God the Lawgiver

Scripture: Isaiah 33:22
Date: 02/11/2012 
Lesson: 6
"God's law is an inseparable part of the Old and New Testaments. It is also an expression of His Love"
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I am so thrilled that you are joining us this morning at Sacramento seventh day adventist church in Sacramento, California. I know that you're joining us all around the world, and you have hearts that are burning to learn more about Jesus Christ and his love for us that you can share with your neighbors and friends. A special welcome to you that are joining us in our sanctuary - and again, welcome from across the country and around the world live on the internet streaming this morning, through radio, television - however you're joining us. You will be blessed. So, before we begin our study this morning, let's sing together out of our hymnal.

The first song we're going to sing is hymn #100 - 'great is thy faithfulness'. This comes as a request from oona in antigua and barbuda, don and betty in australia, norma, jayda, and bruno in the bahamas, catherine, Michael, leon, and betty in California, cherrydene in Canada, leonie and eunice in the cayman islands, sandra in china, rose in england, leroy, fae, lesean, erica, and Georgia in jamaica, bessie in Maryland, magalie and micha in mauritius, delia in Michigan, dara in Mississippi, jackie, nadine, valerie, ian, and valian in new york, mario and joe in new zealand, vern, sandie, jamie, jenny, and jared in north carolina, ernie in Pennsylvania, jean and claude in saint lucia, val in singapore, maricel, arlene, and marvin in South Dakota, bhekisisa in switzerland, kenny and charlotte in trinidad and tobago, chalet in vanuatu, and jody in Wyoming. Okay, I don't know names and I don't know places but I know Jesus and that's what matters. 'Great is thy faithfulness' - hymn #100 and we're going to sing all three verses. If you have a favorite hymn that you would like to sing with us on a coming presentation, I invite you to go to our website: saccentral.

org and there you can click on the 'contact us' link and you can request, as usual, any hymn in our hymnal and we would love to sing that with you on a coming program. Our next hymn this morning is hymn #596. This was a new one to me. I think I've sung it maybe once - but it is a favorite. It comes as a request from marvin and gaye in argentina, raymond in Arizona, ralph and birdie in the bahamas, pedro in barbados, wayne in bermuda, oriel and keisha in the british virgin islands, eric and ricky in California, dan in england, lew and katie in Georgia, kelvin and marie in guam, samara and noemi in guatemala, and my friend hezron in india, shernette, yankeen, and rachelle in jamaica, artis in japan, brody in Michigan, madu and alao in nigeria, jether in northern mariana islands, arlene in New York, agnes in singapore, Micah in Texas, and richard, delores, and sharon in Washington.

So, this is hymn #596 - 'look for the waymarks' and we will sing all three verses. I think that's one we should commit to memory - it is wonderful. Let's pray. Our Father in Heaven, thank you so much that we can look through our Bibles and we can know that your coming is soon - even at the door and we believe. We are looking forward to seeing you, but until that day, Lord, keep us humble, keep us faithful, keep us on fire for you so that we can spread the news and hasten your coming because there's nothing we want more than to just live with you forever to be in eternity where there is no pain or sorrow or death or crying.

We just cannot wait. So Lord, be with Pastor Doug today as he brings us Your Words of life. Help us to apply them to our lives, to take them around the world so that you can come. We pray these things in your name Jesus, amen. Our study today will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor, senior pastor here at Sacramento seventh day adventist church.

Thank you very much jo, and our singers and musicians. Good to see each of you here, friends. I want to welcome any visitors we might have today at Sacramento central. We're glad that you're here and want to welcome those who are watching. We always have visitors who are watching online and, in addition to that, we have a number of our members - central church has members around the world who do not have a local congregation, that they're able to worship with and they're part of our online membership.

If you're in that category and you've been watching and studying with us for awhile and you'd like to know 'how can I be more connected with this church family?' Just go to the website. It's saccentral.org. You'll find more information there and, of course, you can also make your song requests there. It's really encouraging to me when you hear these requests coming in from all over the world and something that they're telling me in our office is that they did some research on the traffic that Amazing Facts gets to our office and there are a greater number, per capita, of people who are going to our website from india and so some of our friends who are watching online in india, they don't have quite as many satellites there, they do watch by satellite, but we'd love to get some song requests from you too. You know, there's a formula where you can say, 'based on the requests that you get and some of the internet traffic, you know, there are thirty to forty thousand people every week that are studying with us.

