Summary: The rightful setting of the Ten Commandments is the boundless, faithful, Father-love of the living God. God gives us rules because He loves us.
THE TENDER COMMANDMENTS #1: PUT GOD FIRST
(June 2011 – Beausejour Church – Pastor Chris Jordan)
WEIRD LAWS IN CALIFORNIA:
1. It is illegal for anyone to try to stop a child from playfully jumping over puddles of water.
2. A California law makes it illegal to set up a mousetrap without a hunting license
3. In Berkeley, California, it’s against the law to whistle for your lost canary before 7 A.M.
4. Under California state law, it is illegal to peel an orange in a hotel room.
5. People may not ride a bike in a swimming pool.
INTRO TO TOPIC:
Why are we taking the time to study the Ten Commandments?
• “60% of Americans cannot name five of the Ten Commandments.” (USA Today).
• I surveyed 25 students in our Christian club at ESS this past week:
o 16 students couldn’t name even one of the Ten Commandments
o 7 could only name 1-4 of them; 1 could name seven and 1 could name nine.
• How many can you name? Is there anyone who can come up and name all ten??
ILLUSTRATION: A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds. After explaining the commandment to ‘honor thy father and thy mother’ she asked “Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?"”
Without missing a beat, one little boy answered, “Thou shalt not kill.”
QUOTE: The Tender Commandments by Ron Mehl
• When you first heard that we were going to study the Ten Commandments, what was your response? Did you automatically think, “Limiting, constricting, legalistic?”
• Hopefully this quote will change your perception of these commandments:
“Have you ever heard of the ten commandments described as a love letter… a tender, heart-felt message from the very hand of God? Perhaps not. Yet, I’ve become convinced it is one of the most powerful expressions of God’s love in all of Scripture… These ten statements are all-encompassing, touching virtually every part of our lives… the truths He knows are going to provide blessing and strength, a future and a hope. Some people of course imagine it to be the very opposite. They don’t hear love in these statements at all. What do they hear? The clank of chains and the rattle of padlocks. They hear God saying, “You mess with Me, you step out of bounds, and I’ll fry you like a bug landing on a transformer.”
Are the Ten Commandments harsh and negative, narrow and legalistic, cold and confining? Could there be a brighter, warmer, more passionate side to this familiar portion of Scripture that we have missed through the years? It is possible that we’ve misunderstood the first few pages of God’s love letter, the very words that set the Ten Commandments in context?:
THE BIG IDEA: "The rightful setting of the Ten Commandments is the boundless, faithful, Father-love of the living God.” (Ron Mehl). God gives us rules because He loves us.
OPENING TEXT: The context of the Ten Commandments:
“And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: ’You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (Ex. 19:3-6).
• “How I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.” – God’s loving care.
• God reminds them how He lovingly delivered them from slavery in Egypt.
• He protected them from the Egyptian army that was pursuing them.
• He provided bread from Heaven and water from a rock for them.
• God said, “Keep my covenant and you will be a special treasure to me.” You’re special!
I. IS THE LAW RELEVANT FOR THE CHRISTIAN TODAY?
Some Christians say ‘We’re not under the law, but under grace, so we don’t need to keep the commandments from the Old Testament!” Is this a Biblically valid standpoint?
1. We must understand the three different aspects of the Old Testament Law:
a. The Ceremonial Law – the aspects of the Jewish religious rituals that were fulfilled in Jesus, and therefore have been done away with.
b. The Civil Law – the aspects of the law governing political Israel, i.e. how to punish someone who breaks God’s commandments. We are not under this law.
c. The Moral Law – these are the rules that talk about what is right and wrong, and are universal principles that apply to our lives today.