Exodus Teaching - 17 - The Ten Commandments

Title: Exodus Teaching - 17 - The Ten Commandments
Category: Bible Studies
Subject: Exodus Study

Exodus Teaching Series #17

TITLE: The Ten Commandments

TEXT: Exodus 20


With the Ten Commandments the Lord set before all mankind, for all ages, the basic laws by which we should live. There are countless explanations of various laws, as well as the endless debates about them. For example, in the King James we read, “Thou shalt not kill”, and some have interpreted that to mean that killing under any circumstance is prohibited. So, one person may vote and campaign against the death penalty while campaigning and voting for legalized abortions. The death penalty was prescribed in the Book of Exodus as punishment for certain crimes. Yet, many people in our times crusade against the death penalty even for the most horrifying crimes. Interestingly, many well meaning people oppose capital punishment for any reason.

In one of my commentaries posted on www.sermoncity.com I tell about a man named William Wetzel who had committed murder and received a life sentence. He was serving time at Parchman when another prisoner crossed him and he killed him. This time, he was sentenced to death. After receiving the death sentence he sent word to Chaplain R. B. Hicks that he would like to see him. The chaplain, who was from my home town of Sledge, Mississippi, had two nieces who had taught me in high school and a brother who owned a hardware store where we shopped from time to time. We spent a lot of time talking and after a little while he told me that any time I got to his office before he did any Sunday morning I could just go on to any camp I where I wanted to preach and tell them he sent me.

I did not meet William Wetzel because his execution came before began preaching at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. When Chaplain Hicks told me about this prisoner he told me that William Wetzel had the highest IQ of anyone who had ever set foot on the grounds at Parchman. He had a high IQ but he was totally ignorant of the commandment, “Do not murder.” (Exodus 20:13). He was brilliant but not wise, highly intelligent but woefully ignorant. Chaplain Hicks and various officials appealed to the governor to commute the sentence to life without parole so he could stay there and work with other prisoners. The chaplain told me that this man was gaining an understanding of the Bible faster than anyone he had ever seen. He could see him witnessing to the unsaved and counseling many prisoners for years to come. The governor had been the judge who sentence Wetzel to death, so he left it up to the Lt. Governor to make the decision and the Lt. Governor “let it die on his desk.”

The chaplain told me that when William Wetzel was executed tears were seen everywhere among the witnesses. He said, “The executioner had tears an his eyes, something he had never seen before. One witness, an officer, told me that he had witnessed a lot of executions but that would be his last one. Of those who witnessed the execution of William Wetzel I am not aware of one who changed his mind about the death penalty, but they were agreed that Wetzel would might have helped a lot of other prisoners if permitted to live.

The same principle may be applied to most of the Ten Commandments. There are people who are strongly opposed to using God’s name in hard core profanity, who will still use His holy name casually in such a way that they violate the Third Commandment: “Do not misuse the name of Yahweh your God, because Yahweh will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses His name.” (Ex 20:7, HCSB) God is not “the man upstairs.” He is not “the old Master.” He is Yahweh, the great I AM, Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer. We should be very careful when we use the Lord’s name in jokes or humorous stories.

Another of the Ten Commandments tells us that we must not bear false witness against our neighbor, or in simpler terms, “Thou shalt not lie.” I heard the story about a young student who was caught in a lie and his teacher told him to look up lying in the Bible, read it and memorize it and then come back to him the next day and recite what he had learned. The next day the teacher asked little Johnny if he found a verse in the Bible that tells you not to tell lies. Little Johnny said, “yes, Sir. In fact I found two verses on lying.” The teacher was intrigued, so he asked him to quote the two Scripture verses, He said, “A lie is an abomination to the Lord - but a very present help in a time of trouble.” Sadly, some people seem to think about lying in that sense.

The United States lives by the Constitution of the United States, but we can live in the United States without ever memorizing the Constitution. We have three branches of government and each serves a purpose. While it may be an oversimplification, it may help us to understand how this country functions if we say (1) Congress passes a bill to deal with some problem, (2) the president signs the bill into law, and (3) the Supreme Court decides whether or not some of those laws are constitutional. Neither system is perfect and each has made mistakes, but they seek to obey the constitution in passing laws.


A. Who Says So? Well, God says so. This is the same God who spoke to Moses from the burning bush that was not being consumed and sent him to deliver the Children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt and set them on the way to Canaan, the land God had promised the descendants of Abraham some five hundred years earlier.

B. Just Who Does He Think He Is? He knows well who He is. In fact, He knows His own identity far better than you and I know ours. When Moses asked the Lord to identify himself so he could tell Pharaoh who it was who send him to demand of the release of the Hebrew slaves so they could go to the land God had promised them. When Moses asked Him to identify Himself he identified Himself as “I Am.” No one else in the entire history of the world could honestly identify Himself in this way. Who else can use the first person verb to identify himself? Actually, in the fullest sense of the word, He identified Himself as, I Am Who I Am, I Was Who I Was, and I Will Be Whom I Will Be.”

