Church of God, New World Ministries

The Ten Commandments - Part 1

You live in a mixed up world that has lost its way. What is right? What is wrong? In the modern rebellion against puritanical moral taboos, a bewildered world throws up its hands. This world seeks a new morality! But where is the AUTHORITY for a right moral code? One thing for sure - this world doesn't know!

Your Bible contains the real WAY to peace, happiness, success! It is a WAY OF LIFE based upon a spiritual LAW that is as moving, as active, as REAL as the law of gravity! It is a way to live by, and be blessed.

Today the world is emerging from the age of hush, (come out of the closet). A moral revolution is sweeping this world. The professional "authorities" ... the psychoanalysts, the scientists, the doctors, the biologists and the marriage counselors have decided that moral standards are in need of revision. And they are being revised radically, downward, under the catch phrase, "The New Morality"!

Very few, indeed, realize the shocking facts of this accelerating downward plunge. It is rapidly becoming a greater threat to humanity than the hydrogen bomb! The plain truth of the current moral collapse is staggering, almost beyond belief!

You and I live in a lawless age. Crime and violence are increasing at an alarming rate because among the millions of people there is almost no respect of law or constituted authority, either that of God, or of man.

Men have lost all deep respect for law because they have forgotten the very source of all law and authority! (James 4:12) "There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy." That lawgiver is God Almighty. In man’s modern search for a man devised "peace of mind" or a "religion that satisfies," mankind has totally forgotten about the Great God who RULES this universe! Is it any wonder that our young people, the leaders of tomorrow, have such a godless, lawless attitude?

When we decide to leave the true God out, there is no real standard of behavior left. The result is spiritual chaos and lawlessness and wretchedness in the human heart.

Today, in nearly all present-day religious denominations, there is a tendency to try to "modernize" and “ democratize” God, and do away with His authority to RULE His creation and us, His creation. The changes are that there are very few truly“God fearing men” left on earth today.

Having made their imaginative pet “god” in their own image, men certainly do not stand in AWE and deep respect of such a “god.” They do not fear their “god.” And they certainly do not obey this creature of their own imagination!

There is a broad teaching today that knowledge is the key to happiness, the solution to all of our problems. Given sufficient knowledge, so says these intellectuals, the world will banish all unhappiness and solve all problems. So today we have a tremendous increase in knowledge. In all fields-- Scientific knowledge. Technical knowledge. Medical knowledge, Mechanical knowledge, and knowledge from Historical research.

The prophet Daniel foretold of this amazing increase of knowledge. (Daniel 12: 4) “But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” It is one of several sure signs of the end of this world and the immanency of the happy world tomorrow.

Now, with the increase of all this new knowledge, where is the “peace of mind” that would solve all our problems? Where is the happiness the cure all “authorities” promised us? How is it that our problems are getting worse instead of better?

The real message of Jesus Christ was about the God who created and now RULES this earth. This God was the one who blessed men for obedience to His law, and who punished for disobedience. The Jesus Christ of your Bible always preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1: 14; Luke 4: 43). To use the modern language, Christ preached the happy or good news of the government of God, the RULE of God. “Repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

Before you can sincerely believe and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, and have his shed blood cover your sins, you must repent. But repent of what? Repent of SIN!

What then is sin? Despite the contradictory ideas and generalizations of organized religious denominations, your own Bible clearly states: “Sin is the transgression of the law” ( I John 3:4). Sin is breaking God’s spiritual law, the TEN COMMANDMENTS. That is definitely and specifically what sin is!

Now, before God will forgive your past sins, you must first repent of breaking His law! You must learn to fear and respect God as the Supreme RULER of this universe, and as your King and Ruler. ( Psalm 111: 10 ) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments.” Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, was also inspired to write: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” ( Pro. 1:7).

Now this Godly fear is by no means a personal dread, but a deep respect and reverence for the great Office and Authority of God, for His Divine power, His wisdom and His love.

Without faith in such a great and Real God, man is incomplete. Cut off from the one true God of law and order, man is purposeless, empty, frustrated and confused. The way out of modern man’s emptiness and confusion may sound trite or simple to some people. But it is real, and it works! It is simply that man must quit worshipping False gods. Man must return to the God of the Bible, the God of creation, the God who RULES this universe.

