Summary: Can politics, science, or education fix our world? What if everyone kept the Ten Commandments? Is it even possible for a nation to keep the Ten Commandments?
Can politics, science, or education fix our world? What if everyone kept the Ten Commandments? Is it even possible for a nation to keep the Ten Commandments?
Purpose: What are the Ten Commandments for?
Plan: Let’s look at Exodus 20 and the purpose of the Ten Commandments.
1) No Other Gods
Exodus 20:3 gave us the letter of the law, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” The word “gods” is very broad in Hebrew and includes angels, judges and other great heroes. Jesus taught us the spirit of the law, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” (Matthew 4:10) In the west, we tend to worship materialism and money, but Jesus taught us, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)
2) No Idols
Should we refuse statues or pictures in our churches? The mercy seat was covered by two statues of cherubs. The tabernacle was embroidered with pomegranates. But, nobody bowed down to or worshipped those statues and pictures. Jesus said, “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33) What is first in our lives? Is it cars, homes, skyscrapers, boats, airplanes, electronic gadgets, racial or gender superiority, real estate, property, science, education, medicine, constitutions, legal systems, nationalism, celebrities, drugs, brand names, political parties, capitalism, government, free enterprise, unionism, the economy, consumer goods, status, titles, position, money, gold, oil, stocks, bonds, central banks, materialism, leisure, religious traditions, food or God?
3) God's Name
In Exodus 20:7 we read, “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.” Even in the Church God’s name is spoken in vain. How should we treat the name of the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-18), the one who lay down his life for us? In the Lord’s example prayer, we pray the opposite of blasphemy, the opposite of taking His name in vain, “Hallowed be Your name.” (Matthew 6:9). We all fail to honor God’s name. God deserves the exact opposite of blasphemy: praise, honor, love and abundant thanks.
The Sabbath shows love to God and love to neighbor in rest from work. Ancient Israel strayed and God swore, “They shall not enter My rest.” (Hebrews 3:7) But, “we who have believed do enter that rest” (Hebrews 4:3). Was that rest the promised land? “For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” (Hebrews 4:8-10) Jesus gives us rest (Matthew 11:28-30) when we abide in him (John 15:1-8).
5) Honor Parents
In Exodus 20:12 we read, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” Paul repeated this command in Ephesians 6:1-3. What would happen to a society where parents are dishonored? Would we have a vicious and hateful society? How did Jesus honor His heavenly Father (John 15:9-17)? He obeyed God. Our children grow up learning to be selfish. Yet the love of an unselfish parent can teach us to love each other. A self-love that takes life from others destroys the taker. A love that gives life is the greatest love of all.
Exodus 20:13 says, “You shall not murder.” Jesus taught the spirit of that law, “whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ [worthless] shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ [stupid] shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Matthew 5:22) What’s the opposite of murder in our hearts? A spirit of murder has nothing to do with the Spirit of God, expresses itself in hatred and division. The Holy Spirit guides us in the opposite direction, love and unity, deeper love for God and neighbor (1 Corinthians 13).
Exodus 20:14 says, “You shall not commit adultery.” Adultery breaks marriages and families, and spreads mistrust and disease. Jesus explained the spirit of that command, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28) Jesus did not condemn a woman caught in adultery, but told her to sin no more. He did not come to condemn the world (John 3:1-17). We also know that it is not our business now to judge. We have hope because of “Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thessalonians 1:10)