Intro: Have you ever entered a “do not enter” street in your driving experience? You can either be ticketed if there is a policeman or you can get into an accident. Either way it will get you in trouble. Have you noticed that in the Ten Commandments there is only one positive command, the rest are negative and are not to be done. This command is to honor your father and your mother. This is the only command that comes with a promise. Notice also that it does not say, “Love your father and your mother.” How then do we honor them? We honor our heroes for what they have done that benefited us. So what benefit have you received from your parents? You would not have been born if it were not for them. You would have died if they did not feed you. You would be ignorant if they did not send you to school. So, do you recognize that as worthy of honor? Even if you don’t find them worthy, God’s command remains. You only have one father and one mother.
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Ex. 20:12
Notice that there are many people who live long lives who are not born again Christians. They do because God is true to His promise. This will not save them but only extend their lives. But how does one measure whether they have honored their parents? You and I have to judge that ourselves. I’m glad that in America a day is set to honor mothers and fathers. This is one way of expressing our appreciation and thankfulness for all they have done. Yet doing this will still not save anyone because we all have sinned by breaking the other commandments. Even just breaking one of the commands the penalty for that one sin is eternal separation from God. For believing parents this is what you are now to teach your children today.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor you father and mother” which is the first commandment with a promise – that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on earth.” Eph. 6:1-3
Did Jesus obey His parents? Yes He did. Did He honor His mother? Yes, He did but not to the point of worshiping her. Here’s what Jesus said,
While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matt. 12:46-50
Jesus did not elevate her position other than what was commanded. And with that Jesus honors all mothers who do the will of His Father. Today we will look at the commandments and how it relates to everyone.
“The Law and the New Covenant”
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matt. 22:34-40
So what happened to the Ten Commandments? Did God abolish them? Not at all. The Ten Commandments were given to Moses to give to the people after they have entered into a covenant with God. God invited the Israelites to enter into a covenant with Him after He delivered them from slavery in Egypt and then saw God did another miracle by parting the red sea.
“Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did in Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of the nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the Lord had commanded him to speak. The people all responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has said.” So Moses brought their answer back to the Lord.” Ex. 19:3-8
So when was the Ten Commandments given? After they entered into a covenant with God. Did they know what sin was? And what they would repent of if there were no laws? According to this next passage no.
“Therefore, just as sin entered through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned – for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command as Adam did, who was a pattern of the one to come.” Rom. 5:12-14
If my father has aids what will I inherit after I am born. I will also inherit what he has. Adams blood was infected and it came to all mankind, except the blood of Jesus. The effect of sin was passed on to his son Cain, murder.
We have known that even though the people entered into this covenant they could not fully keep and obey the commandments. The commandments were not to enslave them but to set them free. The commandments were given first of all to reveal the character of God. The Law when obeyed will keep them from sinning against God and hurting their fellowmen. This would keep order and harmony among God’s covenant people. It is for our good. Can you imagine if there are no traffic laws and regulations to govern the traffic in Reno? There would be chaos. When you come into a four way stop, you ought to know what to do. But if you are ignorant or willfully violate the rule then you are bound to get into an accident or a ticket.
But the covenant people of God could not keep the law. Only Jesus kept the law perfectly and never sinned. God knew the desires of their hearts to keep the law and be faithful to the covenant. They sought to know God and made an effort to obey all the commandments. Yet they failed. No power to obey. Therefore, God provided a new covenant so they can obey.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Why and how did God accomplish this?
“But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is the mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises. For if there had been nothing wrong with the first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said: “The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand and lead them out of Egypt because they did not remain faithful to my covenant and I turned away from them. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete and aging and will soon disappear.” Heb. 8:6-13
Was this promise only for the house of Israel and Judah? What about us Gentiles? Are these promises true also to us? Here’s what Scriptures says.
“For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name.” Again, it says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles with his people.” And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and sing praises to him, all you peoples.” And again Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.” Rom. 15:8-12
Who is this “him” referred to here? It is the Lord Jesus Christ. When did this happen? When the Jews rejected Jesus after the gospel was preached.
“Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.” Acts 13:46-48
So how do the Gentiles get saved? First by believing in Jesus, who He is and what He came to do for man’s greatest need the salvation of his soul.
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
So when one believes in what Jesus said, he must now act on His message.
“The time has come,” he said, “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.” Mark 1:15
So what is the first step? Repentance. Turning away from sins we are guilty of. But how does one know what sin is and where is it found? Found in the Law. I believe every Filipino have heard of this but has not really read it or know them all. Is this necessary? Of course, otherwise how can one know what to repent of and the sins to turn away from? When one repents is he already saved? No, not yet. This is the purpose of knowing the Law.
“But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Before this faith came we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come we are no longer under the supervision of the law.” Gal. 3:22-25
Knowing the law only makes us aware of sin and the Holy Spirit has to come and bring about the conviction to say – You are guilty and condemned.
“When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.” John 16:8
The Holy Spirit must convict the sinner of his sins before he can see his need for Jesus as Savior. Many people came to Jesus for various reasons. Most were for physical healing, demon possession and material need. That has not changed today. In fact this is the most sought after need physical healing of the body and prosperity. But giving up sins? Not necessary. Just go to church, pray and do your best to be good. So, if there was no conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit I would ask myself, am I really save? This is what one should experience before being saved. Hatred for sin that God hates. Why? One cannot love God and love sin at the same time. Again let me mention how Peter describes the unsaved as dogs who goes back to eat his vomit. If that is still true in one’s life then he is like the dog described in the Bible.
“Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” Rev. 22:15
After repentance, only then can one be ready to respond to the gospel or good news and act upon it by faith. And what’s the gospel?
“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Cor. 15:3-4.
This is the gospel that Paul preached first to the Jew and then to the Gentile.
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Rom. 1:16-17
Notice it says Jew and Gentile. It is an individual decision to respond. No one can do it for you, not even your parents or the pastor. And this is what one must be willing to do, identify with the death of Christ by dying to sin and self so Christ can live in you and give you this new life.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal. 2:20
What happened to all the sins committed under the law? It was all given up to Christ for He took the punishment for them as payment in our behalf so that God is now justified to forgive us and accept us as His child. The commandments have now become for the save one, “Love the Lord with all your heart and with all soul and with all your mind first and then love your neighbor as yourself.” If one is not saved, can he possibly obey this? No. This love for God is not from us. It is the love that is produced by the Holy Spirit. And this comes after taking this action by a step of faith,
“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12
Jesus is the One who decides whether you are saved or not. He knows if you entered the kingdom His way and if you did, you receive the love of God Jesus said in John 3:16 in the person of the Holy Spirit.
“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts, by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Rom. 5:5
One who has truly been born again will not deliberately sin from what the Lord Jesus Christ has delivered him from. The Holy Spirit has come into the heart to give our spirit new life. The Holy Spirit produces that love for God and neighbors and empowers the believer to sin no more. Obedience is how we show our love for God. Our only part is to believe and be willing to obey and trust in our Lord Jesus Christ that He will do what He says to live in us.
Have you come to Jesus in this way, His way? Perhaps, it is only now that the Holy Spirit is giving you the conviction and understanding, then come to Jesus and receive the love of God and forgiveness for all your sins.