C. Does He Have Any More to Say on the Subject? Yes, He does. In fact, He has a lot to say on the subject and we can find it throughout the Bible.

“You must not make gods of silver to rival Me; you must not make gods of gold for yourselves.” (Ex 20:23, HCSB - unless otherwise designate, all references are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible)

“You are never to bow down to another god because Yahweh, being jealous by nature, is a jealous God.” (Ex 34:14)

“Listen, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is One.” (Deut 6:4)

“Fear Yahweh your God, worship Him, and take ⌊your⌋ oaths in His name. (14) Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you, 15 for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God.” (Deut 6:13-15)

(9) There must not be a strange god among you; you must not bow down to a foreign god. (10) I am Yahweh your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt...” (Ps. 81:8-10)

“Do not follow other gods to serve them and to worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger by the work of your hands. Then I will do you no harm.” (Jer 25:6)

“Time and time again I have sent you all My servants the prophets, proclaiming: Turn, each one from his evil way of life, and correct your actions. Stop following other gods to serve them.” (Jer. 35:15)


A. Who Came Up with That One? Yahweh, the Great I Am said it. His authority for saying it is in Himself. He did not need anyone else to give Him the authority. He is the Authority!

Who in his right mind would carve out some image and bow down before it to worship it? Can you think of anything more ridiculous than that? Thee is a tradition handed down through the descendants of Abram that his father made idol images and sold them to the people of Ur to worship. According to one tradition, one day when Abram was twelve years old he picked up a heavy stick and began attacking the idols in his father’s shop. When his father came into the shop he saw him and rebuked him. This was his business and Abram was destroying images he had to sell. According to the story, Abram said, “If they be gods let them defend themselves.”

Another tradition holds that on another occasion a man came into the shop to buy an idol and young Abram asked, “How is it that you are sixty-five years old and you have come into the shop to buy a god my father made yesterday?” Whether true or not, there is a deep truth that should be considered by those who worship idols. In the video, MOUNT SINAI: Mountain of Fire, Jim and Penny Caldwell show pictures of the etching of the calf on he side of a boulder near Mt. Sinai. Penny Caldwell showed the outline of the calf and added that the golden calf would have been set on the flat top of that boulder for the people to see, but someone had apparently chiseled out the outline of the idol on he side of the rock. She said that Aaron, in the Hebrew, said, “Here O’ Israel be thy gods”, meaning the golden calf and the etching of the same calf on the side of the rock.

B. Who Does He Think He Is? He doesn’t “think”, He knows Who He is. He states it very clearly in the first verse of the Bible. He is Elohim, a name denoting power: He had the power to create the world. He is Adonai, a word denoting sovereignty: He has to sovereignty to reign over all He created. He is Elohim, the great I AM of the Exodus and the I AM of all eternity.

C. Can He Get Away with That? He has the power, He had the sovereignty, and He has the authority to make the rules, make laws, hand down ordinances, rules and regulations. In the chapters following the giving of the Ten Commandments, the Lord gave Moses a practical application of the Decalogue, or the Ten Commandments. Here are a few passages from the Bible that prohibit the worship of idols.

“They have quickly turned from the way I commanded them; they have made for themselves an image of a calf. They have bowed down to it, sacrificed to it, and said, ‘Israel, this is your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.’”( Ex 32:8)

“Do not make cast images of gods for yourselves.” (Ex 34:17, HCSB)

“Do not turn to idols or make cast images of gods for yourselves; I am the Lord your God.” (Lev 19:4)

“Do not make idols for yourselves, set up a carved image or sacred pillar for yourselves, or place a sculpted stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God.” (Lev 26:1)

(15) “For your own good, be extremely careful—because you did not see any form on the day the Lord spoke to you out of the fire at Horeb— (16) not to act corruptly and make an idol for yourselves in the shape of any figure: a male or female form, (17) or the form of any beast on the earth, any winged creature that flies in the sky, (18) any creature that crawls on the ground, or any fish in the waters under the earth. (19) When you look to the heavens and see the sun, moon, and stars—all the array of heaven— do not be led astray to bow down and worship them. The Lord your God has provided them for all people everywhere under heaven.” (Deut 4:15-19)

“You must burn up the carved images of their gods. Don’t covet the silver and gold on the images and take it for yourself, or else you will be ensnared by it, for it is abhorrent to the Lord your God.” (Deut 7:25)

“Their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands. (5) They have mouths but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. (6) They have ears but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell. (7) They have hands but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk. They cannot make a sound with their throats.” (Psalms 115:4-7)


Two questions: (1) what does that mean?, and (2) What is wrong with it?

