Summary: "Thou shalt not kill". Promotes, prohibits, proclaims.
It literally means "Thou shalt not murder".
Certain things are not murder: capital punishment, accidental killing, killings that take place in a "just war”, killings that result from self-defence. Exodus 20:13 does not relate to these, it relates to murder.
The sixth commandment:
1. PROMOTES THE VALUE OF LIFE
(a) Life is valuable because it is sacred.
Human life is sacred. Genesis 1:27 "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him". Murder is a direct attack on Almighty God.
(b) Life is valuable because it is single.
Hebrews 9:27 "It is appointed unto men once to die".
The hymn says ’I have only one life on this earth,
and as vapour it’s passing away’. This is a rebuttal of New Age teaching about reincarnation.
2. PROHIBITS THE TAKING OF LIFE
Your chances of being murdered are far greater than your chances of dying in an airplane or car crash.
Television is a major reason for the violence in our world. A child who watches 3-4 hours of TV per day will have seen about 8,000 murders on TV by the end of primary school.
Abortion. 6 million babies have been murdered in Britain since abortion was legalised in 1968.
A modern-day holocaust! Matthew 18:6 "whoso shall offend one of these little ones...it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea".
About 200 people a year take their own lives in Northern Ireland. 2007 has been a particularly bad year so far. We need to pray about this shocking situation.
3. PROCLAIMS THE GIVER OF LIFE
The One who gave the command is the Giver of physical, but more importantly, spiritual life. Christ was murdered for those who have broken this commandment. Everyone reading this sermon has broken it. How? Well, according to the Saviour, being angry without a cause is in the same category as murder - Matthew 5:22 "whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire".
Jeffrey Dahmer, an American serial killer, murdered at least 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. The murders were particularly gruesome, involving acts of dismemberment and cannibalism. Dahmer served his time at a prison in Wisconsin where he ultimately declared himself a born-again Christian. A local pastor even met with Dahmer and agreed to baptize him. Jesus Christ can save murderers. Jesus Christ can save you.
Today Thy mercy calls me to wash away my sin;
However great my trespass, whate’er I may have been;
However long from mercy I may have turned away,
Thy blood, O Christ, can cleanse me, and make me white today.