How does Jesus fulfill the 10-Commandments?

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17; Cf. Rom. 10:4; Gal. 3:24).

Jesus said these words. He has come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. He has come to to bring about that to which Bible pointed in the Old Testament, and that is what Jesus has done. The word fulfill means “to fill out, or expand.” It does not mean to bring to an end. Jesus was not taking away from the Law, contradicting it, nor was He adding to it. The Law remains wholly authoritative and demands the fullest respect of all followers of Christ (5:18–19).

Jesus came and clarified the Laws original meaning and goal. After all, He was its author. And we must not forget that Jesus, as a Jew, related well to the Law. Through His teaches and example He also clarifies God’s eternal desire for His people be characterized by obedience and holiness from the inside and out. Fulfilled Law is written on the heart (Jer. 31:31–34; Ezek. 36:26–27). Jesus Himself fulfilled the law in several ways: by keeping it perfectly; by fulfilling the Old Testament messianic types and prophecies; and by providing the way of salvation that adheres to all the righteous requirements of the Law.

When we think about the Law, our mind often jumps to the 10 Commandments, which are a summary of all of God’s Law as is Matthew 22:37-40, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

How does Jesus fulfill the 10 Commandments?

As you read the 10 Commandments given to Moses recorded in Exodus 20:1-17 and read the New Testament there is evidence from the life and work of Jesus Christ that points to His fulfilling all of the Law. Notice how Jesus is seen in the Commandments from first to last:

1. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6; cf. 8:58).

2. Jesus is the exact image of His Father (Col. 1; Heb. 1:1-3). If you want to know what God looks like, look at Jesus.

3. Jesus is the Word in flesh (John 1:1). He says what comes out of your mouth reveals your heart (Mt.15:18) be careful what promises you make because God keeps His promises (Mt.5:34-35; James 5:12).

4. Jesus is the Head of the Church (Col. 1:18). He is our Sabbath Rest (Mk. 2:27).

5. Jesus honored His Father. The Trinity submits to authority too (John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; cf. 1 Cor. 3:23; 15:24–28).

6. Jesus creates life (Col. 1:16-17) and ordains life and death (Acts 3:15). He also gives eternal life (John 10:10). He has sanctity for life.

7. Jesus demonstrated His unadulterated love for the church (Eph. 5:22-33), which is like a husband loving his wife.

8. Jesus is the Great Provider (Mt. 6:11; John 6:30-58; Cf. Ex.16:32-35). He does not take, but gives.

9. Jesus is the Truth, and the Truth sets you free (John 8:32). He commands you to love your neighbor as yourself (Mt.22:39Rom.13:9).

10. Jesus desires to be the treasure of your heart (Mt. 6:19-21; Heb.13:5).

Jesus is seen in all Law, even the 10 Commandments. The Law, bears witness to the grace of God, pointing ahead to its fulfillment, and climaxing in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel does not abolish the Law, but fulfills it, by allowing it to be seen in its proper light.

“Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures—either God’s Law or the Prophets. I’m not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama. God’s Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s Law will be alive and working. Trivialize even the smallest item in God’s Law and you will only have trivialized yourself. But take it seriously, show the way for others, and you will find honor in the kingdom. Unless you do far better than the Pharisees in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering the kingdom.” (Eugene Peterson, The Message)

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coveteousness

covet this

What company are behind these slogans? (answers are below)
1. “Got milk?”
2. “Diamonds are forever”
3. “Just do it”
4. “Eat Fresh”
5. “You’re in good hands with _____”
6. “have it your way”
7. “the quicker picker upper”
8. “Tastes great, less filling”
9. “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands”
10. “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking”

_______________________________

Our society’s song is the selfish opera “me, me, me, me, me, me, me” Marketers spend billions of dollars to get you to spend billions more on the got-to-have-it campaign. The Cliff of Covetousness is a slippery slope from saying “Oh that’s nice.” to “I’ve got to have what you have.” to “It’s mine!” to “I need more!”

Now we know that there is the difference between a WANT and NEED. And it s not bad to have stuff. Even a lot of stuff, but it becomes bad when we want it more than the One who has provided all things to us in the first place.

The Tenth Commandment: “Do not covet.” (Exodus 20:17) In other words, we are not to be obsessed with someone’s possessions. We are not to allow stuff to replace the place the God wants to have in out live. We are not to crave more and be unsatisfied with less. We are not to forsake our Provider by hoarding our own provisions.

Here are 4 creative to eliminating Covetousness:

1. Admire without having to Acquire. You can admire or appreciate something without having to acquire it. I really enjoy playing the Wii, but I don’t have to acquire one to be fully happy. I really desire to have a Harley Davison, but I am not going to die if I don’t acquire one. Am I wasting time, energy, and faith on things that do not matter? As the saying goes He who dies with the most toys wins, but do you ever see a hearse with a trailer of toys behind it?

