The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments

Well, good morning, Good morning. So our church family so good to be with you guys this morning. Good morning to you. If you’re new here, my name is dan, I’m excited that you’re here. It’s good to be with the people of God worshiping God right on the day of the Lord, the day that the Lord has made the day of salvation. That’s what today is. Right. Amen. Amen. Well today we’re kicking off a new series on the 10 Commandments and I don’t want to delay it any longer. So I’m gonna pray. Uh, and then when I’m done praying, I’m gonna kind of walk through An explanation for why we’re gonna teach on the 10 commandments and then we’re going to cover the first commandment. So again, let me begin with the word of prayer. Bow your heads with me, father in heaven. I pray that our prayer would become the prayer of the psalmist in 1 19 where he says, blessed are you o Lord teach me your statutes Lord. That’s our desire this morning. Through your word, would you teach us your statutes in christ’s name? We pray. Amen Amen. So like I said, we’re kicking off this new series on the 10 commandments. When some of you may be wondering how can a church and that claims to prioritize the gospel preached on the law of God? Or you may be wondering what does the law of God have to do with christians And aren’t we under grace? Not under law. How many of you have heard questions like that or how many of you had those kind of questions yourself. Um as you think about the 10 commandments. Well, as christians, we want to have a biblical understanding of the relationship between law and Gospel. We need to have a biblical understanding of that. Um we cannot simply just dismiss the law is being irrelevant. Um for too many christians, the old testament has no role, no place, no significance to your walk with God. But do you know that the early church that the old testament was their bible? It was their bible. And the new testament is simply an exposition of the old testament, making those things that were in shadow form in the old testament clearer for the church. And so it’s important for us to have a biblical understanding of the relationship between the law of God and the gospel of God. And so let’s begin by looking at the very words of jesus as he talks about his law Matthew 5 17 and 19 he says this, 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. For truly, I say to you until heaven and earth pass away. Do we believe him? There is that until heaven and earth passes away, not an iota, not a dot will pass from the law. Until all is accomplished basically saying the smallest mark in any word or letter in the law will not be done away with until heaven and earth passes away Verse 19. Therefore, whoever relaxes 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 does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of Heaven, I don’t know about you, but it is not my goal. It is not my desire to be considered least in the Kingdom of Heaven and according to jesus, you are considered least in the Kingdom of heaven. If you diminish the law of God, if you say this law is insignificant, unimportant and you teach others to think and to act in the same way Jesus says that you are at least in this kingdom, but he says those who teach them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. Again, the words of Christ Matthew 22 verses 35 through 40. Actually Jesus is quoting moses, he says, here’s the pastor says, and one of them, a lawyer asked him a question to test him, teacher, which is the great commandment in the law and he jesus said to him, you shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind, this is the great and first commandment And verse 39 and a second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself on these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets. This is what is known as a summary of the law of God. A summary does not replace it. It simply explains what the goal, what the meaning of the law is about. It is to teach us to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves and to leave us with some clues on how to do that. Well, that’s what Jesus is saying here as he quotes moses. We also understand from this explanation from this summary, that the law of God or the 10 commandments can be understood as having, as some theologians say, two tables, there are two tables of the Law. What does that mean? Well, Two tables being, you know, like in the movie 10 commandments, Charlton Heston, you know, when he comes down, he’s got the law right? There’s one side and then there’s another side. Well, the two tables on one side of the law is vertical. Our love for God. The second table, or the second side is horizontal. Our love for one another. And so that is what jesus is saying. The summary of all that God has required all that God has revealed to us is to get us on track with being clear about how to worship God, how to do that accurately with great clarity, with reverence, so that we don’t simply just make up our worship. Now you can be really sincere in making up your worship and it falls short of God’s requirements for. And that’s a problem Jesus encountered a woman in samaria where he reviewed her and said that the true worshipers of God will worship in spirit and truth, but you Samaritans worship what you do not know. So I can’t just give God some kind of pet name and say, hey now when I’m worshiping this particular pet name, I’m referencing God. Now that is unacceptable in his sight. Likewise, when it comes to loving our neighbors, do you not know that it is love not to steal from your neighbor and all the single people, roommates are looking at their roommates and said, yes, please stop eating my cereal. I had that problem with some roommates when I was single. Now I have that problem with kids. So we need to have a biblical understanding of the relationship between the law of God and the gospel and as christians, we can’t simply just close the book on the first half of our bible. We need to