Faith Chapel

Moral Nature Of The 10 Commandments - Part 2

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Stephen Bauer


Series Code: FC

Program Code: FC000381

00:30 Welcome to the Faith Chapel, a ministry of 3ABN.
00:34 I'm Pastor Stephen Bauer from Southern Adventist University,
00:38 which is in Collegedale, Tennessee.
00:41 I welcome you to our program today
00:42 and thank you for sharing part of your day with us.
00:46 In today's program, I am going to be looking
00:48 at the moral character of the Ten Commandments,
00:51 focusing on the Fourth Commandment
00:53 about the Sabbath.
00:55 But before we begin that exploration,
00:58 I'd like to have a word of prayer.
01:00 Let's bow our heads.
01:02 Lord Jesus we wanna thank you for your love to us
01:06 and thank you that you care about us
01:08 enough to give us moral guidance.
01:11 As we look at your Commandments today
01:14 and particularly the Fourth Commandment,
01:17 help us gain new insights into how you would have us
01:21 form our characters to be like yours.
01:25 Guide and direct us and bless the viewers
01:27 and listeners I pray in Jesus name, amen.
01:35 We live in a world that has a fascination
01:39 with power particularly in relationships.
01:43 Power theory has taken center stage
01:46 and people view many things in terms of power,
01:50 who has power over whom, and even outside
01:53 of the professional arena where this is a so prevalent,
01:57 we still like to exercise power over things.
02:00 We live in a service economy where we hire
02:04 all sorts of people to do all kinds of things for us.
02:09 I remember when I grew up, I grew up in a family
02:12 were both of my parents came out of the depression
02:15 and so the mind set was you do it yourself or you do without.
02:19 But not so today, you don't do without
02:22 you hire someone to do it for you.
02:26 We go to the restaurant and we enjoy snapping our finger
02:31 and having someone run to give us what we want.
02:36 We hire people to fly us, drive us, take us on trains
02:40 to get us from point A to point B.
02:43 We hire people to fix our home when the roof leaks
02:47 or the plumbing leaks or as electrical issue
02:50 we hire the electrician to come do it for us.
02:54 So in a sense we exercise power over all of these people
02:58 because we can hire them to do what we want them to do for us.
03:03 We even hire cleaners for our home to vacuum
03:06 and do the laundry and so forth someone
03:09 we can exercise power over and in this day of computer
03:13 literacy many of us when we run into trouble with our computer,
03:17 have to hire someone to come fix it,
03:20 so that it operates properly.
03:22 And then a number of you in the viewing audience,
03:25 own businesses where you hire employees.
03:29 And people whom you hire as employees and you're paying
03:32 their pay check expecting a product from them.
03:35 You have a great power over them.
03:37 They're dependent on you for their livelihood.
03:41 We live in a society of power relationships.
03:45 But not only do we have power in this economic realm,
03:49 we also have power over people in our lives
03:52 who are weaker then we are.
03:54 For example parents have power over children.
04:00 We have power over the elderly, particularly those
04:04 who are old enough and decrypt enough
04:07 that they cannot fully function without assistance.
04:10 And they are easily exploited.
04:13 Likewise the handicapped, both the physical
04:16 and the mentally handicapped, can be easily exploited.
04:20 They are someone that we naturally have power over.
04:25 Another words, we live in a world
04:27 that includes a class of beings around us
04:30 who can be easily exploited by us in a power relationship.
04:36 In addition to that, we have technological power.
04:40 We can control our environment.
04:42 We can make ourselves seemingly, omnipresent with cell phones
04:46 and blackberries and beepers and these kinds of technologies.
04:50 And we can be almost omnipresent over time
04:54 with our computers and personal digital assistance
04:56 like a Palm or Pocket PC etc.
05:02 Power and medicine and technology,
05:05 the great hope today is Stem Cell Research
05:08 and these kinds of things where we can exercise power
05:11 over disease and over nature even.
05:16 I saw story recently where the Chinese are trying
05:18 to control the weather for sporting events,
05:22 of seeding rain clouds ahead of time,
05:24 so that the rain will come before the game
05:27 instead of during the game.
05:28 We have a great natural desire
05:32 to exercise power over people and things around us.
