"THE LAW OF THE LORD IS PERFECT."
Intro. Life exists on two planes: the vertical and the horizontal. The vertical axis on which your life revolves is your relationship with God. The horizontal is your relationship with others. There is a fixed center point so that if the vertical axis is out of line, your life is doomed to become topsy turvy. People are always seeking to find the balance. Get the vertical axis correct, and the horizontal will automatically balance out. That is why it is significant that in the giving of the law, the first four commandments have to do with your relationship with God.
I. THE LAW OF THE LORD WAS WRITTEN ON TWO TABLES OF STONE. THE FIRST TABLE DEALT WITH YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, THE SECOND SIX HAD TO DO WITH YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR FELLOWMAN.
A. It is so important to put your relationship with God first.
1. Jesus said, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you."
2. Man so often reverses the order and seeks after all these things, and no matter how many things he gets, he never seems to be content.
3. When Jesus was asked by the lawyer, "What is the great commandment of the law?" Jesus answered: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
a. Note again that the first is the relationship with God.
b. One day Jesus called a man to follow Him and the man responded, "Lord, allow me first..." That is the problem with so many today, they are saying, "Me first."
B. The top priority in my life should be to have a right relationship with God.
1. That should exceed every other pursuit.
2. Jesus asked, "For what should it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"
3. How about you this morning, would you say that you have a right relationship with God?
II. THE FIRST FOUR COMMANDMENTS TELL US HOW TO HAVE A RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
A. "You shall have no other gods before Me."
1. He wants to have top priority in your life.
2. Any desire, wish, ambition that you might have that is greater than your desire for Him, is idolatry.
3. "That in my secret heart, no other love competes, No rival throne survives, and I serve only Thee."
4. Let's sing it now as a prayer: "To see your lovely face, ever before my eyes, this is my prayer, make it my strong desire."
B. "You shall not make 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: You shall not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God."
1. The fashioning of idols to represent your god is a practice that in this modern world is for the most part forsaken.
2. We do, however, idolize people.
3. Shaq O'Neal has become an idol for thousands of people in L.A. He is worshipped as a god.
4. Hollywood has created many stars who have become idols for people; in fact, they are referred to as Hollywood idols, and are adored and worshipped by multitudes.
5. Today the graven images are in our minds.
C. "You shall not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain."
1. I am shocked at the language of small children. Their use of the name of Jesus Christ is in a blasphemous way.
2. You sometimes wonder where did they get that?
a. They hear it in the movies that you take them to go to.
b. They oftentimes here it around the home.
3. The Lord adds a little commentary here, as He declares that He will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
D. "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy."
1. I have bad teeth so I spent much of my early life in the dental chair. When I was in high school, I had a great dentist who was a Seventh Day Adventist. He would get my mouth all propped where I could not talk, then as he was drilling away he would talk to me about worshipping on Saturday. After he would pull out the hardware and cotton, I would say to him, "I believe that God established a 6-and-one pattern. I do not believe it matters what day you set aside for rest and to worship God. The important thing is that you set aside one in seven."
2. With all of the changes of the calendars throughout the years, we do not know for absolute certainty which day is truly the Sabbath day.
3. It is interesting that Jesus was always being accused of violating the Sabbath day. His response was that His Father worked on the Sabbath day, and so He worked. He said that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
4. Paul said that one man esteemed one day above another, another man esteems every day alike, let ever man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
E. These are the laws that deal with your relationship with God. To violate these laws constituted ungodliness.
III. THE NEXT SIX LAWS DEAL WITH YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR FELLOWMAN, AND TO BREAK ONE OF THESE LAWS, CONSTITUTES UNRIGHTEOUSNESS. THAT IS, YOU ARE NOT RIGHT WITH YOUR FELLOWMAN.
A. "Honor thy father and thy mother."
1. One of the most important relationships that we have is the family relationship.
2. A strong family is the foundation of a strong society.
3. A nation's strength depends on the strength of the family, that is why Satan tries so hard to destroy the family.
4. A few weeks ago we dealt with the obligations that a parent has to their child, to teach them the ways of the Lord. So many things were done in order to give the parent the opportunity to share with their children the awesome works of God that they had experienced.
5. In the next chapter we see how severe a penalty was to be meted out to a son or daughter that would hit their mother or father or would curse them. They were to be put to death.
6. It is a great tragedy when a parent is not honorable, when they do things that their children cannot respect.
7. Parents who are alcoholics or live ungodly lives. We read of unthinkable sexual abuse of some children by their parents.
8. Must a child honor their parents in such cases? I think not.
B. "You shall not murder."
1. In the next chapter Moses will define what is 1st degree and what is 2nd degree murder. The one is killing someone deliberately with premeditation, the other is accidentally killing someone.
2. He will list many offenses for which a person was to be put to death.
C. "You shall not commit adultery."
1. How this strikes at family relationships.
2. How devastating and destructive.
D. "You shall not steal."
E. "You shall not bear false witness."
F. "You shall not covet." Desire something that belongs to someone else.
1. Your neighbor's house, wife, servant, livestock.
IV. THE LAW OF THE LORD IS PERFECT.
A. Can you imagine the total chaos of trying to live in a community where these second six laws were not laws?
1. The juvenile delinquency. Children running the households.
2. People killing each other.
3. The family unit totally wiped out.
4. Nothing would be safe, you go away from your house and come home and find no furniture. You really could not have any stores.
5. The whole judicial system would be wiped out. There would be no way of ascertaining the truth. In fact, you would not need a judicial system for there are no laws.
6. There would be no coveting of something that belonged to your neighbor; you would just go over and take it.
7. The human race would soon disappear.
B. These laws are stronger than they appear on the surface. God intended them to be spiritual not physical.
1. We are prone to think of the first four as spiritual and the second six to be physical, but God intended all ten to be spiritual.
2. Jesus made an issue of this in the Sermon on the Mount.
a. The law says, you shall not murder, but I say, you are not to hate your brother.
b. The law says you shall not commit adultery, but I say, you are not to even desire to have sex with someone else.
3. Paul the Apostle thought that he had faithfully kept the law until he came to the recognition that the law was spiritual.
a. It was the tenth commandment that caused him to realize the spiritual nature of the law, for coveting is something that goes on in your heart.
b. When he came to the realization that the law was spiritual, he realized that it condemned him to death.
c. Before this recognition he thought that he was justified by the law, but he discovered that he was condemned by the law.
4. James said that sin was rooted in lust. That is where it starts.
C. The law of the of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. How so? By showing us how desperately wicked we are, thus driving us to the grace and forgiveness by God offered to us through Jesus Christ.