Exodus Teaching - 10 - A God To Love

Title: Exodus Teaching - 10 - A God To Love
Category: Bible Studies
Subject: Exodus Study

Exodus Teaching Series #10

TITLE: A God To Love

TEXT: Exodus 20:2-3


In this message from the Exodus Series we will be looking at the first four of the Ten Commandments, which focus on our relationship with God. Dr. Paul Brown has a twelve sermon series of messages on the Ten Commandments posted on SermonCity.Com. Maybe I had better explain a few things about his twelve sermons on the Ten Commandments. First, I have Dr. Brown’s permission to quote from any of those sermons in my sermons on the Ten Commandments. Next, it is rather humiliating to have only three or four sermons on the Ten Commandments whereas he had twelve. He had one sermon on each of the commandments and it takes him two sermons to introduce the series. Two sermons! Just for the introduction. I suppose the old adage applies: “If at first you don’t succeed...” I will have to admit that his series is well introduced. Believe me, I would expect nothing less from Paul Brown.

I might add that Paul and I are both from Sledge, Mississippi and we went to the same high school. We did not have many of the same teachers, but I doubt that he would accept my explanation that after teaching him most of those teachers either retired or moved away.

Those who have read Dr. Brown’s sermons on SermonCity.Com can appreciate my request for permission to quote extensively from his sermons on the Ten Commandments. Young pastors will do well to study his sermons on the site Dr. Mike Minnix created and edits. I will now quote from his introductory sermons on Exodus 20. This is from the first part of the first message, “Introducing the Ten Commandments”:

“In this day of disturbing moral and spiritual decline in our beloved nation, there is a desperate need for all of us to have a fresh awareness of the Ten Commandments and what God is saying to us through them. Thus, during the next several services I plan to preach on the Ten Commandments. I want to begin with this message on “Introducing the Ten Commandments.” I’ll deal with the first part of that Introduction in this sermon, and with the second part in another sermon. First, let’s consider:

i. The Producing Of The 10 Commandments

“Through the leadership of Moses, God freed the people of Israel from the bondage of Egypt in about 1450 B.C. About three months into their journey toward Canaan, the promised land, God instructed them to camp near Mt. Sinai - also called “Horeb.”

“While the people were encamped nearby, Moses made several trips up and down Mt. Sinai, and on one of those trips God gave Moses a special revelation. Exodus 20:1 says, “And God spake all these words, saying“ - and the Ten Commandments are set forth in the verses that follow. Then we read in Exodus 20:18-22: “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven...”

“In the remainder of that chapter and for several chapters to follow, God went on to give to Moses a long list of laws which were to be observed by the Israelites - but God made it clear that the heart of all he had given them was contained in those moral and spiritual absolutes called the Ten Commandments.

ii. The Permanency Of The 10 Commandments

Many of the laws which God gave to the people of Israel were not intended for all time, but the Ten Commandments were.

“An example of laws that were not intended for all generations are the ceremonial laws which were designed to foreshadow the redemptive work of Christ. When Jesus actually entered the stream of human history those laws were no longer necessary. The extensive rituals involving animal sacrifices are a case in point. Those sacrifices were to point symbolically toward the time when Jesus would shed his blood for man’s sins. So, when Jesus came into the world and died on the cross, God abolished animal sacrifices and the ceremonies related to them...”

“When you buy a grocery item, it will usually have on it an expiration date. When you have a prescription filled at the pharmacy, on the container will be an expiration date. But there is no expiration date for the Ten Commandments. They express absolute moral standards, and they are timeless. They will never become obsolete, and they are not open to review and/or revision by any advisory panel or any individual. They are just as binding today as they were when God originally gave them.”

iii. The Purpose Of The 10 Commandments

“In this message I want to speak primarily of their purpose from a societal standpoint. God gave the 10 commandments to Israel as guidelines for maintaining a sane and safe society - not that Israel would or could completely live up to those lofty ideals, but at least the Ten Commandments would give them standards to strive for, and to the extent that the people would honor those standards and sincerely endeavor to abide by them, to that same extent God would bless and prosper them as a nation.
“An article in World Book Encyclopedia correctly says: “These commandments, in one form or another, can be found stated in law everywhere during all ages of history.” (Dr. Paul Brown)

Now, we will look at the circumstances surrounding the giving of the Ten Commandments, and after that, at the first of the Ten Commandments. If we don’t get the first one right we are not going to get the rest of them right.


