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, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:1-3 1. The cultural idol: pluralism The fact of pluralism: growing diversity in race, heritage, language, culture, styles. This is neither good nor bad, necessarily. Some prefer it, others don’t. But it is simply a fact in our world today. This pluralism is not our problem. The ideology of pluralism: the widespread feeling that no one can say what’s true as opposed to false, what’s right as opposed to wrong. The only wrong is calling something wrong. It’s okay to do evil; it’s not okay to call something evil. This pluralism is our problem. To the extent that we have drunk this Kool Aid, and we have, it makes us crazy. For example, 74 percent of Americans strongly agree that “there is only one true God, who is holy and perfect, and who created the world and rules it today,” while at the same time 64 strongly agree or agree somewhat that “there is no such thing as absolute truth.” That’s crazy. But it is not new. The OT claimed Israel’s all: “The LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14). Gerhard von Rad: “This intolerant claim to exclusive worship is unique in the history of religion, for in antiquity [the worship centers] were on easy terms with one another and left devotees a free hand to ensure a blessing for themselves from other gods as well.” The same with the New Testament. The NT world was a hodge-podge of many religious opinions and practices. This diversity was politically enforced. Francis Schaeffer: “The early Christians were not persecuted because they worshiped Jesus; they were persecuted because they worshiped Jesus only.” The cultural idol is a persecuting power, to keep our mouths shut, our faith privatized, our influence neutralized. 2. The personal idols: fear, pride Fear: the doubt in our hearts that Jesus really understands us and will come through for us. So we run off to our own devices, to get our “needs” met. And the more we doubt and depart from him, we doubt and depart from him still more. Pride: the self-assurance that we know better, that we are pretty good at assessing how things should go in our lives. So we don’t place ourselves under the Bible.
The personal idols are a depressing power, never unleashing us to live right out loud and be as prophetic as we want to be. 3. The first commandment: liberation from the idols Don’t skip the preamble: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” The presupposition of the Ten Commandments is grace. We don’t obey the Ten Commandments to get grace but because we have grace in Christ. “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.” That is the power of grace. The preamble to the Ten Commandments means they are not here to bring us back into slavery but because we have been freed from slavery. Freedom is not doing whatever I feel like doing; freedom is finally being able to do what I never could do before because I never really believed God loves me. The first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me,” does four things for us. First, it shows us who God really is. Second, it exposes our sin. Third, it guides us into a new way. Fourth, it predicts what we’ll be forever in eternity. First, who is God? He is our jealous Lover. What would you think of a husband who said to his wife, “I don’t care who gets into our bed. Just keep the noise down so that I can get my sleep”? He takes our idolatries personally, the way a husband would feel about the adulteries of his wife: “. . . before me.” Did you realize how important your love for Jesus is to Jesus? Second, what is sin? It is not mere rule-breaking; it is a personal insult to Jesus. It is saying, “You loser, you don’t get me at all. You don’t love me. So I’m allowing this other thing into my life, to make up for your failure.” Whatever we allow to come between our hearts and Jesus is an idol, and it is dishonoring him and defiling us. Who am I in bed with, because I don’t believe Jesus loves me that much? Third, how do I need to change? Trusting in Christ’s all-sufficient love for us wouldn’t require one more moment of time in our schedules; everything we already do would be covered with his love and grace and authority and exclusivity. Everything would be “before me.” Another way of putting it is “walking in the light.” What needs to be put second in your life, so that he can be first in your life? Fourth, what will all of us be like in eternity? We will be like Jesus, who said, “I always do what pleases my Father.” In heaven, you will look in the mirror and be able to say that about yourself, even to yourself, with complete confidence that it’s the truth. You will no longer choose what pleases him. Your heart will transcend choice, you will be so caught up in his glory. Heaven will be eternal and unspoiled communion with God. Don’t lose heart. You will soon be there.
What then are our take-aways from the second commandment? Remember that each of the ten commandments accomplishes four things at once. it predicts what we will be forever in eternity. . We modern people tend not even to have the categories with which we can press into who God really is. It is not only difficult for us to think of him clearly. That is what happens when we sinners start seeing God with new clarity.The Ten Commandments: #2. it is also false views of the true God. . it is not natural for us to think of him as he really is. . . And he is jealous for his glory. Left to ourselves. The God of contemporary Christianity is only slightly superior to the gods of Greece and Rome. Second. Let’s rethink everything from the ground up. You shall not bow down to them or serve them. “I am the LORD your God. who brought you out of the land of Egypt. Tozer. No man-made God Ray Ortlund 20 September 2011 And God spoke all these words. . Fourth. Idolatry is more than false gods.” A. He just doesn’t fit down inside anything we can see. we will baptize our fallacies with a sprinkling of biblical authority and never know why we can’t break out of our old patterns. for I the LORD your God am a jealous God. We want a God we can in some measure control. and in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). 4-6 “The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of him. saying. . out of the house of slavery. . You shall not make for yourself a carved image . it guides us into newness of life. The Knowledge of the Holy. The dominant thoughtstructures with which we process reality are not biblical but psychotherapeutic – and not good psychotherapy at that! Let’s go back to the foundations. It says of the early church that “awe came upon every soul” (Acts 2:43). . pages 11-12. We want to get him where we can use him. . starting with who God is: “God is light. 16 Everything that’s wrong with us is rooted in our wrong concepts of God. according to the Bible alone.” Exodus 20:1-2. The most natural thing in the world is to continue in the easy flow of the idolatries we have always taken for granted. W. . Third. . First. it exposes our sin. we tend immediately to reduce God to manageable terms. . Short of that radical clarity. Our very perception of reality can disable us from seeing God truly and joyfully. Let’s reach for a new vision of God. The second commandment forbids us from representing God as if he were reducible to anything within the created order. That is the force of the second commandment. if indeed he is not actually inferior to them in that he is weak and helpless while they at least had power. The first commandment sweeps away our false gods. it shows us who God really is. He is too great for that. The second commandment sweeps away our false concepts of the true God. . however much that demands that we change.
