"I am the vine, you are the branches"
The Ten Commandments, Part 2
The Final Six
In our last newsletter, we took a closer look at the first four commandments. People today seem to think that these commands are outdated and irrelevant for our modern generation, a thing of the past; and yet these commandments have governed a people, a nation, for thousands of years. We ourselves have based our laws on these commandments. The commandments have been summed up like this: "You are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and your neighbor as yourself." From this we get what we call the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The first four commandments are a reflection of our relationship with God. These next six have to do with our relationship with our fellow man. So we want to look at the remaining six commandments to see if they are needed for today's society.
(5) Exodus 20:12: "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you."
We start off our relationship of loving our neighbor with our parents. Our relationship with God begins with the family unit because our parents represent God, in an earthly manner. They are to teach us and love us and set an example for us and many times they fail, but still we are to honor them and respect them because they are over us in authority, which God has given them. We find this also to be true of all people who are in authority positions: "Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God" (Romans 13:1).
Today people do not want to respect authority. They rebel and fight against such things. But God has, what you might say, a chain of command in the family and Ephesians 6:1-9 tells us what a godly family should look like. "Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and your mother." This part is important to understand: "in the Lord," for one can not honor or obey when we are asked to go against God's laws. This is the first commandment with a promise: "That it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth." Could this be one of the reasons why there is so much teen suicide? Ephesians 5:22 tells us, "Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord, as Messiah also is the head of the church. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Messiah also is the head of the church." This does not mean that men can lord it over their wives and children, for the Scriptures go on to say, "Husbands love your wives, just as Messiah also loved the church and gave himself up for her . . . Fathers do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." We even see in scriptures that a man's prayers may be hindered if he does not treat his wife with love.
So the family life is important to God and to society and that may be why the devil hates this structure and he has waged war on the family unit going back to Adam and Eve. Once we learn from our parents how to love God and one another, we can then love each other.
(6) Exodus 20:13: "You shall not murder."
It is natural that this should follow next, for the opposite of love is hate, and that is what murder is. This subject was very important to Yeshua (Jesus). In Matthew 5:21, Yeshua expounds on this commandment. He tells us that if we are even angry with our brother or even call someone a fool, we will be liable. Yeshua tells us that we must go make things right with that person before he will even accept our sacrifice at His altar. We see this with a man's prayers if he is not right with his wife, and now we see it with our neighbor. 1 John 2:10-11 says, "The one who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes."
Today, murder is on the rise. What is going on in our cities today is like a battlefield. There is so much hate because of the absence of love. Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God." Sounds like today. Yeshua tells us, "If you love Me, then keep My commandments." We have stopped loving God and keeping His commandments, which has taken us from honoring our parents and loving them or others because we have become lovers of self and haters of what is good.
(7) Exodus 20:14: "You shall not commit adultery."
Adultery is the result of a lack of faithfulness. It is also a problem with lust. Today, we have both problems. We do not understand what the marriage vows mean and this is largely because we do not understand what it means to enter into a covenant. A covenant is a binding agreement. God is a covenant-keeping God. Covenants were made with a king and his subjects. Today, we just call them agreements and they have become very shallow in nature. But not with God. This is why when God made a covenant with Israel, it was a covenant that stands forever. A covenant between a king and his people basically said that if you keep this agreement then I will do all of this for you. Deuteronomy 28:1-45 lists all the blessings and the curses which still apply to all of us today, for God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Deuteronomy 11:26-27 tells us, "See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse; the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today; and a curse if you turn aside from the way I am commanding you today." Deuteronomy 28:30 speaks about having a wife and another man will have her. How clear God's word is about keeping His commandments.
The second part of adultery is lust. Yeshua said this about adultery in Matthew 5:27-28: "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery'; but I say, everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart." Yeshua went on to say in Matthew 5:31-32, "And it was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce;' but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."
Today many people marry out of lust. Why do I say this? Because, we have become lovers of self and love is just the opposite. 1 Corinthians 13 is quoted so often in church weddings. It begins, "Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant... it does not seek its own... bears all things, endures all things. Love never fails." Adultery is an act of hate because it is the opposite of love. There are no grey areas with God. Galatians 5:19-20 says that immorality, impurity, and sensuality are deeds of the flesh and that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Verses 22-23 tell us that love, faithfulness, and self-control are fruit of the Spirit and only the things done by the Spirit will be blessed.
Today we think that God winks at sin and that He is loving and that He will not judge. How wrong is that thinking! God keeps His word, for He is not a man that He should lie, and He has already spoken His blessings and His curses.
(8) Exodus 20:15: "You shall not steal."
God has much to say about all of His commandments throughout His word. Luke 19 tells us a story about a tax collector who came face to face with the God of truth and righteousness. One day, Yeshua met a man named Zacchaeus who climbed a sycamore tree just to get a glimpse of Yeshua. Yeshua tells Zacchaeus to come on down because He was stopping at his house. While dining, Zaccheus told Yeshua, "Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much." Yeshua responded by saying, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham." Why did Yeshua tell Zacchaeus this? Because according to God's Law, Exodus 22:1-4, anyone who steals must make restitution. Proverbs 6:31 says, "When a thief is caught, he must repay sevenfold; He must give all the substance of his house." Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:28, "Let him who steals steal no more; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has a need." Paul saw that a person should be responsible for his own needs and work, but if he cannot because of illness or infirmity, then those who do work should share with him who is in need. Paul did not endorse handouts, as you see in 1 Timothy 5, even for widows; nor did he see a need for a person to steal to live, but rather he promoted working to provide for his needs.
(9) Exodus 20:16: "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."
It only seems right for the next two commandments to follow stealing, because we can steal a person's reputation and even his life by lying against him falsely. In Revelation 21:8 we see that all liars will be part of those thrown into the lake of fire. Lying is a serious matter, and how much more so when we lie and someone's life is ruined because of it. We have seen many people who were falsely accused and put into jail and even given the death penalty because someone lied. We have seen people lose their jobs because someone falsely gave testimony against them. God will have nothing to do with a person who falsely accuses his neighbor. Is this not what gossip is? We tell hearsay about another and cause people to have an attitude toward them. We ruin people's reputations and even friendships and at times break up families. Like the thief, the person who lies must make restitution by telling the truth and restoring that person back to good standing with his family or boss or even the law. He needs to be responsible for helping his neighbor get back on his feet by helping with lost wages, so he will not have to resort to stealing. You see, everything has consequences and every bad consequence has to be undone.
(10) Exodus 20:17: "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or his female servant nor his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor."
This last commandment tells all. If we truly love one another like we are to love God and even ourself, then we will not have feelings of hatred and anger and lust and jealousy and greed. These are all of the flesh, and God is all about the Spirit. Today, we are a people who want to "keep up with the Joneses" as they used to say. If our neighbor has it, we want it also. The Bible tells us to be content, but we are a restless people because our flesh dictates to us and the flesh is a beast that will always hunger for more.
We are able to live by God's Word. We are able to walk in the spirit and crucify the flesh. We are able because of Yeshua; we are now dead to sin (Romans 6). Today we have taken off the yoke of God's kingdom and we have fallen for the lies of the devil and we walk in darkness because of it and so we stumble. But today if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart, but quickly go back to the Father who loves you. Repent and He will forgive you. Return to His commandments and choose life. For like Zacchaeus, Yeshua will say, "Today, Salvation has come to your house."