Faith Chapel

Moral Nature Of The 10 Commandments - Part 1

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Stephen Bauer


Series Code: FC

Program Code: FC000380

00:30 Welcome to the Faith Chapel ministry of 3ABN.
00:33 I'm Pastor Stephen Bauer from Southern Adventist University
00:37 in Collegedale TN.
00:39 Welcome to our program and thank you for sharing part of your day
00:43 with us here at 3ABN.
00:45 In today's program I'm going to be exploring the moral nature
00:50 of the Ten Commandments especially focusing on the first
00:53 three of them but before we begin our program today I'd like
00:57 to pause for a word of prayer.
00:59 Lord Jesus I want to thank you that you love us enough to
01:03 provide moral instruction so that we know how to live our
01:06 to your glory. Thank you for giving us Ten Commandments that
01:12 simplify what we ought to do and make it easy to understand.
01:17 Bless the viewers and listeners of this program and bless me as
01:21 I speak I ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.
01:29 Recently in the United States news media there was a story
01:31 about a judge who is suing a dry cleaner for $54,000,000.
01:37 The dry cleaner apparently did not deliver the suit on time
01:41 and when they did the pants were missing.
01:44 They offered to buy a replacement suit of similar
01:47 value but the judge refused and sued them for $54,000,000
01:53 in an attempt to show the American people how to stand up
01:58 For their personal rights.
02:00 He's choosing $54,000,000 impart for the emotional damages
02:05 of not getting his suit on time and the loss of his pants.
02:10 In a follow up story he admits that he doesn't expect to get
02:15 anywhere near $54,000,000 but he plans to use whatever he wins
02:19 to promote the idea that people should fight for their rights
02:24 even in court if necessary.
02:27 Another recent news story a few months earlier had a girl suing
02:30 her school over the dress code because it infringed with her
02:34 free right of speech and expression.
02:38 Our TVs today bulge with ads for personal injury lawyers
02:43 telling us how their going to fight for our rights.
02:46 It seems that here in America especially we have developed a
02:50 culture that focuses on 'me' and 'my rights' and defending my
02:55 rights and don't you dare infringe upon them or be
02:59 offended by my exercise of them.
03:02 Unfortunately many Christians have adopted this attitude in
03:08 their own life and they would like to use the Ten Commandments
03:11 as a means of protecting their own rights and they want to use
03:16 them as a sledge hammer to get other people to honor their
03:21 rights but I would propose to you that such an attitude is
03:25 out of harmony with the moral nature and character of
03:30 the ten commandments.
03:32 When we look at the ten commandments we find an
03:35 interesting little phenomena that is rarely thought about.
03:39 I invite you to open your bible and turn with me to Exodus 20.
03:43 The 20th chapter of Exodus and we want to look at the opening
03:48 lines of several of the Ten Commandments that start, in the
03:53 King James with thou or in my version here with the pronoun
03:56 You. Exodus 20:1.
04:35 We come down to verse seven and the third commandment.
04:47 Moving down to verses 13, 14, and 15.
04:58 The question is who is this 'you' that is being addressed
05:04 in these commandments?
05:05 Who is this 'you' who is not to have other gods?
05:10 Who is this 'you' who is not to have graven images?
05:13 Who is this 'you' who is not to steal or commit adultery?
05:18 Who is this 'you'?
05:20 Well we could answer it's the ancient Israelites.
05:24 Look at the text, it says I am the Lord your God who delivered
05:28 you out of the land of Egypt.
05:29 Obviously this was written to the ancient Israelites.
05:34 But the problem with that then is that this is only for ancient
05:39 Israel and it's not for us today.
05:41 We really wouldn't need to pay attention to the ten
05:44 commandments that way would we?
05:48 But we read in the New Testament that Jesus applies the ten
05:53 commandments in His sermon on the mount to Christian life.
05:55 Paul, in Romans, applies it to how we find Christ and know
06:00 what sin is and James tells us that we're going to be judged
06:04 by the Ten Commandments therefore we see that the early
06:08 Christian apostles and Christ saw those commandments as
06:12 applicable to Christians and not just to ancient Israelites.
06:16 But that still leaves us with a problem because we can say
06:20 Christians need to keep the ten commandments but we can never
06:26 maybe bring it quite home to us.
06:28 Its easy to say they need to keep the Ten Commandments.
06:34 But its harder to say I need to keep the Ten Commandments.
