Copyright June 26, 2015 by Chris Mullis Exodus 20:8-11
by the very finger of God, permanently engraved on two stone tablets, placed in the sacred Ark of the Covenant, and kept in the
Holiest place of the Temple of God, the Ten Commandments are the
essence of God’s law for humanity.They
teach us how to honor God and live well with each other.They also make it clear how far we fall short
of God’s glorious standards and how desperately we need God’s grace and
Someone came to Jesus with this
question: “Teacher,what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”
“Why ask me about what is
good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer
your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the
Ten Commandments are so important, shouldn’t we take time to remember and
understand them?I challenge you to memorize
the Ten Commandments this summer. Then, come to Pleasant Grove UMC each Sunday (or read this blog) to
learn how each Commandment applies to your life.
Let’s list all Ten
1.Do not worship any God except the Lord.
2.Do not make idols of any kind.
3.Do not misuse the name of the Lord.
4.Remember to observe the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.
5.Honor your father and mother.
6.Do not murder.
7.Do not commit adultery.
8.Do not steal.
9.Do not testify falsely against your neighbor.
Today we will look at
the Fourth Commandment as found in Exodus 20:8-11
8 “Remember to observe the Sabbath
day by keeping it holy. 9 You
have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest
dedicated to the Lord your
God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you,
your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any
foreigners living among you. 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.
The Fourth Commandment
The Fourth Commandment is all about
love, because it reveals a precious gift God gave us straight from His
heart.The Sabbath day is a gift of
sacred time.Few gifts are more precious
than time.The busier we are in this
hectic world, the more valuable time becomes.A child may beg for the newest toy advertised in commercials, but
what they really want is their parents’ precious time.What a wife really longs for from her husband
it not jewelry, but to spend quality time together connecting (of course,
jewelry is nice too!).And how much
would a man on his death bed give for a little more time to live.Time is precious and the God of the universe
gave us a whole day to share love with Him and He called it the Sabbath.
God gave us this holy “time” to
rest and renew.Some people don’t need
to be told to rest, but most in our day and age will run themselves ragged,
ruining our health and injuring vital relationships without resting properly.God loves us and cares about our need.Even when we neglect our own health, God
cares enough to remind us to rest.As we
set aside the cares of the world and worship the Lord (as we were originally
designed to do), God renews our strength.Isaiah 40:31 – “…those
who wait for the Lord shall
renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall
run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”God is the source of life and strength.We are renewed as we rest in Him.
The Sabbath also reminds us what is
most important in life.When we step
away from the cares of the world and rest, we reconnect with what’s really
important.This is another precious gift
from God.On the Sabbath, we reconnect
with the people who are most important to us.We find fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ--those who
share common love for our Heavenly Father and who are on a common journey of
discipleship in Christ.The Sabbath--with its closeness to our Creator and like-minded believers--helps us remember
what’s truly important in life.It is
not what the world promotes that is important--all the flashy trinkets and
vices that would entice us to work harder and longer, never taking a break in
our striving to get ahead and gain more trinkets.The Sabbath
gives us time to remember the relationships and love that are truly meaningful
and be grateful to God.
Jesus and the Sabbath
taken the Fourth Commandment too literally.Seventh Day Adventist insist that the church must worship on the true
Sabbath--which is really the seventh day of the week or Saturday.It was not until the second century that most
Christians started worshiping on Sunday (known as the Lord’s Day because it
was the day Jesus rose from the grave).Every Sunday is a little Easter to Christians and it is fitting that most Christians
honor the Lord’s Day as our Sabbath each Sunday.Some Christians legalistically refuse to do
any work on Sunday or argue against things like the sale of alcohol on
Sundays.Could it be that they are being
too much like the Pharisees in Jesus time?
observed the Sabbath.Luke 4:16 tells us
it was his custom to go to
church on the Sabbath day (although they called it a synagogue).So we know Jesus honored the Sabbath and we
should too.However, Jesus was not
legalistic about the Sabbath.In fact,
he criticized the religious leaders of his day for their legalistic
interpretation of the Fourth Commandment.
