Sermon Transcript: The Ten Commandments

1/23/2023 Jeff Schwarzentraub 46 min read

Pastor Jeff:

Father in heaven, we thank you so much for who you are. We thank you that when we pray that it's a gift, that you hear us and there's one mediator between God and man, and it is the man Jesus Christ. So Lord, hear our prayer this morning. Our prayer and our desire is that you would speak through your living and active Word because Lord, we believe that every time your Word is faithfully and accurately proclaimed, that you have a Word directly for us if we're willing to hear. And so today, Lord, we just pray that you would speak deeply to our hearts, you'd encourage us where we need encouragement, you'd admonish us where we need change, you'd challenge us, you'd comfort us, you'd do exactly what you want to do in our life for exactly where we are. And Lord, we love you, we bless your holy name and we thank you for who you are.

And so now for all those who have gathered who desire to hear the Word of the Lord, who will believe what He is saying directly to you, and who will, by faith, put into practice what He shows you, will you agree with me very loudly this morning by saying the word "Amen?" Amen. Today I want to talk to you about the 10 Commandments. When I say the word the 10 Commandments, everybody seems to have an opinion on what the 10 Commandments are, who the 10 Commandments are for, and what role they play in our lives.

For some people they'll say, "Well, the 10 Commandments were given to Israel," which is exactly true. So for me as a New Testament believer, it really doesn't make much a difference and I don't pay much attention to it. For some of us, when we hear the word the 10 Commandments, we think, well, I'm pretty much keeping them and that's what my mark is, and as long as I do a pretty good job on the 10 Commandments, then I'll be saved. So the 10 Commandments, some people think are for our salvation. Other people, when they hear the 10 Commandments, it makes them feel bad. It makes them feel like I can never keep up with that anyway and why would God be so demanding on my life if I can't do any of the things that the 10 Commandments are required for?

I want you to know that everything that God gives us in His Word is for our edification and for His glory, that if God puts something in His Word, there is application for us in some way, and today we're going to talk about the 10 Commandments. As I was studying this week, I remember I went to a Lutheran grade school where I had to memorize Luther's Small Catechism, and as I was going through this week, I was recalling all the things that I was trying to recite from memory as a kid just to get the grade, thinking, "Why didn't I pay more attention to that when I was a kid?" Right? But we're going to go through this today, and if you have a Bible, I want to encourage you, open your Bible to Exodus chapter 20. Open your Bible to Exodus chapter 20, and as you're turning there, I just want to remind you where we left off in Exodus chapter 19 last week, we really talked about how we approach the holiness of God, and we talked about the fact that God had done miraculous things in Egypt to deliver Israel, right?

He came, through His servant Moses, He delivered 10 plagues there, He delivered them and made them free. He got them to the sea, he parted the sea, He took them all through on dry ground, He crushed the Egyptian army. On the other side, when they were thirsty, He provided water, and when they were hungry, He provided manna, and when they complained that that wasn't enough, then He gave them quail as well. When it came time to battle, He was the one that helped them defeat the Amalekites. And so all of this journey, they're journeying to this mountain and for the first time, God's going to speak directly to them, not through Moses, but God speaking to the people. And He tells them they need to consecrate themselves and get ready because approaching God is not a cavalier method because God is so holy, He's unlike us.

So for three days they prepare what they're going to do to get ready to meet God. They're told not to cross a certain boundary line because if they do, they're going to get stoned or shot through with arrows. They're told, "Don't let the animals or kids come through. I'm holy, keep your distance from me." And so they all approach the Lord and that's where we left off last time. And before I get into the 10 Commandments, I think it's important for us to set just a little bit of framework and a little bit of ground rules for what we want to talk about. These 10 Commandments are also repeated in Deuteronomy 5:7-21. In scripture, when God repeats things, it signifies the importance. If it's only in the Word once, it's still important, but when God repeats it, it's extra important. And in Leviticus 19 and Exodus 34, there's really a partial renewal to this covenant for these 10 Commandments.

Now, people are correct when they say these were given to the nation of Israel, because they were. Israel, at that time, was God's covenant nation. Still is God's covenant nation. They are his covenant people. And God's design for Israel was that all the nations of the world will be blessed through Israel. So God is going to give them later commands that they're going to do, and if they do them, God's going to bless them, and if they don't do them, God's going to curse them. And here's why, because God wants Israel to be the focus of all the nations of the world so that when they're doing all the things right and they're being blessed, other nations can look on and say, "We better act like that because we want that kind of blessing." And when they're rebelling and doing all things wrong, that all the other nations would look at them and say, "Wow, whoever their God is is powerful. I don't want to act in the same way that they're acting." That's the purpose of the nation of Israel.

So people are correct when they say the 10 Commandments were given to Israel. However, some people would say, "Therefore, they have no bearing on us. It's just for Israel." But here's what you're going to see. Couple things you're going to see today. When you see the 10 Commandments and you understand the fullness of them, it's going to show you the holiness of God. It's going to show you His character in a way that you may have not seen God's character before. The second thing it's going to show you is your sinfulness. When you see the holiness of God and how great He is, your sinfulness becomes even greater and greater. So much so that the real purpose of the law is not just to show God's holiness and your sinfulness, but it's to alert something in your heart that says, "I need forgiveness. How do I get right with this God so that I can approach Him?" That is the purpose of the law. The law really becomes a huge arrow or a billboard pointing us to our need for forgiveness.

Now in the Old Testament, there's really three different kinds of laws, and you can read all sorts of theology books on this, and I mean, seminary libraries are filled with this stuff, so I'm going to go really, really quickly. But the law is really divided into three different categories. There's what's called the civil law, you'll hear some of those as we go through in the next couple weeks, and you can pray for your pastor that he knows how to teach all of these. But the civil laws, how we treat one another, all the different little distinctions with where Israel was to treat each other in a certain way, that's the civil law. Then there was the ceremonial law. That's all the religious way in which Israel themselves were supposed to worship.