King Solomon was inspired to write: “The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole man” ( Eccl. 12:13). Man is frustrated and incomplete without this living, vital contact with God, walking His way, keeping His commandments. Obedience to God’s commandments would bring peace and fulfillment and joy to all the nations and peoples of this earth!

It is the real ANSWER to all of our problems, individually and collectively! It is the way of LIFE Jesus Christ is going to teach when He returns to rule this earth! ( Micah 4:2).

To properly understand and feel the real impact of the Ten Commandments, let us notice the setting in which they were given. (Exodus 19: 10-11), Here God commanded that the people clean themselves up and be ready against the third day when He would come down to them. Verse 16 “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were THUNDERS and LIGHTNINGS, and a thick CLOUD upon the mount. And the voice of the trumpet, exceeding loud; so that all of the people that were in the camp TREMBLED.”

God was here showing His power as the Creator of this earth as He began to speak with His own voice the Ten Commandments. As the Creator Himself descended upon Mount Sinai in His glory, “The smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount QUAKED greatly” (verse 18).

In this setting of great glory, and majesty, and power, God spoke the Ten Commandments to the people who were trembling in awe below the mountain. His voice must have literally shaken these people with His power as it boomed across the land like the sound of thunder (Psalm 104:7).

Now that we have seen the power and might with which God revealed Himself when He spoke the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai, let us see how each one of them, beginning with the first one applies to you, personally. For if you make any claim to being a Christian, remember that Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, said that you shall live by Every Word of God (Matt. 4:4). And certainly, through God’s help, you must walk according to the commandments of Almighty God if you would enter into eternal life (Matt. 19:17).

How, then, does the first commandment apply to You?“ I am the Eternal thy God,” the Creator states. Is the God of creation, the God of Israel, the God of the Bible, really your God whom you serve and obey? Or have you conjured up your own False “god” or “gods”? Are you falsely worshipping according to the “traditions of men,” which Jesus Christ said would cause you to worship God in vain? (Mark 7:7).

You need to examine whether or not You have ever really come out from the false traditions and ways of this world and have also repented of your own personal lusts and sins.

The Almighty God commands: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Is your time, and your interest, your service taken up more with something other than the true God? What IDOL have you placed between yourself and the true God, studying His word, and living by it?

Throughout the Bible it declares that God is the real Creator of this earth and of the universe. He is the One who gives life and breath to all creatures (Gen. 1:1). Now do you honestly think of and worship God as your Creator and the One who gives you every breath of air that you breathe? If not, you should, for that is part of worshipping the true God and having no false gods before Him!

The Greatest deception of all today is not atheism or communism, but the false, pagan doctrine of evolution! This false doctrine is an attempt to explain the creation without a Creator. It denies the true God and His very nature and office. It is the very basis of most of this world’s “education”! But the wisdom of this world is Foolishness with God ( I Corth. 1:20).

Most people who just go to church once a week and take their religion for granted actually don’t really know what worship is. They think it is something you do once a week in church, not realizing that it affects every thoughts and word and action every day of your life! In everything you think or say or do you either serve God, or else you serve your own lusts and Satan the Devil!! (Rom. 6:16).

How much Time do you actually put in each week studying and meditating on God’s word and law as King David did? How much time do you spend in earnest, prevailing prayer to God Almighty? How much time do you spend in discussing the Bible with others, teaching it to your family, writing to others words of spiritual up building as well as purely social intercourse?

You need to understand what is the most important thing in this entire life, or even in your own life! Do you know? Would you believe it if Christ said so? Just what is the most important thing that God commands You to do? (Matt. 22: 37-38) “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” This is the first and great commandment.

Your attitude should always be that of Jesus Christ, your example, when He was called upon to give His very life: “Not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). This is what true worship really means! This is how to keep the first commandments!

The Second Commandment

Man has been worshipping false gods long enough. That is why God has permitted mankind to come to the brink of human annihilation. That is why the Almighty will permit man, within the next several years to go through the most horrifying time of drought, famine, starvation, disease epidemics and mass destruction by war that this world has ever seen.

But now, for those who are willing to heed, it is time to WAKEUP! It is high time to become acquainted with the true God! It is time to forsake your idols. The second commandment tells us about how to worship the true God, what pitfalls to avoid in our worship, and the continuing blessing or penalty that comes to our progeny as a result of the WAY in which we worship Almighty God. (Ex. 20: 4-6)

The natural mind of man cries out for something to help him in his worship of God. He wants some physical object to “remind” him of the invisible God, some “aid” to worship. Yet that is exactly what is forbidden in this 2nd commandment. (John 4:23) “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”

The instant a man sets up any representation of God, he denies that which is essential in God. God is the essence of all power, all wisdom and all love. God is limitless. When man erects a mental or physical image of God, he automatically limits in his own thought and worship the God who will not be limited.

The real basis of all idolatry is that self-willed, rebellious man refuses to surrender himself to worship the true God in the way that God commands. No man who really knows God as his Father, no man who is living in daily communion with Him, needs a picture or image to help him to pray. If a man thinks he needs this kind of help, it is simply because he has not come to know God, and undoubtedly is not filled with and led by the Holy Spirit of God. And God gives His Holy Spirit to those who obeys Him. (Acts 2:38).

By the thousands, professing Christians employ representations in pictures of a so called Jesus Christ in their worship, and even display them in their homes. What does your Bible say about such pictures? Read again the 2nd commandment. How ever, if we think of Jesus’ appearance at all, we should think, in general terms at least, of the way He looks today (Rev. 1:13-16). As very God, Jesus’ face now shines with radiance and with power. As a human being, you would not dare to look directly into His face.

Many will claim they do not worship these pictures or images. Perhaps so. But this false picture and false concept of Christ will come into their minds quite often when they think of Christ or pray. These false pictures and statues actually come between them and Christ. They separate the worshipper from the One and Only True God. If you use such images or pictures of Christ you are breaking the second commandment. You are greatly limiting your concept of the living Christ, who now sits glorified at the right hand of God in heaven with His face shining like the sun in full strength. It time that you wake up!

The Third Commandment

Is God really first in your personal life? Several years ago a poll was taken of 2,000 college students and the results of these polls showed that they had two sets of values toward which they professed allegiance: the first level, towards self, family, and friends; the second level, to mankind (in general) and God.

This prevailing spiritual lethargy and passive disrespect toward God and toward the great Magnitude of His Office and Power, is indicative of a growing trend even among churchgoers and professing Christians. People like to talk about religion and God, but they do not stand in awe of His position and His name. And this spiritual cancer has within it the seeds of the destruction of our western civilization.

The third commandment deals with God’s name, His Office, His position as the great RULER of the universe. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain” (Ex. 20:7). In the Bible personal names have a meaning. The first man was named Adam because the word Adam means “red earth” the very dust of the earth.

The Hebrew name of Abram was changed to Abraham, for Abraham means “a father of many nations.” God’s name reveals the kind of God You worship.

Every name or title of God reveals some attribute of the Divine character. In studying God’s Word, we learn new facts about God’s nature and character with each new name by which He reveals Himself. In other words, God names Himself what He is.

If mankind uses the name of God in a way which denies the true meaning and character of God, they are breaking the third commandment. (Isa. 48:1) “Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness.” In other words, people to whom this prophecy applies use the name of God, but fail to obey the revelation of God contained in His name

And shocking though it may be, many religious people repeat over and over the name of God in sermons and prayers. They are taking God’s name in vain, to no good use or purpose. The original command says: “The Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” The Hebrew word here rendered “guiltless” may better be translated “clean” the Lord will not hold him to be clean that taketh his name in vain. In other words a man is clean or unclean according as he uses the name of God in truth or for vanity.

Do you realize just what this means? It certainly indicates that a man is better off who, because of sincere religious doubts, has dropped the name of God out of his vocabulary, than is a professing Christian who is always talking about God continually, but denying Him in his daily life!

Throughout His Word, God’s name is connected with His attributes, His power, His eternal existence, His mercy, His faithfulness, His wisdom, His love. Notice how David connects God’s name with His creative power (Psalm 8:1-4).