A. The One Giving the Ten Commandments is Unique in all His Ways.

1. God has the authority to issue these commandments. I feel that I must make this point - at this point! The first name we have in the Bible for our Lord is Elohim, which speaks of His power. He has the power to create all that exists. He spoke it into existence. Another word for God in the Old Testament is the word Adonai, a word that speaks of His sovereignty. In other words, He has the sovereign right to rule over everything He created! He is the one and only Creator and He alone has the sovereign right to issue commands by which the entire human race must live if they are to please Him. Failure to please Him will result in consequences we cannot imagine. At the bush that was on fire but not being consumed, the Lord identified Himself to Moses as YAHWEH (or Jehovah). The name means, I am that which I am, I was that which I was, and I will be that which I will be. As the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer, He has the right to give commandments to those He has created.

This is a good place to confess that I am one of those radical creationists who believes that God, in the beginning of creation, in the beginning of time, by fiat or decree, spoke the world into existence. He simply said, “Let there be,” and it was so. That, my friend is the God I worship. I believe He created the world just as we are told in the first Chapter of Genesis. I understand that many people do not agree with me, and I believe they have the right to disagree. They, I am convinced, will be held accountable for rejecting the Lord’s claim to have created all things just as it is recorded in Genesis. chapter. You do not have to believe that, but I pray that you do. If you read the creation account in Genesis and still do not believe it, I would like to ask one thing of you: please spell you god with a small “g”. I spell my God with a big “G”!

If you believe that God, by His power, created all things, and if you believe He has the sovereign has right to rule over all He created, I believe you will agree with me that He had the legal, moral, and practical authority to issue the Ten Commandments, as well as the commentary on them. He and He alone has the right to such commandments as we find in Exodus 20.

2. He exercises His authority in giving the Ten Commandments. The One giving the Ten Commandments at the top of Mt. Sinai was the One who said, “Let there” and it was so (Gen. 1). In the beginning of time as we know it, God said, “Be light,” and there was light. As I have already mentioned, the One who spoke the world into existence was identified as Elohim, emphasizing the fact that He had the power to create all things. He is also called Adonai, which underscores the fact that He Who created all things has the sovereign right to rein over all He created. He would not be known as Yahweh for centuries, but Adam, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham knew that Almighty God had the sovereign right to rule over all things. No one knew that better than Noah. In Exodus, The Lord gave Moses a new name, His covenant name, Yahweh (Jehovah). We are not really sure of the pronunciation, but we do know that He is the God of the Covenant.

God said, “Be light, and there was light.” There was no sun, no moon, and no stars, yet there was light. If you accept the Genesis account of creation you should have no problem with the fact that God created light miraculously by simply saying, “Be light.” However, if you are hooked on the atheistic evolution line, or any compromise (Day-Age, evolution over billions of years, or even Intelligent Design) you may have a problem with it. Let me, however, remind you that if you accept the Day-Age theory, would it now stand to reason that all those trees, fruit bearing plants, and seed bearing plants would have been up the proverbial tree, if they had been created billions of years before the sun was created.

The Lord has revealed Himself as the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer, and it didn’t take Him long to do that. In fact, there could be no way He neglected to identify Himself to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. He reveals Himself as the one and only God, the only God who could possibly exist. It is not enough to say there is no other like Him because there is no one else. He is unique.

B. The Commandments Themselves Are Unique in This World.

1. Looking back, they are unique. God gave Adam and Eve certain instructions in the Garden of Eden. There had been laws given by kings, princes, and priests throughout generations, but God’s laws are amazing in their simplicity, scope, and authority. Dr. Brown makes a statement I have made many times, and this would be a good place to repeat it. He says, “So, the Ten Commandments did not come together, piece-meal, over a period of time. Nor were they “borrowed” from the Hammurabi Code, or from any other ancient document, the Ten Commandments came straight from the heart of God, and were written with his own hand.” My point is that rather than Moses borrowing (or copying) from Hammurabi, Hammurabi borrowed from others who feared and served the Lord, people who must have learned certain laws from Noah and his sons, who would have handed down from father to son the oral law which the Lord had given those early men of whom we read in Genesis.

