Summary: This is the 1st sermon in the 10 Commandments series.

Ten Commandments Series #1:

There is only Him

Exodus 20:1-3


*Illustration- Ted Turner, never shy about making his thoughts public,

has proposed that we do away with the ten commandments. On second

thought, that isn’t quite right. He actually suggested a rewrite. Setting

aside the old, traditional commands about adultery and greed, the media

mogul from Atlanta proposes new priorities such as: "I love and respect

the planet earth and all living things thereon, especially my fellow

species, mankind"; or "I promise to have no more than two children, or no

more than my nation suggests"; and "I reject the use of force,

particularly military force." Larry King reported his suggestions and

said, "Ted Turner’s new ten commandments make a lot more sense than the

old ones."

*I think a lot of people would like to rewrite the ten commandments. I

find it amusing how such an ancient list known as the decalogue can be so

utterly relevant in 1999 America.

*Illustration- I find amazing the way my children react take them away

from home. We can go to a park, or go out to eat. It doesn’t matter,

their reaction is still the same. They have fun wherever they are as long

as one of us is with them. And if a choice has to be made - Mommy is

always best.

*The children of God, the Israelites reacted quite differently to God’s

leading. He was with them and had delivered them from horrific bondage,

yet when God led them out of danger into a far-away strange land they

responded to God through Moses by saying, "Get us back to Egypt." It was

in the midst of this attitude that God originally delivered the ten



I. God takes no place but first place.

*This is the key to building a life of character. Put God first in your

life. Most people would either be puzzled at our starting point or

disagree whole-heartedly like Ted Turner. The world’s prevailing attitude

about character is that it has to do strictly with how a person handles

his relationships with others.

*Illustration- A few years ago some university professors gave out

copies of the ten commandments to their students and asked them to

arrange them in order of importance. Ninety percent of the students

reversed the order, putting the commandments about how we are to treat

our fellow man first and the commandments about how we are to relate to

God last.

*Listen to the order Jesus put it in: One of the teachers of the law

came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good

answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most

important?" "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: ’Hear, O

Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with

all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all

your strength.’ The second is this: ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’

There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:28-31, NIV)

*The Jews understood the fact that the first four principles - those

dealing with our relationship with God - provide the theological basis

for living a life of character. In other words, they provide the WHY for

our living lives that so dramatically go against the current of our

society. This reversal of priorities is further evidence of Satan’s

success in convincing us that we can be the moral centers in our

universe, and unbelievers are by no means the only people to fall prey to

his deception.

*Illustration- Look for example, at the way we in the church have taught

sexual morality. We have tried to convince people to abstain from sexual

activity before marriage, which is certainly part of God’s plan; but what

reasons do we give people for obeying? The reasons I heard growing up

were: (1) You may lose your reputation, (2) you might get a disease, and

(3) you might get a girl pregnant. Well, certainly all three problems can

be consequences of sexual activity outside of marriage, but notice

something very important. In all three reasons for abstaining, God is

nowhere to be found! Those arguments support the same case for purity

that anyone in the world could make. So I guess it shouldn’t surprise us

that young people growing up in Christian homes hearing these motives for

living lives of character aren’t keeping themselves any purer than the

children of the world. We need to show our youth why God needs to be the

center and circumference in their lives.

*Did you notice that the first instruction does not start, "You shall

believe in a god"? That is not necessary. We’ve spent a number of

centuries trying to hide this fact, but man has a built-in need for God.

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