understand what is the relationship between that and our faith? What is the relationship with that In our walk with christ? And we’re gonna unpack this a little bit more and I don’t want to get up here and just start talking to you about something as if I’m the inventor of these things. I stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before me, that’s at least what I’m trying to do. And so I want to look at what the Church coming out of the protestant reformation begin to teach about the law and Gospel and that relationship and you guys understand the protestant reformation was for the church and it was a return to solar scripture. It was a return to looking at the word of God as being the authority for the church for life and faith. That’s what the Protestant Reformation was about. And coming on the heels of that, many in the church wanted to leave as a witness for future generations. Hey, here’s how we look at the scriptures and understood some of the basic teachings and principles of the scriptures, that that that equate to a summary of our Christian faith. Here it is, right here in a confession. And so I want to read to you from the night from the 1689 London Baptist Confession. I want to read from chapter 19. I’m gonna look at article five, it says this again, We’re thinking about relationship between law and gospel. It says, the moral law forever requires obedience of everyone, both those who are justified as well as others. Applause are there for a moment because sometimes we don’t think that the moral law applies to those who don’t worship God. That’s not what your bible teaches you and that’s not what the church is understood in history now, we know that there’s some good things about natural law, but what we need to understand about natural laws that Natural law divorces itself from a creator who has all authority. We just had to say natural law, but then we have to ask ourselves who is the giver of that natural law. That’s why the moral law is understood by the church. Is that it requires the obedience of everyone. If your neighbor goes around murdering people, guess what, he has not only taken an innocent life, but he has violated God’s Holy Law, and it is better for society that he does not do that. Amen. And so it says the obligation arises not only because of its content, but also because of the authority of God, the creator who gave it, nor does christ in any way dissolve this obligation in the gospel. Instead, he greatly strengthens. It greatly strengthens it because we fall short of it and his obedience is what we depend on. Article six says this. True believers are not under the law as a covenant of works to be justified or condemned by it. Yet it is very useful to them and to others as a rule of life that informs them of the will of God and their duty it directs and obligates them to live according to its precepts. It also exposes the sinful corruptions of their natures hearts and lives. You know, I mean, a clear example of this is when you are working with a little kid who takes something that they should not take. They know that they have violated something that is sacred and holy. That is the law of God written on their hearts, they understand that lying is wrong. You don’t have to teach kids that those things are wrong. They instinctively understand that that is the image of God, that is God himself stamping and imprinting that on their nature. And when we read it clearly in the law gives an even more of a heightened understanding of it. Now, we know I need to hate this. Not only do I know that it’s wrong, but now that I’ve read it, that you forbid it, I need to despise that I need to hate it. That’s what he’s saying here. And so as they examine themselves in the light of the law, they come to further conviction of humiliation for and hatred of sin along with a clearer view of their need for christ and the perfection of his obedience. The law is also useful to the regenerate to restrain their corruption because it forbids sin. The punishment threatened by the law shows them what their sins deserve and what troubles they may expect in this life due to their sin, even though they are freed from the curse and undiminished severity of it. And they’re just simply saying, look, if you start playing with fire and you get burnt, you should’ve you should’ve expected that that’s all it’s saying. And when you see God’s law and understand that it is a revelation of his holiness, his goodness and his perfection and you step outside of the bounds of that law, you should expect that not many good things are going to come to you in life. That’s simply what they’re saying. And so the promises of the law likewise show them God’s approval of obedience. And the blessings they they may expect when they keep it, even though these blessings are not owed to them by the law is a covenant of works more on that later. If people do good and refrain from evil, because the law encourages good and discourages evil, that does not indicate that they are under the law and not under grace. And I want to read the last article here in verse seven, I mean chapter 19 and article seven, it says these uses of the law are not contrary to the grace of the gospel, but are in sweet harmony with it. For the spirit of christ subdues and enables the human will to do freely and cheerfully. What the will of God as revealed in the law requires, what he’s saying is that if when you come to faith in christ that the spirit of God dwells you and that same spirit desires to honor and obey God and to keep his law and his spirit empowers you in your obedience. It becomes a fruit the evidence that christ is in you. Now, you won’t do that perfectly. But if we look at your life, we see that you are constantly moving in the direction of christ. You’re pursuing it to be going sideways or backwards. That’s a problem. Not a problem. And the law creates those boundaries, those clear running lanes, we run to christ. It’s a long Gospel. There’s a harmony there. There’s a relationship between Long Gospel. That is