Summary: The first in a series on the Ten Commandments building from a series done by Rick Warren. Presents the foundation for a good family and the formula for a good family.

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Parrot story – A woman bought a parrot in a pet store. She wanted companionship, someone to talk with. The next day she brought the parrot back and said, “He won’t talk.” The store manager asked, “Does he have a mirror in his cage? Parrots love mirrors.” She bought a mirror and left. The next day she came back and said, “The bird is still not talking.”

“How about a ladder? Parrots love ladders. When he is happy he will talk.” She bought a ladder and left. The next day she was back complaining that even with the mirror and ladder the bird was not talking. The manager said, “I know what you need, the bird wants a swing. He’ll be happy when he has a swing and he’ll talk. She reluctantly bought a swing and left.

Sure enough, the next day she was back. She had a sad face. “The parrot died,” she said.

“I’m sorry,” the manager said, “please tell me did he ever say anything before he died?”

The woman replied, “Yes, in a weak voice he asked me, ‘Don’t they sell any food at that pet store?”

Sometimes we forget the main thing. Someone once said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” I want to talk about the main thing today. I want you to turn to Exodus, chapter 20. For the next 10 weeks or so we’ll be taking a close look at the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are at the center of God’s laws for effective living. They are at the heart of any effective legal system. Did you know that the Ten Commandments are about the only thing that Christians, Jews and Moslems agree on. All three religions accept the Ten Commandments as commandments from God.

I want to take a more practical look at the Ten Commandments, not just how they form the bedrock of a legal society, but how they can impact us as families. Family values is a big issue today in politics. One political party tries to outdo the other on the issue of “Family Values.” Newsweek Magazine had a front cover several weeks ago with the question, “Whose Values?” From television, is it the Walton’s, The Cosby’s, the Simpsons, Ozzie and Harriot, or who is it that has the right mix of family values?

Bill Bennett, politician and writer who wrote The book of Virtues, said in a speech, “It is now politically correct to believe in family values, but it is not politically correct to get specific about them.” (Bennett, by the way, is the one who admitted recently that he has a gambling problem and has lost over 10 million in casinos.) Who can you believe or listen to?

We need to keep the “Main thing the main thing.” We need to look at what God says about how to have a happy life and a strong family. We can believe God. In Deuteronomy 6:6-7 God said, “Never forget these commands that I am giving you. Teach them to your children.” He said remember them and teach them. Do you know the 10 Commandments? Does your children know them?

God has made the universe to follow universal laws. There are certain laws in place that the universe operates by, such as the Law of Gravity. If you ignore it you only hurt yourself. If you ignore the law of gravity and jump out of a 10 story window you don’t break God’s law, it breaks you! The 10 Commandments are God’s Laws too. They give us tracks to run on in life. To ignore them is to risk jumping track and crashing.

Today we’ll consider the first Commandment under two headings:

(1) The foundation for a good family.

(2) The formula for a good (godly) family.


The order of the 10 Commandments are not haphazard. They are not by accident. God put the first one first because it is the most important one:

“You shall have no other gods before Me.”

A. The Principle – Put God first. God says, “I demand first priority in your life.”

What does it mean to have no other god before Him? I thought there was only one God. Notice the word “god” in this verse is spelled with a lower case g. There are little gods that can crowd in on our affection and devotion. What are some? A career? Recreation (golf)? Politics? Kids?

Having a strong foundation is crucial for building a house.

Having a strong foundation is also crucial for building a home, a family. In America today, families are dropping like flies. One in three marriages end in divorce. Where is the foundation?

Illus.- A Harvard study about divorce on the effect of a strong Christian influence showed there were tremendous improvements in marriages where they had a Christian ceremony and go to church every week, read the Bible and pray together. Instead of 1 in every 3 ending in divorce; 1 in every 1,105 ended in divorce.

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