And then there's the moral law, which we're going to see in the 10 Commandments. When Jesus Christ died on the cross and fulfilled the law, the civil law and the ceremonial law were fulfilled in Christ and no longer continued. However, I want to tell you this, the moral law of God never changes. His law is still true. His law is still binding. His law is still good. You say, "How do you know?" Well, let's look at the New Testament really quick. You can write these verses down because we're going to go through them rather quickly. But in Matthew 5:17, Jesus says, "Do not think I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I did not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them." In other words, Jesus says the law's not going anywhere. He says, "Not one jot or tittle is going to go away from this law. The law's eternal. I wrote the law, nothing's changing. I didn't come to take it away. And blessed is the one who keeps it and woe to the one who tries to change it or cause other people to not obey it."

So Jesus said, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the eternal Son of God, He says, "The law's not getting abolished." But who's the law for? 1 Timothy 1:8 and following says this, "But we know that the law is good." So the law is good. "The law is good if one uses it lawfully," realizing the fact that the law is not made for a righteous person. "The law is not made for righteous people. It's not. But for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men, and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers and whoever else is contrary to sound teaching according to the glorious Gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted."

Who's the law for? Sinners. Sinners. Sinners need to see the holiness of God and that He is holy. Sinners need to see that they're sinners. Sinners can't even know that they're sinners if there is no law. How would I know what I've done wrong if there is no law? If you got pulled over from a police officer and they handed you a ticket and you said, "What am I getting this for?" And they said, "Well, you should just know better," it would frustrate you, right? They need to define what you did wrong. They need to tell you, "This is the law. You know the law. You took the test. Now you broke this law." The 10 Commandments give us that law. So who's the law for? The law breakers. Now, this is kind of fun. When you share the gospel with people, many times people will say this: "How do you know you're going to heaven?" Here's what they'll tell you: "Because I try to keep the 10 Commandments and I'm a pretty good person."

Ask them this question: "Can you tell me the 10 Commandments?" Most people don't even know what they are, and if they do know, they would never say what they said, right? So these commandments are important because what the commandments do is they show us this God that you say you know, you can't approach Him in your current state. And that's a good thing because once people recognize their own sinful condition, and once people recognize that they're broken, and once people recognize they can't get to God, that awakens their heart to say, "Well then what must I do?" So without the law, you can't convict people of their sin. So often in our gospel presentations, we tell people, "God is good. You've done some wrong things, but don't worry, Jesus died for you." Well, everybody would agree to that. I've done some wrong things, good that Jesus died for me. What do I got to do?" Well, just pray this prayer right here and then keep living your life.

Friends, that's not the gospel. The gospel is that God is holy and He's righteous and He's good, and He's going to hold you accountable for everything that we're about ready to read in the 10 Commandments. This is what you're going to get judged for on Judgment Day. This is why it's really important that you understand this because if you do, that's what will break you and show you a need for forgiveness. Romans 3:19 says it this way: "Now we know whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law so that every mouth may be closed and the world may become accountable to God." What does the law do? It shuts the mouth of sinners. You stop making excuses. When you realize this is God's standard for how he's going to judge you on Judgment Day, it's like, shhh. Well, I think I'm a pretty good person. The law says, shhh, you're not as good as you think you are.

Right, that's what the law does. The law highlights the fact God's holy and you're nothing like Him, right? And it opens your heart to a need from what must I do? Galatians 3:24 says it this way: "Therefore, the law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ so that we may be justified by faith." So one of the purposes of the law, when we see God's holiness and we see our sinfulness and we don't know what to do, the law points us in the direction of what you need. The illustration would be the difference between a mirror and soap. You can look in a mirror and you can see when your face is dirty or what needs to get changed. That's what the law does, but it can't clean you. If you have a dirty face or you need to wash your face, you don't take the mirror off the wall and start scraping your face. The law can't clean you. The law just shows you, "Hey, you're dirty. What you need is soap."

Biblically, you don't need soap, you need blood. And in the Old Covenant, God's going to establish a system of sacrifice so that Israel can be covered from their sin for a period of time until the Messiah comes when He dies on the cross for all the sins of the world by fulfilling the law and then be cleansed from it from the inside out forever and ever. And I don't know how many gallons of blood or oceans of blood were spilled by all those animals, but when Jesus died once and for all, He paid the penalty, so anyone who recognizes their sinfulness and turns from their sin and trusts Christ is completely cleansed, which means they're able to stand before that Holy God, not because of anything good that they have done, but because of God's goodness to them through the sacrifice of His son.

This is what the Bible teaches. That's why Romans 10:4 says, "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." So some people say, "See, I trusted Christ, so the law has no purpose in my life. It's the end of the law." That's not what it means. The end means the completion, the fulfillment of. When Jesus Christ died on the cross and fulfilled the law and rose from the dead, when you trust Christ, He's the fulfillment of everything that the law required inside of you. And now that you're completely redeemed, you don't need to walk around and wonder, "Am I good enough? Am I doing everything right? Is God mad at me anymore?" I'm totally washed and cleansed by His blood. I'm totally His. I belong to Him and therefore I'm going to allow Him through His spirit to do everything in me that he ever wants to do. That's what the Bible teaches.

So that's the framework of the law. So when we look at this Old Testament passage, this is not a throwaway. This is not, "Well, those poor Jews, look what they have to put up with." This is God's moral law. This is the God you will stand before someday. This is who He is. So one time Jesus was asked, "Well, what's the greatest commandment?" We're going to look at 10. You know what He said? Matthew 22:37 and following, He said, "You should love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength". Love God first. These first four of the 10 commandments is all about loving God. So if you say, "I love God," because we put this on bumper stickers, "Love God, love people." It's correct. But here's how you're going to know do you really love God.

