As we are progressing through the Hillbilly Ten Commandments we are coming to a series of one sentence commandments. At first glance each of these four one sentence commandments seem like common sense. No murder, no adultery, no stealing, and no lying are straightforward. These four commandments seem like good ethical or moral teachings. In a world in which good ethical teachings seem to be enough, why have a separate sermon on each of these four commandments?
We are discovering in this world that just having good ethical teachings is not enough. We need to know from where the ethical teachings come. It is one thing to be a good person, it is another to know why you are a good person. Does your being a good person come from a good disposition, or does being a good person come from a source other than yourself? For us to be disciples of Jesus Christ, we realize that we are only good because of what Jesus has done for us.
Each of our Scriptures show us the good that Jesus has done for us and how we are to respond. From Exodus 20:13, we find the context of the 6th Commandment is primary in setting us up to live. From Psalm 139 we find that God has knows all about us, yet he still wants to direct our lives. In Matthew 5:21-26 we see that reconciliation is far better than murder. Then finally, we will see that Paul reminds us in Romans 12:9-17 that life has many possibilities for us.
A. From whom does the 6th Commandment come (Exodus 20:13)?
1. Moses received the 10 Commandments from God on Mt. Sinai
2. God is the one who delivered Israel from Egypt
3. God is the one who created all that we see – we are created in his image
4. God has given each of us our very lives
5. Therefore, no murder (private & unjustified erasure of our lives, or taking a life with forethought)
6. Unfortunately in this world, killings happen. Accidents do happen in which people die. But if someone tampered with a vehicles brakes to make them not work, and someone dies in the resulting accident, then the person who tampered with the brakes murdered someone. So God has created us, in his image. When a life is taken with forethought, then what does that say about the value of a life?
B. What do our lives mean to us (Psalm 139)?
1. The divine one, God, knows us!
2. Even our thoughts are known to God.
3. God holds us fast in his right hand – wherever we go
4. God made us in our mothers’ wombs
5. The psalmist realizes that God can lead him
6. If God knows us from our insides to our outsides, then our life is precious to him. Since we are precious to God, then our lives have meaning. Our lives have value. Knowing that God values us, does that change how we view each other? The evidence in this world speaks for itself. We have families break apart because of many ill-spoken words. We have people of all ages behind bars because they took someone’s life. We have a great amount of suicide in this current world. It appears the message that we each are valued by God is not known, heeded, or realized. It seems that murder is more prominent than life!
C. How deep in us can murder be found (Matthew 5:21-26)?
1. Jesus teaches us that murder is more than skin deep
2. Angry with another? You are liable for your thoughts
3. Ill-spoken words mean that you are liable to the people around you
4. Insulting another means you are liable to be tormented as long as the garbage heap outside Jerusalem is burning!
5. If someone has something against you, then you are fix the relationship with that person
6. Otherwise, the problem between you and that other person will continue all of your days.
7. It appears that when we think and speak ill of another person, then we are causing ourselves problems. Our anger and insults hurt not that other person, they hurt us! Murdering someone in our thoughts, murdering their character, and murdering their spirit, only makes us a murderer. As we follow Jesus, he wants more for us than that. Jesus wants us to be mature, holy, perfect, as our heavenly Father is (Matthew 5:48). To stay away from murderous thoughts and words, what can we do?
D. How then shall we live (Romans 12:9-17)?
1. Love one another with mutual affection
2. Serve the Lord who has given us life
3. Take care of the needs of others
4. Bless those who murder you
5. Be in harmony with other people
6. Let God avenge you
7. Overcome evil with good (feed & give drinks to your enemies!)
8. Instead of taking someone’s life, character, or spirit, we give them what we have. We give them the spirit of Jesus which is residing in us. That I believe will lead to life, for us and those who oppose us. Once we learn to love others, we will know what to do about abortions, suicide, capital punishment, and war. For when we learn to love ourselves and others, then all babies can grow up to know Jesus. When we start blessing other people instead of bullying them, then others will want to continue to live. When we value ourselves, then other people’s lives gain value. When we are at peace in ourselves and with God, then the world around us can start having peace.
Yes, it is good to examine each of these four one-sentence Commandments by themselves. It is one thing to say what to avoid. It is something else to know why we avoid certain behaviors, thoughts, and words. That something else involves the God who made us in his image. That something else involves seeing the value of life. That something else involves us making peace with those we are in conflict. That something else involves loving each other as God has loved us.
Yes, our lives have value and meaning. Our lives come from God. It is to God that we are responsible for our lives, and the lives of those around us.
May all the situations that you are in include love, peace, and renewed relationships. This is what a good life involves. This is what God has made for us through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. This is how disciples of Jesus Christ live.