“The 1st Commandment”
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In the book, the day America told the truth, Patterson and Kim give some insight about post modernisms out look on law. They say that today, there is no moral consensus at all. Everyone is making up their own moral codes… what they call their own Ten Commandments. Patterson and Kim gave us the data of what their research has found which they call the real ten commandments today.
- There is no point at all in observing the Sabbath.
- It is ok to steal from those who wont really miss is.
- I will lie when it suits me; as long as it does not cause any real damage.
- Its ok to cheat on my spouse; after all, given the chance, he or she will do the same.
The reason for these rules and laws today is founded upon the moral relativism or the idea that we are all free to make up our own rules as we go along all based on our own personal preferences. Again these do not come from the heart of the Lord, but our own personal desires. We do what we want, when we want, how we want and if we have to do it, then we figure out a way to get someone to do it for us. Interesting today how this is working out. Things that are against the law like being in a country illegally, traffic violations, tax evasion, purdgery, illegal drug use, resisting arrest, many people do not feel as if they need to follow these laws. But things that are not against the law like freedom of speech, owning firearms, educating our own children, being a part of a political party … are treated as if they are criminals.
We would hope that things would be different in the church, but studies are showing something disturbing. Surely we would hold the very Words of God to be those held in honor. But worshippers more and more today are not even able to cite the 10 commandments much less keep them. A recent report from the Princeton Religious Research Center, called Religion is gaining ground, but Morality is losing ground shows that even though church attendance and Bible reading was been increasing there has been a steady decline in morality. The immediate question is… How in the world is this possible? How in the world is it that people today are more interested in God, but less interested in what He says? The only way to explain this…People are not interested in the God of the Bible. Respect for the God of the Bible always means respect for His laws. Low regard for the laws of God means low regard for God.
The reality of all of this is clear with a simple look at the preamble to the 10 commandments of God as we begin our year long study of the 10 commandments.
Then 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.
The grass withers the flower fades but the Words of our God stands forever.
The Lord Your God
It Will Not Pass Away
Interpreting the Law
Redeemed from the Curse of the Law
The first thing we will look at today is the clear and awesome voice of the Lord your God whose command is to be obeyed by everyone, every-time, for all time. The second place of exploration is how the law of God reflects the nature of God therefore it will never pass away. Third, we will uncover some of the realities as to why we struggle in interpreting the Law. Finally, we will rejoice in the beautiful truth that Christ and his wonderful work has redeemed us from the curse of the Law.
Thesis: Though sin and the pattern of this world cause us to question the validity and necessity of the 10 commandments of God, it is power of the HolySpirit and the work of Christ that will open our eyes to the wonders of the Law of God given at Mt. Sinai revealing the grace and glory of our almighty King of kings.
I. The Lord Your God
- Obedience by everyone, every-time, for all time.
A. There is a passage related to the 10 Commandments that is very striking to what we should understand about God’s Word today.
Has any nation ever heard the voice of God speaking from fire—as you did—and survived?
B. The almighty and all powerful God has spoken these are his words the audacity of us as human beings to treat the words of the Lord with disrespect. How we flippantly treat the Word and how we flippantly treat claims that the Lord is speaking to us now. The Israelites were to approach the foot of the mountain where the Lord was… to come any closer would mean death. The obvious response would be our fullest and most careful attention.
C. Our Baptist Catechism answers question 49 What does the preface to the 10 Commandments teach us? The answer. Because God is the Lord, and our God and our Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all of His commandments.
D. It does not depend on cultural context, not on time or experience, not gender or educational status, not on special interests or political party, age or demographic, emotional disposition or economic status, whether you are on or off the basketball court, no matter what country or city we live in the Law of God is to be obeyed by everyone, everytime, for all time. Everyone, evertime, for all time.
Archibald Rutledge wrote that one day he met a man whose dog had just been killed in a forest fire. Heartbroken, the man explained to Rutledge how it happened. Because he worked out-of-doors, he often took his dog with him. That morning, he left the animal in a clearing and gave him a command to stay and watch his lunch bucket while he went into the forest. His faithful friend understood, for that's exactly what he did. Then a fire started in the woods, and soon the blaze spread to the spot where the dog had been left. But he didn't move. He stayed right where he was, in perfect obedience to his master's word. With tearful eyes, the dog's owner said, "I always had to be careful what I told him to do, because I knew he would do it."
E. Please don’t tell me that a dog will obey his master better than we will obey the commands of the Lord. Obedience by Everyone, every-time, for all time.
II. It Will Not Pass Away
- It was always there and it will always be there.
A. The law of God written in stone by the finger of God signifies something important. They will remain.
When the Lord finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, written by the finger of God.
B. The law of God is perpetually binding on all persons for all times simply because God is God and the law of God is a reflection of his character. How so Shane. There is a saying… the one thing about rules is that they tell you something about the rule maker. Think about the many extensive federal regulations that govern handicapped access to buildings. What do these laws tell us about the society that made the laws? This country desires that the disabled are to be a part of everyday life with everyone else.
C. So the 10 commandments show us the sovereignty of God, the justice of God, the faithfulness of God, the truthfulness of God…these are some of the eternal attributes of God that are eternal. If the laws which reflect the eternal attributes of God are to go away, God would have to unGod Himself.
