Accepting God's Rules
May it be said of us that God was pleased!
He gave sight to the blind, made the lame walk, healed the diseased, made the deaf hear, brought the dead back to life, and preached Good News to the poor (Matthew 11:5). Satan, knowing that Jesus would do these things tried to stop Him! How did Jesus defeat Satan? He defeated the devil by obeying the duties spoken of in Deuteronomy.
When Jesus was hungry, Satan tempted “tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”
Matthew 4:4 (NLT)
4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,
‘People do not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’* ”
Satan challenged Jesus from the highest point of the Temple, “If you are the Son of God, jump off!”.
Matthew 4:7 (NLT)
7 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.’”*
Satan then tempts Jesus with the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
Matthew 4:9 (NLT)
9 “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”
Matthew 4:10 (NLT)
10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say,
‘You must worship the LORD your God
and serve only him.’* ”
Jesus knew the book of Deuteronomy because each of his responses to Satan comes from this book. In the “second law” are our specific duties towards God and one another. Do you know what they are called? God brought the Israelites out of slavery—but not out of bounds. They had freedom, but the freedom was tempered with certain clear-cut duties. Not “The Ten Guidelines” or “The Ten Suggestions,” but “The Ten Commandments.” Can anyone tell me these duties?
Our greatest words often come during our last days. For example: Moses spoke the Ten Commandments during the last month of his life. Granddad, on a hospital bed and just before passing away said to his wife with his entire family present, “I have always been faithful to you Bonnie.” And Jesus’ last words before ascending back into Heaven were go and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). So that we would know our duty toward God and our duty toward our neighbor was Moses’ purpose for giving the Ten Commandments. To always be faithful to God and one another was Granddad’s purpose for telling his wife that he had always been faithful. And Jesus’ purpose for telling us to go and make disciples is so that the end will come (Matthew 24:14)!
Go with me in your Bibles to Deuteronomy 5 and see where Moses recalls God’s covenant that was originally given forty years previously when the Israelites fled from their Egyptian oppressors.
• And while you are doing that tell me the duties again because obeying them pleases God
Deuteronomy 5:1-6 (NLT)
Moses called all the people of Israel together and said, “Listen carefully, Israel. Hear the decrees and regulations I am giving you today, so you may learn them and obey them!
2 “The LORD our God made a covenant with us at Mount Sinai.* 3 The LORD did not make this covenant with our ancestors, but with all of us who are alive today. 4 At the mountain the LORD spoke to you face to face from the heart of the fire. 5 I stood as an intermediary between you and the LORD, for you were afraid of the fire and did not want to approach the mountain. He spoke to me, and I passed his words on to you. This is what he said:
6 “I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.
Did you see what the Lord said? Forty years after he delivered them from slavery in Egypt he wants them to remember their “Exodus.” When his people had first left Egypt and shortly after they crossed the Sea he gave them similar words.
Exodus 20:2 (NLT)
2 “I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.
Look with me once again at Deuteronomy 5:6. God wants his people to remember that He rescued them from Egyptian captivity. Are you with me? I hope you are because God wants His people to remember Him as the One True God who saved them from oppression and sorrow in Egypt. There is another image God wants His people to remember Him by, do you know what that is? Along with Savior God want His people to remember Him as Creator, let me explain. In Exodus God commands his people to set aside a specific day of the week for his remembrance a day called the Sabbath. Look closely at Exodus 20:11 to see what God says about the Sabbath.
Exodus 20:11 (NLT)
11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.
Pay particular attention to what God did on the seventh day—he rested from His work of creating. Take notice what God said through Moses forty years later when recalling these same Ten Commandments.
Deuteronomy 5:15 (NLT)
15 Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, but the LORD your God brought you out with his strong hand and powerful arm. That is why the LORD your God has commanded you to rest on the Sabbath day.
By holding up and comparing these two events that were separated by 40 years can you see the two images of God? In Exodus 20:11 God wants his people to remember him as Creator. “For in six days the LORD made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them.” In Deuteronomy 5:15 God wants his people to remember him as Savior. “Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, but the LORD your God brought you out with his strong hand and powerful arm.” The Sabbath is a day of rest and remembrance. Least we abuse the Sabbath pay particular attention to Jesus’ words.
Mark 2:27 (NLT)
27 Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.
In Acts 20:7a—“The Lord’s Supper” or also known as “Communion” allows us to participate with Christ and one another on the Sabbath. Here we are not spectators but participants that get to meet weekly for the purpose of remembering God as Creator, and Savior. There is something special that happens when we obey the Sabbath as God intends. Although God saved His people in the Sea, His ultimate image of Savior came through His Son Jesus Christ when He died for our sins!
All followers of Christ are invited to join us as we receive Holy Communion
• I came across a neat illustration recently
“After serving the cup, ask the congregation, ‘What did God just say?’ God speaks to us through our senses if we will pay attention. Not only does the smell and the taste take us back to the upper room, it pulls us back to this place, to the church
Like it did with Abby, who is seven. She went to the refrigerator and grabbed a juice box. As she was about to shove the straw into the box, she noticed it was grape flavored. That made her hesitate. She took the juice box to her sister, handed it to her and said, ‘Here, taste this, and tell me if it tastes like church.’