In Matthew 12:9-14, Jesus
healed a man with a deformed hand on the Sabbath while he was at church.The Pharisees were self-righteously indignant
because they considered healing to be work, and you weren’t supposed to work on
the Sabbath day.Jesus thought that was
crazy.God is not upset when we do good
on the Sabbath day.So Jesus healed the
man.You can do good on the Sabbath.
In Luke 13:10-17, Jesus was at church
again on the Sabbath when he healed a woman who was sick.The leader of the church (I guess you could
call him the pastor or rabbi) got angry and scolded everyone for working on the Sabbath. He said (paraphrase), "You have six days in the week to heal and be healed. Come on those days for healing, but not on the Sabbath." Jesus called him a hypocrite and said healing
the woman was the right thing to do--even on the Sabbath.
In Mark 2:23-27, the Disciples
picked some food to eat as they walked through a farm on the Sabbath.The
Pharisees complained the Disciples were breaking God’s law, but Jesus rejected
their Pharisaical thinking.In Mark 2:27 Jesus said
to them, “...The sabbath was made for humankind, and not
humankind for the sabbath…”You see, the Sabbath is for our benefit.It is a gift from God, not a restriction meant to take away our
freedom.We should try to be more like
Jesus and less like the Pharisees when it comes to obeying the Fourth
The Mark of Believers
There is one more important
thing to say about the Sabbath.The
Sabbath is what marks us as sacred people.We live in a sea of secular people, in a secular world that constantly
tries to take us over.We must always be
careful, lest we be swallowed up in the meaningless activity and busy-ness of an
unbelieving world.When we keep the
Sabbath, it announces our loyalty to God and is a witness to our decision to
follow His way instead of the chaos of this world.It dramatically proclaims our faith that
resting in God is more fruitful than toiling away an extra day in the world.
Some would say, it doesn’t make any
sense.Surely seven days of work will
produce more than only six.Yet we see
in businesses like Chick-fill-a that a Sabbath day of rest is possible in a
successful company.Furthermore, it is a
tremendous witness to everyone about who we are and who we trust. I don't ever remember a cashier at Chick-fill-a telling me the restaurant was a Christian business. No one there ever preached to me or quoted the Bible, but every time I am craving a chick-fill-a sandwich on a Sunday afternoon and can't get one because "Oh yeah, Chick-fill-a is closed today," it reminds me that Chick-fill-a is a business founded that operates on Christian principles. You can say you are a Christian until you are
blue in the face, but when you take the seventh day off, it speaks volumes.
The Sabbath rest challenges us to
disengage from culture induced expectations for frantic leisure, frantic
consumption, or frantic exercise. (The New Interpreter’s Bible, Volume I page
846).It requires us to trust that God
can provide just as much abundance (or even more) in six days than the world can
give in seven.This is what a God’s
I would like to challenge you to
remember that Sabbath Day and keep it holy.We live in a time when way too much has crept in to steal away the
precious Sabbath gift God gave.It
didn’t happen over night, but little by
little, over the course of years or even decades, this greedy world has stolen
our sacred time--minute by minute and hour by hour.Work schedules, business ventures, baseball
tournaments, entertainment venues, the demands of people who do not understand
or honor our God-given right to rest and worship the Creator… They have stolen our precious gift. You need the Sabbath.God knows you need it.That’s why He gave you the gift.You are the only one who can choose to take it back. You are the only one you can protect your
Sabbath by choosing God’s way instead of the world’s way.I challenge you to make a commitment to
remember to observe the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.
“…if you want to receive
eternal life, keep the commandments.” (Matthew 19:17)But who among us can really keep them?Even if you break just one commandment, you
have broken them all (paraphrase of James 2:10).That’s why I am so glad Jesus came to offer us
grace.In Matthew 11:28, Jesus said,
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give
you rest.”Lay down your heavy burden of
sin and find grace and forgiveness in Christ today.Stop frantically following the ways of the
world trying to earn more (even trying to earn God's love) and come follow Jesus and you will find rest.I invite you to choose Jesus today.
If you would choose Jesus today,
would you pray with me:
"Lord Jesus, forgive me for breaking God's commandments. I know I am a sinner and I'm tired of it. Please forgive me and save me. I want to follow you and find rest. Please come take control of my life and lead me. I will do my best t follow you. Amen."
On Friday, the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples in our country have the legal right to marry anywhere in our country. The ruling has sparked fear, sadness, anger, and concern among many Christians who hold to the biblical understanding that marriage is a lifetime commitment between a man and a woman. As the pastor of Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church in Dalton, GA writing to members of my own congregation who are disturbed by this rulling, I offer four points of advice as you respond to the court's decision: 1. Be at peace. Remember that God is in control. Despite our fears, which are fueled by heated news headlines and social media, God is still in control. Trust Him with all your fears, worries, anger, and sorrow. Philippians 4:6 (The Message), "Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns." Christians are a praying people. Let us pray. 2. Keep things in perspective. The Supreme Court's ruling does not alter the stance of Pleasant Grove UMC, the United Methodist denomination (or any other denomination for that matter). The United Methodist Church prohibits UM clergy from performing weddings for same-gender couples and prohibits such weddings from being held in our churches. The court's decision has no control over the UMC's policy and I remain hopeful that the UMC will remain faithful to a biblical understanding of marriage between a man and a woman. 3. Speak the truth in love.Remember, you are an ambassador for Christ in everything you do and say. As you talk to your friends, family members, and neighbors--especially on social media--let your words be filled with God's love and grace. Pray for God to enable you to speak the truth in loving ways. Refuse to be sucked into the vortex of angry, rude, and hurtful arguments. Let the Spirit be your guide. Speak the truth clearly in a sincere and loving way. If you cannot speak the truth with love--being respectful even of those who disagree with you, who curse or revile you, who do not seem to respect you--then do not speak at all; turn those situations over to God and let Him handle them. Now more than ever, we need Christians who know the truth, live the truth, and who love their enemies and pray for those who curse them. 4. Live faithfully for Christ. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing wrong. Instead, focus on doing what is right yourself. You can't control what other people do and you aren't responsible for them anyway. You are responsible to God for your own actions. So do the best you can--with God's help--to live a holy life. Our best opportunity to change the world around us for the better comes when we live faithfully for Christ ourselves. Please join with me in praying. Almighty, Loving, Forgiving, Sovereign God, I come to you with a heavy heart. I grieve for a nation that seems to slip further and further from You every day. I grieve also for people who lash out with hurtful words-- words fueled by fear, frustration, and anger-- aimed at those they believe are misleading our country. Help us oh Lord! Help us to trust You when the swirling storms of cultural change and chaos whirl around us, as we fear the damage being done to a nation we love. Help us to trust You to guide our Church to remain faithful to Your Word-- even if it costs us. Help us to count as an honor any loss or persecution or suffering we must endure for the sake of the Gospel. Help us to understand the Truth of Your Word so we can communicate it clearly whenever You give us an opportunity. Help us to be humble, and to love, and to respect those with whom we disagree-- even if they do not do the same for us, even if they revile us, curse us, or persecute us. Help us to live faithfully--living out the Truth we proclaim with our actions. And please forgive us, for we know we fall short far too much. We offer ourselves to You, trusting in Your mercy and grace, through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Copyright June 16, 2015 by Chris Mullis Exodus 20:7
Introduction This summer, I would like to
challenge you to memorize the Ten Commandments. Then,
come to Pleasant Grove UMC each Sunday (or read this blog each week) to learn how the commandments apply to your
life. We will study one commandment each week.
are 613 laws in the Old Testament of our Bible. The Ten Commandments
are the essence of them all, distilled down to ten easy to remember
commandments that cover every area of life. We
know they are very important because they were written by the very finger
of God (Exodus 31:18) and Jesus quoted them regularly as he taught. Unfortunately, most people--even Christians—do not know or
understand the Ten commandments. So…
Let’s recite all Ten Commandments together. This list is my paraphrase
of the Ten Commandments.
not worship any God except the Lord.
not make idols of any kind.
not misuse the name of the Lord.
to observe the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.
your father and mother.
not commit adultery
not testify falsely against your neighbor.
Today we will look at the Third Commandment. Exodus 20:7
7 “You must not misuse the name of the
Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if
you misuse his name.”
