Liberating Truths About the Ten Commandments

When most of us consider the Ten Commandments, we tend to view them as restrictive, limiting our freedom and fun.  But, behind every negative “Thou shalt not…” is a positive and powerfully liberating truth that will set us free to be all that God intended for us to be and experience a quality of life packed with the sheer adventure of His saving life!

For the next couple of weeks, I want to invite you to join me in exploring the positive benefits of these age-old commands.  Whether you are Christian, Jew, or Muslim, we all find common agreement on these commands as given by God.  How many, though, can you name without looking?  Give it a try.  Without reading them below, take out a sheet of paper and write down as many of them as you can remember.  We did an on-the-street video to see how many the average person could name.  It was funny to watch people respond with such confidence only to fade out feeling a little embarrassed.

So let’s look at them together as we begin our blog series on the Ten Commandments:

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.

  2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,  but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

  3. 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.

  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

  5. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

  6. You shall not murder.

  7. You shall not commit adultery.

  8. You shall not steal.

  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.

(There found in Exodus 20:3-17)Consider the first two for a moment.  Re-read them above.  When God says we are to have no other gods before Him, nor are we to worship an image or idol, He’s really saying He wants an exclusive and personal relationship with us!  It’s as if He’s saying, “I want you to experience all of Me!”  And, we can’t do that if we allow anyone or anything to come between us and God.  You were made by God and for God!  He designed us with a God-shaped vacuum that only He could fill.  He knows that our lives will only be complete when we are rightly related to Him.  That’s exactly why He sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to seek and to save those who were lost and estranged from Him.  Have you opened your heart to Him?  When you do, He promises to come in and fill your life with His love and presence.

These first two commands also teach us a powerful principle, the Principle of Priority – to put God first in everything we do.  If you want God’s blessing in your life, put God first.  If you want His blessing in your marriage, put Him first in your marriage as a couple.  If you want His blessings in your finances, put Him first in your giving.  Wherever you want God’s blessing in your life, that’s where you need to put Him first.  Jesus put it like this in Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) 

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”  

In fact, here’s a good tip that Chris and I have learned over the years.  We quit making so many resolutions every year and decided to make just one. Put God first in everything.  If you’ll do that every day, you won’t have to worry about breaking the 10 Commandments.

  1. Richard Tarbert says:

    Pastor, thank you for this blog series. This is perhaps the most important lesson of The Bible we all need to know and obey. Here’s a question, what happens if a person has broken some of The Commandments? Many people commit adultery, some without concern, some knowing but weak and could not resist the temptation. Some steal because they have nothing. Some worship other Gods and many people have crosses with Christ Jesus on them. But no one knows what God looks like so there is really now way to carve his likeness. I think these Ten Commandments could really be broken down, and for some need to be broken down and certain words and phrases within them be defined so that people really can understand just what it is they do or have done that means they have broken one of the Commandments. Thank you.

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