Summary: This sermon looks very practically at what it means to have no other gods BEFORE God. It may just surprise you!

No Other gods Before Me!

Exodus 20:1-3

© 2007 Eric Bain

NOTE: This sermon is available in audio format @


You know over in West Sac there’s a new Wal-Mart Super Center…

• And I know that some of you may be very much against Wal-Mart… you want to rage against the machine...

• But, I got to admit… I was very eager for it to open… and not for the reason you might think

• The Wall-Mart 15 pt Oil Change

o They not only change the oil, but…

 Fill the washer fluid

 Fill the tires

 Check your tread depth

 Grease the joints

 They take out the trash…

 And they vacuum the interior

o They breath new life into your automobile – all for twenty some bucks!

o And if you’ve seen my Jeep Cherokee… you know that’s a really good thing!

o When I drive out of the Wal-Mart 15 pt Oil Change

 I feel like my car has a new lease on life

 It’s like it’s got more power… I know that’s not true.

 But I feel like it can go farther

 And go faster

• It reminds me of when my son was about four… and he used to think he could run faster just because he got new tennis shoes!

It’s the Wal-Mart 15 pt Oil Change… and think what you want about the beast… but I am a fan!

But here’s why I bring that up….

Wouldn’t it be awesome… if there was something like a Wal-Mart - 15 pt Oil Change for our Spiritual lives?

• Cause I don’t know where you’re at…

• Maybe your faith is on fire… but you want to maintain that fire. In fact, you want to stoke it up!

• Maybe you’ve been a Christian for the majority of your life… but over time the energy has just been drained out of your walk with Christ.

o You know… you were really on fire when you first came to faith… but now that fire is only embers

o In fact, maybe your even thinking that this faith – like an old car – is gonna die… if something doesn’t breath life back into it.

• Or, finally… maybe you wouldn’t even consider yourself a Christian.

o But for some reason you’ve found yourself here this morning. Perhaps it’s because you’re just trying to figure some things out… cause you know there’s a spiritual aspect to this life… and it just feels like… you’re not firing on all cylinders!

o Or who knows… maybe you were just dragged here by some friend

But my point is… Wouldn’t it be great … wouldn’t it be cool… if we could just have something like a Wal-Mart 15 - pt Oil Change done on our Spiritual lives?

Well, we can…

Only, it’s not a 15 pt service… it’s a 10 pt service… and it’s found in the book of Exodus… Chapter 20

Exodus is the 2nd book in the Bible… If you don’t have a Bible, there are some on the tables throughout the room. Don’t be embarrassed to get up and get one.

Exodus, Chapter 20… While you flip there let me give you a little HISTORY to set the scene...

• There’s an ancient group of people known as the Hebrews

• And they were conquered and turned into slaves by the Egyptians

• But they believed in… and worshiped… the one true God – Yahweh!

o And although he must have seemed like a distant God

o They cried out to him

• Even if you’ve never read the Bible, you’re likely familiar with the story of the Hebrews being miraculously released from their Egyptian oppression.

o Cecil B. DeMille did a famous movie called The Ten Commandments

o Disney, more recently, did a film called The Prince of Egypt

 Both of these films tell the story… a story that actually comes from the book of Exodus…

 Which is found in the Bible

In a nut shell….

• A guy named Moses get’s a calling from God to lead his people to freedom!

• Then God – for his part – does a series of miracles to make this happen…

o Probably the most famous of which is the parting of the Red Sea

o You see, God parts the Red Sea to bring the Hebrews to safety in the desert…

o And then he releases the waters to wipe out the Egyptian army

• It must have been a very exciting time for the Hebrews!

o They’re faith must have been so alive

o So real

o So fresh

 But – in truth – that didn’t last long

 Cause they then spent 3 months walking through the desert!

Now… I’ve never spent 3 months walking through the desert…

• but I have spent 30 days

• Driving through Europe

• In a bus caravan

• With about 150 teenagers

Here’s what I learned…

• At first… it was really exciting…

• There were new things to see

• There were new friendships to develop

• And my butt didn’t hurt

But I got to tell you…

• About 3 weeks into it…

• My attitude changed

• By then people started to smell

• And the whining and complaining became incessant

• I came to the point where if I saw another historical building… I would puke!

o Get this… I spent 2 days in Rome.

 2 days!

 In Rome!

o Do you know what I did? I laid out - sun tanning on the roof of my hotel

 It was Rome!

POINT: Time has a way of making us not appreciate… what we have and where we’re at!

The Hebrews were free!

• God had done all these miracles

• And he was leading them to a Promised Land.

• A place of beauty

• Where all of their needs would be met

• And yet all they could do was whine and complain!

• It seems sooooo juvenile…

APPLICATION: You know… the Bible teaches that if we are Followers of Christ, then Jesus is leading us to a

Promised Land. (pause) We might want to think about that.

• And yet in church… amongst the people of God – You hear a lot of juvenile whining and complaining.