good. That it’s important for us. Christians to understand the law points to our need for the Gospel and the Gospel establishes the law. The law points to our need for the Gospel of christ. And the Gospel of christ establishes the law. If you preach the Gospel and you leave out an element of law, meaning falling short of God’s Holy demands, which is sin according to first john 34, then your gospel is somewhat truncated. It’s not okay to simply talk about following us and Brokenness and not mention the holy standard from which we have fallen. The standards from which we are too broken to meet because in christ, we see that he Mato standard he suffered because we couldn’t meet those standards, He was nailed to a roman cross because we can’t meet those standards perfectly. So the law points to our need for the Gospel and the Gospel establishes the law. When we say amen to the Gospel, we’re saying according to God’s Justin holy and righteous Law. I am a sinner. I fall short, I cannot please God the way that I know I am meant to please him. I am relying upon I’m borrowing upon the grace of another, the obedience of another and that other being jesus christ. So it is important that we have a biblical understanding of the relationship between law and gospel romans 3 31 says, Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means. On the contrary, we uphold the law. We uphold it. We show that God is righteous, that he is holy and that sin has corrupted our natures and that we need a savior. So not only do we need to have a biblical understanding of the relationship between law and Gospel, but we need to understand how the bible uses the term law it uses. It can imply a lot of different things. If we’re not careful if we’re not careful to look at the text closely, I just want to kind of summarize a few of the things that you may have seen or observed in the bible. When you have seen the term law in scripture, it can mean the covenants that God made with his people. If you mean the covenants that he made with his people, God made a covenant with adam and he broke covenant. In other words, he broke the law of God. It could mean for the first five books of the bible or the writings of moses known as the Torah Sometimes in scripture. The laws are referenced directly to the 10 commandments and other times, it’s a reference to the ceremonial law is given to Israel. In other cases, the civil or judicial laws that governed ancient Israel and in other places, the word of God, it’s considered the law because they are the words of a king and we don’t live under a kingship in the natural sense. So we don’t understand how important it is to obey the words of a king, to disobey a king mr risk death. And so the word of God is often Donovan. Yeah, Now we like to soften it a little bit in our modern day and age and say it’s just a love story, just a love letter, it’s just this and that right, you know, and it is in some ways, there is a story, there is an expression of love in its pure sense and its most holy sense, but ultimately, it’s a long word. They are not 10 suggestions. There are 10 commandments and he says, be holy, he is not saying if you still feel like it and it says that you are to know the lord that you are to repent of sin, he’s not saying if you feel like it or when you are ready. No, those are the words of a king, the law, Words of a king. So when we read the new testament, we have to pay close attention to the context to understand exactly what aspect of the law that the writer is addressing. So the Book of romans, for example, is challenging the misuse and the misunderstanding of the moral law of God. The letter to the Galatians tackles primarily the issue of circumcision and the jewish holidays and feasts that the church was trying to embrace and trying to become more jewish than christ, like the entire letter to the Hebrews or the Book of Hebrews, which was one sermon, believe it or not, much longer than the one I’m going to deliver to you today. One sermon addressing temple worship, the entire sacrificial system and this idea of the high priest, all of that being fulfilled in the person of the lord, jesus, christ, jesus being the true Temple jesus being the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus being the last high priest we will ever need. So in addressing some of the nuance regarding the law and stripped of the church and history has sought to place the law into three distinct categories. This threefold division of the law helps us to understand and see the relationship with the law and gospel more clearly. The first category is the civil and judicial law. These were the case laws. They were the laws governing the everyday life of Israel as a nation. They involved everything from property ownership to violent crimes, to personal disputes, All of these things were governing the daily life of Israel and when Israel ceased to become a nation, those laws ended with Israel, but the Church has understood that there is a general equity or a general um principle that we are to glean from those laws given to ancient Israel paul, for example, quotes one of those laws and to the church in Corinth when he says, do not muzzle the ox while he treads and he says God wasn’t thinking about auction at that time. He was thinking about people laboring, especially those laboring for the word of God and the ministry of God. And so again, there is wisdom. There are principles that we can take from those judicial laws. Um some of them have to do with quarantining how to take care of the sick. The second category is the ceremonial law. This has to do with the temple sacrifices, the special feast, the special sabbath celebrations, circumcisions, all of the ordinances. Some of you may not be aware of this, but some of the, the feast and the special days in Israel, those were special sabbath. Sometimes, you know, they would have two or three sabbath to sabbath in one week as they make a special celebration and then honor the sabbath day, jesus is the end of all of the ceremonial law. He is