Summary: A sermon on what it truly means to honor God out of respect and humility.

Being Second Place

Exodus 20:4-6

A. Introduction

1. When I was in high school I loved running track and cross-country. They were both very challenging and exciting for me but there is a little secret that I have to share with you about those days, I did not like to loose. I did everything that I could to make myself better than my opponent. I put in extra miles, extra hills, extra sprints, and lifted just a little bit longer all so I could win.

The only problem was that between my Sophmore and Junior years in high school we had a boy on the team that was an excellent runner. He made it state each year and he blew me away every single race. Two years I was a number two runner or below and finally my senior year I was able to be the number one runner.

2. I suppose that I am still a little competitive and I still like to win. Being second place just does not have the same appeal to me as being first. And as we learned last week God feels the same way.

3. In Exodus 20:1-3 God has commanded us “PUT HIM FIRST” because he does not like to be in second place.

4. Therefore before anything else, first and foremost we must put God first in our lives.

5. But God takes this covenant a little bit further in the next few verses and deals with the issue of idol worship. This is found in Exodus 20:4-6.

6. Exodus 20:4-6 – “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

B. Getting it Straight

1. Last week I discussed this issue of idol worship and if you recall I stated that an idol was anything that takes over the time, energy, finances, or love that you would have given God.

2. The reason why I remind you of this is because of the fact that usually we believe that an idol has to be a statue such as a golden calf, a giant statue of a king, a tower, or a pole erected in the name of another god.

3. But that is not what the scripture states. Take a second and read verse 4 carefully. It state that “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.”

4. Do you see that word idol? It does not say statue, it says idol. God realizes that we are all human and that our minds can get a little crowded and confused during our lifetime. It is during these times that we tend to stray away from God and start allowing idols to control our lives.

5. Sometimes we get greedy and want more money or more stocks and bonds. Sometimes we get busy with work and family and time slips away from us. Sometimes we look for the easiest way to make a buck and get lazy.

6. All of these things have the potential to take our attention away from God if we allow these things to run our lives.

7. God reminds us in this second commandment that we are not only to put him first but we need to worship him alone and not other.

8. No matter how beautiful someone is, how wealthy someone is, or how powerful someone is, they will never be able to give you what God can give you.

9. God wants us to know who is first in our lives and who should always be first. He wants us to get it straight and worship Him alone.

C. Who Do You Serve

1. In verse 5 God states the meaning of this commandment. He lays it all out on the table and states that if the Israelites worship any other god or idol then they do not worship him.

2. He even makes the point that if you worship idols then you hate Him.

3. In this passage we are posed with a question that all humanity is faced to ask themselves, “Are you with God or against Him?”

4. All humanity is forced to take a side. The question is “Who do you serve?”

5. In one of the greatest sermons of all time Jesus delivered a simple but yet powerful statement for all the world to hear.

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