Faithlife Sermons

Exodus 20:1-3 "No Other Gods"

exodus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 3 views

Yhwh calls his redeemed to exclusive covenant loyalty. FCF - antipathy to law as arestrictive burden which cramps our style. // Don't want to give exclusive loyalty, but want other gods.

Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →
No one likes law…except lawyers! NOT quite true...
Like law for others. Law restrains evil in Soc.
NOT quite true. Like law for others. Law restrains
Like law for ourselves. Some stuff parents asked you to do when young. Look back and say, ‘Glad I obeyed…or Wish I’d obeyed.’!
BUT, want to pick and choose. We obey traffic lights so we don’t crash, but take speed limits with a pinch of salt bcs we think we won’t crash. We obey, if it suits us. We pick and choose.
Here’s the PROBLEM. The God of the Bible demands exclusive loyalty. That’s what C1 is about, ‘You shall have no other gods besides me.’
The ‘you’ there is (s). This concerns everyone. As if God has spoken to each of us by name.
Of course, this is only fair. God is our Creator. He gives us every breath and every beat of our hearts. Ho owns us. And if we’re Xn he owns us twice over. He rescued us. Just like he rescued Israel from Egypt; he has rescued us. Not by the blood of a Passover Lamb and through the Red Sea; with the precious blood of his lamb-like Son and through the waters of Baptism. We are doubly-owned.
All hate rules and regulations. Law is something which ‘cramps our style’. It’s restrictive and burdensome. The only ppl who like Law are Lawyerss. But that’s not quite true is it?
But that’s not quite true is it?
And J comes and says, ‘Follow me.’ How do we do that? What will it look like?
We like law for others. It keeps them in check. It stops them behaving like savages. Puts limits on the chaos out there. It restrains those would otherwise steal and kill and do us harm.
Our PROBLEM is bigger than we dreamed. Just look at C1. It’s asking for total commitment, exclusive loyalty and wholehearted love.
We like law for ourselves.
It makes our lives safer and more pleasant. The Highway Code, for example. Traffic lights. They enable us to get where we’re going without crashing or being jammed up at a crossroads like in those superhero films where the villain makes all the lights turn green at the same time.
When an expert in the Law tried to test J and asked: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘ “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” ()
And perhaps with the wisdom of age we look back at the rules that our parents set us. “Be in by midnight”. “Don’t hang out with the wrong crowd”. “Work hard at school”. Sure, we resented them at the time, but now we look back and think, ‘I’m glad I obeyed’ or, ‘If only I’d obeyed.
36 ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’
What do we make of the 10Cs? Do they have any value for us today?
37 Jesus replied: ‘ “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
God’s ppl, Israel, were in a miserable state - enslaved by the Egyptians. Working day after day with no pay, no benefits, no contracts. And God heard their cries and brought them of Egypt by the blood of the Passover Lamb and through the Red Sea, defeating Pharaoh and their enemies. And now they have come to Mt Sinai and God speaks to them these words, these 10Cs.
J says C1 is about love. Let’s unpack what that means by taking a look from 3 angles/perspectives. Love includes our allegiance, affections, and actions.
And God has done that for his ppl today. We were in a miserable state, enslaved to sin and Satan and the fear of death, and God heard our cries and brought us out by the blood of Jesus and through the waters of baptism. And now we have come to J and he says, ‘Follow me!’
C1 is a call to exclusive loyalty. God says, ‘No rivals. Be loyal.’ Let’s think through what that means from 3 angles: allegiance, affection, and action.
The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition, ). London: Hodder & Stoughton. We can look at what it means to love God, to obey C1, from 3 angles: allegiance, affection, and action.
The 1st and most important way we can be distinctive is C1. C1 is a call to exclusive loyalty. God says, ‘No rivals. Be loyal.’ Let’s think through what that means from 3 angles: allegiance, affection, and action.