the true sabbath. It gives us rest from our strivings, trying to please God. He is the ultimate sacrifices. We’ve already discussed. The third category is the moral law, which we’ve called the 10 commandments. Now, realistically all law is moral, all law puts forth a moral understanding this is good. The opposite of it is bad, that’s what law teaches. But for the sake of giving us something to kind of Put our teeth into and thinking about the 10 commandments, the jersey is categorized as the moral law. Now Christ perfectly kept the 10 commandments on our behalf. And so we’re justified by faith in him. But the moral or the 10 commandments still remain. They still serve a purpose. They still play a role in the life of the of the church. How many of you kind of heard the expression regarding the culture and the way in which things change so quickly and the value shifting so fast, how many of you heard the expression of the goalposts have moved. You guys understand that expression right? You know, in football or and I guess in soccer would apply to write, you know, you’re trying to kick the ball through the goal post, but if the goal post keep moving, you don’t know where to kick it. You don’t know what scores what ultimately produces a win. And the reason why that happens is because we have jettisoned this idea of the moral law being permanent for us. You see if we keep this law now the goalpost cannot move. And when someone tries to move the goalpost, we say, no, God almighty, the creator has established these running lanes for us, we cannot go out of balance here, I get it, We’re concerned that will become legal ist and it will focus only on the law. Again, using a sports analogy, if I’m only worried about stepping out of bounds while I’m running with the ball, I’m not gonna be very good, we’re moving the ball forward. But if I’m focused on getting the ball across the goal line and I am conscious of where out of bounds is, I can still make progress. I don’t need to focus on the out of bounds line and then hope to get across the line. Now I’m gonna run out of bounds, but if I know where out of bounds is, I can set my sights on the goals more clearly, That’s what Galatians 324 tells us therefore the law has become our tutor to lead us to christ so that we may be justified by faith. The first timothy 18 says now we know that the law is good. If one uses it lawfully, we need to talk about that, let’s get the wrong uses of the law, the wrong use of the law as if we use the law as a means of personal justification. This happens often when people, you know, think that they’ll keep a tally of their good deeds. I’ve done this many good deeds, so therefore I’m good in God’s sight, That is the wrong use of the law, No one can perfectly keep the law when you fall short one time, at one point in the law you’re guilty of breaking all of the law and therefore according to uh romans, you are, The wages for your penalty is death. This is what christ had to die on the cross. So we do not use the law as a personal, as a means of personal justification. Another wrong use of the law is thinking that we are owed blessings and prosperity for good law keeping. That is prosperity preaching. It’s prosperity Gospel preaching. It says that if I do this and I should be blessed, I should never ever experience sadness, harm, delay, frustration in life. That is prosperity gospel preaching. That is a false gospel. That is the wrong use of the law that leads to a lot of harm, at least to a lot of harm again. And it misses the goal of our faith, jesus christ, the suffering servant perfectly kept every aspect of God’s law he suffered and then he died on a cross. God raised him from the dead and he’s seated to the right hand of the father and he’s ruling and reigning right now. But let’s not forget his earthly life. Perfect law keeping does not mean that God owes you a blessing. Another wrong Use of the law is adding or subtracting from the law of God. This is what the Pharisees were notorious for doing. They calculated how many steps a person could take on the sabbath day before it was considered a violation of the sabbath. That’s how meticulous they were. And in terms of adding to the law of God, how much weight a person could carry, how far a person could travel. All of those things. They calculated that as a means of righteousness and they held people accountable to their man made laws and traditions and jesus consistently rebukes him. For let’s look at the right use of the law. It’s understanding the holiness and justice of God. The reason why justice seems so hard to define these days. It’s because we don’t look at The one who gives his Royal and Holy and Perfect Law. We don’t think about his law. And so we’re left to ourselves. And it changes with the wind and sometimes it blows as strong as this Nebraska wind blows in terms of the change, it’s all over the place. But the Law of God teaches us about the holiness and the justice of God. It establishes christ is the only way to be justified before God. And in christ, it becomes a tool for growth and sanctification and wisdom for living. Now, let’s look at the 10 commandments. Let’s look at the deck a log right or and the the way that the ancient hebrews understood it. Let’s look at the 10 words, This is from Exodus 20 verses one and three I’m going to read the preamble and the first commandment. I want you to pay close attention to these words. There’s not very many words here. God gives 10 commandments. You look at the law book on the United States government and federal government. Man. That thing is heavy. It is full thousands of laws. Man made laws because they continue to grow and grow and grow as their understanding of justice and holiness continues to quote, evolve and progress. But God from eternity speaks a certain and absolute standard of truth. And so let’s look at this very closely and verse one it says, And God spoke all these words saying, I am the Lord, your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. Verses one and two. This is known