and he is jealous for that glory. John 10:30. If we want to see God most clearly. Four. what then will we someday become? Rather than imposing our images onto God. Questions: Your top-line thoughts? How does this change us for the rest of this week? What would the rest of our lives look like if we didn’t have the second commandment? . Absolutizing anything other than God. you alone are God. Colossians 1:15). we will ourselves miraculously become images of him. Jesus. Only a close and constant study of the Bible can save us from distorting God into something unfair to him and inadequate for our needs. for your glory and your fame. beyond all visible categories and images. but we will be true and living representations of him. being closed to new but biblical truth about God. God cares passionately about how we think of him and speak of him and respond to him. emotionally requiring anything in addition to God. God is jealous to get us there. Even now. what is sin? Sin is adding our thoughts onto God rather than receiving from God his own thoughts about himself. he burns to accomplish his goal. “It’s all about you. who is God? He is transcendent. Three. The Passion Band used to sing. our hearts are idol factories. and all this is for you. and his goal is that we would know him and revere him and trust him and rejoice in him and obey him as the endless God he really is. we shall be like him (1 John 3:3).” That heart is faith and repentance. God has no edges. and I surrender to your ways. as if you should do things my way. what is the new path God wants us to walk now? Let’s constantly ransack the Bible for new insights into who God really is. When he appears. Two. and let’s consider this journey the thrill of our lives. needing God to be presented to us according to our preferences. We will be conformed to the image of his Son (Romans 8:29). Jesus is his ultimate representation (John 1:14. We will bear the likeness of the Man from heaven (1 Corinthians 15:49). God will not un-God himself for anyone. In other words. feeling uneasy with the biblical grandeur of God and restlessly wishing he would give us more “space” – these heart-impulses are sin. We need the Bible every day to correct our thinking about God. Every other biblical way of thinking about God is clearly traceable to Jesus – or it isn’t biblical. As Calvin said. it’s not about me. God explodes our small thoughts of who “God” should be. Not wanting to adjust so that full-strength God can be all that he wants to be in my life – that is sin. with no limitations or dark side or anything else we might find disappointing or manipulable. we are being renewed in knowledge in the image of our Creator (Colossians 3:10). we will not only not misrepresent God. God is spirit (John 4). When his grace through Christ has perfected us. 18.One.
and we want to get back to reality with God. . for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. of the gospel. we rob him of the glory due his name and we lose our legitimacy as the people of God in this world. . of the Bible.” how he has revealed himself and made himself known. foolish talk about himself in any respect. The rest of the third commandment reads. That’s why we are here tonight. Negatively. “. if we trust anything else as more real and more weighty. we embrace God in his full-strength glory in Jesus. We want as much of him as he’ll give us. No empty God-talk Ray Ortlund 27 September 2011 And God spoke all these words. . The first three commandments are for glory-thieves like us. He longs for reality with us so intensely. “I am the LORD your God. how he has identified himself and brought himself graciously within our experience. We are receiving him humbly for all that he is. Positively. If we then treat God as if he weren’t all that he says he is. didn’t exist. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain. . the real God. glib. Our thoughts and words shape our experience of reality. if we redefine God by our own preferences.” When we speak of God. we repent of ever thinking and speaking and living as if God. out of the house of slavery. And God has called his Church to be the one community on the face of the earth that knows him truly and perceives him clearly and accepts him fully and reveres him humbly and talks about him really. then we treat the real God as if he didn’t matter. if we put upon God our own meanings. as if he didn’t really exist at all. who brought you out of the land of Egypt. we are touching his “name. he forbids all empty. saying.The Ten Commandments: #3. by faith. We are seeking the reality of God in our lives. phony. of the sacraments. trite. Our thoughts and words shape our community. But if we in the Church join with the world in desecrating the name of God on earth. of anything directly connected with God. A literal translation: “You will not take up the name of the LORD your God to emptiness. of the Church. not emptily. who want to repent of the sin of robbing God of his glory for the sake of our own little false glories.” Exodus 20:1-2. . cheap. rather than let God be all that he says he is. if we ignore parts of the Bible. God himself longs for that more than we do. This is practical atheism. .” Treating the living God as vain and empty and unreal is a life worthy of damnation and hell. if we think of him and speak of him according to our own imaginings. 7 This commandment speaks to our longing for the reality of God in our lives.