Allegiance
You might have noticed there was a wedding yesterday: What Megan think if next week Harry brought home another women and said, ‘Here’s my girlfriend. I want her to move in’? If she’s got any sense she’d run keys down the side of his Bentley and shred his Armani suits with scissors! And then scream: ‘It’s me or her!’ And she should! Why? Bcs that’s what marriage is. It’s an exclusive covenant commitment. That’s the essence of it, exclusivity.
The LORD deserves nothing less. When he says, ‘You shall have no other gods before me’. He’s saying, ‘Just 1 God. Just me. No rivals’.
Remember what J said in ?
Matthew 6:24 NIV (Anglicised, 2011)
‘No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
Literally, he’s saying, ‘No idols, no statues to other gods.’ Metaphorically he’s saying, ‘No split allegiances. No rivals.’
And ‘Money’ is capitalised there. It’s personified to show that money can be god. In the older versions it said, ‘You cannot serve both God and Mammon’. That makes it even clearer. God says, ‘Choose, it’s either money or me.’
And ‘Money’ is capitalised there. It’s personified to show that money can be god. In the older versions it said, ‘You cannot serve both God and Mammon’. That makes it even clearer. God says, ‘Choose, it’s either money or me.’
In Egypt there was a god for everything: god of Nile/domestic animals/sun. The Ex was a fight of the gods. The God of Israel V the gods of Egypt. And it was no contest. The LORD won. He turns the Nile to blood; he sends a plague on the animals; he turns the sun black. And he’s saying for all to hear: ‘I’m the one true God. There’s no other. No rivals.’
Just to clarify, when v3 mentions ‘other gods’ it’s not conceding their existence. Idols are nothing. They have nothing of God in them. But other gods are a front for Satan, demons and evil forces, but there are no other gods.
The point is that nothing else is to command our allegiance. The LORD calls for loyalty from his people.
The point here is that God says we are not to split allegiance to anyone or anything.
You might say, ‘We live in an enlightened age. What’s wrong if a man wants to have 2 wives?’ The law says you can’t have 2 wives at once. And the law isn’t arbitrary, it’s founded on Christian principles bcs God created marriage to be a picture of the exclusive loyalty he calls on each of us top give him.
Brief response: Individual creation of truth removes the right to moral outrage. 1) Aren't there any people in the world who are doing things you believe are wrong that they should stop doing no matter what they believe inside about right and wrong? Then you do believe that there is some kind of moral obligation that people should abide by and which stands in judgment over their internal choices and convictions. So what is wrong with Christians doing that? 2) No one is really free anyway. We all have to live for something, and whatever our ultimate meaning in life is (whether approval, achievement, a love relationship, our work) it is basically our 'lord' and master.
Now, some of you hate this. You think that this is a straight-jacket for Xns. You say, ‘We must be free to choose for ourselves how to live. We need to be true to ourselves. We need to be authentic.’ But don’t some ppl do stuff you think they should stop doing? Even if they’re doing it bcs it feels right to them? Then you do believe there is some standard of judgement that stands over our choices and convictions. So what’s wrong with Xns doing that?
C1 prohibits polytheism; worshipping many gods; splitting our allegiance.
In Egypt you’d chose the god you needed for the day. If you needed the Nile to flood for your crops to be irrigated you’d pray to Hapi’. If you needed help with snakebite you’d sacrifice to Bes. If you wanted to get rid of a plague of frogs then Hekt was your god of choice, and so on. And even professing Xns do this: make their primary allegiance to their boss Mon-Fri, on Sat family or sport is god; and then they worship the LORD on Sunday. That’s practical polytheism.
And polytheism is also what our Muslim friends accuse us of. They misunderstand what we believe. They say we worship 3 gods: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. That’s a profound misunderstanding.
They say we worship 3 gods: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. That’s a profound misunderstanding.
We worship 1 God in 3 persons. We believe that God is multi-personal. Not bcs we suddenly discover it in the NT, bcs it’s there in the OT, a book they claim to accept.
