The 10 Commandments, Exodus 20
Exodus 20:1-6…the first two commandments…I think they go together…
1 “Then God gave the people all these instructions: 2 “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. 3 “You must not have any other god but me. 4 “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. 5 You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. 6 But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.
PART 1: GOD’S COMMANDS
I. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE COMMANDMENTS
- Walking through the 10 Commandments is powerful, challenging and life-changing.
- It is important to note that each Commandment has 4 points, because each commandment does 4 things at once.
First, each of the 10 Commandments is Revelation .
- Each one gives us an insight into the character of God.
For example, what kind of amazing Person would say to us, “You must not steal.” (Ex. 20:15)? Only a just and generous Person who can be fully trusted, who would never rob us or defraud us, who would never lie or cheat, who would never hold out on us wrongly, who is not out for himself, who feels no need and no appetite but only overflowing kindness and abundance. This is Jesus.
Second, each of the 10 Commandments is Confrontation.
- Each one gives us an insight into our own character.
What kind of people need to be told, “You must not steal.”? People who will be unfair to one another without even realizing it. We need to be alerted to our own unjust behavior. It’s hard but if we turn to Jesus for gracious forgiveness, He gives freely to law-breakers like us.
Third, each of the 10 Commandments is Instruction .
- Each one charts for us a new path to walk, by God’s grace.
So “You must not steal” guides us into the new ways of generosity, fairness, honesty, moderation, payments, faithful promises, and so forth. In this life, we can walk this path imperfectly but visibly—not in order to earn God’s approval, but because in Jesus we have freely received God’s approval.
Fourth, each of the 10 Commandments is Promise (due to the New Covenant)
- God promises that He will write His law on our Hearts.
He will move each commandment from the pages of the Bible down into the deepest places in our Hearts: “This is the New Covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Jeremiah 31:33
II. Why Preach the 10 Commandments?
- Didn’t Jesus turn the 10 into 2: “The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:40
So why teach the 10:
For our Good: In Jeremiah 29:11, God says to you and me, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” And later in chapter 32 God says that His desire is, “I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants” (v39)
For our Protection: You see, the pool held only a few feet of water. In the dark Greg apparently didn’t notice the notice. His dive ended with a shallow splat of water and a sickening crunch of bones. Greg’s late-night dive paralyzed him from the neck down for the rest of his life. He ignored the rules and instructions. He probably assumed it was there only to keep him and his girlfriend from having fun. In reality it was meant for his own protection, and his disregard of that boundary cost him dearly. Similarly, God’s laws are given to protect us, and when we ignore His moral boundaries the cost can be just as devastating.
“Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
For our Growth: The more we dig into the Word of God, the more we study His Ways, the more we Serve, the more we Imitate Him… the more abundant life we will live. Ultimately the more we Dig the more we Love!!
“The godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong.” Psalm 92:12
4+6=10: The 10 Commandments deal with the two important relationships all humans face. Tablet 1 contained the first 4 commandments dealing with our Relationship to God and tablet 2 contained the last 6 dealing with our Relationship with Each Other.
PART 2: GOD’S CONNECTION
I. First Place
“God gave the people all these instructions: ‘I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. You must not have any other god but me. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.‘” Exodus 20:1-4
1st Place: Israel’s problems in their relationship with God were similar in scope to what they are today, God rarely had 1st Place in their lives! This is the starting point however for a healthy relationship with God. Unfortunately today there is more religion than righteousness.
“Feeling better has become more important to us than finding God.” Larry Crabb in Finding God.
LOST: Even in the Church the priority of God can be lost, Israel proved this many times, and the lives of too many Christians today demonstrate the same thing!
- How easy it can be to lose focus!!
TOUCH: The Bible teaches us that God must be first in our lives; just a touch of Him into our lives will not make for an adequate experience with God.
PART 3: GOD’S CONCERN
I. 2 COMMANDMENTS: “gave instruction” 20:1,4-5
Starting at the Starting Point
A. Starting at the Starting Point
- The Commandments are not from People, “Then God gave…”
- For us to be all that God designed us to be we must start with a relationship with Him.
a. God created us for fellowship with Him.
b. If we don’t worship Him, we will worship something else!!
“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them.” Exodus 20:4-5
2. God’s Instruction isn’t Selfish, it is to protect us from experiencing less than what He had planned for us. His plan is life to the fullest (Jhn 10:10)
a. So often they took their eyes off of God and put it on idols or others.
b. With their attention drawn elsewhere they missed God’s purposes.
c. Whenever we follow anything other than God our lives will end up going nowhere!
Caterpillars: Richard Armstrong tells the story of a biologist’s experiment with caterpillars. On the rim of a clay pot that held a plant, he lined them up in a complete circle, so that the leader was right behind the last caterpillar. The tiny creatures circled the rim of the pot for a full week. Not once did any one of them break away to go over to the plant and eat. Eventually, all caterpillars died from exhaustion and starvation.
- The story of the caterpillars is a kind of parable of human behavior. People are reluctant to break away from the pattern of daily life. They don’t want to be different. However, We must break away from the crowd. We be willing to break away to be with Jesus.
- God’s jealousy isn’t Selfish, it is to protect us from experiencing less than what He had planned for us. His plan is life to the fullest (John 10:10)
- This makes His jealousy very different from our concept of jealousy.
- He is not protecting Himself in the commandments, He is protecting us.
II. 2 COMMANDMENTS: “rescued you” 20:2
“I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.”
- God in granting them His protection continues to do so through these commandments.
- God brought them out of Slavery not to put them into bondage again, but to keep them free.
- The 10 commandments which places God first is not about putting people or nations in bondage, it is all about freeing them to be what God designed us to be.
III. 2 COMMANDMENTS: “No other god” 20:3
1. A Claim for Priority: God is to be our Only God: “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods” (Ex 20:5)
- God would not allow for a diluted love toward Him, He who gives 100% will expect 100%.
- This 2 Commands establish the desire for all the other ones.
ILLUS: Moral erosion continues in America, according to James Patterson and Peter Kim. They report that 74 percent of Americans will steal from those who won’t miss it, and 64 percent will lie for convenience as long as no one is hurt. Most Americans (93 percent) say they alone decide moral issues, basing their decisions on their own experience or whims. Eighty-four percent say they would break the rules of their own religion. And 81 percent have violated a law they felt to be inappropriate. Only 30 percent say they would be willing to die for their religious beliefs or for God. — Reported in The Day America Told the Truth (Prentice Hall, 1991). “To Verify,” Leadership.
- God did not wait for Israel to define Him before expecting their full commitment, He calls on them to be fully committed to the God HE IS, not the one they may want!
“The turning point in our lives is when we stop seeking the God we want and start seeking the God who is.” — Patrick Morley
- If they failed to give priority to God, they would certainly fail to give a commitment to His laws…hence why this one is first and foremost.
- Nothing in the other 8 commandments will command our attention if the first 2 are not in place.
- God will not be second fiddle in our hearts and lives. God will not accept anything less than top priority & its for our Best!
- We must make God the only God in our life, to offer up to Him the love and commitment we all too often show to the things of this world instead of Him.
a. God will not be second fiddle in our hearts and lives.
CONCLUSION: All too often Israel worshipped the wrong gods in the way they should have worshipped God with all their being! A healthy society and a healthy soul can only happen when God is the top priority. God does not settle for less than first place in our lives. Is He number one in our lives?