31 July 2008

The 10 Commandments: Part 3 – 1.15.08

The 10 commandments are listed in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. These commandments are generally broken down into 2 categories. The first 4 commandments are said to be "vertical" in that they deal with man's relationship to God. The last 6 commandments are said to be "horizontal" in that they deal with men's relationships one with another.

Let's take a closer look at the first 4 and their application to us as New Testament believers.

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Any act of sin we commit is evidence that we regard someone or something more than God. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

Proverbs 24:9 says, The thought of foolishness is sin… Any sinful thought or deed is said to be foolish in the sense that it fails to take God into account (see Psalm 14:1). How often do we speak or act or make a choice or ponder a thought without being mindful of the fact that there is a God in heaven whose eyes behold the evil and the good (Proverbs 15:3) and who will render to every man according to his deeds (Jeremiah 17:10)?

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image…Thou shalt not bow down to them or serve them.

This commandment is similar enough to the 1st that the Catholic Church tries to cover itself by combining these 2 and splitting the 10th (one about coveting your neighbor's wife and another about coveting your neighbor's goods).

Ezekiel 14:3 sheds some light on this commandment. According to that passage, men can set up idols in their hearts. What person means more to you than God does? What celebrity, what athlete, what politician, what boy, what girl, what preacher do you idolize? It's a sad reflection of our nation's spiritual condition when one of the most popular TV shows around is American Idol.

Matthew 6:22 says that no man can serve 2 masters. What master are you serving? Money, popularity, sports, fashion, education, success? Or the living God?

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

Everybody realizes that it's rude to dial somebody's number then hang up when they answer the phone. So many people today call on God and never want to talk to Him. "Oh, my God" isn't just a slang phrase used to express surprise or fear or excitement, it's blasphemy.

The very fact that people use the name of God or the name of Jesus Christ to curse and to swear is simply proof that down deep in their hearts they know He is greater than all. Why don't they swear by Buddha or Mohammed or Ghandi or Allah or Hillary or George or…? Hebrews 6:16 answers that question: For men verily swear by the greater…

Now, do you bear the name Christian (Acts 17:26)? Do you take the name of Christ upon yourself? Then don't do it in vain. Don't call yourself a Christian and ignore Jesus' commands.

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

We don't have time right now to go into all the reasons the Sabbath law is not binding upon the New Testament Christian, but here are some references for you to check when you get a chance – Ezekiel 20:12, 20; Colossians 2;16-17; Matthew 28:1. With that, here are 2 more considerations: (1) 6 days of work is just as much a part of the Sabbath law as 1 day of rest, and (2) no one was to kindle a fire on the Sabbath day (Exodus 35:3)…which means nobody can drive to church for Saturday worship because you ignite a flame every time you start your vehicle and rev the engine.

The New Testament version of this commandment is found in Hebrews 10:25, Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.

Let's pray as David did in Psalm 119:35, Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.

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