And the second commandment is "You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On this all the law and the prophets hang." Jesus was summarizing what we're about ready to look at. So in the New Testament, Jesus is still referring back to this law. He says, "It's not going to change. It's not going away. You can't wish it away. You can't hope it away. You, every other breathing soul, every person you know will be held accountable to this law that I'm about ready to read." So let me ask you a question before we get started. This is rhetorical. How many of you think you keep all the 10 commandments? Or out of the 10, how many do you think you keep? Just get your number in your head and then we'll go through these, okay?

So let's be in Exodus 20. There's going to be three things that God clearly communicates in this text, and the first is this: God clearly communicates his moral requirements for all people. Communicates his moral requirements for all people. Notice verse 20, everybody's standing there trembling. There's a mountain, there's lightning, there's thunder, there's all these things. It says, "And then God spoke these words saying, 'I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery'." How does God introduce Himself to Israel? "You've seen all the good that I've done? I'm the one that did it. You see all the plagues? I performed those. You see the Red Sea part? I did that. You see the crushing of Egypt? That was me. When you complained about water, I'm the one that provided it. I'm the one that gave you manna. I'm the one that gave you meat. Remember when you were scared to death to go to battle with the Amalekites? I'm the one that gave you victory." Now everybody's standing before Him, He's like, "I'm the one that did it all."

Friends, every good and perfect gift comes from God. What does God want? He wants recognition for who He is first and foremost. He wants us to realize that every good thing that's ever happened in our life, that's Him doing it. If there's ever been even been an ounce of good in your life, even if you say I've had a horrible life, it's been really tough, even if there's glimpses of goodness, that was God in your life doing that. So that's how He starts, and now He's going to get into the 10 Commandments.

So let's walk through each of these, one through 10. First is this: "You shall have no other gods before me. You shall have no other gods before me." He's saying this: there are no other gods and I want to have all of your allegiance all of the time. Don't place anything before me because there are no other gods. I'll show you how God repeats all of these in the New Testament. Every one of these 10 except for one of them is repeated in the New Testament. We'll talk about that, but you can write these verses down. 1 Corinthians 8:6 says it like this: "Yet for us there is but one God, the Father from whom are all things and we exist for Him, and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things and we exist through Him."

Friends, there's one God. We live in a pluralistic society where people say, "Well, you're a Christian, you believe in the Christian God, but what about that Hindu that believes in the Hindu God? And what about the Buddhist that believes in the Buddhist God? And what about the Muslim that believes in the Muslim God?" To which God would say, "There are no other gods but me. Everybody, regardless of your religious background, geography or gender appear before me and I am the God of the universe. I am." That's what he says. So don't put anything else in front of me. Me first all the time.

 So if you've obeyed that commandment perfectly from the time that you were born, it means this. It means that there's never been a moment where God has not been first place in your life ever. It means from the time that you took your first breath, your thoughts were on Him, your priority was on Him, your focus was on Him. You wanted to give allegiance to Him, you never got distracted from Him, you were giving glory to Him, you were honoring Him. When good things happened, you thanked Him. When bad things happened, you sought Him. He's always been first and foremost all the time. If He hasn't, you broke that commandment.

1 Timothy 2:5 says, "There's one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ." Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." There's an exclusivity to the God of the Bible who says, "I want your full allegiance and here's how often I want it, all the time." Now, here's why he says that. Said, "Man, God sounds like a megalomaniac." He is because He's perfect. There's nothing greater than Him. Nothing in His creation is greater than Him. Even when we look to the mountains or the oceans or all these things that He created, they are reflections of who He is but God, in and of Himself, is perfect and worthy to be sought because that's where He gets the most glory, and that's where we get the most enjoyment. So don't have any other gods, just make sure He's your God. Don't make yourself your own God. We live in a world today in the New Age Movement where you get to be your own God and you get to choose and you get to... That's breaking the first commandment. How we doing so far? Okay, just making sure we're all keeping all the commandments.

Number two goes like it. It says, "You shall not make for yourselves an idol or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing loving kindness or steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments." The New Testament equivalent will be 1 John 5:21, "Little children, keep yourself from idols." What's an idol? An idol is some image or some thing that we've created that we worship rather than God. Now, in the Old Testament, there was the Ark of the Covenant, right, and on the Ark of the Covenant where there was the cherubim and all of that, and you say, "Well, they had articles." They never worshiped that. God never said, "Bow down to the Ark of the Covenant." God says, "I want you to bow down to me."

And friends, we have all sorts of superstitions, little idols, little trinkets in our house, things we bury over here to think that that'll make our house sell or superstitions that we do this way or that way or little things, and you say, "Yeah, but we don't really have idols." I mean, fast forward in just a few chapters, you're going to see the same nation that was given the same request. What do they do? When Moses is waiting awhile to come down the mountain, they gather all their jewelry and gold and they make a calf after this event and they worship the calf and have an orgy, and you say, "We would never do that." Well, you might not make a calf, but what else in your life would be an idol? I've watched people bow before their automobiles, I've watched people bow before their houses, I've watched people bow before their bankbooks, their checking accounts, their retirement funds, right, their families. Not literally bow, but in their heart they're like, "This is really important to me. As long as God doesn't mess with this, I'll worship Him."

That's an idol, right? An idol is when I put my attention on something other than the living God. Think about this. Some of us idolize people or our hobbies or we idolize food, eating too much or eating too little. Some of us idolize health and some of us idolize our bodies because we got to look a certain way, or we idolize fashion. I mean, there's any number of idols that creep in so you can't look at Israel and say, "Well, I'd never make a calf." I know you wouldn't. I don't think you would, but there's all sorts of other idols that creep in. Anything that takes attention away from God where your heart, mind and soul start giving allegiance to something other than Jesus is called idolatry. Your career can be an idol. Your marriage can be an idol. Your kids can be an idol. Good things can be an idol, right? So how are we doing on commandment number two? Everybody been perfect all the time? Nobody's ever had an idol? I mean, are you getting the picture that we broke all 10 and we're only through two?

