The Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments Abbreviated
God made two copies of the covenant agreement, one for man and one for Himself.

Learning The Boundaries

The buzz word in the social sciences today is "boundaries".  It means that you are to establish some guidelines for your own protection.  You are not to allow others to step over the line to violate you, neither are you to violate the rights of others.  Even hotrods that are doing drag racing have a line (boundary) to keep them apart and from having a major catastrophe.  The buzz word in the field of higher education is "disciplines".  When you enter the study of physics, you will quickly learn that are certain laws that govern that field.  For example, if you step off a cliff, the law of gravity comes into effect, and you fall to the bottom.  God also has established certain laws that govern our lives.  Those laws are for our benefit so that we don't fall off the spiritual cliff and fall into deep sin and the consequences

The longer that I counseled, the more that I that come to realize that most people, including Christians, don't know what the Ten Commandments are.  Only a few can name them! Many people suffer the consequence for breaking one or more of the commandments, but don't even realize that they have broken one of the commandments.

I. First, one should understand the purposes of the commandments.

A. The commandments are for our benefit.  Deuteronomy 6:17-18 "Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers."

Just as a parent tells a child, not to touch a hot stove for the child's benefit, God also gives us some guidelines for our benefit.

Deuteronomy 6:24  "And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day."    David therefore said, "Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold"  (Psalm 119:127).

B. They show us that we need Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.

1. If we break the law at any one point we break the whole thing.   James 2:10  "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."

2. Therefore the law shows us that we have sinned.   Romans 3:19 "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."

3. Galatians 3:24  "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith."  If a person is not able to live up to God's standard to be saved, then he must turn to Jesus for his salvation.

4. Romans 3:28  "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law."

5. We can only be saved as for eternity by grace through faith in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.   Ephesians 2:8-9  "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."

C. The commandments serve as a back drop for us to obey the voice of God.  Indeed, we are not to follow the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law.
1.  II Corinthians 3:6  "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."

2.  Ezekiel 36:27  "And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."  This is part of the new covenant prophesied in the Old Testament.

3.  John 10:27  "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."  One way that we know that we are hearing the voice of Jesus to do something is to check what the voice is saying by the commandments.  However, our primary focus is to be upon hearing the voice of Jesus.

II. We should understand what Jesus said about the commandments..
A.  Matthew 5:17 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."
1. Jesus did not come to destroy the law (the commandments as a part of the law).

2. Jesus came to fulfill the law.

B. Matthew 5:18-19  "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. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
1. Jesus said that we are to obey the commandments.

2. Jesus said that we are to teach others to obey the commandments.

3. Jesus said that those who do so will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

C. Jesus summed up the commandments. Matthew 22:37-40  "Jesus said unto him, 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. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
III. We should understand that keeping the commandments and faith in Jesus run parallel.
A. Revelation 12:17  "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."   Revelation 14:12  "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."  We are sometimes taught that keeping the commandments and faith in Jesus are rails of a train that run in opposite directions.  However, we see in the last book in the New Covenant that they are rails that run side by side.
1. The keeping of the ten commandments does not contradict the keeping of the faith of Jesus.

2. Are you a saint?  Then you are the keep the commandments as well as the faith of Jesus.

3. Keeping the commandments and faith in Jesus demonstrates the patience of the saints.

B. God enables the New Testament Believer to keep the commands by putting His Spirit within the believer.
1. Philippians 2:13  "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."

2. Ezekiel 36:27  "And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."  This is part of the new covenant prophesied in the Old Testament.

3. I Corinthians 10:13  "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."  By the GRACE of God working in the Believer, he is able not to sin at any given point in time.

IV. We should understand that to obey God, we must understand something of the meaning of the commandments.
A. First Commandment: Exodus 20:3  "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
1. What is another god?  It is anything that takes the place of God.
a. The humanist has man as being his god.

b. In Matthew 10:17-24 the rich young ruler had money as his god.

c. The anarchist has himself as his own God.  (I will rule over my own life).

d. Those who look to the horoscope for guidance have the signs of heavens for their god.

e. Witches and warlocks have nature as their god (source for power and life).

f. The evolutionists have misguided science as their god.

2. If  we look to anything as the source of life, power, and direction other than God, Himself, we have broken this commandment.
a. God is the creator.

b. God is the ruler of the universe.

c. God is the source of life and strength.

d. God is the source  for direction: wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.

e. God is the source for provision.

f. God is the source for promotion.

g. God is the source for love.

*** God is the only one that can fill our lives with contentment and joy.

B. The Second Commandment:  Exodus 20:4-6  "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments."
1. We are not to bow down before a totem pole which is made by the hands of men we are bowing down before nothing more than dead wood.

2. We are not to bow down before a statue of Buddha which is made from stone or metal.

3. We are not to seek guidance from a crystal ball.

4. We are not to bow down before the image of a patron saint, Mary, the Pope, or even an image of Jesus on the cross.  Jesus is no longer on the cross!  The Pope, Mary, or patron saint can not save us.  I Timothy 2:5  "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."

5. We are not even to bow down before an angel of God.  The angel rebuked John for falling down before him.   Revelation 22:9  "Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God."

6. Furthermore, we get the word "imagination" form the word image.  Imagination is images that we create in our minds. II Corinthians 10:5  "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."  We are to cast down images in our minds that do not fit the person, character, or nature of God.  In other words, if we have a false image of God which we are bowing before, we are breaking this commandment.

a. If we see God as being unfair, unjust, or cruel, we break the commandment.

b. If we see God as being blind to sin, we break it.

c. If we see God as being disinterested in our lives and well being.   ... we are breaking this commandment.

d. God is not a god of stone, but is alive.

e. God is a righteous and just god.

f. God is interested in and does work in our lives.

C. The Third Commandment:  Exodus 20:7  "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."
1. We are not to swear using God's name to validate our position.  Jesus said in Matthew 5:34,  "But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne."

2. However, this commandment also pertains to the name we carry and how we live. We may call ourselves Christians, but live like the devil.  If we are not living a Christ-like life, we are using the name of Christ in vain.  Do others see our lives and say, "He must be a Christian because of the way he lives" or do they say, "How could he be a Christian and live like that?"

3. Do people know that you are a Christian by your life? God said, "Be ye holy, because I am holy." (I Peter 1:16).

a. By the way you dress?

b. By the way you conduct your business?

c. By the words that you speak?

d. By the attitudes that you express toward others?

e. By the way you raise your children?

f. By the music that you listen to?

g. By the way that you drive?

h. By the way that you spend your money?

i. By the way you eat?

j. By the people that you associate with?

D. The Fourth Commandment: Exodus 20:8-11 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:   But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it."
1. How is it to be observed?
a. It is the only commandment that God said to remember.

b. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week (Saturday).

c. The Sabbath is to be a day of rest.  We are to do no work for selves or have use to do work for us.

d. The Sabbath is to be holy (set apart) unto the LORD.

(1). We are not to go our own way on the Sabbath.

(2). We are not to do our own pleasure.

(3). We are not to speak our own words.

e. The Sabbath is to be observed perpetually.  For more information see: The Day Of Rest.
2. What are some of the benefits?
a. God may give us special revelation as He did for John.

b. God will cause us to ride upon the high places of the earth.

c. God will feed us with the heritage of Jacob (fruitfulness and prosperity).

d. God will bring rain in its season.

e. God will bring us before royalty.

f. God will heal our diseases and give us physical health.

g. God will give us the rest that we need and refresh us as He was refreshed.

h. God will bring people to worship with us.

E. The Fifth Commandment:  Exodus 20:12 "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee."
1. Children are to obey their parents.  We are not to speak against our parents. Exodus 21:15  "And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death."  Proverbs 20:20 "Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness."
a. This command is based upon an authority issue with God.  Through procreation, God delegates authority to the parents.  Therefore, when a child speaks against his parents, he is also speaking against God.  When a child is disrespectful and disobedient of his parents is is also disobeying God. When a young man or woman desires to get married, he or she should get the approval and blessing of his or her parents.  Why? Because the single adult is under the authority of his or her parents.

b. When a child becomes an adult and his parents are aged, then he become responsible to help in the care for his parents.

c. When children honor their parents, God promises to give them a special blessing ... that is long life.

F. The Sixth Commandment:  Exodus 20:13  "Thou shalt not kill."
1. A better translation of this commandment would be "Thou shalt not commit murder."  An individual is permitted to defend himself or defend his country from an enemy.

2. However, murder is forbidden.  Furthermore, Jesus in Matthew 5:21-22 said,  "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."

3. What is in the heart is very important!  We can commit murder in our minds, just as well as with a knife, gun, or bomb.  We may also break this commandment through self-hatred and attempts of suicide.  Have you ever wished someone dead ... may be you have wished yourself dead.

