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Ten Commandments

How do we take God’s name in vain?

Names generally are generally speaking significant.  

We named our first child Amelie because my wife and I both love that name.

Our second child, Jacob Johan (Jake) is named after our fathers.

Our third child came as a big surprise so we named him Nathan, which means “gift of God”.

Names have significance and meaning. Names can demonstrate family heritage or my values.

When we refer to someone’s name: it’s more that to just a word. We think of the person and who they are and what they are like.

This is even more true for the name of God.

We don’t like it if our name is slandered, misused or associated with something we don’t like.

We don’t like it if our name is associated with (or tagged on Social Media) something we don’t agree with.

This is even more true for the name of God.

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Ten Commandments

9 truths about the Ten Commandments

Until the age of 21 I had no idea how to use a washing machine. I knew you had to somehow use washing powder, but I was clueless as to where it went, which powder to use or which buttons to press.

Fortunately, after the dirty clothes had piled up for a week, I found the washing machine manual. I studied the manual and ended my quest with a successful outcome – clean clothes.

The instruction manual, published by the makers of the washing machine, made all the difference between success and failure.

The Bible is God’s Instruction Manual for life and makes all the difference to our success or failure. Not laundry or financial success, but real success: living a life that honours God, loves others and continues into the next world with great joy.

When God created Adam and Eve, our original parents, the 10 Commandments were written on their hearts.  But since they disobeyed God, God had to write the Law down on stone so that we can know what pleases him.

The 10 Commandments are therefore a summary of what pleases God and always relevant, applicable and necessary – especially in our day and age.

Here are, at least, 9 truths about the 10 Commandments.

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Bible Preaching Spiritual dancing Ten Commandments

Lessons from stone tablets (Why God didn’t use YouTube)

God commanded Moses in Exodus 34v1 to make two more tablets of stone on which he (God) would write his law on. The Ten Commandments engraved on the stone tablets give us some helpful insights into the nature of God’s whole revelation to us contained in the Bible.
 
a. Human mediators are involved
 
The law came to Israel via Moses, a human being. God did not bypass humans and write the law in the sky with neon lights. So too, the Bible contains God’s words through the words and writings of human authors; nevertheless it is God’s Word.
 
b. It is complete and sufficient
 
Exodus 32v15 says that the Ten Commandments were “engraved on both sides, front and back.” In other words, there was no more space to write. The Law was complete and sufficient for life and godliness at that time in world history. Likewise, the Bible also contains all things necessary for salvation and Christian living, and should not be added to or subtracted from.
 
c. Authoritative
 
In Exodus 34v1 God said to Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.” The Ten Commandments were not Moses’ words but GOD’s words. Similarly, the Bible is not the church’s word or the apostle Paul’s word or your pastor’s word, but God’s. It is because the Bible is God’s words that is has authority and must be obeyed. Our Sunday gatherings must therefore include an exposition of a passage in the Bible, not merely the pastor’s thoughts for the week ahead or the pastor’s “God-experiences” from the previous week.

d. Permanent

The Ten Commandments were engraved into the stone! They were not pencilled in or subject to alteration or change. God didn’t give the Israelites version 2.01 the following year. The Bible too is God’s permanent, unchanging, relevant, non-updatable message to us today. We are called to be faithful to the bible, not change the bible to suit our perceived needs.

e. God’s law comes through words

God wrote words for Moses. God did not do a drama or post a video on YouTube. Of course, drama and video may help to illustrate and explain the words, but can never replace the words. In the same way, the Bible comes to us in words to be read and studied and preached and listened to. We can never move on from the priority of a Word-based model of ministry. Explaining the Bible must take priority over drama, spiritual dancing and  video clips. (Although a good video clip may help at times. Not so sure about spiritual dancing!)
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idolatry Ten Commandments

My idol factory

Growing up I never took seriously the Bible’s warnings against idolatry as I thought there were not that relevant. Maybe in Thailand where bus drivers take their hands off the wheel to say a silent prayer at every Buddha shrine they drive past! Very few of us have private shrines in our homes to other gods. How wrong I was. Idolatry is, according to Roman 1, the underlying sin of our age as people have “worshipped and served created things rather than the creator”. Our hearts are idol factories.
 
 
Ten Commandments
Have no other Gods before me, is the first commandment. The Bible is not politically correct and the competition commission would certainly not be happy. But God demands that we treasure him alone for he is the only God. This means turning from rebellion towards God and trusting in Jesus.
 

Have no idols, the second command, clarifies the first. To have other gods before God is idolatry. An idol can be ANYTHING that takes the place of God in your life. ANYTHING that demands your devotion and where you seek your security and significance. ANYTHING you treasure instead of God.

 

It could be the sex idol. You know you’re serving this god when you demand sex – when you want it, how you want it and you’re angry when you don’t get it. You’re even willing to hire an escort, watch porno or swing with someone else’s wife.

The work idol demands that we spend all our daylight hours in the office and only see our children on weekends

The money idol demands that your happiness is caught up with the JSE.

The leisure idol allows you to worship Jesus at church only when the weather on Sundays is too windy to go the beach or not wet enough to stay in bed.

The worship of the acceptance idol calls for your Facebook status to be changed every hour and it is also because of the worship of this idol that girlfriends allow boyfriends to take naked photos of them.
Of course there are also religious idols like my right-doctrine idol or my moral-record idol, and even my ministry-achievement idol.

The media calls you to worship these and other idols by “worship-calling”, known also as advertising.

So, do you worship Jesus alone, or some other idol? Do you strive to keep the first two commandments?