A. What Does That Mean? What does it mean to take the name of the Lord in vain? The HCSB has, “Do not misuse the name of Yahweh your God, because Yahweh will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses His name.” (Ex 20:7)

This relates to evoking God’s name in an oath and not fulfilling the vow. The New Commentary on the Whole Bible, Old Testament, carries the note that “God expected Israel to use his name in oaths if the people would faithfully execute what had been promised (Jer. 4:2). The idea here may be extended to any misuse of God’s name that would detract from his rightful, sovereign place” [NCWB]. We should be very careful how we apply that. We read in the Bible that God swears by His name, but it does not mean that we are free to do so. God can fulfill anything to which He swears, so He can swear by His name, His kingdom, His throne, or anything else, because He can fulfill anything to which He swears. You and I cannot do that. In the New Testament we are cautioned against swearing: “Now above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. Your “yes” must be “yes,” and your “no” must be “no,” so that you won’t fall under judgment.” (James 5:12, HCSB)

The Believer’s Study Bible carries this note: “To ‘“take’” the Lord’s name meant to ‘“lift it up”’ or “use” it. To do something “in vain” meant to do it with no good purpose or effect. In this case, “‘in vain’” includes both the frivolous use of God’s name and its wicked or deceitful use, i.e., in an attempt to deceive (e.g., swearing to a lie) or to accomplish a selfish or wicked goal (e.g., false prophecy, claiming God said something when He did not).” [BSB]

As a general rule I believe we are safe in saying that God forbids the use of His name in anyway that is irreverent, or even too casual. When Yahweh spoke to Moses from the burning bush, Moses started to draw closer to the burning bush, but God commanded, “Do not come closer,” He said. “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” (Ex 3:5)
When we are in the presence of God we are on holy ground. We may be in a worship service, at work, at home, or on the lake, but we should be very careful how we invoke the name of the Lord.
Irvin Shaw told me years ago that when he was in the Army in Germany he was called on as a witness and when they “swore him in” they asked, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” He said, “No.” Apparently, he confused those involved in the court marshal and he was asked about it. He told me that he knew there were lost people there and he wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to give a testimony for the Lord. He explained that he based his stand on the Bible.

I was asked to take the stand for a lady who had become so angry with a state official who lied about her home for Alzheimer’s patients that he did not want her on the stand. He asked me to take the stand and answer a few questions for him. I took the stand and was asked to place my hand on the Bible and once I did that, I was asked, “Do you swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” I said, “I do.” On another occasion, I may have been asked, “Do you swear to tell the truth...” I prefer to say that I affirm that my testimony will be the truth, but if I say in court that I swear to tell the truth, I am fully aware of the fact that I must tell the truth to the best of my knowledge as though I was testifying to the Lord. I was indeed aware of His presence when I took that oath.

I may be a little narrow in my interpretation here, but I do not like to hear people talk about “the man up stairs”, the “old master”, or any similar way. How many times have we seen someone interviewed on TV who repeats, “Oh, My God” over and over? On the Internet some use the initials OMG often enough to make you wonder - and if I am going to make someone else wonder about what I mean I will try to be very clear. God is the one I worship and His is not a name I would use casually, critically, or jokingly. When we speak about the Lord, or when we speak to the Lord we must be aware of the fact that we are on holy ground.

My high school English teacher, Mrs. Evelyn Hicks Dean, was a godly lady who touched a lot of lives. A young man I knew was in the Navy and when he returned home he went to see her and she told me that he used the name “Jesus” in sentence after sentence. She tried to talk with him about it, but he saw no problem with saying, “Jesus” this or “Jesus” that, or just proclaiming, “JESUS!” That young man returned to service and as his ship was cruising across the Pacific a huge wave swept over the ship and that young man was swept over board and his body was never recovered. Did God punish him for using the name Jesus in vain? I have no idea that He did, but I wonder how many people who knew how he used the Lord’s name wondered about that.

May we look at some references from the Word of God?

“You must not blaspheme God or curse a leader among your people.” (Ex 22:28 )

“Do not profane the name of your God; I am Yahweh.” (Lev 18:21)

“You must not swear falsely by My name, profaning the name of your God; I am Yahweh.” (Lev 19:12)

“Tell Aaron and his sons to deal respectfully with the holy offerings of the Israelites that they have consecrated to Me, so they do not profane My holy name; I am Yahweh.” (Lev 22:2)

“Whoever blasphemes the name of Yahweh is to be put to death; the whole community must stone him. If he blasphemes the Name, he is to be put to death, whether the foreign resident or the native.” (Lev 24:16)


A. Who Came Up with that One? God did. He created all things in six literal days. We have his word for that. I have a question for those who believe the world evolved over several billions of years. If, over the millions of year required by some theories to get us to where we are today, what are the chances of both males and females evolving at exactly the same pace? If there had been any variance at any point the entire race would have died out at that time. And what about the “big bang”? Have you ever fired a shot gun into a tree to kill a squirrel? Imagine that “little bang” and the number six pellets flying into the tree, spreading out as they blast their way through the leaves, twigs, buds, and smaller limbs. Have you ever seen any pellet, or a group of pellets, form anything like a solar system and begin circling one of the pellets in an orbit. You say that is absurd? You are right. I know the One who created the heavens and the earth, and all that exists in them. I am going to take His word for it. Here is what He tells us about the Sabbath Day: “So the heavens and the earth and everything in them were completed. (2) By the seventh day God completed His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. (3) God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it He rested from His work of creation.” (Gen 2:1-3)

