The Ten Commandments

August 16, 2015 — Leave a comment


These are the notes from my message last week at Journey Christian Church. There was interest so I promised to post them here. I’d also like to note that much of my research involved the notes from the class I took on The Law of Moses with Dr. James Smith while I was a student at Florida Christian College.

The Law of Moses

Colorado has some interesting laws on the books.
Statewide: It is illegal to ride a horse while under the influence.
Alamosa–Throwing missiles at cars is illegal.
Arvada–Establishments which sell alcohol must have enough lighting to read text inside them.
Aspen–Catapults may not be fired at buildings.
Boulder–It is illegal to permit ones llama to graze on city property.
Boulders may not be rolled on city property.
Couches may not be placed on outside porches.
Colorado Springs–It is permissible to wear a holstered six-gun within city limits, except on Sunday, Election Day, or holidays
Cripple Creek–It is illegal to bring your horse or pack mule above the ground floor of any building.
Denver–It is unlawful to lend your vacuum cleaner to your next-door neighbor.
It is illegal to mistreat rats in Denver, Colorado.
Durango–It is illegal to go in public dressed in clothes “unbecoming” on one’s sex.
Sterling–Cats may not run loose without having been fit with a tail light. I think this one should read, Cats may not run loose except when they are being chased by a vehicle with tail lights.
Vail–It is illegal to crash into obstacles on a ski slope.

Some of these laws seem silly and outdated don’t they?

Maybe that’s how you feel about the 10 commandments God gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai?

This week, week five of The Story, we’re going to read about some laws that too many people feel are silly and outdated.

Jesus says,

Matthew 5:17-19
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Here’s the bottom line I want us to consider as I start this message: If Jesus thinks that the 10 commands are that important, then I do too.

Why are the 10 Commandments important? Like a compass, they point us to righteousness.

What is righteousness? You ask.

This is a true story according to a recent issue of Road and Track Magazine:

Righteousness is not ingesting the sinful junk of this world into our souls.

What is righteousness? Living like Jesus.

How can we live like Jesus? Follow the 10 commandments as a model for holiness.

So, let’s look at each of the ten commandments.

Exodus 20
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.

The first commandment is foundational to biblical faith for a few reasons.
1) It’s the foundation of theology. God is supreme. He has no competitors.
2) It’s the foundation of morality. Biblical morality is conformity to the character and will of God.
3) It’s the foundation of authority.
4) It’s the foundation of law. There is only one source of right and wrong and it’s Yahweh.

Like us, the Israelites lived in a world that was full of many false gods.

In their day the “other gods” fell into 3 broad categories: 1) Animal deities (Egypt); 2) Astral deities (Mesopotamia); 3) and Natural deities (Canaan).

This first command prohibited the Israelites from having other gods “before me” or lit. “over against my face.”

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.

An idol is anything that takes God’s place.

St. Augustine’s definition of idolatry was right on—

Idolatry is worshipping anything that ought to be used, or using anything that is meant to be worshipped.

Don’t forget: the Children of Israel had been slaves in Egypt for 400 years. Every decision had been made for them (essentially) for generations. In his book, The Sinai Summit, Rick Atchley points out that God gave them the Law—not to enslave them again, but to teach them how to live freely.

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

There are some names that are special to me?
Tibbs, Norma, Herschel, Hazel—my grandparents’ names
Leigh-Angela, Leslie, Adam—my siblings’ names
Rhonda, Ashton, Levi, Sylas, Payton—my family’s names.
Linda—my Mom’s name
Roger—my Father’s name

It would be upsetting for you to abuse my Father’s name.

My heavenly Father’s name means more to me than anything.
The abuse of God’s name grieves God.

In Isaiah, He lists the evils of the day and says,

“And all day long my name is constantly blasphemed.” Isaiah 52:5

What are the wrong uses of God’s name?
1. As a Curse Word
2. As an Exclamation Point
3. As a Cliché
4. As a Weapon
5. As an Endorsement

What are the proper uses of God’s name?
1. In worship
2. In study and theological discussions
3. In judicial oaths
4. In vows and covenants
5. In blessings

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.

What was the Sabbath? Recognition that one day a week belongs to God. (1)Rest for humans, servants, animals, land, everything
(2)Remember what God has done (Deut. 5:15)—Out of bondage

Why is the Sabbath important? 1) Rest is just as important as work. Man like God is to work and rest. 2) God gave humans a great gift by endorsing a day of rest without guilt A day of delight and joy! 3) Testifies to confidence in God’s work—trust in God to provide. 4) Families brought together for worship 5) Token of submission to God. 6)One of the signs of the covenant

Jewish Scholar wrote: “the Biblical Sabbath was a literal “day of delight” not an onerous burden. Every Sabbath each Jew experienced a marvelous transformation. Six, long days of toil, terror, and persecution in the world, but one day each week with his bride, the Sabbath!”

What do we learn in the New Testament about the Sabbath?
(1)“Sabbath made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mk. 2:27). Jesus saved lives, healed the sick, satisfied hunger, satisfied thirst, rescued animals on the Sabbath.

(2) Paul said the Sabbath was a shadow of things to come (Col. 2:16,17)

(3) There remains a Sabbath rest—a rest in God here on Earth and a rest for eternity with God in Heaven.–Hebrews 4:9-11

Hebrews 4:9-11
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.

In looking at the life of Jesus and the example of the early church, they didn’t keep the Sabbath, but began worshipping on Sunday—the day of Christ’s resurrection.

We don’t keep the Sabbath anymore, but we better rest in the Lord and in our lives.

