Educational Ministry of the Church - Lesson 10

What Must We Teach? (Part 5)

The Ten Commandments are the basis for Old Testament Law and the core teaching of the New Testament.

Gary Parrett
Educational Ministry of the Church
Lesson 10
Watching Now
What Must We Teach? (Part 5)

Content: What must we teach?

Part 5

V.  Ten Commandments

A.  Hurdles to Overcome

B.  Three Aspects of Law

1.  Civil

2.  Ceremonial

3.  Moral

a.  The heart, character, and will of God is reflected.

b.  We are not under moral law in the sense of salvation/justification.

c.  Torah points to the way.

C.  Three Uses of the Ten Commandments

1.  Governing Use - Fence

2.  Accusing Use - Mirror

3.  Guiding Use - Compass

D.  Summary of the Law

E.  Numbering Systems

1.  Reformed

2.  Lutheran and Catholic

3.  Jewish

F.  Applications of the Ten Commandments

1.  Ethics

a.  First level - Ten Commandments - Old Testament Law

b.  Second level - New Testament

c.  Third level - Holy Spirit

2.  Worship

G.  Final Thoughts on Content

  • Seven questions that provide a framework for choosing and implementing curriculum.

  • Our misconceptions about Christian education can cause us to choose poor or inaccurate content and use ineffctive strategies.

  • The three essential tasks of the Church are worship, outreach and teaching.

  • Christian formation focuses on the process of becoming more like Christ.

  • Instructions for spiritual education from passages in the Old Testament and New Testament.

  • History of Christian education from the early church to modern Sunday school.

  • The Heidelberg Catechism provides essential elements for a Christian education curriculum.

  • The Torah contains the essence of what God wants us to know. Jesus clarifies and exemplifies the Torah.

  • A CORE curriculum should be Comprehensive, Orthodox, Reforming and focused on Essentials. Delivery systems may include bible studies, small groups, Sunday school and sermons.

  • The Ten Commandments are the basis for Old Testament Law and the core teaching of the New Testament.

  • Tailoring curriculum by taking into peoples' physical and spiritual developmental stages can make teaching more effective.

  • Tailoring curriculum by taking into peoples' physical and spiritual developmental stages can make teaching more effective.

  • A key element for effective education to take place is for teachers to know their students relationally.

  • Effective teachers know their audience and avoid attitudes and expressions that would create obstacles to communication.

  • Asking the right questions about the curriculum and the audience can help you identify what information to emphasize and how to present it effectively.

  • How you define teaching determines content and strategy.

  • Effective teaching engages the whole person.

  • When preparing curriculum, an effective teacher will take into account both the content and the audience.

  • Many people fill the role of teacher in your life at different times and in various ways.

  • Christian education involves recruiting, training, modeling, organizing and supporting people who volunteer to teach.

  • Being trained in skills for conflict resolution helps you to have realistic expectations and gives you the tools you need to effectively resolve situations as they arise.

Through this course, you will gain a deep understanding of the educational ministry of the church, its foundations, principles of teaching and learning, and the development of an effective educational ministry. You will also explore strategies for different age groups, including children, youth, and adults, and learn how to address contemporary issues such as cultural relevance, technology, media, and special needs inclusivity.

Educational Ministry of the Church 
Dr. Gary Parrett 
What Must We Teach? (Part 5) 
Lesson Transcript


We talked yesterday and we agreed that sort of an evangelical circles may be least attended to. Among those core components that we saw of the historic core is an understanding of the Ten Commandments. And I wanted to just take a few moments to talk about how we can present the Ten Commandments to our people so that they can understand, wait a second, this is important. But before we do that, what are some of the hurdles that we might have to jump? Why do you think it is? I mentioned some historical reasons for this, but what do you think may be moving in the minds of people in our churches today to suggest a problem with the Ten Commandments? It's not relevant. It's not pertinent to us. Right there we have the capital O here. This is the Old Testament and we're New Testament people. But in fact, New Testament thinking theologically, morally, it's entirely grounded in the Old Testament scriptures, of course. What else may be happening? Okay. Yeah, I memorized the Ten Commandments years ago, so I don't need to do that now. Right. All the isms of the day have crowded in here. And by the way, I think not just on reference, not just in reference to this issue of the Ten Commandments specifically, but in reference to the whole content issue generally, to the notion of anything being fixed and absolute. The idea that there could be identified a core which is timeless, that that doesn't fly well in the face of all the modern isms, especially relativism and pragmatism. Anything else relative to this capital o.