Now, having touched on the name of Hammurabi, I would like to throw in a bonus for those who are interested in Bible history. Dr. Bill Cooper spent 25 years doing research on the Table of Nations in Genesis, and some of his finding are nothing short of amazing. The first book to reflect his research was AFTER THE FLOOD, an astonishing book which sheds a lot of light on the history of a number of countries that are well known to us historically. For example, Dr. Cooper discovered that at the time Jesus lived on earth six Anglo-Saxon Royal Families could trace their royal line back to Noah. Dr. Cooper also found a genealogy of English Kings going all the way back to Adam! [After the Flood, p. 87). Let me stress we are not talking about some minister who wrote an optimistic account of this genealogical record. Dr. Cooper worked for the bureau of prisons in England at the time. After Dr. Cooper sent me an autographed copy of this book I read it through, marked it, and highlighted passages. Then I could not wait to read it again. In fact, I have read it three or four time. I did not hesitate to inform Dr. Cooper that I can provide some additional information that might be of interest - but probably not to him. I told a friend that one of those six genealogical lines ended up in Alabama. I figured that one out when I saw the name “Bubba” in one list. Someone, obviously not from Alabama, told a group of friends that he had been at an Alabama foot ball game when the announcement was made over the PA system, “Bubba, you left the lights on in your truck.” Half the fans left the stadium!

Copies of this book and the Authenticity series may be ordered through Amazon.Com. AFTER THE FLOOD may also be ordered from the Institute for Creation Research. I highly recommend this and others of Dr. Cooper’s books.

Now, back to the time of Abraham. Bill Cooper discovered Abram was well known in ancient Babylon, and he found a record of a contract between Abram and another party written while he still lived in Ur. He also found that Abram’s departure from Ur was a remembered event [Cooper, Bill, The Authenticity of the Book of Genesis, Published by Creation Science Movement, p. 82].

With that in mind, I would like to move on - you are going to love this - to the name Hammurabi: “In those days Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim (2) waged war against Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, as well as the king of Bela (that is, Zoar ).” [Gen 14:1-2, HCSB) Dr. Cooper reports that Assyriology professor A. H. Sayce of Oxford made an interesting discovery:

“Khmmu-rabi, like others of his dynasty, claimed divine honors, and was addressed by his subjects as a god. In Babylonian ilu is ‘god,” the Hebrew el, and Ammu-rapi ilu would be ‘Khammu-rabi the god.’ Now, Ammu-rapi ilu is letter for letter the Amraphel of Genesis” [Cooper, The Authenticity of the Book of Genesis, pp. 86-87. There is more:

“The name Hammurabi, as it is commonly spelt in English, is admittedly some way from the cuneiform letters of his name when they are transcribed thus: Ammu-rapi-ilu. As Professor Sayce confessed, he himself initially found the points of identity between Amraphel and Hammurabi difficult to recognise. That is because Amrophel is an English transposition of the Hebrew, when Hammurabi is an incomplete transposition into English from the Babylonian cuneiform. But directly match the Hebrew and the cuneiform, and we get a different outcome altogether. The two names are, in every sense, identical, or letter for letter,’ as Professor Sayce tells us. For all that modernists say to the contrary, the Amrophel of Genesis 14 is the Hammurabi of Babylon.” [Cooper, Bill, The Authenticity of the Book of Genesis, pl. 87, bold added for emphasis]

It will be understandable if someone asks what this has to do with the Ten Commandments. The simple answer is that the Bible is the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God - the perfect Word of the perfect God. Read the rest of Genesis 14 and explain to me how the servants of Abraham defeated the five kings of established countries, rescued his nephew Lot, and returned the spoils war to those from whom it was taken. There can be but one answer and that is the Lord, and to show Abraham’s awareness of that fact, not that when he returned he paid a tithe to Melchizadek.