I maybe shouldn't have said that, it scares our song leaders when they think about it - it scares me too a little bit. So, it's wonderful to know that so many people around the world studying with us and a good percentage of those are not even seventh day adventists - they're picking it up on the internet or on satellite and it's just great to study together. We have a free offer for those today, if you'd like to get it and all you have to do is call the number. The offer is 'the Jesus devotional' - 'the Jesus devotional'. I've been looking at it, it's got some great studies in it - it's offer #785.

Just call the number on the screen: 866-788-3966 - that amounts to 866-study-more - is the acronym for that. Now our lesson today - we're continuing in our study dealing with 'glimpses of God' - 'glimpses of God' and today we're in lesson #6 - talking about God the law giver. And we have a memory verse and the memory verse is from the book of Isaiah, chapter 33, verse 22. Isaiah 33:22 and I would invite you here to say it with me, it's coming from the new king James version. Are you ready? Isaiah 33:22.

I see some still turning. Here we go. "For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us." The law of God is probably one of the most important things that we could study. And one reason is it's one of the subjects that is the most misunderstood. Let me give you just a little snapshot of why I think this is important.

I clipped this - I actually clipped this over ten years ago - I guess more than 15 years ago, but I pulled it out of my files today. It says, "you must remember this: british church officials defended priests who can't remember all Ten Commandments saying, 'it's really substance, not words, that counts'. A poll by the london Sunday times found only 34% of 200 anglican priests polled could recite all Ten Commandments without help. That doesn't mean recite them verbatim, that means just name them. Only 34%.

Now, I don't know, what do you think? Do you think it's gotten better since 1997 when this was reported or has it gotten worse? Just me but I think that a pastor ought to be retrained if he can't tell you what the Ten Commandments are. And it could be part of the reason that we've got crime that - just going through the roof, so to speak, in our culture. I think that's really a tragedy. And, just in case you're wondering, yes I do know the Ten Commandments. I think I could probably quote them - you know, sometimes I miss an 'and' or an 'of' or something, but, other than that, verbatim.

The law of God should be written on our hearts. The law of God is an expression of who God is. Now, another reason I think this is very important is because there is a mind-set in the world today that, even among protestant preachers, that you don't really need to keep the Ten Commandments and if they're really not applicable to Christians today then why memorize them? Why know them? You just, you know, I looked at the quotes from a number of preachers online - I just typed into Google 'do Christians need to keep the Ten Commandments?' It's amazing how long a sentence you can put in and it just - a lot of people are asking that same question - and all these different quotes came up and it seemed like three out of four comments on that question - do Christians need to keep the Ten Commandments - said 'no' and those who were responding were pastors. They've got very delicate ways of saying it. They say, 'well, we're under a higher standard now.

' But what they meant was, 'no, you don't have to keep the Ten Commandments.' Here's one quote, and they take the verse where Paul says in Romans 7, verse 4, "likewise my brethren, you have died to the law." And here's a pastor commenting, "in other words, the ten commandments are no longer necessary as a guide to proper behavior in the Christian life for we're not under the law but under grace." Well, exactly then, how do you apply the commandments that say, 'don't kill, don't commit adultery, don't bear false witness, don't worship other Gods'. You know, they don't really have a problem with those commandments. The whole approach that you're finding among many evangelicals in saying, 'we don't have to keep the Ten Commandments is really because they are uncomfortable with one specific commandment. You could stand up in any evangelical church - I know because I've been to many of them and preached in them - you could stand up in those churches and you could talk about do not have other Gods, do not make idols, and honor your marriage covenant, honor your parents, respect people's property. You could preach on all nine commandments - some churches have a problem with the commandment about idolatry, but otherwise you could preach in all the churches all nine commandments and they'd say, 'amen' and no one would squirm - well, they might squirm, but they'd agree - 'yeah, you gotta do it.

' But then you say, 'remember the Sabbath day, the seventh day is the Sabbath' and people say, 'we're not under the law, we're under grace.' That's a very dubious philosophy when people take it that way. Do we still need the law of God today? Why is it important? The law of God is a reflection of his character. Now, I've got some - I am not going to be able to read all these verses. I've got a page and a half - matter of fact, what I'll do is I will give these to debbie who will upload them at the church website. If you want my notes, we're starting to post them there.

Whoever's teaching the lesson, we're going to post our notes and it's just saccentral.org and you'll see the notes there. But, this is a study you've probably seen before. We have this in the amazing facts study guide on the ten commandments and our storacle lessons, and it basically shows a correlation between the character of God and the ten commandments, or the law of God. So, when you look at the characteristics of God - and there's Scriptures for each - you will find that the law of God, based on the Bible, is an expression of the character of God. When you get rid of - or you delete from the law of God, you are deleting a dimension of his character because the law is an expression of who God is.

