Summary: What would happen if we got back to the basics and tried to live by the 10 Commandments? Oh, the revival that would sweep our nation, our churches, and each of our hearts! Link inc. to formatted text, audio & video, PowerPoint.
Laying Down the Law
Intro. to the Ten Commandments
In The Gospel and the American Dream, historian Bruce Shelley writes, “In one hand Liberty holds the torch of freedom and in the other the tablet of law. The torch challenges the forces of darkness and tyranny. The tablet of law re-minds us that liberty degenerating into license is but another form of slavery.”
That is the message of the Ten Commandments. God brought a despised group of people out of bondage. They would not experience true liberty however, by merely trading one form of bondage for another. Deliverance from Egypt’s tyranny could easily be replaced by servitude to self and personal passions.
The purpose of God’s law is deliverance, not domination. The Ten Commandments are God’s “statutes of liberty.”
Imagine with me the next Super Bowl for the 2008 season. We go attend and are excited to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers face whoever the NFC sends as a sacrificial lamb. To our surprise, we discover that the field is not set up with the traditional football lines. Some players wear helmets and toss footballs, while others wear shorts and kick a soccer ball. Some swing baseball bats as others dribble basketballs. The whistle blows to signal the beginning of the game and each player plays the game of his own choice. We are in for a real mess!
Games without rules are unthinkable. Even worse is a society without laws. Try driving anywhere if there are no traffic guidelines. Submit to surgery at the hands of a physician who never earned a standard degree.
There are some “don’ts” which set us free. Our children’s lives are filled with “no’s” and “don’ts” and negatives because they are so loved. The no’s and don’ts that teach them to not pick up a pretty flaming coal, or play with an electrical outlet, or to run in the parking lot, are statutes of liberty to preserve and protect their best interests. The Ten Commandments are statutes of liberty to guard our good.
The first 4 commandments are all God ward. They have to do w/ our relationship to God. The last 6 are all man ward. They have to do w/ our relationship with others. And when Jesus was asked which commandments were the greatest, He said to love the Lord with all our hearts and to love our neighbor as ourselves. These sum up both the God ward and man ward commandments.
You see, if you love God with all your heart then it’s only logical that you will put Him first, put away idols, not take His name in vain, and honor His day. And if you love your neighbor as yourself it’s only logical you won’t steal from him, kill him, lie to him, fornicate with him, or be covetous of him, but rather to honor him.
Why preach on the 10 Commandments?
• Because 97% of Americans say they are important while only 5% can name 3 of them.
• Because they are moral principles which form the best hope for our America’s future.
• Because God spoke them to us in His Word.
• Because they can bring us to Christ.
No, they aren’t a system of salvation, and no one gets saved by keeping them. How many here have ever broken one of them? And those who didn’t raise their hand just lied and broke one in the process! God’s law requires perfection, but the NT says that God’s law brings us to Christ, because you can’t be saved until you realize you are lost, and once you are lost, then Christ can find you and bring you into the fold.