I mean, God's holy. He's not like us. He's like, "I want to be worshiped and oh, by the way, don't create anything that takes attention off of me and don't focus on anything that takes attention off of me. I want your full allegiance. That's what I want." Isaiah 42:8 says, "I am the Lord. That is my name. I will not share my glory with another or give my praise to idols. I want your whole heart, I want your full allegiance, and I want it 100% of the time." And here's what he says: "When you don't, what does it mean that he's going to... I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God." I've heard secular people say, "Well, that's why I would never serve the Christian God. He's jealous. Jealousy's a sin." This word jealousy is I'm jealous for your attention.

It's like a husband for his wife or a wife for her husband. It's a good jealousy. It's like, I want your attention. I don't want your attention to go anywhere else. I want it on me. I want that. It's like my wife when we're out on a date and I have my phone, she's jealous. "Put your phone down. I want you," right? That's what God's saying. "I'm jealous. I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers and the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me." What does that mean? God's clear that each generation is responsible for their own sin, but here's what happens. If you live an idolatrous life, you start passing that on to generations.

Your kids will live an idolatrous life. They'll see it was good for mom and dad, it's good for me. I'll pick my own idols, "but showing steadfast love, loving kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments." That's why we have such a responsibility as parents to put Jesus Christ first, to not live out idolatry in our lives, individuals. That's what we need to do. "So you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make yourselves an idol."

Number three, how about this one? "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes his name in vain." So there's punishment if you take the name of the Lord your God in vain. Let me give you the New Testament equivalent and then we'll talk about it. 1 Timothy 6:1 says it like this. 1 Timothy 6:1 says, "All those who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against."

Now, we talk about taking the name of the Lord your God in vain, most people think swearing. And the Bible makes clear don't swear either by heaven or earth. Don't take the name of the Lord your God in vain. Now today, if you're a football fan, you'll know there's two playoff games on. Many times when I'm watching a game, I can lipread coaches and players. I've seen a lot of games in my life. Sometimes I've seen the name God, many times. Other times the name Jesus. But can I tell you what name you won't lipread today? Somebody won't make a bad play, a fumble, an interception or call something bad, you won't see anybody mouth Buddha or Confucius or any other made up God. Nobody's going to say Allah. It's not going to happen. Why is it that the devil always tempts us to take God's name in vain, Jesus' name in vain?

Taking a name in vain means to use it in an empty and unsatisfying way. It means that his reputation is being maligned by the way you speak. But this commandment goes even further than that. Taking the name of the Lord your God in vain means that you're living your life in such a way that you call yourself a Christian, but your life doesn't reflect it, so when other people see you, it doesn't reflect the glory of Christ. It means this. You ever seen this in the office or on a football team or on a drama club or something, somebody's lazy, they don't do what they're supposed to do, they're just really not great at their trade, but then they're always trying to invite people to Bible study? Or they're saying you cheat at work or you steal or you lie or you tell dirty jokes, and you're like, "Hey, you should go to Brave Church with me this weekend." That's taking the name of the Lord in vain. That's showing that his reputation is being maligned because you're not living out the requirements of what God has for your life.

Anybody here guilty of that ever? We all have been, right? There's all sorts of times in our life where we haven't reflected the goodness and the glory of God in our life and our lifestyle takes the name of the Lord in vain. We use it in an empty way. We don't honor his reputation. That's commandment three. Do you see what he's trying to say? "I'm God, worship me. Don't put anything in my way. Don't talk about me in a vain way. Don't live in a vain way." Right? I mean, Colossians 3 says, "Whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, do it all for his reputation."

Everything you do should be for God. You choose to go on vacation, go on vacation to the glory of God. You choose to go to restaurant, go to the restaurant for the glory of God. Friends you choose to hang out with, hang out with them to the glory of God. In everything you do, do it for God's glory or you're breaking this commandment, he says. Laziness breaks this commandment. I'm not doing that, I don't want to honor... You're breaking the commandment. You're not showing honor to the Lord and being your best for Him.

All right, number four. Here's what he says. He says, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." That's the commandment. Now he's going to explain it. He says, "Six days you shall labor and do your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord, and in it, you shall not do any work, you, your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you." Why? "For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them and rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath and made it holy."

So let me just make a couple remarks here and then we'll talk about how this works for us. So God is telling them for six days work really, really hard, but on the seventh day, take a day of rest. Day of rest does not mean just go sleep. Day of rest means refreshing yourself in the fact that I'm your God. Psalm 46:10 says, "Cease striving and know that I'm God." He tells the Jews, "Take one day a week that you're going to take, a complete 24-hour period, to give me all the glory." If you go to Israel today, you will know from sundown on Friday till sundown on Saturday is Shabbat or the Sabbath. It all shuts down to honor this commandment. The Jews have been doing it for thousands of years. Now here's the interesting part. Why? Because of the creation story. And can I just say this because most pastors won't. I believe every single word of the Bible from Genesis 1:1 all the way through Revelation 22:21. Even the things I don't understand, I believe God's true and I'm still learning about it.

When God said he created the world, he created it in six literal days and rested on the seventh. That's what he did. Now we have all sorts of theologies and books and wasted ink talking about, "Well, how do we know? Is it millions of years? Is it just a period of time?" Well, we know because His Word says in Exodus 20:11. In case we were wondering how long a day was, God tells us, "For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth." I mean, what more do you need? "And the sea and all that is in them, and he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the seventh day and made it holy." Now, think about this. There was not one Israelite that was saying, "Now what day does God want us to keep? Is he asking us to keep this for a million years? Is he asking us to do this every week?" They knew it was a day because a day is a day. So what the Word says is true, it completely aligns.

