Good NewsSeptember 10, 2023 | Brandon Cooper
We begin a 12-week series examining the Ten Commandments. Christians should be thrilled, rather than annoyed, that God had given them the Ten Commandments. They revealed God to humanity and established a foundation for objective morality. They stemmed from God’s grace – God rescued them and gave them the Commandments to guide their response of gratitude through obedience. 3) The Commandments expressed God’s goodness, demonstrating how to love God and others. Listeners are encouraged to consider, obey, and believe in response to God revealing himself through the Ten Commandments.
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Good morning church, you want to go ahead and grab your Bibles, you can open up to Exodus chapter 20. Exodus chapter 20, where we will be for the next few months actually, if you’re newer to church, maybe newer to church, in general, don’t know where Exodus 20 is, if you look at the black Bible that’s there in front of you, it will be on page 60, page 60 in the pew Bible. So yeah, if you don’t have your Bible with you today, go ahead and grab one of those, you can take a look at it. If you don’t own a Bible, by the way, that’s yours. Just take it home with you. Okay, we would love to give you that as a gift so that you’ve got a Bible from now on. So page 60. Exodus 20. We are starting, as Kyle said a new series today called the Big 10. Looking at the 10 commandments, or as they’re called, in Hebrew, the 10 words, the 10 words, I got good news, bad news for you good news. Unlike college football, we’re actually going to keep it at 10 commandments, okay, we don’t have another six or eight to add in there. Bad news, it will take us 12 weeks to get through the 10 commandments because we’re gonna do some introduction this morning, and a conclusion at the end of the series. But why are we spending 12 weeks looking at the 10 commandments? In part because of their importance to our culture, they are the best-known moral law, and really the foundation of Western civilization, our approach to justice and morality, you can see this if you’re to walk into, say, the Supreme Court or even the US House of Representatives, Moses is given prime place and all of the murals that surround these buildings, because it really is the foundation of our justice system. So they’re the best known in one sense. And yet, in another sense, they’re really not that well known at all, at least anymore. There was a 2007 survey done, that discovered that Americans really struggled to come up with the 10 commandments and get some but not all. Whereas you know, you want the seven ingredients in a Big Mac or the six members of the Brady Bunch relative ease like could just could knock those out which I couldn’t I’m apparently an outlier. But here you go. Here’s the thing, though. I wonder too, if the 10 commandments aren’t just forgotten, you know, like we haven’t been doing our flashcards just like us state capitals couldn’t quite remember them all or something like that. Not so much forgotten as may be rejected. There was an intentional forgetting because we might see the 10 commandments as obsolete. Even regressive, you know, a grumpy God’s list of don’ts. That is how some certainly see the 10 commandments, some would like to see them replaced. In fact, a couple of well-known atheist humanists had a contest that they ran some years ago, coming up with a list of 10 non-commandments $10,000 prize. For those who could come up with these new non-commandments. They had something like 2800 entriesand a panel of 13,judges, picked them and here’s what they came up with. First, be open-minded and willing to alter your beliefs in the face of new evidence. Second, strive to understand truth as it really is not as you want it to be. Third, the scientific method is the most reliable way to understand the world around us. Fourth, every person has a right to control their own body. Fifth, God is not necessary to live a good and meaningful life. Six people mindful of the consequences of your actions and just note that you’re gonna have to take responsibility for them. Seventh, treat others as you want to be treated. Eighth, consider others when you make decisions, especially or in including future generations. Nine, there is no one right way to live. And 10 leave the world a better place than you found it. Now, the ironies abound in this list. Turns out humans are not smart enough to come up with our own list of commandments. So for example, we say you don’t need God to live a good life and then you promptly quote Jesus for one of your commandments. Or there’s my favorite, which is number nine, there is no one right way to live. But here are nine ways to live if you