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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments by Phillipe de Champaigne

Exodus 20:3-17

1) You shall have no other gods before Me.

2) You shall not make for yourself a carved image - 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; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the 3rd and 4th generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

3) You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

4) Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the 7th day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work; you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in 6 days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the 7th day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

5) Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

6) You shall not murder.

7) You shall not commit adultery.

8) You shall not steal.

9) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

10) You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.

The Ten Commandments (aka the Decalogue) are grouped in 2 categories. The first 4 commandments have to do with our relationship with God. We call them the Vertical Commandments (between me and God). The last 6 commandments have to do with our relationship with our fellow men, the Horizontal Commandments (between me and other men/women).

There is only one God, the true and living God and there is no other. Some people say that all religions lead to the same God but this is not true. You cannot worship a goddess, a god, a deity, a statue, a star, a water god, yourself, etc. There are no other true gods. There is only one God and that is the Jewish/Christian God...Jehovah, Yahweh. You cannot worship the true God and other gods. It is impossible, incompatible. You either put other manmade gods before God and worship them or you put them aside and devote yourself to the worship of the true God. You cannot do both. If you think you can worship Elvis and be a Christian, you are wrong. "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." If you think you can worship Dale Earnhardt and God, you are wrong. "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." If you think you can worship your children and worship God, you are wrong. "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." If you think you can worship your money and God, you are wrong. "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me."

The 2nd commandment does not mean we can't paint or sculpt Biblical scenes. It's not artistic censure, but we are not to use these items to worship. They become idols and it's false worship. The worship of man-made representations is nothing less than hatred of God because God says DON'T DO IT! There is nothing wrong with an artist painting a portrait of the Mother Mary holding the Christ child. There IS something wrong when viewers worship the picture rather than the Savior. How many times have we heard of thousands of people going to view a portrait of the Mother and Child because some see a tear in Mary's eye? They have begun to worship the painting rather than worshipping the Savior. Human beings tend to do this, especially those who are ignorant in the Bible and the ways of the church. God forbids it! And God does not mean innocent children shall suffer punishment because of their parent's sins. Deuteronomy 24:15, Ezekiel 18:19-32, God makes this clear. But He is saying that children suffer the impact of their parent's wickedness and disobedience. Children copy their parents and if they are raised in that wickedness, they often practise it themselves. God was warning people to motivate them to be good examples to their children. The effect of a disobedient generation is to plant wickedness and disobedience in the next generation and it can affect them so deeply that it takes several generations to reverse the damage. Child abusers are often children who were abused. Liars are often children who grew up with liars. Adulterers are often children who grew up with parents who committed adultery. Don't do it!

The 3rd commandment means we should never take God's Name lightly. We are to give full reverence to God, show Him respect. Don't use His Name flippantly, much less as a curse. If you do, the Bible says God "will not hold him guiltless."

The 4th commandment is about the importance of observing the Sabbath and keeping it holy. It should not be just another work day. It is to be a day of rest and focusing on God and worshipping Him. It should remind us of God and His faithfulness and His great power. It is in our best interest to take a day of rest and prayer/meditation/reading of the Word. Our bodies, our minds and our spirits need it!

The 5th commandment is key to keeping the family in good health. Children who are rude, rebellious, caustic, mean, selfish, spoiled, disrespectful bring a lot of chaos and hurt into the family. God did not expect His people to tolerate juvenile delinquints. According to Deut 21:18-21, disrespect had severe consequences...it deserved capital punishment. Our relationship with God as our Father is reflected in our relationship with our parents. God is our Father and we are His children and we should show him respect, love, obedience. We should show the same respect, love, and obedience to our parents. Our children should show the same respect, love, and obedience to us.

The 6th commandment stands on it's own. It needs no more explanation. Murder is wrong. To kill someone intentionally is murder. We are reminded that God is the creator of mankind. God created each human being and they are so precious in His sight that He allowed His Son, Jesus Christ, to die to save us and restore our relationship with God. It is not up to us to decide who should live and who should die. It is not up to us to decide to kill someone just because they are inconvenient to us and our happiness. This commandment includes abortion, mercy killing. We did not create their life and it is not up to use to take it away. God's consequences to murder was capital punishment.

The 7th commandment is applicable to both men and women. It is not right for men to sleep around and it's not right for women to sleep around. Men don't get a "pass". Young people don't get a "pass". College students aren't excused from this commandment. Middle aged people don't have an excuse. Elderly lovers don't have God's OK. The word "adultery" means sex outside of marriage. God blessed mankind with the wonderful, intimate act of sex between husband and wife that results in children. But, for our own good, He limited it to marriage and said we were NOT to have sex outside of marriage or with anyone other than our spouse. The penalty was death, another capital punishment. Adultery is referred to as "a great sin" (Genesis 20:9) and a "great wickedness and sin against God" (Genesis 39:9, Matthew 5:27, James 2:11).

The 8th commandment also needs no explanation. Any time you take something that doesn't belong to you, it's stealing and God forbids it. We have the right to private ownership of goods and God protects that right with this commandment. It is not right for the government to steal from us, it is not right for us to steal from the government, it isn't right for our neighbor to steal from us, it is not right for us to steal from our parents, etc. There is no justification, there are no outs on this.

The 9th commandment means we are forbidden to lie. If we lie to cover our sorry butts, we are not excused! If we lie to get someone else in trouble, we are not justified! Deception is just as much a lie. Just because you don't utter the words doesn't mean it's not a lie. It's not right to let others think something that is untrue. Dishonesty, lying, deception, perjury are wrong. As Christians we should be honest, truthful, transparent, honest.

The 10th commandment means we should be careful with our thought life. Many times our thoughts lead to actions and we are to be careful. A strong longing to have something that someone else has is wrong because it can lead to stealing, lying, adultery, murder, etc.

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