Coveting is an old sin that has been from the beginning of man. Satan coveted God’s power desired to acquire. Adam and Eve desired to acquire knowledge. Cain desired to acquire a better sacrifice than his brother Able. Do you have control over coveting?

2. Confess what you obsess. You might think to yourself, “How did he get that job?” “I cant believe she got one of those.” “If only I had a few more dollars for…” “Why can’t my parent only have more money like those other parents.”

In reality do we really need anything? Does it really matter that much? Will I really be satisfied if I have it? Will I really arrive with it? What we do deserve: an eternity without God, death, hell. As children of God we have everything, and we might not even realize it (“as children of God we are heir and joint heirs with Christ.”). You have food, clothes and shelter, but you also have forgiveness, love, life and eternity in Christ. You have power over your sinfulness through the Spirit, true joy, treasures in heaven and so much more.

You came into this world with nothing and you will leave with nothing. It is amazing how our something’s becomes everything to us between the nothings. Sad to say, one day you will die, and all the stuff you owe and clout you claimed will die with you.

3. Don’t flatter what doesn’t matter (Mt.6:19-21). You will have a lot of stuff, work most of your life for money to pay for your stuff, but you got to get your priorities straight. The possession, power, prestige will only matter for a while In Ecclesiastes, Solomon the man who had it all said, “It is vanity” and that “life is but a vapor.” The only thing that lasts and the only thing that has eternal value is God. Spend your time on what matters.

4. Don’t resent; be content. The exact opposite of coveting is contentment. Contentment is not lazy or lackadaisical, rather it is learning to be cool with what you got (Phil.4:12). Paul had lots and little. Having a lot means there is a lot to give, having little means there is little to idol the heart.

Coveting can lead to lapse in the other commandments: coveting can lead you into adultery, stealing, lying, even murder. Coveting is closely linked to idolatry in the bible. What are the idols of your heart? What is your attitude towards the things that turn your head and heart? Are you more proud of your possessions that your profession of faith in God?

_______________________________

What company is behind these slogans? (answers are below)
1. “Got milk?” (1993, California Milk Processor Board)
2. “Diamonds are forever” (1948, De Beers)
3. “Just do it” (1988, Nike, NKE)
4. “Eat Fresh” (Subway)
5. “You’re in good hands with _____” (1956, Allstate Insurance)
6. “have it your way” (Burger King)
7. “the quicker picker upper” (Bounty)
8. “Tastes great, less filling” (1974, Miller Light)
9. “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands” (1954, M&M Candies)
10. “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking” (1956, Timex)

liar liar pants on fire

stop-lying

What do you say when you are in sticky situation? What do you say when you really want to impress someone? What do you say when you are caught in the act or confronted with your actions?

The Ninth Commandment: “Do not lie.” (Exodus 20:16) We can be incredible liars. Let’s expose the multiple layers of lying:

1. Rock Star Lying—this is when we lie accomplishments and act like we know celebrities, athletes, people in high places, or rock stars. Fact: you really aren’t all that! It doesn’t matter who you know or what you have done. This is not where our sense of self comes from, rather it comes from knowing Christ and what He has done for you (less of me, more of God).

2. Payback Lying—this is when someone has hurt us and we lie to hurt them in return (revenge). When you know one small factoid or nugget of truth do you use that for your advantage? Twisting the truth for your gain is gossip and slander. It is sin.

3. Convenience Store Lying—this is when we lie for convenient reasons. Do you lie to get out of things? Do you commit to things you never intend to do? Saying, “Sure, I’ll be there for the ___.” “I will help you ___” “I will pray for you.” This is a quick way to gaining the reputation of being insincere or uncommitted (hypocritical).

4. Fire Escape Lying—this is when we lie when the heat is on or the pressure is on. What do you say when you are up against the wall or when you feel the fire? Do you look for the fire escape (excuse: dog ate it)?

5. Silly Puddy Lying—this is when we stretch or exaggerate things. We embellish the story to make it more interesting. We make our role you more fascinating and show stopping. Soon your exaggerated stories will find you out.

6. Addictive Lying—this is when you lie because all you know is a lie. You have lied for so long that you now have to build on your lies. You are addicted to lies because you are trapped in living a lie.

So what can we do stop the sin of lying?

1. Speak the truth. The Truth will set you free (John 8:32). There is a reason that Christ is named the Truth (Jn.14:6).

2. Think about what you are saying. Am I exaggerating? Am I speaking the truth? And I committed to what I say? Have I lie to God?

3. Seek forgiveness. If you have lied to someone or God…go to them and seek their forgiveness and restoration.

4. Seek a lie-detector. Have a find that loves you, and whom you trust keep you accountable. Ask them to confront you when they see you lying. Be humble and appreciate their words.

