Summary: Worship God with a right heart
The graven images Exodus 20:1-6
“And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”
It’s interesting to see that the first three commandments teach us how we are to love God while the seven teach us how we are to love one another. And when we look at the New Testament we see where Jesus summed them up in Matthew 22 when speaking to the Pharisees and He said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” So, that’s it, love God with everything you’ve got and love your neighbor as much as you want to be loved.
Last time, we looked at the first commandment we saw we are to have no other gods besides Jehovah; and as I said, “Jehovah means, He that was, is and will be” which is the same as saying, He is the eternal God. And then the second commandment tells us that we are never to make any image, whatsoever, to represent God; because we who live within the bounds of time have no way of expressing how great God is and anything we do would be like copying the Mona Lisa on the sidewalk with a piece of chalk. I mean, it would not only be absurd to look at but it would also be an insult to the artist.
So, if the first commandment tells us who is to be worshipped and forbids all false gods then the second one tells us how He is to be worshipped and forbids all false worship.
And behind both of these commandments, there is a call for real commitment. And yet, real commitment is very difficult to talk about, let alone do, because when we read and believe the Bible, we realize there are times when it doesn’t apply to every situation the same way. For instance, in Luke 14:33 Jesus said, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” Now listen very carefully, did Jesus really mean that or didn’t He?
Now, I’m very grateful that I graduated from three different Bible Colleges because each one of them taught me that what Jesus really meant was; we need to be willing to forsake all we have but we don’t really have to do it. I mean, total commitment and absolute surrender of everything we own is a fantastic idea but I’m not sure many of us are ready, right now, to give everything we have to God. When I was first saved I was; but, back then I didn’t have anything, so, it wasn’t that much of a sacrifice. That’s why someone said, “A lot of us will be going up feet first cause we’ll still be hanging on to our stuff.”
Soren Kierkagaard said, “I went into church and sat on the velvet pew. I watched as the sun came shining through the stained glass windows. The minister dressed in a velvet robe opened the golden gilded Bible, marked it with a silk bookmark and said, "If any man will be my disciple, said Jesus, let him deny himself, take up his cross, sell what he has, give it to the poor, and follow me." And then Kierkagaard said, “I looked around but no one was laughing.”
Then again, there’s the teaching about tithing and this commands us literally to give back ten per cent of everything God gives us and we’re to give it to the Lord’s work either through the offering or how ever else He leads.
But; if we’ve already given everything, then what are we supposed to tithe on? I think there are times when God does call us to surrender everything to Him but there are also times when we have to be good stewards and honor Him with everything we have.