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Exodus 20:1-7 1
1 And God spoke all these words: 2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. 7 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

img189Background 2

The Book of Exodus relates the forming of the children of Israel into a church and a nation. We have seen true religion shown in domestic life, now, we begin to trace its effects upon the concerns of kingdoms and nations. Exodus signifies “the departure;” the chief event therein recorded is the departure of Israel from Egypt and Egyptian bondage; it plainly points out the fulfilling of several promises and prophecies to Abraham respecting his seed (ancestors), and shadows forth the state of the church, in the wilderness of this world, until her arrival at the heavenly Canaan, an eternal rest.

Biblical Truths 3

God speaks many ways to the children of men; by conscience, by providences, by his voice, to all which we ought carefully to pay attention to; but he never spoke so boldly at any time as He did through the TEN COMMANDMENTS. This law God had given to man before; it was written in his heart; but sin so defaced it, that it was necessary to revive the knowledge of it. The law is spiritual, and takes knowledge of the secret thoughts, desires, and dispositions of the heart. Its grand demand is love, without which outward obedience is mere hypocrisy. It requires perfect, unfailing, constant obedience; no law in the world admits disobedience to itself. Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all, James 2:10. Whether in the heart or the conduct, in thought, word, or deed, to omit or to vary anything, is sin, and as we know, the wages of sin is death.

The first four of the ten commandments, commonly called the FIRST table, tell our duty to God. It was fit that those should be put first, because man had a Maker to love, before he had a neighbor to love. It cannot be expected that he should be true to his brother, who is false to his God. The first commandment concerns the object of worship, JEHOVAH, and him only. The worship of creatures is here forbidden. Whatever comes short of perfect love, gratitude, reverence, or worship, breaks this commandment. Whatsoever you do, do all the glory of God. The second commandment refers to the worship we are to render to the Lord our God. It is forbidden to make any image or picture of the Deity, in any form, or for any purpose; or to worship any creature, image, or picture. But the spiritual import of this command extends much further. All kinds of superstition are here forbidden as well as the using of mere human inventions in the worship of God. The third commandment concerns the manner of worship, that it be with all possible reverence and seriousness. All false oaths are forbidden. All light appealing to God, all profane cursing, is a horrid breach of this command. It matters not whether the word of God, or sacred things, all such-like things break this commandment, and there is no profit, honor, or pleasure in them. The Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain. The form of the fourth commandment, “Remember,” shows that it was not now first given, but was known by the people before. One day in seven is to be kept holy. Six days are allotted to worldly business, but not so as to neglect the service of God, and the care of our souls. On those days we must do all our work, and leave none to be done on the Sabbath day. Christ allowed works of necessity, charity, and piety; for the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath, Mark 2:27; but all works of luxury, vanity, or self-indulgence in any form, are forbidden. Trading, paying wages, settling accounts, writing letters of business, worldly studies, trifling visits, journeys, or light conversation, are not keeping this day holy to the Lord. Sloth and indolence may be a carnal, but not a holy rest. The Sabbath of the Lord should be a day of rest from worldly labor, and a rest in the service of God. The advantages from the due keeping of this holy day, were it only to the health and happiness of mankind, with the time it affords for taking care of the soul, show the excellency of this commandment. The day is blessed; men are blessed by it, and in it. The blessing and direction to keep holy are not limited to the seventh day, but are spoken of the Sabbath day.

Items for Discussion

  • God is very direct and to the point – Is God ordering us to love Him?
  • What impact does our “free will” have on God’s Ten Commandments?
  • What type of gods does mankind bring to the forefront as a substitute for the “one true God?”
  • Do you think that the Ten Commandments are also for nations to follow?
  • Do you think that a good test of leadership is whether the Ten Commandments are being followed? Why or Why Not?
  • Re-read Verse 5 – With such dire consequences for a nation, what do you think would happen to a nation who does not follow God’s commandments?

 

1 Corinthians 13:1-3
1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Background 4

Here, we are to learn about love in its fullest meaning; true love to God and man. Without this, the most glorious gifts, discussed in prior verses, from God are of no account to us, of no esteem in the sight of God. A clear head and a deep understanding, are of no value without a benevolent and charitable heart. There may be an open and lavish hand, where there is not a liberal and charitable heart. Doing good to others will do nothing for us without love both from and to God, and without good-will to men. If we give away all we have, while we withhold the heart from God, it will not profit us or relieve us from our most painful sufferings.

The content of the verses cover: The necessity and advantage of the grace of love. (1-3) Several weeks ago, we looked at much more of the text of Corinthians but its application was based on love between humans. Now, we can look at those same verses and understand the one true commandment, to love our God with all of our heart, soul and strength.

Bible Truths

Verse 1 The languages (tongues) of people would be foreign languages. But the language of angels can only mean speech that people cannot understand. The Christians at Corinth were not using this gift in the right way. Without love, their speech would be only a noise. Their speech would also be like a musical instrument that produces a loud crash, but no harmony. Pagans would use such instruments in their excited worship.

Verse 2 The Christians at Corinth also emphasized ‘knowledge’. But the person with the deepest knowledge and the greatest faith is worth nothing without love. ‘

Verse 3 The most generous act to help poor people would be of no use without love. When he spoke about allowing people to burn his body, Paul may have thought about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3). He was probably using this descriptive language to mean a sacrifice that was the result of pride. This would be of no advantage.

Items for Discussion

  • God calls us to love, both Him and each other – how are they interconnected?
  • Can a nation whose hearts are filled with hate, please God? Why or Why Not?
  • Why does loving our God with all our heart, soul and strength help us to love each other?
  • What would you expect the attributes of a nation who loves God to be like?
  • Since the measure of true love is in the heart, how would we be able to tell if our nation is on the right track?
  • How does a nation’s leadership interfere with the concepts of loving God and loving each other? (Think of ways they help and ways they hinder)
  • How does freedom enhance the love between ourselves and God and each other?

Discussion Challenge

  • Besides obedience, what other responsibilities do we have with regard to the Ten Commandments?
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