THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
Exodus 20:1-17 (NKJV)
The Ten Commandments
1 And God spoke all these words, saying:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,
6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.
11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
Illustration : Ted Turner has declared the Ten Commandments obsolete, “We’re living with outdated rules. The rules we’re living under are the Ten Commandments, and I bet nobody here even pays much attention to them because they’re too old. When Moses went up on the mountain, there were no nuclear weapons, there was no poverty. Today, the Ten Commandments wouldn’t go over. Nobody around likes to be commanded. Commandments are out!”
Ted Turner is wrong when he declares that the Ten Commandments are outdated. As we will see in upcoming messages, they are as fresh as ever. He was right, however, when he says that nobody likes to be commanded. In fact, modern society mocks the truth and exalts the lie. We live in a time when right is classified as wrong and wrong as right. (Ill. Isa. 5:20)
Today, in America and many Western nations, many people believe that there are no “moral absolutes.” Many hold to a philosophy of “moral relativism.” How many times have we heard statements like these: “What’s right for you may not be right for me.”; “If it feels good do it.”; “Anything goes.”; ” Nothing is right or wrong, there are just different opinions?” All of this is the result of the feeling that there is no absolute truth. You are entitled to your truth and I am entitled to mine!
A recent poll found that 67% of Americans do not believe in moral absolutes. Among “Baby Busters”, those born between 1965 and 1983, the percentage was even higher at 78%. Even 62% of professing Christians said that there was no absolute standard of right and wrong.
My, how America has fallen! This nation was founded on Biblical principles of right and wrong. Today, that foundation is crumbling beneath our feet! James Madison, the 4th President of the United States said this, “We stake the future of this country on our ability to govern ourselves under the principles of the Ten Commandments.”
Today, we begin a series of messages on the Ten Commandments. My aim is to show you their relevance for our day.
Tonight, I hope to lay a foundation for the future messages by telling you a little of the background of the Ten Commandments and why they were given.
Let’s look into these ancient Laws and see that they are a practical standard for life for modern man.
I. THE REASONS FOR THE LAW
A. Why did God give the Law? To save sinners? No! the nation of Israel was already in a covenant relationship with God, Gen. 15. The Law cannot save – Gal. 3:11; Rom. 3:20.
B. The reasons why God gave Israel the Law are as follows:
1 To reveal His glory and Holiness – Deut. 5:22-28
2. To reveal man’s sinfulness – Rom. 7:7, 13; 1 Tim. 1:9; James 1:22-25.
3. To mark Israel as His chosen and to separate them from the heathen – Psa. 147:19-20; Eph. 2:11-17; Acts 15.
4. To give Israel a standard for godly living – Deut. 4:1ff; 5:29ff.
5. To prepare Israel for the coming of Christ – Gal. 5:24.
6. To illustrate in type and ceremony the Person and ministry of Christ – Heb. 10:1.
C. The Law is:
1. A Mirror – James 1:22-25 – It reveals man’s sins.
2. A Yoke – It brings bondage since the flesh finds it impossible to keep – Acts 15:10; Gal. 5:1; Rom. 8:3.
3. A Schoolmaster – Points men to Jesus – Gal. 3:23-4:7.
4. A Shadow – Contrasted with the reality and fulfillment found in Jesus Christ – Heb. 10:1; Col. 2:14-17.
D. The Law was unable to accomplish certain things:
1. Make anyone perfect – Heb. 7:11-19; 10:1-2.
2. Justify from sin – Acts 13:38-39; Rom. 3:20-28.
3. Give righteousness – Gal. 2:21.
4. Give peace – Heb. 9:9.
5. Give life – Gal. 3:21.
E. The Law was merely a guideline for living that possessed no saving power. (Ill. Many in our day desire the bondage of the Law over the freedom found in Jesus.)
II. THE RANSOM FROM THE LAW
A. The Law condemned and offered no hope, Jesus Christ came to fulfill the Law and set us free from its bondage.
B. In His life and death, Jesus did all that was necessary to set us free.
1. He fulfilled the Law – Ill. Gal. 4:4. Jesus perfectly kept the Law and fulfilled all the types of Leviticus and Numbers. He became our Passover Lamb and our Scapegoat, forever taking away the demands of the Law upon our lives. The Law was never given to make us righteous. It was given to show us that in ourselves and in our own works, we could never hope to keep the Law. The Law opens our eyes so that we will see our need for Jesus – Gal. 3:24.
2. Jesus met all the righteous requirements of the Law – Ill. Col. 2:13-14. Jesus’ death satisfied God’s requirements for sin and for obedience to the Law. When we are in Him, we are not forced to obey the Law, we are compelled to obey it out of love (LOVE) for Him and His great sacrifice for our sins. In Him, we move under grace, not under the whip of the Law – Rom. 6:14-15; Gal. 5:18.
3. When we receive Christ as Savior, He writes the Law in our hearts – Jer. 31:33; Rom. 2:15
III. THE RELEVANCE OF THE LAW
A. With all this in mind, some Christians might be prone to think that the Law therefore has no impact on us today. That there is no reason for us to even think about the Law or the Ten Commandments. That is a false assumption! When we get to the place where we need no guidelines, then we have entered lawlessness and we are in trouble and in sin.
B. Ill. Matt. 5:17-18. Jesus did not come to abolish or to do away with the Law or Ten Commandments. He came to fulfill them. (Ill. Fulfill – “To carry out, to make full, to get to the heart of.”) When we are in Christ, the Ten Commandments become more relevant than ever.
C. Ill. Matt. 22:35-40 – Jesus summed up all the Law of God into two commandments. If I love God as I should, I will always keep His Commandments 1-4. If I love my neighbor as I should, I will always keep His Commandments 5-10. Augustine put it this way, “Love God and do as you please.” That works, because when you love God, you will always seek to do those things that please Him!
D. The Commandments do not stand as rungs on a ladder to climb for salvation. They stand as barriers erected by God to help us live lives that glorify His Name. They are relevant today!
(Ill. Ted Koppel of Nightline said, “Our society finds truth too strong a medicine to digest undiluted. What Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai were not the “10 Suggestions.” They are (ARE) HIS Commandments.. Are, not were! The sheer brilliance of the Ten Commandments is that it codifies in a handful of words the acceptable human behavior , not just for then and now, but for all time.” I say, “Amen!”
Can we keep these rules for life? Not in ourselves, but it is possible in Jesus Christ – Phil. 4:13.
The Reason? We operate with a different motive and power as sincere believers in Jesus. Far too many have tried to keep the 10 Commandments from the outside in. They have tried to do good to change their heart.
As Christians, we come at the things from the opposite direction. Because our hearts have been changed, we are able to live the Ten Commandments from the inside out and it works just fine! Yes, they are relevant! And, we shall see that as this series unfolds.
Are you saved? Or, are you trying to please God by keeping some list of do’s and don’ts? If you are trying to do good your way to God, let me tell you it will not work! The only way to please God is to come to Him through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Receive Him by faith and then He will give you the power to live the kind of life you are failing to live right now.
Receive the Lord Jesus Christ into your hearts and experience the new creation life in Him. The new life in Christ is possible! Hallelujah!