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

Exodus 20:12–Why does God want us to honor our parents?

  1. The Law required respect for the source of Life.
  2. The Law required reverence for what our parents have past down—life, wisdom, experience, heritage.

How do we honor our parents?

  1. Obedience
  2. Fearing/Respecting
  3. Support Materially

Dishonoring parents is…

  1. Form of self-hate
  2. Linked to the most despicable acts
  3. Punished in the same way as dishonoring God—Why? Dishonoring parents is an attack of God’s fundamental structure for order in society.

13 “You shall not murder.
“Number 6 don’t get your kicks from killing one another.”

Ex. 20:16 –The term “ratsach”: killing a personal enemy

Not used of :(1) Killing beasts for food–Gen.9:3; (2) Defending one’s home–Exod. 22:2; (3) Accidental killings–Deut. 19:5; (4) Execution of criminals–Gen.9:6; (5) Involvement in wars

Does apply to (1) Killing for revenge–Num. 35:27,30; (2) Assassination–2 Kings 6:32; (3) Manslaughter–Num. 35:16; Deut. 4:41-43; (4) Self-murder; (5) Accessories to murder–2 Sam. 12:9

The Dimensions of the 6th Commandment:
The Social Dimension– (a) Live at peace with men; (b) aid the weak; (c) resist the ruthless; (d) affirm life and battle death; (e) medicine and healing are a positive, social affirmation of the sixth command. “If men do not seek to prevent injury, assault, or murder, they are themselves in part guilty of the offense committed.”

The Religious Dimension–God alone gives life. He alone has the right to take it away. He who takes it away without God’s authority is a murderer.
The Personal Dimension–We are not to commit suicide, or do anything which reflects disrespect for our bodies. God created man in his image and pronounced creation good. Man is not to disfigure the divine likeness. The external appearance of people should reflect their internal status as chosen people. “Therefore, glorify God in your body.” I Cor. 6:20.

Sanctity of Life: The 6th Command teaches us that life belongs to God.
The recent revelations about Planned Parenthood selling baby parts is not a surprise to any informed person.

Why are children aborted? The Alan Guttmacher Institute (the research arm of Planned Parenthood) states:
1% are victims of incest or rape
1% had fetal abnormalities
4% had a doctor who said their health would worsen if they continued the pregnancy
50% said they didn’t want to be a single parent or they had problems in current relationships
66% stated they could not afford a child
75% said the child would interfere with their lives.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

Adultery—Sexual relations between a married person and another.

Primary meaning of this term in the Bible is “to break covenant”

According to a new study by Tom W. Smith of the National Opinion Research Center, roughly 15 percent of married or previously married Americans have committed adultery.

Adultery of non-sexual type: (1) Looking lustfully—Mt. 5:28; (2) Adulterous generation—Mt. 12:39; Mt. 16:4; James 4:4

Evils of Adultery:
Breaches the marriage covenant which had been made before God
Dishonors God by placing man’s will above God’s—Gen. 2:24
It’s a rebellious act done with deliberation
It’s a theft of the highest sort (stealing a man’s flesh)
It destroys one’s reputation.—Prov. 6:32-33
It’s a sin against God—Gen. 39:9

Penalty in the O.T. for adultery: Death—Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22

15 “You shall not steal.

This is one of the commands directly at keeping order in society. When people respect the boundaries society is better.

Do you know of any communities where people don’t have to lock their doors?

Forms of stealing:

  1. Theft.
  2. Illegal downloading off internet.
  3. Plagiarism
  4. Cheating

16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

The picture here is of lying in a legal setting, but the implications are carried over into every day life. We are
(1)To Speak truth—Zec. 8:16
(2) To Be People of Truth
(3) To Walk in Truth—Ps. 86:11; 43:3; 119:30,31

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.”

Covet lit. “to desire earnestly, long after, to set one’s desire on something”

This is not a prohibition of the experience of desire but of that desire which runs rampant over reason and the rights of others.

When are desires wrong?
When the thing desired is bad.
When the desire can only be gratified by sin.

Problems coveting creates in a society:
Unholy desire can lead to idolatry
Unholy desire can lead to disrespect of God and His name
Unholy desire can lead to disrespect of Sabbath
Unholy desire can lead to disrespect of parents.
Unholy desire can lead to murder
Unholy desire can lead to adultery
Unholy desire can lead to theft
Unholy desire can lead to lying

This command is to the 1st Command what a back cover is to the front cover of a book. It exalts pure devotion to the things of God.

Let me go back to something I said at the beginning.

Why are the 10 Commandments important? Like a compass, they point us to righteousness.

In His sermon on the mountain, Jesus said this:

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

How can we do this?
1) Evaluate the “righteousness” of our environment.
2) Eliminate everything that is unrighteous.
3) Evacuate from places, habits, and patterns that lead us towards unrighteousness.
4) Elevate our lives by striving to follow Christ in everything.

A businessman well-known for his ruthlessness once announced to writer Mark Twain, “Before I die I mean to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I will climb Mount Sinai and read the 10 Commandments aloud at the top.” “I have a better idea,” replied Twain. “You could stay in Boston and keep them.” (Moody Bible Institute’s Today in the Word, September, 1991, p. 32.)

This week, as we study about the 10 Commandments. Let’s remember their importance…Not because we are bound by them or because I want you to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, climb Mount Sinai, and read them aloud at the top.

No. As we study about the 10 Commandments, let remember the importance of staying in Greeley and keeping them.


Hey, here’s the song I sang at the beginning of the sermon. You’re welcome! 🙂


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