The Ten Commandments
Part 2 – The Last Six Commandments
The Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God on Mt. Sinai while the whole Jewish nation waited at the foot of the mountain. Shortly before this, God had miraculously freed the Jews from slavery in Egypt and now they were all traveling through the desert on their way to the Promised Land. God wrote these ten laws Himself on two tablets of stone and gave the tablets to Moses to take back to the people. These ten laws which are recorded in Exodus 20 were eventually called the Ten Commandments.
The Ten Commandments were given to the Jewish nation four thousand years ago- and also to all of Gods’ people down through the ages. The Ten Commandments help us to know how God wants us to conduct our lives. We can know the difference between right and wrong. So here they are - the Ten Commandments (not the ten suggestions!) as they are given to us in the Bible (Exodus 20). We covered the first four commandments last week so today we will go over the last six commandments.
The first four commandments cover our relationship with God. And the last six commandments are laws concerning our relationships with one another. So today we will be looking at some of the rules God has for us when we relate to one another.
(5) The Fifth Commandment: “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20: 12)
Family is all important to God. I have a friend who was a loving and dedicated mother, but now, one of her daughters refuses to speak to her. The mother has been cut off for years from her angry daughter and surrounded by a wall of hate. The family is Christian but the daughter believes she has reasons to hate her mother. But God has not called us to hate. God calls us to love and forgive and to honor our mothers and fathers.
Of course other Scriptures state that parents are to provide for their children and take care of them. (1 Timothy 5:8) Too many deadbeat dads are in church pretending to be the good Christian, while their children are left behind growing up without a father.
(6) The Sixth Commandment: “You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13)
Human life is sacred. Scripture says that we humans are created in Gods’ image. He lights each life coming into the world. So it is a sin to destroy (kill) a human life- a life that God has made. I believe that when we take the life of an unborn baby we are also breaking this sixth commandment since an unborn baby is a person.
(7) The Seventh Commandment: “You shall not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14)
God meant for marriage to be really good. He meant for wives and husbands to have great marriages, great romances and great friendships. But to have all of these things the couple need to be faithful to one another sexually and otherwise. The Bible teaches that it is wrong to have sex outside of marriage. And if a married person has sex outside of his/her marriage he/she is breaking the seventh commandment. This command is given for our own good and the good of our children and our community.
(8) The Eighth Commandment: “You shall not steal.” (Exodus 20:15)
It’s pretty straight forward, isn’t it? We are not to take something for ourselves that belongs to another person. So much pain and trouble occur when these laws are broken. It isn’t always the poor that steal. Sometimes the rich or powerful steal from the weak or poor by setting up laws that keep the poor mired in their poverty. God is a God of justice and He will judge. If you remember the Bible tells us that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were judged and destroyed by God because the rich Sodomites were proud and stole from the poor. (Ezekiel 16:49)
(9) The Ninth Commandment: “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20: 16)
How many prisoners have had their lives taken from them? How many have been exiled long years behind prison bars because someone told lies about them in court? How many people have had their reputations, jobs or friendships ruined by lies or gossip that was spread about them behind their backs? Even when we stretch the truth to harm another persons’ reputation, we are breaking this command. I am shocked by how many political rumors and exaggerations have been spread in the name of Christ! We are not to win the Christian battle by spreading hate and false stories. God commands us to be kind and truthful in our dealings with each other and to never betray another person or group with dishonest statements and rumors.
The Tenth Commandment: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house or your neighbor’s wife, or his servants or his animals or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20: 17)
This last commandment relates to our thought life. We are not to lust sexually after someone else’s’ husband or wife. Perhaps watching pornography causes a person to lust (covet). I don’t believe that God’s children should watch porn. Porn doesn’t show sexual acts between two people who have a commitment to one another. So porn is fake and doesn’t represent the real thing. And God wants us to have the real thing! I believe that watching porn can help undermine a good sexual relationship. Porn is fake, sexist and turns women into sexual objects.- men too. Real sex only builds up love, commitment and respect. How many marriages have been compromised by porn?
Also when we are commanded not to covet I believe that that means we are not to want (lust after) the nice car or home that belongs to our neighbor. If we have lustful thoughts we can ask God for help and He will help us transform our thought life. His Word promises us that! (1 Corinthians 10:13) Coveting or lusting (wanting something that belongs to another person) often leads us to the next step – stealing, committing adultery or even murder. And it all started there in our minds. Scripture tells us to “take
captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5) Let’s give our thought life back to God.
Let’s face it, we have all fallen short and broken some –or many-of these commandments! But when we believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior and we repent (are sorry), Scripture says we are forgiven for breaking Gods’ laws. And the Holy Spirit comes into our lives and gives us new desires and helps us want to obey these commands. So obeying is not a burden! We will never keep the Ten Commandments perfectly on our own, but Scripture tells us that Jesus is our righteousness. (Jeremiah 23:6) He will forgive us when we mess up and be our covering. We won’t ever pass the “test” by living up to Gods’ commands, but Jesus will pass it for us! But we need to try to do our best to obey anyway.
Jesus once said that all of the Ten Commandments are summed up in just two commands. (Matthew 22:36-40) And those two commands are to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Loving God and loving our neighbor then is the key to obeying the Ten Commandments. But since our supply of love is limited, God promises to give us supernatural love if we ask. It’s not easy to break the commands –to steal, kill or harm another person you love. So obeying the commandments becomes much easier when we love our neighbor. So it’s all very simple. All we really need is love!