want to live the right way. In fact, even the name itself 10 non-commandments are a list of commands. Be open-minded; strive to understand. Treat others, consider others, right. So you see, on the one hand, we want to decide for ourselves how to live, like I get to choose my path to my happiness. And on the other hand, we know that doesn’t quite work. You can’t just let people do whatever they want to do. So maybe the rules have changed but the the idea of needing rules is still there, I’ll just give you a real simple example. Our list of words you shouldn’t say has definitely changed. We’re not so big on not taking the Lord’s name in vain anymore, right? Like, you can just turn on the TV, that’s going to happen, for sure. And yet there are words that are verboten in our society. racial slurs come to mind, for example, rightly forbidden, mind you, but so we just have a different list of thou shalt nots, there’s this tension within us. In other words, we don’t want to be told what to do. But we know we need a set of rules, a moral framework in order for us to function well. And so here’s my contention this morning. This is what I’m gonna try to argue, as we go throughout, we should be thrilled that we have these 10 commandments. We should be elated, just ecstatic that God has given us these 10 commandments. In fact, if you look closely at your bulletin, you’ll see that the name of this sermon is good news. Good news, this list of rules is good news. This is not an annoying list of rules, you know that the teenager rolls her eyes at her parents when she gets or something like that they this is this is excellent. This is awesome, that we have this. We know this, in fact, is really interesting. Deuteronomy, chapter four, Moses is speaking about when the nation of Israel received these commandments. And he says this, he says, observe them carefully. For this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations who will hear about all these decrees the 10 commandments, in other words, and say, surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. I really enjoy this verse. Because of the sheer chutzpah that Moses has just the unmitigated gall, this leader of this Podunk nation, that isn’t even a nation, they’re just a group of escaped slaves wandering around in the desert, and he says, the laws that we just received are so good that all the nations around us, they’re gonna look at us and go, Wow, those people get it. And what’s even more amazing, is Moses was right, because here we are 3500 years later, talking about these 10 commandments, which are the foundation of our civilization, like the hutzpah, and yet it came true. Why? Because there’s wisdom here. And everybody knows it. Everybody can see it, we should be thrilled we have this law. Why we’re gonna look at three reasons this more coming from the introduction, right before Moses gets to the commands before God gets to the commands. In verses one and two, we’re gonna see him. Some are pretty explicit, some are more implications of what’s said there. But we’ll look at these three reasons God, grace, and goodness from Exodus 20, verses one and two. Let me read it for us now. And God spoke all these words, I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. So Reason one, we should be thrilled we have these commands these 10 words is because they reveal God to us. This is how it opens, and God spoke God. So there is a God, first of all, and the God who is there speaks, He reveals Himself to us, we can know God as he really is, including his will for our lives, how we should live, because he allows us to know him. He pulls back the curtain, he says, This is who I am no guarantees that that’s how this would have to go. God will be under no obligation to reveal Himself to us. And yet he does. And what’s even more is that there’s God who is there who reveals Himself to us as a god worth knowing. We’ll see much more of this in the next section. But even here, you know, he says, God spoke all these words. Well, what God Who are we talking about? I am the Lord your God. Now, you may have noticed that Lord is in all caps right there. It isn’t always sometimes in Bible Lord has written capital L, lowercase o r, d, when it’s written like that. It translates at least in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word I don’t like I don’t I, which just means, Lord, Master, sure, something like that. You could use it of people, but when it’s written in all caps, it’s translating not the title, Lord, but God’s name Yavi. And God’s name, he reveals Himself to Moses. We’ll look more at this later in the series. It’s his covenant name. It speaks to the relationship that he’s entered into with his people. Like his using it here.