This verse makes two main points. First is the
commandment itself: “You must not misuse the name of the Lord.” Or as a
more traditional version puts it, “Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in
vain.” Or as I put it in my own words, “Do not misuse the name of the
Lord.” The second part of the verse is pretty clear. The Lord will
not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name. I think we can
understand that. It means we better not break this commandment or you will be punished. So, I think it
is vital that we understand the commandment so we can avoid breaking it, right?
So what does it mean to misuse or take the Lord’s name in vain?
Here are three stories of misusing the Lord’s name.
First off, I was watching a show on HGTV where they renovated a
family’s home and then brought the family in to surprise them with the
results.The remodeled home was
beautiful and the family was thrilled with the results.As they gave the family the tour, each time
they entered a new room, the wife exclaimed in delight, “Oh mu God!”It was as if she could find no other way to
express her surprise.“Oh my God!”
poured out of her mouth over nad over again each time she entered a room.Saying “Oh God!” in such a way would be
considered misusing the Lord’s name. My second story
took place where I practice jiu-jitsu. My jiu-jitsu class is a mixture of
many different kinds of people—some who are Christians, some who are not, some
who attend church regularly and some who never attend church. Well I was rolling one day
(that’s what we call it when we are wrestling or practice fighting with an
opponent in class) and I defeated my opponent by twisting his arm until he
tapped out (or gave up). (That’s how you win a jiu-jitsu match.)My opponent was frustrated and expressed his
frustration by cursing, “@#$%!” Remembering that I was a pastor, he
quickly apologized and said that’s what he does when he’s frustrated.Some people consider cussing a form of
misusing the Lord’s name. My last story came from a Mary Helen Speights. She
once hired a Christian man to remove a rotten tree from her yard. He
removed the whole tree except for the trunk, which was too large for the
chainsaw he had with him. He promised he would return the next day with a
larger saw and remove the trunk.Donna
had already paid him for the work, but this “Christian” man (who readily
advertised his business as a Christ-centered business) never returned.It has been years now and this “Christian” has
never returned to finish the work as he promised.This is also considered misusing the Lord’s
The Three Most Common Violations
Each of these stories is an example of what many
people would call misusing the Lord’s name. Let’s look at each one.
First, there is using God’s name in a trivial way—such as saying
“Oh God!” or “Oh my God!” or even “Jesus!” to express excitement or
exasperation. This way of using God’s name has become so commonplace that
many do not realize it as a problem. However, in Jesus day, you weren’t
even supposed to speak God’s name. Many people would not even write it—choosing
instead to refer to God by the title Lord instead. The Old Testament Law
in Leviticus chapter 24 stipulated that speaking God’s name in the wrong way
was punishable by stoning. In fact, this was the sin for which the
religious leaders sentenced Jesus to death on the cross. If we held to
that standard, people in Dalton, GA would be stoned to death every day.Unfortunately, it is even a bad habit I am
guilty of from time to time.I need to
work on this.
Using God’s name in a trivial way is something we
should not do. It is a bad habit that desensitizes us to the Holiness of
God. Instead, we should remember that God is holy and good and we are
mere mortals that should hold God in reverence, respecting God and His name.
So if you struggle—as I sometimes do—with this bad habit, I encourage you
to do better. Even so, I don’t think this is the worst way we misuse
God’s name. Let’s look at the second way people are accused of misusing
The second way
we accuse people of misusing God’s name is when they use profanity (or when
they cuss). Technically, this is not really using God’s name in vain,
because you are not usually using God’s name at all (unless you are saying
“G-- D---”). Profanity is really not what the Third Commandment is addressing.
However, there are other places the Bible teaches us not to use profane
10:32 – The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth
of the wicked, what is perverse.
3:8 – But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander,
and obscene talk from your mouth.
4:29 – Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is
good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to
those who hear.
I would add
that these verse speak to more than just “curse words.” God wants us to
use wholesome words, and even more important, wholesome ideas that build up and
do good. You might never say an obscene word in your life, but if you
express perversion, malice, slander, or words that tear down or lack grace, you
are not doing the will of God, regardless of how pretty your words may sound.
