Summary: I want to call each of you to commit yourself to helping strengthen the foundations that make our families strong and secure. I know of no better way to do this than to return to the very beginning. Let’s review the Ten Commandments. I know I am preach

Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister

First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO

Family Classics Series 2006

God’s Top Ten: Strengthening the Foundation

Exodus 20:1-17

It happens unexpectedly. The process actually takes place slowly over weeks, and months, even years. On the surface, everything looks normal. However, underneath, it’s another story. Water begins to wash away the sub-soil. Once the erosion reaches a critical point, it happens. A sinkhole suddenly appears taking everything on the surface with it—roads, cars, houses, everything!

The 200-foot wide, 35-foot deep sinkhole in the picture happened in Bowling Green, KY a few years back. A much smaller one occurred in the pavement near the Columbia Mall last year. They happen in Florida all the time. Last week an entire lake suddenly drained when a large sinkhole developed beneath the lakebed.

Hold that picture in your mind. That same thing is happening in our society and families. We suffer from what some have called the Sinkhole Syndrome. Slowly but surely the foundations have eroded away. Collapse can’t be far behind.

The evidence surrounds us. According to the Gallup polling organization, eighty percent of Americans claim to believe in the Ten Commandments, but over half can’t name five of them. Not long ago Jay Leno asked his audience to name one of the Ten Commandments. No one responded until one member of the studio audience finally raised his hand and said, "God helps those who help themselves?" Worse yet, Gallup says he can find very little difference in ethical behavior between churchgoers and non-church goers. He insists that according to his research the levels of lying, cheating, and stealing are remarkably similar in both groups.

Today as we close this year’s edition of our Season of the Family, I want to call each of you to commit yourself to helping strengthen the foundations that make our families strong and secure. I know of no better way to do this than to return to the very beginning. Let’s review the Ten Commandments. I know I am preaching to the choir on this. Most of you know the Ten Commandments well. But I am also convinced we all need to hear them over and over. Our young, especially, need to hear and know them—some for the very first time.

I want to make ten quick observations on the Ten Commandments. Each explains a part of why they are so important to our families and society.

This is my first observation. The Ten Commandments are the foundation of our free society. Despite recent attempts to have displays of the Commandments banned from the public square, the evidence of the impact of the commandments on our history is everywhere. The Supreme Court building itself illustrates this. Above the entrance, a stone relief pictures the great lawgivers of history. All are turned toward one central figure that alone faces forward—Moses, holding the Ten Commandments. Inside the building, above the bench where the justices deliver their rulings stands another replica of the Commandments.

Our founding fathers understood the truth. James Madison, the fourth president, known as "The Father of Our Constitution" said, "We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." President John Adams stated, “The law given from Sinai was a civil and municipal code as well as a moral and religious code. These laws are essential to the existence of men in society and most of which have been enacted by every Nation which ever professed any code of laws.”

The danger of moral decay provides every bit as a great a threat to freedom in our land as does the threat of military attack from the outside. Probably greater! We are prepared to defend ourselves from outside attack, but are dangerously indifferent to decay from within.

Why are these Laws so fundamental to man’s laws? Observation number two: Because the Ten Commandments are God’s Laws. Everyone who knows the Bible story knows their story. God called Moses to lead the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land. Weeks into the trek, he orders them to wait at base of Mt. Sinai. Moses disappears into the clouds at the top. When he comes down, he holds the two tables bearing ten words from God.

These are not the results of the latest opinion poll. They are neither personal opinion nor public opinion. Congress didn’t write them. Congress can’t erase them. Courts can forbid their display, but no court will ever limit their demands. They are the enduring standard of the Creator.

The prevailing drift of our times is deeper and deeper into moral relativism. This is the notion that there are no standards of right and wrong, only differences of taste or opinion. No civilized society or free land has ever long survived such thinking. When a belief in absolute truth leaves through the back door, tyranny enters through the front door. Power and threat remain the only way to preserve a people from a total social meltdown.

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