The Ten Commandments: The Heart of the Matter

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The Heart of the Matter

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The Ten Commandments: The Heart of the Matter

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God tells us He loves us by giving His Commandments. We show our love for Him by keeping them.

Transcript

[Darris McNeely] The 10 Commandments are a brilliant, concise set of laws that reflect the beauty of Gods mind towards His human creation, His love.

My father told me that he loved me only once in my life. I was leaving home to go to college and we both knew that I really wasn’t coming back home, to live at least. Coming back home, yes, but he knew that this was a change in his life and my life. Now he only told me once but it was enough. It confirmed what I already knew. It confirmed what I knew because every day my father showed his love to me. Now he was a man of a different generation. He didn’t show it openly and like I said, only once in my life. But I knew that he loved me by so many other ways that he showed it in his own particular way but he did it the best that he knew.

Now my success in my life depended on obeying what my father taught me. And he taught me well. He gave me his love in the best way that he knew and it taught me a very important lesson about life. It taught me a very important spiritual lesson that God gives us His love as well. And our obeying our spiritual Father is a key to our success in life.

In the 6th chapter of the book of Matthew in what we know as the Sermon on the Mount Jesus makes a statement about the cares of this life and our worries and what we should think about. And in verse 25 He says, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” God loves us and as He has taken care of these animals and the nature of our world, He loves us as well.

How does He love us? How does God give us what we need in the same way that my physical father really did give me what I needed as well? Well as a spiritual Father God gives us His love. He gives us His love and that’s a remarkable thing. In 2 John chapter 4 the Apostle talks about this in a passage of Scripture that we should know. As he speaks to the church he says, “I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father. And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another. This is love,” John writes, “that we walk according to His commandments.” This is love that we walk according to his commandments. “This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.” This is love that we walk in the very commandments that God has given to us. Now we know that God has given us 10 commandments, 10 laws, 10 immutable, unchangeable spiritual laws enforced from the very creation of the world.

In chapter 13 of the book of Romans, we add a little bit more to this where the Apostle Paul writes about some of these commandments it helps us to understand about how this love is important in the fulfilling of this law. He says in verse 8 “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments,” and then he lists several of the commandments, the ones that really do deal with our relationships with one another. He said you will not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, you shall not bear false witness. We know those, we should know those and if there’s any other commandment all are summed up in this saying. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

These particular commandments here out of the 10 talk about the relationship of how we love our fellow man. By not stealing, lying, cheating, committing adultery, bearing false witness against them. “Love,” he says as he concludes, “does no harm to a neighbor therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” The law of God. Again, a basic code of conduct a basic law of life.

In the book of James, James talks about the fact that we are to be hearers and doers as we look into the perfect law of liberty, the perfect law of liberty. If there is one thing that the world needs today it is freedom. It is liberty. It’s not freedom from law it is liberty from sin. It is freedom from want, from need, from suffering, from pain, and God’s law is the basis for our deliverance from that. Those 10 Commandments.

That’s what we’re talking about on today’s program. The very Ten Commandments of God given to us. Our booklet that we are offering is by that name as well, “The Ten Commandments.” Those of you that are watching this later can get a copy of this by calling the numbers on your screen, going to beyondtoday.tv. You know we’ve all seen the movie the Ten Commandments probably, it’s been shown many many times through the years. But how many people know them? How many people actually live by them?

The Ten Commandments, let’s talk about these today. Let’s look a little deeper into the importance they have for our lives.

The Ten Commandments is a great moral code for mankind. There’s no question about that. It’s recognized throughout time, throughout history for the importance that they mean to people at any time, at any place, anywhere, no matter the race, no matter their ethnicity, it is something that God has given for all mankind.

In the book of Deuteronomy where we find a repetition of the law in the 4th chapter of the book of Deuteronomy Moses wrote something here that bears our observance and looking at it here beginning in Deuteronomy chapter 4 it is God’s final instruction to Israel before they went into the land that He promised them and Moses writes “listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers is giving you.” And then in verse 6 he says “Therefore be careful to observe them” speaking of the commandments and of the laws and of the statutes which flowed from those laws. He said “be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?” And he goes on and again he says “And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?” No other nation is the obvious answer, had this law. God gave to Israel something of eternal importance that were supreme. Verse 13 he goes on to say, “So He declared to you” meaning God, “His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone. And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might observe them in the land which you cross over to possess.”

