The Ten Commandments

Exodus 20:3-17, Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (4) Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: (5) Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; (6) And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (7) Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (8) Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. (9) Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: (10) But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: (11) For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (12) Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. (13) Thou shalt not kill. (14) Thou shalt not commit adultery. (15) Thou shalt not steal. (16) Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. (17) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

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In chapter 20 of Exodus we have the giving of the law. The Ten Commandments are given first in this chapter, but they are only part of the law. Instructions pertaining to the altar are given: the law and the altar go together. The law revealed that man is a sinner and needs a Saviour. There must be an altar upon which to offer the sacrifice; there must be the shedding of blood for sin.

You have a mirror in your bathroom, which is a picture of the law, and there is a basin underneath the mirror. You do not wash yourself with the mirror; it only reveals the dirt. Just so, the law is the mirror that reveals our sin. And beneath that mirror is a wash basin. The first part of the law given to Israel was the Ten Commandments which was a Moral Code.
Exodus 20:1-2, And God spake all these words, saying, (2) I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Israel had asked for the law and God obliged them and He gave them the 10 Commandments first.
The 10 Commandments put before us God’s standards.
No man can play fast and loose with the 10 Commandments and get by with it.

Many say it can be broken today because we are not saved by the law. Therefore, it can be violated at will broke with impunity. This is not true at all. The Apostle Paul answers this problem in:

Romans 6:1-2, What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (2) God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

If you think you can continue to live in sin and break the 10 commandments at will, then you are not saved by the grace of God. When you are really saved you want to please God and want to do His will which is revealed in the 10 Commandments. Therefore, every preacher of the grace of God and every Christian should have a respect and reverence for God’s law.

What is the law? Someone has defined it as the transcript of the mind of God. That is a definitive definition.

The law is the expression of the mind of God relative to what man ought to be.

There is no grace or mercy in the law at all. The law is an expression of the holy will of God.

Psalms 19:7, The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

The law requires perfection on your and my part. I have never met anyone who has measured up to God’s standard. The law is not some vague notion, and it does not have anything to do with good intentions. It requires perfect obedience, for the law of the Lord is perfect. The law of the Lord is right. Our notions of right and wrong are colored by our environment and by the fact that we have a fallen nature. The law is a revelation of God. God has drawn the line between right and wrong. How do you know what is right? God tells us what is right.

This present generation who wants freedom so badly is questioning what is right. Why is it wrong to lie or steal? Because God says it is wrong! You may say, “It is for the good of mankind.” Of course it is. The law would be a wonderful thing if man could keep it. Man cannot keep the law, however, and the jails, the locks on the doors, and that you have to sign in a lot of paper to borrow money from a bank is because they do not trust you, are all testimony of this fact. The law never enforces itself. The lawgiver must have power. God enforces His laws with tremendous respect.

Ezekiel 18:4, Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The law must be enforced and the breaker of the law must pay the penalty.

The law also reveals who man is and his inability to bridge the gap between himself and God.

Romans 3:19, Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

Romans 8:3-6, For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (5) For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (6) For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

The fault does not lie in the law but in us. The law is a mirror, as we have already seen, that reveals man in his sinful condition. The law never made man a sinner, it revealed the fact that man was a sinner. The law was given to bring a man to Christ, as we have seen. It was our schoolmaster to take us by the hand, led us to the cross and let us know we need a Saviour because we are a sinner.

Galatians 3:24, Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

1. Thou shalt have no other God’s before me.
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy god in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.
5. Honour thy father and thy mother.
6. Thou shalt not kill.
7. Thou shalt commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor- which is lying.
10. Thou shalt not covet.

The Ten Commandments Are Divided
Into Two Major Divisions

One part deals with man’s relationship to God, and the other part deals with man’s relationship to man.

1. Exodus 20:3, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

God is condemning polytheism which is the belief in more than one God. There is no commandment against atheism because there were none in those days because they were too close to creation and the original revelation of God. The atheists began to appear during the time of King David. And they were called fools.

Psalms 53:1, To the chief Musician upon Mahalath, Maschil, A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.

Today, the atheist can be a college professor and considered to be a brain and an intellectual, but God says he is a fool. There are many atheists today because we are so far from our origin and men are not willing to accept the revelation of God in His Word.

In that day it was popular to worship many god’s. Today, it is popular not to worship any God.

People who reject God and His authority have dire consequences.

Romans 1:21-28, Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (22) Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, (23) And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. (24) Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: (25) Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. (26) For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: (27) And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. (28) And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

2. Exodus 20:4-5, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: (5) Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

This deals with idolatry. Some people may feel that this passage does not deal with us today.

Colossians 3:5, tells us that covetousness is idolatry!

Colossians 3:5, Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

Anything that you give yourself to, especially in excessiveness, it become your “God”.

3. Exodus 20:7, Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Using the Lord’s name in vain is the way of blasphemy. This is very prevalent in our day and age. But it is still the commandment of God. Why is it wrong? It is wrong to use God’s name in vain because He is God and He is holy!

It also reveals a lack of vocabulary. Many people cannot express themselves without using profanity.