06:41 So who is this 'you' who is supposed to keep
06:46 the Ten Commandments?
06:48 Especially if we look at it not so much from a theological
06:52 perspective but rather from a moral and ethical perspective.
06:58 Who is this 'you'?
07:02 I would propose that this 'you' is a free moral agent who has
07:08 capacity and power to violate someone else's rights with his
07:15 or her choices.
07:17 The Ten Commandments are thus written to me to protect other
07:25 people from my choices.
07:27 Notice there is nothing in those Ten Commandments that says
07:31 here's how you, Steve Bauer, how I, Steve Bauer, am to assure
07:38 that I get my rights, rather I am told, Steve Bauer, here's
07:44 what you need to do to protect other people's rights.
07:48 The Ten Commandments call Steve Bauer to restrain himself and
07:53 think of other people's right before his own.
07:57 The first three commandments protect God's rights.
08:02 The fourth commandment is a transition commandment designed
08:05 to protect both God's rights, other people's rights and even
08:09 some rights of animals.
08:11 and the last six commandment number 5-10 are designed to
08:16 protect the rights of the other people around me.
08:19 So again, the Ten Commandments are written to you and to me as
08:24 free moral agent and it is designed to get us to restrain
08:30 ourselves to protect other peoples rights ahead of our own
08:34 desires and our own interest.
08:38 Lets look now at these commandments individually.
08:41 Starting with the first commandment, again Exodus 20:1-3
09:11 God has a right of first priority in our lives.
09:17 He has a right of exclusive claim on us as God and as our
09:23 maker God has the right to say I have certain expectations
09:29 of you, I want you to do certain things, I want you to live
09:33 this certain way.
09:38 And those claims of God take priority over anything else
09:44 in our life.
09:46 God has a right of supreme priority in my life.
09:51 Now there's an interesting tie, in my opinion, to the seventh
09:54 commandment here which says thou shall not commit adultery
09:58 because the commandment on adultery deals with the
10:01 exclusive claims between a man and a woman in affection and
10:06 commitment and marriage is a model of God's relationship to
10:10 His covenant people and so just as
10:13 the seventh commandment deals with
10:16 exclusive claims between two people the first commandment
10:20 deals with exclusive claims between God and me and it is
10:26 calls me to restrain my desire to do whatever I please and to
10:33 honor God's right of priority in my life and submit to His will.
10:38 Now these are some pretty strong claims, for example, the claims
10:44 of God supersede even the claims of family if these two come into
10:49 some kind of tension or contradiction.
10:52 The Bible says in Matt. 10
11:29 This is a very strong claim.
11:32 Its telling me that if there's a contradiction between say what
11:35 my wife wants me to do and what God wants me to do that God's
11:40 claims take precedents over my wife even if it makes
11:43 her unhappy.
11:45 As a child, especially when I'm still under the authority of my
11:49 parents, if there is a contradiction between God's will
11:53 and what my parents want me to do, God's claims are to take
11:58 priority over my parents claims, so as I say this is a very very
12:04 strong claim to the point that it could risk causing division
12:08 in a family.
12:10 Like wise this claim has been championed by missionaries
12:14 when they leave friends and family to go in obedience to
12:18 Christ's command to go ye therefore and teach the nations
12:21 and you think back a hundred years ago we didn't have
12:24 internet and telephone, high speed communications.
12:28 A lot of these people left their families knowing they would
12:34 probably never see them again because the claims of Christ
12:38 were that high.
12:40 God has a right of first priority in my affections and in
12:46 my commitments and in my life.
12:49 Not only that, God's claims take claim over the civil authorities
12:55 in my life as well and religious authorities in my life as well.
12:59 When the apostles were arrested there in the book of Acts and
13:03 they were called on trial for preaching in obedience to
13:06 Christ's command when the authorities said don't preach
13:10 their reply was we have to obey God rather than man.
13:16 These claims are so high that they take precedents even over
13:23 our very life.
13:26 I look at Mark 8:34-35
13:56 This is another very strong claim.
13:58 That God's rights supersede even my right to my own life.
14:03 You see, in the Bible God's glory is even more important
14:08 than my own life.
14:10 and I need to restrain my desires and my will in order to
14:15 glorify God even if it cost me my life that's why we sometimes
14:19 have martyrs who die for their faith because they would rather
14:23 die than violate God's glory and His rights.
14:27 God also has a right to be first in authority in my life.