• Things haven’t changed much in 3500 years!

Nonetheless, God understands… he knows that it’s hard…

• So there in the desert

• The earth shakes…

• And on the top of a mountain

• Amongst thunder & lightning… and smoke & trumpet blasts…

• God gives his people… The 10 Commandments!

o 10 Commands!

Now, it’s interesting… We tend to think of commands as rules… as legalism… things that tie us up and bind us… they’re uncomfortable… we don’t like it!

But I want to suggest - right off the bat - that’s not the way it is… with the 10 Commandments! Cause, if God really wanted to put rules on us… if he really wanted to force us to do something… then don’t you think… as creator of the universe… he could have done that?

• If there really is a God that was able to make the heavens & the earth… out of nothing!

• And if he really made us… human beings… out of the dust of the ground

• Then don’t you really think that if he wanted to force us to do something… he could do it?

Of course he could! And that’s why I want to suggest to you, that we to start thinking of the 10 Commandments…

• Not as 10 legalistic rules

• Not as 10 worthless things - found somewhere in the Old Testament

• But as a 10 rules of life… that lead to the best possible life!

o Cause, if God had the intelligence and power required to create us…

o Then he probably knows how to live our lives… better than we do

You see… I want to suggest that we think of the 10 Commandments as a 10 pt Tune-Up… to a better life!

• Wherever you’re at

• Whatever point your at on this spiritual journey

• Whether your old or new

• Whether it’s fresh… or you feel like it’s dying!

The 10 Commandments as a 10 pt Tune-Up… to a better life!

• It doesn’t work – If you don’t use it!

Let’s read Exodus, Chapter 20, verse 1 & 2…

At this point, Moses is on top of a mountain… He’s about to be given the 10 Commandments… And the Bible says…

EX 20:1-2 God spoke these words:

"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

Now, I want you to notice something… Isn’t it interesting that the 10 Commandments don’t start with a command!

Rather…they start with a statement…

"I am the LORD… your God… who brought you… out of slavery.”

You see, this is a statement… not a command.

And it is a statement that implies relationship…

• God is talking to His people here… Not just any people!

• People that have a relationship with him.

o And I think this sheds light on…

 Who should be expected to keep the Commands

 And why…

You see…

• God didn’t give the 10 Commandments to the whole world!

• He gave them to people that have a relationship with him…

o People that have already begun to follow him

ILL – Court Case to remove the 10 Commandments

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore lost his job for disobeying a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state courthouse, the larger issue involved is about to be argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. (2005)

• A prerequisite to the 10 Commandments – a relationship with God!

ILL – You see, you don’t take a bicycle to the Wal-Mart - 15 pt Oil Change…

• Why… It’s not intended for bicycles

• Sure you could bring your bike to Wal-Mart, and they could…

o Oil the chain

o Pump up the tires

• POINT: A prerequisite to the 15 pt Oil Change… is that you actually have a car!

And get this…

"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt… out of the land of slavery.”

You see, this isn’t a relationship that brings bondage…

• This is a relationship that brings freedom!

o Freedom from bondage…

o Freedom from oppression…

o Freedom from the things that tie you up!

o 10 Rules of Life… that lead to the best possible life!

To believe otherwise… is simply a misunderstanding.


Do you have a relationship with the living God?

- It starts when you decide to follow him!

If you don’t have a relationship with the living God… A God that desires to lead you to freedom… then why not start one today?

• He wants to have a relationship with you.

• He wants to lead you to freedom.

• But you have to decide to follow.

Exodus, Chapter 20…

"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

EX 20:3 "You shall have no other gods… before me.

That’s the First Commandment – “You shall have no other gods before me!”

Now, I find that interesting… that that’s the first commandment…

You shall have no other gods before me!

Cause… didn’t we just get done talking about how these commands are for people that…

• Already have a relationship with God…

• That already have decided to follow God?

• I mean, I think most of us would profess that we don’t even believe in other gods!

So, if that’s the case… then why is this, the very first command?

You shall have no other gods before me!

The only reason I can think of… is that we just don’t get it… and therefore God sees this as a bigger problem than we do.

We shall have no other gods before him!

What does that mean?

• I used to think this was about worship (but that’s the 2nd Command)… I.e. Money, power, influence.

Jesus was once asked…

MK 12:28 "Of all the commandments… which is the most important?"

MK 12:29 "The most important one," Jesus answered, "is this: 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart… and with all your soul… and with all your mind… and with all your strength.’

In other words, with everything we have… love God the most!

1st Command = We shall have no other gods before him!

You probably didn’t know this, but…

In Hebrew… that’s Marriage talk!

Let me illustrate!

• (Tell them) Close your eyes…

• If I say…

Do you Martha take Billy to be your husband…?

• Where are you?

o You’re at Martha and Billy’s wedding!

o Why? Cause that’s marriage talk.

In the same way, when God says…

You shall have no other gods before me!