05:37 And all of this power tends to create a character in us
05:43 that puts me first and you second.
05:48 You become the servant and I expect you to cater to me,
05:53 my desires, my needs and my rights.
05:57 But this of course leads to power struggles.
06:00 We see this in the Courts, as people sue each other
06:05 over trivial items etc, etc.
06:08 I would suggest that the Ten Commandments
06:11 fly in the face of such an orientation.
06:15 The Ten Commandments are addressed to us
06:18 as a free moral agent, who has the power
06:22 to violate someone else's rights.
06:26 And the Ten Commandments thus call upon you and me,
06:31 to deny self and put other people's
06:34 rights ahead of our own.
06:38 Now I'd like to briefly breakdown the Ten Commandments
06:41 here before I get to the Fourth Commandment.
06:44 The first Three Commandments are designed to protect
06:48 God's rights from my misuse of my free agency.
06:53 The Fourth Commandment will protect God's rights,
06:57 fellow humans, and even animals
06:59 from the misuse of my free agency.
07:02 And the last six Commandments are designed to protect
07:05 the people around me from the misuse
07:08 of my free agency.
07:10 They call me to restrain myself and think of their needs
07:15 and their rights before mine.
07:18 But let's get now to the Fourth Commandment
07:21 and let's open our Bibles and read it.
07:24 Exodus Chapter 20 verses 8 through 11.
07:31 "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
07:34 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work,
07:39 but the seventh day is the Sabbath
07:42 to the Lord your God.
07:43 In it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son,
07:47 nor your daughter, your manservant or maidservant,
07:50 or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates.
07:54 For in six days the Lord made heaven and the earth,
07:57 the sea, and all that is in them and rest of the seventh day.
08:01 Therefore the Lord blessed
08:04 the Sabbath day and hallowed it."
08:10 Let's start by looking at the part
08:12 of the Fourth Commandment that protects God's rights.
08:15 God has a right for you and I,
08:18 to dedicate one day a week of His choosing
08:25 to His interest and His business.
08:28 He gives us six days to dedicate to our needs,
08:32 our business, our cares and our worries.
08:35 But He says I want you to take the seventh day
08:39 and put your stuff aside and trust me
08:42 to protect and watch over it.
08:44 And I want you to dedicate that day to me.
08:49 You see man was made to be more
08:52 than a producer of goods and services.
08:57 Our society is so production oriented
09:00 and particularly here in the West,
09:02 where we are increasingly having to compete in a global economy,
09:06 where there is cheaper labor abroad,
09:09 we are being asked to produce more and more
09:11 for the same salary in order to compete.
09:14 And it's easy to be consumed in this round of production
09:20 until my whole identity gets subsumed
09:24 in my career and my job.
09:26 And I think of my and I become nothing more
09:29 than a producer of goods and services.
09:32 And in this hectic economy God steps in and says,
09:36 I made you to be more then mearly a producer
09:42 of goods and services.
09:44 I made you to be someone
09:47 who has a special relationship with me.
09:52 So I want you to put away your goods and your services
09:56 and your production and your worries and your care
10:00 and I want you to honor, who I am?
10:04 And focus on me for day in fellowship together.
10:12 Now this means that we are called
10:15 to put away our secular interests
10:17 for this day to focus on God.
10:20 In Isaiah Chapter 58 verses 13 and 14
10:25 God address the Sabbath issue with ancient Israel this way.
10:29 "If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
10:32 from doing your pleasure of the Hebrew literally means
10:36 your business, your concerns on my holy day,
10:40 and call the Sabbath a delight and Holy,
10:44 and the Holy day of the Lord honorable,
10:47 If you honor it not going your own ways
10:50 or seeking your own business or pleasure or talking idly,
10:55 then you shall take delight in the Lord
10:57 and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth,
11:01 and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your Father,
11:04 for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
11:10 You see God calls us to rest on this day
11:13 as if our work were done.
11:17 Sixth day shall thou labor and do all thy work.
11:21 Not just some of it.
11:24 And if my work is undone then I need to rest as if it is done.
11:29 What is that mean?
11:31 It means that if my work is unfinished
11:34 that I can lay it down and not think about it
11:37 and worry about it and conjugate upon it
11:39 while I'm trying to keep the Sabbath.