4. Murder is wrong because God has created us.  Therefore, an act to harm others or ourselves is an attack upon the creation of God and thus an attack upon the Creator, Himself.

5. Furthermore, abortion is taking the life of an unborn child.   Deuteronomy 27:25  "Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen."

G. The Seventh Commandment:  Exodus 20:14  "Thou shalt not commit adultery."
1. Marriage is a picture of the covenant relationship between God and his people.  It is also picture of the relationship between Christ and his bride, the Church.  It was meant to be a permanent relationship.

2. Adultery the covenant relationship which God has ordained and blessed.  This is not to say that it can not or should not be rebuilt.  Furthermore, adultery destroys the picture of Christ's permanent relationship with the Church.

3. Adultery may include an sexual act outside of the marriage relationship; however, it doesn't have to include the sexual act.  Matthew 5:27-28 "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."  God looks at the heart.

4. Furthermore, there may just be an intimate bonding which exceeds the relationship in the marriage. A man may be married to his work or sports more than to his wife.  The wife may be married to her mother, to her own children, or carrer more than to her husband.  The spouse is to be the first love other than Christ.

H. The Eight Commandment: Exodus 20:15  "Thou shalt not steal."
1. Stealing is stealing whether it is $.50 or $1,000,000.00.  Stealing is stealing whether is a new car, worth $20,000.00 or a toy car, worth $1.00.  Stealing is stealing whether it is taking merchandise from a store without paying for it or cheating on your income taxes.  You may also rob from God by not giving your tithe.  (Malachi 3:9).

2. Stealing is declaring to God that God has not provided for you, and you therefore have to take things into your own hands.  It is an attempt to bypass the law of labor and wages.  It is an attempt to circumvent the law of sowing and reaping.  It also may be an attempt to live today as though it is tomorrow.  If we do not exercise patience to wait upon God, then we jump a head of Him.

3. We should also remember that love gives, but lust takes.   John 3:16  "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."   I John 2:16  "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."

I. The Ninth Commandment: Exodus 20:16  "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour."
1. This may take on the nature of lying opposed to telling the truth in most every situation.
a. We may speak evil to others about our neighbor.

b. We may gossip (become a tale bearer) about our neighbor.

c. We may exaggerate or be deceptive to our neighbor to get him to believe something that is not true.

2. We often bear false witness in an attempt to "control" the situation.  In reality, we are saying that God isn't in control, so we have to say something falsely to cover for the situation. Sometimes we are afraid to tell the truth in fear that the other person may not accept us.

3. Quite often we may bear false witness because we have been hurt by our neighbor and feel that we have to get even.  Again, we are saying that God is not a righteous judge when we do this.

J. The Tenth Commandment:  Exodus 20:17  "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."
1. Covetousness starts with comparison!  It is looking at what you have compared to what someone else has.  Then the next step is to become discontented with what you have, that then moves to a compulsion or desire for what the other person has.
a. This can be possessions = car, clothes, or home.

b. This can be a job or position.

c. This can be natural abilities or spiritual gifts.

d. This can be almost anything including membership of another church.

2. Covetousness is saying that God is UNFAIR in His provision.

3. Hebrew 13:5  "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."

V. We need to understand there is more than one type of salvation.

A. There is the salvation of the spirit-man.
1. The salvation of the spirit-man occurs when one commits his life to Jesus as his Lord and Saviour.  See: Find Life, Purpose, Joy.

2. This brings about a permanent relationship between the individual and God.  See: Searching For Truth

3. This salvation can not be obtained through keeping the commandments.

B. There is the salvation of the soul (mind, will, and emotions).
1.  James 1:21  "Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls."  Receiving and obeying the Word of God keeps our minds from thinking the wrong thoughts, our wills from making the wrong decisions, and our emotions from being out of control.

2. Obeying the commandments does play a part here. Romans 6:15  "What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid."  Psalms 119:165 "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them."

C. There is the salvation of the body.
1. Although there will be an ultimate salvation of the body at the resurrection, we face health issues now.

2. We can find the root to most every disease in disobeying the Word of God in some way or another.  (See Deuteronomy 28:15ff). When we disobey the commandments of God we become subject to Deuteronomy 28:60-61 "Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee.   Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed."

Examples: fear may produce heart problems, bitterness may be associated arthritis, and a broken spirit may produce a dryness of the bones followed by problems with the blood.

3. God promises health as we obey His commandments.   Exodus 23:25  "And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee."


 "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.  The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.  The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.   More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward."
Psalms 19:7-11