The law of any country tells you something about that country and the law of God tells you who God is. Here's an example now - and, again, you're not going to remember all this. I'll give you a few of the verses, but I've got verses for all of these. The Bible says that God is just, Romans 8:36. The Bible says his law is just, Romans 7:12.

The Bible says God is true, John 3:33. The Bible says his law is true, Nehemiah 9:13. The Bible says God is pure - of course, the Bible says his law is pure, and that's psalm 19:7,8. The Bible says God is light, John 1:5. His law is light, Proverbs 6:23.

The Bible says God is faithful, Corinthians 1:9. His law is faithful, Psalms 119:86. By the way, I was tempted to just read Psalms 119 here in the class, but that would be the only thing I could do. I'm reading through the Bible - I'm always reading through the Bible - and I just got done reading psalm 119 and you get done reading psalm 119 and you wonder how anyone could read that and think that the law of God is no longer important to God. It's just mind-boggling to me.

So, a lot of these references come from psalm 119. The Bible says God is good, Nahum 1:7. His law is good, Romans 7:12, 16. God is spiritual, John 4:24. His law is spiritual, Romans 7:14.

God is holy, Isaiah 6:3 and 1 Peter 1:15. His law is holy, Exodus 20:8, Romans 7:12. God is truth. His law is truth. God is life.

His law is life. God is righteousness. His law is righteousness. Now I'm not giving you all the verses but I've got them and they'll be online. God is perfect.

His law is perfect. God is eternal. His law is eternal. God is peace. His law is peace.

God is the way. His law is the way. God is sure. His law is sure. God is unchanging.

His law is unchanging. God is sweet. His law is sweet. You all know that one - sweeter than the honeycomb, Psalms 19, verse 10. God is wise.

His law is wise. God is our meditation. His law is our meditation. Are you getting the picture here? When you talk about the law of God you're talking about who he is. It's his character.

So the law is giving us a glimpse of God. I'm not done. I said meditation, right? God's our meditation, his law is meditation. God is our judge. His law is our judge.

God is enlightenment. His law is enlightenment. God is love. His law is love. Oh, by the way, I want to stop just on that one.

I'm not done yet, this is a footnote to my footnote. So when you talk about the essence of who God is and what his law is, the whole law is summed up in love, right? First four commandments - and we'll read the Ten Commandments in a moment - deal with love for God and the last six deal with love for our fellow man. The first four commandments talk about this love relationship. The last six talk about the horizontal love relationship. You notice how many times - whenever it talks about the law it talks about love.

Exodus 20:6 "showing mercy to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments." To keep his commandments we must love him. If you don't love him, you can never really keep his commandments. The secret for the Christian life and having a joyful life is having the new heart and the new heart has love for God, and when you love God and you want to obey him, everything is a delight then. Deuteronomy 11:13 - you can find quite a few references in Deuteronomy - "and it will be that if you earnestly obey my commandments that I command you today to love the Lord your God." What's the greatest commandment? To love the Lord your God - to serve him with all your heart you must love him. Deuteronomy 11:22 "if you carefully keep all these commandments I've commanded you - to love the Lord your God, and walk in his ways.

" Can you walk in his ways if you don't love him? You're better off trying to walk in his ways even if you don't love him. You'll always be better off doing the right thing for the wrong reason than not doing it at all, but the best thing is to do the right thing for the right reason, right? Deuteronomy 19:9 "and if you keep all these commandments and do them, that I command you today, to love the Lord your God and to walk always in his ways," Deuteronomy 30, verse 6 "and the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to" - what's the new covenant? "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, that you may live." So, you'll know them by their fruits. You can look at a person's behavior and tell if they're really obeying God and if they really love God, but you know what the most important fruit is? Fruit of the Spirit is love. If a person doesn't have love - nothing does more to harm the name of Christianity than ornery Christians or unloving Christians - starting with loving each other. That's the most important thing is that we love each other.

Deuteronomy 30, verse 16 "I command you this day to love..." I mean, when you join the military, and you meet your drill sergeant and he says, 'I've got a lot of orders for you. Matter of fact, we got a whole book of orders for you.' And with his jaw jutting out he says, 'order #1. Love me. If you love me you'll keep all the other orders.' Can you love a guy like that - who takes you by your throat and says, 'you love me or else.' How many of you women would say yes to a proposal if a man took you to some romantic spot, like niagara falls, right there at the precipice, and takes you by the throat and says, 'will you love me?' Is that the way to do it? I mean, is that what God is doing? He says, 'you're going to love me or you're going to hell.' Why is God commanding us - is he ordering us to love him? Who wants to love when you're being ordered? Can you be bullied into love? You know, I think God is telling us it's a prescription. He's saying, the only way you're going to make it is if you love me.