2. Looking ahead, they are unique. Some 3400 - 3500 years later we see those same Ten Commandments posted, printed, engraved, and sculpted in various languages around the world. Sadly, in America there is a war going on against God that includes the posting of the Ten Commandments in public places. Who can forget the attack by our Justice Department on then Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court? Because he refused to remove a display of the Ten Commandments from the Supreme Court Building in that state he was removed from office. Guess who has been re-elected as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court? Right! Chief Justice Roy Moore.

3. They are unique in application. The Lord gave Moses practical applications for every day moral issues, sins, crimes, and family situations throughout the Pentateuch. As we move through the Ten Commandments we will recall some surprising applications Jesus made of them. Believers may wonder when America made some of the decisions that led this nation away from God. When I was in elementary school and high school we could count on seeing a picture of George Washington hanging on the wall above the teacher’s desk on one side, and the Lord’s Prayer on the opposite side. The day began with a student reading from the Bible and someone would lead in prayer, or we would say the Model Prayer (commonly called the Lord’s Prayer).

When evolution began being taught in public school classrooms America, I am convinced, was moving in the wrong direction. I was in a Systematic Theology class in a highly respected theological seminary when our professor came into our class and announced that the Supreme Court had just handed down a ruling that removed prayer from the public school classroom. He applauded that decision. The next year the Bible was removed. It has been down hill ever since. William Bennett wrote an outstanding book on the moral index in America which proves that when God was removed from the classroom moral problems began climbing the charts. His index showed a sharp increase that continued to rise from 1963 to the end of the century. It seems God knew what He was doing all along, doesn’t it

C. We Have a Unique Interpretation of the Ten Commandments from Jesus.

1. Jesus has the same authority and sovereignty as the Father. In John 1:1ff, we read,

“In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.

(2) He was with God in the beginning.

(3) All things were created through Him,
and apart from Him not one thing was created
that has been created.
(John 1:1-3, HCSB, Bold added)

Jesus was, and is uniquely qualified to comment on any or all of the commandments of God. In Genesis 1, we read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” God said, “Let there be, and it was so.” In the Gospel According to John we discover that Jesus was the Agent of Creation. It requires no imagination to understand that Jesus has the same authority as the Father in eternity, and He tells us He received authority to speak for Him during His earthly ministry. Now, let us look at Mark 12:28-31:

“One of the scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked Him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” (29) “This is the most important,” Jesus answered: “Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, The Lord is One. (30) Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. (31) “The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31, HCSB, bold added for emphasis)

The first Great Commandment fulfills the first four of the Ten Commandments because they focus on our responsibility to God, whereas the last six commandments focus on our relationship with other people. In this message we are looking at the first commandment, which states, “Do not have other gods besides Me.” (Ex 20:3) If you love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength that should not - no, will not be a problem.


A. Yahweh Is Supreme.

First, the Lord identifies Himself to the Children of Israel, and to you and me: “I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.” (Ex 20:2, HCSB) With this introduction the Lord states the first commandment. Please notice that this is not a suggestion. It is not a subject for debate. It is not an assignment for a thesis or the findings of a survey. It is the living Word of the living God. It is not the subtitle for a book or a line from a play. It is the “thus saith the Word of the Lord.” The Lord, who had proved Himself to the people of Israel time after time, declared, “Do not have other gods besides Me.” (Ex 20:3, HCSB)

Let us stop right here and try to imagine what those Israelites who were camped before Mt. Sinai were thinking when He revealed His covenant with them - a covenant they declared they would obey. Picture those people when they heard the words, “Do not have other gods before me.” Or, in the more familiar King James, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” What do you think was going through their minds? These people were in Egypt when God sent Moses and Aaron to demand that Pharaoh let the Hebrew people leave the land of Egypt. They remembered when the Lord unleashed the ten plagues on Egypt. It was fresh on their minds. This was not a history lesson or a television documentary. There is no way they did not relive the day when the Lord sent His death angel through the land of Egypt, killing the first born sons (as well as male animals) throughout the land. That included the son of Pharaoh, who saw himself as a god.

