In Mathew chapter 7, the bible talks about the law and the prophets, and in this sermon therefor we are going to see the meaning of the law and prophets mentioned in verse 12 of that bible passage.
And without further ado, let us get started right away.
What is the law and prophets in Mathew 7?
The law and the prophets in Mathew 7 means that human beings must treat others as they would want others to treat them: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
I think other religions have their own side of this scripture in what they call “Karma” – which is interpreted as ‘what goes around comes back around’.
In ATR it is believed that when you point one finger at somebody, the rest four fingers are pointing at you.
Now if human beings will ever care to consider this rule before they perform any action, they would fulfill all the laws and commandments given to them by God through the prophets.
The greatest commandment in the law.
In Mathew 22:36-40, one of the Pharisees asked Jesus which is the greatest commandment in the law and he responded by saying: “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. ‘and the second is like it: “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
But then no man can ever see God in order to show Him love; so the scripture enlightens us more about the love of God Jesus was talking about:
If someone says, ;I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? (1 John 4:20).
Therefore, it is in loving each other that we can fulfill all the laws and the prophets.
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “you shall not commit adultery” “you shall not murder” “you shall not steal” “you shall not bear false witness” “you shall not covet” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “you shall love your neighbor as you love yourself”. Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 10:8-10)
From here we can come to the understanding that, while God is busy using the law to select an obedient people for His everlasting kingdom, the law again must help the humans to preserve and safeguard their temporary stay on earth.
And with this knowledge we can further understand that all the laws that God gave to mankind was for his own benefit and not God’s. Because no amount of whatever we do here will ever affect Him in any way since He does not co-habit with us, and besides he is far removed from where we could ever reach Him even in our best imaginations.
If you sin, what do you accomplish against Him? Or, if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to Him? If you are righteous, what do you give Him? Or what does He receive from your hand? Your wickedness affects a man such as you, and your righteousness a son of man. (Job 35:6-8)
So when He talks about being a jealous God when it comes to our worshipping idols as recorded in Exodus 34:14 we end up thinking that our idol worship affects Him in one bit; but I’m here to tell you that your worship of idol can never stop God from being What and Who He is, but why He hates idolatry so much is that you as a human being far more deserved to be worshipped than what you have used your own hands to create, since He God that created us can never and will never worship us as the work of His hands.
Besides, these things we carve and worship are lifeless and can perform no duty or action; it is even more better if we worship animals who at least are living things and can move from one place to another; even animals like camels and horses helps us as locomotive vehicles.
For the customs of the people are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the works of the hands of a workman, with the ax. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple. They are upright, like a palm tree, and they cannot speak; they must be carried, because they cannot go by themselves. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, nor can they do any good. (Jeremiah 10:3-5)
And the most important fact is that these other gods we go to worship will give us commandments that will tend to destroy us and the fellow human beings around us in the end. For instance, one who goes to other gods to seek for fortune and fame will have to sacrifice other human beings in order to be given that wealth which in the end will even perish when they die.
Permit me to reveal to you that the devil knows the people God has sent to be a blessing to you, so when you go to seek anything from him it is those people that he will snatch from you. Example, your son or daughter might be the one God sent in order to one day become the president or the president’s wife and in so doing make your name to survive many generations as the father of the president or the president’s wife, aside from the good life he or she will give to you while on earth. And the devil who knows this will kill that your son or daughter and give you material wealth which will soon perish.
Take our father Abraham as an example; God sent Ishmael as a son to him in order to make him become the grandfather of twelve tribes but the devil almost succeeded in killing him while in his mother’s womb when he cursed an enmity between his mother Hagar and step mother Sarai to the point that Abraham told Sarai to treat Hagar as she liked, and Sarai’s maltreatment resulted in Hagar running away, and she would have died of hunger and thirst in the desert if God did not intervene and send an angel to prevent and return her back to Abram’s house. (Genesis 16:6-15).
