The Ten Commandments matter. The Ten Commandments have authority. The Ten Commandments still apply today.
The moral law is still in effect. This is the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. I'm Bill Wright, and friend, did you know that nine out of the ten Old Testament commandments are repeated in the New Testament, and that as believers in Christ, we're expected to obey them? It's true, and today as Don continues teaching God's people God's Word, he's going to begin an in-depth survey of the Ten Commandments, showing us that although Christians are not now nor have ever been under the Mosaic law, it doesn't mean we can just run around doing whatever we want without consequence. So open your Bible to Exodus chapter 20, and we'll get started.
Here's Don with the second half of a message called The Ten in the New, in the Truth Pulpit. Go back to Exodus chapter 20, the sixth, seventh, and eighth Commandments. Hopefully if you haven't already done this through prior catechisms in your earlier life or something like that, hopefully you're starting to be able to associate the Commandments and learning them as we repeat them in this way. Fifth Commandment, honor your father and mother. Sixth Commandment, here we go, you shall not murder. Seventh Commandment, you shall not commit adultery. Eighth Commandment, you shall not steal. Now why are we treating those together, and these familiar Commandments, why are we treating them together like this?
Well, there are multiple passages that help us think through this. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, explicitly quotes these Commandments as authoritative, and he quotes them all in the same place. Look at Romans chapter 13 with me. Romans chapter 13, Romans chapter 13, where he says this, he says, owe nothing to anyone except to love one another, for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. See again, the law is instructing us on how to love. The law is instructing us on how to love. It is our tutor that leads us to Christ. Once we are in Christ, it instructs us on how we are to love Him, and he goes on to say in verse 9, for this, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit murder, you shall not steal.
And while he treats them in different order than how they are given, you find them all right there in the same place. And that's why we're treating these three in one combined multifaceted point, because we find it right there, gathered up in one place, Paul citing these three Commandments and others, and applying them to Christians. Jesus Christ did this Himself in Mark chapter 10.
Turn back there with me. Mark chapter 10, you see how the Lord and Paul, who had the mind of the Lord, saw these Commandments and gathered them together into one place. Jesus did this as he addressed the rich young ruler in Mark chapter 10 verse 17, where we find the scripture saying, as Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to him and knelt before him and asked him, good teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said to him, why do you call me good?
No one is good except God alone, and the goodness of God is revealed in his Commandments. And look at what Jesus does. Again, we're seeing how the New Testament takes the Ten Commandments and applies them and uses them as authoritative. So Jesus says in verse 19, you know the Commandments, do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.
Many of you have the Commandments directly from the Ten Commandments in all caps, indicating that he's quoting from the Old Testament. Jesus spoke nearly the entire second table to the rich young ruler, said do this and live. And the reason that he did this was not because the man could actually earn and inherit eternal life through his obedience, he was quoting the Commandments to him to set the standard before him to expose his sin to him.
He was a proud man and he had idols in his heart. He loved his wealth and so he walked away from the Lord. Having asked the right question, he walked away because he loved his money more than he loved the Lord. And so he walked away eventually after he said this in verse 20, he said, teacher I've kept all these things from my youth up. He didn't understand them at all. And Jesus felt a love for him there in verse 21, one thing you lack, go and sell all your possess and give it to the poor and you'll have treasure in heaven and come follow me.
But at these words he was saddened and he went away grieving for he was one who owned much property. He didn't understand the first thing about the Ten Commandments even though he asserted that he kept them from his youth. And so we see these three Commandments gathered up in Romans 13 and in Mark chapter 10. Now let me point something else out to you about individual Commandments here, about the Commandment against murder, the Commandment against adultery. Look at Matthew chapter 5. Look at Matthew chapter 5. Jesus here is speaking to people. He is showing forth what true repentance looks like to his disciples. That's the whole point of the Sermon on the Mount.
I won't take time to explain that again. But in Matthew chapter 5 he quotes these individual Commandments and expands on them to show that they're not simply matters of external behavior but they apply to the desires and motions of the heart. And so he quotes the Commandment, shows its authority and then clarifies its implications on those who hear. So in verse 21 of Matthew chapter 5 he says you have heard that the ancients were told you shall not commit murder for sake of time.
We'll skip to verse 22. He says but I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court. Whoever says to his brother you good for nothing shall be guilty before the Supreme Court and whoever says you fool shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. In other words your hatred and your anger toward your fellow man is a violation of the Commandment against murder. It's a violation of the Sixth Commandment. Even if you never lift a knife or point a gun and and use it and take someone's life you can still be guilty of the Commandment not to murder because it applies to the heart and it applies to to to sullen rebellious attitudes toward parents and towards authority. You know this this defiance against authority and wishing away in a violation of the commandment against murder.