I just need to say that because of all the heresy that's being taught in Genesis 1, and if you don't believe the first chapter in the Bible, why would you believe anything else, right? I'm just telling you. So remember the Sabbath day, so they're setting aside a day and that's when they do it. Now you say, "Is that binding on us as believers? Why are we worshiping on Sunday?" Here's why. Because after Jesus died and rose from the dead, the early church began to meet on Sundays, and this was really more of a civil law, but the principle remains the same. But God tells us that we can worship on whatever days we want to worship on. Listen to this, in Romans 14:5, he says, "One person regards one day above another. Another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind." Can we worship on Sunday mornings? Can we set aside Sunday as our day? Yeah. Can we set aside Saturday as our day? Yes. What about Tuesday? Sure.

Here's the principle that's involved. The principle for the Sabbath is this, that you would take some 24-hour period a week and just say, "If God can create the whole world in six literal days and God's the one working through me, I can take a day off and I can rest and refresh in Him." And all of you know that are in the business world, you know what it's like when you've had a season where day after day, it's just going. Two weeks, three weeks, I haven't had a break, I haven't seen my family, I haven't done anything. And you know how stressed out you get and you know how short you get and you know how your decision-making's poor? Why? Because you're breaking this commandment where God says, "Rest in me. Take a full day and just reflect on how good I am in your life."

Now, if you're sitting here saying, "No way I could do that," you're too busy. If you can't take one day a week to honor the Lord your God and rest with your family and enjoy Jesus and thank Him for all the blessings that you have, I'm telling you, you're too doggone busy, right? That's how the principle applies in the New Testament. And what we learn in the New Testament is that Jesus is our Sabbath rest, so when we're in Christ, we're ongoing experiencing His rest in and through us so that it's not burdensome, that we can enjoy Him. God wants you to enjoy Him. These first four commandments are all how do you honor God and how do you enjoy Him? No other gods, no idols, not taking His name in vain and remembering Him once a week. Honor Him. That's what it means to love the Lord your God.

Now, we've only been through four and we've broken every single one. So when people say, "I love God," well, just walk them through this. How much do you really love Him, right? That's what he's saying. Cease striving and know that He's God. Now we begin to go in commandment number five, and now these next six are really going to highlight our relationships with one another because if God wants us to honor Him, He's the one that created people and so there's a way in which we do this and these move a little bit quicker. Number 12, children pay attention. "Honor your father and mother." That's the commandment. If you say that you love God and you don't honor your mom and dad, you do not love God. That's all it means, "that your days may be prolonged in the land, which the Lord your God gives you."

If you're a child and you say, "I don't like my parents' rules, I think they're stupid," every kid said that. Your parents said that when they were your age too, but you're not being obedient to what your parents are saying for the purpose of your parents being perfect. You're being obedient to what your parents are saying because you're saying to God, "God, you gave me these parents. I will submit to what they want me to do because I want to show you that I have respect for authority and I want your favor and your blessing on my life," right? And this is not just an Old Testament teaching. This is a New Testament teaching as well. In Ephesians 6 when Paul begins to address the family, he goes right back to this commandment. In Ephesians 6:1 he says, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment, with a promise so that it may go well with you and you will live long on the earth."

If you can learn to respect authority when you're young, even when it doesn't go your way, God can bless that. We live in a culture where there's a lack of respect for authority and that dishonors God. We think respect for authority means if it's going to go my way and if I'm going to enjoy it, then I'll be obedient. Respect for authority means I will respect authority because God put authority in my life for my good, so even when I don't like it, I'm still going to be respectful to the authority that's there. And friends, we live in a whole culture where there's zero respect for authority. And why? Because it starts in the home. Parents, your job is to set the boundaries for what your child needs to do. Not burdensome, not causing them to be angry, but doing it in such a way where you're setting a foundation for them to respect and honor the Lord.

Why? Because someday that child of yours that's rebellious, that can't pay attention to you, is going to appear before that holy God. And God entrusted you for the responsibility early on to teach him what authority looks like. Now you say, "Well, thank goodness I'm out of the house. Glad I didn't hear this when I was a kid." I got news for you, too. Honoring your father and mother doesn't end when you leave your house. Honoring your father and mother goes until your mother and dad go into the grave. There was a time Jesus had a conversation with one of the Pharisees and they were telling them, "Hey, whatever we would've given to our parents to help them out because they're struggling, we're giving to God." And Jesus says, "Well, when you do that, you're breaking the commandment. Why not take care of your parents? Why not honor them? They took care of you."

Don't make your parents struggle and be all pious and be like, "Well, we're super religious, so we're just going to give to the church. We're just going to give to the synagogue." No, you take care of your mom and dad. For some of you, your parents have things set up where they can take care of themselves, but you're still responsible making sure that your parents get taken care of. That's part of what it means to honor the Lord, right? How we doing so far? Anybody here been perfect in that from the time they took their first breath? My parents aren't here, but they can tell you that's not true for me, right? There's respect for authority and this is God's moral code.

Okay, number six and seven, we'll group these together because Jesus talks about both of them together in the Sermon on the Mount, but let's talk about this now. Number six, "You shall not murder." Literally reads, "Never murder. Never murder." The New Testament verse that I would take you to, although there's several, would be Romans 13:9. In Romans 13:9, it says this. It says, "For this, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself." So murder is repeated. "Never murder." Now, keep in mind, Israel was given permission for the death penalty. God established that. Israel was given permission to go to war. Murder is the idea of taking someone's life in a way that's not honoring, taking someone's life for your selfish gain. You get to choose when that life ends. That's murder.

So let me just go on the record and say, because you need to hear this. When people terminate a baby before it's born, it's murder. When politicians vote for policies that end a baby's life in utero, they are ascribing to being murderers. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, before you clap. If you vote for the people that write policies to murder, you're responsible too. And if you sit back and do nothing but just say, "Oh, it's too bad our nation's going that way," you're also responsible, right? That's murder, right? That's what it means.