In Hebrew, that’s marriage talk! That’s the stuff of deep, intimate, marital relationship.

Now, I’ve really struggled to find a way to illustrate what this is getting at in such a way that it doesn’t come across cheesy, or stupid… but it also demonstrates the complexity of the situation at hand. So, let me give you an illustration from my own life… (my life – your’s may be different)

Let me tell you some things that I love…

• I love playing X-Box…

• I love to exercise…

• I love ice cream

• I love movies

• I love just hanging out with my friends

• I love skiing… snow boarding… and wake boarding

• I love snowmobiling… dirt bike riding…

• I love to have conversations.

• I love coffee

• I love the Sunday morning paper

But do you know what I put in front of those things that I love? My job!

Now, in my case, I’m one of those lucky individuals that really loves his job. Maybe it’s because some of those things that I love to do… I do, in the process of doing my job.

But my point is… I often find myself having to sacrifice things I love… for the sake of my job… which I also love. In other words… because I place my job in front of each of those other, individual things… my heart, mind, soul and strength are much more consumed for my love for my job… than my love for…

• The X-Box

• Exercising

• Ice cream

• Or any of the others…

But let’s take it a step higher… cause that’s were things get really interesting.

Here’s the deal. There’s a thing in my life that I place in front of my job… And that’s my Children!

Now, I have absolutely no problem saying that I love my children way more than I love my job. I mean, if it came down to me choosing between my job and my kids… Say goodbye to pastor Eric!

But does the fact that I love my kids more… mean that I love my job any less… no! And there in lies the rub. Cause I know, that during any given week… there are times where I end up placing my job in front of my kids.

o I mean, this is the real world… things are messy… and they aren’t as easy as they ought to be.

o The truth is, in my heart of hearts, I know that I love my kids more than I love my job…

o But sometimes things don’t work out as ideally as I’d like them to.

o And sometimes - because of my love for my job - I get out of whack… and I end up acting as if I love my job more than I love my kids.

o And let’s not forget, I also love…

• My friends

• The X-Box

• Movies

• Exercising

• All that other stuff!

• Sometimes I get really out of whack and I put those things in front of my kids!

Do you see how sticky this gets! And I’m not even done yet… (I’m going somewhere) cause there’s something in my life that I place in front of my kids… And that’s my wife!

And here’s where this get’s really sticky… Do I love my wife more than I love my kids?

Well, I love my kid’s completely! So to say that I love my wife more… tends to insinuate that I love my kid’s less. But that’s not true… I love them both. I love my wife and my kids. And I love them both… completely… with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength.

Well, Jesus says we’re to have that same kind of love for God…

• heart, mind, soul and strength.

So, does that mean that mean that we love our spouses any less? No…

• Kids

• Girlfriends/boyfriends

• Jobs

• Hobbies?

o No… none of that! It simply means that we love God completely!

Now… maybe your thinking… But Eric, I just don’t feel that kind of love toward God.

o Well, do you know what? Neither did I… when I first met him.

o It’s a relationship… and relationships take time to grow…

o So here’s the deal…

• The more I learned about what he’s done for me…

• The more I liked him

• The more I learned about how he loves me – completely (as one of his kids)…

• I began to fall in love!

• The more I took time to just talk to him - in prayer…

• The deeper that love became!

• The more I experienced him walking along side me through some of the toughest things this life has to offer…

• The more I realized… just how complete my love has become!


Let me go back to the illustration of my wife and kids for a second.

I know I mentioned that I completely love my kids… and I wholly love my wife…

But I need to say this…

• Out of respect for my wife…

• And out of the honor that is due her…

• And maybe even a little bit out of wisdom I have gained in my late 30’s…

• I place my wife in a position… before my children!

In other words - and I’m not perfect at this - every decision I make for my kids… is first looked at through the lens of my relationship with my wife!

ILL – Have I spent enough time with here?

- Is our relationship in a good place?

 Before the Kids

 Work

 X-box

Now maybe you don’t have kids… or a wife… but I’m guessing you can understand what I’m saying.

Do I love my kids less because I put my wife before them? NO! In fact, you could say that one of the best ways I love my kids… is by putting their mother first!

Well God wants us to know… that the best way to get through life… is to put him before everything else!

That’s it… That’s the most important Life Rule that God has for us…

You shall have no other gods before me!

In other words, every decision you make in life… should first go through the lens of your relationship with God.

• Out of honor…

• Out of respect…

• Out of wisdom…

So, what does this mean for us? How do we really, practically apply this?

• Start looking at the things we love… through the lens of your relationship with God!

o Have you spent enough time with him

o How does he want you to relate to your spouse

o How does he want you to relate to your kids

o Your job

o Your free time

o Your hobbies

Love God Completely… Put him in front of everything else!

Are we out of whack? If so… do something about it!

"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out the land of slavery.”

EX 20:3 "You shall have no other gods… before me.



© 2007 Eric Bain