” or “Dear Sir/Madam. derivative. The universe will break down before God will be false to his Word. love and praise. dependent. How does the third commandment guide us into a better future? It says we can so hurl ourselves at him in faith that we live with the confidence that he is fully real and will be true to every promise he has made. Take your pick. disrelished. ignored. “Our Father in heaven. overlooked. And that means there cannot be optional versions of him floating around among us.” That’s like praying. God” is a sin.” If the Lord wanted me to know. In fact. Or. because it’s acting as if he doesn’t care about me. May the goddess whom I do not know be tranquil for me. And that will be heaven. We may come to him confident that he exists and that he rewards those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6). and his name the only name” (Zechariah 14:9). why didn’t he just tell me? Proverbs 30:7-9 says that stealing profanes the name of the Lord. Marduk. It includes glib statements like. to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2). Whenever we settle for a dull religious routine. You can’t miss him. “The Lord has told me to say to you . “Our help is in the name of the Lord. We are secondary. though that’s included too. we have a Babylonian prayer that goes like this: “May the god whom I do not know be tranquil for me. By contrast. belittled. we start treating him as unreal. The very name of the movie “Oh. .” when it wasn’t the Lord. .” All doubts will evaporate. and he revealed himself most clearly in Jesus. . had fifty names. What then is the sin of taking up God’s name in vanity or emptiness or unreality? It is doing anything that would trivialize God in any way at all or treat him as theoretical.” Lost people groping for Something out there. With God. . But Jesus taught us to pray. What does the third commandment project out as our eternal joy? It describes us forever experiencing and revering God as more real and rewarding than anything else in all our experience. Our knees will bow. That includes taking up the name “Christian” but not living like a real Christian. He is reality. The commandment shows us more of God. He just is. without pressing by faith into the gospel for renewal. His ancient name Yahweh communicates that he is (Exodus 3). we are not wasting our time! 4. “lost in wonder. We will be swallowed up in his glory. who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8). 3. “The Lord led me to do thus and so.” 2. Never again will God be forgotten. “To whom it may concern. “On that day there will be one Lord. and our tongues will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. the high god of Babylon.How then does the third commandment help us live in reality with God? 1. hallowed be your name. The third commandment targets much more than swearing. He is who he is.
they did whatever selfish things they felt like doing on the Sabbath (Isaiah 58). but they agreed it was okay to spit on rocks.” . Six days you shall labor. . Remember the Sabbath day. The fourth commandment is the only one of the ten whose authority today is debated among believers. to pluck a blade of grass was a sin. The Sabbath was made into a tangle of petty rules. so that a man could never relax! Jesus hated this. And we don’t do well as our own saviors and lords. God hated this too. A radish could be dipped in salt. think about the most worthy and exciting things in the universe – all at absolutely no charge. who brought you out of the land of Egypt. but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. Earlier.The Ten Commandments: #4. that I am aware of. out of the house of slavery. renew your family and friendships. we tend to insert in his place a projection of ourselves. especially in community with other rest-ers in Jesus. but The Lord’s Day. 8-11 If someone told you there was a way to glorify and enjoy God. On it you shall not do any work . “I am the LORD your God. To pick up a piece of fruit from the ground was sin. . since that would risk starting the pickling process. but not for too long. So your righteousness depended on which way you spit! But there was no discussion. and do all your work. here it is.” Exodus 20:1-2. If a lady spilled water on her dress. Why do we do this. take a deep breath. Not the Sabbath. Jesus came to fulfill the fourth commandment. engage in random acts of kindness. you’d want to know more about it. . Well. study and community through the only One who said to us. the observation of the Sabbath was a matter of interpretation. in Isaiah’s day. to keep it holy. The authority of all the others is obvious. all who labor and are heavy-laden. One way we show that trust is by taking time off – not just to goof off. But our regular pattern of life should build in protected time for worship. . of how to rest assured in the love of God. because it was work. Both the Pharisaical and the commercial abuses of the Sabbath turned a day of joy into a nightmare of misery. No treadmill existence Ray Ortlund 4 October 2011 And God spoke all these words. is that we lose our sense of God. We drop our frantic works righteousness and trust him and rest in him. the rabbis debated whether she could lawfully shake it off or wring it dry. Interruptions will occur from time to time. not counting against your number of annual vacation days at work. He is our Sabbath rest. They debated whether you could spit on the ground and rub it with your foot. For example. The rabbis spun endless rules about how to do the Sabbath. They did business on the Sabbath. The people of God didn’t observe the Sabbath at all. over-committed pace of life. “Come to me. whether strict or loose. And when we lose our sense of God. saying. slow down your jam-packed. . because it was work. But even in the time of Jesus. prayer. . the problem was the opposite. again and again? What keeps happening to us. important as that is – but to be refreshed again in him. and I will give you rest. either way.