An evil tongue sometimes drips with honey, but it is still evil.So let’s agree not to use profanity or even profane ideas
that tear down rather than builld people up in love. If you struggle with
this, ask the Lord to help you break this habit. There is a
third way we misuse the name of the Lord, and I think it is the worst of all.
It is when we invoke God’s name or reputation for our own selfish
purposes. You see, the term “The Lord’s Name” doesn’t just mean His
common name.The Lord’s name is his
reputation.That’s what we mean when we
say the Lord’s prayer.What do we say,
“Our Father, who are in Heaven, hallowed
be thy name…’The expression hallowed be thy name means—may your
reputation be honored and exalted.
Quite often in our society, people will affiliate
themselves with the Lord’s name (or His reputation.)For instance, you might see a car mechanic
with a fish symbol on the sign of his business.The implication is, “Look, I’m a Christian mechanic.You can trust me.I won’t cheat you.”And that’s a good thing if you need someone
to work on your car, right?You don’t
want to be cheated.You should be able
to trust that guy, because he’s a Christian.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with that.But if you are going to use God’s name (or
reputation) to bolster your own reputation, you better live up to it.Right?For if you are using God’s name to bolster your own reputation without
living up to it, you are misusing God’s name.
This happens quite frequently in
a politicians promotes his or her Christianity as a way to garner more
votes without intending to put Christian principles first in their career
a business uses their religious affiliation to attract more business
a person seeks to use their religion garner more influence in the
a person where a cross, or a Christian t-shirt, or a put a Christian
bumper sticker on their car, but doesn’t act as a Christian while
displaying the Lord’s name.
person uses their faith to bolster their reputation without living up to the Lord's name.Isn’t this what the Pharisees did that
bothered Jesus so much?He said they
“…love to pray publicly on street corners and in the
synagogues where everyone can see them.”(Matthew 6:5)
Please hear me. There is nothing wrong with showing your faith in Christ by wearign a cross or a Christian t-shirt, etc. However when you do, you should be very conscious of how you behave; is your witness matching up to Christian principles? These are fine lines, but God
knows a person’s heart and if you are using God’s name to commend yourself to
others without honestly trying to live up to it, then you are misusing God’s
name and you are breaking the Third Commandment in the worst kind of way.
Third Commandment tells us, we will not go unpunished if we’ve misused the name
of the Lord. All of us have done it. We all deserve to be
punished.Romans 6:23 tells us, “The
wages for sin is death…”And Exodus 20:7
tells us, “You will not go unpunished if you misuse the name of the Lord.”But there is Good News.
The Good News is Jesus has already taken your
punishment on himself. He allowed himself to be whipped and spat upon for
your sake. He wore a crown of thorns for you. He carried the cross
down the road to cruel Golgotha on your behalf. He was nailed to that
same cross so you didn’t have to be. He spilled his own precious blood so
you can keep yours. He bore the agony of hell, so you could escape.
He did all this and more to save you.
Won’t you thank him today for this priceless gift?
Won’t you ask forgiveness for the way your sin brought suffering to the
Son of God? Won’t you ask him to be your Lord today? Won’t you
commit to follow Him from now on so you can begin to obey the commandments more
faithfully?Then I offer you this prayer to express your desires to God.
"Jesus, thank you for taking my sins to the cross so I don’t have
to. Forgive me for the way my actions have caused you pain. Help me
to live a better life that is worthy of the sacrifice you made. Today, I
choose to follow you. Jesus, save me and be my Lord and I will serve you
for the rest of my life. Amen.”
Will you do me a favor? If you have prayed this
prayer and decided to let Jesus be your Lord for the first time, will you let
me know? Email me at ReverendChrisMullis@hotmail.com I would like to know so
I can thank God and keep you in my prayers.
9, 2015 by Chris Mullis Exodus 20:4-6
people struggle to remember the Ten Commandments.Even Christians—who value and seek to follow
the Ten Commandments—struggle to remember them.That’s a shame, because the Ten Commandments are a fundamental element
of our faith.
