Participants: Dale Leamon
Series Code: FC
Program Code: FC000005
00:28 Thanks for joining us today for our in-depth Bible study.
00:34 I'm Pastor Dale Leamon from Battle Creek, Michigan
00:37 and we are going to look further at God's Ten promises.
00:44 Some people call them the Ten Commandments,
00:46 which they are, but they are also wonderful promises
00:49 as we will see more fully in just a moment.
00:53 But first let's have a word of prayer.
00:55 Father in heaven, how we rejoice that You have given us
00:59 Your Holy Spirit this day and that even now
01:02 You are ready to help us understand the word.
01:06 Bless us as we study, that we may come
01:09 to a realization of Your goodness
01:11 and Your power to save and that our hearts may be transformed.
01:15 Help me, Lord, that I maybe Your servant.
01:17 In Jesus name, Amen.
01:22 Well, those who have understood that the law
01:25 is really a list of promises come to love the law.
01:32 You know, it's typical of people to kind of dread the law,
01:34 almost like you dread the coming of a judge,
01:37 when you find yourself in violation.
01:40 And of course, the reason that the law scares us a bit
01:42 is because we have often violated it.
01:44 But God knew we would. He understood that fully.
01:47 He gave it to imperfect people, to people who He knew
01:51 were already predetermined to sin by their parental heritage
01:55 and he understood that He didn't give it to us.
01:58 In other words, in order to become a standard,
02:02 by which we would achieve salvation.
02:04 But he gave it to us to show us our failings and to show us
02:09 what he was going to do for us as He transformed us.
02:12 And so the Ten Commandments can be seen as promises.
02:17 Promises of what He will do in our lives
02:19 as we give ourselves fully to His grace.
02:23 Now those who find the Ten Commandments to be promises,
02:27 even though they know they have failed,
02:30 are always given a much better concept of them
02:34 and have a good feeling about God's commandments.
02:36 In fact, one of the great examples of that is David
02:40 in the Old Testament.
02:42 David was not a perfect man.
02:43 I think, we all know that, don't we?
02:45 He--his--the Bible history records
02:48 some very serious violations of God's law.
02:52 And yet David did not allow himself to become discouraged.
02:57 In fact, he speaks of God's Commandments
02:58 in the most glowing terms and that was because again,
03:02 he realized that it was God himself
03:06 who was bringing him into conformity.
03:08 Well, just look at some of the things
03:09 David says about the law.
03:11 You probably know that the 119th Psalm,
03:15 which is just practically in the middle of the Bible,
03:18 is the very longest chapter of scripture.
03:22 In fact, it is quite a bit longer than
03:23 any other chapter of scripture
03:25 and that entire Psalm is about God's law
03:30 and his commandments and it is a hymn of praise
03:33 to the wisdom of God, who gave such wonderful commandments.
03:37 So we're just going to skip around
03:38 and look at several of the verses from this great chapter
03:41 to see how David really felt about the commandments.
03:46 Let's begin with Psalm 119:97.
03:53 All right. This says, "Oh, how I love your law!
03:59 It is my meditation all the day."
04:03 What a great praise to the Lord.
04:07 He thinks about God's law all day long.
04:10 We usually don't think about God's law
04:13 or at least sometimes we try not to or if we do,
04:17 the way we think about it is uh, it's on my shoulders.
04:21 I feel guilty.
04:22 But that's not the way David responded to the law.
04:25 He looked it as a hopeful thing.
04:26 This is what God is doing for me.
04:29 You see David understood Jewish history.
04:31 He understood that Israel had been given the law
04:33 after their deliverance from Egypt
04:35 and that God was showing what he was going to do for them next.
04:39 Now that I've delivered you from Egypt,
04:40 now I'm going to take away other gods and idols
04:44 from your heart and I'm going to help you to be a people
04:48 who love each other better.
04:50 And so, he says, oh, how I love your law.
04:53 Let's look at another one from this beautiful chapter.
04:56 Psalm 119:176. He says,
05:03 "I have gone astray like a lost sheep,
05:08 Seek your servant,
05:09 for I do not forget Your commandments."
05:13 Again, how beautiful.
05:16 He understands that remembering the commandments
05:19 and loving the commandments is something you can do
05:23 even though you are a sheep that has gone astray.
05:26 He understands that God doesn't intend for his law
05:29 in other words to condemn and crush us.
05:32 But rather, God intends that we would find hope in his law.
05:37 Let's look at another one.
05:38 Chapter 119 again but this time verse 127.
05:46 " Therefore I love your commandments,
05:49 more than gold, yes, than fine gold!"