So we have to be intentional about it: “Remember. We crowd him out. like our Friday the 13th. God stops working. we get the job done. seven and a half weeks. How does the fourth commandment confront our sin? It exposes the madness of our frenzied. no “Am I going to get fired?”. unprepared. And rejoicing in the goodness of God is the best joy of all. And God himself is not ashamed to roll up his sleeves and work hard until the job is done. for example. no fear. How does the fourth commandment prophesy our eternity in heaven? Resting in the finished work of Christ on the cross without a care in the world! No stress. We don’t leave time for God to chance. We live as if we were sustaining ourselves. He rested on the seventh day of the creation week and rejoiced in his accomplishment. but every day enjoying the Triune God with the energy which will feel like rest. How does the fourth commandment reveal God to us? One. as if God didn’t care. But the fourth commandment is easy to forget. So much in this life is like building a sand castle on the beach. and he wants us to enter into his goodness. soul-starving patterns of life. We see that in Genesis 1. The Babylonians gave the name Sabbattu to the day of the full moon and to the seventh. say. It’s the futility of our work that is the curse. then by one year from today we will have enjoyed 52 days. it disappears from the earth forever. Plan your Saturday so that you don’t wake up on Sunday morning caught off-guard. no worries. a business. then we enjoy it and praise the Lord. fourteenth. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. For what priority do you absolutely clear your schedule? 3. repeated in Exodus 20:11: “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth. The universe sprang into existence effortlessly and ingeniously out of his thoughts. and rested on the seventh day. and then he stood back and looked it over and smiled. Two. even while we find time to be busy with lesser things. We feel that about our jobs. in many respects. God works. “Let us make every effort to enter into that rest” (Hebrews 4:11). The biblical Sabbath chases away the ghosts of the pagan worldview and makes it a good day. But our labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). They were days of bad luck. one day per week. How does the fourth commandment point us toward newness of life in the gospel? The word “Remember” at the beginning of the commandment is practical. of paid vacation with Jesus and his people! You kiddin’ me?!? 4. . twenty-first and twenty-eighth days of the month. I don’t have to remember not to murder. the Babylonian calendar was not like the biblical calendar in the Old Testament days. God-neglecting. If we remember to make Jesus a priority in our schedules for one whole year. 2. scrambling. We too work intelligently and diligently. no unemployment and no overwork. the sea. after we die. and in no time at all. because God is good. That is.1. we work and work and work for a lifetime to build. By the way.” Work is not a curse.” We schedule this. and the waves of time wash it away forever. and all that is in them. The Lord rejoices in all his works (Psalm 104:31). no exhaustion. They were not days of blessing.
1) What we are commanded to do… We are commanded to honor our father and mother (and all authority). this quote accurately describes our culture now. we’re going look at the fifth commandment by asking: 1) what we are commanded to do. perhaps the most significant was the family. It was the decade of the antiestablishment.”1 Although the 60’s were a long time ago (sorry Ray ).’ which means ‘heavy’ or ‘weighty. and R. 2005. anti-government.” The way to destroy a nation is to destroy the family.The Ten Commandments: #5. for the weightiness of his divine majesty. and anti-school. the fifth commandment instructs us how to build our families (and societies) up! Tonight. as well as the collective state of mind… We truly believed that the family had to be torn apart to free love. Kent Hughes. but the family was closer. Philip Graham.” Exodus 20:1-2. Ill: Crossway Books. And… we believed that the family was the foundation of the state. 601. But of all the institutions that came under attack. Young people were anti-business. that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. and the way children can destroy the family is by disobeying their parents. Exodus: Saved for God's Glory. anti-military. which alone could heal the damage done when the atom was split to release energy. 12 “Many historians believe that a significant shift in American attitudes toward authority took pace during the 1960’s. The fifth commandment was given to us for such a time as this. saying.” She writes. therefore. . The word from which honor is translated from in the Hebrew is ‘Kaved. Wheaton. Honor your father and your mother Dan Orr 11 October 2011 And God spoke all these words. We could get our hands on it. and 3) what we need in order to live this way.’ It is the word the OT uses for the glory of God. 2) why we are commanded to act in such a way. Annie Gottlieb is one of the many participants who identify “the Sixties” as “the generation that destroyed the American family. And the first step was to tear ourselves free from our parents. is to give 1 Ryken. “I am the Lord your God. In a time where families (and societies) are falling apart. out of the house of slavery… Honor your father and your mother. To honor one’s parents. who brought you out of the land of Egypt. “We might not have been able to tear down the state.
20:12. “honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise). From the beginning of his life to the end. 605. To the degree that we see Jesus fulfilling the fifth commandment on our behalf will be able to truly honor our father and mother.” is a Hebrew phrase for the fullness of God’s blessing. the primary reason that we are commanded to honor our father and mother is that we will experience the fullness of God’s blessing if we do. Therefore. his perfect obedience has been imputed onto us. esteem.due weight to their position. according to Ex. because when Jesus obeyed his parents. Jesus. paid the penalty for our breaking the fifth commandment. 6:2-‐3). He was the only perfect son. “live long in the land. Your top-‐line thoughts? 2. Thus.3 3) What we need in order to live this way… No one has kept the fifth commandment… except for Jesus. everyone who trusts in Jesus has perfect obedience to the fifth commandment. 24). Even more than this. value and prize fathers and mothers as gifts from God.2 This honor is due to all fathers and mothers. This is not necessarily a promise that you will live to 100 if you obey your parents. Consider the example given to us by Jonathan and David in regards to Saul (1 Sam. 603.’ Paul reiterates this to the Ephesians by saying. Discussion: 1. he was keeping God’s law on our behalf. 2) Why we are commanded to honor our father and mother… There are many reasons to honor our father and mother. the perfect son. What changes do you need to make as a result of the fifth commandment? 3. even to those whom have acted in ways that have hurt you. It is to give them the recognition they deserve for their God-given authority. 3 Ibid. but the reason given in this text is that ‘your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land” (Eph. It means to have an abundant life. How does the gospel comfort and strengthen you as it relates to what we have discussed? 2 Ibid. Rather. this expression. he honored his father and mother in everyway. . To honor is to respect.
