-The sixth Commandment condemns murder (Thou shalt not kill.) because it is the unchanging character of God to preserve life and deal kindly with His people. The Lord Himself will keep the sixth Commandment forever in eternity, where none of His people will ever perish (He gives to us everlasting and eternal life). Aside from the punishment of sin, it is never God’s character to hurt or destroy anyone (God is not willing that any should perish).

Moses, as we shall see, links the sin of murder with that of taking away another person’s liberty, and also with destroying the dignity of aged parents. In other words, whenever people are despised or emotionally crushed, something akin to physical murder is committed.

I John 3:15 says, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer.”

The main reason why murder is so evil is that it is directly contrary to a God of love. The Bible says that God is love and so the sixth commandment like all the rest is a reflection of His divine character.

-Also the seventh commandment, (thou shalt not commit adultery) reflects the faithfulness of God. The ban on adultery is not merely a law to regulate human sexual behavior in this present sin sick world; It is a commandment which will be perfectly kept throughout all eternity by God and His redeemed people, for they will be utterly loyal to one another.

This commandment extends far beyond marriage to a faithful commitment by a Holy God to His people. It’s no wonder that Isaiah, Jeremiah, Paul, and James (among others) all use this seventh commandment to teach the duty of spiritual loyalty. God has a hatred for physical adultery because He so hates spiritual adultery.

-The eighth Commandment, (Thou shalt not steal) also reflects the wonderful character of God as a great giver to men. His blessings are countless and free, and His people are to resemble Him by being givers and not takers. The eighth commandment goes well beyond the act of physical theft or stealing and rests on God’s infinite and benevolent character. Paul told the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:35,

“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

God is a giver. John 3:16 says,

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

And so number one we must see that the Ten Commandments reveal God’s wonderful Holy nature and divine character. It’s all about God.

#2) The Ten Commandments Keep Their Full Authority Today:

The Ten Commandments are God’s perpetual rules for worship and Holy living. If the Ten Commandments as we said reflect the Holy nature of God, and He is unchanging, then it naturally follows that they will never change in spite of any other change in arrangements from the Old Testament to the New.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-18,

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

Exodus 31:18 says, “And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.”

God chose a unique way of communicating this particular portion of His Word. Generally He spoke through inspired human messengers, but He delivered the Commandments by a mighty voice from heaven and wrote them on stony tablets with His own finger!

This most direct manner of communication lifts the Ten Commandments high above the other ceremonial and civic laws which followed. These were dramatically marked and elevated to a higher level and position from which they would shine across both Testaments.

The many ceremonial and civic laws were to help the nation of Israel to understand the need for a mediator and sacrifice for sin and to provide and temporary system of worship until Christ came. They were to be visual aids or pictures that pointed forward to the future work of a coming Messiah. Although the underlying principles of these ceremonial and civic laws have lessons and applications for today, the Ten Commandments stand above them all as the abiding moral law of God.

We said,

#1) The Ten Commandments Reflect God’s Divine Character:

#2) The Ten Commandments Keep Their Full Authority Today:

#3) The Ten Commandments Were Designed For Believers:

We will see in our study that the Commandments were given to serve a two-fold purpose. They were intended to be binding upon all mankind, yet at the same time they were designed to be particularly helpful to those who truly know and Lord as their Savior. You say “how?”

Before we were saved, the Ten Commandments condemned and convicted us of our sinfulness and need to be saved. (Paul said, “I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”) Once we have been saved by faith in Christ, the same convicting commandments wear a friendly smile and become a great guide, help, and a manual for proper conduct, worship, and blessing.

In other words salvation transforms the commandments from enemies to friends and from negatives to positives. Although these commandments contain stern prohibitions and many thou shalt not’s, they are also among God’s kindest and most productive words for the protection and refining of believers, as we will see from our study.

#4) Each Commandment Covers A “Family” Of Sins:

Each major sin named in the commandments represents a whole family of so-called lesser sins. For example, the seventh commandment which forbids adultery also covers lust in the heart. And the commandment against murder also includes lesser sins such as hatred. And so when a commandment forbids a major sin like adultery and murder, all the lesser sins in the same family are to be included in the scope of that commandment.