So God gave to Israel these Ten Commandments and you can well imagine the scene. We’ve seen it many times of Moses coming down as has been portrayed to us in our time at least through the wonders of Hollywood. Holding two tablets of stone, you’ve seen representations of those in many many places, public places usually.

Ten eternal principals of laws written on stone. God gave them to the nation Israel and He said it is your greatness. People will say what other nation has this? And they were given something. But what happened? What happened to Israel? What happened to the people who were given this law? Well you know the story. They forgot. They forgot God. I mean that’s really the essence of the entire Old Testament story of Israel. They were given this great code, this law, blessings, the grace of God in their whole life and then they forgot it. They committed idolatry, they broke that law, and they began to suffer the penalty for it. God sent His prophets to warn them to come back and time and time again they really didn’t listen to those prophets. People like Hosea or Jeremiah or Ezekiel or Isaiah and there was one prophet especially, Hosea, in his teaching of the people of Israel trying to get them to turn back to God and to keep that law. To keep those commandments, he said look you’ve got problems, you’ve got social ills, you’ve got decay, you’ve got poverty, you’ve got sin. And he said “I have written” God says “I have written for him the great things of My law,” the great things of My Law speaking of Israel, “but they were considered a strange thing.”

Israel looked at the Law of God and said we don’t want that. It’s strange. It’s not relevant, it’s not easy, it’s too hard. It wasn’t their style and so they called it strange. They disappeared. Who’s done this today? What people have done this today? Well look at contemporary America. Look at other nations. Look at Great Britain, look at Canada. Look at other western nations, virtually all nations. You know we’ve had in our own country battles over the display of the Ten Commandments in public places. Now some of us might remember that going back a few years ago where we had in front of court houses and public places literally displayed the Ten Commandments and people got all up in arms to remove that because it’s public and it’s mixing religion in the public place and that’s been more than 10 years ago. We don’t hear about that anymore. We don’t hear about that anymore do we? I thought about that as I was preparing this program thinking I remember judges and places like Alabama fighting within the courts and other people and it’s been out of the headlines. You know why? We’ve moved way beyond that. It doesn’t matter where they’re displayed anymore because our country, in America at least, has changed so much from that time.

Let me take you back to something that’s remarkable, a remarkable moment in again American culture, in American history. Let’s go back more than 30 years. 1987. A place in North Carolina called Duke University one of the great institutions of higher learning in America. A commencement address was given that spring by a prominent American newsman. His name was Ted Koppel. He was invited to give this address to the graduating students of that class of that year.

Now Ted Koppel was an everyday face and name in American television at that point in time and he worked for ABC News. He had a Nightline show that it was called. It came on late, it was very popular. But he was called upon to give a talk about the media and he did. And in the midst of that he made some comments about the impact of his own business at the time when he said this and here’s a quote. He said “We” and he’s speaking of the news media, “We are beginning to make our mark on the American psyche.” Which they were. He said, “We have actually convinced ourselves that slogans will save us. Slogans like ‘Shoot up if you must; but use a clean needle.’ ‘Enjoy sex whenever you wish; but wear a condom.’” He goes on and he went on and he said, “In the place of truth we have discovered facts; for moral absolutes we have substituted moral ambiguity. We now communicate with everyone and say absolutely nothing.” Think about that. This is the pre internet days. We communicate with everyone and say nothing.

He goes on. He said, “No. he answer is no. Not no because it isn’t cool or smart or because you might end up in jail or dying in an AIDS ward — but no, because it’s wrong.” And then he got to the clincher of his speech. He said, “What Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai were not the Ten Suggestions, they are Commandments. Are,” he emphasized, “not were. The sheer brilliance of the Ten Commandments is that they codify, in a handful of words, acceptable human behavior. Not just for then or now but for all time.”

Mr. Koppel was a modern secular prophet in his day and in his time. But you know something? I don’t think Mr. Koppel would be able to give that address today in an American college campus. First of all he wouldn’t be invited and if they examined his comments in advance he certainly would not be allowed to speak, and if he did in today’s climate Mr. Koppel would have to apologize for his remarks. It’s a remarkable statement made more than 30 years ago but it shows how far we have come in America and in other countries.

The Ten Commandments are a brilliant concise set of laws that reflect the beauty of God’s mind toward His human creation, His love. And as we keep those commandments, in turn, we show our love toward God and we show our love toward fellow man. The Ten Commandments are commands that set in order life and they create a stable, functioning, peaceful society.

If you’d consider for a moment the radical impact on today’s world if any one of the commandments were to be kept. Think about it. Radical impact. Stealing. How many security firms would go out of business? What would be the need for locks? We wouldn’t have to worry about getting hacked, would we? Murder? What would they cover on the news programs? There’d be a lot of blank holes thankfully and a lot happier society. What if all lying stopped? Now think about that one for a moment. Might have to get a few new elected officials, wouldn’t we?

Today religion and law of any sort like the Ten Commandments, we think about a moral set of absolutes. Unbendable, unshakeable, unchangeable through time. That’s considered bondage. That’s considered radical, extreme, it’s considered irrelevant. Why? Well a lot of reasons. Basic nature of man is one certainly. But in more modern times there’s been a lot of failures of religion who are supposed to teach, uphold, model that behavior. Abuse, hypocrisy among those who are charged with teaching moral principles and laws. That’s changed a lot of things as well.

You know America and other English-speaking peoples have been founded on Judeo-Christian teaching. In fact the Ten Commandments are at the heart of that teaching and have been known throughout the world. They’ve not always been lived but at least in many ways through the years they’ve been acknowledged as a moral/spiritual standard. And in fact on Supreme Court of the United States, on the outside and on the inside of the chambers, there are emblazoned there a copy of the Ten Commandments and Moses on the outside holding the two tablets.

Other nations like Australia and Canada have had the Ten Commandments at their foundation whether they acknowledged it openly or not. How’s that happened? Well the reason is because those nations were again founded on principles out of the Bible. This book was taken by the English when they left out of their small island nation. And they circumnavigated the globe and they went to all the many nations that the merchants did and the English way and they colonized, they also evangelized. That’s one thing they did. They took that King James Bible out of 1611 and they took it with them and it made its imprint upon these nations where they went. And it became then a foundation of much of the law and the civilization that was there and a part of that. 

But it’s been forgotten. It’s been cast aside as we read from the book of Hosea and has been considered something that is strange. How about us? How about you? Do you remember the commandments? I’m not talking about just memorizing them, I’m not talking about being able to quote them at all, I’m talking about living them. I’m talking about knowing them from your heart. And that’s what I think a pretty good review of this material would do for every one of us. Those of us, those of you that are watching would benefit from this study aid of the Ten Commandments that we’ve prepared. We go through each one of the Ten Commandments. Actually I was looking at it, I hadn’t looked at this particular booklet here that we’ve put together here at Beyond Today and the other day and just recognizing the depth of the spiritual content that is in this particular publication. Right in the middle of it there is a little side bar that I think is especially helpful for any of us who may have a problem with that 5th commandment to honor our father and our mother because maybe our father and mothers were not that honorable. As a pastor and teacher through the years I’ve ran into that quite a bit. We have a little side here that says “How Should We Treat Parents Who Are Difficult to Honor?” There are some important principals there.

This booklet I think will help all of us in the audience today to have a good review and those of you that can order a copy of it by calling the number on your screen or going to the beyondtoday.tv website can benefit from that free copy as well.

God gave us the Ten Commandments as a great moral law, a standard of absolutes with which we could build a moral and just society.

The Ten Commandments come from God and they express His love to us. You know our nation today cries out for social justice. You hear that all the time. Equality, freedom from poverty, hopelessness. The hopelessness that leads a person to get into drugs and other addiction and damaging behavior, violent behavior. This is the eternal cry for our nation today.

You know there’s a scripture, another one, from the prophets it’s the book of Amos chapter 5 and it’s a mirror scripture. One of those scriptures that you read and you think this is a headline out of today. Because God says you have trampled down the poor. You have withheld justice from the poor in the courts and in the market place. Does it sound familiar to today?  He said “hate evil, love good; Establish justice in the courts and streets. It may be the Lord God of hosts will be gracious.” So words of Amos a long time ago. But they are words that meet today. Amos was saying you haven’t built a great society.

You know 50 years ago in America there was a President named Lyndon Johnson who said we’re going to create a great society. I remember him giving the speech on that order. Alright? And he said we’re going to embark, we’re going to eradicate poverty, we’re going to create social justice, and you know what? We’re still waiting. He went down into Appalachia, walked up on a porch, the people in a place called Inez, Kentucky. I’ve been to Inez, Kentucky. I used to give bible studies in Inez, Kentucky. And that was his symbol of trying to lift these people out of their poverty. We’re still waiting for the great society more than 50 years later. We’ve forgotten God’s law. That’s the basis of a great society. Social order will eventually breakdown because of that and we’re seeing that around us now.

Here’s why we should keep the commandments. In Jeremiah chapter 31 there is a remarkable verse that gets to the heart of the matter because it’s what exactly is the purpose of God’s law. It is to be written on our hearts. It’s to move from a tablet of stone into the heart of mankind. And verse 33 he says “But this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law on their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

God’s entire intent from the very beginning was to put the law in our hearts by His Spirit. God gave us the commandments because He loves us. Because He wants a relationship with us that begins with His Spirit and by that He will write it on our hearts to where we live it because we know it we will obey those laws because we love those laws, we will sing like David did. “Oh how love I thy law.” It will be on our heart, and our minds, and our thoughts all the time.

Jeremiah wrote those words to a nation that’s just like America and many others. A nation that was tearing its heart out with so many problems. They had gone through a time of child sacrifice.

They did not have a national identity. They’d lost sight of who they were before God. The wealthy did not care at all for the poor and the religious leaders of his day were ineffective. The commandments of God were the only way, Jeremiah saw, that the nation could be healed. But Jeremiah’s nation didn’t listen. They disappeared. Will we disappear? The promise remains and we can claim that promise even if we do not as a nation, you and I can claim that individually.

You can do something about your life. You can begin to understand what the commandments of God can do to change your life. You can choose to obey God’s Ten Commandments. You can let God begin to write them on your heart today.

The booklet that we offering, The Ten Commandments, is going to help you get your mind back into that along with so many other scriptures to understand exactly what that means and how it is. Call, write for that, get it today. 

You know I opened with my father. He told me that he loved me one time and it was enough. As my father lay dying he turned to us and he said, “We need to love one another.” And truly we do. Let’s begin by loving God, by living according to the Ten Commandments.

[Narrator] Please call for the booklet offered on today’s program “The Ten Commandments.” This free study aid outlines each of the Ten Commandments in an easy to understand style that reveals the deep truths that God wants you to know so that you can live an authentic, fulfilling life that benefits and inspires others. Order now. Call toll free 1-888-886-8632 or write to the address shown on your screen. When you order this free study aid we’ll also send you a complimentary one year subscription to our Beyond Today magazine. The Beyond Today magazine brings you understanding of today’s world and hope for the future. Call today to receive your free booklet “The Ten Commandments” and your free 1 year subscription to Beyond Today magazine. 1-888-886-8632 or go online to beyondtoday.tv

Comments

  • badhop22
    One of the best teachings I have ever listened to. I always enjoy Mr. McNeely studies but this one is special. We have changed so much since my childhood. My son and I were talking about if the world obeyed just one commandment say not to steal. He asked about what would be a fair price to sell something for. Is charging to much stealing or just good business? I've thought about this for a while and have come to a better understanding of what Christ did by fulfilling the law. Charging a price well above the value of something may not break the letter of the law. But the saying "what would Jesus do" comes to mind.
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