Summary: LENT 3(B) - Believers shall have no other gods as they fear, love, and trust in GOD above all things.
YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS (Outline)
EXODUS 20:1-6 - February 27, 2005 - LENT 3
INTRO: Whom do you love? Or maybe better in today’s society is the question: What do you love? The world around us very often has us placing an extreme value on the things of this life rather than peo-ple. Either question reminds us that our first and true love may be misplaced from time to time. Even the teachers of the law during the time of Jesus had a hard time concentrating on their most important love. The church leaders came to Jesus asking him what is the greatest commandment? Jesus’ answer: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" (MARK 12:30). It was a simple answer but very difficult to follow. Today’s text gives us sim-ple directions, but they can also be very difficult to follow. The very words of God in our text will serve as our theme: YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS. Luther’s 1st commandment explanation states:
I. FEAR GOD ABOVE ALL THINGS
A. This text takes place 3 days after the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea on dry ground.
1. God brings them to Mt. Sinai and has them stop their early journey. God will speak to them.
2. Mt. Sinai is covered with a cloud of thunder, lightning, fire and smoke. Moses ascends.
B. The Lord speaks in verse 3. Israel was to have no other gods and worship only the Lord God.
1. Verse 4a. Israel lived for generations in a pagan society in Egypt. False gods were many.
2. Verse 4b. The Lord God desired his peoples’ fear, love, and trust. Unbelievers would suffer.
C. Our loving Lord still desires our complete devotion today. Our Lord God is jealous for our worship. Very simply the Lord tells us why. "I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols"(ISAIAH 42:8). Amidst the many gods of this world there is still only one true God. That true God is the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – our God!
D. How do we fear our God above all things? Do we come to church scared and full of fear because our Lord is just waiting to punish us? NO! We come to worship the Lord our God with a sense of awesome fear and wonder. We come to worship to hear and learn how our Lord God still loves and cares for us in spite of all of our sins. In God’s holy word we discover how to fear God above all things. "Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name" (PSALM 86:11). When we walk in God’s truth with an undivided heart we fear God above all things.
TRANS: YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS as we fear God above all things, walking in truth.
II. LOVE GOD ABOVE ALL THINGS
A. The Lord God wants to impress on Israel and God’s people of today the importance of these words.
1. Verse 1. These are the words of God: not an angel, nor another messenger.
2. To Moses and then Moses to Israel: And God spoke all these words!
B. Verse 2. The Lord God Almighty reminds his Moses and his people of his great love for them.
1. A few days earlier Israel stood trapped: the Red Sea on one side, Pharaoh’s army on the other.
2. God delivered the Israelites. God destroyed Pharaoh’s army. All of this out of divine love.
3. The Israelites very clearly saw how much the Lord loved them. Their response = love God.
C. When ever you and look closely at the Lord we see his love. God’s love is not a self-serving love. God’s love is divine and meant for the eternal benefit of mankind. In our earthly lifetime we can only be-gin to understand in a very limited way the limitless and undeserved love of God for sinners. "And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him"(1 JOHN 4:16). We are able to love God above all things simply because of his great love for us.
D. We learn from the example of Jesus what true love really is. Our Lord Jesus Christ gave up the per-fection of heaven to live on earth. Jesus gave up his throne to be put to death on the cross --- for us, be-cause of our sinful thoughts, words, and actions. Now that is love. We respond with lives of love for him who first loved us. "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God"(EPHESIANS 5:1,2).