To an angry world drunk with bloodlust. “Thou shalt not kill” was too vague. life-loving. What does this commandment say about our sin? Obviously. . “Don’t murder!” The very fact that there is no direct object after the verb means we shouldn’t murder anyone. “Whoever sheds man’s blood. After all.” So God doesn’t absolutize all human life. “Murder” is more accurate. the robbing of freedoms. There is a difference between force and violence. for that matter. It is violence. Violence is heedless of what’s right and wrong.” Exodus 20:1-2. governments of totalitarianism and anarchy in the streets – these are all lifediminishing human dynamics. God offers life. Force operates within the parameters of justice. So abortion breaks this command. including ourselves. “You shall not murder” is a good translation. by man shall his blood be shed. Throughout eternity we will drink freely from the fountain of the water of life (Revelation 21:6) and eat freely from the tree of life (Revelation 22:2). Just because something is politically possible doesn’t make it morally defensible. Force exercises restraint. No unsafe places Ray Ortlund 18 October 2011 And God spoke all these words. he declares innocent human life worthy of our protection. Our names are written in the Book of Life (Philippians 4:3). “I am the LORD your God. for in the image of God he made man. But God is not condemning military action. but life is in Christ (John 1:4). The God who commands “You shall not murder” is a life-giving. How then can a mother turn around and do the same to her child.” He tells us to be the same. let’s try not to murder anyone this evening. 2. “You shall not murder.The Ten Commandments: #6. . After all. for example. And if a woman becomes pregnant through a rape. Genesis 9:6 says.” God is “Right to Life. What does this commandment say about the God who commanded it? The living God values life. . however unwanted? Political oppression breaks this command. who brought you out of the land of Egypt. still. out of the house of slavery. 1. 13 God puts sanctity on innocent human life when he says. the child should not be penalized. The devil is a murderer (John 8:44). Let’s think it through. what is it about rape that is so horrible? The stronger one forces his will on the weaker one. . You shall not murder. saying. lifeincreasing God. But the sixth commandment has so much to say. The Hebrew text is brief: literally. Wars of aggression and slaughter. And tomorrow. and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
loving. but life in you” (2 Corinthians 4:12). brotherly. “I have every right to do this to so-and-so. leave your gift at the altar. How does this commandment guide us into a better future. The Heidelberg Catechism teaches us. What New Covenant promise is implied in this commandment? Look at the way Paul greets people in his letters: “Grace to you and peace from God!” That is the gospel directly impacting how Paul said “Hello” to people. God is giving that to us. We are learning not to cut off one another’s oxygen by withholding love.” God calls us to a higher standard. by making Jesus the center. God is giving it to us now imperfectly. gentle. Not murdering one another requires intentionality. “Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life” (Leviticus 19:16). Let’s not justify ourselves by saying. 4. they cannot imagine what it could mean to stop murdering everyone around. we are learning to give life to one another. We obey the sixth commandment not only by not only by not harming anyone socially or financially or professionally. Hating someone is murder (1 John 3:15). The kingdom of God is “righteousness. God is calling us to change our personalities. so that we are not life-depleting men but life-giving men. newness of life? “If you are offering a gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you. according to the Good News. hatred and anger. to be patient. God tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. “You’re a fool” puts the speaker in danger of hell. “See whether you can be angry against your brother without burning with desire to hurt him. “By condemning envy. but also by positively seeking happy relationships and life-enriching social conditions. and then come offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24). It’s worth the cost! What’s happening here on Tuesday nights is so meaningful to us because we are experiencing the sixth commandment. . right down to how we walk into a room. encouraging relationships worthy of gospel community. and to do good even to our enemies. Look what they’ve done to me. getting us out of our self-absorption and lifting us into cheerful.” That costs. Every evil act springs from an evil impulse within. And I believe God is calling us men at Immanuel to create a new kind of church – manly and life-giving. Even telling someone. We are not nice people making bad decisions now and then. to protect him from harm as much as we can. How could it be otherwise? John Calvin wrote. peace-loving. In the sight of God. merciful and friendly to him.” The Old Testament itself said. Some people are so accustomed to a life-depleting environment at church. peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). “Death is at work in us.Selfish anger breaks this command (Matthew 5:21-2). It’s only the difference between honest murders and hypocritical murders. first go and be reconciled to your brother. 3. and forever in heaven he will give to us perfect community. there is no difference between a ghetto drive-by shooting and a church where people assassinate each other’s character by gossip. we are evil people proving it.
saying. The Catholic Church gradually began to prohibit sex on certain holy days. who brought you out of the land of Egypt. affections. and 3) what we need in order to live this way.4 Sex is God’s idea. Kent Hughes. Sex is not only for procreation for it’s also for our joy (see Song of Solomon). Philip Graham.” (Thank goodness). and R. Ill: Crossway Books. 2) why we are commanded to act in such a way. and the preservation of it in ourselves and others. established the ideal of wedded romantic love. You shall not commit adultery Dan Orr 25 October 2011 And God spoke all these words. and exalted the role of the wife. chastity in body. . Thank God for the Reformation. 627. Tertullian regarded the extinction of the human race as preferable to procreation. and behaviour. 2005. “The duties required in the seventh commandment are. “I am the Lord your God. modesty in apparel. glorified compassionate marriage. 20:14). marriage by 4 Ryken. affirmed married sex as both necessary and pure.” Exodus 20:1-2. Exodus: Saved for God's Glory. Wheaton. The Puritans devalued celibacy. 629.5 We’re going to look at the seventh commandment by asking: 1) what we are commanded to do. It is in order to protect this joy that God has given us the seventh commandment: “You shall not commit adultery” (Exod. Many priests counseled couples to abstain from sex altogether. the list had grown to 183 days a year. so that by the time of Martin Luther. (Yikes). God told Adam to cleave to his wife so that they could be fruitful and multiply (Gen. Augustine was willing to admit that intercourse might be lawful but taught that sexual passion was always a sin. watchfulness over the eyes and all the senses. 1) What we are commanded to do… The Westminster Catechism says. mind.The Ten Commandments: #7. keeping of chaste company. 5 Ibid. and it is good. 1:28). temperance. which began to restore sexual sanity by celebrating the physical act of lovemaking within marriage… “The Puritan doctrine of sex was a watershed in the cultural history of the West. 14 Prior to the Reformation the church generally regarded sex – even within marriage – as a necessary evil. words. Ambrose said that married couples ought to be ashamed of their sexuality. out of the house of slavery… You shall not commit adultery.