T. Yeah, and a lot of people hear the phrase Ten Commandments and automatically think, this is old, this is ancient, this is archaic. If I stopped them and said, So, tell me what the Ten Commandments are. Again, it wouldn't be able to do that necessarily. Yeah, that's what I was getting out with this idea of the Old Testament. Some people would say, Well, wait a minute, Christians are not under law or under grace, and we know that no one will be justified by keeping the commandments. So the law was weak and its grace that we in our addressing this this there are some hurdles that we have to jump over, all kinds of hurdles here over familiarity and misconceptions abound. But let's let's talk about some of the ways that we can answer this. If we approach our people. One of the answers to this question is, am I under law or not? Part of the answer may be that if you go through the laws of the Old Testament, it turns out that there are three aspects of law. I like to use aspects rather than types, because I don't think we can draw fixed rigid lines between these but aspects of these laws. There were civil laws and there were ceremonial or religious laws, and there's a moral aspect of the law as well. So civil law. Give me an example of an Old Testament civil law. I'll give you one. In the death penalty for crimes such as cursing your parents, the child curses mother or father, you must be put to death. Well, that's a civil law. In other words, you do this. This is the price you will pay for it. We have same kind of civil laws in our lands today.


Not that one in this land might not have so much problem with population control if we had that one on the books today. Are we under as Christians today? Are we under the civil law of Israel? Why not? Because we're not Israel, right? We're not ancient Israel. We're under the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Civilize our town, civilize our nation, civilize our time. So I'm not under that. Therefore, I can just take my scissors to the Bible and just rip that stuff out. It's wrong. That's not what I do. It's not that I'm not under that, but it still has a lot of wisdom to offer me. If I get into those civilized and start picking them apart, maybe I can understand something. For example, that civil law, if a child curses father or mother. What? What can I learn from a commandment like that? Well, I can learn that God takes that parenting very seriously and takes authority very seriously in obedience and submission are huge biblical concepts. So I may not apply that civil law, but there's something I can give me an example of Old Testament, ceremonial law, all kinds of things, the laws of cleanliness, the laws of dietary laws, the priestly laws, the sacrificial laws. Am I under these laws? As a Christian, why not? Why am I not under the ceremonial lost today? Let's open our Bibles here. Colossians chapter 216 through 17. So in Pauline terms here and Colossians 216 and 17, some of these ceremonial laws matters of what's clean and unclean as far as dietary observance and festivals and new moons and Sabbaths. He calls them a what? In verse 17. Shadow, a shadow pointing to the substance that came in Christ. For me. It's been kind of helpful to imagine walking outside on a sunny day and I see a shadow.


I see Michael shadow approaching me, a long shadow cast by the sun. I see his shadow approaching me. I probably wouldn't stop and have a conversation with the shadow, but I recognize that the shadow coming means substance is coming. So here comes this. Here's the shadow. Now the substance is approaching me. That's Michael. Well, in some sense, I think that's what we have Paul saying here, that the Old Testament ceremonial laws were the shadow that pointed ahead to Christ. So especially we think of the sacrificial system, that's probably the most clearest application for us. But other aspects as well, the priesthood, the shadow pointing to the high priesthood of Christ, the sacrificial system pointing to Jesus, the LAMB of God, who would take away the sins of the world. So I'm not under them. And again, it doesn't mean I don't need to know these things. In fact, knowing these things will heighten my understanding of who Christ, his height, my understanding of the seriousness of sin and the importance of holiness and heighten my whole understanding of the be different because I am different that we talked about the other day. So it's useful for my scripture, scriptural knowledge here, civil law, ceremonial law, moral law. Though the heart and soul of the moral law is the Ten Commandments. But there are numerous other places I could turn for moral law. In the Old Testament, for example, Micah six eight has shown the old man what is good, What does the Lord require of you, but do justly love mercy, walk humbly with your God. Jewish people today would say that most Gentiles should not be studying the Ten Commandments unless they are. There is exception made for Christians who take seriously the God who gave the Ten Commandments.


But typically Torah is not for Gentiles. This is covenant stuff given to Israel. So instead they would send us maybe to Genesis Chapter nine, where God speaks to Noah as it comes out of the ark and talks about prohibitions against idolatry, prohibitions against shedding blood of another human being, and say that's where a Gentile should be hanging out for moral instruction. So there are other places we could turn for moral teaching, but typically we understand that the heart and soul of the moral law is the Ten Commandments, that in the moral law, God tells us what he loves and what he hates On the moral plain is a Christian under the moral law, under the Ten Commandments. Yay or nay? Yes. Is there any sense in which a Christian is not under the moral law? I would say that we are not under the moral law as our pathway to salvation. So there is a sense in which we are not under the moral law, by keeping the commandments, shall no flesh be justified as appalling thought. There is a wide variety of interpretation here, even among evangelicals, and I am not. I personally, as I said, even my use of the word aspects is significant here because I don't think you can draw rigid lines into fixed types of law here. But I do see other indications. And yes, this important point that Paul, when he says we are not under law, we are under grace, clearly also has the moral law in mind. So what he's saying is the law could never save us the law. And when he says the law could never save us, guess what he's talking about? Well, at least partly he's talking about this moral law. So I'm not under it as my pathway to salvation because I'll never be able to do it.