It’d be a little bit like a newlywed woman who’s going around, you know, call me Mrs. Cooper. Not Amy. Why? Why would you do that because she wants people to I’m married. Now, this is exciting. She’s highlighting the relationship. That’s what God is doing here. He’s reminding his people that he freely and deliberately bound himself to them, that he’s committed to love, protect, and provide for them. And even says, like, “I’m yours.” Maybe we’ll look at it again, I am the Lord, your God, the pronoun matters. So these 10 words, they reveal God to us. And that is good news in its own right. But they do also point to why we need God. Because if it’s not God speaking these words, we can’t actually have a moral framework. We can’t have a universal set of principles by which we should live by I know that probably bugs some of you, some of you are going on and on, we can do this on our own. Stick with me. Let’s talk about this for a moment. First of all, we need God not Gods cannot have many gods because if you’ve got many gods, then you’ve got many modes of living. Many standards by which to live these gods have diverse goals. You know this if you ever had to read Greek mythology, right? If you read your Odyssey or Iliad or something like that, you know, Odysseus, he’s working with Athena, which means he’s working against Poseidon. So which god are you supposed to serve? Take the old hippie banner, you know, make love not war. Okay, well, that’s Aphrodite instead of Aries. But why am I choosing Aphrodite? She’s better looking. Sure. But Aries has the cooler costume, you know. So different goals, different morality. That’s why it’s so interesting in Greek and Roman, and frankly, Eastern thought, ethics are totally divorced from religion. If you want to have a conversation about ethics, you’re gonna read Plato, or Aristotle or something like that, you are not going to be talking about religion. And that’s foreign to us. We think they go together, you get your ethics from your religion, that’s because of the influence of Christianity on our culture, our thinking, it’s very air we breathe, it’s all around us. All right, but most of us aren’t probably, you know, flirting with Greek gods at this point. So the more pressing question is, do we need a God at all? I get that we would need a God not many gods. But how about no gods? I want to be clear, before I get into this, I am certainly not about to say that only Christians can do good. Not in the slightest. I’ve met a lot of Christians, I’ve met a lot of atheists, I like some of the atheists better than some of the Christians, because the way they live their lives, we could talk about why that happens. Another time, I’m not talking about our capacity for good. In other words, what I’m trying to say is, if you don’t have God, you have no way to define good. There can be no universal, or objective moral principles. Without God. This was Nietzsche’s point all those years ago, and he was one of the few atheists willing to say, Look, you can’t scrap the God of Christianity, and then keep the Christian moral framework. Like that doesn’t make any sense. That’s the foundation, you eliminate the foundation, it collapses, the building comes down. But what happens then if we don’t have this foundation, we don’t have universal objective morality, then the phrase X is wrong, whatever behavior you’re talking about this is wrong, means nothing more than I don’t like this. And I’d really prefer you not do it. And that’s just not quite strong enough. Because what happens if someone disagrees? What if you say, I don’t like this, I’d prefer you not do it. And they go, Well, tough. I like it, and I’m going to keep doing it. How do we respond? There’s no way to persuade there’s no way to compel someone to live this way. That’s that non-commandment number nine, there’s no one right way to live. So who are you to tell me I should do this or not do this. And like play this out? Again. Take Nietzsche again. Nietzsche believed that compassion for the weak, like the poor, the marginalized, the disadvantaged, he saw that compassion as a moral evil. Because, well, it’s just not very Darwinian, is it? Of course, if the hungry are going to start well, good, let them starve, less competition for the scarcity of resources around us. And what are you gonna respond? If you don’t have a moral framework, a universal standard, you could say something like, look, a society in which we care for the poor is better is preferable because you’ve got you know, more people committed to, you know, greater happiness for the greater number of people and a greatest number of people. But what’s You’re gonna say to that you can think that kind of society is preferable. I think the other kind of society is preferable. I would prefer a society where only the strong and skillful survive because that’s gonna be a better society. How are you gonna respond? At some point you’re gonna say something like, look, all people are precious, and they have certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Says who? I mean, even Jefferson didn’t answer. First of all, he said, they come from God, but we just scrapped God. And then he said, These truths are self-evident. You know what self-evident means, don’t you? It means you have no argument. So you’re just trying to sneak it in? Well, you can’t even fight with me on this one. Well, you can because Nietzsche did. says, Who there’s no rational defense for something like human rights. If you strip God out of the equation, Alistair McIntyre