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037 The Holy Ten Commandments

I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage’ Exodus 20:1,2

Key Verse:

“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10)

(Exodus 20)

In our last lesson, we saw how the whole mountain of Sinai was covered with smoke because the LORD God had descended upon it in fire, thunder and lightning in order to give His Ten Commandments to the children of Israel. God warned the Israelites not to touch the mountain where He was lest they die.

God wanted to teach them just

how holy He is!

We plan to look more closely at each of the Ten Commandments, and compare them with our lives to know how we stand before God, the Holy One. We are reading in Exodus 20. After God descended on Mount Sinai

in the midst of the fire and smoke,

He spoke these words: 

“I am the LORD thy God, who have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” (Exod. 20:1,2)

1) “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exod. 20:3) This is the first commandment. The LORD God said, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” He alone must be our God. He will not share His glory with another.

God, the Creator, is the only One we must worship.

However, what we see in this country and throughout the world is quite another thing. People exalt other men to a place of which God alone is worthy. Only His name is holy and worthy of worship. He alone deserves our total devotion and confidence. Yet, when people have a problem or face an obstacle, their first thought is not to turn to God and pray to Him who created everything and can do anything. Instead, they put their hope in other human beings like themselves, and give to them the place that belongs to God alone. Those who do that have another god before them.

To have another god is sin!

2) In the second commandment God said: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any carved image … thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:4,5) In this commandment, God tells us to keep ourselves from idols. Idols are not limited to carved images which are worshiped in sacred places or in churches.

An idol is anything that comes between us and God.

For some people, soccer is their god, because soccer is more important to them than God. For others, the television comes between them and God. They don’t care about looking into the Word of God to understand it; they don’t have time for anything except watching television. Then there are others who, as you know, wear charms–implying that

God Himself is not enough for them.

For others, it is their wealth that replaces God. God doesn’t have first place in their lives; money does. They will even get involved with that which is not pleasing to God to get more money. For such people their god is money.

Anything which replaces God is an idol.

3) In the third commandment, God said: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (Exod. 20:7) Truly, God does not want us to use His holy name in vain. However, al-most every day you can hear someone making a promise to his neighbour, saying, “If God wills it, I will do this or that, or I will go to such and such a place,” while, in his heart, he has no intention of doing it.

The will of God is the farthest thing from his mind.

He only uses the name of God to make his neighbour believe his lies. This is sin. Others say, “By God, I did not do such and such!” when they know perfectly well that they did that very thing! Someone else says, “God knows that I will not do this or that,” but they are only lying.

Such are misusing the name of God.

The Word of God says: “But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatever is more than these cometh from evil” (Matt. 5:37)

4) In the fourth commandment, God spoke to the children of Israel saying: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work …for in six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day.” (Exodus 20:8,9,11) In this we see that God wanted the children of Israel to rest every seventh day to honour Him.

5) In the fifth commandment which God gave, He said: “Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” (Exodus 20:12) Here we can see that

our parents are very special and worthy of honour,

and that we should give them the respect that they deserve. However, this is not what we see in today’s generation. We see children who talk back to their parents when their parents speak to them, they do not listen to them and go their way. They do not honour their parents. They only irritate them. However, this is not the way of living that we learn from the fifth commandment.

The will of God for children

is that they love their parents, honour them and obey them in everything that pleases God and agrees with His will.

6) In the sixth commandment, God said: “Thou shalt not murder.” (Exodus 20:13) Here God says: He who kills a man, sins against God, because God is the One who gives to every person his life and soul.

To murder a man is to hate God, because God made man in His own image.

The Word of God also shows us that murder is not limited to killing a person, because the Scripture says: “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer.” (1 John 3:15) What many ignore is that God does not merely judge a person according to what he has done, but also according to what he wants to do, that is,

according to his intentions!

Since God looks at the heart, hatred and murder are equally sinful in His sight.

7) In the seventh commandment, God said: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” (Exod. 20:14) Marriage is a precious gift from the LORD.