6 b) Marital faithfulness is meant to display to our wives (and the world) God’s covenant faithfulness to them. It is the covenant cement as Tim Keller calls it that helps hold a marriage secure. “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 3) What we need in order to live this way… In John 8.” In Matthew 5:27-‐29. 631. diligent labour in our callings. we need to know that we are not condemned for our failure to obey the seventh commandment because Jesus was condemned for us.those that have not the gift of continency. . Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. go. “Neither do I condemn you. we see how Jesus responds to people who have broken the seventh commandment.” After the men had left. where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said. as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” 2) Why we are commanded to not commit adultery… a) The reason that adultery is forbidden is not because sex is bad.” And Jesus said. this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Jesus says. Lord. Jesus stood up and said to her. The Pharisees brought to him a woman who had been caught in adultery. It’s like superglue. shunning all occasions of uncleanness and resisting temptations thereunto. “No one. 6:15 says. in response to this too good to be true news. and cohabitation. Jesus instructs us to go and from now on sin no more. “Teacher. and they said. and from now on sin no more. “Woman. Eph. love your wives. tear it out and throw it away. If your right eye causes you to sin. ‘You shall not commit adultery. conjugal love. 1 Cor. “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” c) We are united to Christ. So what do you say?” Jesus responded. but because it was designed to be such a powerful force for good. 6 Ibid.” In order to live this way. It seals the bond of matrimony. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. “You have heard that it was said. 5:25 – “Husbands.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. And.
He established the validity of private property. Stealing is so pervasive in our world we hardly notice its presence. it is an attack on God himself. How wonderful heaven will be. out of the house of slavery. We don’t think he has been fair to us. . You shall not steal. because we need to be confronted. sacrificial.The Ten Commandments: #8. What does it say to us? That stealing is not simply a violation of another human being. How does the eighth commandment show us more of God? The kind of God who would say. And he wants us to be givers. “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. We pity ourselves. that though he was rich yet for your sakes he became poor so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). he is a lavish. as he did to Eve. God is hoarding the good stuff for himself. who brought you out of the land of Egypt.” Exodus 20:1-2. 1. 15 Every person has a right to his own possessions. How does the eighth commandment expose our sin to us more clearly? The eighth commandment confronts us. and you’re going nowhere fast. But we live in a rip-off world. You do not own your things by the gracious permission of the state. “You shall not steal. The devil whispers to us. Don’t be fooled!” So. If I steal it. because God says you own it. which is it? What is the truth about your life and mine? Is God the great Giver. like him. you own it. He has distributed to people whatever . The IRS audits us. . because we don’t feel loved by God. but it won’t make any difference to this huge corporation. saying. No rip-offs Ray Ortlund 1 November 2011 And God spoke all these words.” The gospel enters in with new thoughts of Jesus. “First chance I get I’ll return that tool I borrowed from my neighbor. that God is holding out on us: “You think this is the Garden of Eden? Wise up! This is the slum of the universe. where the only thought anyone will have is how to share more with the others around. We lock our cars. We resent others.” We think. “I am the LORD your God. or the great Thief? The miracle of the Holy Spirit is to turn God-haters like us into lovers of God as our resource and provider and treasure. who poured out his priceless blood for shabby sinners like us (1 Peter 1:19). not takers. Do you need that miracle in your heart? 2. . We steal. Only real ownership allows you then to be truly generous. We don’t think he will take care of us. If you earned it by honest labor. Whatever you own was given to you by God. but I just don’t have time right now. We think. We guard our personal information. “I’ll exaggerate on this expense report. extravagant Giver. He is the God who makes us rich! The God who came down to us in Jesus is not a thief. I violate God. because they expect us to be dishonest.” is a generous God.