11:41 I keep the Sabbath as if my work is done
11:45 and when my work is done, I can put it out of mind
11:49 and not worry about it anymore.
11:52 Now it's easy to talk about what we shouldn't do on Sabbath
11:56 and I'll talk about that some in a moment.
11:59 But on the other side of the coin there are things
12:02 that we ought to do on the Sabbath,
12:05 things that focus on God.
12:07 For example, if we turn to Matthew Chapter 12,
12:11 we find Jesus addressing positive thing
12:14 we can do on the Sabbath.
12:16 And He gives us a general principle here
12:19 in Matthew 12:9.
12:24 "And he went on from there, and entered their synagogue.
12:27 And behold there was a man with a withered hand.
12:30 And they asked him,
12:32 'Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?'
12:34 so that they might accuse him.
12:36 He said to them, 'What man of you,
12:39 if he has a sheep that falls into a pit on the Sabbath,
12:43 would not lay hold of it and lift it out.
12:45 Of how much more value is a man than a sheep!
12:49 So what is lawful
12:51 to do good on the Sabbath'."
12:56 We see here a very, very important principle.
13:00 Yes, we're called to restrain ourselves,
13:02 me and myself says we don't do our shopping
13:04 on the Sabbath and things like that.
13:07 But we can do good things particularly for others
13:09 where there is no benefit to myself
13:12 and it brings glory to God.
13:14 And in this text it was even a sheep,
13:16 helping the sheep out of the ditch
13:18 brings glory to God to reduce suffering
13:20 and pain and bring healing.
13:23 Jesus did more healings than anything other
13:26 day of the week recorded in the scripture.
13:28 He did most of his healings on the Sabbath day,
13:31 as a day of deliverance from bondage
13:35 and the Sabbath indeed is that day of deliverance
13:38 from bondage and if we can help people be released
13:43 from the care and worry and pain of life on the Sabbath day,
13:47 then I think that's an appropriate activity
13:50 to join God and Christ in that ministry
13:54 on the Sabbath day.
13:57 But there are things that get in the wave
13:59 of that mood as well.
14:01 I don't thing the Sabbath is today I need to look
14:04 at the newspaper or the internet news
14:06 to see what's going on in my world.
14:08 That interrupts that mood of rest
14:13 and orientation towards God.
14:16 Likewise,
14:19 that's not the day I mow my lawn, do my laundry,
14:24 bake in the kitchen and so forth because that takes
14:27 my mind away from that focus on Christ
14:31 and other people's rights and needs and so forth.
14:34 Sabbath is a day to bond with family
14:38 and friends and fellowship with Christ.
14:40 It's a day to get rid of those distractions that worry us,
14:46 so we can worship and praise God for His goodness
14:48 it's a day to take stock of the good things
14:52 God has done for us during the week,
14:55 and it's very important.
14:57 A lot of people want to keep the Sabbath
14:59 because they say I can do more in the six days of labor
15:04 that God gives me and I can produce more
15:07 and get more done when I rest on the Sabbath day.
15:10 That maybe true but that shouldn't be
15:12 why we keep the Sabbath.
15:13 We don't keep the Sabbath for my own rights
15:16 and my own benefits.
15:18 I keep it because God has rights,
15:21 and my fellowman has rights, and God has the right
15:25 of my undivided attention and fellowship
15:28 apart from goods and services.
15:30 The Sabbath then is based in grace
15:34 where our merit is not based
15:37 on what we produce and do.
15:41 But it's based on our love and faithfulness to God
15:46 and submission to Him, those relational things
15:50 instead of those performance things.
15:53 So we can do good things on Sabbath and of course
15:55 it's very appropriate to get together
15:58 in public worship and worship the Lord
16:01 and praise the Lord together and strengthen each other
16:04 in our walk with the Lord.
16:07 But the Sabbath is not only about God's rights.
16:11 It's also about other people's rights.
16:16 The text says that on this day we should not have our servants
16:21 or our children working for us.
16:24 You see, it'll be very easy as one in a position of power
16:30 and don't forget this was written in a society
16:32 where it was mostly agrarian and children worked.
16:35 They didn't have any trundling play station
16:37 and Tonka Trucks and Hot wheels and all these things.
16:41 Little children are working, watching the flocks
16:44 and pulling weeds in the garden
16:46 and carrying buckets of water and so forth.