In the 430 years Israel spend in Egypt, they were surrounded by people who put other gods before the Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Israelites were seduced by the idolatrous worship of gods that did not, and could not exist. Surely, when they heard Moses read this First Commandment, they had to be convicted of their own guilt. Can you not imagine their astonishment as they came to grasp the fact that the idols of Egypt were totally powerless before Almighty God, who treated the most powerful king in the world about like a little child playing with a doodle bug. They had seen Him part the waters of the Red Sea so they could cross and then causing the water to collapse upon the chariots and calvary of Egypt. He had demolished the gods of Egypt and manipulated the mightiest army in world like a joke. It would be interesting to know just what kind of impact this first command had on those ancient Israelites.

I went to the Bible Navigator typed in the words “Lord your God” and found that those words appear 2402 times in the Bible. Over and over, He is addressed as the Lord your God. He is sovereign, He is supreme, the absolute authority for everything He says and everything He does. When God spoke at Mt. Sinai things happened! There was fire on the mountain. There was smoke on and above the mountain. The earth was burned so that the top of the mountain, according to both explorers Larry Williams and Bob Cornuke, is, even after some 3400 years, as black as coal. They even broke some rocks on top of the mountain and the inside of those black rocks is a reddish sandy color, ust like all the mountainous region around them. They didn’t have to watch the rerun of The Exodus, they were the ones delivered by the mighty hand of the Lord.

B. Yahweh Exercises His Supremacy in Issuing the Ten Commandments.

The Scripture tells us of the writing of the Ten Commandments: “When He finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, He gave him the two tablets of the testimony, stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God.” (Ex 31:18, HCSB) Again, in Deuteronomy 9:9, we read, “And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” His very first commandment is, “Do not have other gods besides Me.” (Ex 20:3) May I stress here that while this is the first commandment, I believe it is more than the first of a list of commandments. I believe there is a sense in which this commandment is placed first for the simple reason that if you violate the first commandment you violate all of the Ten Commandments (especially the first four). If you do not honor Yahweh as the one and only God in your life it is doubtful that you are going to take His name or His day seriously.

If you accept this first commandment you place yourself under an obligation to honor all the commandments, and that not only applies to numbers two through four, which focus on our relationship with, and accountability to the one true God, but also to those six commandments that guide our relationship to one another.

In every waking moment, in every thought, in every breath, this first commandment focuses all of your energy, all your thoughts, and all your love and commitment to the one true God who issued it. Our Lord is unique, unequaled, unparalleled in all the earth, as well as in heaven; not just for time but for eternity. He is eternally holy, forever loving, always showing His faithful love to all who acknowledge Him and serve Him. Yahweh, in this first commandment, sets Himself apart from all the gods created by man, in partnership with the devil, from the ancient fertility cults, to the gods of the Egyptians, the Canaanites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. God reveals His power, sovereignty, presence, and attributes to us, whereas those false gods came from the imagination of some human mind under the influence of Satan, the enemy of God. Those gods received their attributes from the men who created them.

Mohammed created a god, named him Allah, and gave him attributes that allow men to murder those who offend his name, do detestable things to women, marry a little girl and consummate that marriage when she is eight or nine years old, and kill those who say anything against the god made up by Mohammed, in partnership with Satan. Similar things can be said of all other so-called gods created by man. How did Dagon explain to King Manasseh why he wanted him to have someone create an image of himself, complete with an furnace in its abdomen so the king could throw his own sons into that fire? How did Baal explain to his worshipers why his was a fertility cult? How did the gods of the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans explain how prostitution glorified them? If reports are true that four of every ten babies (almost seventy-five percent of all black babies and a rapidly increasing number of white and Hispanic) are born out of wedlock, what gods are these Americans worshiping? I do know the One to whom they are going to give an account (Rev. 21:8), but I don’t know how or why so many of our young people live like animals.

While the creators of false gods draw up a list of attributes for their gods, let us compare that with the God of the Bible. No one drew up a list of attributes and taught them to the followers of Yahweh. He, who is self-existent, told the human beings He created what His basic attributes are. He is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, love, holy, just, and so on.

