“A Set Apart Life a”
II.) Vs. 12 A sanctified home
III.) Vs. 13 The sanctity of life
IV.) Vs. 14 The sanctity of love
V.) Vs. 15 Sanctified property
Last week we began our study through the “ten words” better know as the Ten Commandments. These words reveal the heart of God towards man and how they related to my own life. Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” We are told that we, “become dead to the law through the body of Christ.” We also understand that, “a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.” So the question is: Why bother to study and apply something that we are clearly dead to because of our new faith in the finished work of Christ? Folks, what we are dead to is these “ten words” being basis of our right standing before God. These “ten words” still act as our, “tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” Paul goes on to say, “after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” I find that the law still brings me to trust in Jesus to love and live as He has called me to.
Again these ten words, sum up all the law and are divided into two groups:
1.) Vs. 2-11 Four commandments that deal with what Jesus called the first commandment “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
2.) Vs. 12-17 Six commandments that deal with how that love for God will be seen in the world, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
We are going to look at three aspects of these six commandments:
- How Israel saw these laws
- How the church understood them
- How we ought to apply them today
II.) Vs. 12 A sanctified home
Vs. 12 These 23 words that make up the 5th commandment and are repeated in Deut. 5:16 and Eph. 6:1-3 are:
- A commandment obligating children regardless of age to honor their parents. In fact, it would appear that most likely the majority of those hearing these words were adults. Thus honoring your parents does not stop once you become an adult.
- There is no specific action mentioned which is said to indicate honor. We are not told to do anything in particular; thus we are to assume that we always need to ask ourselves, “how is what I’m doing or not doing going to honor my parents?”
- This is our first commandment that obligates us to mankind and with the first people we meet, our parents. It also comes with a promise which is twofold:
- Long days: If you will long life.
- Living in the land of promise: A blessed life.
Summarizing this then I would say that God is giving Israel a key to a healthy society, a set apart home! The foundation of any society is to be seen in the family. If the family unit is destroyed, all of society will fall. The word “Honor” means to give weight to or to fix a value towards. What this commandment is saying is that if you love God then you will love your parents. Oh, they may be flakey, old fashion or even unbelievers but you are to value them for the good of the society.
How Israel understood the 5th commandment:
Deut 4:8-9 “What great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day? Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren.”
Obedience to the 5th commandment played a special role to every other commandment. The laws of God were to be passed done from parents to children, so then if the children were to learn to love and live as God wanted they were going to have to do so from first learning from their parents. If they honored their parents, then they would obey the word of God. Society would break apart if children did not honor their parents, because it was through them that they would be instructed on how to live.
Now think a moment about this with regards to our society and you can see why America has so declined as a society. Generation after generation has departed from the values of their parents, thus leaving us a society that continues to push the envelope further towards anarchy. Honoring their parents was fundamental for the passing on of Israel’s faith from one generation to another.
How the church understood the 5th commandment:
Jesus had much to say on this commandment in Mark 7:1-13 and Matt. 15:1-9, most of which dealt with how the Pharisees had departed from the intent of the 5th commandment. The Pharisees were teaching that adult children did not need to care for their aging parents if they dedicated their possessions to God. Jesus taught that when you honored your parents you were honoring God as well, if you honored God you were honoring your parents that these two truths were in completely harmony with each other! The early church understood that this was an important commandment to the furtherance of the gospel as well. Paul spoke of how because of sin in the human race children would be “disobedient to their parents” and that all of this was because they were lovers of themselves. Part of our fallen human nature “rejects authority” of any kind, thus Paul’s words in Ephesians that we are to “obey our parents in the Lord.” To not live this way was is to deny the faith that they say they posses. Christianity would be passed on from generation to generation as parents shared Jesus with their children and children obeyed their parents in the Lord.
How the 5th commandment relates to me:
- No higher calling: The fact that this is the first commandment that effects all of society indicates the truth that there is no more important job then being parents. For years now society has looked down their noses at parents who train up children in the way they should go. I can’t help but wonder if one reason for the lack of honoring parents is because they are nonexistent. Parenting does not stop at a certain age! It just goes through a new stage.