Exodus 31:18 says the Ten
Commandments were written “by the finger of God.”This is the only example of scripture in the
Bible being written directly by God.There
are 613 laws written in the Old Testament, but The Ten Commandments represent
the essence of them all.They must be
important, because Jesus often quoted them in the New Testament.Not only do the Ten Commandments show us how
to live a godly life, they also show us how desperately we need God’s grace and
forgiveness because we fail to keep the commandments so often—even when we try
hard to be good.
We will study the Ten Commandments
all summer longer—looking at one commandment each Sunday.As we go through the list, I challenge you to
commit the Commandments to memory and to come each Sunday to learn how they
apply to your life.Today we will look
at the Second Commandment.But before we
do, take a moment to read all 10 together.
The following list is my paraphrase of the 10 commandments from Exodus20:1-18.
The 10 Commandments
1.Do not worship any god except the Lord. 2.Do not make idols of any kind. 3.Do not misuse the name of the Lord. 4.Remember to observe the Sabbath day and keep it
holy. 5.Honor your father and mother. 6.Do not murder. 7.Do not commit adultery. 8.Do not steal. 9.Do not testify falsely against you neighbor. 10.Do
Here's a cool (cough, cough) video that might help you remember them.
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.5 You must not bow down to them or
worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who
will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the
parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the
third and fourth generations of those who reject me.6 But
I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and
obey my commands.
half of verse 5 is very troubling.People often ask me about the statement, “I lay the
sins of the parents upon their children… [to] the third and fourth
generation…”That is a very troubling statement
and I promise I will address it.However, before we get to that, let’s look at the second commandment itself.I promise I will come back to verse 5 in a
commandment says, “Do not make for yourself an idol of any kind…”You might think that is an easy commandment
to keep in our time.Modern Americans
are not is the habit of casting golden statues to worship the like people in
Old Testament times.However, we may
struggle with this second commandment more than any other.
We engage in idol worship anytime we put
something or someone (even ourselves) before God.It is the very definition of Sin—letting
something else besides God be the first priority in your life.This is not what God created us for.God created us in His image to worship Him as the center of our lives.
Pastor Timothy Keller wrote an excellent book on the subject of
Idolatry called Counterfeit Gods.I highly recommend it.In his
book, Keller writes, “…the human heart takes good
things like a successful career, love, material possessions, even family, and
turns them into ultimate things. Our hearts deify them as the center of our
lives, because, we think, they can give us significance and security, safety
and fulfillment, if we attain them.”[i]
Our sin-infected hearts tend to take the good things God gives us and
turn them into ultimate things.We give
them power they do not have.We can make an idol out of anything when we trust
it to give us what only God can give.
“What is an idol? It is anything more
important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more
than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.A counterfeit god is anything so central and
essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly
worth living. An idol has such a controlling position in your heart that you
can spend most of your passion and energy, your emotional and financial resources,
on it without a second thought. It can be family and children, or career and
making money, or achievement and critical acclaim, or saving “face” and social
standing. It can be a romantic relationship, peer approval, competence and
skill, secure and comfortable circumstances, your beauty or your brains, a
great political or social cause, your morality and virtue, or even success in
the Christian ministry…An idol is whatever
you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, “If I have that, then I’ll feel
my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant
Some idols we worship today are:
·Money.Many people will agree that money can be an
idol.We understand that greed can be a
powerful and negative influence that destroys lives and break the hearts of its
·Children.I have known parents who make idols out of
their children.All good parents want
the best for their children, but some parents go too far by spoiling their
children rotten or by overprotecting them or by pushing them relentlessly to
·Success.Some professional athletes take performance
enhancing drugs because they have to be the absolute
best.They are already phenomenal
athletes, but that’s not enough for them.They will risk their bodies and the reputations for their “idol.”It’s not just athletes.The same idol of success is found in the workplace, in churches, and even in
families.Anytime you have put
succeeding before God, you have made success and idol.
·Love.Some peoplestake all their hopes and dreams in love.If they could just find that special guy or
gal, their problems would be solved.If
they could just find someone who really cares, they would be fine.Yet even love becomes and idol when we expect
it to fulfill us the way only God can.