Someone, using human reason and human imagination instead of divine revelation, has suggested that God is the First Cause. That sounds good to the mind of this world, but that is totally untrue. God is not the First Cause, He is the Uncaused Cause of all that exists. No one caused God, but if someone had caused God, that Cause would have been God. I believe you can see how that could go on and on.

Let me try to state this so even I can understand it. God is the Uncaused Cause of all that exists, because He is Self-existent. He exists of Himself. While I am on this point, let me stress that I appreciate something Francis Schaeffer once wrote. As a matter of fact, I would like to share a lot of things Francis Schaeffer said, but I will try to stay focused here. Schaeffer said that when he came to understand the Trinity he moved from the position of an agnostic to that of a theist. Since God exists in three Persons in one entity, He did not have to create man in order to have someone with whom He could have a relationship. There has always been fellowship - a horizontal fellowship - within the Trinity. God, the Creator, revealed Himself to the one creation created in His image and explained His eternal attributes to that creation. Let me repeat a few of them: God is love, God is holy, He is omnipresent, He is omnipotent, and He is omniscient. We could go on and on because we can neither define God, nor exhaust the list of His attributes. We can only list and define His attributes. Whereas those who create pagan gods assign them attributes, our Lord “reveals” His attributes to us. We do not “discover” them.


Now, consider some of the ramifications of the First Commandment: “Do not have other gods besides Me.” (Ex. 20:3)

1) Please do not tell me you love God supremely if you do not obey this commandment.

“Now, Israel, listen to the statutes and ordinances I am teaching you to follow, so that you may live, enter, and take possession of the land Yahweh, the God of your fathers, is giving you. (2) You must not add anything to what I command you or take anything away from it, so that you may keep the commands of the Lord your God I am giving you.” (Deut 4:1-2)

“Then Samuel said: Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention ⌊is better⌋ than the fat of rams. (1 Sam 15:22).

To me, one of the saddest statements we find in the Bible has do with the unfaithfulness of ancient Israel and the treachery of her sister Judah (no wonder Jeremiah became known as the weeping prophet).

“In the days of King Josiah the Lord asked me, “Have you seen what unfaithful Israel has done? She has ascended every high hill and gone under every green tree to prostitute herself there. (7) I thought: After she has done all these things, she will return to Me. But she didn’t return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. ...(9) Indifferent to her prostitution, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. 10 Yet in spite of all this, her treacherous sister Judah didn’t return to Me with all her heart —only in pretense.” ...(11_ The Lord announced to me, “Unfaithful Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.” (Jer 3:6-11)

2) Do not tell me you love God supremely if you do not obey Him explicitly. The Israelites said they would obey the Lord and follow His instructions, but they constantly rebelled against Him. At Sinai, the Lord said, “Now if you will listen to Me and carefully keep My covenant, you will be My own possession out of all the peoples, although all the earth is Mine, (6) and you will be My kingdom of priests and My holy nation.’ These are the words that you are to say to the Israelites.” (Ex. 195-6)

What did the Israelites promise to do? “After Moses came back, he summoned the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. (8) Then all the people responded together, “We will do all that the Lord has spoken.” (Ex 19:7-8) They made that promise over and over, but very quickly after they made it they rebelled against the Lord.

Over and over, they promised, and over and over they broke their word and rebelled against the Lord. They continually promised to obey the Lord during the Period of the Judges, but they continually turned from the Lord and turned to false gods. Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount said,

“Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches people to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever practices and teaches [these commandments] will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
(Matt 5:19)

3) Do not tell me you love God if you do not love His Holy Bible. I do mean a serious study of the Word of God, not just a Bible story or a search for answers to a Bible quiz. At one point, children in Vacation Bible School gave their pledge to the Bible, which included these words: “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I may not sin against God.” Then, there is Ps. 119:11: “I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You.” (HCSB)

4) Do not tell me you love God if you use profanity or vulgar language. Posted on SermonCity.Com under Illustrations at the time of this writing is a note I sent to Editor Dr. Mike Minnix:

“When I was writing a study on the Epistle of Paul to the Romans in The Bible Notebook series, I spent a lot of time in A PRACTICAL AND EXEGETICAL COMMENTARY ON ROMANS, by the late Dr. J. P. McBeth. I recently found a note I made while studying that commentary. The note is on the sins of speech, or the Tongue. The references are all from Romans.

