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Exodus 20:1-17 THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
Intro: Ill. Ted Turner has declared the Ten Commandments obsolete,
"Were living with outdated rules. The rules were living under
are the Ten Commandments, and I bet nobody here even pays much attention to
them because theyre too old. When Moses went up on the mountain, there
were no nuclear weapons, there was no poverty. Today, the Ten Commandments wouldnt
go over. Nobody around likes to be commanded. Commandments are out!"
Turner is wrong when he declares that the Ten Commandments
are outdated. As we will see in upcoming messages, they are as fresh as ever.
He was right, however, when he says that nobody likes to be commanded. In fact,
modern society mocks the truth and exalts the lie. We live in a time when right
is classified as wrong and wrong as right. (Ill. Isa. 5:20)
Today, in America, many believe that there are no "moral
absolutes." Many hold to a philosophy of "moral relativism."
How many times have we heard statements like these: "Whats right
for you may not be right for me."; "If it feels good do it.";
"Anything goes."; " Nothing is right or wrong, there are just
different opinions?" All of this is the result of the feeling that
there is no absolute truth. You are entitled to your truth and I am entitled
to mine! A recent poll found that 67% of Americans do not believe in moral absolutes.
Among "Baby Busters", those born between 1965 and 1983, the percentage
was even higher at 78%. Even 62% of professing Christians said that there was
no absolute standard of right and wrong. My, how America has fallen! This nation
was founded on biblical principles of right and wrong. Today, that foundation
is crumbling beneath our feet! James Madison, the 4th President of
the United States said this, "We stake the future of this country on our
ability to govern ourselves under the principles of the Ten Commandments."
Tonight, we begin a series of messages on the Ten Commandments.
My aim is to show you their relevance for our day. Tonight, I hope to lay a
foundation for the future messages by telling you a little of the background
of the Ten Commandments and why they were given. Lets look into these
ancient Laws and see that they are a practical standard for life for modern
I. THE REASONS FOR THE LAW
A. Why did God give the Law? To save sinners? No! Israel was already in a
covenant relationship with God, Gen. 15. The Law cannot save Gal. 3:11;
The reasons why God gave Israel the Law are as follows:
1 To reveal His glory and Holiness Deut. 5:22-28
2. To reveal mans sinfulness Rom. 7:7, 13; 1 Tim. 1:9; James
3. To mark Israel as His chosen and to separate them from the heathen
Psa. 147:19-20; Eph. 2:11-17; Acts 15.
4. To give Israel a standard for godly living Deut. 4:1ff; 5:29ff.
5. To prepare Israel for the coming of Christ Gal. 5:24.
6. To illustrate in type and ceremony the Person and ministry of Christ
C. The Law is:
1. A Mirror James 1:22-25 It reveals mans sins.
2. A Yoke It brings bondage since the flesh finds it impossible
to keep Acts 15:10; Gal. 5:1; Rom. 8:3.
3. A Schoolmaster Points men to Jesus Gal. 3:23-4:7.
4. A Shadow Contrasted with the reality and fulfillment found in
Jesus Heb. 10:1; Col. 2:14-17.
D. The Law was unable to accomplish certain things:
1. Make anyone perfect Heb. 7:11-19; 10:1-2.
2. Justify from sin Acts 13:38-39; Rom. 3:20-28.
3. Give righteousness Gal. 2:21.
4. Give peace Heb. 9:9.
5. Give life Gal. 3:21.
E. The Law was merely a guideline for living that possessed no saving power.
(Ill. Many in our day desire the bondage of the Law over the freedom found
II. THE RANSOM FROM THE LAW
A. The Law condemned and offered no hope, Jesus came to fulfill the Law and
set us free from its bondage.
B. In His life and death, Jesus did all that was necessary to set us free.
1. He fulfilled the Law Ill. Gal. 4:4. Jesus perfectly kept
the Law and fulfilled all the types of Leviticus and Numbers. He became
our Passover Lamb and our Scapegoat, forever taking away the demands of
the Law upon our lives. The Law was never given to make us righteous. It
was given to show us that in ourselves and in our own works, we could never
hope to keep the Law. The Law opens our eyes so that we will see our need
for Jesus Gal. 3:24.
2. Jesus met all the righteous requirements of the Law
Ill. Col. 2:13-14. Jesus death satisfied Gods requirements for
sin and for obedience to the Law. When we are in Him, we are not forced
to obey the Law, we are compelled to obey it out of love for Him and His
great sacrifice for our sins. In Him, we move under grace, not the whip
of the Law Rom. 6:14-15; Gal. 5:18.
3. When we receive Christ as Savior, He writes the Law in our hearts
Jer. 31:33; Rom. 2:15
III. THE RELEVANCE OF THE LAW
A. With all this in mind, some Christians might be prone to think that
the Law therefore has no impact on us today. That there is no reason for
us to even think about the Law or the Ten Commandments. That is a false
assumption! When we get to the place where we need no guidelines, then we
have entered lawlessness and we are in trouble and in sin.
B. Ill. Matt. 5:17-18. Jesus did not come to abolish or to do away with
the Law or Ten Commandments. He came to fulfill them. (Ill. Fulfill
"To carry out, to make full, to get to the heart of.") When we
are in Christ, the Ten Commandments become more relevant than ever.
C. Ill. Matt. 22:35-40 Jesus summed up all the Law of God into two
commandments. If I love God as I should, I will always keep Commandments
1-4. If I love my neighbor as I should, I will always keep Commandments
5-10. Augustine put it this way, "Love God and do as you please."
That works, because when you love God, you will always seek to do those
things that please Him!
D. The Commandments do not stand as rungs on a ladder to climb for salvation.
They stand as barriers erected by God to help us live lives that glorify
His Name. They are relevant today! (Ill. Ted Koppel of Nightline said, "Our
society finds truth too strong a medicine to digest undiluted. What Moses
brought down from Mt. Sinai were not the "10 Suggestions." They
are Commandments.. Are, not were! The sheer brilliance of the Ten Commandments
is that the codify in a handful of words acceptable human behavior , not
just for then and now, but for all time." I say, "Amen!"
Conc: Can we keep these rules for life? Not in ourselves,
but it is possible in Jesus Phil. 4:13. The Reason? We operate with
a different motive and power as believers in Jesus. Far too many have tried
to keep the 10 Commandments from the outside in. They have tried to do good
to change their heart. As Christians, we come at the things from the opposite
direction. Because our hearts have been changed, we are able to live the Ten
Commandments from the inside out and it works just fine! Yes, they are relevant!
And, we shall see that as this series unfolds.
Are you saved? Or, are you trying to please God by keeping
some list of dos and donts? If you are trying to good your way
to God, let me tell you it will not work! The only way to please God is to
come to Him through His Son, the Lord Jesus. Receive Him by faith and then
He will give you the power to live the kind of life you are failing to live