5. Rely upon God. The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth (John 16:13). Bow down to Christ and let Him rule in your heart and mind.

One day our sins will be uncovered. Our little white lies will look like huge black ink blots. God will reveal them, and we will be exposed for who we really are. Our sin will either draw us to God our separate us from Him. Do you know Him? Has He forgiven you? Have you asked Christ to come into your live to restore your relationship with Him? You can do this today!!

4 sly ways we steal

stealing-hamsters

The Eighth Commandment: “Do not steal.” (Exodus 20:15) When the people of Israel were given  these commands from God they were wandering in the desert wandering from Egypt where they were slaves. The Israelites had been slaves in Egypt for 400 years. They had nothing. When they left Egypt God told them to walk to the Promised Land. That walk took 40 years. All along the way they stopped to camp in lands that were not theirs. The farmland, livestock and valuable goods were not theirs, and they need to trust God to provide for their hunger and other physical desires. God did not want them to take anything that wasn’t theirs, thus the 8th Command. God provided for their needs by sending manna each morning and water from the rock. Though God gives good gifts, it is not a right to help ourselves to whatever we want, that is sin.

Most of us usually do not outright steal. We often have clever, undercover ways in which we steal. Here are 4 Sly Ways that we Steal (say that five times fast!!):

1. Standard Stealing: Taking something you do not own.

God is very serious about stealing things that do not belong to us. He reminds us of Achan (Josh.7:20-21, And Achan answered Joshua, “Truly I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”). From one mans thievery the people of Israel lost a battle and many people died. When I was younger I stole bobby pins from the 7th-grade Home Ec. Class. I got caught by Mr. Wolf. I tried to lie, but wasn’t able to get out of it. The consequences were a two-week suspension and broken trust.

To God a thief is a thief. There are not different degrees of stealing as some might think. We imagine that God grades us on a curve: 1 is taking a pen from church, 3 is downloading your friends CD onto your iTunes (even with their permission), and 10 is robbing a bank. Whether it is a pen or bank it is stealing in the eyes of God.

2. Sleek Stealing: Withholding something form someone that is rightfully theirs.

This is when you call in sick when healthy. Not only is this lying, but you are stealing hours from your employer. Sure your employer might not be fair or pay you what you’re worth, and others where you work do it too, but that is no excuse for sinning. Do borrow things without asking? Borrowing without asking even if you plan to return it is stealing. My sister is handicap and I remember making use of her parking sticker on many occasions to get a quick stop at the store, even on a trip with friends to Six Flags, this was sinful stealing of something that was not rightfully mine.

3. Smart Stealing: Deceiving someone into believing a falsehood for personal gain.

I dub this the insurance sales men stealing [sorry for the stereotype]. In other words, it is telling someone something true (gossip) or untrue (slander) to get ahead or what you want. You are robbing another person’s reputation or integrity. Another way to smart steal is to cheat. Cheating is stealing answers that are not yours for the benefit of your grade. You didn’t earn that grade; you stole it. I remember when I was taking my ACT, I was sitting next to the smartest student in the school (he got a 35). I was so tempted to take a peek, but I was reminded of the biblical phrase, “your sin will find you out.”

4. Spiritual Stealing: Embezzling God’s resources.

When we do not give ourselves fully to God we are stealing from God (praise and glory). If you are a child of God, He has given you spiritual gifts to be used for the growth of the group. If you are withholding you are robbing another from being a blessing to them. Do you know why the Dead Sea is the called that? (because nothing lives in it) The Dead Sea doesn’t have an outlet to flush itself of its saltiness. A believer that does allow themselves to be used by God is just as stagnant as the Dead Sea. In other words as our pastor says don’t be a parasite. Something that lives in the body, but doesn’t contribute to it is a parasite. Give to God. Ways that you can give to God are: tithe, serve, use your spiritual gifts (help, teach, show mercy, etc.). Mal.3:8 says, “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions.” And Eph.4:28 says, “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.”

I am not to be a getter (reservoir), but a giver (river). We must remember, “the earth is the LORD’s and everything in it.” (Ps.24:1) God owns your house and the land underneath it, he owns your car and your iPod, He is the source behind every dollar you make. God is your Provider and Supplier.

When we steal we are breaking our relationship with God.
When we steal we do not allow God to be our Great Provider.
When we end up stealing we are unsatisfied and want more.
When we steal it leads to other damaging sins, like lying, which we will discuss next week.

Confess to God.
Give back.

adulterous

picture-1

We are tempted every day. No one is invisible to temptation. When the Bible talks about temptation, it is never “if”; it is always “when.” The bait is bound to lure you in and tempt to hook you. It is our responsibility to know what the bait is and how to avoid its trap.