B. What Does He Mean by the Sabbath Day? The Holman Bible Dictionary informs us that “The word sabbath comes from the Hebrew shabbat, meaning “to cease” or “desist.” The primary meaning is that of cessation from all work.” (HBD) The Sabbath Day is a day when the Lord’s people desist from their normal work and dedicate that day to the Lord. It is a day of worship, a day for families to spend time together in an awareness of His Lordship. My wife has taught older children in Sunday School for many years and she has said that if parents tell their children they will go to Sunday School and then leave before the worship service to go to the mall, to grandma’s, to the lake, or to a movie they might as well stay home because the children will be so preoccupied with the family plans that they are not going to get very much out of the Sunday School class. We might go a step further and ask how much children and young people get out of the worship service when their parents tell them about all they are going to do after they get out of church.

There is nothing wrong with having plans, but on the Lord’s Day He should receive primary consideration. I have heard parents say they didn’t know what had happened to their children: we had them in church every Sunday and now they are out of church and getting into trouble. I made the statement once in the presence of some young people whose parents thought they were honoring the Lord because they had their children in church every Sunday morning. I said, “Some of you do not have your children in church, you have a warm body on a cold pew, but when you preach to them every Sunday morning you become keenly aware of the fact that some of them are not with you, they are just waiting for someone to say, “Amen” at the end of the service. You feel quite certain that once they are out of high school they will be out of church.

In Exodus 16, we have the record of God’s gift of the manna which He supplied to the Israelites. The Israelites are now on their long journey with the Lord and He gives them specific instructions about the gathering of the manna. They could gather it for six days, but never on the Sabbath because it is a holy day.

C. What Does He Mean By Holy? Who hasn’t asked that question at some time or another? The Holman Bible Dictionary lists four distinct meanings: (1) “to be set apart.” (2) to be “perfect, transcendent, or spiritually pure, evoking adoration and reverence.” (3) it means something or someone who evokes “veneration or awe, being frightening beyond belief.” This is clearly the application to God and is the primary meaning of “holy.” It is continued in the last definition, (4) “filled with superhuman and potential fatal power.” This speaks of God, but also of places or things or persons which have been set apart by God’s presence. A saint is a holy person. To be sanctified is to be made holy.” [HBD]

To be holy is to be different from ordinary people, things, and circumstances. Genuine Christians are different from lost people, God’s day is different from other days, and God’s church is different from other groups and organizations. If more lot people could see a marked difference between their lost friends and their Christian friends it would be much easier to lead them to trust Jesus Christ to receive eternal life.

Why should we keep the Lord’s Day holy? First, God commands it. Second, He is holy and saves us to make us holy as He is holy. Third, the lost and condemned world needs to see people live holy lives so they will have a desire for that which will be theirs when the call on the Lord for His salvation.

D. What Do I Get Out of It? You must keep the Sabbath Day holy, for it is the day God set aside for worship of our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer. He is holy and His Day is a holy day.

“God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it He rested from His work of creation.” (Gen 2:3)

“Tell the Israelites: You must observe My Sabbaths, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, so that you will know that I am Yahweh who sets you apart. (14) Observe the Sabbath, for it is holy to you. Whoever profanes it must be put to death. If anyone does work on it, that person must be cut off from his people. (15) Work may be done for six days, but on the seventh day there must be a Sabbath of complete rest, dedicated to the Lord. Anyone who does work on the Sabbath day must be put to death. (16) The Israelites must observe the Sabbath, celebrating it throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.” (Ex 31:13-16)

E. Sabbath Observance Is not Optional. He word Sabbath is used 297 times in the Bible, and in other places there are references to the Seventh Day or the Lord’s Day. Listen to the Lord’s words to Jeremiah, the weeping prophet:

“This is what the Lord says: Watch yourselves; do not pick up a load and bring it in through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. (22) You must not carry a load out of your houses on the Sabbath day or do any work, but you must consecrate the Sabbath day, just as I commanded your ancestors. (23) They wouldn’t listen or pay attention but became obstinate, not listening or accepting discipline.

(24) “However, if you listen to Me, says the Lord, and do not bring loads through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day and consecrate the Sabbath day and do no work on it, (25) kings and princes will enter through the gates of this city. They will sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses with their officials, the men of Judah, and the residents of Jerusalem. This city will be inhabited forever.” )Jer. 17:21-2 5)

Observance of the Sabbath is not of man, but of God; it is not from a “thus saith the mind of man,” but “Thus saith the word of God.” It is not optional, it is essential. You do have a choice: either you observe the Sabbath and be blessed, or you refuse to obey the Lord and answer to Him.


A. Who Says So? That is a good question, and there is a good answer: the One who has the authority to tell us what we should do and what we should not do. He is the One who knows how important it is for children and young people to have faithful, loyal, dedicated parents to provide for them, discipline them, and train them in the ways of the Lord.

B. Now He’s meddling with the family? He is concerned enough for our family to instruct parents in child rearing and He is concerned enough for the family to order children to obey their parents when they are growing up, and to protect and provide for them when the parents are old.

