Summary: Part 1 of a series looking at the relationship God desires with us through the 10 commandments. In our relationship with God He must be first.
A recent cover story in Time Magazine was entitled “The God Gene.” It was an expose on research that is being done in over a dozen universities in the United States. Different researchers in different universities from California to New York are all looking into the same question: Does our DNA compel us to seek a higher power? The remarkable part of this study is that the researchers say yes.
Does that surprise you? To be honest I was a bit surprised by, not so much by what the researchers found, but that they agreed that to some point we are all looking for a higher power, someone else to be in control. We have a deep longing for there to be someone, something to guide our paths and to give us hope. And that longing doesn’t just reside in the world but we struggle with it in the church as well.
Blasé Pascal, a French philosopher, is known for his work in math, and chemistry. At age 12, he had discovered the principals geometry and at 16 wrote "The Geometry of Conics,". He also invented the calculating machine and the theory of probability.
In his mid-thirties, Pascal became interested in religion. And he penned the theory that these scientists are trying to prove today. He wrote:: "Within each one of us there is a God-shaped vacuum that only God can fill." If that is true then everyone of us was made to seek out God.
Growing up in the church I was taught indirectly what it meant to seek out God. I watched Elders, Deacons, Bible School teachers profess with their lives that if you want to fill the God Shaped vacuum in your life then what you need to do is find God’s will for your life and follow it perfectly. These people who shaped my life taught me that I needed to lean on the perfect way that I kept God’s Law. I needed to boast in the fact that I had not murdered anyone, or committed adultery, and that I got Baptism right and the proper order of worship, 2 songs prayer, one song Communion, etc..
The problem I ran into like a brick wall is that I couldn’t keep the law perfectly. Then I struggled even more when I read verses like James 2:8-11:
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.
You see I spent my life searching for God through trying to keep the rules and I never formed a relationship. I believe that God uses the rules to bring us closer to Him and only your personal relationship will fill the God shaped vacuum in your life. To prove this I want to look at the most famous set of laws The 10 commandments and see the grace of God in every command.
We live in an age that is jaded. And though we live in a civilization that still does not condone murder or theft, we are debating whether it’s okay to lie and commit adultery.
In the introduction to her book, The Ten Commandments, Dr. Laura Schlessinger writes; "Each day we make many, seemingly minute decisions about things that don’t really seem earth shattering. So what if we broke a promise? So what if we find passion in another bed while we or they are still married? So what if we are too focused on work, TV, or clubs to spend time with our family? So what if religion is not a big deal in our lives? When one adds up all the so-what’s," one ends up with a life without direction, meaning, purpose, value, integrity, or long-range joy."
I doubt that you can find another passage in the Bible that so concisely, clearly and compassionately outlines the grace of God and the response to that grace human beings are called to make than the Ten Commandments.
Each week I want for you to hear all of them. So when we get together we will hear the whole law and then look into the relationship the comes from that law.
So lets turn to Exodus 20 and read verses 1-17.
Tonight I want to start by talking about the power of the Ten Commandments. Any document that has lasted as long and has exerted as much influence on humanity as this one must have something going for it.