You know to reject authority is to say I wish you were dead. And Christ says that wish in your heart convicts you as a murderer. The law convicts you of that and the reason that it convicts is because the law still is in effect. The moral law still has authority. Now in like manner the Lord treats the Seventh Commandment against adultery in a similar way. Very familiar we don't need to spend any extended time here but in Matthew chapter 5 verse 27 he says you have heard that it was said you shall not commit adultery. You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
You don't need the physical act to be guilty of adultery and adultery stands for a whole the whole category of sexual sins that men engage in men and women engage in. And so we see we see from these collective commands from Romans 13 Mark chapter 10 how the how the Lord himself and Paul quotes them as authoritative. We see here in Matthew chapter 5 the Lord applying them to the heart in specific instances on the commandment against murder and against adultery. Is it starting to dawn on you that the Ten Commandments matter? That the Ten Commandments have authority. That the Ten Commandments still apply today. That the moral law is still in effect.
To say that it's not is to just rip pages and pages out of the New Testament and to leave it as an unrecognizable document as it's been handed down to us. And so what does this mean in terms of we said that the law is teaching us how to love? How could love be the fulfillment of the law?
Well just think about what love is. Love would not murder the object of its love. Love would not commit adultery against the object of its love. Love would not steal from the object of its love. Instead love would give. Love would be faithful.
Love would be kind. And all of these things are instructing us on the nature of genuine love. And move us and we need this so much in the in the world in which we live and move and all of our thoughts have been influenced by it.
To move love out of that sentimental category of internal feelings alone and into the realm of positive constructive attitudes and actions that actually benefit those that we claim to love. And so the sixth seventh and eighth commandments. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal.
I've easily shown you multiple places in the New Testament where those are quoted. Now ninthly, the ninth commandment. You shall not bear false witness.
You shall not bear false witness. God is truth. He is a true God. It is impossible for him to lie. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me. Well because God is like that, there is a moral implication for his creatures that they are to be truthful as well. So it says in Exodus chapter 20 verse 16, you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
And just emphasizing the critical importance of truth, of not being deceptive but being someone who is honest and whose word can be believed. Look at Matthew chapter 5 verse 33. Again you have heard that the ancients were told, you shall not make false vows but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord. But I say to you make no oath at all either by heaven for it is the throne of God or by the earth for it is the footstool of his feet or by Jerusalem for it is the city of the great king. Nor shall you make an oath by your head for you cannot make one hair white or black. Oaths are not necessary in ordinary conversation.
It's enough for you simply to speak the truth is his point. And so he says in verse 37, let your statement be yes, yes, or no, no. Anything beyond these is of the evil one. If you say yes then it ought to be true and you don't need an oath to magnify the truth of what you say.
If you say no it ought to be no, that ought to be real, that ought to be the way things really are. And so this commandment against bearing false witness goes right to the core of the heart of those who would mislead people with their words or their actions by withholding information, secretive lives, double lives, all of this hypocrisy projecting one image when in reality you're someone else in private. The commandment against bearing false witness brings all of those things to the table and convicts us of our guilt before God by being, not simply saying false things, but by being false people.
These things are very searching. And you see it in the Ten Commandments. This is the point. You see it expressly in the Ten Commandments. You see the themes being emphasized in the New Testament as well. And beloved, when Paul's talking in Ephesians chapter 4 through 6, as he's talking about those chapters, he's uniquely speaking about life in the church.
And this is how we are to relate to one another with candor, with transparency, with kindness, with love and gentleness, putting aside grudges and bitterness, putting aside foolish and temporary divisions over this thing or that, putting aside those things that put a wedge between you and someone else. It has no place in the Church of God, no place in the Church of Christ. If we are one united in Christ, united by the Spirit in Him, then on what basis do we maintain petty resentments against one another?
I ask you, and I ask for good reason. These are the things, violation of these kinds of working out of the Ten Commandments, these are the things that will fracture a church. These are the things where churches can go astray. And so I plead with you to search your heart, and if there's anything like that in your heart, that you're confessing that before the Lord and you're getting yourself right before God vertically, and then you're practicing the kind of forgiveness that's been given to you in Christ, Christ has forgiven you, on what basis do you not forgive one of your brothers for something that's been said or done? And when these kinds of divisions get baked into the life of a church, it's very difficult to correct it.
It's very difficult once those roots go deep to try to pull them out so that they're no longer infecting the Garden of God. And so if you find yourself having taken a couple of steps down that road toward a fellow brother or fellow sister in Christ, beloved, it's time to stop and let the Ten Commandments arrest your attention the way that the New Testament applies the Ten Commandments, arrest your attention so that we're honoring God in all that we do, individually and corporately. This is of great sober significance. So finally, tenth and finally, the tenth commandment you shall not covet. Let's look finally at Exodus chapter 20 verse 17.
Exodus 20 verse 17, humble yourself before the Spirit of God and say work in my heart and conform me to the image of Christ. That is the only proper way to respond when the arrows of the Spirit pierce your heart. There's no reason to be upset.
There's no reason to be defensive. Just say, Lord, thank you for calling this to my attention. My only desire is to be a pleasing servant in your sight. And if there are things in my heart, things in my life that need to be cleansed out, then thank you for convicting me of it so that I can repent and that I can be cleansed by the blood of Christ and that I can return to the path of walking the righteous life that you've called me to live. Nothing else, no other response is worthy of Christ. And we all need this. Every one of us needs this.
