Exodus 20. 1-17
SIX CHIEF PARTS SERMON SERIES
Lententide Midweek Vespers One
21 February Anno Domini 2013
Father Jay Watson SSP
In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost
The Ten Commandments are the Law of God—the Torah. Correctly speaking all Scripture contains Law—the requirements, demands, commands, and will of the Lord for His beloved creatures. Specifically speaking, in the so-called “narrow sense,” by Law we mean the two tables of stone upon which God wrote the Ten Commandments and gave to Moses, to give to his people.
Centuries before this, Adam and Eve had God’s will perfectly placed in their hearts and minds, and they could have kept the Word of the Lord, but they chose to rebel and follow their own will.
It has been such ever since. To teach man that the answer was not inside of man, inside of his blackened and sin-corrupted heart, God gave the Law “extra nos” (outside of us) externally and objectively written by His sacred hand, His Holy finger (Holy Spirit) upon two tablets of stone. And though even pagans, as Paul tells you, have a sense of “right and wrong” still written on their pagan hearts (as do you), the fickle heart and the world’s opinion can be changed, manipulated, and twisted for self…whereas the Word of the Lord is immutable and stands forever.
In Lententide you do well to daily read the Ten Commandments as a mirror and Holy indictment against everything you’ve done and everything you’ve said, and…everything you’ve thought. You are a dead man; a dead woman. Your guilt shouts “condemned” against you to the heavens. Your neighbor may not know what you’ve done, but the angels know. I should recite each of the ten right now again, and apply them to everyone in this room. The ten are best summarized and condensed the way Our Lord Christ did. All ten may be spoken of as the two great tables: Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength—THIS is the greatest law; and the second is like unto it—Love your neighbor as yourself. The Lord does for the Ten Commandments what Dr. Luther does for the key doctrinal teachings of the entire Bible—He distills, refines, and extracts the “heart,” kernel, gem of the essence. Luther took the Bible like a giant sponge, or ripe grapefruit, and squeezed out of all 66 books the six-chief parts, the “Layman’s Bible” into his Small Catechism. Christ Jesus had already boiled the Decalogue down to the two commands of perfect love. This Law is the first of Luther’s teaching doctrines—the “First Chief Part.”
You don’t love God above all things. If you did you wouldn’t break the other 9 commandments. If you loved the Lord with all your heart you wouldn’t neglect daily study of The Word, the weekly Mass, prayer, and preaching (even at a midweek Thursday shortened service). If you feared God above all things you wouldn’t provoke your children, talk back to your parents, take things that don’t belong to you, lust after non-Christian sexual relations, gossip, covet and HATE just about everybody else for ego-willful-domineering reasons.
The Law, or a sermon “on” the Law, is not meant to make you angry at God or the prophet; although to be sure, the Jews hated Isaiah and Jeremiah enough to punish and kill them; the Babylonians likewise hated Daniel; The Sanhedrin hated Peter and John when they too resolved to preach the Law and attempt to follow it. No, the Law is meant to hold up to your hooded eyes of sin, a giant mirror of Love and truth, tough love, to show you a dead and cadaverous corpse. The Law is meant to disabuse you of any sense that “your okay, he’s okay, we’re all okay.” You by yourself on your own are not okay; you’re worm-food waiting to be “shake and bake” brimstone extra. UNLESS….
Unless Jesus, always Jesus, only Jesus. Sola Christi!
The Law kills you so you will stop struggling. A good surgeon will have a dying patient anesthetized so he can be about his own work of saving. Since your sinful nature makes it impossible for you to keep the Law and bring yourself back from death, Christ comes to rescue you, to redeem you from the prison camp of the dead.
King David correctly sang in the Psalter that you were conceived in sin. He, the Holy Spirit, does not mean that the act of sexual intercourse between your Mother and Father was sinful but that two sinners were coming together, and that the fruit of their actions, would also be a sinner. Thus, every part and step, and period of the human life, from conception until death, would have to be redeemed, fixed, and forgiven/absolved from sin and death.
Jesus came as the Second Adam to fix the sin of the first Adam, and the sin and sins of all the sons of Adam. Jesus the perfect and sinless God/Man took flesh from a sinner to wash all flesh clean in His cleanness. Mary’s flesh and blood is a type of yours, thus she is “the” perfect type of the Church—the spotless and ever-virginal Bride of the Lamb.
The Lord Jesus had a twin-attack on the devil and sin; a double edged Spirit of Sinlessness. The Lord had active obedience to the Law and passive obedience to the Law’s justice against you. Everything Jesus did for 33 years before Holy Week was His active Law—keeping on your behalf. Jesus gave a life-time of visible obedience from the Virgin Womb of Saint Mary, to the Prophetic arrival in Jerusalem on Palmarum. Your hatred for liberals, degenerates, homosexuals and foreigners was forgiven because Jesus spent 33 years loving them all—perfectly. Your putting God in second place in your life (if that) was paid for by Jesus’ perfect obedience to the First and Greatest command—to Love His Father with all His heart, strength, soul and mind.
Jesus’ passive obedience started most poignantly when He let Himself be taken prisoner in Gethsemane, and all that proceeded from His arrest, bondage, torture, humiliation and crucifixion. His horrible and bloody six hours on the cross paid for your sins and He substituted Himself in your place for the just punishment of treason against God.
The Law still exists. The Commandments are still there for your benefit. You are still to do them, in so much as the Holy Spirit through the Word of Christ, strengthens you to fight the good fight. So, yes, struggle, work at curbing your tongue and reforming your heart to be like Jesus,’ to drowning the “old Adam” daily. There’s nothing wrong with trying to do a better job at being what God has made you to be.
But, believe, teach, and confess, that though the Law remains, and always will show you your sin, there stands behind the Law the One Who has kept it, satisfied it, and subsumed it into His Body and Blood of pure Gospel and free and total forgiveness.
Jesus has forgiven you and has washed away all of the condemnation of original sin in His obedience and payment. It still inheres inside of you, meaning you will still sin, actually, until the day you die; but Jesus has paid for those trespasses as well.
Rest safe and sound, pure and blameless, clean and white, fed and watered, in JESUS the fulfiller, author, and completer of TORAH…the LAW…
He gives you now Gospel. Your sins are forgiven
In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost