This Sunday, our journey through the Ten Commandments comes to an end as we arrive at commandment ten. We’ve learned, as we’ve gone through the previous nine commandments, that they are not as easy to keep as you might think. In fact, I suspect that most everyone has broken a number of them, myself included. But, if for some reason, you think you’re unscathed thus far, commandment ten should disabuse you of that thought. The great reformer, Martin Luther, said the tenth commandment is for those who “wish to be commended as honest and virtuous because they have not offended against the preceding commandments.”
But let’s not forget that God gave the Ten Commandments not only to show us our inability to keep them, but to lead us to the One who kept them on our behalf. The Ten Commandments show you why Jesus matters and how satisfaction in Him will yield contentment with life. That’s especially important, in our day, as we consider this last command.
Do you ever wonder why God spoke and wrote the Ten Commandments? You may be inclined to think He gave them to make Christians boring or make sure we don’t have too much fun. Maybe you think God provided them to see who is in and who is out of the kingdom of God. But neither of these are reasons God gave for issuing the Ten Commandments.
God gave His people the commandments AFTER He provided salvation from the Egyptians (Exodus 19). God lovingly saved His covenant people and deemed them, of all the people of the earth, His treasured possessions. The Lord is making His people into a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. The Ten Commandments were given to establish and set apart the people of God’s affection, and when you keep those commandments, it testifies to your intimacy with God.
This Sunday we take a look at the third commandment, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” This commandment is about so much more than using the Lord’s name as an expletive or an exclamation. Expressed positively, you might rephrase it, “The Lord’s people will honor His name.” In what ways do those deemed God’s “treasured possessions” desire to honor His name? That’s the question we’ll seek to answer together this week.
No one enjoys a guilty conscience. If you read most self-help books or listen to motivational speakers, they tell you a guilty conscience is a bad thing. Is it though? In one sense, yes, but in another sense, no. If you’re suffering from a guilty conscience, you need to ask, “Why is my conscience guilty and what is the remedy?”
God’s view on the remedy for a guilty conscience is often at odds with the surrounding culture’s view. The culture tells you to suppress those feelings and ignore them. It encourages you to work on your self-esteem, as a hedge against your guilty concience. It trains you to think that your guilty conscience is a very bad thing. The truth is, a guilty conscience is usually an indication that you’re actually guilty! You can supress your guilty conscience all you want, but that’s not going to deal with your guilt. This week’s passage addresses the issue of guilty consciences and points to a remedy for your underlying guilt. God’s grace is the only cure for your guilt, and this week’s message exposes four important facts about guilty consciences, all of which will lead you into God’s graceful remedy.
We’ve been seeing so much of God’s sovereignty, the last few weeks of our journey through the book of Genesis. No one is stronger than God and no one can forestall His plans. The Lord is not weak and He goes to great lengths for the sake of His people. He has overcome sin through His Son, Jesus, and provides assurance of eternal salvation for all who trust in Him. God’s will always prevails.
While we confess God’s sovereignty, His good and loving character, and rest in the assurance that our eternal inheritance in heaven is kept certain by His sovereign hand, we often want Him to reveal to us more than He does. Admit it, wouldn’t you love to know all the twists and turns your life will take? Wouldn’t you love to know all the plans God has for you? In fact, for many, not knowing the answer to the what, where and when questions of life produces an anxiety that goes beyond curiousity. That need becomes more pronounced in the middle of a crisis or when you’re faced with a big decision. But as we’ll see, the next two Sundays, there is a way to be at peace, even without knowing all the details.
Our passages, this week and next, show how peace is found when surrendering to God’s will. Though the circumstances of your life is different than Pharaoh and Joseph, you can find a great deal of comfort and assurance when resting in God’s will. God has a plan and will for you.
I wonder if you’ve heard this story of Thomas Cramer’s final moments on earth. http://ow.ly/BARK8
Things in front of the church office were noticeably different, first thing in the morning this week. The traffic was once again backing up at the Elm Street intersection and everyone out there seemed in a real hurry. It became evident that people were shifting out of summer and back into “normal” mode. Sometimes our faith, or maybe our faithfulness, slumps during summer, when the pressure and demands on us are low. But then, of course, things get so busy after Labor Day that it’s also easy to get lax when it comes to our devotion to the Christian faith. No one does it intentionally, but before you know it, you’re relying on yourself a whole lot more than God. You end up overestimating your ability and underestimating His.
Abraham found himself in a very similar place in our passage for this Sunday. Abraham was a huge success and a great man of faith, but he began to trust way to much in Abraham and far too little in God. If you’re honest, you can probably relate. Whenever you think less of God than you should, you, inevitably, think more of yourself than you should. At times like this, God often finds a way to get your attention, while providing an opportunity to grow you in your faith. We’ll look at a couple of ways this happens on Sunday and consider how you and I can think a whole lot more of God and a whole lot less of ourselves.
Come join as we hear from God’s Word and worship together in the body of Christ this Sunday at 10:30! Don’t forget to come early for breakfast (8 AM) and Sunday school (9:15 AM).
“Created for Works” – This Sunday at 10:30 … http://wp.me/p2boFe-6G