Look at 19.10: ‘The Lord said to Mo…v11…the LORD will come down on the Mt…and then…v20…the LORD descended on the Mt’. That only makes sense if the LORD is multi-personal. You get that sort of thing in many places.
Which is why when we come to the NT it’s not blasphemy for Thomas to fall before the Risen J and say, ‘My Lord and my God’. Bcs J is God, God the Son.
Now, we can’t wrap our minds round a tri-personal God. God is more complex that us - as we’d expect. What I am saying is that the C1 is calling us to worship the one triune God. That’s what HANNAH did when she was baptised in the name of J. Expressing total allegiance to the one God: Father, Son and Spirit. Saying, ‘He alone is my God.’
Affections
Did you realise that lukewarmness is a violation of C1? It is. If we’re lukewarm we’re putting other things ahead of God.
The Cs begin in v2 when God says, ‘I am the LORD your God.’ It’s personal.
It’s not enough simply to have a theoretical belief in the LORD’s existence. You need that, but it’s not sufficient. You need to have a sense on your heart that God is real. Just like it’s one thing to know Krispy Kreme donuts are sweet and another thing to taste its sweetness. To love the LORD means to have a sense of his sweetness on our heart.
When Israel were delivered from Egypt they didn’t yet know this. That’s why we find them grumbling and moaning and complaining.They were following God to get freedom, food and water, but they weren’t yet following God to get God. Do you follow God for God’s sake or for your sake?
Our affections are a great way of diagnosing what we worship:
If we flop an exam, or don’t get a job, or a relationship goes pear-shaped, it’s natural to feel down. But at the point our response becomes inordinate, bringing despair or depression. When it becomes debilitating we know that we’re looking to it, trusting in it, having faith in it, to provide what only God can provide.
Martin Luther said, ‘That…upon which you set your heart and put your trust is properly your god.’
Bush, D., & Due, N. (2015). Live in Liberty: The Spiritual Message of Galatians (p. 191). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Set your heart affections on the LORD and you can be content even when life is tough. How so? Bcs he will never let you down or forsake you. And when you forsake him he will forgive you.
We need to sense the reality that it is a greater honour to serve God than Royalty; a greater honour to serve God than have royalty serve us.
Now, am I saying that if we love God that we need to start clapping in church or raising our hands? Maybe, but it’s not about externals. You can raise your hand and be dead inside, not raise your hand and be fully engaged. Becoming a Xn won’t necessarily make you more or less emotional. Our degree of emotion is usually a function of personality and temperament. The difference is that once a person becomes a Xn their whole life belongs to the LORD, and that includes emotions. They are at his disposal. And God commands us to develop our emotional disposition towards him.
C1 reaches and includes not only what we think about God but what we feel. But it also includes our...
But if there’s no affection for him, no sense or inclination towards...I mean, what do you make of being a child of God? Your answer to that Q reveals a lot about where you stand with the Lord.
Actions
What HANNAH did today in baptism was to say, ‘My loyalty is to JXt. My allegiance is with Him. And my affections are his. I not only believe he exists, ‘I know that the Son of God loved me and gave himself for me.’’ But she also did something. She took action and publicly identified herself with Xt.
After Mo, Josh took over and said Israel had to make a choice:
Joshua 24:15 NIV (Anglicised, 2011)
But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.’
josh 24.15
All of us choose what or whom we worship.
The rich man in Lk18, from our reading, he chose money over Xt. He kept many of the commands, but he didn’t love Xt. J put his finger on the issue for him, it was his money. And it’s so sad, he walked away from J. He walked away from the one person who could give him what he really needed. He chose to serve money. It’s a tragedy.
Not just Xns, we all worship something or someone:
Even some atheists acknowledge that. John Gray, the Atheist and Philosopher is his recent book on Atheism concludes this way: “Contemporary atheism is a continuation of monotheism by other means. Hence the unending succession of God-surrogates, such as humanity and science, [and progress through] technology...”