And so to limit a commandment to the major sin mentioned is to rob them of all but their surface meaning. So again we see that the major sin of physical adultery also could include all other forms of unfaithfulness and also spiritual adultery or going after other gods.

This truth shows us that the commandments are so much more than just a few negative prohibitions but represent a larger more inclusive list of what we consider minor sins that need to be addressed as well.

#5) The Ten Commandments Include Opposite Positive Virtues:

All we ever hear about the Ten Commandments at times is that most of them begin with a negative statement such as “thou shalt not.” While it is true that most of the commandments begin with a negative tone, God means for us to strive for the opposite positive virtue of each and every sin named.

I believe that the Commandments are expressed in a negative way because their first function is to point out man’s utter sinfulness. But as believers we can strive to pursue the opposite qualities of each prohibition.

For example, Hebrews 13:5 says, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

And so while the tenth commandment says that “thou shalt not covet,” we can see as believers the positive side of that commandment in that our contentment and reliance is on the Lord and not in material things.

If we as believers fail to see and identify the good behavior implicit in each commandment than we miss the point and purpose entirely. The opposite positive virtues of the Ten Commandments show us what type of people that God wants us to be in all manner of conversation and godliness.

I want to just stop here for a moment and get one thing clear in this study, a believer does not earn or secure their continued blessings by strict obedience to the law, because all benefits in the Christian life come solely through the merits and finished work of Christ. Our striving to live Holy Christ honoring lives cannot earn us heaven because we all fall short of God’s righteousness.

But God encourages us to willingly and gladly live Holy lives as a testimony of what He has done for us. We don’t live Holy lives in order to be saved, but because we are saved and want to be a testimony and a good ambassador for the Lord.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Romans 12:1 & 2 says,

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

1 Peter 1:16 says, “It is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

A small child may receive a reward as an incentive for good behavior, but the child’s efforts do not earn the money to pay for the reward. Likewise God rewards the believer with the gift of eternal life, but that gift was entirely purchased by the Lord Jesus Christ and are rewards of His grace. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Today we looked at five keys for unlocking the Ten Commandments for believers,

#1) The Ten Commandments Reflect God’s Divine Character:

#2) The Ten Commandments Keep Their Full Authority Today:

#3) The Ten Commandments Were Designed For Believers:

#4) Each Commandment Covers A “Family” Of Sins:

#5) The Ten Commandments Include Opposite Positive Virtues:

We know that we are not saved by the keeping of the Ten Commandments because the truth is that no one but Christ could keep them. In fact by looking at our lives and the breaking of God’s moral laws, we can see that we needed a Savior (we’ve all lied, stolen, lusted, taken God’s name in vain, etc, etc).

God took care of the penalty for our sin and the breaking His laws by coming to earth, being born of a virgin, living a sinless life, and then paying our penalty by shedding His blood and dying on the cross. He rose from the dead according to the scriptures and now we can come to Him by faith and be born again as a child of God and have our sin’s forgiven and receive the gift of eternal life.

You may be here today and you would say that according to God’s moral standard, the Ten Commandments, you are a guilty sinner. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death. That’s talking about both a physical and spiritual death. Revelation says that those not found written in the Lamb’s book of life will be cast into the lake of fire and this is called the “second death” which is separation from God forever and ever.

Jesus told a very religious man, Nicodemus, that “you must be born again.” He was talking about a spiritual birth which is given to us when we put our faith and trust in Christ for our soul’s salvation. In a moment we will have a hymn of invitation. We invite you to come and trust Christ as your personal Savior and to receive the gift of eternal life.

Maybe you are saved this morning and you want to live the Christian life that would be both rewarding to yourself and pleasing to God at the same time. No, the commandments cannot save your soul but they are guidelines for Holy living as we are constantly being conformed to the image of His Son while we are on this earthly pilgrimage. Maybe you need to come and rededicate yourself to Holy living and to being a positive testimony of the grace of God in your life.

Whatever your need is, you come as we sing.