05:54 So David thinks God's commandments
05:55 so the most valuable thing he's ever run into.
05:58 They're more valuable than gold.
06:01 He recognizes that the commandments
06:03 themselves are God's covenant,
06:06 that this is the promise that
06:08 he would be made ready for eternal life.
06:11 That God would in fact change him
06:13 and make him able to live with angels forever.
06:16 So that is far more valuable than gold.
06:18 Gold cannot buy our way into God's kingdom.
06:21 But the grace of our Lord,
06:23 which writes the law in our hearts,
06:25 certainly can and has purchased the kingdom for us.
06:29 Let's look at another one. Chapter 119:93.
06:36 "I will never forget your precepts,
06:39 For by them you have given me life."
06:44 David understands that the law is God's promise
06:47 of a new life and so He loves the law of God.
06:53 Let's look at verses 71 and 72 from this same chapter.
06:59 "It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
07:03 that I may learn Your statutes.
07:06 The law of your mouth is better to me
07:08 than thousands of coins of gold and silver."
07:12 He again says he values it more than gold and silver,
07:15 but notice, he says, it's a good thing
07:18 that I've had some trials in my life
07:20 because the trials have made me appreciate your law more.
07:24 Isn't that amazing?
07:25 He sees that God is developing his understanding
07:29 and appreciation for the rules.
07:31 He realizes that God isn't just saying here you are,
07:34 do your best, keep the rules
07:35 and if you do good enough job, I'll save you.
07:37 No, God is working with us throughout our life.
07:40 Even training us by disciplines and helping us
07:43 through afflictions to discover the value of His law
07:46 and to appreciate it's principles,
07:49 so that we more and more allow His grace
07:51 to write the law in our hearts.
07:53 David has a very mature understanding of the law
07:56 and therefore he loves it instead of hating it
07:59 as so many are tempted to do.
08:02 Let's look at verses 35 through 37.
08:07 "Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
08:11 For I delight in it.
08:14 Incline my heart to Your testimonies
08:17 And not to covetousness.
08:19 Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things
08:23 and revive me in your way."
08:27 David here sees that it is God's work to bring him
08:32 to the enjoyment of the law and the obedience of the law,
08:36 where he says, incline my heart to your testimony.
08:39 You see what he is saying.
08:41 He is not just saying, okay, Lord, I know I blew it.
08:43 I'll try harder next time. I'll do better.
08:45 Give me another chance. No, no, no.
08:47 David knows that any number of extra chances
08:50 aren't going to change him.
08:52 He recognizes that what he needs is God's special grace
08:55 to come in and incline his heart.
08:58 Now, an incline is where you have a tilted floor
09:02 or level and he wants his heart to be tilted toward God's will
09:09 and toward God's law.
09:10 And he realizes that that's the work that only God can do,
09:13 and so he sees the commandments as a promise
09:17 and as an inducement to receive the grace
09:20 and the work of God in the heart.
09:23 Finally, let's look at verse 32 in this chapter,
09:29 which says, "I will run the course of your commandments
09:34 for You shall enlarge my heart!"
09:39 You see, he knows that he's got to have his heart enlarged.
09:44 As runners run it is true that as they exercise frequently,
09:49 their hearts expand somewhat and certainly
09:51 their strength of their heart muscle increases.
09:55 And so David is saying,
09:56 I'll keep your commandments better.
09:58 I want to, I'm willing to.
09:59 I see that they're wonderful and I just need you to
10:03 strengthen my heart, enlarge my heart.
10:06 He recognizes again that that's God's work to do that.
10:08 And so, he's not intimidated by the law
10:11 but rather sees it as a hopeful thing
10:14 that God intends to produce in his life.
10:17 That's the way we all need to look at the law.
10:19 David freely admits his many failings,
10:22 and difficulties, and weaknesses, and yet,
10:25 he sees God's law as a great treasure,
10:27 as a tremendous bank account
10:30 that is going to see him through.
10:33 He recognizes that he needs God to change his heart.
10:36 David, as you know, was guilty of adultery and murder.
10:42 In such a public way, that he brought shame and disgrace
10:44 on the entire nation of Israel
10:46 and yet he still loved God's law.
10:50 The law, which could be seen as condemning him,
10:53 he recognized was also promising him a new life
10:59 and hope for eternity.
11:02 Of course, it's God's work to change our hearts.
11:05 The law cannot change us in anyway.
11:07 It cannot save us.
11:08 But it is God's glorious promise to do for us
11:11 what we cannot do for ourselves.
11:14 Now let's look--let's focus on another command
11:18 as we have been doing.
