An Overview of the 10 Commandments

I’ve really enjoyed preaching on the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20. As we’ve seen over the past several weeks, this passage offers valuable insight for our journey with God. In many ways, Jesus reemphasized and reframed these ten timeless laws for his followers, and by extension, us today.

As I’ve blogged about for other sermon series, here is a grand recap of what we talked about for the past 10 weeks:

  1. No other gods. Perhaps the most confusing of all commandments, this one warns against having other gods. We might think this doesn’t apply to us because we don’t apparently bow down to worship Baal or Molech–two common false gods in biblical times. But once we look closer, our lives are filled with false gods. Instead of worshipping God alone, we often treat ourselves as a god and pursue our interests above all else. Remember to keep God #1!
  2. Don’t worship idols. We all have idols in our life. As we discussed during this week, idols are oftentimes neutral or even good things–another person, a material possession, or even an idea. But the problem comes when we begin to worship it. Whether it is a new car, house, flag, or the idea of security, God calls us to cast aside our idols and worship him alone.
  3. Don’t take God’s name in vain. The obvious part of this commandment is to not use foul language. But a much more common thing we do to break the 3rd commandment is to use God’s name for our own ends. Saying things like “God wanted that tragedy to happen” are clear ways in which we dishonor the name of God. This commandment reminds us to always use our speech to bring about honor and glory to God, and blessing and grace upon other people as well. God gave us the gift of breath, so we ought to use that breath to bring about God’s blessing no matter the situation.
  4. Honor the Sabbath. Being involved in church is an obvious example of how we can honor the sabbath. By being involved in Christian community, we take regular time to praise God, fellowship with one another, deepen our walk with Christ, and spread the gospel through outreach. Yet so many times we neglect one or many of these important parts of Christianity. Without a regular sabbath, we fail to see the importance of communion with God.
  5. Honor your mother and father. We all come from different families. If we were raised by Christians, then we can honor our parents by continuing in their footsteps. If we had nonreligious, troubled, or even abusive parents, the best way we can honor them is by sharing the love of Christ with them in hopes that they would embrace God’s healing. We all need to remember, however, that God is our heavenly parent and must lead others in a way that follows his example.
  6. Don’t kill. At face value, this commandment teaches us that violence will never cure our world. We can’t solve our problems by killing other people. The only way we can transform the world is by spreading the love of Christ. Jesus actually reframed this commandment to also include things like anger, too. When we are angry, we already break this commandment in our hearts. The point of the 6th commandment is to instead embrace God’s nonviolence love in all circumstances.
  7. Don’t commit adultery. The covenant of marriage is a very special thing. Physical intimacy is also part of this covenant and should never be taken lightly. To honor the 7th commandment means we must always honor our spouse and remain faithful to him or her. Regardless of our marital status, however, we can all unite together and pray for couples in all stages of life to strengthen their relationship and keep God at the center of that covenant.
  8. Don’t steal. We often think of stealing as just limited to robbing. But it all has to do with how we view God’s resources. We often try to hoard everything to ourselves, bending the truth and making excuses for taking something away from someone else. Whether it is a physical object or even an emotion like joy, God warns us against stealing.
  9. Don’t lie. Dishonesty is very common in our world. Christ cautions us against this and implores us to always let our “yes” be “yes” and our “no” be “no.” On a deeper level, this commandment also shines a light on all those lies we often tell ourselves, such as “I’m not good enough” or “my past defines my future.” The truth of the matter is that we are united in God’s family and God looks upon us with delight. Don’t believe the lies about your identity–stick to God’s vision for you!
  10. Don’t covet. The more stuff we have in the world, the less likely we are to share with one another. Coveting creates this vicious cycle of jealousy and a mindset of scarcity that there will never be enough. But we can combat covetousness by always remembering to share God’s blessings with others. God created us to share, and we must always be eager to serve and love one another.

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