No hidden agendas. Stealing destroys the soul. How does the eighth commandment prophesy our eternal future? As Jonathan Edwards put it. But Jesus saves thieves and puts them to work and makes them productive and generous. a cheap tip. stealing someone else’s ideas. the converted crook. How might we do this? Falsifying tax returns. living on welfare when we don’t need to. provide for our families. by the grace of God. no Wall Street protesters peeing on someone’s front steps. no robber barons. no hot checks.they own. “Heaven is a world of love. where there are no locks on the doors.” How wonderful it will be when.” Really? 3. doing anything dishonest that tears at the fabric of trust that holds us all together. Fair dealings. “I’m going to push God aside and re-order the universe more to my liking. We end up with isolation and emptiness. we will be able to take everyone at face value. No tightwads. in the eyes of our watching city. We are the alternative to the ugly grasping of this world! 4. No false advertising. No corner-cutting. “He who has been stealing must steal no longer but must work. refusing to pay debts or paying them late. no confiscatory taxes. We might have come to the eighth commandment thinking. . No manipulative words. by the New Covenant. The gospel makes selfish people into a blessing to others. All will be respect and trust and giving. paying unjustly low wages. because heaven is filled with God. How does the eighth commandment point us to a better life? Honesty. “Well. But stealing says. which is blasphemy. not returning things we’ve borrowed. no PIN numbers. Leaving people better off than they were before they met us.” That pride puts oneself in the place of God. at least here’s one that doesn’t have much to say to me. And that generous God is preparing us now for that everlasting blessing. no security systems. In heaven. robbing someone of their reputation or not speaking up when they are being gossiped about. Jesus is preparing a place for us in the Father’s house. using software we haven’t paid for. repaid those he had cheated four-fold (Luke 19:8). Heaven will be friendly to human beings. Zacchaeus. are a living foretaste of this heavenly love. and not tithing: “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me in tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8). It eats away at our self-respect and confidence that we can make our own way and accomplish things to be proud of. Being straight-up with one another. the Holy Spirit will have written the eighth commandment so deeply into our hearts that we naturally and joyfully radiate generosity of spirit and complete honesty and no mistrust toward others. Let’s lay aside everything that falls short of the highest standards and create here at Immanuel a culture of men who. What a great blessing work is! Let’s receive it as from Jesus himself and give it our best every day so that we can make honest money. It kills our sense of the love of God for us. “Each of you should not only look to his own interests but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). not giving our best at work and wasting time but taking full-time pay. doing something useful with his hands. that he may have something to share with those in need” (Ephesians 4:28). and give. We will mingle in heaven with complete openness and innocence and transparency.
and a man who stirs up discord among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16-19). . How does the ninth commandment help us to live as men of truth? 1. 26:22). All we have left is what we want to say. The church is the pillar and bulwark of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15). When we hear bad news about another guy. It is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18). Men who believe in this God will respect truth so much they will care about thought. saying. “The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels” (Proverbs 18:8. His gospel is the truth (Colossians 1:5). The Bible says that the Lord hates “a lying tongue. . we men of God are men of truth. And if we didn’t mind lying about God.” Exodus 20:1-2.” The Bible says. . . sin is deceitful (Hebrews 3:13). The Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of truth” (John 16:13). . “The words of the Lord are flawless. we can lie about anything. then what we say about one another doesn’t matter. and an unruly tongue is “set on fire by hell” (James 3:6). No unruly tongues Ray Ortlund 8 November 2011 And God spoke all these words. What the ninth commandment reveals about God God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). like silver . no higher standard to appeal to (Hebrews 6:13-14). And that makes any comment as valid as any other. what he thinks is the standard. The Bible says. If there is no such thing as truth.The Ten Commandments: #9. . The Bible says. “I am the LORD your God. he had to swear by himself because there was nothing greater to swear by. “God will judge the peoples by his truth” (Psalm 96:13). What we think is not the standard by which God will judge us. something inside us . Such men will consider truth more important than saving face because of who God is. if all we have is different versions of events. they will care about honesty. they will care about fairness. For all these reasons. How did we get here? Long ago the human race exchanged the truth about God for a lie (Romans 1:25). refined seven times” (Psalm 12:6). The words coming out of our mouths aren’t a question of truth but only outlook. what we feel like venting. 2. who brought you out of the land of Egypt. Jesus said “I am the truth” (John 14:6). God is “the God of truth” (Isaiah 65:16). different perspectives. . What the ninth commandment says about our sin Something inside us relishes gossip and negative information about someone and “the inside scoop. When God wanted to take an oath. and no one is safe any more. out of the house of slavery. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. . Psalm 45 describes the Messiah as “riding forth victoriously in the cause of truth” (Psalm 45:4). they will care about doctrine. But the devil is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). 16 If there is no such thing as truth. a false witness who pours out lies. then there is no such thing as gossip or slander or lying. different “takes” on things.
In the meantime. for by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37). our mouths will flow with his praises and with healing for others. A Christian leader once said to me. He will honor us. Let’s not import that previous dysfunction and hurt into Immanuel. Let’s always stay on that positive path! 4. when God’s New Covenant power finally reaches into our innermost core and our hearts are renewed entirely and his law is written on our very personalities. At the bottom of our sinful words is pride. It is the work of Satan to accuse the brethren (Revelation 12:10). “I tell you.” God is calling us Immanuel men to make this church safe for sinners. defend every reputation. He will call you forward. to all who call upon him in truth” (Psalm 145:18). What the ninth commandment commands about a better way The Heidelberg Catechism coaches us: “I should love truth. We must be so careful with our words! Jesus said.savors it because we are jealous and insecure. and fear. He will right every wrong. We will feel so secure in the love of Jesus. expose every slander. “Some try to pull down a prominent man not because they themselves wish to take his place but because doing so gives them a feeling of power. 3. We will be too happy to care any more about the dark experiences of this broken world. God will beat a true witness about you when it really matters forever. “We have renounced disgraceful. “The Lord is near to all who call upon him. Some of us have come from difficult church situations. God will forever bear a true witness about us. don’t worry about it. but by open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2). wanting to look better than we really are. Words can be powerful for good.” That is how the Son of God was condemned – through false witnesses who twisted his words to bring him down (Matthew 26:61). You might need to coach your wife about this. that another man’s success might diminish my life. put his arm around your shoulder. underhanded ways. where every man’s reputation is respected and advanced. his neighbors. This is not walking in the light. we will never need to put anyone else down or rehearse their wrongs. He will stand by us. And I should do what I can to guard and advance my neighbor’s good name. on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak. “The tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18). and he will announce to all the redeemed how much he rejoices over you and how much you accomplished for him and how worthy of admiration you are. That is what Immanuel exists for – to be a place where anyone can call out to God with gospel honesty. What the ninth commandment promises about our eternity One. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word. Two. because you really will be. If you are being criticized for living as a Christian now. He can hide behind even the feeling of moral fervor in a Christian’s heart. .