16:49 It was a hard life.
16:51 And the point was, that as parents running
16:54 the farm we don't make our children and servants
16:58 work on the Sabbath day while we enjoy the rest,
17:03 as the one in the position of power.
17:05 Those under us have a right
17:08 to that Sabbath rest as well as us.
17:13 This principle of parents particularly
17:16 meeting to honor the rights of their children
17:19 can be seen in the book of Ephesians
17:24 Chapter 6 verse 4 when Paul says,
17:27 "Fathers do not provoke your children to anger.
17:31 But bring them up in the discipline
17:35 and instruction of the Lord."
17:37 By telling us not to work our children
17:40 on the Sabbath, while we rest.
17:44 I think we have an ethics here of parent child relationship
17:48 that calls for a non-abusive, non-exploitive relationship
17:54 of parents to their children.
17:56 Yes we have a authority over our children.
17:59 We have the responsibility to bring them up
18:02 as Paul says in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,
18:06 but we have no right
18:09 to stymie their person and abuse and knock them down
18:14 and trample upon them emotionally.
18:16 We need to treat our children with the same respect
18:20 we would treat Christ.
18:22 The Ten Commandments call us to treat the lesser person
18:26 with the grace and dignity
18:29 that Christ would treat them with.
18:32 Not only that.
18:36 The Sabbath calls us to remember those
18:40 we have power over in hiring, our servants.
18:44 Our servants are to be given the Sabbath rest as well.
18:49 It is very interesting
18:50 that while the Fourth Commandment in Exodus,
18:54 frames why we keep the Sabbath in terms of creation;
18:58 the Deuteronomy version frames it in terms
19:02 of slavery and servitude.
19:04 Please turn with me
19:06 to Deuteronomy Chapter 5 and verse 15.
19:11 This portion of the Forth Commandment
19:13 changes the rational from Exodus.
19:18 It says, "You shall remember that you were a servant,
19:21 literally a slave, in the land of Egypt,
19:24 and the Lord your God brought you out sense
19:27 with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.
19:30 Therefore the Lord your God commanded you
19:33 to keep the Sabbath day."
19:36 You see Israel had a history of being oppressed
19:40 and abused by the practice of slavery
19:43 and as he called them out of slavery he said
19:47 you need to remember that experience of oppression
19:51 and abuse and when you keep the Sabbath you should
19:55 graciously extend that same privilege to your servants.
20:00 Do not abuse them the way you were abused in Egypt.
20:04 Another words this Commandment calls us to implement
20:08 the principle of grace.
20:11 Where those empower serve instead of exploit
20:16 those over whom they have power.
20:22 This is why I avoid shopping
20:27 and going out to a restaurant
20:30 on the Sabbath day because if I'm going out
20:32 to the restaurant on the Sabbath day
20:34 that means the cooks and the chefs have to work
20:37 on the Sabbath and miss out on that blessing because of me.
20:42 Now it's true they may go and do it anyways
20:44 but at least I'm not the cause of it.
20:48 I remember seeing a video from a different Christian ministry
20:53 that made this very point, and the pastor in the video
20:58 told the story how he used to go
21:01 out after church and eat.
21:05 He was a Sunday keeping pastor and he would go out on Sunday
21:09 after church and eat in the restaurant.
21:12 And one day eating in the restaurant
21:15 he asked the waiter serving him,
21:18 if they had been able to go to church that morning.
21:20 And the waiter was rather grouchy and said no,
21:22 I had to be here getting ready for people like you.
21:25 Now this pastor I think was applying
21:27 that the Sabbath to the wrong day,
21:30 the first day instead of the seventh's day.
21:33 But he had the right idea and he says I haven't eaten
21:36 in the restaurant on Sunday since,
21:39 because I don't want to be the cause of someone
21:41 having to work on the day I think is the Sabbath.
21:44 Now again I disagree with what day he thinks
21:47 the Sabbath is but he has the right idea
21:51 that we should avoid doing those things
21:54 that would force others to work for us on the Sabbath day
21:59 and miss out on that blessing.
22:02 I don't schedule my vacation airline travel
22:07 on the Sabbath because I don't want the airline
22:10 to have to work for me on that day.