When my son Mark was six months old Dr. H. Leo Eddleman, who had been president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary when I was a student there was preaching in revival services at the church where I was pastor. One evening we went to the home of Robert and Mary Craig for supper and while we were visiting while waiting to be called for the meal Dr. Eddleman pointed to Mark and said, “That is the best proof against evolution there is. You can turn a six month old monkey loose in the jungle and he can provide for himself. If you left a six month old baby in the woods he would starve to death. Of course, I knew that he might not live long enough to starve.

There is more that I would like to add. Animals, domesticated or otherwise, feed their young and protect them for a time and then they are on their own. We must feed and protect a child, but we must also teach them how to function in a society with other people. They must learn how to make a living, live with other people, take responsibility for their actions, defend their country, and work to make life better for others. Christians must also be a witness for Jesus Christ, in world and in deed. So it was in the beginning and so it is in the Twenty First Centurey.

“Whoever strikes his father or his mother must be put to death.” (Ex 21:15, HCSB)

“Whoever curses his father or his mother must be put to death.” (Ex 21:17)

“Each of you is to respect his mother and father.” (Lev 19:3)

“If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father or mother and doesn’t listen to them even after they discipline him, (19) his father and mother must take hold of him and bring him to the elders of his city, to the gate of his hometown. (20) They will say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he doesn’t obey us. He’s a glutton and a drunkard.’ (21) Then all the men of his city will stone him to death. You must purge the evil from you, and all Israel will hear and be afraid.” (Deut 21:18-21)

Paul was inspired to write: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, because this is right. (2) Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise— (3) that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life in the land. (4) And fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph 6:1-4)

Jesus taught: (4) “For God said: Honor your father and your mother; and, The one who speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death. (5) But you say, ‘Whoever tells his father or mother, “Whatever benefit you might have received from me is a gift [committed to the temple] ”— (6) he does not have to honor his father.’ In this way, you have revoked God’s word because of your tradition.” (Matt 15:4-6)

6. “YOU SHALL NOT MURDER.” (Ex. 20:13, NKJV)

A. God Said That, Too? Again, this is from the mind of God, not the mind of man. Once again, it is a command from God, not a suggestion. As we continue reading Exodus through Deuteronomy we will see how important it is to obey the commands of the Lord. There are sins (crimes) for which Yahweh demands the death penalty and one of them is premeditated murder.

B. I Thought It Was, Thou Shalt not Kill. The King James Version does read, “Thou shalt n to kill.” Is there a difference? There is. In Exodus 21 the Lord prescribes the death penalty for those who commit murder (21:12, 14, and other verses), but He protects those who accidentally take the life of another the Lord provided a place for them to go and appeal for a trial of for mercy (21:13 and other verses).

C. Would the Author of Life Order Death for Anyone? When you look from state to state you will see that Texas takes the death sentence more seriously than some states. My good friend, Wayne Whiteside has visited prisoners on death row in Texas regularly for a number of years and he has led a number of murderers to confess their sin and place their faith in Jesus Christ.

Some people are apparently disturbed by this commandment. Isn’t it interesting when some people seem to come to the conclusion that they are more compassionate than God? Some nations and some states seem to feel that they have risen beyond the compassion of God for human life. How could God order the death penalty for certain cases? Does He place so little compassion for a murderer that He would order that person put to death? Let us see what the Scripture teaches, ane see if we can see this from His perspective.

“Whoever sheds man’s blood, his blood will be shed by man, for God made man in His image.” (Gen 9:6)

“If a man kills anyone, he must be put to death.” (Lev 24:17)

“Do not defile the land where you are, for bloodshed defiles the land, and there can be no atonement for the land because of the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of the person who shed it.” (Num 35:33)

Again, we ask, “How can God be so heartless that He would order a murderer put to death? How is it that the Lord would be so specific, so adamant in ordering that one who commits murder should be put to death. In ancient times the murderer did not go through countless appeals, they were put to death immediately.

Some people obviously wonder how God can be so heartless as to order a murderer put to death. Of course, some of those people may have concluded that God is the creation of man, rather than the other way around. Let me ask those people the obvious question: Who gave His only Son to die for you and me? It was the very Lord who commands the death penalty for those who commit murder. For that matter, we must remember that the Lord sent His “only begotten Son” to die an unbelievably cruel death on a cross for you and me.

The very God who created man is the One who commands that society must put to death those who commit murder. The KJV reads, “Thou shalt not kill,” but that is not what God commands. It is not a sin to kill someone else in defense of your family, our country, or in self defense. What this commandment says is, “Do not murder.” God places a very high value on human life and it was God who commanded man to put to death those who are proven to be murderers.

Let me repeat: The Lord does not say, “Thou shalt not kill,” it says, “You shall not murder.” Alvin York, made famous both by the news media and by the movie, Sergeant York, was highly decorated for his heroism in killing a lot of German soldiers in World War I, and Audey Murphy was so honored for killing a large number of German soldiers in World War II. Lt. General Dutch Shoffner (Retired) told me that he ordered new soldiers to view the movie, To Hell and Back, the story of Audie Murphy’s heroism. It is not a crime, nor is it a sin to take the life of one who attacks you or a family member, or your country.