4. Exodus 20:8-10, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. (9) Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: (10) But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

The Word Sabbath means to rest. The Sabbath Day was given to the nation Israel in a very unusual way. It was a covenant, a token between God and the children of Israel. Exodus 31:13-17, Exodus 16-21-30. In the New Testament we worship on Sunday the first day of the week because Christ arose on Sunday. Mark 16:19, John 20:1, 19, Revelation 1:18, Acts 20:7, I Corinthians 16:1-2.

Back in Exodus 20:8-10, notice the phrase, thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: So, no one in the family. Nehemiah 10:31, post exile Jews, Deuteronomy 5:12-15, when they entered the land.

In Exodus 20:9 God repeats the command; notice the phrase, thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

Exodus 20:11, For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

If it is good enough for God, it is good enough for us. In the New Testament Sunday is a day of worship and rest.

Vs 11, notice the phrase, wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
It was a day of God’s thoughts. It is a day of worship. May God help us to understand that He wants us to set aside a day for Him.

5. Exodus 20:12, Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

This is brought over to the New Testament as well. We are now in the section of the commandments which deal with man’s relationship with man.

Ephesians 6:1-4, Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. (2) Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) (3) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. (4) And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

This is the first commandment with promise. Ephesians 6:4, Exodus 20:12, Deuteronomy 5:9-16. Ephesians 5:2-17.

A father and a mother should be worthy of the honor of their children. This commandment goes both ways. Children should honor their parents. However, a parent must live a life worth honoring. That puts the responsibility back upon the parent. The key to this commandment is to understand that the parent must be a godly person before he or she can expect their children to honor them.

Deuteronomy 5:16, Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Colossians 3:20-21, Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. (21) Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

Proverbs 23:22-26, Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old. (23) Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. (24) The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. (25) Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice. (26) My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways. This is the key to rearing godly children-getting their heart and keeping it.

6. Exodus 20:13, Thou shalt not kill.

This is not talking about a nation going to war. God told Israel to go to war several times. This is given to the individual. A nation is given the authority to protect human life. The word for kill here is a very technical word, it is the Hebrew, RATSACH-and it means to murder. Thou shalt not murder. This is personal. The word has in it the thought of premeditated killing, of anger, and personal grievance.

Exodus 17:8-16, Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. (9) And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. (10) So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. (11) And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. (12) But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. (13) And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. (14) And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. (15) And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi: (16) For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.

We kill people with other means today as well. With our tongue, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, and malice.

Ephesians 4:29-32, Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (30) And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (31) Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: (32) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Ephesians 4:15, James 3:8-12, James 3:14-18, Galatians 5:15-22

7. Exodus 20:14, Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Many act like God has changed this commandment. He has not. The commandment still stands. We are living today in the middle of a sex revolution. Sex is not new, but it is still adultery when it is committed outside of wedlock. God makes this very clear. Man may think he has changed the commandment but he has not.

How serious is God about this?

Leviticus 20:10-13, And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. (11) And the man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (12) And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them. (13) If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Proverbs 30:20, II Corinthians 12:21-It creates moral insensitivity.

Matthew 19:9-Justifies divorce.

Galatians 5:19-It is a work of the flesh.

Proverbs 2:16-20, To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; (17) Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. (18) For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. (19) None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life. (20) That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.

8. Exodus 20:15, Thou shalt not steal.

Our Lord taught that the very thoughts of our heart are sinful. Hatred in the heart makes me guilty of murder. Lust in the heart makes me guilty of adultery. There are many people who believe that stealing is okay as long as you don’t get caught. The word stealing means taking another’s property.

Matthew 6:19-21-“Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”

Romans 12:9, This commandment is taken over to the New Testament.

Ephesians 4:28, If you are now saved, don’t steal.

I Corinthians 6:19-20, What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (20) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Stealing is not glorifying God in your body.

9. Exodus 20:16, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Bearing false witness against thy neighbor is lying.

There are at least 35 passages of Scripture that deal with thus subject.

John 8:44-It is of the devil. It is lying.
I John 2:4-6-A person that does not keep His Word (commandments) is lying.
I John 4:18-21-hating your brother.
I John 2:21, 25, 27-God’s promises are not lies.
Proverbs 19; 5-Liars shall not escape.
Revelation 21:8, But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

10. Exodus 20:17, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

The tenth commandment entails the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes. The word “covet” means to desire or lust. Covetousness is a form of idolatry, Colossians 3:5.

The context here is coveting or desiring that which belongs to another whether it is his possessions or his wife. It is the desire for more-the love of money. Perhaps the practical outworking of these is entailed in the word greed.

Covetousness is usually a secret sin, only known to God at first.

It is a sin of the heart and spirit. It usually degenerates into placing the coveted desire ahead of the Lord, thus becoming a form of idolatry.

Modern men are often ambitious, casting aside integrity, honesty, or virtue to obtain that which they seek after.

Romans 7:7-8, The law says thou shalt not covet.
I Timothy 6:10-12, When a person covets money they have erred from the faith.
James 4:2-4, Coveting is a huge lust issue.
Romans 13:9, Thou shalt not covet.
Proverbs 15:27, A person who is greedy troubles his own house.
Ephesians 5:5, 17, A covetousness person is an idolater and does not understand the will of God.