22:14 I don't hire mechanics and plumbers and even if my car
22:17 is in the shop I say please don't work on it
22:20 on Sabbath on the Saturday because I don't want
22:23 to be the cause of you doing that.
22:26 So this Commandment calls us to recognize
22:30 the right of those under our power,
22:33 to enjoy the same Sabbath rest we do.
22:39 And even if it causes me or you inconvenience,
22:45 we need to honor their right
22:48 to the same Sabbath rest that we enjoy.
22:53 But there is a third class that is rarely talked about
22:56 in Christian circles in this Commandment.
22:59 Not only our children and servants
23:03 were to have a Sabbath rest but even the animals
23:07 were to be given a Sabbath rest.
23:09 Of course this is a society prior to tractors and trucks
23:13 and gasoline engines and all that
23:16 kinds of good thing.
23:19 Nonetheless, I think there is a very important
23:21 principle here about our relationship to animals.
23:25 You see, character is often revealed
23:30 by how we treat those over whom we have power,
23:34 by those we can exploit.
23:36 And probably the most exploitable class
23:40 of beings around us are the animals who can't talk
23:44 and reason and negotiate with us,
23:47 the way a fellow human could.
23:49 And this Commandment says that even the animal
23:53 was to be given the Sabbath days rest
23:56 along with the servants, slaves, and the children.
24:01 This is a very important point
24:05 as Christians we should not be abusive to animals.
24:09 Yes there are times with pests and vermin
24:11 that we need to take strong action.
24:13 But we should always act in the most humane way
24:16 possible toward the animals even as we solve a problem.
24:21 It is very interesting that in Proverbs 12 verse 10
24:26 the Bible says "A righteous man has regard
24:31 for the life of his beast".
24:33 That is, he is sensitive to his needs and its wants
24:37 and its cares and he won't abusive
24:40 the way Balaam beat on his donkey when he was angry.
24:44 We shouldn't come home and take out our anger
24:46 on the dog or the cat.
24:48 And if we take the responsibility
24:50 of dog and cat, we need to make sure
24:52 to properly care for them the food and water
24:55 and not starve and abuse them and make their life miserable
24:59 because they can suffer too.
25:01 And those who are righteous do not take joy in causing pain
25:07 and misery when it's not necessary.
25:11 Likewise Paul alluded to this principle,
25:16 when he quoted Deuteronomy 25 verse 4,
25:20 which says "you shall not muzzle an ox
25:24 when it treads out the grain."
25:28 You see even when you had the ox on the chain walking
25:32 in circles threshing the grain.
25:35 You were not to muzzle him.
25:37 He had a share in the product he was producing.
25:42 And Paul uses that to say, that the pastor should get paid
25:45 for his services but the point is that those
25:48 in under our power should be treated with dignity
25:53 and respect and give him due compensation
25:57 for their efforts and their labors.
26:00 So the Fourth Commandment calls me fundamentally
26:05 to restrain myself in relationship to those
26:11 under me whom I can exploit and put have power over.
26:16 It calls me to treat them with the same grace
26:21 that Christ treats me with.
26:24 You see this is the same character found in the Gospel
26:29 and Christ who came from heaven to earth for us.
26:33 In Philippines 2 Paul says,
26:36 "Have this mind in your selves which is yours in Christ Jesus."
26:41 Who being in the form of God did not count it robbery
26:45 to be equal with God?
26:46 Another verse, Christ understood
26:49 that He was part of the Godhead and equal with God,
26:52 it was not something to be hung on to as it wasn't His own.
26:58 But He left all of that glory
27:01 and emptied Himself of those rights and those privileges.
27:07 And He came down to earth says Paul in Philippines 2,
27:12 and He took the form of servant.
27:14 The highest became the lowest
27:17 to be a blessing to you and me.
27:20 So you see there is no contradiction
27:23 between the character of the Ten Commandments
27:26 and the character of Christ.
27:28 The Ten Commandments reflect the character of the Christ
27:32 who gave them and to truly keep them is not legalism
27:36 it is to follow Jesus in that same self emptying way
27:42 of life to those around us.
27:45 And so the Fourth Commandment calls you and me
27:48 to be careful how we treat those under us
27:51 and to empty ourselves in their service.


Revised 2014-12-17