Bible Baptist Church

" Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." ...... John 3:3

The Ten Commandments (Part 1)

Exodus 20:1-20


·         God establishes who He is and on that basis tells what He expects- This is a summary of God’s moral code. All over our nation, the 10 commandments could be found throughout our courts. But they are all coming down now- a sign of the times!

·         “It has been well said that the commandments are God’s nature expressed in terms of moral imperatives.” (Cole)

·         The God-based moral code also established that this people, this nation of Israel belonged to God. This wasn’t just Moses’ law (though we often refer to it as the Law of Moses). But it was God who spoke all these words.

·         Only God had the credentials to give such a code, and only the Son of God Jesus Christ has perfectly kept that code!

·         As we read this, “I am the Lord thy God” should be understood before each commandment!

·         While sin existed before the law, man did not recognize it as sin until the law came. Transgression is the violation of a known law.

·         Paul says in Romans 7:7, "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet."

·         This then is the purpose of the law -- to know the mind of God, and know our own sinfulness


I.                    Where do the 10 commandments fit in the life of the Christian?

a.      We are in the Dispensation of Grace- The NT explains that believers are no longer under the law, but under grace- See Rom. 6:14-15, Galatians 3:23-25

                                                              i.      There is grace in the OT, and there are laws in the New Testament. But we recognize the system of administration God is operating with in each dispensation.

                                                            ii.      Some divide the Law up into ceremonial, civil, and moral laws. Jesus came to fulfill the Law!

b.      Note: The Ten Commandments, and the entire Law was never given as a way of salvation. Rather, they show that man needs salvation, needs a sacrifice for their sin. Israel knew they could not keep this Law perfectly, and thus the need for sacrifices.

c.       The Law was never a way of salvation- salvation has always been by grace through faith (i.e. Abraham, Gen 15:6, Romans 4)

                                                              i.      OT saints trusted God looking forward to the cross (sacrifices pictured this)

                                                            ii.      NT saints trust by looking back at the cross

d.      The new birth is the writing of the law on our heart so that we are not under it, it is under us.

e.      So no, we are not under the law- but we still must seek to honor and obey God’s moral expectations- out of love!

f.        As a Christian our goal is to be like Christ- and Christ kept the 10 commandments!

g.      You are now married to the risen Christ. You are not married to the law- Romans 7:4-6

h.      Law-keeping can't justify us in the courtroom of God: If his verdict changes from guilty to not guilty, it will be because we trust in Christ's righteousness and death, not in our law-keeping.

i.        Its purpose is to reveal the morality of God and expose man’s sin- it hems us into a salvation that can only come by faith! It leaves us no escape, no outlet, no door! We are trapped under a curse and under judgment through the law! See James 2:10

j.        The law, through its revelation of God’s character and its exposure of our sin, prepares us to come to Jesus – but after we have come, we no longer have to live under our tutor (though we remember the behavior he has taught us).

k.       Illustr- H.A. Ironside: Navajo man visiting some friends saw a sign which read “Do not spit” at a railroad station hotel, but not in the friend’s home.

II.                  No other gods before me

a.      The first commandment logically flowed from understanding who God was and what He had done for Israel.

b.      In the ancient world (including Egypt), most nations worshipped many gods. Here the God of Israel, set Himself apart from any of the other supposed deities.

c.       *We do not just believe in an unknown god, but the God of the Bible

d.      He is a personal God, a Holy God, and a good God! “Your God…”; “delivered”

e.      He is the One who created us, put us here on earth, and gave us our minds, voice, and reasoning power. He is the One who enables us to enjoy life to its fullest and to have purpose in life. He is the One who created the whole world for us to oversee and enjoy. Once I realize what God has done for me, I want to give my love and loyalty to Him

f.        This means God demands to be more than added to our lives. We don’t just add Jesus to the life we already have. We must give Him all our life. Illustr- husband two-timing

g.      The great sin of Israel was idolatry- they did this not by outright rejecting God, but by serving other gods at the same time! See II Kings 17:41

h.      Failure to obey this commandment is called idolatry- anything that takes the place God deserves in our lives

i.        Questions to consider if we have idols in our lives:

                                                              i.      Could you do without it if the Lord required it? (comforts, family, freedom, etc.?)

                                                            ii.      Has it begun to rule us? Certain goals have become gods, and the true God takes a backseat sadly. (career, relationships, education)

                                                          iii.      Does it stir us to urgency? (as the Great Commission, prayer, etc. should)

                                                           iv.      Is it for me, or for the Lord? The question of motive

III.                No graven images

a.      Prohibited not only idolatry regarding false gods (overlapping with the first commandment), it also forbids with making an image of any created thing that we might worship (you shall not bow down to them nor serve them).

b.      It forbids the making of images as an aid or help to worship.

c.       This could be applied to entertainment and human showmanship in our worship- that’s what a graven image does!

d.      This commandment has been removed from the RCC’s lists

e.      This presents them with the problem of only having 9 Commandments. They resolve this problem by splitting Commandment number 10 into 9 and 10. That is: 9. Thou shalt not covet your neighbour's wife. 10. Thou shalt not covet your neighbour's goods.

f.        “The Pope is of great authority and power, that he is able to modify, declare, or interpret even divine laws. The Pope can modify divine law, since his power is not of man, but of God, and he acts as vicegerent of God upon earth...” — Lucius Ferraris, in “Prompta Bibliotheca Canonica, Juridica, Moralis, Theologica, Ascetica, Polemica, Rubristica, Historica”, Volume V, article on “Papa, Article II”, titled “Concerning the extent of Papal dignity, authority, or dominion and infallibility”, #30, published in Petit-Montrouge (Paris) by J. P. Migne, 1858 edition.

g.      Church leaders incorporated pagan religious practices from Babylon into the Catholic Church but even Catholic historians admit it. Cardinal Newman in his Development of Christian Doctrine, pages 372, 373 says that they incorporated many pagan religious practices into the Church. He claims that the Church sanctified them and that made it safe to bring these practices into the Church.

h.      See I Thess 1:9- “…ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.”

i.        We do not Christianize sin- this too is idolatry!

j.        Catholics get around this by saying they do not actually worship the idol, it just helps reminds them of God or a particular saint

k.       In John 4:24 Jesus explained the rationale behind the second commandment: God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. The use of images and other material things as a focus or help to worship denies who God is (Spirit) and how we must worship Him (in spirit and truth).

l.        See Romans 1:22-23 regarding modern-day idolatry- a god in man’s image



·         V. 5- God is not jealous of us but for us! He will not share our hearts with anything else. This is a serious crime in God’s sight.

·         To trust in anything at all more than God, is to make it a god. To exalt anything above God is to dethrone Him and lift up an idol in your heart

o   Possessions- Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,”

o   Pleasure- Phil 3:19- “whose god is their belly.” Don’t overindulge and look to something to give you what only God can!

·         From the perspective of the entire Bible, we can say that the law of God has three great purposes and uses:

o   · It is a guardrail, keeping humanity on a moral path.

o   · It is a mirror, showing us our moral failure and need for a savior.

o   · It is a guide, showing us the heart and desire of God for His people.

·         The law is the light that reveals how dirty the room is, not the broom that sweeps it clean.