The Bible is clear from the Seventh Commandment: “Do not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14) Now, adultery doesn’t happen over night. There are certain sly and stealthy steps that lead to Adultery:

It all starts with a distraction—maybe you are tired or weak, lonely or desperate, invisible or in the moment. Then that distractions leads to an attraction. It only takes a moment to notice someone of the opposite sex (walking along and BAM!); this is the the step of the second look. At this point we must stop, look the other way and change. James 1:14-15 “ But each of us is tempted when, by his own evil desires, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” Sadly, most do not stop at this step, but are tempted to step into the trap.

The next step is infatuation (sinful attitude) or in other words adultery of the mind (heart). Your imagination starts pursuing what you would like to do with that person of the opposite sex. Jesus says adulterous attitudes are just as sinful as adulterous actions (Mt.5:28). These attitudes are just one small step away from our final step, which is the sinful action. God is clear that this is having sex with someone who is not your spouse outside the covenant of marriage.

Adultery can take on many different shapes and forms:

  • Lust—“adulterous attitude” with an imagined desire to do something with someone other than your spouse.
  • Pornography—“adulterous attitude” with an image that represents someone created in the image of God and that is not your spouse.
  • Masturbation—“adulterous attitude” bringing about an emotion connected with the sinful act.
  • Sex before of Marriage—“adulterous action”
  • Cheating on boyfriend or girlfriend—“adulterous action”
  • Affairs before marriage—“adulterous action”

There are essentially two different ways of responding to an adulterous situation. First, repent and change by seeking counsel, restoration, and forgiveness. The other is to reject and covering up by continuing to live in your sin and believe in sinful lies.

Lies are easy to come by when used to cover up adultery, here are some of the most common:

1. Marriage (or another relationship) will make it all better. If you do not change your sinful attitudes before marriage you will bring them into your marriage. This is a recipe for relationship murder. Wedding vows are a commitment for life, “till death do you part.” You choose to love God and your future spouse.

2. God wants me to be happy. Some think, “I would be happy if we could just have sex now.” Truth is: God places obedience before happiness (Ps.16:11). When we obey God’s way of doing this it brings us the most joy. It is like drinking puddle water when God offers your puree. If we disobey God it just brings about guilt and a desire to continue on sinning.

3. I didn’t do anything wrong. Pretending it never happened or denial is a quick fix, but it never really fixes the problem. Two wrongs do not make a right. Even though know one will know or might never find out, you still know and so does God. Remember, your lust grows to sin, sin leads to death, and death brings about the stench of decay. It is a matter of time before your sin finds you out. God doesn’t allow us to conceal our sin successfully.

4. My friends think it is okay. Maybe you have a support system of friends that back your sinful decisions and give you the confirmation that what you are doing is normal and all right. God calls these friends, “fools.” True friends do not lead you into sin; they protect you and bring you to God.

Have you been lured in to take a nibble or eat of adultery’s  buffet? Are you past the distraction step into the attraction, infatuation or sinful action step? Here is some ammunition to help you the next time you are tempted to sin:

1. Think about the consequences of your sinfulness. Stop to think for a moment about what this sin will do to you, your future spouse, children, or your relationship with God. A brief moment of ecstasy for a lifetime of pain. Sin is destructive and it murders relationships. And once you are cooked Satan loves to fry us in our guilt making us believe that we are now worthless and not important to God.

2. Know your weaknesses. Is there a particular time or place that brings you more temptation? (movies, tv, internet, alone, after school, late at night, tired, flirty, etc.) Avoid these if you can, if not pray for protection and seek a godly friend to keep you accountable. Do you have a good friend/leader you can talk to about this?

3. Make purity your purpose. Commit to God to do it His way: to be pure until marriage. Allow God to change you from the inside out. God what you to do it His way always, because His way always works.

are you a murderer?

small_img-1Have you ever seen the America’s Most Wanted on TV? It can be frightening to know that the person staring at you in the wanted ad is on the loose, armed and dangerous. Most of us probably don’t know a person who is armed and dangerous. However, you might be more of a murderer than you think.

The Sixth Commandment simply states, “You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13) In other words, we do not have the right to take the life of another human (that is wrong). Only God has that right. We are not to take the place of God and decide who will live and who will die. We are made in the image of God; we are the crown of His creation, therefore we are not to diminish the value of human life as to the killing of animals.

The 6th Commands are particularly destructive because there is no real restitution can be made for murder. A murdered human cannot be brought back to life. Even if you have not committed murder don’t sit to comfortably yet. You see, the 10 Commandments are not only to be obeyed in action, but also in attitude. Sin is not only external (actions), but moreover internal (attitudes).

Are You a Fan of Murder? Since the beginning of time humans have been carried knives, spears and guns for the purpose of killing another life. Hollywood spends billions of dollars into movies than make murder an entertainment. We act out killing in video games for pleasure (now I’m a Halo 3 and Call of Duty freak!?). We are fascinated with blood, gore and death. This is all confronted in the 6th Command.

Murder is not only physical, but verbal and mental [Matthew 5:21-22]. When Jesus says we “Raca” someone we are essentially murdering them with our words. “Raca” was an Aramaic term of hatred. If you say that another human is worthless you are essentially saying that they do not deserve to live, they are better off dead. Hateful words are murderous.

The slippery slope of hateful words is sure: unchecked anger leads to rage, rage leads to an out of control tongue (hurtful words, gossip, slander, etc), an out of control tongue leads to out of control actions. These hurtful words are like emptying a feathered pillow from a mountain top. It is easy to let the feathers go, but practically impossible to pick up the damage afterward. Eventually your hateful words will destroy someone.

Have you ever been slain by a slanderer? Have you ever murdered someone with the words that come out of your mouth? Are you are a serial slanderer?

Slander = telling hurtful and hateful words about someone else (usually a lie).
Gossip = telling hurtful and hateful words about someone else (usually a truth).

How do I stop being a murderer with my mouth? We are to put of hurtful words and put on godly ones [Eph.4:22-32; Col.3:8, 12-17]. Hurtful and hateful words can kill a relationship quickly. The Bible says that out speech is a gift from God. Your words can praise God and curse God. They can honor Him or tear relationships apart.

Truth be know, I can say hurtful things to say without thinking about it (little sarcastic comments), for these I need to apologize and change. Some practical steps for changing my murderous mouth are:

1. Confess your murders to God and the person to whom you murdered.
2. Keep you mouth shut and pray (Ps.19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to Your eyes…”).
3. My Motto: Jesus, the Word, is the only hope for our words! (John 1:1)

parents

5star

The key to having a good relationship with others people (parents), is to have your foundation built on God. God is about to transition the commandments from a vertical (God) focus to a horizontal (man) focus. The relationship that God focuses on is the parent-child relationship. This foundation relationship affects most if not all your other relationships.

The Fifth Commandment: “Honor your parents.” (Exodus 20:12). In other words we are to respect them with out words and ways. We are to we honor them with our attitudes and actions. We are to behave in a way that would reflect on our love for God.

To understand this command we have to know what honor means. Honor means to take them seriously even though they are not perfect. To hold them up as the God-given authorities in your life.

To be honest, I had a difficult time honoring my parents as a child. I didn’t get too many golden stars or badges of honor for the way I acted or talked with them. I have since sought to reconcile this by putting on the 5 Badges for Honoring your Parents: (*****)

1. Love. Love is more than words, “I love you.” Love is active, I love you there for I will show you. Love is motivated to do something lovely. Imagine if Jesus saw our condition and just said, “I love you,” but didn’t do anything about it. Rather His love for you motivated Him to act as a Savior for your sins. Your relationship with your parents is just the same, you need to be actively loving. You cannot wait for them to take the first step, you are to initiate it (love is not conditional: I do love if you love me first).

2. Forgiveness. This is a tough one. Everyone has different issues at home, and even though I don’t know what you go through at home or what your parents are like (abused, abandoned, alcohol, anger, etc). The odds are against you to be a forgiver if your parents are not good or godly.

Truthfully, those who have godly parents have an easier time keeping this 5th Command. I didn’t have perfect godly Christians parents and I know how hard it is to honor parents when words fly, tempers flair, and the circumstances seem unreasonable or abnormal. Yet Jesus knows what we are going through. He has been there. His closest friends bailed on Him when He needed them the most. People beat Him, spit on Him, mocked Him, cursed Him, abused and tortured Him. Since He has been there too you can take your problems and pains to Him (God knows your parents and your situation very well, and they will get their just punishment; Lk.17:1-2).

If you harbor unforgiveness towards your parents you are giving a foothold to the devil (Eph.4:27). He is a little a skilled rock-climber. You give him one toehold, he’s hanging on and you cant shake him off. Does Satan own real-estate in your life because of unforgiveness you have towards your parents? If yes, then it’s time to apologize to your parents and not expect anything in return. Forgiveness releases the bonds of bitterness and frees you to love your parents.

3. Unity. God has a chain of command in our lives. Respect your authorities and live in peace with them. God put imperfect parents (employers, pastors, coaches, teachers) into your life for His purpose, to help you grow into the image of God. Unity begins with your heart (love and forgiveness). Unity doesn’t mean you allow authorities to walk all over you, but that you honor them as your authority.

There is a lack of respect for authority in our culture today. Negative dinner table talks about bad bosses, parents and political leaders teaches a child that it is okay to ‘dis’ authority. Help your parents to honor authorities in their lives too.

4. Value. You were born dependent upon your parents. You needed them to grow. They feed you, clothed you, changed all your dirty-stinky diapers, cleaned your messed and more. As we grow we become more independent. Yet as your parents grow them become more dependent upon you to care for them. We are to value them at every stage of our lives and theirs. To honor them is to value their place in their lives. Be careful of speaking negatively about them to others, joking about them or rejecting them. Value their insights on live and their experiences of ‘been there and done that.’