14:34 Not just first in priority but first in authority.
14:39 I was visiting a friend in China last summer and he made a very
14:43 insightful comment to me.
14:45 He said Western Christianity speaks much of commitment
14:49 but little of surrender.
14:52 Authority deals with the surrender side of God's rights.
14:56 Not only is He to be first in my commitments but I am called to
15:01 make a surrender to Him and obey what He tells me to do.
15:07 In Luke 6:46 Jesus said
15:18 Why would we call Jesus Lord without surrendering to Him?
15:23 This means God has a right to prescribe even little things in
15:28 my life, God has a right to prescribe things about my speech
15:33 such as the third commandment. He has a right to prescribe
15:37 about diet, He has a right to prescribe about dress, about
15:42 worship, about finance, about business transactions, about
15:46 the little things in my life and to honor this right God
15:53 calls me to surrender myself and seek His revealed will in
16:00 the scriptures but I think there's more to this commandment
16:03 then just seeking God's will. If God is to be first in
16:08 priority and authority I need to make time for Him in my day.
16:14 In America we live such busy lives that its hard to make God
16:18 first in our living. I know I run from morning until dusk
16:23 and my schedule is so hectic with responsibilities and I'm
16:26 sure yours is too, that we can get up and hit the ground
16:29 running and forget all about prayer and quite time with God.
16:33 But God calls us to make Him first in the appointment book
16:39 and that can be challenging when we have a very full
16:43 schedule with so much on our plate and yet we can make time
16:48 for entertainment.
16:49 I know I've thought a lot about, in my own life a number of years
16:53 ago particularly, I never had time to pray it seemed or time
16:56 to read the bible but I could cut out three hours on Sunday
16:59 afternoon to watch football and I wonder what's wrong with my
17:04 priorities, I can make time for football but I have a hard time
17:07 finding time to pray.
17:09 Why is that? Its difficult because we get so consumed
17:14 in what we do but God calls us to make him first and its a
17:21 battle in this modern age but I challenge you its worth making
17:26 that battle and cutting something out to have that time
17:29 to really have God be first in your life to here His voice.
17:32 I also think that means he needs to be first in our
17:36 entertainment choices not only how much time we spend watching
17:41 TV and reading books and that kind of a thing but what we
17:45 watch and what we read needs to recognize the sovereignty in
17:51 values of Christ in our life.
17:55 Well now its time to turn our attention to the moral nature of
17:59 the second commandment and I invite you to turn in your Bible
18:02 Exodus 20:4
18:36 God has a right to mystery and awesomeness.
18:42 You see man has always had a tendency to take God and box
18:47 Him in to our own mental constructs and one of the ways
18:53 we do it, used to do it especially, was to make idols.
18:57 And we take our god and reduce him or her, depending on the
19:01 culture, down to a little idol sometimes a vest pocket addition
19:05 just a little thing this tall that you could pull out of your
19:09 pocket and set on the shelf or the table and bow down and
19:13 worship your god but God is bigger than something that can
19:17 be put into our mind and He has a right for us to honor His
19:24 mystery and recognize that not everything about God can be
19:28 figured out by a mere human mind.
19:32 Not only does God have a right not to be reduced to a physical
19:36 image but He also has a right not to be reduced to a mental
19:42 image and a mental construct and that's where I think we suffer
19:47 great challenges in our society today.
19:51 I encounter regularly people who generate mental images of
19:56 God that have little to do with scripture.
19:59 Two examples can suffice.
20:02 One is that we have the God I call the God of Sigmund Freud.
20:07 That is, we take a little bit of the Bible and we take a bunch
20:11 of modern psychology and we weld the two together and we create a
20:15 God that is somewhat scriptural but not fully scriptural.
20:19 God is love but we then take a psychological definition of love
20:25 instead of a biblical definition of love.
20:28 And we create a God in that image and the modern definition
20:33 of love tends toward absolute tolerance and nonjudgementalness
20:38 to the point that God cannot conduct a judgment, God cannot
20:43 hold people accountable and He loses His sovereignty and as
20:47 C.S. Lewis put it, becomes little more than a senile
20:50 grandfather in the sky who wishes we all have a good time.
20:55 On the other hand, in recent scholarly work I've done I
21:01 discovered scholars who are trying to weld God to Darwin's
21:04 theory of evolution and so they take a little of scripture and
21:09 they weld concepts of evolution to it until they come up with a
21:13 God that has nothing to do with the Bible a God who in fact
21:17 evolves with us.