Therefore we must understand that God is the one Who gives us the people around us to fulfill whatever promise He made to us and He can never be that wicked to take this people away from us. He taught us this when He told Abraham to go and sacrifice Isaac (whom He sent in order to fulfill His promise of giving Abraham descendants as many as sands on the seashore and stars in the sky) but afterwards exchanged Isaac with a ram, proving to Abraham that He could not be that wicked to take back that which He sent to him for a purpose. Even when he sent Ishmael away, God still preserved his life to fulfill the promise of also making Abraham a great nation out of Ishmael (Genesis 16:9-10).
Thus, this example should serve as a lesson to us all that if we serve God and Him alone, there is no way He can take back those people He sent to be a blessing to us. It is only when we turn to other gods like Manessah did (2 Kings 21:6), that we will pass, not only our children through the fire, but also several of our loved ones whom God sent to be a blessing to us.
These are the reason why God abhors the idolatry, and not because it will deprive Him of His position as the creator.
And when He said ‘thou shall not kill’, we know that no one can get to God, sake of say hurt him so we realize that he gave this commandment so that we will not destroy ourselves.
Even when He said: “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me! But you say, in what way have we robbed you?’ in tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed me, even this whole nation. (Malachi 3:8-9)
On hearing this, people rush to the church with their tithes and offerings, but fail to realize that the money they will give will end up being used by the pastor or priest and not by God that was why He said:
“I hate, I dispise your feast days, and I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs, for I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream. (Amos 5:21-24)
With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my first born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you O man what is good; and what does the LORD requires of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:6-8)
And for those who think they can please God by building churches, they better understand that:
“God who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. “nor is He worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. (Acts 17:24-25)
“however, the most high does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says: ‘heaven is my throne, and earth is My footstool. What house will you build for me? Says the LORD, or what is the place of My rest? Has my hands not made all these things. (Acts 7:44-50)
So when you plant and harvest crops and takes it to church to offer to God as the fruit of your harvest, have you ever stopped to ask yourself: is it God that will eat these crops? Or is it not a human being that will end up consuming it?
And when you build a place you call house of God, know that God will never live there rather it is human beings that are going to gather there to share the word God has given to them, and if they worship God, they don’t worship Him as He lives there because:
God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth.” (John 4: 20-24)
And so those human beings that consume whatever we offer as a gift to God, and gathers at wherever we built for God are the ones representing God, and so we ought to show them love and treat them as we would treat God if He was physically present.
So whatever God has commanded us to do, He wants us to do it so that we can preserve our world and all he created there in for us – whether living and none living. That is why He said:
If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land. But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword… (Isaiah 1:19-20).
Now this takes us to the saying about reap what you sow.
What is the saying about you reap what you sow?
The saying reap what you sow simply means that we are gong to bear the consequences of all our actions – good or bad. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (Galatians 6: 7)
Now let us take an example from the story of Mordecai and Haman, from the book of Esther, chapters 5, 6 and 7.
Haman had just been promoted to an high office by the king, and on his way back he meets Mordecai who refused to stand up and greet him at the entrance of the palace. Back home and furious because of this he plotted to kill Mordecai by building a gallows-as suggested by his wife and friends; which was twenty two miles tall, with the intention of asking the king to have Mordecai hanged on it. But that same night the king unable to sleep ordered the official records of the empire to be brought and read to him, and the part that was read included the account of how Mordecai had uncovered a plot to assassinate the king, by the two eunuchs who guarded the king’s room-Bigthana and Teresh. The king also discovered that Mordecai was not rewarded and so he decided to reward him.
Just then Haman came to the king with the intention of asking him to have Mordecai hanged on the gallows he had already built; the king immediately told him that he had somebody in his mind that he wished to honor and asked him what he thinks he should do for that person. Thinking the person to be honored is him, Haman told the king to order royal robes, the very ones he wears and get one of his highest noblemen to dress the man of honor in it and have him mounted on the kings horse and ride around the city square while the noblemen announces ‘see how the king rewards a person he wishes to honour!’.
