Summary: In this message, we learn how even evangelicals can be guilty of violating the 2nd commandment. When we do, we minimize God and magnify our problems.
The war on terrorism. The impending attack on Iraq. An economy that can’t quite seem to get back on track. How are you handling the uncertainty of all that?
Add this to the typical stresses in life. Problems with relationships at home, work, or school. A fear of not getting the job done well at work or at school. Financial pressure. Health challenges. How are you handling these things?
I’ve noticed that some people handle these problems really well. They have a sense of joy and confidence and peace no matter what the trial might be. And other people don’t. They live in a constant state of stress and anxiety.
What’s the difference? Well, for some people, their problems look small because their God is big. But for others… I want to talk to you today about…
When problems look big and God looks small
Text – Exodus 20:4-6, p. 56
Series – God’s Top Ten: 10 Timeless Truths for Life
Last week we started a new series designed to help us look carefully at God’s strategy – His blueprint – for living life to the fullest. After all, He designed you – created you. It’s safe to assume He has a pretty good idea how to live the good life. The Ten Commandments are a blueprint for max-ing out in life!
Each week, we’re considering some overall truths about the Ten. Last week, we learned that…
1. The Ten do not restrict our freedom; they restore our freedom. A 2nd truth is…
2. The Ten are not to be isolated; they are to be integrated.
If I were to steal, I would not only break the commandment against stealing (# 8), I would also be dishonoring my parents and their reputation (breaking # 5). I would also be coveting something that doesn’t belong to me (breaking # 10). I would also be putting some material possession above God (breaking # 1). I would be doing something that hurts another person and damages his or her life (breaking # 6). You get the idea? That’s why James says…
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.
With only a little thought, we can see how almost any sin violates the principles behind each and every one of the Ten. God’s laws are a unified whole and reflect the integrated oneness of His nature. The Ten are not to be seen as isolated; they are integrated.
Now, open your Bibles to Exodus 20.
Did you know that there are disagreements about how to section this scripture into ten commands?
It seems clear that Commandment #1 is “You shall have no other gods before Me”
and that Commandment # 2 is “You shall not make for yourself an idol.”
Commandment # 3 is “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”
But some spiritual leaders teach that the second commandment ought to be included with the first. For them, Commandment # 1 is “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
The second commandment is not included in their list of the Ten.
It’s tacked on as a subset of the first commandment and
the people move on quickly to number 3.
Commandment # 2 becomes “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”
So, if Commandment #2 is skipped, how do they still end up with Ten?
Well, the 10th Commandment is about …
These people still manage to get 10 Commandments by splitting up the last statement about coveting into two parts.
They have taken the Tenth Commandment (about not coveting your neighbor’s wife and , goods) and made it into two commandments.
Why bother thinking through this? Well, walk inside some church buildings and look at what’s going on. Prayers being said to icons of this biblical character. Prayers being prayed to a statue of that person from church history. The lighting of candles in front of statues. Because of the religious practices in some churches it’s no wonder that they want to downplay the issue of images and, therefore, virtually ignore this 2nd Command.
Some leaders think they are trying to help people worship God by using imagery and intermediaries. Millions of people, some right here in our own neighborhood, are breaking commandment # 2 without really thinking about it.
It’s possible to worship the wrong god. And that’s bad – that’s breaking the 1st Commandment. But it’s also possible to worship the right God in a wrong way. It’s not enough that we seek to worship God. We must worship Him His way.
Last week we thought about the first commandment. It’s focus addresses the question of who we worship. There is only One is worthy to be worshipped: the LORD your God who made heaven and earth. The second commandment addresses the question of how we worship the One true God.