The Day of Dispensation
Scripture: (Exodus 19:1-6 KJV) In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
(Acts 2:1 KJV) And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
This is all so cool. Now, you could either become really into this stuff or you could get real board with it quick. I am going to try to make it interesting, enlighten you doctrinally and bring alive the Word that God has for you today. And it all surrounds this idea of dispensation. According to theologians there are basically seven dispensations. I know you are already saying Yippie Ky Yi Yah; we are going to learn some theology today. I promise Iíll be real quick with this part and then get into the meat of it OK? OK! So, the first dispensation is innocence. That was Adam in the garden. We know that didnít last long. The 2nd dispensation is moral responsibility. That started when Adam and Eve opened their eyes and discovered they were naked. Really, read it for yourself in Genesis 3:7. The third dispensation is human government. That began with Noah reorganizing how everything was run. Then we have the 4th dispensation, which is promise. I like that one. That started when Abram believed God. Then we go to the 5th dispensation, which is law. You know the ten suggestions? Thatís why Moses got mad and broke the first tablets him. Then the 6th dispensation is the church, formed on that wonderful day of Pentecost. And the seventh, praise the LORD is the kingdom age, and who knows it may come even today.
So, there you have it in a nutshell, the seven dispensations. What on earth good will this newfound knowledge give us? Well, if knowledge is power then the more we know about God the more power of God we have in our lives. And now we exist in the time of the sixth dispensation. And for any of you who have been studying the word with me over the last few years you will know how much I enjoy becoming more aware of the depths of the grace of God. We really cannot even begin to take in the magnitude of the length that God has gone to and continues to work out in our lives. I mean check it out. In the two scriptures above we see the beginning of what is known as the fifth and the sixth dispensation. The gulf between the two is the difference between law and grace. But I think that as we take a closer look that gulf may not be as far apart as we might think.
Before I go off into some obscure rambling let me give you the proposition of todayís message. God can pour out His grace upon us only when we, by faith, come out from underneath the umbrella of the law.
You heard about the small midwestern town that was facing a long and hard hit drought. After months with no rain the ministers all came together and called all the towns people to the town square for prayer. They asked everyone to bring an item of faith that would help each of them in their cry for rain. Some brought their rosary beads. Some brought their cross medallions. Some brought their icons and some many brought their Bibles. But it was one small boy who demonstrated the strongest faith by bringing an umbrella.
Let me say this in another way. Throughout our lives we learn many lessons. Some we have to learn the hard way. Some we have to work at for years to get the realization of it. But it is the lessons that we just seem to come to us naturally that end up being the ones that help us the most. It is like riding a horse. If you try too hard you end up not enjoying the ride at all. But when you just get in the zone, as my teenage daughter calls it, you experience the ride of your life that you will never forget. Maybe thatís the point that God is trying to bring us all to? He is trying to get us in the zone of His perfect love.
Yah, yah, yah. That is so easy to say but how do we make it real and how, once we do can we make it last? Well, for everybody there is a different style and a different timing in all things. If we just look at the seven different stages that God has taken us through in human history we might just find a parallel in our own lives. We begin in innocence and soon we begin to take on moral responsibilities. (Some of us take them on anyway.) As we mature we quickly become aware of the way things are governed or ran. In it all we look hard and find glimpses and flashings of great promise. Then to keep it all in line we develop and follow both physical as well as spiritual and moral laws. The sad part is many people get stuck right there and they never discover the wonders of grace. And it is only by that discovery will we ever make it to the kingdom age where time no longer stalks us but becomes our companion along the journey of eternal life teaching us to enjoy every moment of it.
Now let me take you to that gulf between law and grace. The children of Israel were set free and passed through the waters of redemption only to find themselves in the wilderness at the foot of the mountain of God. It was there that Moses received from God the law that would make the Jewish people a nation of priests, a holy people set apart for God. It is that same law, those tem commandments that keep us today from complete and total anarchy. It is the law of God that by our obedience reveals our place in the kingdom of God. But it is not the law that brings us into the kingdom. Our redemption, our salvation was made possible by the true Passover Lamb of God, which was and is Jesus Christ the LORD. If a man keep every letter of the law all the days of his life, which only one has ever done, even then would he fall short of the kingdom without the grace of God.
But stop and let us not look at differences between light and darkness or law and grace for what difference will it make if we do not apply any of this in our daily lives. So first and foremost God wants you to know that He loves you. Just as you are, sin and all He loves you and He died for you so you wouldnít have to. I hope you know that for that truth alone will set you free not only from the condemnation of your past failures but it will give you the strength that you need to face tomorrow. But it doesnít end there. For Jesus rose from the grave and gave all who would believe upon His name power and authority over very things that have been keeping you enslaved. This is where the mountain and the upper room combine to bring you into unity and peace within yourself and with God. You see. It is about making this born again theology a life changing reality. It is about finding peace with the law of God by being baptized into the law. Letís quickly look at the law itself. 1. No other God but God. 2. No worshiping some stupid idol or graven image. 3. Stop using the LORDís name in vain. (Watch your mouth.) 4. Honor the Sabbath day. (Take a day off once in a while.) 5. Honor you Mom and Dad for crying out loud. 6. Donít be killing peoples. 7. Donít be messing around. (Committing adultery) 8. Donít be stealin stuff. 9. Quit your lying. 10 thatís the coveting thing. (Thatís a hard one)
Now letís look at grace. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
(John 3:16 KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
(2nd Corinthians 5:17 KJV) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
God wants to pour His grace out upon you. He wants to baptize you, plunge you into His spirit. He wants to fill you to the overflowing with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control and oh, so much more. But first you have to come out from underneath that umbrella of the law. My friend, you need to know that there is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus the LORD. What is all this dispensation talk about? It is about God dispensing His love anyway and everyway He can to you, for you, in you and upon you. Your part is to simply be accepting. Your part is to receive. Your part is to desire more of Godís love and grace because Iíll tell you what. The more you desire the more you will get. Because He has got a whole lot more then we can even imagine or hope for. So open your heart up right now and make yourself available for a new beginning. Make yourself available for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Make your available and then watch as you find yourself naturally fulfilling the law. (Galatians 5:14 KJV) For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Go ahead and be a dispenser of Godís love as He reveals His great dispensation unto you. Thanks for being a part of the family of God and may He richly bless you today, as you are indeed a blessing. To God be the glory, now and forever in Jesus name. Amen.