The king then told him to hurry and get the robes and horse, and provide those honors for Modecai-someone he had just come to request his death by the king.
Now the peak of this story is that after Mordecai was being honored, the queen Esther told the king about Hamans persecution of the Jews, and the king was furious and left Esther and Haman alone, and upon returning he found Haman kneeling down infront of the queen and mistook it for rape, which in essence he was kneeling to beg the queen to spare his life. There and then again, an eunuch also told the king about the gallows Haman had earlier built to have Mordecai hanged on it.
So the king ordered that Haman be hanged on the very gallows he had built for Mordecai.
And finally Mordecai was allowed to enter the kings presence and the king even went as far as taking off his ring with his seal on it (which he took back from Haman) and gave it to Mordecai, and Esther put Mordecai in charge of Haman’s properties.
This is why the scripture says:
“Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruits of their doings. Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for the rewards of his hands shall be given him. (Isaiah 3:10-11)
The wicked man does deceptive work, But he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward. As righteousness leads to life, So he who pursues evil pursues it to his death. Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the LORD, but the blameless in their ways are His delight. Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished; but the posterity of the righteous will be delivered. (Proverbs 11: 18-21)
It saddens me today when I see so many people likening their selves to Mordecai and their enemies to Haman; and they go about praying God to destroy them, when in essence they have not done anything good to anyone in order to deserve the kind of reward that was given to Mordecai. I pity this type of Christians!
Let us share this true life story: once upon a time, there was a poor orphan who was left in the car of a certain man who was into oil production, who was fond of maltreating the poor orphan; closing him outdoors when they are away, depriving him of food and sleep, beatings and other forms of physical torture and labor etc. So one day the orphan was locked out as usual without food, and it took the man the following day to return from whatever journey he made, and while he was away, the orpha unable to control hunger, found a five liters of oil somewhere in their manufacturing mill which he sold and used the money to eat.
Returning home the man found out about the missing oil and when he asked the orphan; for fear of being killed as he threatened to if he is the one that stole the oil, refused to tell him the truth, and the man ended up conjuring a diabolical substance called ‘mbiam’ in Ibibio for the stealer of his oil, and unfortunately the poor orphan was killed, and his grandfather was contacted who came and took the orphan’s corpse for burial, and before burying the orphan, the grandfather also put his own ‘mbiam’ for whoever it is that killed his grandson, and the worst was that he asked the ‘mbiam’ to kill everybody in that persons family.
The ‘mbiam’ took effect on the man’s family and year in year out prominent people who were in far away countries died and were brought home for burial, the man did findings everywhere to know the cause of the death in his family, but since the orphans grandfather had already did a charm called ‘usid usung’ which means ‘defying all findings’, the could not know the cause of the problem in his family, not until God decided to be merciful to him when one of his son was converted and due to much prayers and fasting’s, God revealed the cause of the death in his family and they had to go and consult the orphans grandfather with pleas and paid all they were asked to pay before the ‘mbiam’ could be lifted and people stopped to die in the family.
And that is also why you will see somebody using whatever means to terminate the lives of others, and after he dies someone else will be commissioned to turn around and destroy the family he left behind, like the case of Ahab whose whole generation was wiped off because he killed Naboth and took his vineyard.
And for this reason Jesus told Peter after He restored the soldiers ears Peter cut off with the sword:
But Jesus said to him, “put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. (Mathew 26:52)
Therefore, if human beings would first sit down to consider how they will feel if somebody would do the thing they are about to do to another person, I don’t think that anybody will ever end up hurting anybody and at such we would all fulfill all the laws and commandments given to us by God. Example, if a killer who points a gun to the face of his victim and is about to shoot would stop for a second to put himself in the position of that victim and thinks ‘oh! God, I am about to die, I will miss my loved ones, besides I won’t have another opportunity to wake up tomorrow again’.
