Sunday, October 07, 2007

Exodus 20:12-21 -- The Ten Commandments: 5-10

Opening thought:
Avril Lavigne, in case you didn’t know, is a
Canadian rock/punk-pop singer, musician and actress, Lavigne's debut album, released in 2002, sold over 18 million copies worldwide and was certified six times platinum in the United States. Her second and third albums reached number one on the U.S. Billboard 200. Lavigne has scored five number one songs worldwide to date and a total of eleven top ten hits.[1]

According to Matthew Shultz in the September 7, 2007, edition of the Australian newspaper Herald Sun,
[2] Lavigne has now issued her own self-absorbed 10 commandments for living. Mocked all over the internet, still her thinking marks our generation.

1. DEAL WITH IT: Selling 24 million albums hasn't really affected me, but it has changed things. I can't walk into a room full of people any more without everybody turning their heads, and I can only eat in certain restaurants where I know I won't get hassled. But that's OK. I was born to do this, and so I've learned how to cope.

2. DEVELOP AN IMAGE: Someone like Kelly Clarkson is beautiful and has a pretty voice, but with me you get a much stronger image. I'm tough, I have a look that girls want to copy, and I sound a particular way. It's good if you're not easily ignored. And I'm not.

3. DON'T GET MAD, GET EVEN: I was 17 when my first album (Let Go, 2002) came out, and all of a sudden I had to spend my days doing interviews. Listen, when you are 17 you don't know how to hold a conversation with an adult, and you pretty much don’t want to. But I learned to channel that annoyance into my music.

4. PARTY HARD. BUT NOT TOO HARD: When I go to a party, I am the party! I'm the girl doing shots, jumping on tables, screaming and getting wasted. Am I advocating drugs? No! When I say get wasted, that doesn't mean go crazy. Drink in moderation. Be responsible, yeah?

5. PRACTICE GOOD KARMA. I am a very giving person. When the hurricane thing happened (in New Orleans, August 2005) I went to my closet, filled six boxes of stuff and said to my assistant, "take it to Katrina!" I also like to give stuff to people who are my "workers", especially if they don't make much money.

6. BE GRATEFUL. It's important to be thankful, even if you're poor. I mean, come on, we all have clean water — well, ok, not people in the developing world. It's important to remember where we came from and just how lucky we are to be here.

7. ADVOCATE SPIRITUALITY. I'm not particularly religious, but I am spiritual. What kind? Feng shui, mostly, and energy. I'm good at picking up people's energy, like I'm receptive or something.

8. FINDING MR RIGHT. I got married last year (to Deryck Whibley of Sum 41) simply because I was lucky enough to find the right guy. Did I tame him (Whibley once confessed to a fondness for mushrooms and ecstasy)? Hey, we were both party animals once, so we've tamed each other.

9. EXTEND YOURSELF. I want to get into movies next, a lead role in a super cool indie flick. I've been looking at scripts for the past two years now and most of them have been [organic fertilizer], but I know I could be real good at it. I have an agent now, and everything.

10. LOVE YOURSELF. People love me and people hate me, but I'm comfortable in my own skin and that's what counts. And anyway, if you do hate me, you're the loser, not me.

Thank goodness she didn’t write the real Ten Commandments. Today we will look at the last six of the Big Ten, and I can confidently predict that they have a lot more substance and relevance than Avril Lavigne’s.

Contextual Notes:
Although given over 3000 years ago, the Ten Commandments are not only still relevant, they are the basis of Western civilized common law. The Ten are divided into two sections. The first four govern our relationship with God. The final six handle our relationships with other people. We will look at that second section today.

Jesus referred to the two-fold nature of the Ten when He summed up the Law: Matthew 22:36-40. 1-Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength. 2-Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two hang all the law and the prophets. Jesus fully endorsed the Ten Commandments (Matthew 5:17).

Pray and Read: Exodus 20:12-21
Key Idea: God set in place standards of relationships between people.
Key Application: God’s commands are for our own good, both individually and corporately.