And the only way you're going to love me is if you get the new heart. And so, he's telling us what we need. What we need is to love him. He's not saying, 'by my intimidating you, you're going to love me.' I think we need to seek after him and when you seek after him, if you know God, you'll love him. Do you understand that? It actually says that in the book 'Desire of Ages.

' "To know God is to love him." Okay, so here you've got all these commandments. John 14:15, Jesus said, "if you love me, keep my commandments." Ecclesiastes 12, it really says, 'the whole duty of man is to keep his commandments.' John 5:3 "for this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not a burden." So for any minister to go and say that you don't really need to keep the commandments, that's not a very biblical teaching. And the real problem they've got with the Ten Commandments is typically - well, there might be some sin in their life - but it's typically going to be the Sabbath truth is an issue. Now, that was a detour on love, but I'm not done with the character of God and his law, how they're the same.

God is love. His law is love. God is clean, psalm 19:9. His law is clean. God is blessed.

His law is blessed. God is a delight. His law is a delight. God is wonderful - do you always think about the Ten Commandments as a delight? You know what, if you live a life of breaking the law and you're in jail, you'll start realizing that disobedience is not a delight. Obedience gives you freedom and peace - it is a delight.

'Great peace have they that love thy law. Nothing will offend them.' God is wonderful. His law is wonderful. God is liberty. His law is liberty.

Break his law and you lose your liberty, don't you? God is comfort. His law is comfort. God is our song. His law is our song. God is merciful.

His law is merciful. God is knowledge, psalm 119, verse 66 and Isaiah 11, verse 2. His law is knowledge. God is hope. His law is hope.

God is life. His law is life. God is sound. His law is sound. God is understanding.

His law is understanding. God is happiness. His law is happiness. God is joy. His law is joy.

Well, right there you've got the point of the whole lesson if I don't say anything else - that if you want a glimpse of God, you look in his law and you'll find out something about God, because Jesus is the word, right? The word became flesh - that means Jesus is psalm 119 also. And, who wrote the Ten Commandments? Is Jesus called the rock? What was the Ten Commandments written on? What brought down Goliath? What brought down the image of the idol in Daniel 2? A rock - that rock - Christ is the rock of ages. He said, 'he that hears these words of mine and does them, is like a wise man building his house on - the rock. And so, tHis Word of truth, this rock of truth that is unchanging is the law of God and it is Christ. So, whenever you delete part of God's law, to some extent you're trying to remove part of who God is and it makes it harder for people to love him, because you'll love him when you know him.

You start to hide who he is - it's harder to love him. Does this all make sense? I know it may sound like I'm rambling a little bit but it makes sense to me. All right. 'The law at sinai'. In Deuteronomy 5 it says, "these words the Lord spoke to all your assembly, in the mountain from the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and he added no more.

And he wrote them on two tables of stone and gave them to me." Here Moses is recording the majesty and the awesomeness of when God delivers his law. Again, you can look in Exodus 19, verse 18. Matter of fact, I've got another verse - someone's going to read for me Hebrews 12:21. Let's just find out who that is. You're going to do that mike? Okay, let's get a - we'll get you set up in just a moment.

Exodus 19, verse 18. I'll read verses 18 and 19. "Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly." You've heard about after shocks? You know when there's an earthquake and then it stops? Talk about a long earthquake - the whole time God gave the Ten Commandments was one constant quake. It wasn't just a brief after shock.

The whole mountain quaked, and it just isn't - it wasn't quaking a little, it says it quaked greatly. It was very high on the richter scale. "And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder," - this is not a trumpet on earth, this is a heavenly trumpet. There was sound. There was sight.

There was feeling. They shook. They heard. They saw - when God gave his law. Everything he could do to add majesty to it became louder and louder and "Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice.

" All right, read for us, mike, Hebrews 12, verse 21. "And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, 'I am exceedingly afraid and trembling." Not only was Moses exceedingly afraid - you read there in Exodus 20:18 and 19, "now the people when they witnessed the thunderings and the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet" - again, what's going to happen when Jesus comes? Will there be a trumpet? Will there be an earthquake? the Lord gave to his law the same majesty that he's going to give to his second coming. And so that means it's very important. 'The thunderings and the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking, and when the people saw it they trembled and stood afar, and they said to Moses, 'you speak with us and we'll listen, but don't let God speak with us or we'll die.' So would God communicate his truth and His Word to people with that kind of majesty and accent - write it with his finger, speak it with his own voice audibly, and then later say, 'that was really just a symbol, you don't have to keep it anymore.' Are there many laws in the Bible? There are health laws. There are ceremonial laws and laws regarding sacrifices, and there are civil laws and social laws and a number of different kinds of laws in the Bible.

And people say, 'well, do we still need to keep the ceremonial laws? No, we don't have to sacrifice lambs, and circumcision is not required, but what about the civil laws? Well, most of those the principles are still in place. And what about the health laws? Obviously those are still practical - our bodies still have those needs. And somebody says, 'well, what do we do with the Ten Commandments?' Different category. Do not put - nobody can misunderstand that when God gave the Ten Commandments they stood apart, by themselves in a different category. God did not write with his own finger the others.

Different scribe. God did not write them on paper, he wrote them in stone. None of the other laws are written in stone. God did not allow them to just be spoken by a man's voice, God said, 'I will speak it from my voice. I will come down - this mountain will be my pulpit with fire and trumpet and thunder.

' So when people say, 'well, all the law of God is just sort of all melded together, no it is not. People are not being honest when they try to lump all the laws together. God did everything he could to separate the Ten Commandments from the other laws. Isn't that true? And so when churches say, 'well, you know the laws' - and statements that are made in the new testament about not being under certain laws and certain Sabbaths - for them to try to take those statements and compare that to the ten commandments, that is, in my opinion, a dishonest Bible interpretation. Let me read something to you from adam clark's commentary.

This is a methodist. By the way, this used to be the teaching of methodist, presbyterian, episcopal, baptist, and nazarene - this used to be the teaching. "Through Christ, it is said, though Christ is said to have fulfilled the law for us, yet it is nowhere intimated in the Scripture that he has fulfilled these ten laws as to exempt us from the necessity and privilege of being no idolaters, swearers, Sabbath breakers, disobedient, and cruel children, murders, adulterers, thieves, and corrupt witnesses. All these commandments, it is true, he punctually fulfilled in himself and all these he writes on the heart and soul of every redeemed by his blood." In other words, every believer is still to keep the Ten Commandments. All of the great preachers and reformers understood they were in a category by themselves.

And so, it's a tragedy today - it is a doctrine of devils today - when preachers who take the name of Jesus - that realize that Jesus died for our lawbreaking - stand before folks and say that you don't need to worry about keeping the Ten Commandments. And that's just - the ten commandments are the foundation. 'Where there's no law there's no sin.' The devil wants to get rid of the law. You get rid of sin - you don't have sin you don't need a Savior. You see how that works? the Lord gave the law with great majesty to emphasize its importance.

And they were terrified by the holiness of God. What happens whenever someone saw God in the Bible? Somebody look up for me Isaiah 6, verse 5. Who has that? Over here. "So I said: 'woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." What was Isaiah's response when he saw God? He was overwhelmed with a sense of his unworthiness. The holiness of God put a terror within him.

And that's good, because it's the goodness of God and the holiness of God that leads us to repentance. So, if we don't present the law of God in its majesty, in its awfulness - and I mean that in the sense of being full of awe - I think that people lose the sense of the sinfulness of sin. Paul said, 'sin should appear exceeding sinful.' Otherwise, why would people repent? When there was darkness and an earthquake around the cross, that roman soldier said, 'surely this was The Son of God.' And many of them were overcome with terror. That's a good thing. Habakkuk chapter 3:16.

"When I heard" - the voice of God - "my body trembled; my lips quivered at the voice, rottenness entered my bones and I trembled in myself." Revelation 1:7, when John sees Jesus in glory. "I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead." As did Ezekiel, as did Daniel, and you can go through the Bible. These holy men of God, when they were brought into the presence of a holy God - well, this is the law of God. God is holy. God is awesome.

His law is holy and awesome. And so, when we're looking into the law of God, it should be done with a sense of reverence. Some people are very disrespectful and flippant when they think about the law of God - they make fun of it and tell little jokes about it. But this is something that was spoken by the voice of the almighty, and it was written by his finger, and if there are words in the Bible, the Lord was careful to deliver to humanity, it is these words. And it's amazing how God was able to sum it all up in such a concise way - about 300 words in the authorized version.

Why don't we turn to Exodus 20? Now, of course, you'll find the Ten Commandments listed a few places in the Bible. Most complete listings are found in Exodus 20 and in Deuteronomy chapter 5. And I'm just going to read through them for you - with you. Don't you think we could benefit from that? I mean, we say a lot walking around the law of God and pointing at it, but we may as well jump right in and read it. Now I believe that in the Ten Commandments it's going to include verse 2.

It says, "and God spake all these words saying:" - there you've got the colon, meaning immediately after that here's what was actually inscribed in the stone. Exodus 20, verse 2. "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other Gods before me." Now, I think that part about Egypt is included in the law because he says that to all of us. Egypt, through the Bible, becomes synonymous with slavery, and God saves us all from slavery.

In other words, the preamble in the law is saying 'the reason for you to obey is because I love you and I saved you.' You see, God saves us first because we come by faith because of the lamb. And after they get the lamb in Egypt, they then go to the law at sinai. We are not first brought to Mount Sinai, we are first brought to Jesus. And after we come to Jesus, just as I am without one plea, then he says, 'now if you love me, keep my commandments.' Do you see how it has to work that way? So I think it's important to keep that first part. All of us can say, 'I was brought out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

' We were all slaves to sin. "You shall not have other Gods before me." In other words, 'I'm married to you. I've shown you that I love you. I saved you.' The first thing he says is, 'I must be supreme in your life' - and that's appropriate that that commandment is put at the top of the list. #3 - Verse 3 rather, it's commandment #2 - I'm sorry, verse 4, commandment #2.

"You shall not make for yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything that is in the heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down yourself to them nor serve them. For i, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of The Fathers on the children unto the third and fourth generation of the those that hate me," - people might think, 'well that's pretty serious if he's going to go several generations punishing those who hate God. Why would you make The Son guilty for the sins of The Father?' He's not. He's just saying the behavior of the parents is reproduced in the children. But he says three or four generations for those that reject God, but thousands for those who love him.

So there's a lot more mercy there than judgment. Did you get that? Three or four generations compared to thousands. "Showing mercy to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments." Now, why does he make this law about idolatry? What's wrong with having some little visualization and making an idol of God? Any human conception that we have of God that we worship is going to lower our concept of how great he really is. There is no representation - whether it be a mosaic, like the one behind me, or whether it be a statue of Jesus on the dashboard of your taxicab, that is going to rightly represent the awesomeness of God. Now, does the Bible say it is a sin for us to make a likeness of anything in heaven above or the earth beneath? Not by itself.

You can't stop that sentence. Some people believe that if you have a photograph of a flower in your wallet, that's idolatry because it is a likeness of something upon the earth. Or if you've got a photograph of your child, some of you might worship that photograph. I hope not. But, he doesn't say 'don't make a likeness of anything, because did God command the children of Israel to reproduce certain creatures and flowers and things in the temple? Did they make carvings of angels on the ark? Did Solomon have oxen that were around the laver, holding it up in the courtyard? Did they have pomegranates and figs and almond blossoms and - so it wasn't a commandment that you're not supposed to make any kind of replica of anything, it says, 'do not make these things and bow down to them and serve them.

' Do people pray to statues and paintings? Yeah. Among the russian orthodox they make fun of the roman catholics because the catholics pray to idols, but the russian orthodox pray to icons or paintings. And, you know, it's interesting but it doesn't matter. If you're praying to anything - it might be your bmw - anything that you're praying to you can make an idol out of. People can make idols out of their television sets.

They sit before them hour after hour and worship them with their time. So nothing is to be an idol. God is to have our supreme love. Then the third commandment - and this is verse 7 - "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." We are saved through Christ's name - the name of God. If there is a name that is to be revered, if there are words to be spoken with reverence, it is the name of God.

'There is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved.' And every now and then I'll hear kids say derivatives of God's name in vain. They're not actually saying it, but they're saying other things - I'm trying to tell you what it is without saying it. You know what I mean. They're superlatives that kind of are vague references to taking God's name in vain but they wouldn't want to do that so they change it a little bit and make it cute and I say, 'don't say that.' I say, 'that originated from someone who wanted to say God's name in vain but they just modified it a little bit. Like, pardon me, like some people say, 'gee whiz'.

Where do you think that came from? They caught themselves getting ready to take the name - the Lord's name in vain. I think we ought to stay away from any of those things. If you've got to say something, say 'peanut butter.' Just be really clear that there's no connection with anything else. Tofu. Okay.

So, we need to respect and revere his name. And then, of course, you've got the fourth commandment. "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you should labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the jews." That's not what it says. It's the Sabbath of the Lord.

the Lord of the jews and the Lord of the gentiles, and you can go back to Genesis, before there were any jews, and he blessed it way back in the beginning. We're going to talk about that later in the lesson today. "But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall not do work: you, or your son, or your daughter, or your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the stranger within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth, and the sea, and all that is in them, and he rested the seventh day.

Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it." Now, right there in the first four commandments he talks about that he is to be supreme, that his name is holy, that his personage is so magnificent that there is no earthly facsimile or representation, that he is an invisible God and we're not to worship things because that lowers our concept of who he is. We're to worship him. He is a person. He wants us to worship him in spirit and in truth. And then he tells you we must revere time for worship that he has chosen.

We don't pick the time. We don't pick the day. He tells us the day and he's going to meet with us that day, and he's blessed and sanctified - he has made holy a certain day. That hasn't changed. It doesn't matter if everybody in the world votes to change it.

If God's Word hasn't changed it, it doesn't change. So here these first four commandments - probably on the first table - are dealing with our love relationship to God. Now, notice something else different and distinct about that. In the first four commandments, you've got laws that governments - if you are a free society - we cannot be mandating, in our government, what God you're supposed to worship, what day you're supposed to worship him, what his name is, and what he might look like. Everybody is free, in America, to choose that.

But you cannot delete the last six commandments from any society or it disintegrates. They are civil in nature and every society must respect that. Talking about parental rights with children, rights of property, do not perjure, do not covet and sue everybody, satisfaction, and all these other commandments are really talking about civil laws that we must need. Some people are saying 'we need to get everyone in America to keep all Ten Commandments.' Well, there's a problem with that. Because you're going to tell me what day to worship and who my God is.

And then others go to the other extreme and they say, 'we shouldn't be telling people to keep any of the Ten Commandments.' Well, there's a problem with that. Then you've got men marrying men and women marrying women and all - and people stealing and suing and - you know, murder and all these other problems, right? So people need to understand the balance. By the way, our founding fathers, like roger williams, they understood the distinction between the two tables - that you can't throw out the baby with the bath water. You've got to keep the civil laws in any society that's going to be blessed by God. But if we're going to be free, you can't force people to worship God or you end up with what you had during the dark ages - people killing - they said, 'you follow Jesus or we're going to kill you.

' Is that how Christ operated? Or did Jesus let people walk away? And so, they need to have that freedom. All right. So let's get to the next commandments, quickly. Verse 12. "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

" By the way, it quotes this again in the new testament - it says it's the first commandment with promise. Also notice that it's telling you that while the commandments are given in a patriarchal perspective, it says that both The Father and the mother are to be honored, and those positions are to be respected. You know, I made a statement a few years ago - I was talking about how women often tease men because men supposedly use only half their brain where women's brains do a little more interaction in their relationships and, in jest I quoted one study that I found, and so men are always being teased as being mentally inferior to women. How many of you have heard this before? You know what I'm talking about, where we only use half our brain. Women use both sides of their brains, but I found a study they did in england where men scored five points higher, I think, on an iq test.

I was just teasing. Everybody got so upset about that - not everybody. Some people got upset, they thought I was serious. I want to go on record now. I believe men and women are of equal intelligence.

But there are differences in the way our brains work. We need mothers and fathers and together they balance each other out. Karen and I were talking about this last night and she said, 'oh, you know, this person had a father and they just didn't give them enough affirmation.' I said, 'well most fathers are that way.' I just - I wanted to do a little study real quick. Fathers should be more affirming, but how many of you felt like your father didn't give you enough affirmation and love and hugs and - come on, 'fess up. Deal with it.

I had one like that too and I've just forgiven him. You've got to move on. I think, 'thank God he has mothers', right? And there are things that - sometimes mothers are so loving and supportive that they don't say 'I know its dark but you still have to take the garbage out. The boogeyman is not going to get you.' And the mother says, 'oh, I'll take it out for him.' No! He's got to take it out. How's he ever going to learn anything? You know what I mean? God gives us these different temperaments because we need both in our families.

But children are to love and respect both their fathers and their mothers. "You shall not murder." Now, do you notice in the King James - I'm reading the new king James here - it doesn't say kill? Is there a difference between kill and murder? If you pull up a weed you're killing. Swat a mosquito you're killing. What about the times when God sent armies into battle to kill their enemies? But when a soldier defends his country and he comes home, do you call him a murderer? That's different. Murder is when someone is taking innocent life unprovoked and so, Jesus makes a distinction there.

"You shall not commit adultery." The marriage relationship was to be respected. You are to be true to your husband or your wife. And in the culture, you are to respect those covenants that are made and you're to respect your own. - "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." I think that not only means don't perjure in court, it means be honest all the time. Jesus said, 'let your yea be yea and your nay be nay.

