Sunday, January 29, 2012

Moses: The Ten Commandments & BEYOND

 Please read Hebrews 10:1-21
    In the Ten Commandments, God outlines a basis for morality that has lasted over 3,000 years.  It has been embraced by 2/3 of the world’s population. The most common form of these commandments is given in Exodus 20 and in Deuteronomy 5:4   
  You shall have no other gods before Me
  You shall not make unto you any graven image
  You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain
  Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy
  Honor your father and your mother
  You shall not kill
  You shall not commit adultery
  You shall not steal
  You shall nor bear false witness against your neighbor
  You shall not covet any thing that is your neighbor’s.
These are not suggestions.  These are not to be taken lightly. These are, in fact, the building block of a society.  And any society or people in the society that takes these commands lightly WILL FALL.
   There are only two that are set in the positive (#4 and #5).  #1-3 and 6-10 are YOU SHALL NOT. It seems to be the point that we are not to do a great deal more than we are to do. Doing wrong is not just bad form; it is against the plan of God for His creation.
   For those who drive a car, ride a bike or even walk, there are road signs placed at different places along your route.  Some of them remind us where to drive, how fast you can go, where you can park or for us to stop. Are they suggestions?  If you disregard the postings, what will happen to you or others?
   These ten commands or saying concern deep matters of fundamental importance.  The largest is our obligation to worship and show respect to God. The greatest injury to a person-murder. The greatest injury to family bonds-adultery. The greatest injury to commerce and law-to bear false witness.  The biggest intergenerational obligation-honor to parents. The biggest obligation to the community-truthfulness. The greatest injury to property-theft.
   In the Old Testament, there are, as well as these ten, over 603 commandments but these are called the Great Ten. As in later Jewish traditions pointed out, they tried to keep these ten in the back seat, as it were, so that the people could also need to follow their own rules for holidays and the like. Still later, the Protestant Church pointed to two purposes for following them.  1) To personalize the Believer’s life to each person and 2) to help them realize, that through their failure to live that kind of life, they lack the ability to do this on their own.  It served the Church as a reminder that we are in need of God’s Grace.  
    Some facts to consider.  The Law DEMANDS nothing short of perfection.  See Ps 19:7-11.  Only one MAN since it was given has been able to live life that way: perfectly.  Christ not only keep the Law perfectly, He became dirty from our not being able to keep the law.  He became dirt for us! He kept the Law AND He paid the complete penalty for the broken law.  He took our place!  He suffered on the Cross so that we might be spared.  You need to look at Hebrews 9:13-15; Hebrews 10:1-22; 1 Peter 1:18-20.
    The question is asked then, why was the law given if man could not keep it? It was to show us our exceeding sinfulness and need for a Savior. The LAW shows all of us that we are indeed sinners in need of saving. Many do not agree with that assessment but it is true nonetheless. When you take a child to see a doctor at the clinic and he/she shows signs and symptoms revealing that the child has measles, we accept the doctor’s opinion and take the necessary steps to bring comfort to the child. The child gets some medicine that makes him break out. The medical person did not MAKE the child have measles, but he proved that measles was there. 
     (Galatians 4:4 But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.; 
Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
Romans 3: 19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin..)
    The Law is God’s mirror that shows us our condition-that we are indeed exceedingly sinful.  (Romans 7:12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good..)
     As we look at Biblical history, two mountains tops stand out.  Mount Sinai, where the 10 commandments were brought down (Exodus 19). The other is found a number of miles north, in Jerusalem on the mount called Calvary. On one, there was the horror of thundering and lighting while at Calvary, the Lord Jesus took away all the fire and thunder of God’s wrath and made it possible for a meeting place to be formed between God, the Holy One and Man, the sinner.
     As we had referred to before, these commands are divided into two parts.  The Laws that concerned with Man’s attitude toward God and Laws that were concerned with Man’s attitude toward his fellow human.  Problems come in when Man takes these laws lightly or dismiss their importance.  That points to our self-centeredness.  God gave these commands to us and we are then to assume the whole responsibility of keeping them. Exodus 19:8 The people all responded together, “We will do everything the LORD has said.” So Moses brought their answer back to the LORD.  
    A question had been asked: “Why did Israel accept the Law rather than cry for mercy?” The cry of the human heart has always been that we can do it ourselves.  That we can please God by our own actions.  Pride at the center will not allow us to accept His Grace. Look at how the Hebrews responded even before they got the Law: they were dancing around a golden calf and worshiping a god they made (Exodus 32:1-10, 18).
    THE Main point is found in our passage we read at the beginning; Heb 10:10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.
      No matter of how many laws (or how few laws) we have broken (or kept), it all boils down to this.  Jesus came to die for sinners and we are the ones He came to die for.  We can be made holy. Us, in our sinful natures, can be made HOLY! How can that happen?  Through God’s Grace alone.  Not by works-or good actions--because we would boast.  But by the Blood, the eternal Blood of the Lord Jesus.  On that evening He was arrested and brought into a mocked trial, He was on the last leg of a long trip to set us free.  Made dirty, as we said before, for us BECAUSE of the plan of salvation the Father had put into motion way back in Genesis One. Adam and Eve, our parents, made a choice to sin against God and a willfully disobedience and took the forbidden fruit and died spiritually. From that point on, Man needed a Savior and the only one that could fit the bill was God’s Only Son, Jesus, the Righteous!
   The Lord Jesus’ action during His time on earth in Human form while still being totally God--the GodMan, was one of complete obedience to His Father’s will.  “Not My will be done but Yours!”  In Phil 2:8 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!
     AND ALL OF THIS IS understood in light of Him becoming Incarnated, that He should suffer and die, as in the apostle’s words, “taste death for every man, that all should believe on Him and be saved from their sins”: for this is the Will of God--that none should perish and that we would become sanctified--that is, set apart for His Glory. That means we would become partakers of the Spirit of Christ. 2 Peter 1:4 Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
     And that is why He came.  That is why we are looking at this this morning. We need to re-look at the Good News from time to get back to the basics. Keeping the Main Thing of the Gospel the Main Thing.
     And in keeping our eyes set on the basics of the historical teaching, the Ten Commandments, we can’t help rethink how these ten statements affect our every day life.  In all areas, He is the Lord God and He has given us these words to lead us to know Him better. Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.