11:20 This time we're going to look at one of the ten promises,
11:24 number five in number,
11:27 which is found in Exodus Chapter 20:12.
11:33 This is the commandment about family life, in particular
11:36 relationship between children and parents.
11:40 Let's read. "Honor your father and your mother,
11:45 that your days may be long upon the land
11:48 which the Lord your God is giving you."
11:52 Now that is, is interesting.
11:55 We've already seen that the first four commandments
11:59 relate to our relationship with God.
12:03 They show us, God wants to be the supreme person in our lives.
12:08 He doesn't want us to make cheap representations of Him
12:13 that we would worship.
12:14 He wants us to use His name properly,
12:18 to find the power that is in his name.
12:20 He wants us to have a day that we spend
12:23 with Him every week, that special Sabbath day.
12:27 But now, that--those,
12:29 we understand those four commandments
12:32 were contained on the first stone.
12:34 Remember that the Ten Commandments were written
12:36 on two tablets of stone and on that first stone
12:40 were those first four commandments.
12:41 On the second stone, we have commandments
12:44 that relate to the inter-human connection.
12:51 And it's very interesting since God is looking
12:54 at the hierarchy of relationships.
12:57 He starts on the first stone with relationships
13:00 between God and man.
13:01 Then when He moves to relationships
13:03 between man and man,
13:05 He starts with the relationship between man and his parents,
13:11 which in God's view is the next order of relationship,
13:15 you see, coming down from God and going all the way
13:18 to what we have with our neighbor.
13:20 So the--the parental child-parent relationship
13:25 is in God's mind a elevated relationship.
13:28 It's a very high relationship.
13:30 It stands just below that of man and God,
13:34 but above that of neighbor to neighbor.
13:38 In other words, God intends to give us an attitude
13:44 and a sense of appreciation and of respect for our parents
13:51 that will exceed any other relationship
13:56 that we have with another fellow being.
13:59 That's hard to imagine, isn't it?
14:01 And you might wonder what that says
14:02 about the marriage relationship,
14:03 which is also supposed to be such a high
14:05 and respectful relationship. But as we'll see,
14:08 the commandments relating to the marriage relationship
14:11 come after the one relating to parental relationship.
14:14 So clearly that has a very high precedent in God's mind
14:17 and He intends that we shall never stop
14:20 respecting our parents not even when we're grown
14:24 and we become more of a peer with them.
14:28 "Honor your father and mother."
14:32 Now that has become more difficult as time has gone on,
14:35 because parents make a lot of mistakes.
14:40 And many parents don't seem to be worthy of much honor.
14:46 We live in an age when love is dying from the human heart
14:50 and to some extent that has been due to the sickness in the home
14:57 and the loss of love between parents and children.
15:01 I would like to say though that God intends that
15:05 we should have a transformation in our thinking on this.
15:10 God intends to bring about a major revival
15:13 in these last days.
15:15 What we're seeing in society as a breakdown
15:18 in the appreciation between parents and children,
15:21 God intends to reverse in His church and among His people
15:25 and He intends to make it so that the connection
15:28 between parents and children is increasing,
15:31 improving, getting better and becoming a real model
15:35 of his original plan for us.
15:37 So, this promise this #5 promise of the Ten Commandments
15:43 is not something God is slacking off on,
15:47 even though in our culture in general,
15:49 it seems that the love between parents and children
15:52 is decreasing everyday.
15:54 Yet God intends to make this a very powerful testimony
16:00 among his final people as He keeps the promise
16:04 of the Fifth Commandment.
16:06 We have a scripture in which that promise
16:08 is made again in a prophetic sense.
16:12 And that is Malachi, the fourth Chapter.
16:17 We'll read that together, verses 5 and 6.
16:22 "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming
16:27 of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
16:31 And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,
16:35 and the hearts of the children to their fathers..."
16:39 Let us stop with that part right there.
16:41 This prophet Elijah of course is a prediction
16:44 of the end time prophetic movement of God's people.
16:49 Elijah was--Jesus said that John the Baptist
16:55 was a fulfillment of this prophecy and yet of course,
16:58 this prophecy obviously has an end time application
17:02 because it says that this Elijah will come before the great
17:05 and dreadful day of the Lord.
17:07 Which in prophetic terms means the end of the world
17:11 and the judgment of the world.
17:13 And so we look for another fulfillment
17:15 of this Elijah prediction,
17:17 not in some literal Elijah person coming,
17:20 but in the mission of Elijah and John the Baptist
17:25 being again fulfilled by God's people
17:28 in preparation for Jesus appearing in the clouds.