Now, some of you would say, "Well, I'm not a murderer. I mean, I've never really murdered anybody." Unfortunately for you, Jesus came to earth and expounded on the law, and Jesus said this in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:21. He goes, "You've heard the ancients were told, 'You shall not commit murder and whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother, she'll be guilty before the court. And whoever says to his brother, 'You good for nothing,' she'll be guilty before the Supreme Court. And whoever says, 'You fool,' she'll be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell." So if you ever said those words to somebody, like, "You're stupid. What an idiot," you're a murderer. If you have siblings, you broke this commandment. Right? That's what he's saying. If you've driven on I25, you've broken this commandment.

Because Jesus is not only talking about physically doing the act. He's saying you just think it, you just have the idea of it, that's wrong, right? I mean, that's the spirit of the law. Why? Because God created the person that you're talking about. God created the person that you're talking down to. All of us are murderers. Not according to our world standards, but according to the holiness of God, that's how he would see us. He would see you as a murderer, which goes into number seven. "Do not commit adultery. Do not commit adultery." The New Testament equivalent will be found in 1 Corinthians 6 and as I'm turning there, you have to understand that God is the one who created our gender, and just to be clear, he created two, male and female and there are no other genders. And God established that gender so that a man and a woman could get married and stay together till death do they part.

That's God's plan, that's His purpose, and only in that container of marriage is sexual fulfillment allowed. That's it. Anything that falls shy of that is sin. And we can make a list a mile long. I feel like we're getting new ways to introduce all different kinds of sin in our culture today. But here's what he says in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. He says this. Chapter 6:9-10, here's what he says: "Or do you not know? The unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor effeminate nor homosexuals nor thieves nor the covetous nor drunkards nor revilers nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God. Such were some of you." All of us were some of that at some point in time.

You don't enter the Kingdom of Heaven by living unrighteously. It doesn't work. I've heard people say, "Well, I'm a homosexual and I'm a Christian." You're not. Now, you can be a repentant homosexual who is a Christian, but you cannot be a practicing homosexual who's a Christian. But pick any other name down there. I mean, you can't be, "Well, I'm covetous and I'm a Christian," or "I'm a drunkard and I'm a Christian." No, you're not. You can be a repentant, greedy person or you can be a repentant person who once was a drunkard, but you can't continue to live your self lifestyle thinking you're going to go to heaven. It doesn't work. Now, those aren't my words. Those are God's words. You can take it up with Him when you get there. I'm just trying to be faithful and tell you what He said.

But some of you would say, "Well, thank goodness I'm not even married, so I haven't broke this commandment." Well, I got news for you. Jesus also said in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:27, "You've heard that it was said you shall not commit adultery but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery in his heart." So here's what he says. Man, if you've hit puberty, you broke this commitment. Anytime you've looked at someone that's not your spouse and thought, I wonder what that's like, I wonder what it would be like to be with her, I wonder what it would be like. I mean, any imagining thing that's not your spouse, you broke this commandment. True of men and true of women.

Women, it means if you have this insatiable desire that I just want to be emotionally connected on Facebook and I want to be one with this person, you broke this commandment. Anytime you have lust in your heart for something that is not your spouse in an intimate, sexual, physical way, even if you don't act on it, you've broken the commandment. Friends, our culture breaks this commandment all day long, every single day. Think about this. Some of the commercials that come on, even when you're watching good wholesome shows, which is why I got rid of TV in my house, even the commercials that come on, if you were to ask yourself the question, if what I'm seeing 10 feet away from me was taking place in my family room, would I allow it?

Because your answer would be like, heck no. But they're pumping your head with all sorts of garbage. Sexual immorality, our whole culture's filled with it, right? Because anything that doesn't keep the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman till death to you part is an abomination of what God states and you're accountable for it. You look at porn, you're accountable for it. So, that's commandment six and seven, Jesus expounded on it. He said, "I'm the one that wrote the law so let me tell you what I meant when I wrote it the first time."

How about this, commandment number eight. We doing okay, by the way? For all the people you're going to witness to and say, "I keep the 10 commandments," you got some ammo now? Number eight, "You shall not steal. You shall not steal." Ephesians 4:28 tells us, the New Testament equivalent to what this looks like, Ephesians 4:28 says this: "He who steals must steal no longer, but rather he must labor." It means work, get a job, "performing with his own hands what is good so that he will have something to share with someone in need. Don't steal." Stealing means, at its base level, taking something that doesn't belong to you without permission. So when we think stealing, we think taking something from somebody else. Stealing could also be I don't want to get a job, I want to live in my parents' home till I'm 40. I'm stealing. I'm having them provide for me rather than doing what I can do and provide and be generous for other people. That's stealing. Stealing is taking anything from someone else, benefiting from someone else in a way where you haven't been given permission.

Now if somebody tells you, "I want this for you. This is great for you," that's a gift. Take it. It's when you take from others what doesn't rightly belong to you without permission. And we don't need to belabor the point because we've all done it at some point in our lives. We steal. Some of you do it at work. You bring home books, papers, pens, all sorts of things that don't belong to you, but it's not that big of a deal. It's just a few little things. Some of you steal by just doing any number of things. 1 Timothy 6:6 says this, that "Godliness with contentment is great gain." If you know that the Lord is your provider, you don't have to steal because you can be content with everything you have, and what you don't have, you can ask for, and God who is rich in mercy will supply all of your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus, right? Steal. God doesn't want you to steal. Don't take. Be generous in every single way.

Number nine, he begins to spell out something that if you're on social media, you've broken this, "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." Now, think about this. When it comes to the end, we think about all the people that God is going to sentence to hell. In Revelation 21:8, it says this: here's who's going to hell. "But the cowardly," think about that, cowardly. Don't you love that our church is named Brave? "But the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters." Oh yeah, they deserve it, and listen to what he says next. "And all liars." You lie? Sets you up for hell. Their part will be in the lake of fire that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death, right?