God knows what is best for us,

which is why, after He gives a man a wife to marry, He wants him to limit himself to his wife and refuse to have a single lustful desire for any other women. God’s Word says that “husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.” (Eph. 5:28) and that “anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (Matt. 19:9) When people disobey God’s law and do what is forbidden to them, they often receive in their bodies

the consequences of their acts.

That is why many deadly diseases fall on those who have sexual relations outside the limits of marriage decreed by God. You should know another thing: Adultery is not limited to what we do with our bodies, but it also includes what is in our minds.

Concerning this, the Scripture says: “Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matt. 5:28)

8) In the eighth commandment God said: “Thou shalt not steal.” (Exodus 20:15) This command is clear. However, you should also know that, before the eyes of God who must judge us, stealing is not limited to taking money or some thing that doesn’t belong to you. Even if you simply want to take the things of another, but do not take them, you are a thief in your heart! God looks at the heart.

Stealing has many sides to it.

For example, if your employer commits to you a job, and he pays you to do that job, and he believes that you are working when in reality you are just wasting time, then

you are stealing!

Yes, you have stolen from your employer’s profits. And what is the punishment for stealing and for every other sin? It is to die and enter the fire of hell which is never extinguished!

9) The ninth commandment says: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neigh-bour.” (Exodus 20:16) This also is perfectly clear.

The LORD God is the God of truth and has nothing to do with lies!

Man thinks it is permissible to tell little lies to avoid problems and keep peace. But with the God of Truth there are no “little lies!” God says: Everyone who lies takes on the character of Satan“for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44) Satan lied to our ancestors, Adam and Eve, and he continues to deceive people with his lies!

Whoever tells a lie is acting like Satan.

10) In the tenth commandment God says: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.” (Exodus 20:17) This commandment shows us clearly that God knows just how crooked and wicked the heart of man is.

Covetousness and greed

are found in the hearts of the children of Adam. Our wicked hearts cause us to lust after another man’s wife or to set our eyes on something that someone else has which we do not have.

This is sin,

because God’s Word says: 

“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (1 Tim. 6:7,8)

These are the Ten Commandments which God gave to Moses and to the children of Israel.

How should we conclude this lesson? Perhaps with a question. Here is the question which each of us must answer:

“Have I obeyed all of the Ten Commandments?”

You may already know that when the holy Redeemer came into the world, He summarised the Ten Commandments in two phrases. He said:

1) Love the Lord your God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind! and,

2) Love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Pro-phets” (Matthew 22:37,39,40)

Now, if you want to examine yourself to know whether you have kept the Ten Commandments which God gave to Moses, you can ask yourself two questions:

First: What is my relationship with God like?

Do I love God with all my heart?

Second: What are my relationships with people like? Do I love my neighbour as I love myself?

What is your relationship with God like? Let your heart answer honestly.

Do you love God with your whole mind?

Do you love him with all your heart? Do God and His Word have first place in your life?

How about your relationship with people?

Do you love your neighbour as you love yourself?

Do you put others before yourself in everything? Do you care for your fellowman as you care for yourself? Do you do for others everything that you want them to do for you?

If you cannot answer “yes” to all these questions, know that, before God,

you are a transgressor.

By your own efforts, you cannot hope for anything except the damnation of God’s righteous judgement! The Scripture says: 

“But the fearful, and the unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with sulphur and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Rev. 21:8)

God is holy and cannot tolerate that which is unholy.

God is perfect and cannot accept any works which are imperfect. That is why the Scripture says: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10) Trying to keep the Ten Commandments

will not

cause anyone to be “declared righteous in [the sight of God]! For

all have sinned

and come short of the glory of God!” (Rom. 3:20, 23). Yes, dear friends, the Word of God is clear: 

All have sinned!” 

and 

“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse.” (Gal. 3:10)

Perhaps someone asks, “Well then, why did God give these Ten Commandments to us if none of us can keep them?” This is a very important question and, in the will of the Lord, in our next lesson we will learn how God answers it. . . .

May God bless you and reveal to you the important truth contained in this statement from His Word:

“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10)

We would invite you to answer the questions attached and send them together with any questions that you might have