Summary: The First Commandment

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Exodus 20:1-3

A few years ago there was a legal controversy in Alabama over the Ten Commandments. A federal judge ordered Roy Moore, the Chief Justice of the state of Alabama, to remove a monument displaying the Ten Commandments from the rotunda of the state Judiciary Building. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was rejected without a hearing, in spite of the fact the fascade of the Supreme Court building itself has a figure of Moses holding the Ten Commandments. The Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington also has a large display of the Ten Commandments. Many of the federal buildings across the country have the Ten Commandments prominently displayed. Many courthouses across the nation have them as well. Strangely, the constitution has not been changed on this issue, it’s just that many judges no longer care what it says, they just want to enforce their opinions in its place.

Polls indicate that a majority of Americans oppose the removal of the Ten Commandments from public places. But since this is so, some other polls about the Ten Commandments are very surprising. For example:

A 1988 Gallup Poll revealed that while 85% of Americans believe that the Ten Commandments are binding, only 15 percent could name five of them. Apparently we think we can obey them without knowing them.

George Gallup also reports that some commands are remembered by people differently. In a survey he conducted: He listed those which are remembered most …from least to most.

#10, the least remembered commandment: No Idols. Only 10%.

#9 Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy. Remembered by 16%

#8 Have no other gods before me. Remembered by 25%

#7 Do not take the Lord’s name in vain. Remembered by 28%

#6 Do not lie. Remembered by 29%

#5 Honor your father and mother. Remembered by 34%

#4 Do not covet. Remembered by 37% (They just don’t know what it


#3 Do not murder. Remembered by 59%

#2 Do not commit adultery. Remembered by 61%

#1 The most remembered commandment: Thou shalt not steal!

These commandments are perfect and they are right, but they do not give us the power we need to keep them.

A sign on the freeway reads, SPEED LIMIT 55. You glance at your speedometer. It registers 60. A car passes you going at least 70. A huge semi follows, sucking you toward the center line. But what about that 55 miles-per-hour sign?

Laws are just words in statute books. They don’t work until power backs them up. Who of us hasn’t let up on the gas pedal when a patrol car appeared in the rearview mirror? That’s police power. But can you think of a time when a law or an officer gave you a love for driving 55?

The same is true with God’s commands. Fear of punishment or getting caught may check our actions. But it takes a stronger force than that to make us want to obey. That power comes from a personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.

The commands of the law, even God’s law, are not the means by which we can have eternal life; in fact, they demonstrate that we are completely unworthy of spending eternity with God in heaven.

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