Summary: When God is removed as the rule-maker, the limit-setter, then anything and everything goes.

What If They Are Wrong Series Exodus 20:1-3

"Finding the Standard in a Nonstandard World"

The "Ten Commandments" have been a topic of much discussion over the past several years.

They seem to always be ending up in a court somewhere.

Most of the time it’s because they are being found unconstitutional, as in the recent case in the courtroom of Judge Jennifer Coffman.

She ruled in May that, not only are the Ten Commandments unconstitutional, but that the displays of all historic documents in eastern Kentucky schools and courthouses were unconstitutional and had to be removed.

Her reason: "they had the effect of conveying a very specific governmental endorsement of religion." (Focus on the Family, September 2000)

It seems that most of our historic documents have some reference to God in them somewhere.

I find it odd that they are being found unconstitutional since they are the very basis of our laws.

Some courts still remember that.

You might remember that Roy S. Moore, a judge in Alabama, has fought to keep a stylized copy of the Ten Commandments posted in his courtroom, much to the consternation of some civil libertarians.

People fight over their legality mostly because they are largely ignorant of what they are, what they mean, and why they’re so important.

In fact, most people can’t tell you more than these two: "Thou shalt not kill" and "Thou shalt not steal."

Some people think they’re obsolete.

Ted Turner thinks they are.

A few years ago he offered a substitute he called the "ten voluntary initiatives."

People who don’t understand their importance say the Ten Commandments are "old, archaic, immaterial rules of a primitive culture."

They say they have no relevance to us at all.

Sometimes Christians have been guilty of promoting this belief, pointing out that they are part of the "old way" God dealt with people.

They surely can’t apply to all of us who are under "grace."

So, what are the Ten Commandments about?

Primarily, we see them as God’s moral law.

We look at the Ten Commandments as God’s guidelines for our lives.

Here are Ten Rules to live by that will keep you in good graces with God, or so we think.

Fact is that we can’t keep the Ten Commandments.

We will always fall short of the mark.

That’s why grace is so important.

The Ten Commandments aren’t just rules to live by, even though it doesn’t hurt to make an attempt.

After all, if you work on keeping the Ten Commandments you will emerge as a much better person.

Life would certainly be a lot easier if EVERYBODY tried to keep the Ten Commandments.

God had something else in mind when He gave Moses the Ten Commandments.

Listen to what the Bible says:

Romans 3:20: "Therefore no-one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin."

Romans 5:13: "...for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law."

Romans 7:7: "What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, "Do not covet."

We can look at the Ten Commandments as God’s guidelines for living, but The Bible says that God gave the law to reveal the fact that man is a sinner.

Do you want to know why there is such a ruckus about posting the Ten Commandments?

It’s because they reveal sin.

That makes us uncomfortable.

And all that negative stuff is just not good for our self-esteem.

We will do anything to hide from our sin.

But God still sees it.

God wants us to see it.

Over the next several weeks, we’re going look at each of the Ten Commandments and compare what God says with what our culture says.

This series is called, "What If They’re Wrong." Our culture tells us lots of things that are accepted as truth by most people.

What if they are wrong?

How will finding out you might be wrong affect your life?

We’re going to start with the very first commandment.

I call this “Finding the Standard in a Nonstandard World.”

The truth behind this commandment forms the basis of each command that comes after it.

Let’s read it again:

"And God spoke all these words: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me."

There is an important word in verse 1: "all".

God spoke all these words.

Moses makes it a point to let us know that none of this was his idea.

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