THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
INTRODUCTION AND THE FIRST COMMANDMENT
Exodus, Chapters 19-20
Memory Verse: Mark 12:30,31
Introduction: Life is different today than it was in Moses' day and many people say the Ten Commandments are out of date. But God is always the same and His principles and natural laws are eternal. Over 200 years ago, a group of wise men framed the constitution of the United States. The laws were well adapted to the life of that time, yet, although our country has seen many great changes, this constitution is still satisfactory to guide our nation. It is the same with the Ten Commandment which God has given to us. Yes, today we are modern. Our life is far ahead of Moses' time, yet the same principles that guided Israel apply to America today.
I. The Setting of the giving of the law.
1. The Israelites had been delivered from the bondage of Egypt by God when He had brought them through the Red Sea. They are then, a type or a picture of Christians today and the law is applicable for us. Matthew 5:17.18.
2. Mount Sinai -- Just three months out of Egypt and Israel needed guidance, light from above, and both a group and an individual purpose. They were not on a mountaintop but on a plain. The Christian life is not a continuous mountaintop experience. God manifested Himself to them and gave them both a group and an individual purpose for living. Exodus 19:5,6. I Peter 2:9.
II. Some things we learn from the law.
1. The attention God called to the commandments. The fearsome cloud, the trumpet and the earthquake. Exodus 19:1-25, especially vs 16 & 18. God wanted all the people to hear and hearken. Psalm 119:4; Proverbs 1:22,23.
2. The perfection needed to attain the presence of God. Exodus 19:21; Matthew 19:17-19. Only the perfection of Christ is satisfactory. Romans 3:21; I John 2:12.
3. The purpose of the law.
(1.) A schoolmaster. The law was to reveal to us our guilt, our failure, and thereby to bring us to Christ. Galatians 3:24,25.
(2.) To make a peculiar treasure, a kingdom of Priests, and an holy nation. Exodus 19:5,6; I Peter 2:9. Now, the people in Christ are to be such.
4. The motive for obedience -- gratitude. I John 4:19; 2:5; 3:24.
5. That the law includes our obligations to God and man. The first four to God and the last six to man.
6. That our duties to God are more important and thus are placed first. The summation of the law is given by Christ in Mark 12:30,31.
III. The First Commandment -- Exodus 20:1-3.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
1. The authority -- I am the Lord. The only One! They were to have nothing to do with other gods. I John 2:15-17. Notice the personal relationship that God makes with them. I am Thy God.
2. Some gross idolatry. Man is incurably religious. "God hath set the world (eternity) in their heart". Ecclesiastes 3:11b. The religious instinct has been planted deep within man's nature. Even in the heathen jungles men believe in God. They have a hunger in their hearts for God and if they don't know the true God, they make a god and bow down before it.
The Greeks, noted for their science and art, were guilty of the grossest idolatry. They had thirty thousand gods and fearing that they might have missed one, erected a statue to "the unknown god". Acts 17.
Down through the ages men have worshiped the sun, moon, stars, rivers, birds, fish, and Brahma cows in India. Man needs to know the one true God.
3. Refined Idolatry. The people of the civilized world are refined and cultured but they are just as guilty of idolatry as others. Their idolatry is just a bit more refined.
A. Some worship the god of nature.
B. Some worship the god of health.
C. Some worship the god of sports.
D. Some worship the god of science and education.
E. Some worship the god of pleasure. II Timothy 3:4.
F. Some worship the god of popularity.
G. Some worship the god of wealth. Malachi 3:8-10.
Conclusion: Today the world is full of practical atheists and many of them are in our churches. They would never say with their lips: "there is no God," but their conduct proclaims this belief every day. They violate God's commands, they desecrate His day, they ignore His church, and they live as if there were no living God. God says, "Thou shalt have no other God before me!"
Two young men worked together in Chicago. One was saved and he witnessed to the other young man. The unsaved man said, "This (holding up a roll of dollar bills) is all the Jesus I want". In a few minutes, both were crushed to death beneath a freight elevator. One went to be with Christ. The other went into a Christ-less eternity. NO OTHER GOD'S BEFORE ME! You don't want it to be that way with you!