And he loves us too much to settle for surfacy obedience. to like. it’s another story. . . 1. It flows out of us. saying. no matter what. who brought you out of the land of Egypt. Hyperactive: We want too much. it only shows us how deeply weirded-out we are. our hearts go on alert. We too barely know ourselves. This commandment is an unfriendly introduction to the real you and me. He didn’t know that true obedience goes deeper than outward. He sees our hearts more than we do. You shall not covet . “I am the LORD your God.” Exodus 20:1-2. How wonderful that God can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. The verb translated “covet” means to desire. Every other truly desirable person or thing is a faint whisper of what awaits us in God. He was feeling okay about his obedience to God. anything that is your neighbor’s. Our hearts are a jungle of undergrowth out of all control. We don’t even have to try to sin. to take pleasure in. God is wise. When God gets too close. He knows our every impulse. out of the house of slavery. Then this commandment exposed the hidden realities of his heart he himself hadn’t even noticed. moment-by-moment. but inside. It addresses what we feel inside – not how we act. so that he could satisfy our hearts with his mighty love. We want bad things. We can keep up a decent exterior. He can change what we want before we want it. because we know that radical love will reduce us to honesty. Dead: We open up to God reluctantly. important as that is. but we also fear that. What we most desire we also most fear: to be fully known and utterly loved. without our wanting it. He made our hearts for himself. And we can’t help what we feel. But our hearts are out of whack – both hyperactive and dead. . Our feelings come naturally and effortlessly. My “heart” is whatever I want. and it rarely even feels evil. 17 This is the law that brought Paul down (Romans 7). What does this commandment say about God? God is desirable. not only are we not to dishonor God outwardly or violate one another socially. God is profound. but that doesn’t make our feelings right. We want good things for bad reasons. We are not fooling him or surprising him at all. . but even our very hearts are to be still and quiet and happy and contented and at peace before the Lord. And my heart does not lie. the Fountainhead of all satisfaction. . I shouldn’t look at my exteriority to see myself but at my interiority before God.The Ten Commandments: #10. He wired us with raging desires. It tells us that. incompletely. . but what we feel. We want that. whatever I feel like moving toward. We think things and feel things so evil we scare ourselves. What I want tells me what I am. No restless hearts Ray Ortlund 15 November 2011 And God spoke all these words. even before it pops up inside us (Psalm 139). “I will change their shame into praise” (Zephaniah 3:19). technical compliance.
We become generous. JB). sulky. The Westminster Larger Catechism: “. Our hearts are ungrateful. “The righteous give without sparing” (Proverbs 21:26). but we know it’s true: In giving. And we will be with him. together with all inordinate emotions and affections toward anything that is his. brains. What does this commandment prophesy about our future? Jesus said. Here’s how unfree our hearts are. To be with him – just being with him – is far better than every desire in all this world actively fulfilled to the max.” for love fulfills the law. insecure. blaming. 4. education. position. The battle of life is won or lost not primarily at the level of intellect and belief but at the level of heart and desire. grasping. influence.” Instead. friendships. wife and kids. sense of humor. defeated with selfishness.” What might we covet about another man? His job.2. promotions at work. Love calms us into contentment with the life God has assigned us. The Israelites murmured and complained their way right out of usefulness to God. you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8). . Even the awareness that we shouldn’t think or feel certain things arouses those very thoughts and feelings! If we have the honesty to watch ourselves closely. “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). And the longer we live. unhappy. “The water I give to you will become in you a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). And Paul says their story is a warning to us (1 Corinthians 10). the undeserving. Love frees us to rejoice with that guy. we have to pray our way into his vastness (Ephesians 3:14-19). At the bottom of it all. Rather. The Bible says his love is so wide and long and high and deep. envying and grieving at the good of our neighbor. having all you need. house. will experience forever how satisfying he is to our deepest hearts. we will end up on our knees before God. musical talent. with all my heart I should always hate sin and take pleasure in whatever is right. which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23). He said. . What does this commandment say about a better way to live? Romans 13:9-10 says the Ten Commandments boil down to this: “Love your neighbor as yourself. so that in all things at all times. what do we see? “Every kind of covetous desire” (Romans 7:8). and he will prove it to us forever. plotting. etc. opportunities. “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving” (Acts 20:35. resentful. We even go beyond contentment. we receive. God is able to supply us with such inner fullness that we have something to give to all around. What does this commandment say about our sin? The Heidelberg Catechism: “That not even the slightest thought or desire contrary to any one of God’s commandments should ever arise in my heart. discontentment with our own estate. money. car. even angry. How do we get into that happy place? “God is able to make all grace abound to you. looks. The generosity of heart called “love” frees us from craving what God has given to another man. Our hearts are born in attack-mode toward God. We can’t explain it. 3. the more we feel this emotion: “I desire to depart and be with Christ. . We. the human heart is unhappy with God.