Let me share a little information about three men who killed other people. One killed, according to his testimony, in self defense; one killed in a drunken rage, and one committed premeditated murder.
(1) The most notorious prisoner in the history of the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman trained bloodhounds and ran down escapees. He killed his first person, according to his testimony, when the sheriff and a number of deputies came to arrest a man with whom he had rented a house for the time a carnival was open in Greene County, Mississippi. His roommate had stolen something and law enforcement officers had come to arrest this man. The roommate picked up a revolver and started to shoot it out with the deputies, but Kenny Wagoner stopped him, took the gun and told him to surrender. When the man opened the door and stepped outside one of the officers shot and killed him. According to his testimony he grabbed up the gun and made a break for it. During the escape he was fired upon and returned fire and killed a deputy. Over a number of years he killed officers in other states. He was guilty according to the law, but according to Kenny Wagoner he shot in self defense in every case. I am not going to debate the fine points of the law in this case, but I will say that I would have been very comfortable with this giant of a man on the outside.

Tommy was working at the State Fair in Jackson, Mississippi when another worker ran off and left his pregnant girl friend behind. She could not work and had no place to live, so Tommy told her he could “handle it” and let her move into a motel room with him. Then one night he got drunk and in what must have been a jealous rage beat and strangled the young woman to death. Actually, in all my visits with Tommy, both in the Hinds County Jail where he was when he wrote to me and said, “Johnny, I am trying to find God.” Bill, in the next cell in maximum security, and another man persuaded Tommy to listen to me when I came on Thursday afternoon. Tommy received a life sentence and I preached to him in Camp at the Mississippi State Penitentiary. He assured me that if he ever got out he wanted to serve the Lord. I assured him that he could find no better place to serve the Lord than where he was.

Taylor married a woman and moved her into his house in a well known section of Jackson, Mississippi. He took out a ten thousand dollar life insurance policy on her and murdered her ten days later. I had the privilege of witnessing to him in maximum security in the Hinds County Jail. One Sunday morning after I had preached at one of the camps at parchman, and as the men lined up and came by me to shake my hand and thank me for coming (I remember only one who failed to do that in over a year when I preached there every Sunday morning). This Sunday a man approached me with a smile on his face and asked, “Were you in Jackson last May?” I thought a second or two and assured him I was. He then asked “Did you come to the Hinds County Jail?” I thought a moment and then told him that I did visit the jail. He held up a New Testament and showed me where I had written his name in it. It was Taylor! He did not get the death penalty. He got life without parole. I met his brother in Columbia a few years later and learned that he was given ten days leave every Christmas and he spent it with his brother. He was doing well and still assured of his salvation. God had forgiven Taylor and Tommy. Kenny assured me he had nothing against God, and “a preacher once told me that if I was not for God I was against Him, and I don’t have anything against Him.” Sadly, when I am visiting with Tommy and Taylor I will not have an opportunity to visit with Kenny. That makes me sad. It really does. I don’t know when I have enjoyed visiting with anyone more, but eight days after our visit he died and as fare as the chaplain and I knew he never called on the Lord to save him.

Let me mention one more subject here: Abortion. Since Rowe V Wade some 56 million unborn babies have been killed. How do you think God feels about that? If He had addressed that in chapter 21 of Exodus do you think he would have told Moses that the abortionist should receive a pat on the back, or do you think He would have told him to gather up some rocks and stone the responsible person? Lila Rose, a guest on Hannity on November 29, 2013, reported on an abortion practice in some city in the south west. The mother flies into the local airport and a car from a motel picks her up and takes her to the abortion clinic. When they call the motel from the clinic they go back to pick her up and take her to the motel where she is taken to a room and told not to lock the door. She is instructed to go to the bath room and wait for the completion of the procedure.

Someone asked the abortionist if the injection hurt the baby and the response was something like, “I don’t know. I don’t think so, but...” We are talking about babies that could survive outside the mother’s womb. What kind of person would do something like that?

Many young women are told that there might be something wrong with the baby and they would recommend an abortion. Some women grieve over the decision to abort for as long as they live.
I have been on the Board of Trustees for the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home in Monroe, for several years and one of the most impressive new ministries of the home is the Mobile Pregnancy Crisis Van. A nurse travels with her husband, the driver, to key locations Around 80 percent of those planning to have an abortion change their minds when they see the movement of a healthy baby they change their minds. This is an amazing ministry. The saving of one baby would make the ministry worth the effort, but when many babies are saved it really is amazing.

God hates murder and orders the death penalty for those who commit cold blooded murder. At the same time, He loves even a murderer and He will save him if he repents and places his faith in Jesus Christ. Now, let me share some words from Paul and from Jesus.