Sermon Points:
V. Respect and obey your parents and heritage (Exodus 20:12)
VI. Outward Deed: Protect and respect human life (Exodus 20:13)
VII. Outward Deed: Be true to your husband or wife (Exodus 20:14)
VIII. Outward Deed: Do not take what belongs to others (Exodus 20:15)
IX. Speech: Do not lie to others (Exodus 20:16)
X. Thought / Desire: Be content with what you have (Exodus 20:17)

Exposition: Note well,

1. Respect and obey your parents and heritage (Exodus 20:12)
a. The fifth commandment (to honor our parents) forms a transition from the first section (duty toward God) to the second section (duty toward men) of the Ten. Our duty toward our parents and our heritage is higher than that towards men in general. Hence the command “Honor” our parents whereas we are commanded to “Love” others.
b. This commandment and the fourth are positive, not negative. Not only children but adults with parents.

c. Notice: The father as well as the mother. Both are to be honored.
d. This is the first commandment with a promise: Ephesians 6:1-3: 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
e. Edersheim: Implies similar reverence for God’s representatives, including government and law enforcement.
[3]

f. We can hardly say someone is honoring his father or mother who does not care for them when they fall ill or need financial help. 1 Timothy 5:4, 8: 4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God. 8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

g. Indeed, the law provided stiff penalties including death for dishonoring parents (Exodus 21:17; Leviticus 20:9; Proverbs 20:20). 20 Whoever curses his father or his mother, / His lamp will be put out in deep darkness.

h. The most humble and honest position to take is to honor your father and mother in affirming and holding up those things which were God-honoring about them, but also freely acknowledging in confession anything which was tainted by sin.

i. APPLICATION:
i. If you are young, you are commanded to honor your mother and father, not talk back, not go on and do what you want to do, not tell them what you will or will not do, not even simply follow what they ask you to do with a bad attitude, but to honor them. They are investing everything they have in you. They love you more than their own lives. Show a little respect.

ii. If you are an adult with living parents, you are responsible to take care of them as they grow older, in case they become sick and unable to care for themselves. Your main responsibility is to honor them, not baby them, not treat them like they have lost their minds because they have lost physical abilities. If it comes to making decisions for them about a medical procedure, a nursing facility, a plug to pull, you will stand before the Lord on the basis on what you did to honor them. When in doubt, ask “what is the most honoring?”

iii. If your parents have gone on, your remembering them with flowers on their grave or with pictures in your house or with stories for your grandchildren about them honors them.

iv. Honor your heritage. Whether it is a family reunion or a historical organization, or a national or regional celebration or some other celebration of heritage, honor your fathers and mothers. Teach your children to do the same.

2. Protect and respect human life (Exodus 20:13)
a. Outward deed
b. Because of Cain/Abel, the Lord gives strict commands about murder after the flood: Genesis 9:5-6: 5 Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man. 6 “ Whoever sheds man’s blood,By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.

c. Verb rasah – pre-meditated murder. Nothing to destroy innocent human life. Because all human beings are created in God’s image, no human being has the right to take someone else’s life. God, the source of life, is the only one who can rule on whether a life is to be preserved or not (Ezekiel 18:4: 4 “ Behold, all souls are Mine; / The soul of the father / As well as the soul of the son is Mine; / The soul who sins shall die.)

d. War, defense, food, punishment excepted as the rest of the Torah confirms in various places.

e. The principle in “Thou shalt not kill” is the value of human life. It is based on our creation in God’s image. That is why our secularist, humanist world based on the failed assumptions of evolution and random selection does not value life.

f. The schools teach our children that we are animals just like every other animal. No – we are fashioned, Psalm 139 says, in the image of God Himself. No matter the circumstance of conception of anyone, no unborn person should suffer premeditated murder. Abortion is the height of wickedness. It is murder of the most heinous kind. We can never call ourselves civilized as long as we kill innocent human beings in the womb out of convenience for ourselves.

g. APPLICATION: Life is a gift. Innocent life need never be snuffed out. There are times when it is appropriate to let life functions take their course, but hastening that natural course is wicked. Life is precious. Preserve life with the intent of honoring the person involved.