It's serious. Anyway, tenth commandment you shall not covet. Verse 17, you shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor. And as I like to point out when we're going through the ten commandments, the tenth commandment shows us that from the very beginning, God's law applied to the heart. The tenth commandment explicitly applies to the inner desires and the inner motions of the human heart. God commands not only the outer man, He commands the inner man and tells us what we are to be like. And in commanding us not to covet, the corresponding positive command would be content with what you have.
Be content with what you have. And where do we find this command repeated in the New Testament? Well, the Apostle Paul certainly felt the force of this command in his pre-conversion life, and he refers to it in Romans chapter 7, verse 7. Romans chapter 7, verse 7. He says, what shall we say then? Is the law sin?
In other words, because the law exposes sin, is the law sinful? He says, may it never be. God forbid. No, no, no, no, no. Let's not talk that way. That's really off track.
The train's derailed at that point, if that's where you go with this. He says, on the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the law, for I would not have known about coveting if the law had not said, you shall not covet. And so the law convicted Paul and helped lead him to Christ, as Christ eventually made himself known on the road to Damascus to him. Go back to Romans chapter 13, verse 8, which we've already quoted, but speaking to Christians, speaking to the people of God, the blood-bought people of God, Paul says, owe nothing to anyone except to love one another, for he who loves his neighbors fulfilled the law. And he goes on to say those commands that we looked at earlier, and then he explicitly says right there in the middle, you shall not covet. And you see, once again, the New Testament applying the Ten Commandments to New Testament believers as being enforced for them to obey here in the present life. Well, there are other passages that we could look at. 1 Timothy 1, verses 9 and 10 is important this way and is simply, at this point, kind of piling on to what I've already shared with you, so we won't take the time to look there. But beloved, here's what I want you to see and here's what I want to close up on. It's so easy for teaching like this to be misrepresented by nefarious actors who try to misrepresent and twist what's actually being taught so that it's not...so that it's the Word of God is obscured. The devil is always on the prowl looking to try to do something to disrupt the people of God.
So let me make this point of emphasis as I close. As we're talking about the Ten Commandments, we are not setting forth the way before you by which you might earn your own salvation. We are not saying that. Scripture makes it plain that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We're all lawbreakers, we've all fallen short, and so no one obeys this law and earns salvation. The law simply convicts us of our sin, but it does more than that. No, no, salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, not by works that we have done. I quoted Ephesians 2 earlier. We do not keep these commandments to earn merit with God. Our merit is in Christ. It is outside us.
It is external to us. It is a gift given to us by imputation, by crediting in the divine account given to us in Christ when our faith is in Him. And so we're not talking about salvation by works. But what we're saying is this, the Ten Commandments reflect the enduring moral will of God. And when you are saved from your sin, when God has redeemed you, the Ten Commandments instruct you on how to love Him. The Ten Commandments have the effect of restraining your feet from pursuing sin. The Ten Commandments show you what is pleasing to God in addition to the other aspects of the work that they do. And that's why the New Testament repeats their themes. Jesus Christ did not abolish the moral law. He made that abundantly clear in Matthew chapter 5, verses 17 to 20.
No, He obeyed it on our behalf and paid the penalty for our violations of it. And so now, now, beloved, then in some ways this whole thing has been able to make this one final closing statement. Now, we will embark on a study of the Ten Commandments to better learn how to please our God and to be more sensitive to our sin as we grow in Christ. God will use this to grow us, to convict us, and to help us understand the fullness of what it means to live in obedience to Him.
And that's why we'll continue our study in coming days. As a close, let me just say that everything that we've said here, if you are not in Christ, all of this convicts you of your own guilt before God. The law reveals to you your need for a Savior. And that is why we continually, repeatedly, earnestly, in whatever multiple ways limited giftedness allows us to do, it's why we offer Christ to you. You need Christ as a Savior. You need Christ to redeem you because you're guilty of breaking the law of God. And that brings judgment upon your head. And so I invite you, for the brokenness in my heart, I invite you once again to come to Christ.
Give yourself to Him that He might exercise His saving power in your soul. That's Don Green, and you're listening to The Truth Pulpit. We're so thankful you've decided to spend some of your valuable time studying God's Word with us. For a copy of today's message, or to find out more about this ministry, just visit thetruthpulpit.com.
Once more, thetruthpulpit.com. And now before we close out our time today, here again is Don with some closing words. Well, my friend, I just want to thank you again for listening to the broadcast. I'm so glad that you joined us today on The Truth Pulpit. And you know, if you are ever in the Cincinnati area, stop by and visit us for a service at Truth Community Church.
We meet on Sunday mornings and Tuesday evenings, and I would love to meet you and be able to get to know you a little bit. You can find our service times at thetruthpulpit.com. Again, visit us at Truth Community Church with the service times available at thetruthpulpit.com. Thanks Don. And that's all the time we have for today. I'm Bill Wright, inviting you to join Don Green again as he continues teaching God's people God's Word here on the Truth Pulpit.
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