21:21 God calls us in this commandment to honor His right to mystery
21:27 and not to reduce Him to some over simplified construct that
21:33 we can contain in our feeble little mind that way.
21:40 I would suggest than that this commandment is like the trinity
21:44 in function and it reminds us that God is to big and to
21:49 complicated for me to control and manipulate and put into my
21:55 feeble little mind, God has a right to remain mysterious
22:01 and awesome in my mind.
22:04 Now we turn to the third and final commandment of today's
22:08 lecture Exodus 20:7
22:28 God has a right for us not to misuse His name in a way that
22:32 brings dishonor to him. We traditionally apply this
22:38 commandment to things like cursing and swearing and this
22:42 is certainly true.
22:44 Those who follow Christ ought not to be cursing and swearing
22:48 and using that kind of coarse language when we get upset and
22:53 frustrated and other things like that, we need to be more refined
22:59 and pure like Jesus but there's more to this commandment than
23:03 just prohibiting foul language and of course I'm reminded of
23:07 Peter who when he denied Christ and wanted to prove that he
23:11 didn't belong to Christ, he did it by using that foul sailor's
23:16 language from the boats.
23:18 This commandment certainly includes that but I think it
23:22 includes quite a bit more.
23:25 What does it mean to take the name of God?
23:30 I suggest that this comes from the metaphor of marriage and
23:35 and in the Bible God's people like unto the bride and
23:39 traditionally the bride takes the name of her husband.
23:44 my wife was Leslie Eagles before we got married but when we got
23:48 married she took my name and now goes by Leslie Bauer.
23:53 But what does it then mean for a wife to take her husband's name?
23:58 It means that she's recognizing that he has exclusive claims on
24:05 her and she on him.
24:08 What would it mean if my wife and I went on our honeymoon
24:12 and she went out and started going on dates with other men
24:16 or even sleeping with other men?
24:19 Would that not mean that she took my name in vain because
24:22 she no longer is recognizing the excusive claims that we just
24:27 committed ourselves to?
24:28 In like manner, when we take the name of God and become His child
24:34 and we take the name of Jesus we are taking exclusive claims
24:41 upon ourselves and we need to honor those claims in a
24:46 special way.
24:48 You see, when we take Christ's name and then act in ways that
24:56 dishonor His name not only by cursing and swearing but by
25:02 abusive treatment of other people and cheating in business
25:06 and lying and these kinds of things that bring offence to
25:10 other people when they know we claim to be Christ's.
25:14 This takes His name in vain because it means that He's not
25:20 having any great affect in our life, there's no transformation.
25:24 So this commandment, similar to the first commandment is calling
25:28 us to honor the exclusive claims of God in our lives.
25:34 Not just in deed and commitment but in ethical treatment of our
25:39 fellow men so that people cannot take offence of the name of
25:44 Christ by how we behave.
25:47 Now a lot of people today seem to think that there is great
25:52 tension between the law and the gospel but I would suggest that
25:58 the two are based on the same moral fiber because just as the
26:04 first three commandments call me Steve Bauer, and you the viewer
26:09 to restrain ourselves, for me to restrain myself in my tastes
26:16 and desires and wants so that God's claims and God's honor
26:21 take precedents over my own rights and privileges
26:25 so Christ modeled that for us and this is the nature of the
26:32 Ten Commandments just as it is the character of Christ.
26:35 I'd like you to turn to Philippians 2 because we see
26:41 this most clearly reflected in Paul's description in the
26:45 famous kenosis as its called the Kenotic Passage of Philippians
26:50 Starting, I believe, in verse 5.
26:53 Have this mind among yourselves which is yours in Christ Jesus
26:59 who though He was in the form of God did not account equality
27:05 with God, a thing to be grasped but emptied Himself, the Greek
27:09 word there is Kenao thus the term Kenosis, but emptied
27:13 himself taking the form of a servant being born in the
27:18 likeness of men and being found in human form He humbled
27:22 himself and became obedient unto death even death on a cross.
27:28 Jesus Christ the king of the universe laid aside His
27:32 privileges and His rights in order to put our need in sin
27:38 ahead of himself, He emptied Himself of His glory, He emptied
27:43 himself of His privilege, He emptied Himself of everything
27:47 and took the form of a servant so the Ten Commandments call
27:52 you and me to empty self and live for others.


Revised 2014-12-17