Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Ten Commandments Series Part 8 It’s Not About You


We have often noted the importance of relationships and just how much they mean to God. In fact: When it is all said and done on planet earth, all God will have to show for His millennia of hard work is relationships. The very reason God sent Messiah as a sacrifice was repair the breach in His relationship with mankind.

The Ten Commandments have stood for generations as a testimony to how God expects every individual to live. Everyone knows that a violation of the 10 Commandments constitutes sin. Nothing says “God” more than the 10 Commandments and yet they are, for the most part, completely misunderstood by the far majority of those who claim to believe them, Jews and Christians alike, as well as everyone else, even those who claim there is no God.

It is not often noticed that The Ten Commandments deal almost exclusively with man’s responsibility for his various relationships.

· Man’s relationship with and responsibilities towards God

· Man’s relationship with and responsibilities for work and rest

· Man’s relationship with and responsibility towards parents

· Man’s relationship with and responsibilities for all life

· Man’s relationship with and responsibility towards a spouse

· Man’s relationship with and responsibility towards community

o Neighbors and Strangers and Enemies alike (Matthew 5:43ff)

So far in this series on the Ten Commandments we have discovered the New Testament revelation and the Grace-Filled application of Commandments 1 through 6. Tonight we are going to skip over number 7, which has been quoted out of sequence by others, even by Jesus on some occasions, and rather go on this evening to commandments 8, 9 and 10. This coming Sunday morning, providing the Lord is willing, we will conclude this series on The Ten Commandments by discovering the New Testament Revelation and the Grace-Filled Application of the 7th Commandment, “Thou shall not commit adultery.” This one is considered a biggie!

So, tell your friends and neighbors, and especially your enemies, to mark their calendars and make sure to be here or attend online for the latest word this Sunday concerning adultery. I was up well before dawn this morning studying for Sunday … I promise you – you won’t be disappointed with the message on the current day application of Commandment # 7.

But for tonight … let’s begin by reading:

Exodus 20

15 You shall not steal.

16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

17 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.

The 8th, 9th and 10th Commandments forbid us to injure our neighbor in:

· Word

· Thought

· Deed

Before we get into the specifics let us first consider the hidden motivation of the heart and where Jesus said all these evil things begin.

Luke 12

15 And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."

16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.

17 "And he thought within himself, saying, ’What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’

18 "So he said, ’I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.

19 ’And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."’

20 "But God said to him, ’Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’

21 "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

“So is he …” – Covetous = Lustfully Greedy of Personal Gain

22 Then He said to His disciples, "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on.

23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.

What we worry about reveals much about who we really are.

Jesus used this parable and its truths to reveal the root of covetousness – which is basically a selfish, lusts filled greedy pursuit of personal gain. A lust, greed or self absorbed attention which consumes:

· The mind – thoughts, desires, intellectual pursuits, studies, hopes, dreams, goals

· The mouth – both idle and intended words; giving voice to personal increase; confessions; verbal arguments; manipulative salesmanship

· The deed – the works of our hands

Commandment #8: You shall not steal.

Steal = To take that which does not belong to you, whether by legal or illegal means, by force or by fraud, in secret or by public course, whether alone or acting in concert with others.

There is but one reason why a person would steal – to secure some personal gain or benefit. (Seeking to increase at the expense of another)

Ephesians 4:28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.

Proverbs 6

30 Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry;

31 But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.

Greed, fear of loss, selfish gains, a poverty mentality and thievery are empty pursuits.

It will cost us everything we have to be greedy.

God is a giving God and He has said that it is more blessed to give than to receive. We should not be preoccupied in mind or matters of life which are aimed only at our personal increase. And we should never steal. The one leads to the other. Stealing is stealing, even if it is from the IRS!

Commandment #9: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Once again this speaks of the relationship and the responsibility we all have towards our community. This commandment is often relegated to matters of court where one is called to be witness against another. In these proceedings we should never send a false or mixed message because it favors our desires above the truth.

When we attempt to deceive or control the thoughts of others which we think might leave them with a false impression, it is a lie! And, in the bigger picture the 9th Commandment is speaking directly to the known elements of deception. And, it does not have to be directly “against” a neighbor but can simply include or involve another person in any way.

A false witness includes any attempt or allowance which leads others to or leaves others with a false impression – this is a violation of the 9th Commandment. This commandment makes each one of us in some way responsible for what others believe to be true.

Leviticus 19:16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people …

This 9th Commandment also precludes all whispering, tale-bearing, slander and defamation, hearsay, and the taking up of reproaches.

Commandment #10: You shall not covet …

You shall not want what they have or do anything to get it in thought, word or deed … so as to deprive them of its use, value or support.