Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.
II. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
III. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
IV. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
V. Honour thy father and thy mother.
VI. Thou shalt not kill.
VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
VIII. Thou shalt not steal.
IX. Thou shalt not bear false witness.
X. Thou shalt not covet.
These laws, given to Moses by God, are a
universal, timeless expression of God's holy purpose for man. Theft,
adultery, murder, profanity, are acknowledged everywhere by man's conscience
to be contrary to the moral law. These laws are an expression of God's love
to man. When his laws are disregarded, there follows conflict, confusion and
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT is: "I am Jehovah
thy God who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of
bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:2-3
Every man needs a god. The very composition of man's nature demands a centre
of worship. And if man does not have the God of heaven, he will have an
idol. The question is not whether or not man worships - we all do. The
question is whether we worship the true God or a false one. It has been said
that when man dethrones God, he substitutes himself. There are men today who
worship themselves with all their heart and with all their strength and with
all their mind. The lust for gold and for fleshly indulgence is the
consuming passion of many. Many peoples' business or profession takes the
place reserved for God only. Eating, drinking, clothes, amusements,
comforts, are the centre of multitudes of lives. Ask yourself the question:
"What is my god? To what is my life devoted?"
THE SECOND COMMANDMENT is: "Thou shalt
not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in
heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under
the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I
the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon
the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; and
shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My
commandments." Exodus 20:4-6 The second is not a repetition of the first
in greater detail. The first commandment absolutely forbids worship of
anything and everything whatsoever but Jehovah Elohim of Heaven. The second
commandment, if you read it carefully, forbids using anything as a
representation of the one true God of Heaven as an aid to worship Him. Are
you using a crucifix, a relic, a statue or a picture as an aid in worshiping
God? God forbids, upon pain of judgment to the third and fourth generation,
the use of any of these aids in worship.
"God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him
must worship Him in SPIRIT and in TRUTH." John 4:24 No relic, no crucifix,
no image can adequately or properly represent the infinite and utterly holy
God. When I use something to represent God or make God real to me, I am left
with a distortion of my conception of God, which is inadequate and
misleading. How are we in danger of breaking the Second Commandment today?
1. By the revival of priesthood; 2. By the passion for ritual; 3. By the
elevation of the ordinances of the Christian religion into a place of undue
prominence and importance; and 4. By the professed worship of God in nature.
God would have every man approach Him directly and simply face to face.
Proxy worship is no worship at all. The Second Commandment says: WORSHIP GOD
DIRECTLY, PERSONALLY, AND IN SPIRIT.
THE THIRD COMMANDMENT says "Thou shalt
not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold
him guiltless that taketh His name in vain." Exodus 20:7 This third
commandment is much more than a warning against profane and blasphemous
cursing. It forbids any use of God's name unless in truth and righteousness.
"Hear ye this, O House of Jacob....which swear by the name of the Lord, and
make mention of the God of Israel but not in truth or righteousness." Isaiah
48:1. This means that God's name should not be used frivolously (meaning in
jokes and stories), profanely (which includes cursing), and hypocritically
(if you profess to be a Christian but refuse to obey God's commandments).
Are you guilty of breaking the third commandment? Then you are a blasphemer
and will not enter the Kingdom of God.
THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT is "Remember the
sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work:
but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not
do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy
maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for
in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them
is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day,
and hallowed it." Exodus 20:8-11 Just as God rested after creation, so
man is to take time at regular intervals to recover his strength, to renew
his spirit, to lift his eyes from the material to the eternal. The seventh
day sabbath in its regular interval provides for the maintenance of man's
communion with God. It is an appalling fact that whenever men choose to
forget God, they oppose and revolt against His law concerning the sabbath.