“Vulgarity (3:13a) is the most obnoxious form of speech. Flattery (3:13b) is the most hypocritical form of speech. Slander (3:13c) is the most deadly form of speech. And profanity (3:14) is the most inexcusable form of speech.

“There may be temptation for the first three; but there is never a temptation for a person to profane God’s name. It is a characteristic of man to sin by temptation; and it is characteristic of Satan to sin without temptation; therefore, to use profanity is to sin in similitude to the devil.”

I believe the Father of this Country agreed with that. I am basing that on an order from: Headquarters, New York, August 3rd 1776

General Order

The General is sorry to be informed that the foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing (a vice heretofore little known in an American Army) is growing into fashion; he hopes the officers will, by example, as well as by influence, endeavor to check it, and that both they, and the men will reflect, that we can have little hopes of the blessing of Heaven on our Arms, if we insult it by our impiety, and folly; added to this, it is a vice so mean and low, without any temptation, that every man of sense, and character, detests and despises it. George Washington

No wonder we once had a picture of George Washington hanging on the wall the front of every classroom in our elementary and high schools.

5) Do not tell me you love God if you are not faithful to your wife (or husband). The Bible has a lot to say about commitment to one’s souse. Idolatry is portrayed over and over in the Old Testament as adultery or prostitution. Read the Book of Amos. Marriage and the family are in trouble today in America. They are in very deep trouble.

Suppression of the Ten Commandments is no doubt a factor. Failure of the church (and pastors) to take a stand for biblical morality is another factor. We have taken the Bible out of weddings and God out of funerals and the Bible out of our homes (and sometimes out of church services) over the past generation. We probably have more marriage counseling going on today that at any time in history, but if God is left out of the counseling there is an essential element missing. Infidelity to God is often portrayed as prostitution in the Bible. The Lord told Jeremiah to charge Judah with her infidelity to Him: “You have the brazen look of a prostitute and refuse to be ashamed” (Jer 3:3). Adultery is but one way a husband of wife can violate their God ordained responsibilities to their marriage partner.
Husbands, when you tell “dirty” jokes about women you dishonor your own wife. Wives, when you expose your body in a manner that would embarrass the temple prostitutes of Corinth you dishonor your husband and place your own children at risk. If you really love the Lord you will honor and respect your earthly family.

6) Do not tell me you love the Lord if you tell, or listen to “dirty jokes.” Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write: “But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.” Col 3:8-10) I had the privilege of serving as pastor to a remarkable man a numbers ago in Texas. Bob was supervisor of draftsmen for Texico and had a number of draftsmen at working under him in the refinery in Port Arthur, Texas. It was not unusual for a man to show up in the morning with a new “joke” to tell his fellow workers. At first, men would laugh and say to the man with the new joke, “You need to tell that to Bob.” The man would go into Bob’s office and tell him the joke and then wait for him to laugh like the others. Bob would only give him a serious look, but did not preach him a sermon on “off color” jokes.

Bob told me that after a while they stopped telling him their dirty jokes. In stead, he would hear someone say, “There is no need to tell that to Bob. He is not interested.” As more time passed the men began to say, “Don’t tell that in here. Bob is here.” When the time came to evaluate employees for Texico, Bob might add a note to the effect that “this employee needs to develop his communication skills a little better.” The main office of Texico could not have cared less about off-color jokes, but communication was another matter. They would contact the employee and tell him to get with his supervisor immediately and ask him what he needed to do to improve his communication skills! That gave Bob an opportunity to sit down with the employee and have a serious talk with him about profanity, vulgar terms, and off-color jokes. The man had to listen!

Bob bought a new tie and wore it to work the next day. Someone told him the tie reminded him of something immoral. Bob loved the tie but never wore it to work again.