17:31 This Elijah movement will be a movement that calls
17:36 the people to worship God alone.
17:39 It will be a Three Angels message
17:41 and will take up that great prophetic strain,
17:44 which the prophets of old have carried.
17:46 But it will call people back to a worship of God alone,
17:50 to the obedience of the commandments,
17:52 and the faith of Jesus.
17:54 And it will also affect family life greatly.
18:00 It said again that, the hearts of the fathers
18:02 will be turned to the children
18:04 and the hearts of the children turned to the fathers.
18:09 What a beautiful promise and how much we need that
18:13 in our modern age.
18:15 I had an experience a few years ago with meeting a young man.
18:21 We'll call him Gary.
18:23 Gary was from a home that was divided.
18:27 His mother was a Christian and his father was not,
18:30 and he is not practicing.
18:32 He--he had a kind of a rough home.
18:36 The father was involved with alcohol pretty heavily.
18:41 I don't know whether you'd call him an alcoholic exactly,
18:44 but he did drink fairly often, and whenever he did,
18:47 he--pretty much lost control of himself.
18:50 There were several children in the family,
18:51 but Gary was the oldest son and as such he had a particularly
18:57 challenging time because he really wanted to see his home
19:01 and his family be better.
19:02 But the father always seemed to be dragging things down
19:06 because his--his use of alcohol hindered
19:09 his effectiveness in work and there were times
19:11 when he lost jobs and wasn't able to provide very well.
19:14 So Gary kind of lost respect for his father.
19:17 Sometimes he would also see his father
19:20 under the influence of alcohol, hitting his mother,
19:24 and hitting his--his little brothers and sisters
19:29 and it--it upset him.
19:31 As he grew up watching this,
19:33 he--he began frankly to more and more hate his father.
19:37 He began to blame his father for everything bad
19:40 that had come upon the family
19:41 and to literally wish his father dead.
19:45 Well, needless to say, all of those feelings
19:47 didn't help Gary to be a Christian either.
19:51 And it almost looked like he was going to follow
19:53 in his father's footsteps.
19:55 Isn't it strange how when allow hatred to grow in our hearts,
19:58 we very often become like the thing we hate.
20:02 And he was beginning to, he was a teenager,
20:05 he was beginning to smoke and drink from time to time,
20:09 run around with friends who didn't have any good ideas
20:13 for his life and he seemed rather,
20:15 rather aimless and directionless.
20:18 But still he hated his father and blamed his father
20:21 and he had never given his life to Christ.
20:24 But one day, Gary was faced with a--a crisis in his experience
20:30 and he started thinking about God.
20:33 And I received a phone call from him in which he said,
20:38 Pastor Leamon, I'd really like to talk with you.
20:40 And I was delighted, whenever a teenager
20:42 that seems to be wandering
20:43 in the world calls me and says I'd like to talk,
20:46 I'm just thrilled and I certainly was.
20:49 I said, well, I have a little time today.
20:51 Let's get together today.
20:53 And so, we met in one of the rooms of the church
20:58 and Gary began to tell me about his life
21:02 and as he told me about his life
21:05 and the trouble that he was getting into,
21:07 tears began to come to his eyes.
21:09 He said, do you think that I could be a Christian?
21:11 Do you think that God could save me?
21:15 And I had such a tremendous joy sharing with him the gospel
21:20 and the fact that Jesus had already given his life for him
21:24 and had already provided salvation for him
21:26 and all he had to do was confess his sin
21:29 and confess Jesus as his Savior
21:31 and He could become a part of his family.
21:36 Well, you know, after we talked for perhaps an hour
21:40 and looked up through scriptures together,
21:42 Gary said, this is just what I needed.
21:44 This is just what I want.
21:45 Could we do that right now?
21:47 I tell you, that's music to my ears.
21:49 I said, absolutely, let's kneel down
21:51 where we are and pray.
21:53 And first of all,
21:55 I prayed and asked for the Holy Spirit
21:57 to really control that moment and then Gary prayed
22:00 and we prayed the most beautiful prayer
22:01 in which he confessed his sins.
22:04 He told the Lord all about his life
22:06 and he gave his heart to Christ.
22:09 I'll tell you, He just about jumped up from that prayer.
22:12 I have never seen a more obvious spirit filling
22:15 at the time of conversion than I did with Gary.
22:18 His--his face had a glow on it that
22:21 nothing else had ever produced.
22:24 He was absolutely filled with joy and peace
22:29 and immediately, he said two things.
22:30 #1, how soon can I be baptized and #2,
22:35 which surprised me so much, shouldn't have, I suppose,
22:39 he said, you know, I think,
22:44 I'm gonna have to work things out with my dad.