Paul was inspired to write: “Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments: Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet, and if there is any other commandment—all are summed up by this: Love your neighbor as yourself. 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:8-10 (HCSB)

Jesus taught: “You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. (22) But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Fool!’ will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, ‘You moron!’ will be subject to hellfire.” (Matt 5:21-22)


A. Now, Don’t Tell Me God Came up with That One!

B. What Does He Know about Anything Like That?

C. Okay, Let’s See What He Has to Say on this Subject.


“You are not to have sexual intercourse with your neighbor’s wife, defiling yourself with her. (Lev 18:20, HCSB)

“If a man is discovered having sexual relations with ⌊another⌋ man’s wife, both the man who had sex with the woman and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel.” (Deut 22:22, HCSB)

“Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments: Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet, and if there is any other commandment—all are summed up by this: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Romans 13:8-9)

Jesus taught: “You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. 28 But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” (Matt 5:27-29)

Whoever said the hunger drive is the only drive that is stronger than the sex drive may have known what he was talking about. The temptation to commit adultery has always been there, even when people wore clothes that covered them: even when men wore short pants and women wore long skirts. However, in a time when a surprising number of commercials feature young women wearing what the late Vance Havner called a suitless bating strap, boys don’t have to slip around and buy certain magazines in order to tease their impulses and stimulate their natural drive.

Recently, I had a conversation with someone who has spent many years working with juveniles, and working with a lot of young women who may be talking about their church one minute and their immorality the next. Of course, they don’t call it immorality or sin, they are just sharing personal experiences. This is in a city with churches located all around them. A good friend told me his new son-in-law wrote him a letter and told him he had wondered if he would be able to find a wife who was a virgin when they got married. He did, and he wrote to thank her parents for their influence on their daughter.

It is a major challenge when immorality is the subject of so many jokes. Boys and girls may tell each other “off color” jokes. They go to movies that portray adultery as the norm. Apparently, there is very little interest in movies and television programs that portray sincere Christian values today. So, if temptation to violate one of the Ten Commandments is being used to make money for the entertainment industry what can parents and the church do about it? First, Christian parents must teach their children the Word of God. Second, parents must get their children involved in a good Bible believing church in which the pastor and teachers are committed to the Word of God and a church that provides young people with an opportunity to grow socially without exposing them to temptation.

The writer of Hebrews was inspired to write: “Marriage must be respected by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled, because God will judge immoral people and adulterers.” (Heb 13:4)

I once heard someone say, “You man not be able to help the first look, but you can avoid the second look.

8. "YOU SHALL NOT STEAL.” (Ex. 20: 15, NKJV)

A. I Hope God Came Made This One!


B. But, What Does He Know about Stealing?

“You must not steal...” (Lev 19:11a, HCSB)

“Do not commit adultery.” (Deut 5:18)

“You must not steal.” (Lev. 19:11)

“The wages due a hired hand must not remain with you until morning.” (Lev 19:13)

Paul was inspired to write: “The thief must no longer steal. Instead, he must do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need.” (Eph 4:28)

“Look! The pay that you withheld from the workers who reaped your fields cries out, and the outcry of the harvesters has reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts.” (James 5:4)

Jesus: 16 “Just then someone came up and asked Him, “Teacher, what good must I do to have eternal life?”
17 “Why do you ask Me about what is good?” He said to him. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” (18) “Which ones?” he asked Him. Jesus answered, Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; 19 honor your father and your mother; and love your neighbor as yourself. (20) “I have kept all these,” the young man told Him. “What do I still lack?” (21) “If you want to be perfect,” Jesus said to him, “go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” (Matt 19:16-21)

There are many ways a thief can steal from others that were unknown fifty years ago (Electronic theft, scams, ...



A. This One Makes Sense, Did God Say that, too?


B. Just How Far Does He Want Us to Go with This One?

“You must not act deceptively or lie to one another.” (Lev 19:11, HCSB)

“You must not spread a false report. Do not join the wicked to be a malicious witness.” (Ex 23:1)

“Stay far away from a false accusation. Do not kill the innocent and the just, because I will not justify the guilty.” (Ex 23:7)

“You must not steal. You must not act deceptively or lie to one another. 12 You must not swear falsely by My name, profaning the name of your God; I am Yahweh.” (Lev 19:11-12)

“They bent their tongues ⌊like⌋ their bows; lies and not faithfulness prevail in the land, for they proceed from one evil to another, and they do not take Me into account.” (Jer 9:3)

“The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool.” (Prov 10:18)

“I will destroy anyone who secretly slanders his neighbor; I cannot tolerate anyone with haughty eyes or an arrogant heart.” ( Ps 101:5)

“In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me: (2) “Lord, deliver me from lying lips and a deceitful tongue.” (Ps 120:1-2)

“The Lord hates six things; in fact, seven are detestable to Him: (17) arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, (18) a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet eager to run to evil, (19) a lying witness who gives false testimony, and one who stirs up trouble among brothers.” (Pro. 6:16-19)

“Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue, only a moment.” (Prov 12:19)