We either worship the true God or a God-surrogate. We make a choice:
Some choose to worship money. Money is our Creator, Redeemer and Comforter. If we have money we think we’ve made it; if we are in danger we look to money to save us; if we are sad we go shopping. Money is our God-surrogate.
Some choose intellect. We build our identity on what we know; we turn to the internet and self-help books when things go wrong; we find solace in being more clever than someone else. Human intellect is our God-surrogate.
Some choose goodness. We tolerate ourselves by doing good-things; we fail so try harder; we comfort ourselves that we’re better than the next person. We are our God-surrogate.
Your god may be none of those things. It might be pleasure or physical strength or a child. But whatever God-surrogate we choose they will let us down and fail us. Only the LORD will never do that. Only he will never fail us and when we fail him he will forgive us.
e god we worship demands absolute loyalty. To our shame, even atheists sometimes worship their gods with greater devotion.
JXt was the only person who has ever truly obeyed C1.
In our reading from Lk18, Jesus met a man and said to him, ‘You know the C’s’, and J quotes a bunch of them. Remarkably, the man says, ‘Yep. Kept all those’. And then, as he always does, J puts his finger on the issue…He says to him, ‘Go, sell your stuff, then come follow me.’ In other words, he’s saying, ‘OK. For the sake of argument let’s say you have kept those commands. But how about C1? What does your wallet show about who you worship? Make your choice, money or me? What’s your greatest treasure? prove it. And the great tragedy here is that the man becomes sad and walks away from J. J offers him eternity. He needs to make a choice. He needs to take action. And as far as we know this man chose Hell - an eternity without JXt. There’s nothing more tragic!
Allegiance: The devil promised to give him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour if he would bow down adn worship him. J said, ‘Away from me Sata! For it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ()
Affection: When he saw the religious ppl prostituting the temple and barring others from entering he took a cord of whips and drove them out saying, ‘Stop turning my Father’s house into a market.’ No one ever had such consuming zeal for the LORD.
Actions: JXt said to his Father in Gethsemane, ‘Not my will be done, but yours.’ And for the sake of his Father and for the sake of his ppl, J Xt not only talked the talk but walked the walk, the walk to Calvary, where on the cross J bore the sins of all who would trust in Him. More than that, all who trust in Him not only receive forgiveness but his perfect record of obedience to the Law. He receives our breaking the Law; we receive his keeping it.
The truth is these 10Cs are too difficult for us. We like them policing others but can’t accept them as coming from a loving parent. But that’s exactly how they do come. Some of you would have noticed that v2 comes before v3. You would have seen that these Cs are given to God’s saved ppl, not in order to save ppl.
If you do not know JXt, then all these Cs do is condemn you. You cannot keep them. You don’t even want to keep them.
BUT, realise that the SOn of God loved you and gave himself for you and everything is changed. The 10Cs come to us not as from a Policeman, or even a Judge, but from the lips of a loving Father. Now that we know they do not condemn us we want to obey them in Xt, with all our hearts and souls and minds.
We live in a culture of options, and love to keep our options open. Someone invites us to something and we say, ‘We’ll get back to you’. We’re keeping our options open. Someone asks us to commit and we don’t. We’re scared we might miss out on something better. So we say, ‘I’ll let you know later.’ We won’t commit. JXt didn’t do that, and today he asks us to choose him, to choose life, to commit.
‘Choose today whom you will serve! (Whether the gods of science, family, money or self.) But as for me and my household we will serve the LORD.’
Matthew 10:38 NIV (Anglicised, 2011)
Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Additional Material
The truth is that C1 (and all of the Cs)
*In the deserts of central Australia there’s a strange plant that grows there called a nardoo. If you eat is you feel satisfied, but it doesn’t contain any nourishment. Once a group of explorers crossing the desert ran out of food. Their leader, Captain King, recommended nardoo. He knew the natives ate it. Day after day they ate it. At first they felt satisfied, but soon their strength began to fail. Finally, it killed them. They wasted away and died of starvation. A solitary survivor told the story.