D. Try to think about it this way. When will it ever be permissable to worship another God, to misuse God’s name, to murder, to steal? Never Ever Ever. The law of God will never pass away. To do so would go against the very nature of God.
E. Another way of seeing the perpetual nature of the 10 commandments. They were in effect before God wrote them down on the tablets at mount Sinai. Before the time of Moses, Cain was condemned for murder, Sodomites were adulterers, Rachel condemned for stealing, Abraham judged for lying, Lot’s wife for coveting. And of course the Sabbath. Before they got to Sinai, the Israelites when gathering Manna, we to gather double on Friday… there would not be any gathering on the 7th day some were judged for doing so.
F. It was always there and it will always be there.
III. The Curse of the Law
- Distinguishing right from wrong.
A. It was pointed out in National Review Magazine. A cartoon of Moses standing on the top of the mountain with the 2 stone tablets in hand. He was excited and said… these are great, from now on nobody will have trouble distinguishing between right and wrong. But this is not the case is it.
B. But we should soberly consider that it is not a problem with the commands of God that make it difficult. It is indeed us. That is the nature of sin. We are constantly deceived by the flesh that what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right… this complication creates moral dilemmas real or imagined. But what is feel is a major contributor to this issue, especially in the church, is that we do not have a clear understanding of the depth of the 10 commandments. They are not as simple as they look.
C. When it comes to the 10 commandments we must first of all use the beloved reformed principle of interpretation… scripture interprets scripture. The way to know the full and true meaning of any Bible passage is to know what the rest of the Bible says about the same theme. The 2nd commandment thou shall not make graven images seem simple enough, but the scriptures have so much more to say about how we worship God and that it is important as to how we worship as much as it is that we worship. We can worship the right God the wrong way. Ask Nadab and Abihu.
D. When it comes to the 10 Commandments we must also used the inside and out principle. The Law of God demands inward integrity as well as outward conformity. To illustrate this further, a Puritan proverb, “Man’s law binds the hands only, God’s laws bind the heart.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Smaule 16:7
God not only holds us accountable for what we do with our bodies, but also what is going on in our heart. The 10th commanment thou shall not covet is not an action, but a sinful affection. The 7th commandment forbids adultury, but Jesus in the Sermon on the mount that this is not just an action of our bodies, but a desire in our heart.
The was once a tribal chief who said that he would rather have the 7777 laws of the Toraja Adat then the Christians 10 commandments. The 7777 laws leave room for freedom, but the 10 commandments demand my whole heart.
E. When it comes to the 10 Commandments we must also used the two sided principle. We tend to think of the 10 commandments as a bunch of don’ts. A bunch of thou shalt nots. But there is a flip side. Not only does every command condemn a particular vice, it also commands a virtue.
F. Not only does the command forbid murder it also involves the preservation of life. Not only the the command not to steal, it also commands us to give to the poor. All this to say that we must understand every command telling us what to do as well as what not to do. This is what makes the commandments so revealing. We might think that we are keeping the 8th commandment when we say, no worries I don’t shop lift, but as the same time not helping the poor and sit back and think that we are keeping the commandment. This is why i say that keeping the commandments are twice as hard as people think. Sure we are not telling lies, but are we using our words to encourage and bless? The scriptures make all of this clear and it will be clearer when we study each one. We must see not only what is forbidden, but also what is required.
G. Oh boy we may not be keeping it as well as we might think that we are. Some say that the 10 commandments are not sufficient to cover everything in life. But they are. We will see that they rule the inside of us as well as the outside of us, they are positive as well as negative, each one governs the whole categories of sins and duties and they not only apply to our own conduct but also to the conduct of others… you are your brother’s keeper.
H. And all of this brings us to a frightening conclusion. The Lord not only requires obedience, he requires perfect obedience. Remember James. And everyone who breaks the law is now subject to the wrath and curse of God.
For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.
IV. Redeemed from the Curse of the Law
- Grace and mercy do we find in the Law
A. But Shane why are you wanting to do this? Why are you wanting to expose our sin and how we so easily break the commands of God? Why do such an in-depth study of the 10 commandments? All its gonna do is bring condemnation and despair. What it is gonna do is wake us up to a beautiful reality.
John Bunyan - The man who does not know the nature of the law cannot know the nature of sin. And he who does not know the nature of sin cannot know the nature of the Savior.
J. Greshem Machen - A low view of the law always brings legalism in religion, but a high view of the law makes a man a seek of grace.
Charles Spurgeon - As the sharpe needle prepares the way for a thread, so the piercing law makes a way for the bright silver thread of divine grace.
The Apostle Paul
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
K. Who will indeed. It is Christ our Lord. Our wonderful savior who has come to save us from the curse of the law.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—
L. Christ has come to save us and redeem us. He came into this world to seek and to save… Jesus died for our sins according to the scriptures … Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners.
M. The beauty of the Gospel shows that when we uncover the full extent of the Law of God will show the full extent of the sacrifice of Christ. He died for our idolatry, profanity, adultery, lying, stealing, murder. He died for our sins inside and out, every category of God’s command, and even when we shared in the sins of others, even when we caused others to sin. Christ died and paid the penalty of our sins.
N. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law and the punishment that come with our transgressions. Salvation is here. There is hope for us today.
O. All who call upon the name … If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord...