Ten Commandments

Scripture: Ezekiel 22:26, Exodus 20:1-17, James 1:22-25
We live in a lawless age with permissive psychology. What is the basic cause of the moral decline in society? The Bible tells us it has to do with the law of God being set aside. What can we learn about the Ten Commandments that would change our world? Is it really being set aside?
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Today we're going to examine the foundation of this lawless age and its permissive psychology. The frightening statistics of our moral degeneracy are ever before us. We can't deny them or ignore them either, much as we'd like to do so. We've already discovered the responsibility of parents in this cascade of juvenile violence. It has also been seen that Hollywood and TV fare simply feed the flames of crime, perverted sex, and delinquency. But today we're going to dig deeper around the foundation of our weakness and reveal a startling basic cause for our trouble.

Now you may disagree with me, but God says the church is responsible. He says in Ezekiel 22:26: "Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things; they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them." Do you realize that since 1900 the churches in America have had a concerted program of undermining and doing away with God's holy Ten Commandment Law? I'm not talking about all churches, friends, but I'm talking about organized religions and a lot of theology. Many churches have taught that the Ten Commandments have been done away with and that God no longer requires us to be obedient to His Law. Do you know, back around 1900 there was hardly a church that didn't have the Ten Commandments hanging right up in front of the church. Every child in Sunday School was taught the Ten Commandments by heart. And your parents taught you to obey God, honor your parents, respect life and property of others.

A few years ago most every Christian could repeat God's Law from memory; today we find very few who can do it. In fact, today we find many young people who haven't even heard of the Ten Commandments, don't even know anything at all about God's Law. And the churches are to blame because they have literally thrown the Ten Commandments out of the church. Oh, I know that in the official teachings of every church you will find a sanction and acceptance of God's law but I'm talking about the practical aspects of it now, friends. Whenever anyone starts to emphasize the importance of obedience to those commandments, he is told that we don't come under the Law anymore and that we're not expected to keep it because it's been done away with. And thus we find the response to all authority just boils down to this. If God's Law has been done away with and isn't binding on us anymore, why should we worry about any authority? If you can get away with it, then go ahead and do it; it's alright. That's the modern psychology which has been born out of this attitude of a lot of the churches. Sometimes we're told that the Law was against us, therefore it had to be taken out of the way. But when I look at that wonderful moral code of God, my friends, I'm led to wonder just which one of them is against us. I'm of the opinion that if the whole world were to be obedient to all of the will of God, this would be a better place in which to live.

Now let's take a closer look at God's Law. The first commandment says that we're to have no other God before our Creator. We aren't to allow anything to come between us and our direct worship of God. Now certainly this rule is not in opposition to the desires of anybody who truly loves God with all his heart and wants to serve him. The second commandment forbids the worship of images or the making or serving of any images. This is certainly prevalent in the world today but surely nobody who is a true Christian would desire to worship any other God or bow down to any idol or image. The third commandment forbids the taking of God's name in vain. In other words, God is displeased by all the swearing and cursing which has become so much a part of our present-day conversation. But would any of us who love God supremely, desire this commandment to be taken away, making it alright for men to take God's name in vain? I don't think so at all. The fourth commandment tells us to remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. This reminds us of something that God made for those who love Him. He promises a divine rest if we'll remember His day and keep it holy. Surely this is for our best good and it's not against us in the least.

Now these first four commandments deal with our relationship to God and nobody could possibly improve on them. The last six deal with our relationship with our fellow men and if they were taught more fully, friends, what a tremendous change would come into this world of ours. The fifth commandment deals with our parents and commands us to honor and obey them. The sixth one says: "Thou shalt not kill." This certainly is not against any of us who are Christians. The seventh forbids immorality of every description. Jesus said the pure in heart shall see God. Surely this commandment is for our best good. The eighth says: "Thou shalt not steal." The ninth forbids the telling of lies, and the tenth requires us to be content with what we have and not covet the things of others. Now really friends, I fail to find anything at all in God's holy commandments that is against us. In fact, I believe they evaluate for us the kind of life God wants each of us to live. The Bible tells us it is a mirror that reflects our characters in comparison with the perfect character of Christ. I read in James 1:22-25: "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straight-way forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."

Now God says His perfect Law of liberty is like a mirror that shows how our life compares with the character of Jesus. God's Law will point out sin in our lives. It will show us wherein we fall short of being what God wants us to be. Just as a mirror is very useful to point out dirt on the face and to show us our need of washing our face, just so is God's Law very necessary to point out sin in our lives and to show us our need of making a change so that we'll be like Jesus. Truly, we might say that the Ten Commandments give us a picture of what God is like and what He want us to become.

As we read the Word of God we find that every attribute and characteristic which the Bible uses to tell us about God is used also in describing His Holy Law. Now let's take a look, and see if that isn't true, friends. God is described as being love, truth, righteousness, perfection, holiness, and of course, He is eternal. Did you know that the Bible also said those very same things about God's Law? First of all, look at I John 4:8. "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." When Jesus was asked concerning His Father's Law, He said that the very basis of the Ten Commandments is found in love. You'll find that in Matthew 22:37,38. Yes, God is love and those Ten Commandments also are love. In John 14:6 Jesus describes Himself as being the Truth. "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life." Then in Psalm 119:142 God says, "Thy law is truth," There it is; the two are the same. I Corinthians 1:30 records that God is righteous, and we're told in Psalm 119:172 that all God's commandments are righteous statutes. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told us that His Father in Heaven is perfect and we're told in Psalms 19:7 that the Law of the Lord is also perfect, converting the soul. Isaiah 6:3 calls attention to the fact that God is holy, while Paul tells us in Romans 7:12 that God's Law also is holy. Well, we could just go right on down the list, friends, and show you the comparison between God's character, the way the Bible describes Him, and the way the Bible also describes those holy Ten Commandments.

Where does the Bible tell us the Law of God is to be found? You'll find that it is written in the heart of Jesus. Notice what David said in prophesying about Jesus, in Psalm 40:8. "I delight to do thy will, 0 my God, yea, Thy law is within my heart." There it is! God's Law is found in Jesus' heart. Thus Jesus could say at the end of His life on earth, "I have kept my Father's commandments; I have done His will.'' He was tempted in all points as we are yet without sin. So we find God's Law in Jesus' heart and to throw out God's Law is simply to throw out Jesus, for Jesus and His Law are inseparately bound together. The Ten Commandments contain the very principles of what Jesus is and what He wants us to be in our own lives. We read in Hebrews 8:10. "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people." Yes, Jesus wants to write His Law in our hearts also and do you know that when Jesus lives out His life in ours, it will be the same life of perfect obedience to His father's commandments which He lived while He was here in the flesh upon this earth. If we truly love Jesus, we'll show that love by doing His will and refraining from breaking His commandments.

Let's ask this question: "What is sin?" In I John 3:4 we are told that sin is the transgression of the law. Now that word "transgression" simply means breaking or disobeying. What will be the result of obeying God's Law? First of all we read in Psalms 119:165: "Great peace have they which love thy law and nothing shall offend them." Yes, God says that peace of mind will result from obedience. And don't you find that true, friends? Have you ever noticed how good we feel when we're doing what we ought to be doing. Sometimes we're driving along the highway when all at once we see a State Patrol. Unconsciously our foot comes off that accelerator and we look down at the speedometer to see how fast we're going. Now if we're going over the speed limit, our conscience bothers us because we know we're doing wrong, but if we're not we drive along in perfect peace. So it is with God's Law. If we're doing what God wants us to do, we live in peace; but if we know that we're doing things which He tells us in His Law that we ought not to be doing, our conscience troubles us and we're not happy. So God says peace will be the result of obedience.

Then in John 14:15-17 Jesus promises this, "If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth." Yes, the Holy Spirit is promised to those who are obedient to the Commandments of God. Then in Revelation 22:14 we read: "Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." Isn't it wonderful to know that we have a right to enter into the city and partake of that tree of life? This is the result of obedience to God. And then, last, we read in Hebrews 5:9: "And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." Surely this is the kind of salvation we want, friends, the eternal salvation, and it's given to us as a free gift as a result of which we show our love to God by being obedient to Him.

Thus we found in God's Word that the cause of the great crime wave that is sweeping the land is actually the disobedience of God's commandments and too many people, even theologians, are saying that it doesn't matter any more.

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