Summary: Working through the book of Exodus using consecutive expository preaching. Exodus 20:2-8. Teaching Sheet for the bulletin included at end of text.
Sermon Series “Exodus”
“The 10 Commands – Part 1”
Pastor John Bright
Exodus 20 “2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
The 10 Commandments have been copied and parodied over and over. From a Mel Brooks movie to George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”
Ever heard of the “10 Commandments for Cats”? Found this on the web -
1. Thou shalt not jump onto the keyboard when thy human is on the computer.
In the book, The Politically Correct Guide to the Bible (Moser, 1999), the 10 Commandments are called “10 Recommendations.” Others use the name “10 Suggestions.”
So, to take a fresh look at these verses from Exodus that are the basis for our US system of laws, I wanted to use a different name – Command. What’s that? Dictionary – “an authoritative order.” Rather than seeing these 10 Commands as old and outdated, as no longer needed for Christians, I want to see what they can teach us today.
We typically divide the 10 Commands into two sections:
• VERTICAL - The first part of the 10 Commands focus on your relationship with God. That’s Commands 1-4. These are today’s teaching.
• HORIZONTAL – The remainder of the 10 Commands direct our relationships with other people. Those are Commands 5-10. We’ll cover those the next two weeks.
Exodus 20 “2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
This is God teaching about Himself. He showed them in Egypt that all the little “g” gods were all false gods by defeating each and every one. The Israelites will be exposed to many other gods along the way. They have entered a land where folks worship a multitude of little “g” gods. That’s our world, too!
We looked at so many of those little “g” gods back last year. God judged them all and defeated them all. When the people of the One True God live with so many other gods around then – they tend to drift away. We have been drifting away for quite a while. That’s why the very first Command establishes a position for Him – “I Am the Lord, your God.”
Living in a world with many little “g” gods is not a problem, unless we start drifting away. I remember that day many years ago when I first saw a book listed in our denomination’s curriculum catalog for a book entitled “Buddhist Prayers for Christians.” WHAT?!?! We don’t need those prayers. We have several thousand years of Jewish prayers and 2,000 years of Christian prayers to help us in our spiritual walks.
Exodus 20 “4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
NO IDOLS – that’s a simple one. The Israelites have left a land full of idols to false gods – big idols and little idols. We don’t do carved images. Whenever you make a god that will excuse your sin – that’s an idol. Or a god to excuse the sin of your kids/grandkids – that’s an idol. Let me explain what I mean when I say “excuse.” When we ask God to forgive us, we don’t plan on doing it again. When we ask God to excuse – we plan on doing it as much as we want. We want God to make an exception for us and the ones we love.