3. Be true to your husband or wife (Exodus 20:14)
a. Outward deed
b. At issue: the divine mandate of marriage and its sacredness
c. Matthew 5:28: 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

d. 1 Corinthians 6:16-20: 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

e. Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22 as well as Proverbs 1-7 is clear that a spirit of death descends on those committing adultery.

f. God’s will is that sexual relationships happen within the marriage relationship and not outside. Hebrews 13:4: Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

g. APPLICATION: Marriage is sacred. A husband and wife’s relationship is sacred. Don’t play with fire. You and everyone around you will pay dearly.

4. Do not take what belongs to others (Exodus 20:15)
a. Outward deed
b. ILLUSTRATION: On the way to Augusta, there’s a little town on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River called Belvedere. There are huge, gaudy homes there built and lived in by a different group of people. Folks call the people who live there gypsies. They are properly called the Travellers, and every spring through fall, they travel the countryside offering to paint barn roofs or asphalt your driveway for a good price. A lot of people take advantage of the service, but then when the first rain comes, they realize they were the ones taken advantage of. The paint washes off the roof, and the asphalt washes into the ditch. Their culture is built on deceit, and the greatest among them are the craftiest. The most revered is the one who swindles the most money out of an unsuspecting person by getting them to trust them.

c. APPLICATION: Do you goof off at work? That’s stealing. Do you keep extra change when the cashier offers it to you? That’s stealing. Do you take home office supplies or tools from work because “they owe it to you?” That’s stealing. Do you pad your expenses? That’s stealing. Do you kill over your limit? That’s stealing.

5. Do not lie to others (Exodus 20:16)
a. Speech
b. Paul talks about coveting in Romans 7:7: 7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”

c. Speaking falsely in any matter, lying, innuendo, and any devising and designing to deceive someone.
d. Speaking unjustly against someone, prejudicing someone’s reputation with others;
e. Bearing false witness against him, either in court upon oath or in common conversation, slandering, backbiting, tale-bearing, aggravating a situation and making it worse than it is
f. Trying to raise our own reputation by ruining our neighbor's.

g. Exodus 23:1-2: 1 “You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. 2 You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice.

h. APPLICATION: Lies destroy careers, relationships, families, lives. Don’t do it.

6. Be content with what you have (Exodus 20:17)
a. Thought and desire
b. Desire (Deuteronomy 5:21) springs from what is seen. Coveting springs from within – from the evil inclinations of one’s own heart.
c. Covetousness is rooted in greed. Paul says in Colossians 3:5 that greed is idolatry, which puts you back at the first commandment.
d. Includes the jealousy that wants the person who has what we want to suffer.


e. Luke 12:15 -- 15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
f. James 1:14-15 -- 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

g. APPLICATION: Jealousy will eat you alive, and it is a double first cousin to covetousness. Once you let that ravenous yearning use you, it will consume you. Don’t let it. Instead of wealth, covetousness will drive you to poverty, because the more you try to keep up with the Joneses, the more in debt you will fall, and the more your greed will give your creditors license to rob you every month.

7. The Mediator: Christ Jesus (Exodus 20:18-21)
a. Moses is the symbol of Christ our Mediator. We see Moses stand between God and the terrified people.

Invitation:
Paul says in Galatians 3:24 that the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ so that we might be justified by faith, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God (Romans 3:19).

The Law is meant to lead us to Christ, who has redeemed us from its curse (Galatians 3:13), given us His righteousness (Romans 10:4). Christ has covered your sin and mine. Won’t you receive that free gift today? Won’t you walk away from that sin that entangles you? Won’t you allow Christ Jesus to become your holiness (1 Corinthians 1:30)?

Sources:
Tokunboh Adeyemo, Africa Bible Commentary; F.F. Bruce, International Bible Commentary; Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Bible; Alfred Edersheim, Bible History: Old Testament; John Gill, Exposition of the Entire Bible; Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Bible; A.B. Simpson, Christ in the Bible Commentary, vol 1; John Wesley, Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avril_Lavigne
[2] http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22379207-5012974,00.htmlAvril
[3] Alfred Edersheim, Bible History: Old Testament, 207.