7) Do not tell me you love the Lord if you are not in church every Sunday, if it is possible. That means Sunday School. That also means the evening worship service. Please don’t tell me you love the Lord if the Mall, the movie theater, a ball game, or hunting or fishing are more important to you on the Lord’s Day than the Lord Himself.

May I add that if you really love the Lord you will have studied your Sunday School lesson before going to church. When my older son John was around 13 or 14 years old I would ask him every Saturday if he had read his Sunday School lesson. He would always say, “Yes, Sir.” Finally, one Saturday, he said, “I always read every lesson three times.” I asked him to explain that and he said, “When I get a new book I read all of it and then every Saturday I read the lesson for the next day and the one for the next Sunday.”

8) Do not tell me you love the Lord but miss more services than you attend. One man told me he had joined a mega church because, “If you miss no one knows it.” But, God knows it! Can we say with the psalmist, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD”? (Ps 122:1)
Can we say with Nehemiah, “we will not forsake the house of our God”? (Neh 10:39, KJV)

9) Do not tell me you love the Lord if He is not more important to you than your hobby. I remember well the days when I would spend several hours every Sunday afternoon watching the Boston Celtics with their star forward Larry Bird, or Baltimore Colts when Johnny Unitas was their quarterback. I also remember the Saturday I drove from Greenville, Mississippi to Vicksburg to see a young girl who had been burned severely. I was listening to an Ole Miss football game, with Archie Manning at quarterback. After I circled around the hospital a few time it dawned on me that football was becoming a little too important to me. I loved to hunt and fish but I never did either on Sunday. A good friend told me that when he was a young man he could hardly wait to get out of church so he could get his dogs and go bird hunting on Sunday afternoon. My friend said, “I was sitting in church every Sunday morning, but I was thinking about where I was going to hunt when the service was over.

10) Do not tell me you love God if you do not love (and discipline) your children. Years ago, I was the Youth Pastor at a great church, with an outstanding pastor. One day, a lady went to see the pastor to ask for help with her son. He was around thirteen or fourteen years old at the time. She asked if he could help her and her husband with their son. He had to tell her that she may have waited too long. When the boy was young they had him out of church every Sunday, and when the pastor tried to talk with them they were too busy to be in church. Many parents take their children out of church to visit relatives or friends, to go to the mall, to a movie, or to the lake. When the child begins to rebel they call on the pastor, not understanding that the youth has already been turned off on the Church. One young mother was afraid her mother and father-in-law would want to take her children out of church to go to their camp. Then their son made a traveling baseball team and the whole family was out of church Sunday after Sunday.

How much difference does going to church make to young people? There are a lot of factors. In my home, when I was growing up, we talked about Brother Waldrup or Brother Andrews all the time. We talked about our church, the sermon, Sunday School, and who had made a profession of faith the previous week. The church was a vital part of our lives.

Then during football season six players were kicked off the fist team for skipping practice and going to town to shoot pool at the local pool room. Our coach was away on business and our superintendent filled in for him at the Monday evening practice. He announced that (in the coach’s absence) he had taken all six of those boys back onto the team - BUT - if anyone else missed - FOR ANY REASON - “you are off the team!” He then asked, “Now does anyone have to miss practice for any reason?” I raised my hand and he shook his head and said, “What’s wrong with you, Johnny?”

I said, “I go to prayer meeting on Wednesday.” He shook his head and demanded, “And you can’t miss it?!” I looked him in the eye and said, “I can’t miss it!” He looked at me few seconds and realizing that I would walk off in a minute if it meant missing prayer meeting, he looked around and asked, “Does anyone else have to miss for any reason?” I had no idea what others might have thought for many years, but I knew that I would have given up football before missing prayer meeting. Furthermore, I did not resent the superintendent. I would have left that night and I would have supported my teammates who stayed on the team. I realized that the superintendent had every right to make a decision like that, and I would not have lost respect for him. He knew I would have left the team that night, but I was not about to miss our prayer meeting.

Did I love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength? I had never thought about it, but now as I look back realize when you love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, you will not hesitate to put Him first. How about you? Do you put Him first in your life? Why not do something about it right now?