Summary: An introduction to a series on the Ten Commandments. It explains why the Ten Commandments matter by examining the purpose for the commandments in our lives today.
When Almighty God wanted to reveal to His people the way to live life at its fullest, He gave them what theologians call the ten words. Most people know them as the Ten Commandments. They’re God’s Top Ten directives that summarize the moral values God’s people are to live by. They are essentials for living in freedom.
The Ten Commandments are one of the few things Jews, Muslims and Christians all agree on. All three accept these commandments as from God.
God’s Top Ten are the bedrock of Western Civilization. Many legal historians would contend that the American judicial system was originally based on the Ten Commandments.
President Abraham Lincoln said, “We’re it not for the Ten Commandments we would not know right from wrong.”
President and national reformer Theodore Roosevelt put it this way: “No man is a good citizen unless he so acts as to show that he actually uses the Ten Commandments.”
But the opinion of many American’s toward the Ten Commandments has changed. Today they’re seen as outdated, useless and even illegal.
The 1980 Supreme Court of the United States banned hanging the Ten Commandments on the walls of our schools. You might wonder why they would do that? Well, the majority believed the Ten Commandments had no educational value for school children. Let me directly quote the majority ruling – They wrote, "If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce the school children to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey the commandments...” Which (they went on to write) is not a permissible objective."
Think about it? The majority on the court were saying it is not permissible for students to honor God, speak without cursing, honor their parents, tell the truth, be honest, respect others property and to treat life as sacred. If these values are not allowed, should it surprise us that many public schools now have to employ metal detectors, surveillance cameras, bomb squads and undercover police officers.
So what’s your opinion? Wouldn’t you agree that the Ten Commandments would be of some educational value for today’s school children?
What’s really astonishing to me is to realize this ruling was made in a courtroom where a depiction of Moses and the Ten Commandments adorns the walls.
You could say the Ten Commandments are the value system by which God’s people were created to live and the standard by which greatness is to be measured.
Yet only 45% of American’s surveyed could even name 5 of the commands. Maybe that could be expected from the general population but when weekly churchgoers were asked, there were only 47% who could name 5 or more. Ten weeks from now I hope 100% of you will be able to name all of the commandments but better yet, I pray that we will be living them out.
The Purpose for the Ten Commandments
Over the next ten weeks we are planning to study the Ten Commandments in sequential order, examining a different command each week. Next week we’ll look at the First Commandment and I am so excited about it, because understanding and living out God’s first command can absolutely transform your life for good and allow you to live the best life possible. You really don’t want to miss it.
Yet, before we begin looking at the commandments individually, I’d like to talk about the purpose of the Ten Commandments in our lives today. To do so, let’s review their history.
Out of all the people in the world, God chose a man named Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees. The LORD appeared to Abram and promised to make of him a great nation. Abram believed God and eventually the old man, now known as Abraham, became the father of a miracle child name Isaac. Isaac had a son named Jacob, who had twelve sons, who out of envy, sold their brother Joseph into Egyptian slavery. Yet, despite their wicked act, God had a plan to use what they meant for evil to save their own lives. The LORD took Joseph from being a slave, then through an Egyptian prison, to finally the position of Prime Minister of all the land of Egypt. A few years later, during a famine, the family turns to Egypt for food and Joseph made himself known to his brothers. He forgives them, saying, “What you did, you meant for evil but God meant it for good.” Joseph then relocates all of the family to Egypt. Years pass, Israel grows into a great population of people and a Pharaoh in Egypt, who no longer knew of Joseph, subjected the Israelites to slavery, for the purpose of building his treasure cities. In their hard slavery, Israel calls out to the LORD, and God sends a former Prince of Egypt named Moses, back into Egypt, to deliver his people by ten mighty plagues. God brings them through the miracle of parting the Red Sea into the desert wilderness. The LORD is now going to form a new nation out of these former slaves. The problem is that after getting them out of Egypt, He has to get Egypt out of them. They have taken on the mental constructs and the world-view of the Egyptians and God now must give them a new way to look at life and a new way to live life.