5. Encourage. Show and share with your parents you love, admiration and appreciation. Even though they may not be perfect or polluted with sin God has placed them in your life. Encourage them to love and follow after God. Appreciate them all the days of your life.

A day might come when you will get that dreaded call, “It’s your dad, he…” or “I’m sorry but your mom…” In this moment you have a choice: to hang your head in shame because you didn’t honor your parents or hold your head high with joy because you honored them.

Honoring your imperfect parents is just as honorable as honoring your perfect God. Wear your badges proudly to love, forgive, unify, value and appreciate your parents. These are the rock-solid foundations for godly relationships.

sabbath

sarah-on-the-sabbath

It is interesting that God loves to remind us about important things. He knows our memories can be weak at times.  To remember is to take what we know and apply it to our lives. Fourth Commandment is to “Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8-11)

In other words, we are to stop working and start worshiping. We are to stop pursuing our passions for one day and make God our passion. We are commanded to worship God with our time. We are not to do our own thing, but His thing on His day.

Does this command mean that I am given a mandate by God to be lazy at least one-day week? God did not give us this command so that we would sit around and do nothing. God is concerned about us. For at least one day a week God wants us to stop what we are pursuing and pursue Him. God gave us this command for several reasons:

1. It is for your good. God knows that we need a day of rest and refocus. Sometimes we think we might miss out on something in life if we do not cram-pack ever minute of every day with something. Yet we can miss out on life itself if we do not obey this command. Jesus confront the religious leaders of His day about this very thing (Mark 2:27 “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”). They were so OCD about not working on the Sabbath that they wrote a book of rules to protect themselves from disobeying the law, all the while they were missing the real purpose of the day: to worship God.

2. It grows your faith. We need more worship in our lives, period. We are over worked and under-worshiped. We make time to relax and spend time with friends, but infrequently do we carve out time for our Creator and life-Sustainer. When we trust God and put Him first, He wont let us down because worshiping God enriches our faith.

So how do we apply this Sabbath command to our lives?

1. Remember God (Get Deep). Over the past few weeks we have talked about who God is. He is not some chump, He is Creator-God. If we think about God in this way (i.e. love, grace, holy, etc.) our natural response will be to worship Him.

All over the Bible people worshipped in groups. In the OT they worshipped God in the temple or synagogue. In the NT they worshipped God in homes, on hillsides or wherever they could find a place. Within these worship “meetings” God gave His people life-changing principles and transforming relationships. God loves the church because it is there that we get deep with God and He gets deep with us. Worshipping with other people inspires our personal worship. (Heb.10:25 “Let us not give up on meeting together.”)

The Sabbath day is not a day to putts around, but a day to praise God (Is. 58:13-14). I have been blessed through my church involvement. Through spiritual growth, accountability, confront sin, encouragement when I am struggling spiritually, friendships and significant relationships, and much more. Worshiping God is not a one day a week thing (Sunday or Wednesday night), it is our daily joy.

2. Refocus Your Life (Go Deep). Gods day is a day to do spiritual inventory on your life. Sometimes we need to take the time to restock the selves of our lives spiritually. It is easy to empty out throughout the week.

It took God six days to create the universe and all that is in it. On the seventh day he rested. He looked back on all that He had done and said, “It is good.” After a long week of working we need to step back and ask, “Was it good? Am I thinking godly pure thoughts? Am I saying or doing things that do not honor God? Am I putting Him first? Am I ready to worship this day?”

i swear

no-swearing

Do you remember when you first learned a swear word? I must have been 6 or 7 years old, and I was left alone watching the TV. I recollect there being a Steven Seagal fight’em, shoot’em flick on the tube. There were lots of fist and words flying. I was glued. Dad came into the room and I asked him, “What does, !@#4%&* mean?” I quickly found out that it meant something bad as I got a good dose of fist to my hindquarters.

I am ashamed at how many derogatory words I know. I made a list of all those I know that just begin with the letter D. I came up with: dork, do-do, dufus, dingleberry, dumbo, dinkledorf, dwarf, dirtbag, dweeb, deadhead, dunce, doosh, and the list goes on (and these are the semi-tame ones).

Why is our society is so profane? Does my mouth really matter? Yes, enough so that God includes it in His list of commands. The Third Commandment: “You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7) In other words, we are not to use Gods name as a swear word. We are to protect the integrity of His name. We are not to misuse His name. We are not to “dis” God with weak-sauce language. We are not devalue or make His name irrelevant (empty). Gods name is different than any other name. God is God and we are not. He tells us over and over in the Bible to hold up His name.

