We left off with a look at the first 4 of the 10 commandments. These are referred to as the "vertical" commandments, as they deal with man's relationship to God. The next 6 are the "horizontal" commandments, dealing with man's relationship to his fellow man. That's where we'll pick up today.
5. Honor thy father and thy mother…
Jesus Christ quoted this commandment in Matthew 15:4, Matthew 19:19, and Mark 7:10. It is also repeated in Ephesians 6:1-3 and Colossians 3:20. Focusing on the NT passage in Ephesians 6, there are 3 things we need to notice:
- There is no "if." It does not say "if" you agree with your parents, or "if" they're right. It says to obey – period.
- There is a dual command – to honor and to obey. As long as you are in your parents home or under your parents care or living off their income, you are to obey. Once you have your own home and you have established your own family, you are no longer required to obey, but you are still under obligation to respect your parents, remember how they raised you, conduct yourselves in an honorable manner, and be careful not to do anything that would cast reproach on your parents' name. REMEMBER THIS IF/WHEN YOU GO AWAY TO COLLEGE!!!
- There is a promised blessing. Ephesians validates the promise given in Exodus – long and blessed life on the earth. (For an interesting study, look up Ecclesiastes 7:17; Proverbs 10:27; Psalm 55:23; Proverbs 9:11.)
6. Thou shalt not kill.
- 1 John 3:15 says that a man who hates his brother in his heart is a murderer. How many times have you verbalized such hatred, perhaps toward a sibling? How many times have you harbored such hatred?
- Here's an interesting thought. 1 Peter 2:24 says that Christ bare our sins in his body on the tree. 1 Corinthians 15:3 says Christ died for our sins. That makes us guilty of manslaughter. Jesus Christ died because of our sin. Now, no wonder God has such a hatred for sin; it is the very thing that nailed His Son to the cross. So why would we tolerate sin our own lives? May God make us all like Job, men/women who fear God and eschew evil.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
It is my earnest hope and prayer that each one of you has committed to God and to yourself that you will keep yourself pure for the day you get married. But remember that God sees and judges the thoughts and intents of the heart. He knows what you look at; He knows what you listen to.
Jesus said adultery was a sin of the heart (Matthew 5:21-22; Mark 7:20-23). Peter said the act could be committed with the eyes (2 Peter 2:14). Purity is more than a promise to keep yourself for your spouse. It is a pattern of life. It is a manner of conduct. Thou shalt not commit adultery!
8. Thou shalt not steal.
Ephesians 4:28 says, Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
As Americans, we have this idea that somebody – the government, our parents, society – "owes" us something. But, let's be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1) and establish in our hearts that nobody owes us anything. The Bible teaches that we are to work hard for what we have; that we are not to take ANYTHING that does not belong to us. 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Timothy 6:6-10; 2 Thessalonians 3:10; Hebrews 6:12
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
This mandate is repeated in Romans 13:9, Ephesians 4:25, and Colossians 3:9. Notice the command is not to bear false witness AGAINST thy neighbor. If you think about it, I think it would be correct that a lie is always told for the benefit of one party (most often self) and at the expense of another.
Proverbs 26:24 says, He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him. Look at that word "dissembleth." I think of that as "dis-assemble." How many times has a rumor or a lie or a story you or I have told torn down or broken down the reputation or good name or confidence of another?
And here are some New Testament exhortations regarding honesty: Romans 12:17; 13:13; 2 Corinthians 8:21; 13:7; 1 Thessalonians 4:12; Hebrews 13:18; 1 Peter 2:12.
10. Thou shalt not covet.
Arguably the most ignored of the 10 in America today. Hebrews 13:5 is the most comprehensive NT reference to this command. Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Covetousness springs from a lack of contentment. The thought here is that why would anybody who has the abiding presence of Jesus Christ ever fail to be content? Is He not all that we need?
So we are not "under law," but we have not escaped all obligation to live in accordance with some specific commands from God – including these 10. Let's HONESTLY search our hearts and ask God how many of these things are part of our lives. Let's pray Job's prayer, cause me to understand wherein I have erred. And let's get those things right.