And when you said yes, we under the moral law, well, there is a sense in which the moral laws teaching does abide. And I am under it as a as a as an expression of the heart and the will of God as an expression of what God loves and what God hates. The moral law will never change because because that's what it is. It comes from the character of God. This is the character of God expressed in moral statements. And unless the character of God changes, this won't change. But notice also that in a passage like Romans two, Paul says this kind of law, and clearly he doesn't mean these kinds of law so much. But this kind of law was written on the hearts of those who never received Torah. So when a Gentile does those things, which the law tells him to do, though he's never received Torah, it says that he's got the law of God written upon his heart. And so we see in many societies, not Jewish societies, gentile societies, prohibitions against murder, prohibitions against theft. The law of God has been written on the heart. I think that the answer is, is it's a complicated one. I'll just tell you where I come down on this. You mentioned the fourth commandment. The fourth commandment is obviously the most difficult. In some respects for Christian application today. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy? I see the fourth commandment as the one commandment, the one commandment of ten. That really includes all three aspects of law. All of the Ten Commandments are moral. All of them also have civil civil pieces tied to them in the Old Testament. I the more the fourth commandment as also including something which was clearly throughout the Old Testament, a key ceremonial feature of Israel's law.


It was part of their distinctive stamp, part of the be different because I am different teaching of the of the Old Testament. So my application of the fourth commandment today is that I am not under this commandment as a civil law. In other words, it's not part of my civil law that I can't do something on the Sabbath day, and I'm not under the commandment as a ceremonial law. So that strict observance to a seventh day Sabbath is binding upon me, but I am under the fourth commandment, as in the same way that I'm under. We have to use that term carefully, that I'm under other aspects, other moral teaching of the Old Testament, under other aspects of the Ten Commandments, there is a spiritual and moral application of the fourth commandment for me that I am still bound to as a Christian. And we're kind of jumping ahead in the conversation to get to this. But the fourth commandment is useful for me in teaching me a number of things, but included among them, it teaches me the principle of rest and rhythm in my life. It teaches me the principle of response that Christians primarily live a life of response in regard to God. We're never the initiators. We're always the respondents. But ultimately, I think the principle on the ceremonial aspect shows the shadow of substance comes into play, that the fourth commandment ultimately points me to Christ again in Hebrews chapter four. This is probably most especially clear here. We find out that indeed the Sabbath was a shadow that pointed ahead to Christ, and that is ultimately in the finished work of Christ that we find our rest. It's not in my own obedience, it's not in my own righteousness.


It's none of those things that I've done that could ever bring me rest. Entering rest is entering the salvation work of Christ. So when I read the fourth commandment, the shadow substance shows up for me and these words from the cross, it is finished. And everyone, Hebrews four, ten, everyone who ceases from his own work enters God's rest, and I cease from my own work for righteousness. When I enter the it is finished of Jesus, you have the eternal Sabbath. We enter eternal, our eternal home with the with the Lord. But my understanding of this is that the fourth commandment is unique among the ten in this sense that it clearly has a ceremonial aspect built into it, and that's why it's singled out in some of these statements, as I put in the same line, not with other Ten Commandments, but it's put in the same line with festivals and dietary laws. Does same thing happens in Romans 14 and 15. One man regards one day more sacred than another. Another man regards every day the same. Let's be convinced in his own mind. But we don't get that kind of statement about one man thinks idolatry is okay and another man doesn't. So it's singled out from among the ten for this kind of distinction, I think, because it has a built in ceremonial component to it. But part of the answer to this question in the life of the church then is does the law apply to me? Yes and no. The moral law included. It doesn't apply to me as a pathway to salvation. Or how does it apply to. Here's what the church has always said in response about the moral law. Three Uses of the Decalogue that are traditional applications of the Decalogue.


The first use we could call the governing use of the law. And this is the idea where societies find wisdom in the Ten Commandments for governing from just the basic idea, like we saw in Romans two, that these laws are also written on the hearts of people, even Gentiles. And it's just the wise society who decides that it's better not to allow murder to go unchecked in your society. So for the sake of a society's governance, the people have turned to the Ten Commandments And the Ten Commandments in recent years or recent decades and centuries have become kind of foundational in. Any countries putting up their own sets of civil laws and have found wisdom in the Ten Commandments. Governing use of the law is one use that Christians have observed from examples of, you know, kind of theocratic states that are put together in Europe. And they base their civil law around the Ten Commandments to even a democratic state like ours in this country where much of our civil law is based on the same kind of principles drawn from the Ten Commandments. There's an image that we could use here. The idea is a boundary fence. A society puts up us, uses the law to become like a boundary fence. And the idea is that if you stay within the boundary, you are in good position. If you go beyond the boundary, you expose yourself to danger. The second use of the law is called the accusing use of the law. And the accusing use of the law is imaged as a mirror. And now this is a use that Christians have understood to say, when I go to the Commandments, the Ten Commandments. Part of their value is they show me that I am a sinner and they teach me that I could never measure up to the standard of God.