brilliant philosopher, he’s written extensively on the failure of the Enlightenment, to establish a moral framework. So again, you stripped God out of equation, let’s do this on our own. We just need human philosophy. We can do this. And he says, It doesn’t work. Like your whole human rights thing is just made up. He says, I love this quote, he says, The truth is playing there are no such rights and belief in them is one with belief in witches and unicorns. Why? Because there is no positive argument to be put forth. And defensive, then there is no positive argument for unicorns, there’s no positive argument for you know, Marvel’s Agatha, or something like that. Those kinds of witches. They don’t exist. The Case for objective morality without God fails. Logically. This isn’t even a controversial statement. Like some of you may be going on need to see your sources like fine. First of all, I’m around after the service. Let’s talk. I’m condensing like 200 years of philosophy into nine minutes. So yeah, I’m going a little fast. I get that we can talk later, but it’s not controversial. 42 years after McIntyre said that nobody has refuted him. He you know, he put out the 25th anniversary edition of the book. And he was like, Yeah, I wouldn’t change a thing that I said, it’s all still true. And often his point is readily admitted, just kind of with a shoulder shrug. Like, here’s Richard Dawkins, the Pope of the New Atheists. He writes, In one article, the universe has precisely the properties we’d expect if there is at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, and no good. There’s no good or evil. It’s really easy to say that from a place of comfort, and affluence, which is where Dawkins is, of course, it’s not quite as easy to say, when your country has been invaded your village sacked your father murdered, your mother raped and your sister taken captive. You want to say then there’s no good or evil? There’s no one right way to live? I just don’t like this personally. Of course not. So how do we establish moral principles? We need a foundation. You see my point, the 10 words open with God spoke. Because that phrase grounds all the other commandments. It provides us with a coherent and universal framework, we should be thrilled we have this law because it gives us morality, the possibility of morality. We can quibble at the edges, but at least there’s a foundation on which to build. That’s reason, one, God, reason to which we thrill we have the law because of grace. Let’s talk about that. So I’ve just argued that we need religion, to give us moral principles. But someone disagree. Alan Dershowitz, for example, Harvard law professor argues that religion actually makes us immoral.
Because the pious are only doing good works to escape eternal punishment or to receive some eternal reward, which means it’s entirely self-serving. Although by the way, why is being self-serving wrong? Where’s your defense of that? So the Christian does good in order to earn brownie points with God whereas the atheist or the humanist can do good just for goodness sake. So that is truly moral Of course, whose definition of goodness we don’t have a definition anymore but push the logic to the side for a moment. There’s a certain power to Dershowitz’s argument, isn’t there? Like if I’m just doing this to get heaven then I’m doing it for me. I’m not actually loving other people. For them. It’s got a little bit like when a politician, you know, shows up at the soup kitchen and they, like, grab the soup, and they get the photo off, and they leave. And you just go, “That’s not good.” Let’s not kid ourselves. Is that what we’re doing? We’re just getting our photo up in front of God and then moving on? So there’s the power to Dershowitz. His argument is very real except that it completely misunderstands, to the point of the commands, and frankly completely misunderstands the heart of Christianity as well. Because how does this passage begin? I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. So what are we talking about? Here? It’s a little context, we’re talking about the nation of Israel was enslaved in Egypt for a period of 400 years or so. And then, you know, Moses comes along, Let my people go, you probably saw the movie right? 10 plagues either the 10 commandments or Prince of Egypt, either one will work here, okay. So you know, the 10 plagues, and then the, you know, the part the Red Sea, and here they are out in the desert at this point. So that’s what’s being talked about. Where I want to draw your attention, though, is the chronological order, because that is so important to understand this. What happens, God rescues first, then we respond, then come the commands, we so often get it backwards. Most of us think religion teaches, if you obey, if you keep my commandments, then I’ll rescue you, then I’ll save you, but not the God of the Bible. Because the God of buy of the Bible is a God of grace, grace as an unmerited favor, it is a gift. It’s not something you can earn it is something that is freely given. Because look what happens, right? God establishes His covenant with this people, he calls himself, your God and all of that before the Israelites obey. In fact, before the Israelites even have the list of commands to obey. And the same is true for us. Ours is a different captivity, a different slavery, we’re not enslaved in Egypt, we are enslaved in our own sin, and selfishness. But the Quran chronology is the same. But Paul says in Titus, for example, here’s Titus chapter three, verses five. And eight says he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, not because we earned it right, but because of his mercy. And Titus is, by the way, a young pastor, so Paul has given him counsel. And basically what he’s saying here is, you need to preach that you need to preach that message over and over again. What I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. What happens first, he saved us, then we learned to do good. Salvation is not the reward for doing good, in other words, but it is the motivation for doing good. God’s grace precedes and drives our goodness, it is in the words of J. I. Packer, a means of maintaining a relationship already established by grace. This is how we keep the relationship going. Maybe the clearest statement of this in the New Testament is the passage that Robert read for us earlier. Ephesians, two eight to 10. So this is right after Paul has established that we have all sinned, that we are deserving of punishment. And then he breaks him with these words, but it’s by grace you have been saved through faith. This is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do like let’s walk through the order really carefully here. Because this is this is the process of salvation. First. There’s the recognition that we need to be saved. We are in need of rescue. Why because we are not unfailingly good in ourselves. The standard is perfection, and we have all fallen short of it. I don’t need to convince you of that you know that you have chosen selfishness instead of love probably a bunch of times already this morning. I know I have as well. So we need to be saved. And then second, God sends Jesus Christ to save us. What does Jesus do? Why has he had to come? Well, first of all, he lives the life we were supposed to live. The perfect obedience, every command perfectly kept with a perfect motivation all the time. So he lived the life we were supposed to live, and then he dies the death we deserve to die. So it’s this great substitution that happens. Jesus basically says, Tell you what, I’ll take your sin and your punishment and you can have my obedience and my reward. If you trust in me and that is the key third piece, right? God sends Jesus to save us but we are saved by grace through faith. It’s a gift of God, but it’s a gift we receive by faith that is we must actually trust. turn from our sin and turn to Jesus; believe in him. Basically, to say, I say, Well, I’m not going to be God anymore because I’m not doing a good job of it. I’m going to let you be God. That’s what salvation is. That’s what faith looks like, and then forth, all of that leads to good works. Now I see I’ve been recreated in Christ to do good works. It’s not, I obey, therefore, I’m accepted. It’s, I’m accepted, therefore I obey. This all helps us understand the relationship between law and gospel then, and really, if I know some of you got this question, the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament, if you’re using the law to try to earn your salvation, to get those brownie points, then it’s not that the law is bad, but you’re using the law badly. That’s why Paul sometimes sounds like he doesn’t care for the law. It’s not that it’s the attitude that says, I can do this on my own. You can’t Hebrews 11 Verse six, without faith, it is impossible to please God, if you’re doing this not from a position of faith, but from a position of self-righteousness, impossible to please God, what Dershowitz said would be right about you. Because you’re trying to give yourself basically a cause for boasting. You know, I earned, of course, God loves me, look at my performance record, how could he not that’s bad. But if we get the gospel, right, if we get grace, right, the law helps us know how to respond. What are those good works that we should be doing? In response to what God has done for us? The great Dutch theologian Herman Babic, says it like this, “The Gospel does not nullify the law, but restores and endorses it. It retains its authority. The law retains its authority and validity as a rule of gratitude. That’s it. That’s the keyword. It says a response of gratitude, a grateful response to this unmerited and unbelievable grace that we’ve received, what is that response? It’s to love God. How could you not after he’s loved you like this? Well, how do you love God, John 1415, if you love me, keep my commandments, keep my commandments. And that points us to reason number three, by the way, so we’ve got God and grace. And then lastly, goodness, speaking of the goodness of the commands that we have been given, let’s talk about this. If you’ve been in Christian circles for any length of time, at some point, you probably heard the phrase, it’s not about rules. It’s about a relationship. Which kind of neatly summarizes that last point well, right. Like the relationship is what matters most you can’t keep rules in order to earn this or anything like that. But if we got that last point, right. We’re still the uncomfortable fact that we’re we got a list of rules right here, don’t we? So it’s got to be about something other than just relationship and not rules. It’s because relationship and rules shouldn’t be pitted against each other. We have these rules to make the relationships work. When somebody comes to Jesus in says some of the commandments for me, there’s like 600 of them, Jesus, like helped me out here. And Jesus says, I’ll give you one, kind of two. It’s sort of two halves of one commandment, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.
So one, one command really love. That, by the way, neatly sums up the 10 commandments and the fact that they’re in two halves. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. That’s the first five commandments, and then love your neighbor as yourself. That’s the second five commandments. We’ll talk about that as we go. But that’s what happened. That’s what these rules are for, to help us know how to love. One reason the 10 commandments have a bad reputation today, even among Christians, is because we don’t like law. We think we should be led by love. But that’s a false dichotomy. The law is love. It’s showing us how to love again, Jesus, John 14, if you love Me, keep My commandments. So this expression of love, but it’s not just an expression of who, you know, a way we can express our love for God. The rules themselves are part of God’s expression of love to us. That’s a little bit like cars. I’m not a car guy. You just gotta know that upfront, but I know some things about cars. I know they have a lot of moving parts, which means there are a lot of things that can go wrong with them. So when you get a car, they also hand you an owner’s manual. Why? Because they’re kind of showing you like if you follow these things, if you change your oil, rotate your tires, you’re gonna minimize the risk of all of those bad things happening in your car. Here. God is telling us how life works best to minimize evil and suffering in this world. Just imagine for a moment, like let’s play, make-believe, like Daniel Tiger is just imagine, like four of your mom’s and you’re like, I’ve seen Daniel Tiger, the rest of you have no idea what I just said, that’s fine. Imagine for a moment that everyone everywhere kept these 10 commandments all the time. Would the world be a better place or worse place? It’s a no-brainer. If everyone kept the payments all the time, you’d have no law enforcement. no prisons, no courts, no security guard, no security systems, you’re not locking up your bike when you go to the library or something like that. No marriages wrecked by adultery. I mean, just on and on and on down the list, it would be a better place. We know that. Deuteronomy 28 speaks to the blessings that will come on the nation, if they keep the 10 commandments. But partly this is just the blessing of life working people working well together. So you see these these rules, they’re not oppressive, they’re liberating. They’re freeing. Because true freedom isn’t doing whatever you want to do. True freedom is doing what you’re meant to do. What you were created to do. It’s like picture a train. A train is free to move so long as it is on the tracks. And as soon as it gets off the tracks, bad things happen. Right? Or a fish. You know, you get the expressive individuals fist fishes like you know, Mom and Dad, tell me how to live my life like I’ve seen out there. And they got flowers and sunshine and fresh air. I’m not swimming anymore. I’m gonna go walk on land. That is not a free fish. Not for long. Well, it’s a free meal of fish. I guess if it comes out but totally different. You This is the idea. In obeying God. We’re not constrained in a box like Han Solo in carbonite, or something. We are free to be what we were supposed to be like. Michelangelo’s David being liberated from the marble. This is what I was always supposed to be, of course, because these commands come from a God of loving grace. They don’t come from a punitive taskmaster, or a cosmic killjoy. They come from our Creator, and one who is willing even to be our father. Here’s the way John puts it. First, John five verse three. In fact, this is love for God to keep His commands. We talked about that already. And his commands are not burdensome. We’re just saying this truth, didn’t we? I serve a king with good intentions. That is I serve a God who intends good for us, who wants what’s best for us. So often, we doubt God’s goodness, and doubt that he’s being good to us when he requires anything of us, like does he really have my best interests in mind when he tells me not to do this? And not to do this? And not to do that? Are the intentions of God for my life? Holy, good. Can I withhold judgment? At least for a time? Should I reserve judgment until he proves himself I got good news for you? You don’t have to wait until he proves himself because he’s already proven himself to you. That is the cross of Jesus Christ. He has proven himself decisively. He rescued us from slavery and not in Egypt, but in our sin, which is rebellion against God, he should smite us this is high treason against the king. If you ever try high treason against the king, it doesn’t usually go well for you. Usually you lose your head, that kind of thing, but not with God. He rescues the very people who are in rebellion against Him. The cross is the definitive proof of his love for us a God who loves us like that. Who loves us at the cost of his son even is it God we can trust to God we can trust he’s not burdening us. He is freeing us. The 10 words the 10 commandments are good. Kyle was telling me he grew up in a church they did a series on the 10 commandments and the name of the series with it was the Tender Commandments. I like that. They already made the poster, sorry. The tender That’s it right it’s an accent God’s tender love for us. That’s exactly what we’re gonna see in this series. And some of them are easy to see like don’t murder yep, I get it. That’s a good command. Some might be harder to see. Why is that we can’t make graven images. I don’t even know what graven means. Sweet. Come on back. Okay, we got some work to do. Still you are invited to the rest of it. We will work through it. But where do we go from here? What do we go as we we leave today what should we think and do in response to the God who has just revealed Himself to us in His Word? First, consider, consider that as give serious, sustained thought to God as He reveals Himself to the fact that it’s necessary even that we have a God who reveals Himself to us, and then to the goodness of his commands, like pay attention to your own life, even looking back, but looking forward also, is your life better or worse, when you and those around you obey God’s commands, you might find as you’re looking at the image CS Lewis used for this, the 10 commandments are a little bit like finding solid ground after a shortcut that went bad you ever gotten off the trail when you’re at you know, the arboretum or something and you discover you’re basically walking through a bog, you know, until you finally get the other side, you’re missing a shoe and all that stuff, and just feel so good to have crushed limestone under your feet again, right? Like I’m solid. That’s what these commands are gives us firm footing to know what’s right. To love all people everywhere, just just a summation of the 10 commandments filtered through Jesus Christ. So consider, don’t just consider, that’s not enough, right. Second, obey the good, obey. Try it out, do what God requires, and see what comes of it. But here’s my challenge to you especially is obey, exhaustively, obey all of the commands. Because as soon as you go, I like this command, but not this command. You don’t have a god, you’re still worshiping yourself. I am the ultimate standard of good and evil in this world, which is a really bold stance to take. So obey exhaustively. I think this is true for a lot of us even been in church for a long time. A lot of us are a little bit like Herod. You remember this story, John the Baptist called him out for his sexual sin. And so Herod put him in prison. Herod also really liked John the Baptist, it says that he used to bring him in all the time and let John preach at him. So we’re kind of like Herod in that we like listening to John. But we’re not going to give up our incestuous relationship. And in fact, when push comes to shove, we’ll chop John’s head off. Don’t be like Herod, you will never regret obedience. But you will regret disobedience. It’s the car thing again, right? You will regret deciding you’re smarter than the manual and putting orange juice instead of oil into your engine. Orange juice does not have the viscosity to keep your engine lubricated. I’m pretty sure the acid will corrode the metal, you’re gonna be in trouble soon. Right? Like, if God exists, He is so much smarter than you. Okay? Just own it. So listen to Him, obey. But for some, maybe it’s your first time in church today. First time in church and a long while maybe you’ve been coming for a long time. But you got that like religion, things still going in your head like there might be a step before obedience still. And that is belief, belief. You’re not trying to earn this. It’s been given, see his grace. Ponder His love, contemplate his sacrifice for you. And respond with faith. We just think in the end,
it is nothing. But you’re the love that God desires. That is all he asks of you. That you would love him. Know what a god he must be if this is all He requires of us. Thomas Watson 17th century preacher he says he reminds us this is so true. He says, The Lord could have demanded your children to be offered and sacrifice. Many gods in many cultures have done that he might have ordered you to cut and stab yourself. He could have required you to lie in hell a while but he only desires your love. How remarkable that truth is. You ever wonder why would God want our love? Man? Why would a king want the love of a woman who’s in debt and diseased and disfigured and yet that’s exactly what we are standing before God. Like why did God want any part of me when he rescued me all those years ago? Was it the Pimply face and the long hair? Was it the massive insecurity and a big problems with girls? There was nothing in me for him to desire. And yet he saved me and is slowly remaking me in his image of my story that could be your story to God does not Lead, God does not need our love. He does not need our love. There are angels enough in heaven to love and adore him. We add nothing to God’s essential glory, He has always been perfectly glorious. He does not need our love, but he wants it. He desires our hearts that he might heal and restore them. And he gives us these 10 words, as part of that process. They are an expression of the grace of a good God, let’s pray to him together now. Lord, how grateful we are that we can approach you the God who is there, the God who reveals Himself to us that we might know you truly. how grateful we are that you’ve revealed Your will for our lives. And I pray God that even now we would take serious consideration of how you revealed yourself that we would pay attention that we would evaluate, and we would humble ourselves before you and wonder if we might have it wrong, because you’ve got it right. Help us Lord, to to give the consideration that is do not just to consider your rules, but to consider our own lives. And to see how far short we fall even have our own standards so often, how in need of rescue we are. And help us then to consider Lord. The offer of grace before us the offer of a relationship with you. I pray for those who are here now, Lord, who are still questioning Christianity, or maybe who’ve never questioned it at all because they never really thought about any of this. Would you open minds and hearts and eyes this morning to see our need and your grace, your love and help us Lord all of us to trust and obey a God like you. So good. So gracious, so real. We are yours. We offer ourselves to you again even now. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.