- No greater gift: There is no greater gift we can give society then to value and honor the home. The best way to do this is to place Jesus first in your life. All to often adult children do not make their parents a priority in their lives. What goes around comes around. Someone has said, “The elderly are the only outcast group that everybody expects to join, because nobody wants the alternative.” So how we treat them today will determine how we will be treated tomorrow.
III.) Vs. 13 The sanctity of life
Vs. 13 Notice here that word is “murder” and not kill. In Hebrew like English these are two different words. The commandment is against murder, not killing. Murder is the taking of a life without legal justification, (execution after due process) or moral justification (killing in defense). Thus this is not a prohibition against capital punishment neither is it a prohibition against joining the military or police force.
How Israel understood the 6th commandment:
The Hebrew word for murder always stressed premeditation and deliberate action. It did apply to accomplices as well as the actual person who did the killing. Interestingly Moses was familiar with murder as it was he who premeditatedly killed an Egyptian (2:12). As we look at the rest of the old testament we get a clear picture of what constituted murder.
- Only premeditated murder was punishable by death. If he lied in wait for him verses a fight that takes a life. To act presumptuously and kill craftily was death. So God made the distinction between 1st degree and 2nd degree by what lay at the person’s heart.
- Negligent homicide, where a person knows of a danger and willfully avoids doing what is necessary to prevent it was also punishable by death.
In all of this God is telling Israel that all life is precious to Him. There were cities that were provided for those who stood trial and found that they had unintentionally taken the life of another. All life is a gift from God and protecting life became the responsibility of every member of society.
How the church understood the 6th commandment:
Again Jesus interpreted this commandment to include dealing with the attitude of the heart that would lead to murder. Anger that is harbored against another can lead to murder and even viewing another person as inferior, worthless or a liability can lead to murder. Jesus went on to say that unresolved conflict and relationships that have not been reconciled can lead to murder. James gives us a bird’s eye view of the attitude of the heart, which can lead to murder when he says, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war.”
How the 6th commandment relates to me:
Obviously we have no right to take a life in any way that constitutes murder. Any life that God has intended to live should be allowed the right to live, this would of coarse include abortion, euthanasia, suicide as well as homicide. Because of today’s medical advancements we are having to face decisions that never before has society had to deal with. Machines are now employed to artificially sustain life that would not be possible with out them for prolonged amounts of time. I have been asked several times by people as well as having to deal with this issue myself as to my opinion on “pulling the plug”. I believe that these must be dealt with on a case by case basis, but one thing can help your family out greatly in case of these events is putting down in writing your wishes! The prohibition against murder is more than just the sacredness of life and not killing, it obligates us to seek to save life! If we see someone dying of starvation, we are obligated to seek to save that life. We need to be pro-active towards life which means that we are reaching out to those in need. Further more God’s position on life would give us the urgency to share His love & hope to a world that with out shall all die. We are told to “lay down our lives” so that others may live. The question for us is not, “Have I killed anyone, rather it is have I died to myself that others may live?”
IV.) Vs. 14 The sanctity of love
Vs. 14 Amazing as it may sound in today’s society adultery was punishable by death. As we saw in the situation with the 5th commandment the family was seen as the foundation of the society so that anything that would place that in jeopardy was taken very seriously. So God again speaks in general terms as to a marriage relationship that is set apart to Him. Clearly God condemns the act of sex outside of the marriage covenant. Through out the Bible God sets certain things a side for specific use sex and marriage fall into this category.
How Israel understood the 7th commandment:
In the story of Joseph and Potiphar, Joseph clearly understood that marriage was an exclusive relationship in which intimacy was to be shared. Joseph knew that not only was it sin but that this sin like all other sins was against God. Future more we are told that a person who gets a lady to sleep with them was to pay their dowry. Israel was to distinguish its self from all the other nations by remaining sexually pure. Adultery was seen as worse then sex outside of marriage because of the potential to destroy the home.