Last night I asked out student ministry how many of you hear cussing daily at school? Over 75% of them raised their hands. Cussing among teens seems like a second language or at the least second-hand language. I read that the average teen uses 80-90 swear words a day []

I am not proud to say but in middle school I had a bleepin’ little-sailor potty-mouth. And yes, I did kiss my mom with that mouth? I found myself to be in one of these 4 Groups of swearer’s, maybe you find yourself in one of these too:

picture-11. The Blond-Moment Swearer—This person is clueless they are even swearing. He swears so much that it is a habit. He doesn’t even know he uses Gods name as a swear word. God is just a fill word: “God, I’m tired”, “What the hell,” “Jeeze, it’s been a long day.” This person is not calling on God, they are unaware of God.

picture-22. The Stuck-in-Traffic Swearer—This person knows swearing is wrong, but when in the right situation they “can’t help but swear.” You know you are stuck-in-traffic swearer when you respond cussing in these scenarios: a hammer hits your finger instead of a nail, the foul isn’t called, someone cuts you off, your favorite sports team makes a mistake, you lost your homework, or your friend tells you off.

picture-33. I-can-say-what-I-want-to-when-I-want–to Swearer—This person knows what they say is wrong, but couldn’t care less. Like a pirate. These people are either angry at God or shake their word-fist in God’s face. They swear to God with outright rebellion.

picture-54. The Walk-Your-Talk Swear—This person doesn’t ‘dis’ God with his words, but his walk. Even though you may not swear, you may have an empty walk. This person says they are a Christian, but their lifestyle doesn’t match their words. If you wear Christ’s name you better show it. “Walk your talk!” As followers of Christ you are a walking billboard to the world of Him to everyone who sees you. God has pasted His label on you, what do you represent?

The Bible says that the name of Jesus is above every other name, and one day we will all bow our knees to the name of Jesus (Phil.2:9-11). In fact, Jews had such respect for God that they would not use His real name (Yahweh). Never would they speak His real name. They would use “Adonai” instead. They recognized His name as holy. When Jesus prayed, He taught His disciples by saying “Father, hallowed (holy) be your name.” (Luke 11:2)

We must careful what you say. When you say, “God” followed by the word “damn” you are putting two words together that do not fit. God doesn’t damn anybody by our demand; people damn themselves to hell by their sinfulness without repentance and forgiveness. We cannot tell God what to do. We make Him so small, when He is really BIG. You are the creation; God is the Creator. Do not take what you say too lightly.

Matt.15:18 says, that the things that come out of your mouth, come out of your heart. In other words, dirty words = dirty heart. So how can I tame my tongue? First, talk it up. If you are a swearer get help, sometimes it takes a buddy system to help you to stop it! The Christians life wasn’t meant to be lived alone; there is no such thing as a Lone Ranger Christian. Second, critique your talk—evaluate the words you use. Do you honor the name of God? Third, talk about God—when you know Him you wont empty His name out.

image is everything

god-of-hand

In our world today, image is everything. What seems to matter is what you represent and what image you portray. People spend lots of money on creating an image for themselves. A picture of a mountain doesnt compare to the beauty of beholding in reality. Images or representations cannot be compared to the real thing.

We often do this with God. We try to make Him into something we can see, touch, feel or experience, and it never compares to who He really is.

The 2nd commandment seems harmless at first, but God views them differently: “You shall have no other image of God.” (Exodus 20:3-6)

The Second Commandment seems like a repeat of the First. This commandment addresses something that hits the core of humans: our concept of God. We all have different concepts of God, and our concept of God shapes who we are. Anything we use to mirror the majesty of our Maker will fall miserably short of Him and will minimize Him. Man’s finiteness cannot create something infinite.

Now is it wrong to have a cross or a masterpiece of art that portrays God? Of course not, but when that image replaces God or becomes your sole representation of God that is when it bucks the 2nd commandment. In your mental picture album, what is your image of God?

How people often imagine God:

picture-11. Grandpa God: this God is popular, forgiving, and giving. Whenever we do something wrong they smile and say, “It’s okay, I understand, don’t worry, I love you.” No offense, I love my grandparents!

picture-32. Santa Claus God: this God is like a Cosmic Easter Bunny or Mr. Rogers. He is deeply involved in our daily lives and world events. He is positive and reluctant to punish. He likes to give lots of gifts; blessings. All we have to do is ask, and He will give us whatever we desire, like a genie in a bottle. The old we get the more faint He becomes.

picture-43. Buddy God: this God is distant, but our buddy. He does not interact with the us. We can call on Him when we need Him. He will look out for us, but doesn’t interfere with our lives.

picture-24. Texas Justice God: this God is like an evil mother-in-law, deeply involved in our daily lives and world events. He is angry at sin and punishes the unfaithful. He wears a long flowing robe and carries a gavel waiting to inflict punishment on sinners. Feeling guilty?

picture-55. Emo God: this God loves to be emotional. We haven’t met God until we have tears on our faces, lumps in our throats, a chill down our spine, and butterflies in our stomachs. Probably, just ate too many Mexican beans. We think we have to be in touch with our emotions before we can be with God.