Maybe that sounds harsh. But if J didn’t say that he’d not be true to he is - the being of invite value and worth. And what’s more, he’d not be loving, bcs our joy is only found in giving ourselves fully to him.
We find this difficult. We live in a culture where we want to keep our options open. If we’re invited out we respond at the last minute in case we get a better offer. But we will never get a better offer than JXt.
Some of us are thinking: ‘I think that Cs are good for Soc. They’re useful like a Policeman is useful.’
Others are feeling condemned. We know we’ve broken C1. We’ve offended a Holy God and are liable to punishment. Go to J. JXt will forgive you. He will never turn you away.
Still others are thinking, ‘I don’t need Jesus. I feel satisfied with my life as it is.’
In the deserts of central Australia there’s a strange plant that grows there called a nardoo. If you eat is you feel satisfied, but it doesn’t contain any nourishment. Once a group of explorers crossing the desert ran out of food. Their leader, Captain King, recommended nardoo. He knew the natives ate it. Day after day they ate it. At first they felt satisfied, but soon their strength began to fail. Finally, it killed them. They wasted away and died of starvation. A solitary survivor told the story.
*These 10Cs help us to know what it means to do that. C1 is in v3, but it’s critical we see that v2 comes before v3. That these are commands for the saved not for salvation. They are given to God’s rescued ppl; you don’t get rescued by doing them. That’s Xty 101. The basics. God has loved us. He has made us his treasured possession. Now he calls us to be like him. To be holy. Why? Bcs not only does he love us, he loves his world. And so he calls us out of the world for his world. He calls us to be distinctive.

[A] strange plant called nardoo grows in [the] deserts of Central Australia. [It is] like a fern, and natives eat its seeds when they can obtain no other food. One peculiar property [is that] it satisfies and produces [a] pleasant feeling of comfort, but it does not nourish.

[A] party of explorers, crossing this central desert, [once] ran out of food. [Their] leader, Captain King, recommended nardoo as he knew [the] natives ate it. Day after day they fed on it. At first [they] felt satisfied, but soon [their] strength began to fail. Finally, it killed them. They wasted away, lay down and died of starvation. A solitary survivor was discovered under a tree, and he told the story.

Jesus is [the] Bread of Life!

*Now, some of you hate this. You think that this is a straight-jacket for Xns. You say, ‘We must be free to choose for ourselves how to live. We need to be true to ourselves. We need to be authentic.’ But don’t some ppl do stuff you think they should stop doing? Even if they’re doing it bcs it feels right to them? Then you do believe there is some standard of judgement that stands over our choices and convictions. So what’s wrong with Xns doing that?
These 10Cs help us to know what it means to do that. C1 is in v3, but it’s critical we see that v2 comes before v3. That these are commands for the saved not for salvation. They are given to God’s rescued ppl; you don’t get rescued by doing them. That’s Xty 101. The basics. God has loved us. He has made us his treasured possession. Now he calls us to be like him. To be holy. Why? Bcs not only does he love us, he loves his world. And so he calls us out of the world for his world. He calls us to be distinctive.
The 1st and most important way we can be distinctive is C1.
Now, some of you hate this. You think that this is a straight-jacket for Xns. You say, ‘We must be free to choose for ourselves how to live. We need to be true to ourselves. We need to be authentic.’ But don’t some ppl do stuff you think they should stop doing? Even if they’re doing it bcs it feels right to them? Then you do believe there is some standard of judgement that stands over our choices and convictions. So what’s wrong with Xns doing that?
*Remember what J said in ?
Remember what J said in ?
Matthew 6:24 NIV (Anglicised, 2011)
‘No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
And ‘Money’ is capitalised there. It’s personified to show that money can be god. In the older versions it said, ‘You cannot serve both God and Mammon’. That makes it even clearer. God says, ‘Choose, it’s either money or me.’
Related Media
Related Sermons