What does church taste like? For Abby, it tastes like the juice her church uses for the Lord's Supper. Not a bad connection for her to make. When we take the Lord's Supper, we are connecting with the body of Christ throughout all times. It connects us with the church of yesterday and tomorrow. It is one way we get a real taste of Church.”
Deuteronomy 5:12 (NLT)
12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you.
Observing the “Lord’s Supper” weekly pleases God but what happens when the Sabbath day is not observed? What happens when we neglect our duty to God and one another?
“South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford was out of touch with family and staff for several days recently, having implied that he would be hiking the Appalachian Trail. Actually, he was committing adultery with a woman in Argentina. After his deceit was discovered, he held a press conference, confessing that ‘God’s laws’ were designed to ‘protect us from ourselves.’ The governor is only the latest in a long string of public figures—both secular and religious—who have tasted the forbidden fruit of adultery. It leaves a bitter aftertaste.
We are tempted to bemoan the sorry state of morality that the above event highlights. However, we must admit that we all contribute to the problem whenever we demonstrate our lack of regard for the standards God set forth in the Ten Commandments. Those commandments guide our attitude and behavior toward God and others. It is good that Gov. Sanford recognizes that God’s laws should protect us from ourselves; if only the governor had realized that before his trip to Argentina!”
Since the Ten Commandments are part of the old covenant, are they binding on Christians? In other words are these duties to God and one another applicable today?
To play baseball you have to know the rules and compete according to the rules. Here is a rule I never heard of until watching the Kansas City Royals play Tuesday night.
“The balk is one of those slightly arcane rules that few properly understand. A balk is a penalty charged against a pitcher for deviating from the legal pitching motion while a runner is on base. It can occur either on a pitch or on a throw to a base during a pick-off.
There are 15 ways to balk.
1. switches his pitching stance from the windup position to the set position (or vice versa)
without properly disengaging the rubber;
2. when going from the stretch to the set position, fails to pitch;
3. throws from the rubber to a base without stepping toward
(gaining distance in the direction of) that base;
4. throws from the rubber to a base where there is no runner and no possibility of a play;
5. steps or feints from the rubber to first base without completing the throw;
6. pitches a quick return pitch, that is, intending to catch the batter off-guard;
7. pitches or mimics a part of his pitching motion while not in contact with the rubber;
8. drops the ball while on the rubber;
9. after a feint or throw to a base from the rubber, fails to disengage
the rubber before reengaging and pitching;
10. after beginning to pitch, interrupts his pitching motion;
11. begins to pitch while the catcher is out of the catcher's box when giving an
12. while pitching, removes his pivot foot from the pitching rubber, except to pivot;
13. inordinately delays the game;
14. pitches while facing away from the batter;
15. after bringing his hands together on the rubber, separates them except in making a
pitch or a throw;
16. stands on or astride the rubber without the ball, or mimics a pitch without the ball
By the way a Royals pitcher did get called for a balk Tuesday night.
These are 15 rules for something I have never heard. Jesus summarizes life with two duties. Can you tell me what they are?
In celebration for the 4th of July there have been fireworks going off now for seven days. As I write this my ears are ringing and my two dogs Sue and Bes are hiding under the back porch in fear of the mighty poppers. According to my 8 year old neighbor Josie and her older brother Jacob, a person may participate in these unlawful things from June 27th through July 5th. By the way unlawful is my word and not theirs, July 6th sounds heavenly!
Think back with me to our question. Since the Ten Commandments are part of the old covenant, are they binding on Christians? In other words are these duties to God and one another applicable today? A person can not participate in the game of baseball or shooting fireworks and not know the rules. The same is true in the game of life which we all are participants in. When Jesus came along he did not make a long list of rules just two. Do you know what they are?
Matthew 22:37-39 (NLT)
37 Jesus replied, “ ‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’* 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
To answer our question; yes, all these duties are applicable today in the strictest sense except the Sabbath. I think I have made a good case for the importance of observing the Sabbath although it is not binding on us today as the other nine are. The Sabbath and free will are sort of similar. God allows us this day to choose whom we will serve. I choose to serve the Lord.
And without further ado our duty towards God.
Deuteronomy 5:7-9a, 11-13 (NLT)
7 “You must not have any other god but me.
8 “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind, or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. 9 You must not bow down to them or worship them
11 “You must not misuse the name of the LORD your God. The LORD will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.
12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. 13 You have six days each week for your ordinary work,
Those are our four duties toward God and these are our six duties toward one another.
Deuteronomy 5:16-21 (NLT)
16 “Honor your father and mother, as the LORD your God commanded you. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
17 “You must not murder.
18 “You must not commit adultery.
19 “You must not steal.
20 “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.
21 “You must not covet your neighbor’s wife. You must not covet your neighbor’s house or land, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.
Let’s review the purpose for accepting our duties. They are intended to help us as they did for Jesus when confronted by Satan. They also help us remain in right relationship with God and one another.
Let’s pray, Father it is our desire to obey; therefore, pleasing you. And may it be said of us that God was pleased. In Jesus name. Amen.