Summary: An introduction or overview of the Ten Commandments that explains the relationship of the Law to Grace.
God’s Ten Commandments
• I weigh from under 3 ounces to over 5,000 pounds?
• I used to be posted on a prominent wall in many schools until the practice was declared an unconstitutional violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution?
• I am displayed prominently in the courtroom of the same Justices who say it is illegal to display the same me in other government buildings?
• I provide wonderful life-giving opportunities as long as people follow me; but
• I am not responsible to the one who lives outside my boundaries.
• I am not designed to take the fun out of life as some people think; but
• I can be a person’s friend or foe.
• I appear in complete form only twice in the Bible but I am sprinkled generously throughout;
• I was reduced by Jesus from ten to only two.
• I am a schoolmaster to the undisciplined, a taskmaster to the unbeliever, but a channel of God’s grace to those who follow Jesus.
o Who am I?
Exodus 20:1-17 (NKJV)
1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image.
3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10. You shall not covet.
Q. Who was the greatest comedian in the Bible?
A. Samson. He brought the house down.
Q. What excuse did Adam give to his children as to why he no longer lived in Eden?
A. Your mother ate us out of house and home.
Q. Which servant of God was the most flagrant lawbreaker in the Bible?
A. Moses. He broke all ten commandments at once.
Why a Series on the Ten Commandments?
• Biblical Illiteracy: A Gallup Poll found that while 85% of Americans believe the Ten Commandments are binding, only 15% can name five. Few Christians can name where they are found in the Bible.
• Relativism: Following Einstein’s theory of relativity in 1919, people increasingly do not believe in absolutes…no absolute truth, no absolute right or wrong, no single way to be spiritually saved. Few today believe Jesus when he said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except by me.” (John 14:6)
• Compartmentalism: Mankind has always had a problem with compartmentalizing things. Sunday is for church but the rest of the week is for unbridled sin. Some say this is a crisis of ethics, but I think it is a crisis of heart.
A Working Framework for Understanding The Ten Commandments
• Commandments 1-4 teach love for God and Commandments 5-10 teach love for other people.
• Commandments 1-4 teach the duties we owe to God and Commandments 5-10 teach our duties to other people.
• Commandments 1-4 teach reverence for God and Commandments 5-10 teach respect for other people.
(Read and explain Exodus 20:1-7) The first three commandments symbolize our vertical relationship—our relationship with God.
I will intentionally skip the fourth commandment in order to make my point.
(Read and explain Exodus 20:12-17) The last six commandments are symbolized by the horizontal part of the cross representing our relationships with people.
(Read and explain Exodus 20:8-11) These four verses are one commandment—the fourth commandment and notice that it is the longest one. The fourth commandment is symbolized by the intersection of the vertical and horizontal parts of the cross representing God's greatest desire for mankind: that we worship God together in harmony and restorative relationships.
The Function of the Ten Commandments
The Apostle Paul was perhaps the greatest writer and apologist of early Christianity, helping to form the central teachings of our faith. He was a most highly trained religious leader called a Pharisee. His job was to root out false teaching in the Jewish faith and practice. In a theocratic centered nation like Israel, a Pharisee was one of the most highly respected people. When Paul was saved and became a disciple of Jesus Christ, he became one of the greatest writers of Christianity. We must remember that Paul came directly out of Jewish roots, as did Jesus Christ. My point is that Paul made a hardwire connection between The Law and grace. The Law con be recognized as the whole Old Testament but specifically can be seen as summarized in the Ten Commandments provided through Moses. Paul’s best writing on the connection between the Law and grace is found in Romans.
Paul used the phrase “the Law” 67 times as he discussed the hardwire connection between the Law and grace. Consider some of his most important ideas about the function of the Law: