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August 18, 2020 7:00 pm
Dr. Gary Reimers continues a chapel series entitled “Oh How I Love They Law.” Today’s scripture passage is Exodus 20:13.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina.
Today on The Daily Platform, we're continuing a steady series entitled. Oh, How I Love Thy Law. Today's message will be preached by seminary professor Dr. Gary Reimer's.
Four weeks ago today, Nicholas Cruz entered a school in Parkland, Florida, and murdered 17 people. Hospitals and clinics all across our country. One hundred fifty thousand unborn babies have been killed in the two months of this year alone. And in the safety of their own home, the average American teenager has already witnessed eighty thousand murders. By the time he's 18 years of age on television, on film and in video games.
And actually the video games are the highest concentration of murders. The reality is that we are in a society that has devalued human life and it's not possible that we're not being influenced by that.
That's not OK with God. God has made it clear that he is against murder.
But we see all around us tends to to to to jade our conscience. And we can also begin to devalue human life and a variety of ways. As we look at this sixth commandment, then it might be helpful for us to understand why this is important to God.
He makes it clear in all the passages we'll look at today, he'll make it clear to us that human beings are important to him.
Genesis one twenty six. God said, let us make man in our image after our likeness.
And he continues in verse twenty seven. So God created man in his own image in the image of God created he. Him male and female created he them men and women are all in the image of God.
It's clear in these verses then that bearing the image of God means that we are representatives of God, and it's good for us to acknowledge that about self. But we also need to acknowledge that about others. Other people represent God and that image in parts inherent value to every person.
Get a little more insight.
A few chapters later in Genesis, chapter nine, verse six, where God also now makes it clear if he couldn't have concluded this ourselves and I think we would have, God makes it clear that harming his image dishonors God.
Genesis nine, verse six, says this whoso sharath man's blood by man shall his blood be shed for in the image of God made he man because God made people in his own image. Therefore, it is wrong to take the life of someone else.
Now, even apart from taking a life as in that verse, tell us that racism and bigotry are always wrong. How can you feel that way about somebody that God created in his own image?
Let's shift to the New Testament for a few moments. Matthew, chapter 22, because there's another point of explanation about the sixth commandment, why this is so significant. Matthew, 22, beginning in verse 17. This was one of the encounters that we read about in the gospels between Christ and his opponents. So the opponents speak up first in verse 17, saying, tell us. Therefore, they say to Christ, what think is it?
Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness. And he said, Why tempt me? Ye hypocrites. Show me the tribute money. And they brought into onto him a penny. That was the the the Nereus. A valuable coin. Not anything equivalent to our current penny. And Christ has a question. And here's the point. He said under them whose is this image and super description at that point. He's holding the coin up and showing them seeing the coin.
They responded Caesar's Caesar had and printed his own image. An inscription on the denarius. Here's Christ conclusion and verse 21 render therefore into Caesar the things that are Caesar's and not to God, the things that our gods.
That coin had an image and the image identified ownership. So it's OK to pay your taxes? Well, he has it, but that coin belongs to the government. We can draw further conclusion than that. God has placed his image on people letting us know that every person is God's possession. How should you treat God's possession of likeness indicates ownership then.
No one has the right to destroy God's property. And once again, backing off a little bit, even from the full destruction of God's property.
How do you suppose God feels when he sees people abusing other people or disparaging them in some way like this indicates ownership and ownership indicates control. Only God has the right to take human life. And he asserts that by placing his image on every single person so that how you treat other people is a direct reflection on your attitude toward God. We all find it very easy to say that we love the Lord, but the Lord watches us all day long. He sees our interaction with people.
And from that interaction, he learns the truth.
Imagine God thinking if they'll treat my image that way.
What must they think of me? Rather than disdain, people, despise them or even just ignore them and say to ignore somebody else.
He's not important enough for my time, my attention.
See how even that would dishonor God rather than objects of disdain need to look at people as opportunities to honor the Lord, because that's how he looks at people. I'm sorry to have to say this even applies to your roommates.
They also are important to God. God watches every day in your room to see how you reflect your attitude toward him by the words you say.
The attitude that God sees even when no words are spoken.
Some people try to use the sixth commandment to argue against capital punishment and warfare when you need to address that for a few moments this morning. And so we need to look at first of all or we're still in the New Testament. Let's shift to Romans Chapter 13, because we find it elsewhere in scripture here, starting in Romans 13, that the sixth commandment has two exceptions. God gives a general prohibition of killing people. But there are two exceptions to that. And this first one in Romans 13, he tells us clearly that a ruler can execute criminals. God gives him that authority. Romans 13, verse one, let every soul be subject under the higher powers.
For there is no power. There is no authority but of God. The powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisted the power resisted.
The audience of God and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation condemnation.
So a government has divine authority. And this applies to every government. Even governments that we might not like.
There was a government in place, as Paul is writing these words, that he didn't like very much at all. But he had to acknowledge and clearly testifies here that a government cannot exist without God's sanction.
So government has divine authority, but something more in verse for he that is the government authority, the government personnel, individuals that carry out that authority. Any such officer of the government, he is the minister of God to the forgood. But if I'll do that, which is evil, be afraid for he Barath, not the sword in vain.
What's the significance of mentioning the sword here?
Because that was an instrument of capital punishment.
Here Paul is saying that the authority of the government goes all the way to the point of legitimately executing criminals.
There's lots of debate in our world about this, but God has made it clear he's tall, telling us here the truth, that it is actually right for rulers to execute criminals because government has a divine obligation to do so.
Let's go back to the Old Testament. Exodus, Chapter 17. We'll see that an army also has the right to defeat its enemies.
Exodus 17. Beginning in verse eight, says then came and will back and forth with Israel and ref Edem.
Edem is in Sinai. Israel was on the way to Mount Sinai and there this enemy attacked. How did Moses respond to verse nine? Tells us he instructed Joshua, choose our men and go out, fight with Amalek.
Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with a rod of God in mine hand fight with him, Joshua, because it is it is right for a nation to defend itself, even if that means destroying the enemy.
Furthermore, as he says, Joshua U.B. in the valley below, I'll be on the mountaintop. That's not because Moses was afraid, but because Moses also knew that God had an interest in the battle that was about to take place. And you know, this story that as Moses lifted his hands, as long as he could hold his hands up, and that was an emblem of dependance on God, interceding for the army, fighting in the valley below. As long as he did so, God, acknowledging that sense of dependance, gave Joshua and the Israelites soldiers the victory. The story also tells us Moses hands were heavy, so he had somebody else lift his hands and hold them up to help him to do this assistance in expressing dependance on God.
And by God's grace, they were able to destroy the army of ammo like.
An army can defeat its enemies, defending our country is essential. And this would include both self-defense and removal of an imminent threat.
That also means that serving our country is honorable. We thank God for our military personnel. Recently to Phenix, police officers were in vehicle pursuit of an armed subject wanted on a felony warrant. They began that pursuit at about three 20 p.m. that afternoon.
The suspect and realizing that he was being followed, immediately increased his speed, collided with some other vehicles, got out of his vehicle and began to run, went around the corner of a building, hid among some cars in a parking lot. These two officers got out of their car chase, the suspect into that parking lot, and immediately the suspect started shooting at them.
And the ensuing firefight, the suspect was shot and killed. But later that day, the police chief and a public news conference explained that one of the officers had also died a few hours later in the hospital and that the other one was still fighting for his life, choking with emotion. He called it a tragic and violent day for the people of Phenix and the police and the Phenix Police Department.
A police spokesman said this. These particular detectives are some of the best that we have. Their job is to arrest individuals who are wanted for violent crimes.
It is an inherently dangerous job.
That is, every policeman do his job well. Every soldier fulfill his duty honorably.
No, there are exceptions to recognize that God has ordained the opportunity for us to defend ourselves and that we have individuals who have volunteered to be on those frontlines recognizing the danger of what they do.
So God's people need to support our public defenders.
Were there any other specific ways the Sixth Commandment should impact our lives today? Well, we were in Exodus. Let's look at one more passage in Exodus, this time in Exodus 21. So we'll see that the sixth commandment has two applications. The first one is the most obvious. And Exodus 21, verse twelve. God says he that smite a man so that he die shall be surely put to death.
A murder is a direct violation of the Sixth Commandment, and God has ordained that the response to that be capital punishment.
That's an explicit command only to ask God to sharpen our conscience about other direct violations of that command, such as abortion referred to already. For all of the arguments we hear in favor of abortion, the reality is no person has the right to end the life of somebody else, even if that person is currently residing in her own body. Doesn't matter where that person is, that person is still the image of God. This would also confirm for us another debated issue, and that is what about infirm people? What about people that are extremely elderly and unable to function? What about those that are so extremely ill that their quality of life is very poor?
Hear arguments that that would be merciful. That would be kind.
The reality is that would be a violation of the six commandment. We don't have that right.
What we do have is the grace of God that God promises is sufficient to withstand any trial.
Another example, though, would be suicide. Somebody might protest, but it's my life. Can't I take my own life? It's not your life. It's God's life. God made you in his image. And he is the only one that can decide when it is time to end that life.
Suicide is a direct violation of the Sixth Commandment.
Now the passage goes on, the next few verses to do indicate there is one exclusion to this and that is in the case of involuntary manslaughter. So we acknowledge that if somebody wasn't intending to kill somebody and it just happened, that that doesn't require capital punishment. But even then, God designated in the Israelite economy, cities of refuge and the individual who is guilty of involuntary manslaughter had to go to that city away from where he lived and he had to live there until the next until the current high priest died.
That was very restrictive. That was really unsettling for his way of life. It tells us that, well, he maybe could have been a little more careful and a human life was lost. That's important to God.
We have one passage left that we need to consult, though, because besides a direct violation of an explicit command. Christ himself tells us in Matthew Chapter five that anger is an implied violation. Matthew, Chapter five to follow Christ reasoning here in verse 21, he says, you have heard that it was said by them of all time, thou shalt not kill.
It's a little peculiar. Why did he introduce it that way? You've heard that it was said when in fact he goes on to quote the very thing that God has said. This is our sixth commandment.
But he introduces it, as you have heard it said, because what people were teaching about this commandment is that as long as you stop short of taking a life, you're good with a sixth commandment.
But Christ goes on to say is no, that is not all that God meant when he said Thou shalt not kill. So Christ corrects that thinking. And he says in verse 22.
But I say unto you. That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause.
Scripture elsewhere makes it clear that the only acceptable cause for anger is when God's honor is at stake, not our honor, certainly not our personal preference or pleasure.
So whoever is angry with his brothers shall be in danger of the judgment and whosoever shall say to his brother Rocka shall be in danger of the council. But whosoever shall say thou fool shall be in danger of hell fire.
That last one is describing Gahanna, the lake of fire. What does anger toward other people deserve? In God's perspective, nothing less than eternal eternity in hell. That seems kind of harsh, doesn't it? We thought that as long as we don't murder somebody, everything's OK. Christ says no, you've made a mistake. All you are paying attention to was that explicit command. But there is an implied prohibition here as well. And given the reality of the punishment that is due for those that are angry, Christ is really telling us here this is an essential conclusion. You don't get this conclusion. You are in violation of the Sixth Commandment just by being angry. And note here that the first instance of this that Christ describes, the person hasn't even said anything yet. He's as angry and as hard. He hasn't called them a name and he's already in line for God's judgment.
Both the inward attitude of anger is sinful and the outward expression of anger is sinful.
And the reason we know is because God said thou shalt not kill.
He's not equating murder with anger. He's saying when God prohibited anger, he also prohibited murder. He also prohibited anger. God does not want us angry with those that bear his image, even if we think our anger is justified.
At a local shoe store, the only checkout lane grew long as the cashier was trying to correct an error.
Finally, the transaction was complete. But the customer at the head of the line does continue to chat with the cashier. Finally, a man in the back of the line couldn't take it any longer. And he blurted out, Would you please move along? So the rest of us can get along, get get on with our life. And the woman turned around and glared at him. And he said, I'm not. She said, I'm not done with my business yet and I'll move along when I'm good and ready.
From there, the conversation degenerated till finally the woman stormed out the door, calling back as she did. So what a jerk.
Who is wrong in that episode?
You'd be correct to conclude they both violated the six commandment according to Christ. But I think we can also speculate that perhaps everybody in line violated the Sixth Commandment that day as well, even if they didn't say anything. Could it be that God is that interested in us getting victory over anger?
The sixth commandment says so. The only right response to anger.
And repentance and a request to God to help me do better at obeying the sixth command. That's a call for prayer.
Father, we are thankful for your word, thankful for an opportunity to come in line with your world today. Although we asked for your forgiveness for not having a view of human life that matches yours.
We asked Father for Your Grace to see the multitude of situations going on in the world around us, going on in our own lives in which we also are in danger of violating your command.
We ask for forgiveness. We asked for grace to change. In Jesus name, he met.
You've been listening to a sermon preached at Bob Jones University by Dr. Gary Reimer's, which is part of the studies series about the Ten Commandments.
Join us again tomorrow as we continue this series here on The Daily Platform.