How the church understood the 7th commandment:
Jesus explained this commandment in terms of looking upon another lustfully. It is adultery in the heart that is only stopped from the act because of lack of opportunity or lack of courage. So we are not innocent of this sin just because we have not had the opportunity to sin the way we wanted to. Paul goes on to explain in Ephesians that the Christian marriage was to mirror that of the relationship we have with Jesus, thus loving only one which is seen as being faithful is related to our relationship with the Lord. Being set apart to God was often repeated as abstaining from sexual immorality. This was in a non-Christian culture a radical departure from what the rest of society was practicing. The marriage union which God establish is seen as “undefiled” and set apart. Sexual purity starts with esteeming that which God has given “marriage” and the one in whom God has given us our spouse. A person can not say that they honor God and yet are living together.
How the 7th commandment relates to me:
This commandment ought to make us reevaluate love and marriage. We live in a society that parades it’s self around with sexuality. Today sex has become a toy to be played with as often as you want with as many as you can. There is no question as to the devastation this has had upon our society. Our society preaches that sexual pleasure is never wasted, thus virginity is looked upon as something you should want to get rid of as quickly as possible. Even with in the church we see an ever increasing permissive attitude towards promiscuity. I believe that what God here states is that of a higher value upon intimacy then the world does. When God sets apart sex only for the marriage union He does so not because He considers it of little worth, but rather because it is so highly prized. In my house my wife has some fine china that she values, it is displayed in her cabinets, but only used on very special occasions. It is not that she does not care for it that it is not used every day rather it is that she values it so very much that it is only used on special occasions under the greatest of care! Our culture is lying to us about how they value sex; if it is so valued why is it so common to share with any one? It is the believer that has valued sex to only use it as God has intended in a marriage relationship.
V.) Vs. 15 Sanctified property
Vs. 15 God gives Israel laws to govern that which He has given them. He sees that which we have not as ours but rather we are stewards of it, care takers if you will. Since it is not ours why try to get more? Stealing and theft at it is very core reveals that the heart view of ownership is wrong.
How Israel understood the 8th commandment:
Israel broke down this commandment into several categories of theft three, which are active, and two, which were passive.
- Embezzlement: which is the misuse or misappropriation of that which someone has entrusted to our care.
- Theft: which is the act of taking what belongs to another. Now this usually takes on two forms.
- Robbery: which is taking by force that which does not belong to you.
- Stealing: which is taking by stealth, or fraud which is taking by deception.
- Extortion: which is gaining another person’s property by illicit use of authority. This can be seen in charging excessive prices when one has to have the product.
- Negligence, which results in a loss: like a lawn mower throwing up a rock that breaks your neighbor’s window.
- Failure to return something which was lost to it’s owner: like something that you found and did not seek to return it.
- Failure to give that which belongs to another: like their wages
It is interesting that according Hag 1:2-4 that Israel was guilty of stealing by not giving to the Lord.
How the church understood the 8th commandment:
Jesus told the man that came up to Him and asked what he must do to inherit eternal life that among the other commandments he must not steal. Paul in Rom. 2:21 exhorted the church in Rome not to teach one thing and do another using the analogy of stealing. There is not much on this commandment in the New Testament, with the exception of Eph. 4:28 which says, “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.” The point is that as one becomes a believer there ought to be a change in their lives. A thief does not work rather he lives off of the work of others, so Paul says that a Christian ought to put off being lazy and go to work.
How the 8th commandment relates to me:
Hopefully there are no Christians who are doing armed robbery, but that does not get us off the hook. Theft is taking something from others without giving something equal in return. The Bible teaches us that we need to give freely with no expectation of receiving anything in return. Christianity is the exact opposite of stealing. We often say when we got something at a good deal that we got it “at a steal”. Whenever we purchase something or use something and do not adequately compensate them for what we have gained we are stealing. Allow me to list some of these:
- Using the supplies or your time of the company you work at for personal things.
- Using bootlegged software, video’s, or music tapes with out compensation.
- Littering or allowing your pet to mess up another’s yard is robing them of their time.
- Taking advantage of someone whom is selling something under price unknowingly.
- Price fixing.
- Depriving workers the fruit of their labor. Now form a Biblical perspective; not giving to the church you attained is stealing for you are benefiting from the fruit of others labor.
- We steal from God when we withhold what is due Him, praise, or hearts etc.