as the preamble to the law. The preamble basically lays the groundwork the foundation for why what follows is important, why you need to heed it where the authority comes from, Why it’s significant to your life that you grasp what is about to be said to you. And what does God say in the preamble? He declares that he is God, He is your God. Very personal. I am your God. And the next preaches the gospel. I brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You didn’t earn it. You didn’t deserve it. You didn’t work your way out of it. God as an act of his own grace. Love and Mercy went in and took you out to establish you as his special possession Or he even gives them the 10 commandments he preaches grace to them. I have saved you. You belong to me. You were suffering as a slave in Egypt. I went in and I made you my own. And now what follows this is what will establish you as the redeemed community of God. And then he gives him the first commandment in verse three. You shall have no other Gods before me. That first commandment short, simple but rich. There’s three things that are perfectly clear in that first commandment. The first one is this there is only one living and true God. There’s only one living and true god. The second thing is this, we owe our worship to God alone. Do you know that it is a sin for you to not worship God. It is a sin for you to withhold worship that rightfully belongs to your God and creator. It is a sin for you to forsake. But gathering, coming together to worship the Lord your God. And that makes us very uncomfortable because we don’t like being told what to do. We don’t like to feel like we are forced into doing something like we have no choice. I use this analogy in the first service. Probably not a good one but some of us act as if you know God God is raising us as drug babies. Like he drugged us to church this morning so that we would have to be here. That’s Southern slang, not like the actual drug, but like that kind of drug, like dried drug, you know. Mhm. I think of heaven for a moment, it is the greatest delight and joy of every creature in heaven to offer their worship to God. The angels, they never tire of worshiping it. The saints that are now with him, it is their greatest delight and jewel. Only sinful human hearts have a problem with giving God the worship that is rightly do. It is a reflection of sin. It is and out working of sin that we will not bow our knees before him. That we will not yield our wills to him. That we will not give him the thanks and the praise and the gratitude that he rightfully deserves. He said, I brought you out of the house of slavery. He woke you up this morning, is giving you life, you didn’t ask to be on this planet, but you were in the mind of God and he wanted you here. And sin keeps you from worshiping him. The third thing that the first commandment makes obviously clear is that our entire being and existence is always before the Holy days of God. Every thought, every feeling, every fear, everything done in secret, all before the Holy gaze of God. We need to be a people that live with more of an awakening in our hearts of the presence of God. We’re all functionally agnostic. We think God doesn’t see that God isn’t around that he isn’t near that. He doesn’t know. We act and live that way. I wonder we struggle with holiness. We struggle with obeying him. We struggle with giving him the worship do. But that first commandment that first commandment lays out for us really what amounts to the issue with all of the other commandments. When we refuse to honor God as God, all the other commandments, they go by the wayside. Every commandment that we break begins with first breaking that first commandment, not acknowledging that our lives, our existence is before the holy gaze of a holy God. And so he says, have no other gods before me. And I want to tell you that God sits at the top of the food chain, he’s at the top in terms of the hierarchy and he looked around and there are no other gods out there. There are no other gods that could be given credit for making you and I and for making this planet. He looked around, there is no one else but him. He sits alone. He is not saying that there are other gods, but he’s saying that the human heart is prone to making false gods. And do you know the biggest false god that we all struggle with on a day to day basis. It is the false god of self, his self. We are self reliant. We trust our own thinking. We place our wills first. We cannot distinguish or separate feelings from truth, especially when our feelings are hurt or offended, biggest false god that we have to do battle with daily itself. This is why Jesus and Luke 9 23 says that if you will follow after me, if you will be my disciple you must take up your cross daily and deny. So deny so. And you know what the worship of God. It makes denying self easier because now you realize he is God, he is the one living and true god. He is the creator and redeemer. My whole life is in his hands. The breath in my lungs come from his spirit, my whole being is in debt to and he is good. And now it becomes my joy and my delight to take up my cross. Even when it’s hard, I will trust him, though he slay me, I will praise him. I’m a worshiper. I will give him the worship that is rightfully due him the church. We are to take seriously the law of God. We are to understand the relationship between law and gospel and we are to take seriously what our God has said that we are to have no other gods before him, beginning with the false god of self. So let us pray and I pray that our prayer would become The prayer of the psalmist in 119, as we close this morning, the psalmist said. You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently, and I will praise you with an upright heart. When I learn your righteous rules with my whole heart, I seek you. Let me not wander from your commandments. Blessed. Are you O Lord? Teach me your statutes, Lord. That is our desire, that is our prayer, teach us your statue in christ’s name. We pray amen.