir' 'You all see the punishment?' 'Yes Sir'.
Well this kind of teacher was so new they were really very good for several days - they liked this little fellow. He was so fair and he gave them a part in the running of the school which was all very new to them. Well one day as you can guess somebody's lunch went missing and the teacher said 'Who is it?' Nobody spoke up, eventually from going to desk to desk and looking inside they discovered it was this little fellow who sat in the front, just a thin weak, weedy chap, the weakest boy in the class had stolen somebody's lunch. 'Come out here', said the teacher, 'Strip of your shirt', he said. The boy did and you could see his ribs sticking out, his arms were as thin as a rake. 'Lie over the desk' said the teacher with his cane, he was about to thrash him on the back when the biggest boy in the class said 'Stop Sir, you'll kill him', he said, 'He's only a weedy fellow, look at the size of him'. 'Alright, stand aside', so the boy put his shirt on, 'Who's going to take his place?' And the biggest boy in the class said 'I'll take his place, I'll take the punishment, somebody's got to suffer, it's on the board, somebody's got to suffer'. 'You come out', said the teacher. And the biggest boy in the class took his shirt off, leaned over the table and took the six blows of the cane. 'Now', said the teacher, 'there's a lesson for you all boys, when we sin somebody has to suffer and that's what happens' said the teacher, 'we have sinned and God sent His son to suffer for us, you understand?' and the boys had never heard this before. 'Jesus suffered for us?' 'He bore our sin and He is the Saviour'.
And that's what the moral law is given to do - it's given to drive us to Christ: to bring us to Christ. The moral law can't take us to heaven, you can be as good as gold all the rest of your life, but you're not good enough for God. For God you've got to be perfect and there's not one of us perfect, is there? Tell me later on the way out as you shake my hand if you're perfect and I'd be delighted to meet you. I'm not perfect, I'm a great sinner and I think we all are, aren't we? And we know it, don't we? How then can we get to heaven? The 10 commandments can't get us there, but Christ can get us there. He suffered for us, He bore the sin. And so you could say that the 10 commandments are a sort of sheepdog.
Have you ever thought of sheep and sheepdogs? It's a wonderful instinct God has given to a sheepdog, there you have a field full of sheep and here you have a dog and you blow the whistle and by some wonderful instinct the sheep dog runs after the sheep - it goes this way and that way and that way - and you watch it'll get all those sheep together through the gate into the next field, because that's its instinct and that's what the 10 commandments do: they tell us 'you're a sinner, you're a sinner, you're a sinner' and like the sheepdog it goes from side to side driving us into the door which is Christ, that we may be saved.
Now this is very urgent, this is very important. We can only be saved in this life. If we die without Christ, it's too late. I once heard a story about some card players, they were playing cards, I don't think that's a good thing to do by the way, but they were playing cards for money. And you know they were giving out the cards, four men around the table right at the top of a building - a high block of flats and they were doling out these cards one to another. And they were playing hour upon hour for money, gambling and betting. If you won the round then you got the money, if you lost then he got the money. Now at some time in the course of playing this game of cards they heard the fire alarm going - they all stopped of course - 'that's fire', they said, 'there must be fire down in the building'. One of the men said, 'It's alright, I happen to have the keys to the fire escape in my pocket. We can have another round of cards before we quietly go down. Don't get alarmed, don't panic. I've got the key, there's the door that leads outside to the metal fire escape. Dole out the cards once more.' So they did and then when they'd finished the round they said, 'Well we'd better go now hadn't we? I can smell smoke it's coming up under the door. It must be getting higher.' 'That's fine', said the man, 'let me get that key ... I haven't got it', he said, 'I left it in my other suit'. Then the real panic, how could they get downstairs? The flames were coming to meet them. You see we mustn't put this off, this is urgent, don't say to God, 'I'll come to Christ next year, or the year after, it's too soon, I'm too young I want to enjoy my life'. My friends, it's urgent, you never know whether we're going to have another year of life or even another day, or even another hour. We must get right with God.
4. BEING JUSTIFIED
And that's what my forth point talks about: being "justified by faith" (text). Do you know what that means? Well perhaps you don't. It's like putting on a suit of clothes in order to cover all the dirt and nakedness of our body. And that's what I was reading to you about, wasn't it? Do you remember the story Jesus told, the parable, he talked about a wedding feast. And when you went into this wedding feast the person who organised it gave to all the people a new suit of clothes, so they all put on this suit of clothes called a wedding garment and everybody had to wear it for the wedding. It was the gift of the man who organised the wedding - they all got the wedding garment and they sat down to enjoy the food. But did you notice when the lord, or the master of the feast came in through the door his eyes went all the way round the guests, every one and then he saw one who did not have a new suit on, a wedding garment. And he said to him 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' The man was speechless, his face became red with shame, he hadn't got it on. 'Take him and throw him out', said the man. And that's what happens to men and women who meet God without this wedding garment of justification and salvation and faith and righteousness on them. God will take those people who are not believers in Christ and He will throw them out of this world into a terrible world to come. If you don't believe that I'm telling you the truth read the Bible for yourself.
I had a nice experience last night. I was due to fly from London, leaving London at 8 o'clock and I was so relaxed, so happy to be coming back to this lovely town of Inverness and to see you all today and I was hoping to get out of the plane at Inverness, God willing at 9:30pm. I when I got to the airport at Gatwick, this is what they said, 'Sir, there's a problem you'll have to take an earlier plane'. So I was taken to the plane in a airport vehicle and I sat beside the driver and he began to talk to me and he said 'What do you do?' and I said, 'Oh, I'm a minister' 'Really', he said and then he said this question, he said, 'what's the most important advice people ever gave you?' 'Well, I'll tell you at once; it is to believe in Christ as my Saviour, I did that', I said, 'forty three years ago. How about you, are you interested?' 'Oh', he said, 'I've never been to church in many years.' 'Well', I said, 'I've got a little New Testament, I'll give it to you, you read it, the Gospel of John - how to be justified and saved.' 'Oh', he said, 'I'll take it'. So he took it and we talked on a bit more about the gospel then he went his way and I went mine.
Why do I say that? It's because only one thing matters in this life, it is to be prepared to meet God and to be prepared you must have Jesus as your Saviour and the wedding garment that He speaks about: the righteousness which He requires sinners to wear. If we have it we are fit to meet God and if we don't have it we are not fit to meet God and if you say to me, 'But I haven't got the wedding garment'. Then I say to you dear friend ask the Lord to put the wedding garment on you and He will, because God is kind and ready to forgive. But if you harden your heart and say 'I'm not interested in God, He can go His own way', He will find you out in the end and you'll be punished eternally.
But I don't' want to end on that note. I want to remind you that the 10 commandments are given, like a sheepdog to drive us to Christ. You boys and girls sitting here, sitting so nicely, you older ones have you found Christ as your Saviour? Don't leave it long, because when the master comes at the end of the world He will look at us all and He will say, 'Have you got the wedding garment?' And if not it'll be too late to get it then.
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