' And then, finally it tells us "you shall not bear false" - I'm sorry - "you shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's." In other words, be satisfied. Dissatisfaction with what we have and lusting after what others have brings all kinds of misery in our society and debt. You know why some people are so deeply in debt? It's because they felt like, 'everyone else has it, I need to buy one too.' And it's through coveting what others have. Now, if your neighbor's got their house for sale and I want to buy the house, that's not a sin - to desire that if it's for sale, you know what I'm saying? We're not talking about that. It's desiring what you're not supposed to have that belongs to another or wanting to take it from him.

Here you have, in these simple statements - it didn't even take up a whole chapter - the essence of the duty of man. Now, did Moses think of the Ten Commandments or did they exist before sinai? The Ten Commandments given at Mount Sinai is when God spoke it and codified it, but it came from the very beginning. The Ten Commandments always existed. For instance, you look in the book of job. Someone look up for me Genesis 26:5.

Who's got that? Somebody's got - over here we've got a hand. I think somebody else has got Genesis 39, verse 8. Who has that? Over here. Let's get a mic over here. Hold your hand up.

We'll get to those in just a minute. What was written first, job or Genesis? Job. It's not placed there in the Bible in order chronologically but job was probably first written by Moses. Job lived in the day when men were living over 200 years. Moses lived 120.

So, even before Mount Sinai, listen to what job says about the law. "The murderer" - this is job 24:14 - "the murderer rises with the light; he kills the poor and needy; and in the night he is like a thief." - There you've got stealing and murder - "the eye of the adulterer" - there you've got the seventh commandment - "waits for the twilight saying, 'no eye will see me.' He disguises his face." So there you've got the law of coveting your neighbor's wife, you've got murder, you've got stealing - they all knew those things were wrong back in the beginning. All right, read for us Genesis 26, verse 5. I think that's over here. Genesis 26:5.

"Because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." All right, thank you. What came first, Moses or Abraham? Abraham did. Before the Ten Commandments were ever given, did God have statutes and laws? Of course he did. All right, now read for us Genesis 39, verses 8 and 9. Over here.

"But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, 'behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; there is none greater in the house than i; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" Now that's pretty clear that Joseph knew adultery was a sin long before it was given in the Ten Commandments, so the idea that the Ten Commandments originated at sinai is not biblical. Matter of fact, you've heard of the law of hammurabi. That actually predates the Ten Commandments. Some people say, 'oh, Moses just copied it from the Babylonian king hammurabi' and no, no, no. Hammurabi gets it all the way from the Garden of Eden and that's why there's some similarities between what hammurabi has - the Babylonian code - and what Moses had, because they're coming from the same source.

But Moses had it unadulterated - pardon the pun. It was pure as it was given from God there. Now, what about the Sabbath? Did it originate at Mount Sinai? Of course you first find the Sabbath in Genesis 2 when God blesses the seventh day, right? And I don't think I even need to read that. Everyone knows that. Genesis 2, verses 1 - 3.

Then you can go to Exodus 5. This is interesting. When Moses first comes to pharaoh, what was pharaoh's concern? It tells us, when you read in 4 and 5, actually verse 3 also, Moses met with the elders - Moses and aaron met with the elders of Israel, then he goes to the pharaoh. "Then the King of Egypt said to Moses and aaron, 'why do you take the people from their work? Get back to your labor.' And pharaoh said, 'look, the people of the land are many now and you make them rest." - And that word there rest is 'you make them shabbat.' When Moses first met with the people, it's understood there he said, 'look, God's getting ready to act for you but you must dedicate your lives to him. You must return to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and he'll deliver you.

' And they had begun to keep the Sabbath again. And so he says, 'all right, you're making them rest, I'm going to double their labor so they can't rest.' So right there, there's this battle about resting and the Sabbath in the beginning. Exodus 16 - God rains down manna from heaven. Does God make a distinction between the Sabbath and the other days before they ever get to Mount Sinai? Mount Sinai is Exodus 19 and 20. The manna coming down six days a week but not on the Sabbath is Exodus 16.

And so, you can see all through the Bible that God makes a distinction. A quick quote from the book 'sons and daughters of God' page 53. This is in your lesson. "The ten holy precepts spoken by Christ upon sinai's mount were a Revelation of the character of God and made known to the world the fact that his jurisdiction over the whole human heritage was there. That law of ten precepts of the greatest love that could be presented to man is the voice of God from heaven speaking to the soul in promise.

" It's a Revelation of his character. Oh friends, we ran out of time again. Don't forget we have our free offer. It's the Jesus devotional. You just call to receive that.

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