Here God is pictured as setting His “glory” above the heavens. Then David proceeds to show that God has Created the heavens,the earth and man. No wonder God’s name and office are to be respected! Perhaps many don’t fully realize it, but this earth is literally filled with men and women who abuse the name of Almighty God in many different and varying ways! It is time to repent of taking the very name of our Creator and God in vain.

In our everyday speech, many of us are damning the very name of our Creator and our God. We are using our breath to curse and damn the name of the very One who gives us our life and the very breath with which these individuals curse His name.

An expression used with terrible frequency is asking God to “damn” someone. Poor men and wealthy men and women alike give ready tongue to this vile oath, and often think they are proving their manhood, or getting away with something by doing it. This expression is trifling with the name of our God, asking Him to do something which he has never intended to do.

This false idea that God arbitrarily “damns” men is being thrust into the minds of men by their own profanity of language. It is a blasphemous assertion, and it is a libel upon the very nature and character of God Himself. God’s Word thunders His warning against this into our ears today: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain”!

Men today are accustomed not only to profane swearing and invoking God’s name to back up their oaths, but also many legal ceremonies in some lands invoke the name of God in a form of swearing or an oath.. The answer to this problem is found in (Matt. 5: 34-35). God’s name is so sacred and Holy that we are commanded not to invoke it to back up our words or our oath.

But the man who professes with his lips to honor God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son, and yet denies the will of God in his life, is committing a far greater Crime against God than the man who openly blasphemes and makes no profession of honoring God! The most subtle and awful form of breaking the third commandment is that of religious HYPOCRISY.

The Fourth Commandment

Today, our youth are no longer in rebellion, but in a condition of downright and active mutiny. Several years ago, a prominent psychiatrist told a Los Angels audience: “We must re-evaluate the meaning of life.” Just what is the meaning of life? What is the true goal of life, and what are the Laws of life by which that goal can be attained?

Be truthful to yourself, just how much time do you spend each day, each week or month considering these most important questions in all of life? The fact is, that most people are so busy with the day-to-day cares of making ends meet that they devote almost no time at all to the spiritual issues of life.

Because mankind is so engrossed with his job during the day, and with television, movies, parties and sports in the evenings and on weekends, the average American is totally lacking in even a rudimentary knowledge of his own religious beliefs. And he is childishly ignorant of the fundamental truths of the Bible.

The big question is, WHEN will mankind take the time to really get to know God? When will they take time to study the Bible, to pray earnestly to the Creator as his Father, to mediate on the laws and purpose of life? For most people, the true answer is never, unless they learn to obey the fourth commandment of God Almighty. Obedience to this little understood commandment is a Powerful factor in bringing the lives of men and women close to the Creator God, and to His blessings and direct guidance. (Ex. 20: 8-11).

This command is, in its wording, the longest of any of the ten. Yet, it is the one command about which men “reason” and argue about the most and which they would most quickly tear asunder and try to separate from the rest of God’s law.

Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. To fully grasp the significance of this Divine command, we need to learn who made the Sabbath day holy and when!

(Mark 2: 27-28) “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath; Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” Now notice that Jesus Christ said that the Sabbath was “made.” Now whatever was made has a Maker. Also notice that Christ said the Sabbath was made for man and not just for the Jews. When was the Sabbath Day made? (Gen. 2: 2-3). Thus, we see that in the very act of creation, the Almighty God put His Divine favor upon, and set apart for holy use and purpose, a certain space for the most enduring thing there is.

Our Creator knew that we would need a period of rest and worship every 7th day, and this is the basic purpose for which the Sabbath was created. Modern man desperately needs this period of time in which to have real communion with his Maker and God. Taking time to think upon God and to worship Him, to pray and study and mediate upon the purpose for human existence, and upon God’s revealed laws of life, all this adds great strength and meaning to man’s life the other six days of the week. The Sabbath is one of the greatest blessings that has ever been bestowed upon the human family!

The command to keep the Sabbath is the only one in which we are told to remember. Yet it is the one command which many religious ministers and religious people seem most anxious to forget. Many have reasoned that since the Sabbath was contained in what is called the “Book of the Covenant” in Exodus 20 through 24, therefore it is no longer binding on us today. Such people seem to forget that, God made the Sabbath day holy back at creation, long before there was any Jew, and before the Old Covenant was made with Israel. They also forget that God doubly commanded the Sabbath by making a special and separate covenant with His people to keep it. This special covenant is found in (Ex. 31).