22:48 Boy, oh, boy, was that ever evidence
22:50 of the work of the Holy Spirit.
22:52 You see, just the week before,
22:54 he had gotten into an argument with his dad in which he now,
22:57 pretty strong and fit as a teenager had hit his dad
23:03 in the face and knocked him to the floor
23:06 and then stomped out in his anger.
23:09 Now he was feeling deep remorse for that
23:11 and realizing that he had broken the fifth commandment.
23:15 And even though his father had been such a bad example to him,
23:18 in his heart, he wanted to be restored to his father
23:23 and he started feeling a tenderness toward his father.
23:28 I tell you, folks, that's an evidence
23:29 of the work of the Holy Spirit.
23:31 And as we come to Jesus, we should expect that to happen.
23:35 Because all of his commandments are promises
23:37 and the closer we come to Jesus,
23:39 the more we can anticipate that he will put
23:44 the urging of these truths right inside of our hearts.
23:49 And so, you know, it wasn't for Gary,
23:51 it wasn't like, oh, boy, now that I'm Christian,
23:53 I suppose I have to try to like my dad.
23:58 No, not at all. It was, the Spirit came into him.
24:01 He began to feel, oh, I haven't respected my father.
24:05 I haven't loved my father
24:08 and instead of guilt, he felt hope.
24:12 And he immediately said,
24:14 I want the Lord to help me with this.
24:16 We know Jesus has kept the promise
24:19 of all ten of the commandments.
24:21 He, himself, has fulfilled these commandments
24:23 in his own experience and that is why
24:25 He can give them--give them to us.
24:27 He made the promise in the Old Testament,
24:29 but then when he came, he fulfilled the promise
24:32 in his own life by keeping all these commandments
24:34 perfectly himself.
24:37 Look at Jesus own example in relationship to his parents.
24:42 Jesus stayed at home for 30 some years.
24:47 You know, he could have gone out into his ministry much sooner.
24:51 He knew from age 12 pretty much exactly
24:54 what it was he was supposed to do and yet he waited,
24:58 and waited, and waited because he was needed at home.
25:02 His father had died. He was a carpenter.
25:05 He took up the family business. He took care of his mother.
25:09 He waited. He was also waiting for the Heavenly Father to say,
25:13 now is the time.
25:14 Because Jesus took counsel and guidance from his parents,
25:20 both his earthly parents and his heavenly parent.
25:24 He showed love for care-- in caring for his mother
25:27 after his father's death.
25:31 He revealed the special respect he had for his mother,
25:37 in that story of the wedding at Cana.
25:39 You remember that story.
25:41 His mother apparently was one of the relatives of the family
25:44 and as their wedding feast was progressing
25:47 and they ran out of wine,
25:51 we understand that was fresh wine, grape juice,
25:55 she went to Jesus and she said, do something about this.
25:59 When Jesus said, it's not time yet.
26:03 He hadn't himself yet felt that this was time
26:07 to introduce his miraculous powers,
26:11 that--that somehow that hadn't come.
26:12 But God sent that message through his mother,
26:16 that now was the time and he respected his mother
26:19 so much that when she told the servants,
26:23 you do whatever Jesus says to do.
26:25 Then He went ahead and He told them to fill the pots
26:28 with water and then the water became wine.
26:31 You know the story.
26:32 And--and then word went out from that very moment.
26:35 Jesus from Nazareth can do amazing things.
26:40 We've seen a miracle. Who is He?
26:42 Could He be the messiah?
26:45 And it was His mother that was used by God
26:48 to initiate His miraculous ministry.
26:52 So He respected His mother and listened to her
26:56 and allowed the voice of even His Heavenly Father
26:59 to speak through her.
27:01 And then of course, there was the cross.
27:04 When He took the responsibility of the oldest son so seriously,
27:09 and as His mother stood there.
27:11 Imagine that, his own mother watching His agony,
27:14 watching His grief, watching Him bear the sins of the world,
27:17 watching Him go through hell for us.
27:21 Uh, His mother, He still did not forget her.
27:23 He could have been excused for forgetting her.
27:25 Could He not?
27:26 When He was dealing with the entire human race.
27:30 But He did not forget her.
27:32 He looked down at His mother
27:34 and He looked at His disciple John standing near her.
27:39 And He said in effect, "John, from now on, she is your mother.
27:46 Take care of her for me."
27:48 And so we see Jesus fulfilling the commandment
27:53 to honor our father and mother
27:55 and He'll do that in your heart too.
27:57 Why not let Him do it for you?