Christian / in the beginning / The Mapps Quest

>The First 3 of 10

>For the past 3 weeks now, we have been studying the 10 Commandments on Sunday.  I knew it would be good..but there is way more substance than what you think!  I am going to do my best to summarize these studies, because I know you will find them interesting, too. 

 

So, why the 10 commandments?  Well, the Bible states that all of God’s word is good, and every part applicable to our lives.  Our pastor explains it like this:  God gave us the commandments out of regard (or love) for us, to help us restrain against evil, and to help reveal our sins to us, to ultimately lead us to Christ.

 

You can find the commandments in Exodus chapter 20.  
Pastor Ron has broken each commandment into it’s own study. 
In each study we cover 3 main topics:

  • Denotation – what it means
  • Motivation – why God gave us this commandment
  • Application – how we can apply these in our daily lives

Without further adieu, lets start at the top:

 

1. “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
(this commandment deals with who we are to worship)

  • Denotation – God is the only god.  For centuries, man has tried to create gods for his own purposes.  The Egyptians had gods for everything from the Sun, to fertility.  God is simply stating that there are no other gods, just Him.
  • Motivation – God knows that we tend to put things in front of him, such as work, or family.  The things that cloud our minds become our gods, and what we aspire to reach or please.
  • Application – the best way to implement this commandment is to ask yourself some questions:
    • What is my master passion?
    • What do I think about most?
    • Who do I want to please?
    • What am I living for?

If, in answering these questions, you realize that God is not what consumes you, then, in fact, you have broken it.  This was very astonishing to me, while we were studying this first commandment.  I thought surely that I had this one in the bag..but then, I remembered how often I am consumed with one of my hobbies, and focusing my attention solely on that, and pushing God to the back.  I pray that I can center my focus on Him throughout my daily activities, and let Him lead me through my pursuits.

2. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image.”
(this commandment deals with how we should worship)  

  • Denotation – Don’t try to figure out, or re-create what you think God looks like.
  • Motivation – God knows our weakness when it comes to “seeing is believing”.  He knows that our nature is to have something that we can hold onto or look upon to resemble Him, and make Him more manageable.  Unfortunately for most of the world, and even in Christianity, there are idols all around.  The cross for instance is a delicate topic, but can be taken two ways.  When people are bowing down to the cross (a statue), they are bowing down to worship the idol, not God.  If you wear a cross around your neck, symbolizing that you believe in Jesus, you are showing others your religion.  In ‘The Screwtape Letters’ by C.S. Lewis, he gives a great example of what this message is about.  The book is a collection of letters from one demon to another.  Each demon is assigned to an individual, to try to sway the person away from God, and/or keep them from knowing God in the first place.  In one part, the main demon tells the demon in training to make his man focus on the ceiling fan while praying.  By doing this, the man is praying to the ceiling fan, and unconsciously, not putting any meaning into his words.  You see the point I am making..
  • Application – Jesus says, in John 4:24, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth”.  This can be very difficult, but if you can create in your mind a blank slate, and try not to imagine what God could look like, then you can get your prayers and messages to Him through the spirit.  Pastor Ron tells us to be warry of saying ‘my god’…as He is not just yours, but for everyone, and no one has seen him, therefore we cannot place judgement on what he should be represented by.

3. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”
(this commandment deals with who God is)

  •  Denotation – Do not mis-use His name.  Do not take it lightly, or in anger.  Don’t take away the importance of His name.
  • Motivation – God doesn’t want others to misunderstand His importance, by us representing Him poorly.  By using God’s name in a bad way, say cussing, you are unconciously telling others that His name is of no consequence.  For example..what is in a name?  What do you think of when you hear the name Elvis?  How about Tiger Woods?  You automatically bring images into your head when hearing these names, be they good or bad.  Think of this commandment as God’s reputation.  How do you want Him to be represented?
  • Application – There are some obvious ways to obey this commandment; don’t curse using God’s name, and don’t swear by God, unless you intend to follow-through.  But there is something else…your actions speak loudly towards how others percieve you.  How you live, and act should be indicators of your beliefs.  A great example is if you took the logo off of a Porche, and put it on a Toyota.  The logo would still look the same, but the meaning would be lost.  It is how you are representing God that should be your focus when trying to obey this commandment.  You are holding God’s reputation in your hands every time you talk to someone, or how you act in a situation.  My favorite part of the sermon was when Pastor Ron said, “I have recently started doing this thing where if I hear someone say Jesus Christ…but taking it in vein, I run over to them and say, where?!!  That’s may savior, and if you see him again, I would like to meet Him.  Please don’t talk about Him like that.”

So..as you can see..there is lots more to learn than you think about these 10 commandments..and I am excited to know what is next…I hope you will stay tuned!

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