Read the entire chapter of the Book of Ezekiel and see why the Ancient House of Israel went into captivity. That same God that sent Israel into captivity is the Same God that said “For I am the Lord, I do not change” ( Malachi 3:6) also (Heb. 13:8)

God made the Sabbath command a special and everlasting covenant between Him and Israel. And the inspired example of Jesus Christ and His apostles certainly indicates that this identifying “sign” of the true God ought to be observed by the true servants of God , the “spiritual Israelites” today. (Rom. 2: 28-29 and Gal. 3: 28-29: 6: 15-16).

It is an undeniable fact that every nation and every individual who has failed to “remember” the true Sabbath has been CUT OFF from the true God and turned to some form of pagan idolatry. For the Sabbath-keeper, God is Real, He is the living, active Creator and Ruler of the universe. He is a God of power and activity. The Sabbath guards against false religions and false gods.

The Sabbath command is just as binding as the commandments against murder and adultery. In (Isa. 58:13-14) God tells us that we are “to delight in His Sabbath day.” Yet we are not to seek our own human pleasure, but rather to increase our spiritual joy through honoring and worshipping our heavenly Father and God. We are not even to speak our own words. Rather,we should spend the time during this holy day in prayer to God, and in studying, discussing, and mediating upon God’s Word

If you appropriate this day for your own business or pleasure, you are stealing from God, and you are guilty as a thief and a violator of the 8th commandment. You are certainly putting something ahead of the true God, and are therefore guilty of breaking the first commandment and the 5th commandment as well, for you are dishonoring and disobeying your spiritual Father in heaven. Properly understood and properly observed, the 4th commandment, God’s Holy Sabbath, is one of the greatest blessings that the Creator has ever bestowed upon the children of men. It is an identifying SIGN between man and the true God. Remember it, and keep it HOLY.

The Fifth Commandment

Youthful violence and insolence characterize the age in which we live. Broken homes are increasing. Teenage crime is literally skyrocketing. About fifty years ago, one of America’s most respected authorities on juvenile problems, was Judge Samuel S. Leibowitz. He set out to find the answer to the frustration of America’s youth. He decided to go to the Western nation with the lowest reported incidence of juvenile crime, Italy. He sought the answer from police and school officials throughout the nation. From every part of Italy, he received the same answer. Young people in Italy respect authority. He wanted to know why. He found that even in the poorest home, the wife and children respect and honor the father as its head.

Judge Leibowitz concluded his investigations with a nine word solution to juvenile delinquency: Put Father back at the head of the family.

The fifth commandment is placed first among those which govern our human relationships. It is not only chief in importance among these when we understand its full meaning, but it acts as a “bridge” between the two sections of God’s law.

True obedience to the 5th commandment is inevitably linked with obedience and honor toward God Himself. Our Creator knew this when He inspired it to be “the first commandment with promise.”

“Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Why honor our parents?

The home and the family units is the basis of all decent society. And the relationship of children to their parents is an exact type of the spiritual relationship between true Christians and God.

In the eyes of a small child, a parent stands in the place of God Himself. For the parent is the child’s provider, protector, lover, teacher and lawgiver. A child’s early training and response to this relationship will in large measure determine his or her later response to the larger relationship with society. And, ultimately, it is certain to affect their relationship with their spiritual Father in heaven.

By direct implication, a parent is bound by the 5th command to make himself honorable. For to be honored one must be honorable. Every parent need to realize that they represent God to his child. Realizing this, they should live a life worthy of the child’s deep respect and reverence. Then, they should teach their child to honor and respect both parents.

Now as the child matures, the parent should instruct their child about the existence of the great spiritual Father of all life, the Creator of heaven and earth, the sovereign Ruler of the universe, God Almighty. In fact Christian parents should teach their children to honor and obey their spiritual Father with even more implicit faith and love than they do their earthly parents. For the GREATEST lesson that a child or anyone can be taught is that of fear and obedience to the One who set in motion all life in the first place.

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