Again, we make an idol
out of anything we trust to give us what only God can give.Idol
worship is a severe problem in America.And it is just as abominable to God today as it ever was.
such an affront to God because it fundamentally goes against the very core of
who God is, who we are, and our whole purpose for being.When we make an idol, we attempt to change
the whole order of creation.We try to
make God the way we want Him to be.We
make Him in our image instead of
recognizing we are made in His image.We
switch the roles of our relationship around until we pretend to be the creator
while demoting the God of the universe to our underling.It is a reversal that is an outrage to all of
creation, and an abomination to God. Idols always disappoint us.They do not have the power to fulfill our
hopes and dreams.They turn to dust in
our hands.The leave us empty, broken,
frustrated, and discontent.And so God
commands us, “Do not make idols of any kind.”
A Troubling Statement
I would come back to the troubling statement in the second half of verse 5.Let’s read it again.“…I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God
who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the
parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the
third and fourth generations of those who reject me.”
is troubling, because we don’t like to think of God being jealous.That emotion seems too unappealing to belong
to a righteous God.Furthermore, doesn’t
it seem rather unfair for God to lay the sins of parents upon their
children—even to the third and fourth generation?Do you feel you should be held responsible
for sins of idolatry your great, great grandparents committed?Such emotions and behaviors do not seem
fitting for the Christian God.We would
much rather think of our God as treating each person individually and being unbegrudging
rather than jealous.
a minute.Wait a minute.What are we doing when we think like
this?Are we not wanting to re-make God
into the image of what we want God to be like?What do we call that?Isn’t that
idolatry?We are trying to make God the
way we want Him to be.What gives us the
right to do that?We are the creatures and God
is the Creator.But we want to switch
things around.We want to create a
perfect god according to our concept
of what is perfect.
is who He is.We do not get to
re-configure Him to be the way we want Him to be.Even if the best we can do in this instance
is say “We don’t understand this verse or we are confused by it,” let us not
try and manipulate the character of God and make it what we want it to be.That is idolatry.
think I can say something helpful about God’s jealousy and generational
punishment.First of all, God’s jealousy
is not like human jealousy, which is so often misplaced and corrupt.God’s jealousy flows out of
righteousness.He made us.He has every right to demand our
faithfulness.He shouldn’t even have to
demand it.Our love and honor and
admiration for God ought to be the most naturally flowing characteristic of our
lives—it is what we were design by God to do.And yet, we trade in our affection for God for almost anything
else—things that are not gods at all, only figments of our imagination (idols
that have no power, no life, nothing at all to offer).It is no wonder at all that God should be
jealous, that He should be angry.On the
contrary, it is amazing to me that God has not obliterated humanity from the
face of creation because we have turned our backs on Him so many times.
the truth is, the sins we commit have dire consequences—not just for us but for
many others as well.Like a stone tossed
upon the waters of a still lake, our sin sends out ripples that spread out to
affect many others.Those ripples even
span across generations—to the third and fourth (or even more)
generations.If you ever find yourself
thinking, “My sin does not affect anyone else,” think again.Even if you do not see it, your sin has
contributed to the pain, suffering and evil of the world, and it might even
affect your children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.In this way, I understand that it is not
unusual at all that Exodus 20:5 says, “I lay the sins of the parents upon their
children…”I will tell you what is truly amazing
6 says, “I lavish unfailing love for
a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.”This is statement is fulfilled in Jesus
Christ.For even though we have all
broken the second commandment in one way or another at some point in our life,
even though we are worthy only of God’s jealous wrath, instead we receive grace
and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only son so that
whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.”
6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life
through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
10:13 – “All who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
2: 9-10 – “Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none
of us can boast about it.10 For we are
God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the
good things he planned for us long ago.”
Ten Commandments show us how sinful we are and how desperate we are for a
savior.The Good News is, Jesus can save
you!Forgiveness, mercy, and grace are
available to you through Jesus Christ.If you recognize your need, call out to Jesus today.Pray to him and beg for forgiveness.Surrender your life to him and ask him to
lead from this day forward.Commit to
follow Him and you shall be saved.Then
when God looks at your heart on judgment day, he will not see your sin.He will see Jesus living in you and you will