Summary: The Ten Commandments are essentially a preamble to God's Covenant with Israel. They have an eternal nature that reflect the person of God and display his standards for his people.
1. Standing Up While Sitting Down
A five year old girl was having one of those trouble-filled days with her mother. It seemed they spent the day arguing back and forth. Finally the mom had enough. "Jenny, go sit in the corner, right now! Don't get up until I tell you to!"
Jenny went to the corner and sat down. In a few minutes she called back, "Mom, I am sitting down on the outside, but I am standing up on the inside!"
We all tend to have a "standing on the inside" nature. The Jewish people call it the "yetzer ha ra," or the "evil inclination." It sometimes plays out in a resistance to authority and rules.
The Ten Commandments are the beginning of God's covenant with Israel and contain his words of his eternal nature.
2. The Story is God's Story in which he has always wanted to include US. God created people whom he wanted to want to be with him. He has always wanted to live with us/us with him -- Garden -- Tabernacle -- temple -- indwelling Holy Spirit.
3. Exodus 19.1-9
4. Review -- Creation -- Noah -- Abraham -- Isaac -- Jacob -- Joseph -- Moses and Exodus -- Sinai
I. We Need Direction
A. God's Design -- to be our Helper/Leader
23 I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself,
that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.
24 Correct me, O LORD, but in justice;
not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing. Jeremiah 10.23-24
1. We Can't Trust Ourselves -- Jeremiah 7.9-10
9 The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately corrupt;
who can understand it?
10 "I the LORD search the mind
and try the heart,
to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his doings."
3. Trust God only
B. God's Designation (Exodus 19.5)
1. His People follow His Words
2. Hebrew blessing -- "Blessed are you, LORD our God, King of the Universe who makes us holy by his commandments . . ."
3. Set apart; distinct
C. God's Destination (Exodus 19.4)
1. Brought people to him -- out of Egypt; Moses went UP to him
2. To Dwell with him -- Exodus 25.8-9
8 And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. 9 According to all that I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. John 1.14
3. Requiring Faithfulness: Obedience, FROM THE HEART
A businessman well known for his ruthlessness once announced to writer Mark Twain, "Before I die I mean to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I will climb Mount Sinai and read the 10 Commandments aloud at the top."
"I have a better idea," replied Twain. "You could stay in Boston and keep them."
II. We Need Definition (Exodus 20,1-20)
The Ten "Words" are a "Preamble" to God's Covenant and are
A. The Bases for all Relationships
1. Vertical (Religious; Relationship with God)
a. Only God
b. No idols
c. Name of God
d. Sabbath (already Hallowed in Genesis 2; renewed here)