Ten Commandments

Sermon for Sunday, January 14, 2018

Understanding the Ten Commandments

Text: Exodus 20

In the Bible, God is described as:

1) The creator of matter

2) The creator of life

3) The architect, or designer of what he has created.

The Creator of all things has communicated to humans, the highest form of his creation, through the Bible.

These commandments show how we are to regard our creator and one another.

Many suggest the Ten Commandments is the summary, or Cliff Notes, for what is in the Bible.  It is more than a summary of what is in the Bible.  It is a set of instructions about how we are to live and worship the one who created us.

Exodus 20:

[1] And God spoke all these words:

[2] I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

[3] You shall have no other gods before me.

[4] You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  [5] You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, [6] but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

[7] You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

[8] Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  [9] Six days you shall labor and do all your work, [10] but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God.  On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.  [11] For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.  Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

[12] Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

[13] You shall not murder.

[14] You shall not commit adultery.

[15] You shall not steal.

[16] You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

[17] You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

The Bible calls these commands the Ten Commandments:

Exodus 34:

[28] And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.

Many argue they do not have to obey God’s plan of salvation or go to church because keeping the Ten Commandments is all God wants us to do.

Even in the church, some try to reduce their obligation to God down to the Ten Commandments.   But consider this:

1) God expected more of the Israelites than obeying the Ten Commandments.

Obeying the Ten Commandments was  not all of the law, and the law was much more than the Ten Commandments.

For example, God commanded Abraham and his descendents to be circumcised:

Genesis 17:

[9] Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.  [10] This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.  [11] You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.

[14] Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

2) People who say this do not actually keep the Ten Commandments.

For example, do you observe the Sabbath day as stated in the fourth commandment?

All of the commandments were also commanded in the New Testament except for keeping the Sabbath.

3)  There are things that have been brought over into the New Covenant and things that have been left behind.

Anything that has not been brought over into the New Covenant has been done away with.  Nine of the ten commandments have been brought over but one has not.  The same is also true with all aspects of the Old Testament.

We are not obligated to do many things we read about in the Old Testament.  For example, sacrifices before and after the Law of Moses, temple worship, circumcision, and the food laws of the old covenant.

4) The Law of Moses has been done away with.

The point: if it has not brought over then it does not apply.

Galatians 3:

[24] So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.  [25] Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

Hebrews 8:

[7] For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.

Luke 22:

[20] In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

Hebrews 8:

[13] By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

Colossians 2:

[13] When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.  He forgave us all our sins, [14] having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.

Colossians 2:

[16] Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.

[17] These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

The Ten Commandments:

First: You shall have no other gods before me.

[3] You shall have no other gods before me.

The emphasis is on the object of worship

Second: You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything.

[4] You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything…

The concern is how we worship

[5] You shall not bow down to them or worship them…

Later, Israel violated this command when they made the golden calf (Exodus 32:1-4).

About 500 years later king Jeroboam commits this sin again (1 Kings 12:26-30)

Third: You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.

[7] You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

The concern is what we say about God.  We are not to use the name of God for no purpose.

What are some of the ways we can misuse the name of God:

1) to express mild surprise;

2) to fill in the gaps in conversations;

3) to confirm something that is false.

This does not prevent the use of God’s name in legitimate oaths:

Deuteronomy 6:

[13] Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name.

Fourth: Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

[8] Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

What relevance does this command have for us if we are to worship on the first day of the week?  Perhaps God is telling us that we ought to have a day set apart especially for him.  In the New Testament, that day is Sunday, the first day of the week.

John 20:1  Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.

Verse 19 – On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together…

Verse 25 – A week later his disciples wee in the house again, and Thomas was with them…

Acts 2:1  When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.

Acts 20:7  On the first day of the week we came together to break bread.

1 Corinthians 16:2  On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income…

Fifth: Honor your father and your mother.

[12] Honor your father and your mother…

Verse 12 says “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

Sixth: You shall not murder.

[13] You shall not murder.

Genesis 9:6  “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed.”

I have noticed that people who oppose the death penalty tend to favor abortion.  It seems to me that they want to kill the innocent and spare the guilty and I want to spare the innocent and judge the guilty.

Seventh: You shall not commit adultery.

[14] You shall not commit adultery.

Hebrews 13:4  Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

Eighth: You shall not steal.

[15] You shall not steal.

According to a University of Florida survey, retail stores lose more to employee theft than shoplifting.  We now have identity theft.  In answer to the question, “Why don’t you steal?”, the number one response was, “I might get caught.”

Ephesians 4:

[28] He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

Not only should we not steal, but Paul says we should work.  The world does not owe you a living.  Work is good and healthy for you.  Ant those who work must share with those in need.  We should learn to be generous.  Are you generous with God?

Ninth: You shall not give false testimony.

[16] You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

We must be truthful in all areas of life.

Tenth: You shall not covet.

[17] You shall not covet…

God gives us examples of some objects we are not to desire: You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

To covet is to long after, desire earnestly.  This commandment deals with the heart and shows that none of the previous nine commandments could be observed merely from an external point of view.

1 Timothy 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

J B Myers
jbmyers1@gmail.com

Books:
Faith and Addiction
Elders and Deacons
Life Choices