And the converse is also true, that whenever the sabbath is ignored, atheism
and every other evil grows with greater speed. When Communist
revolutionaries chose to stamp out Christianity, they outlawed the seventh
day of rest and worship. When France, in the bloody days of Revolution,
prohibited the Christian sabbath for 14 months, there were 20,000 divorces
more than in any previous five-year period in France's history. It makes
little difference whether the day be Saturday, Sunday or Wednesday. In sober
fact, who knows what day is the seventh and what day the first, after the
various calendar changes through the centuries? The important and timeless
law of God is that men must observe a day of rest and worship after every
six days of toil. To ignore this law is to invite spiritual, social and
physical tragedy. Use God's day to stand upright amidst your toil, to lift
your eyes to heaven. Use it to remember that you were made not for time
only, but for eternity. Use it to recover an awareness of purpose and
direction. Use it to commune with God, to sit at His feet, to meditate on
THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT is "Honour thy
father and mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord
thy God giveth thee." Exodus 20:12 If a child is never taught to respect
his parents, he will neither respect the laws of men or God. In early life,
a child's father and mother stand for him in the place of God as lawgivers,
lovers, providers and controllers. When parental authority is cast off, and
a child finds he can defy the law of the parent and get away with it, he
grows up to think he can also outsmart the police and even the God of
Heaven. In our western society we face no problem more terrifying than that
of juvenile delinquency. In brazen defiance teenagers say to parents, "It's
my life, I'll live it as I please." The word "honour" means much more than
obedience. In fact, in adulthood, I may not be obliged to obey my parents,
but I am always obliged to honour them. This involves respect, which
expresses itself in courtesy and kindly deeds, and where necessary, in
provision being made for the comfort in the declining years. To be honoured,
parents must be worthy of honour. The fifth commandment is a two-edged sword
cutting two ways at once. If children are to give honour, parents are to be
worthy of honour. Children are moulded by what they see in their parents. If
parents are profane, loud, irritable, self-indulgent and pleasure-loving,
surely it will be hard for children to respect and honour them. Parents also
need to set the example for their children by treating their parents with
respect. But more than that, give the Heavenly Father the love and obedience
you owe Him.
THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT is "Thou shalt not
kill." This commandment is the second of the six dealing with my
relation to my fellow man. The Bible teaches the sanctity of the human
personality and the sanctity of human life. Man is not an evolved ape from
the jungles. He is not a fortuitous concurrence of atoms. Man is the
"offspring of God," made in the image of God. We need to be reminded of this
gigantic and basic truth, for it lies at the root of the Christians's view
of politics and society. In 1 John 3:15 we read: "Whosoever hateth his
brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer has eternal life abiding
in him." Not only is actual physical abuse wrong, but a heart attitude of
bitterness is in the sight of God just as guilty as though the crime were
actually committed. A murderer is not only the man who in cold blood has
taken his fellow man's life, but hatred makes a man guilty of the sixth
commandment. Perhaps the fear of the hangman's noose or the fear of being
caught keeps many a man from killing, but the desire is there festering in
the heart. That man is seen by God to be a murderer just as much as the
criminal on death row.
THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT is "Thou shalt
not commit adultery." It doesn't matter what society thinks; morality is
not determined by a public opinion poll. God says that all sex perversion,
that is, all sex outside of marriage is a damning sin. We are engulfed in
our day not only by a decay in moral standards, but by a militant campaign
by educators, advertisers and entertainers to cheapen and vulgarize what God
has ordained to be beautiful and sacred. The Bible teaches that our bodies
belong to God and that we should glorify God with them. Furthermore, Jesus
said "I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her
hath committed adultery already in his heart." Matthew 5:28 Even temptation
to impurity is a horrid sin, if it is not rejected and confessed to God.
Jesus said that the desire of the heart is equal to the deed. Punishment for
transgression of this Commandment is the death penalty.
THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT is "Thou shalt
not steal." God's law forbids thievery, regardless of the circumstances
involved. It is always wrong to possess anything which has not come to you
as honest reward for labour or as a freely given gift from another. I
scarcely need to talk about house-breakers, shoplifters, bank robbers,
pickpockets and common garden-variety thieves. We all recognize such overt
theft to be sinful and wrong. But there are other ways of breaking the
eighth commandment than by overt theft. The man who gives 15 ounces for a
pound is a thief. The salesman who takes advantage of the ignorant in a
bargain is a thief. The financier who takes advantage of need to extort
extravagant interest rates is a thief. The employer who refuses to pay an
honest wage for an honest day's work is a thief. And the man who cheats on
the boss and gold-bricks on the job is a thief also.
And what about misrepresentation in
advertising? The honest man will tell the truth and not make unjust claims
just to make a sale. This, too, is theft. To delay payment of a debt when it
is due is robbery; you are getting use of your creditor's money unfairly.