Is God some of these? Yes, in fact He is all and more, but if we characterize Him only these ways we are missing out on who He really is. God is loving, forgiving, giving, blessing, a friend when we need one, He is just and angry at sin, and God desires us to come before Him with truthful emotions. God is very different, different compared to you and different than our concept of Him.

Why shouldn’t we have any other image of God? He is jealous (Exodus 20:5; 34:14; Deuteronomy 32:16; Psalm 78:58; 1 Corinthians 10:22). He doesn’t want to share the top spot with anyone or anything. For God to step down and acknowledge something greater than Him, would be to step down as God. The fact is, we do not need to create images of God because He has create us in His image (Genesis 1:26-28 ) and we are to represent Jesus Christ who is the exact representation and perfect image of God (Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:15ff).

no other

God didn’t just casually hand over a posted note of “10 Thoughts” one day and suggest His people read them when they have time, then pick and choose which ones they like. God set the stage, and they never forgot that day…God meant business with these tablets (Exodus 19:16-19; 20:1-21).

The First Commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me.”

no-other

We are to let God be God. We are to make Him #1. We are to affirm His power. We are to acknowledge His presence in our lives. We are to obey His rules. We are to honor and worship Him alone. The parking space for worship in our lives is to be reserved for God alone. We are not to waste our lives worshipping anything else but Him.

Ancient worshipers were not monotheistic (believed in one God), they were polytheistic (believed in many gods). The more gods the better, they had gods for everything (sun, moon, war, weather, food, parties, etc). Today, this is not necessarily the case; we are more likely to find people who don’t believe in a god. Yet we are worshipers. We all worship something. Worship is giving your heart, desires, and adoration to someone or something. We follow after other gods, but they often operate under different disguises:

4 disguises for other gods:

1. Self-ismwe become our own idol. We follow after the selfish trinity: me, myself and I. We ask ourselves, “What’s in it for me? What makes me look good? What makes me feel good?” It is hard to avoid this god when our cultures mantra is, “You have to do what is good for you. Follow your heart.” This self-centered god always leaves us empty and needy.

2. Sense-ismwe seek the rush, high, experience that will give us pleasure or relief. For some it is spending, shopping, traveling, sex, pornography, drugs, cutting, binge-drinking, etc. Now God loves pleasure, but we abuse it. We can overdose ourselves on pleasure, but we settle for the weak-sauce-pleasure compared to the riches of knowing and obey our God.

3. Stuff-ismwe dream and scheme for ways to collect more things. We professionals at stalking stuff. We fill our closets with fashion, pimp out our cars, Gig-ify our computers, multiply our media libraries, lavish our homes to be like mini-castles, and more. The key word for stuff is: more. Just a little bit more. Our desire to acquire has gone all haywire. Possessions are fine when they do not possess us. God loves to give good gifts, but when we just get to get, we got it all wrong.

4. Smart-ismwe download facts to fill our fat heads. We have more informaiton at our finger tips than possibly all generations before us combined and we are not satisfied with our factoids. Next time you are in the game isle at the store check out how many trivia games there are. Knowledge says, “I want to know more than you because knowledge is power.”

All these -ISM gods and goddesses waste our worship and will not come through when we need them the most. When we feel cruddy they offer nothing, but temporary satisfaction. When our world is crumbling, they crumble too. Only God is much bigger than we are, only He can fill the void left by these other gods, and only He is worthy of worship (Psalm 115:1-13).

The first commandment of having no other gods is the foundation for all other commandments that follow. If we put God in the top slot of your life and worship Him as God, then we will know the greatest thrill and have the greatest possession.

10 rules to live by

heston-ten-commandmentsWhy are there so many rules? Everywhere we are there are rules that govern us. At home, school, work, church, sports and every other area of life there are rules upon rules. It is easy to gripe about rules in our lives. Rules can seem like a dirty 5-letter word.

I just started a series with our teenagers on the 10 Commandments. I like to think of them as the 10 rules to live your life by. In the weeks ahead I will explain more about how these old covenant laws are really applicable to us today. In preparation for this study I made a list of 10 Rules I am grateful for. I compiled this list from rules I heard from family and friends down the years:

1. Look both ways before you cross the street [mom]
2. Don’t eat yellow snow [Elf]
3. Don’t settle for less than best [Jr high trombone teacher]
4. Do turn off the lights before you leave the room [thanks dad]
5. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car [Mr. Huseby]
6. Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.
7. If you don’t use it in 6 months, it’s junk.
8. Speak well of authority.
9. Do not check the sharpness of a knife by running your figure over the blade [Mike]
10. Do what’s right even when you don’t feel like doing it.