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The 10 Commandments #6 - Life is Sacred

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The 10 Commandments #6:

Life is Sacred

Text: Exodus 20:

Thesis: To stress the sanctity of life.


(1)    In 1992, the annual homicide numbers in the U.S. were around 23,760.  Today, the numbers are continuing to grow.

(2)    In a Houston double murder in 1993, 6 young men, ranging in age from 14 to 18, were arrested for the rapes and strangulations of 2 teenaged girls. “Hey, great!” one of them said after hearing they were deing charged with murder, “We’ve hit the big time.” Only one day before the murders, one of the defendents had appeared on a local TV program about gangs. Hoisting a beer to the camera, he boasted, “Human life means nothing.”

(3)    Let us note the sacredness of life:


I.                   Why is life sacred?

A.    We are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27).

B.     When President Reagan was shot in John Hinkley’s assassination attempt, some public school teachers were stunned at the reaction of their students. In Tulsa, some 7th and 8th graders in Academy Central School cheered when they heard the announcement.  Three of four laughed. When one student asked the teacher if Reagan was dead, she told him no, that the president was doing well. “Shucks,” the boy said, snapping his fingers.

C.     “The Bible teaches that a single human being is of intrinsic value (cf. Matt. 16:26)” (R. Shelly 121).

D.    Those who disregard the sacredness of life will have their part in the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8).

II.                How do we devalue the sacredness of life?

A.    In the OT, there are 3 distinctions regarding homicide:

1.      Premeditated murder (Exod. 21:12-14)

2.      Accidental murder (“”)

3.      Self-defense (Exod. 22:2 – If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed)

B.     What is not forbidden in the 6th command:

1.      Capital Punishment

a.       God commanded it to be done (Gen. 9:6; Dt. 22:4; 17:2-7).

b.      Governments have the power to do it (Rom. 13:1ff.).

2.      Police Action

a.       In Exodus 32, men were “swore in” to deal with the problem of idolatry.

b.      According to 1 Pet. 2:13-14, the state has the right to punish its criminals.

3.      Self-defense/Justified War

a.       At times, God commanded His people to go to war (cf. 1 Sam. 15).

b.      “Sometimes people have to support the use of deadly force not because they are pleased to see harm come to other human beings, but because its use is the only way to show respect for those who have been harmed by criminals” (R. Shelly 128).

C.     What is forbidden:

1.      Homicide

-          A few years ago, a mother was convicted of hiring a “hit man” to murder the mother of her daughter’s rival for a cheerleading position at school.

2.      Abortion

a.       It became legal on Jan. 22, 1973 and within 20 years, over 28 million had been performed legally in the US.

b.      There are over 4300 abortions daily, one in every 20 seconds.

3.      Suicide/Euthanasia

III.             What is the heart of the problem?

A.    Listen to Jesus’ commentary on the 6th command:

You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER' and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, "You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, "You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” (Matt 5:21-22).

1.      In other words, “murder is an act, but it’s also an attitude. It’s a deed, but it’s also a motive” (R. Atchley 120).

2.      In 1 John 3:11-15, hating another person is equated to murdering someone.

B.     “According to Jesus, murder begins with anger” (R. Mehl 155).

1.      In Ephesians 4:26, we are told to be angry and sin not. In verse 27, we are told not to go to bed angry.

2.      In James 1:19, we are told to be swift to hear but slow to speak and slow to anger.

3.      A Sanskrit saying states: “The anger of a good man lasts an instant; that of a meddler two hours; that of a bast man a day and a night; and that of a great sinner until death.”


(1)   We must respect the sanctity of life with both our actions and attitudes.

(2)   There’s an old story about a woman who is bitten by a dog. When she goes to the doctor, the doctor tells her the dog had rabies, and she will have to begin treatments immediately. She, however, takes out a pen and paper and begins making a long list of names. “Madam,” the doctor says, “we have a treatment for you. There’s no need to make out a will.” To which the woman replies, “Oh, this is not a will. It’s a list of all people I intend to bite.”

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