I assure you that this killer after going through these thoughts will put the gun back and at such fulfill the commandment “thou shall not kill”.
But since the killer lacks this awareness, he will go on and kill the victim and then the law and prophets will take its effect one day when he in one way or the other gets killed, because what he did to someone must be done to him.
Finally, the one and only recorded last judgment in the scriptures, specifically in Mathew 25:31-45 centers on nothing but the law and the prophets.
Now one important point I want us to understand is that, the least of the brethren does not entail only those that lack or the less privileged, but every human being you will ever come across in life. So if you go about giving all you have to the less privilege and in the other hand keep on destroying other peoples life and property, you will never be able to escape the eternal damnation on that judgment day, because that person you killed or hurt in anyway is God you would have saved.
Lastly, we must understand that God told us to love one another and be at peace with all people, so that all the good things and blessings He has in store for us can get to us because, there is no way that God’s blessings will fall down from the sky for anyone rather it is a fellow human being that He will use as a vehicle to transport those things we desire to us. Please judge for yourself, if everybody is your enemy how will God’s blessing get to you?
That is why so many of us are suffering today because all our blessings are in the hands of those we call our enemies. And if you tell so many Christians this truth they will quickly forbid you claiming that God cannot be so wicked to send their blessings through their enemies and I always end up telling them: “go ahead, make everybody in the world your enemy and let’s see”.
Some will go ahead to quote certain scriptures especially Jeremiah 17:5.
Thus says the LORD; “cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD.
But they fail to realize that this passage referred to kings and soldiers who relied on their multitude of men in order to win battles as Isaiah later revealed:
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen because they are strong, but who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD. (Isaiah 31:1)
That was why Judges 7:1-8 God selected 300 men out of 22,000 for Gideon to take to war and win the Medianites and note what God said in verse 2:
And the LORD said to Gideon, “the people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Medianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, my own hands have saved me.
But applying this fact to correspond with the main topic of this sermon, putting our trust in man is simply hoping that the same people we do good to will repay us when we are also in the same position they were. That is why when people are disappointed by those they rendered an helping hand to or be repaid with evil by those they did good they give up doing more good.
But if only they understood what Jesus meant when He said:
“Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. (Luke 6:30)
They will keep on doing good knowing that God will always send whomever He chooses to come and help them at their own time of need.
Beloved, I came to realize that it is always the devils trick to make the people we do good to repay us with evil so that he might prevent us from doing more good and in so doing bypass God’s blessings. Thus I have grown in faith to expect nothing back from the particular people I help.
I was taught this lesson in a very drastically way, in my first semester of 100 level, I had a colleague whom I was so close to than the rest, and we were all unaware of the fact that the ATR exams had been shifted back to an earlier date against the first date that was on the time table.
I got to know about this when I went to school that fateful day to return my four files, and when we entered the exams hall I discovered that this colleague was not in the exams hall so I had to call him and behold he had no knowledge of the exams change of date and worst of all he was not in town, but due to the call I made to him he was able to reach the exams hall after few hours into the exams.
But in the next semester I also had the same problem; one of our departmental course: the prophet Muhammad was shifted to an earlier date which was scheduled by 3pm but unfortunately I never got to know that the time was later shifted back to 8am, so around 1pm or thereabout this same colleague called and started laughing at me that I choose not to come and take exams because I was so unserious, and this was when the exams was over and upon rushing to school to plead with the lecturer I was unable to write that exams so I had to carry over that course; a course I had read well and prepared to have an A grade, all because someone I did the same thing to could not do it back to me. And I was so worried until I had the revelation that I just shared with you.
And so that did not stop me from doing good even to the same person who let me down because I know that God will always send someone from nowhere to repay me for what I did to others.
Therefore, let us take it as our duty to be at peace with and do good to all men and afterwards allow God to decide those He will send our paybacks