Those who are careless in the matter of incurring debts beyond the
reasonable possibility of paying them. Is that not a form of robbery? And
what about living beyond one's income and then taking dishonest profit from
bankruptcy laws? And dare I mention evasion of government taxes as a form of
theft? Lazy dependance upon the good graces of charitable organizations
(when a bit of initiative and honest effort could change the picture) is, in
the sight of God, theft. Those who pad their expense accounts may fool the
top company brass, but God in heaven calls it ugly theft. The formation of
price-fixing monopolies is a sin against God and men; such combines become
organized robbers of society.
THE NINTH COMMANDMENT is "Thou shalt not
bear false witness against thy neighbour." To bear false witness
simply means to carry an untrue report, not to stick to the facts, to
perjure oneself, to lie, to misrepresent. It is a sin against God to tell
untruths about anyone and rob a man of the confidence of others and so of a
clean reputation. All my dealings and words should be based upon transparent
sincerity. I must never either help or harm any man by statements not
exactly in accordance with the facts. I have also no right to withhold facts
or to hide testimony with a view to change a decision. Whenever I speak, I
am to be exact and true. Slander is the invention of a lie to injure a
fellowman's good name. Talebearing is also an infraction of the ninth
commandment. To repeat a story without being certain of its truth is to harm
your neighbour. False witness may also be committed by silence. The failure
to speak up and correct a wrong story may imply agreement. The ninth
commandment is broken when I flatter. When I say what is exaggerated and
insincere and untrue because I want to please and perhaps gain in the end
myself. Flattery, which is so much a part of superficial society, is an
infraction of God's laws. Who amongst us can say that they have never
knowingly told an untruth, have never yielded to the cowardly temptation to
shade the truth, or have never spoken of a fellow man except in terms of
fact? The Bible warns that all liars will have their part in the Lake
THE TENTH COMMANDMENT is "Thou shalt not
covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor
his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything
that is thy neighbour's." This commandment is different from any of the
others. It deals with the inner life in contrast to external conduct. A man
may be guilty of breaking this commandment and no one around be aware of it,
for it is a sin of the thought life and the heart. We are not forbidden to
desire a wife or a house or an ox or a manservant. But we are forbidden to
desire the possessions of our neighbour which can not become ours legally.
This commandment is the last of the ten and it is the most searching of them
all. Men break this last commandment because they are guilty of breaking the
first commandment, which bids us to worship the Lord Jehovah and Him only,
and then the inevitable result is that men are tempted to break all the
other commandments. Covetousness is restless feverish discontent. It is a
burning craving for satisfaction. Because of an aching void within the
heart, men covet or desire power, riches, social amenities, popularity, and
so on and on. But this insatiable thirst is a result of being out of proper
relation with God. The restless searchings of the human soul are satisfied
when the God of Heaven has first place in the life AND THEN ONLY.
We read in Psalm 23 " The Lord is my
Shepherd, I shall not WANT." It is the failure to make the Lord your
Shepherd, to give God first place, to obey the first commandment, which
leads to an emptiness of soul and results in the coveting forbidden in the
tenth commandment. And in turn all the other commandments are broken in a
vain effort to quench the thirst of a soul out of touch with God, the true
and only source of satisfaction. Theft, murder, adultery, desecration of the
Sabbath, disrespect to parents, blasphemy, idolatry, false witness.....flow
out of the restless dissatisfied heart of the man who does not really know
God and so is deeply unhappy and empty.
Who of us can say we are not guilty of
breaking these Commandments? All of us have sinned, and just as with
civil law, you don't have to break ten laws to be a law-breaker, so the
Bible warns, "For whoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet stumble in one
point, he is guilty of all." Not only have we broken God's holy laws, but
our natures are defiled. "There is none that understandeth, there is none
that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way....; there is none
that doeth good, no, not one." Romans 3:10 "All we like sheep have gone
astray; we have turned every one to his own way." Isaiah 53:6 Do you pride
yourself that you have not committed any very big sins? God sees you as
guilty as a murderer if you have hatred in your heart. Oh, how guilty all of
us are in His sight!
My friend, let me talk to you about the
gospel, the good news, which is the power of God to save everyone who
believes it. The good news is that Jesus Christ came into the world to save
them that are lost. It is just because you and I did not and could not keep
the law of God, that Jesus Christ came into the world. How much we need the
washing of the Saviour's blood and the transformation of the New Birth.
Jesus said: "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
I invite you, right this moment, to trust in Christ for your salvation. Hide
in His atoning blood. Confess that you are a lost sinner. "If we say that
we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we
confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:8-9