Wednesday, March 22, 2000

Mid-week Lent 3

Midweek Lenten Service 3 Noon
March 22, 2000
Exodus 20:1-17

The Attitude of Cleansing

INTRO. The Ten Commandments, “The Big Ten” have received a lot of notoriety in recent years. Congress is considering whether these laws ought to be posted inside the school house door and within the halls of our governmental buildings.  Some contend that these laws our outdated and too restrictive. Still others maintain that they are given for our every day living.  A recent billboard simply read “What part of Thou Shalt Not can’t you understand?” signed –God.

What is the purpose for such laws in our society today?  They all boil down to three.

1.      What to do – These commandments were given for our practical living.

As a result, God has told us plainly in His Word what we are to do. Have no other gods, remember the Sabbath day, honor your father and your mother. By following these laws we are given a better way of living.

God calls us to live a life that is higher and nobler then we would dare to go.  Like an athletic trainer or a demanding teacher God calls us to become what we, of ourselves, could never obtain.  The gracious pupil gives the greatest compliment saying “I could have never done it without you” Likewise, we benefit by following the particulars of God’s directives that we might live better and more productive lives.  These commandments are given to us that we might live a better life.

2.      What not to do – Left up to our own devices we would each perish. 

Therefore, God has given us restrictions. They are not meant to fence us in. To the contrary, by following these restrictions we avoid the trappings and the temptations of this sinful age.  Man is his own worst enemy therefore God has given us these 7 commandments to avoid the pain and the misery of sin’s consequences. Do not take God’s name in vain, do not kill, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, and do not covet.

In actuality, these restrictions do not limit us. To the contrary, they free us so that we do avoid the pain associated with sin. It would do us well to heed these commands of God as a means of avoiding the demons of our own fallen nature that would rob us of a life that is pleasing to God.

3.      How to live – “That man a godly life might live God did these commandments give.”  {TLH #287 stanza 1}

These commandments were never intended to help us gain salvation. Our fallen nature prevents us from obtaining moral perfection. Yet, God has given us a standard by which we can measure our conduct as well as obtain a clear perspective by which we see the need of a Savior who followed the will of the Father and was obedient, obedient unto death.  Jesus Christ followed the Father’s will perfectly for us. He exchanges our sinful way of life for His own perfection and goodness. Follow Him and the standard that He gives you, to be His dear children as He is our loving and gracious Father who loves us enough to discipline us and direct us.  

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