There's all sorts of New Testament teaching about how we're not to malign other people's character or speak badly about them or talk about other people when they're not there. And the reason that we bear false witness against people is if we can make people feel bad about somebody else, we think it elevates us and it doesn't. It angers the Lord. Now, there's nothing wrong with telling the truth. You can tell the truth. Journalists could if they wanted to tell the truth. But oftentimes in talking about another person, it's not the truth that wants to be told, it's about maligning somebody's character or lying about them or speaking poorly of them. And even if somebody has done something wrong, we're called to show mercy to people. Be merciful.

If you watch the news, it won't take you about five or 10 seconds to watch somebody malign somebody else. Regardless of what station you watch, somebody's going back and forth all the time. That's breaking that commandment. We're not called to do that because everybody was created in the image of God and we're to speak highly of all people, even when, and especially when, we disagree with him. Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you. It's hard to do that if you're like, "You're a total jerk and I hate everything about you, but I'll pray for you." I mean, pray for them. I mean, if you genuinely want to see God move in their life, then you genuinely pray for them and you begin to ask God questions like this." Lord, give me a heart for this person who's clearly living in rebellion towards you. I don't like their behaviors, but I know you love them. Show me what it looks like to show your love to this person." That's how you keep that commandment. Make sense?

And then number 10, which is comprehensive for every human being, says this: "You shall not covet." That's the 10th commandment. He's going to spell it out a bit. He goes, "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to his neighbor. All the people..." Oh, we'll get to that. Don't covet anything. Coveting means this: greed. Greed. Some of you that are my age may remember the movie Wall Street years ago with Gordon Gekko. What'd he say? "Greed? Greed is good." Right? Not according to the Word of God. If you have contentment in your heart, you won't want what everybody else has. We live in a culture where we want what everybody else has. We always feel that we're impoverished.

Man, if I had a house like that, if I had a car like that, if I had a spouse like that, if I had kids like that, if I had a bank book like that, if I could travel like that, if I could go to games like that, if I could live like that, if I could roll like that, if I could have a car like that, that's coveting. The opposite of that is, "God, I praise you that they have that. I'm honored that they have that. Lord, you really blessed them. That's really cool. I'm content in what I have." That's the opposite of coveting. And we can covet anything. Paul says, speaking of the law in Romans 7, he said, "I wouldn't even know what coveting was until the law said don't covet, and once it said, 'Don't covet,' I wanted to do everything covetous." I mean, the law has a way of making us want what we don't have.

I mean, if you walked in here this morning, there was a black tarp all the way around this stage and in big red letters, it said, "Whatever you do, don't look in this hole," and there was a big red arrow pointed down right here to a hole this big, what would you do? I know some of you'd sprint to the hole, and all the pious ones of you, you religious people, you'd wait till they looked and then you'd ask them, "What's back there?" That's sin, right? That's what the law does. It shows us that we're sinful, that we can't keep the law, right? That's what God shows us in the law. He's showing us that we can't keep these. I'm owed for 10 on these, and so are you. You know that. When I hear somebody say, "I just try to keep the commandments," I'm like, "That's a bad choice." Because what you see here is God showing his holiness and showing sinfulness so that the people will respond saying, "What shall we do?"

And think of this, we've gone through all 10. Rather quickly, but we've broken them all and God wants us to know that we've broken them all so we'll know what to do next. Because God not only clearly communicates his moral requirements, He clarifies the fact and He communicates His power and His authoritative nature. He clearly communicates His powerful and authoritative nature. Let's keep reading. He says in verse 18, "All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, and when the people saw it, guess what they did? They trembled and stood at a distance." If you really understand God's holiness and your sinfulness, there's going to be a part of you that's like, "Get away. I'm unworthy." Peter told Jesus, "Get away from me. I'm unworthy of you. I see who you are and I know who I am and I don't deserve to be any part of it."

So then they said to Moses, "You speak to us yourself and we'll listen, but let not God speak to us or we'll die." We talk about, "I want to hear a word from God, I want to get close to God." This is the God that you're trying to get close to. It's His mercy that comes from His holiness, right? They were saying, "Moses, you be our intermediary. We're cool. We'll just kind of hang out at the base. Go talk to Him. Tell us what we need to hear, but this is too loud for us." By the way, I mean, you think flashes of lightning, peels of thunder, dark cloud, it's ominous, it's all these things, when we get to heaven, it's going to be loud, just so you know. If you don't like loud sounds, you may not like heaven because it's going to be loud, because every time God speaks in the Bible, where He comes forth, where humans can hear Him, it terrifies people.

Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid for God has come in order to test you and in order that you would fear Him and He remain with you so that you may not sin." Why did God give him 10 commandments? He gave him 10 Commandments to test him to say, "I want you to know you're sinful and I want you to fear me because if you know who I am, it's the fear of the Lord that leads to wisdom. It's the fear of the Lord that keeps you from sinning." Right? We have a way in our human sinful nature to kind of wander off by ourself and do our own sinning. If you have a picture of God's holiness in your mind, it changes your choices. If you know you're answering to that God, your behavior will change too. God said, "I came to show you who I am so that you would have a knowledge and understanding of me so that when you're making your choices, you would realize that the choices you're making, nobody else may see, but I see and I'm holding you accountable to all of them." Right?

Teenagers, you can get away with things, you can say stuff like this: "My parents will never know about it. They'll never know." Here's what the Bible says. You can be sure your sin will find you out, and even if your parents never know, God does, and that's the God you're going to answer to. It's not worth it. He said, "Don't take shortcuts. That's why I came." That's why God was showing them that He's not just some benevolent grandpa sitting on a throne like, "Hey, whatever you do, it's no big deal." He was showing them His holiness. So the people stood at a distance while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was. The people stayed back and Moses was like, "I'll go talk to Him." The more righteous you are, the more you want to approach God. The less righteous you are, the more you're going to want to distance yourself.