“The plans of the diligent certainly lead to profit, but anyone who is reckless certainly becomes poor. (6) Making a fortune through a lying tongue is a vanishing mist, a pursuit of death.” (Prov 21:5-6)

“But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars—their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Rev 21:8)

“You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.” (John 8:44)

A Davidic Psalm: “Lord, who can dwell in Your tent? Who can live on Your holy mountain? (2) The one who lives honestly, practices righteousness, and acknowledges the truth in his heart —(3) who does not slander with his tongue, who does not harm his friend or discredit his neighbor, (4) who despises the one rejected by the Lord but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his word whatever the cost, (5) who does not lend his money at interest or take a bribe against the innocent —the one who does these things will never be moved.” (Ps 15:1-5)

“Since you put away lying, Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another.” (Eph 4:25)

10. "YOU SHALL NOT COVET.” (Ex 20:17, NKJV)

A. I Am Sure God Came up this One, too.

B. Wonder What He Meant By It?

“Do not covet your neighbor’s wife or desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Deut 5:21)

“You must burn up the carved images of their gods. Don’t covet the silver and gold on the images and take it for yourself, or else you will be ensnared by it, for it is abhorrent to the Lord your God.” (Deut 7:25)

“What should we say then? Is the law sin? Absolutely not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin if it were not for the law. For example, I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, Do not covet.” (Romans 7:7)

“Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. (9) The commandments: Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet, and if there is any other commandment—all are summed up by this: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Rom 13:8-9)

“But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints. (4) And coarse and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks. (5) For know and recognize this: no sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of the Messiah and of God.” (Eph 5:3-5)

“What is the source of the wars and the fights among you? Don’t they come from the cravings that are at war within you? (2) You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. You do not have because you do not ask. (3) You ask and don’t receive because you ask wrongly, so that you may spend it on your desires for pleasure.” (James 4:1-3)

JESUS - The Parable of the Rich Fool

13 “Someone from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 “Friend,” He said to him, “who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 He then told them, “Watch out and be on guard against all greed because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 Then He told them a parable: “A rich man’s land was very productive. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What should I do, since I don’t have anywhere to store my crops? 18 I will do this,’ he said. ‘I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and store all my grain and my goods there. 19 Then I’ll say to myself, “You have many goods stored up for many years. Take it easy; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.” ’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is demanded of you. And the things you have prepared—whose will they be?’ 21 “That’s how it is with the one who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

The Cure for Anxiety

(22) “Then He said to His disciples: “Therefore I tell you, don’t worry about your life, what you will eat; or about the body, what you will wear. (23) For life is more than food and the body more than clothing. (24) Consider the ravens: they don’t sow or reap; they don’t have a storeroom or a barn; yet God feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than the birds? (25) Can any of you add a cubit to his height by worrying? (26) If then you’re not able to do even a little thing, why worry about the rest? (27) “Consider how the wildflowers grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! (28) If that’s how God clothes the grass, which is in the field today and is thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more will He do for you—you of little faith? (29) Don’t keep striving for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious. (30) For the Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be provided for you. (32) Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the kingdom. (33) Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Make money-bags for yourselves that won’t grow old, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. (34) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:12-34)


The Lord we worship is the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer. He introduced Himself to Moses as Yahweh, I Am That I Am. He is also the Judge and we will be accountable for our sins if we do not trust Jesus as our Redeemer and Lord. When we place our fath, a faith God provides for us, not some chance attraction, the blood of Jesus covers our sins and we receive eternal life.

The Lord, Yahweh, had just delivered the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt by His mighty hand. He had miraculously demonstrated His power and His sovereignty over the gods of Pharaoh and the people of Egypt through ten plages and He had protected them with a pillar of fire by day and a cloud by day. When the Egyptians pursued them He parted the waters of the Red Sea and they passed over on dry ground. As soon as the Israelites came out on the other side the Lord caused the waters to collapse upon the Egyptians and they were all drowned.

In humility and with admiration and gratitude Moses and the Israelites, now free, sang the song of praise we find in the sixteenth chapter of Exodus. Joseph had been sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, but the Lord had raised him up so that he was second in power only to the Pharaoh. The Lord used a severe famine throughout the region to bring Joseph’s brothers, the sons or Jacob, whom the Lord gave the name Israel, to Egypt and into the presence of Joseph, and he used Joseph to provide his kinsmen a home in the fertile Land of Goshen. When the Lord led Abraham, the grandfather of Jacob, to the Land of Promise He promised that the descendants of Abraham would go into a foreign country and stay there for 400 years, after which time He, Yahweh, would bring them back to the land so that they might posses it. They had been in Egypt 430 years, and until a new Pharaoh came to power who did not know Joseph, or did not honor the promises made to him, the Egyptians began imposing severe tasks on them, killing the male babies, and in general, subjecting the Children of Israel to hardships they had never imagined. When they began to cry out for deliverance, and the Lord heard their cry and sent Moses, as we see in the opening chapters of this Book. Today, I would invite you to turn with me in your Bible to Exodus 15 and look at the picture we have there of Yahweh and see what we can glean from this Scripture.