God's showing you He's powerful and He's authoritative, and when you meet Him, it'll be terrifying, especially if you don't know Him. He's going to hold you accountable to that. Notice verse 22, God not only clearly communicates His moral requirements that He's powerful and authoritative, but He clearly communicates His way for sinful people to approach Him because if you're sitting here during this service thinking "What do I do?" I'm glad you ask because God's going to use a big arrow to point them towards the sacrificial system that's going to cover their sin for a period of time where gallons if not oceans of blood are going to be spilled so that Israel can be covered until the one and only Jesus Christ can come once and for all and pay the penalty for all mankind.

Notice what He says. The Lord said to Moses, "Thus, you shall say to the sons of Israel, you yourselves have seen that I've spoken to you from heaven. You shall not make other gods besides me. Gods of silver or gods of gold you shall not make for yourself." Again, he's repeating Himself. "You shall make an altar of earth for me and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I cause my name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you." What's He saying? Here's how you're going to have relationship with me, through the blood. Through the blood. Build an altar and make a sacrifice through the blood. Your sin is going to cost something its blood. That's what He was saying. He says, "If you make an altar of stone for me, you shall not build it out of cut stones for if you wield your tool on it, you will profane it and you shall not go up by steps to my altar so that your nakedness will not be exposed on it."

What's He saying? He goes, "Just make the altar out of simple things. It's not about your fancy altar. It's not about your fancy dress. It's not that you're walking up and showing that you're holy. It's humble. Just make the cotton-picking altar and put your sacrifice on it. It's about the blood that satisfies me. When you know your sin, it's the blood that covers." Now fast forward because when Jesus came, He became our sacrifice for our sin. This is love, not that we love God, but that He loved us and sent His son as a propitiation for our sin. If you're hearing your sin today and saying, "I'll never stand up to that God. That law shuts my mouth. I'm without excuse." That's the law's purpose, so what do I do? I'm here to tell you, Jesus Christ fulfilled all of the law and died on the cross for all of your sin and rose from the dead for it all, so that if you're willing to turn from your sin and turn to Christ, He will forgive you completely now and forever. Amen?

Which means if He's in you, you have rights standing before God, not because you keep this perfect for the rest of your life, but because Christ is the fulfillment of the law and He's in you, and so you're going to grow progressively, but even as you stumble, you know you're already cleansed. You already belong to Him. You don't have to worry, "Did I keep it right? Did I do it right?" I have Christ. He already did it right and now He's trying to live out that law through me so that I'll love God more and I'll love people better. That's the fulfillment of Christ in us. That's why the moral law is good.

Now, here's why this is important. I used to watch plays and hear stories in churches about where there's weeping and gnashing of teeth, and the way it would be described to me is that people that go to hell when they stand before God are going to cry and they're going to look at you as their friend and say, "Why didn't you tell me about Jesus? Come on, why didn't you tell me?" And they're going to go to Hell, and they're like, "I didn't want to go to hell, but I got to go to Hell, and now I'm so upset and I'm crying and it's your fault. You didn't share Christ with me." That's not the picture I get after reading the Bible for 30 plus years.

The picture I get from the Bible is that weeping and gnashing of teeth is anger, that when non-believers stand before the holy God of the universe to give an account for their life and they hear the words "Depart from me, you evildoer, for I never knew you," that hell is God's grace to the non-believer that they can be removed from His presence forever because they can't stand to be in His glory and the weeping and gnashing of teeth are them being angry and tearful and crying, that there is a God that demands that holiness that they don't want to worship. That's who hell is for. If you live on this side of heaven and don't turn from your sin and trust Christ, that's what you're going to hear. There's only two responses you'll hear when you stand before this Holy God someday and they're both sobering.

One is this: if you haven't turned from your sin and trusted Christ, here's what you're going to hear. This is my accountability. This is what I'm holding you accountable to. How did you do? Well, you already know you messed up because you were at Brave Church today, and if you're not perfect, He can't bring you in, so you heard these words: "Depart from me, you worker of iniquity. I never knew you. You'll be casted out into eternal darkness." Or you'll hear these words: "Even though you don't deserve to be there, even though you shouldn't even be standing in His presence, it's the blood of Jesus that covered you because you turned from your sin." You're going to hear these words: "Well done, good and faithful servant. Welcome home. It wasn't about your holiness, but you trusted my Son's holiness in your place for your life." Those are the only two answers. So where are you? Because you can be as religious as you want.

By the way, don't go to heaven and tell God you were an American. That doesn't get you any points either. Don't go to heaven and say you were a good person. Don't tell Him your good outweighed your bad. Don't tell Him you tried to keep the commandments. All are poor answers. The only answer that's satisfying is that you believe that Jesus is the Christ, God's one and only Son, who came and died for you on a cross and you went running to Him because of your need for salvation. That's it. Make today your day if you've never done that. And if you have done that, maybe today as we're going through God's moral code, He showed you some areas that Jesus Christ wants to clean up, and I got good news for you too. You're still a Christian, but if you confess your sins, God's faithful and just to forgive your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. You get a fresh start today. Isn't that good news? And then you can ask Jesus to continue to live out His law in and through you. Amen.

Would you stand with me as we pray? Father in heaven, we give you all the glory, honor and praise for who you are. Lord, we know one day for those of us who are believers, we're going to walk those streets of heaven and we're going to sing, "Holy is Your name." If you're here today and you know that in your sin because of the 10 Commandments, you wouldn't stand before a holy God and be welcomed, then here's how you can pray. "Jesus, I know I'm a sinner. I know I don't measure up. Today, shut my mouth of making excuses. I want to turn from my sin and I want to make you my personal Lord and Savior. Come into my life and save me and save me now." And for those of you that know Jesus, maybe there's a sin that God showed you. Just confess it to Him now. Say, "Lord, I know I belong to you, but this is an area I haven't been living the way you want me to live. Cleanse me afresh today."

Father, we give you praise, glory, honor, and thanks for your Word, thousands of years old that still convicts us to the core because it's true and it's eternal and it's good. Thank you for your holiness and your goodness and your mercy to all of us who believe in you. We give you praise in Jesus name, amen and amen. Can we give God praise today?

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