And we certainly see this emphasis in Paul and Paul says in Galatians, therefore, the law became a schoolmaster actually pedagogue to teach me, to lead me to Christ, how to lead me to Christ by showing me that I am a sinner, that I can never keep the commandments myself. This use of the law is important and you see it historically, especially in Lutheranism. So Luther is big on the Ten Commandments. And if you read Luther's cataclysms, remember where we saw in the Heidelberg Catechism? The Ten Commandments shows up under our obedient response, and the Luther's catechism shows up earlier under our sinfulness, because the Commandments show us this is what God requires. I look in the mirror and say, Whoa, I don't measure up to that. And in Luther, in teaching and thought today, there's always to be a balance in the message between law and gospel law and gospel law and gospel. You beat people up with the law, and then you heal them with the gospel. You knock them down with the law and you pick them up with the gospel. If I find somebody who's not aware of their sin, then my requirement is go to the commandments of God and show them their sin. And if they are aware of their sin, then my requirement is pour grace on them. And you could see that in the Ministry of Jesus, I think, to those who thought they were righteous. Jesus shows them that they're not those who know that they're sinners. Jesus just gives them gospel law and gospel law and gospel. The accusing. Yes, but there's a third use of law that we could call the guiding use of the law. And the guiding use of the law sometimes has been the image that's gone along with this is the image of a rule or a ruler.


Think of our word canon as we think about the canon of Scripture, the canon of Scripture, the rule of authority for us. But the word that the idea of the image that I like to use is the image of a compass. The image of a compass. And I'm going back very much to this concept of the weighing. Now the guiding use of the law is emphasized. If the accusing use is emphasized by Luther, the guiding use is emphasized by Calvin. And that's why in the Calvinist cataclysms, the Ten Commandments shows up under our obedient response to Christ. Here's the idea. I'll kind of unpack the idea here as I understand it. The law. When I first am confronted by the law, I find what I find at the beginning of the Heidelberg Catechism. What does God require? You shall love the Lord, your God. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Can I do this? No. When I come to the commandments, the first thing I learn is, No, I can't do it. I'm a sinner. What does it do for me then? It's my schoolteacher. It leads me to the Savior, to Christ. I receive salvation as a gift of God by faith in Jesus Christ. And then what? Now, as a regenerated and spirit in dwelt believer, as I ask the question, what does it mean for me to live a life of obedience to God? What is the life that God wants me to live? I can return to the commandments not as a pathway to justification, but now as this enduring stamp of the heart and will of God. What does God love? What does God hate? What does God delight in? What does God want? What does God require? And now, because I'm regenerated and because I'm filled with the Spirit as part of my obedient gratitude to God, the commandments become a guide for me.


They be. A compass for me. Just this is very similar then to the Jewish understanding of Torah. The Jewish understanding of the Torah will teach me the derrick. This will show me the way that pleases God with a couple of important couple of important understandings as I come back to the commandments. I have to continually remind myself, I'm not back here as though this were the pathway to justification. I'm not back to the commandments to earn or merit God's favor. I'm here because I'm already favored. I'm here because he's already loved. And now I just want to be a grateful, obedient child. And I find in the Commandments guidance for my life. This is how God wants me to live. And the only way that I can make any steps in progress in obedience to them is by virtue of the fact that now the spirit of the living God dwells in my heart. If that were not true, and if it were not by the Spirit, I could not obey the commandments in any sense. So in this sense, couple of things from the New Testament. I want you to remember Jesus clearly. I'd be I challenge you to find passage from the mouth of Jesus that suggests that he had in mind undoing the Ten Commandments. Challenge you to find that anywhere in the Scripture, in the New Testament that any of Jesus apostles had in mind undoing the requirements of the commandments. What we find instead is both from the mouth of Jesus and from the mouth of Paul. We find instead this idea that whatever commandment there may be is summarized in these two words loving, God loving neighbor. So now here it is. I go to this law. I find out that I can't do that.


So I need a savior. But now, as a saved person, I say by the spirit of God, I want to begin loving God and loving my neighbor. And what the commandments do is put some flesh on those bones. Otherwise, this could be Christian ease again for me. Do you love God? Sure. I love God. Well, how do you love God? If I go back to the Commandments, I find guidance like a compass to understand what loving God really means. How do I love God? By making sure, number one, that there's nothing in my life that takes precedence over you. There's nothing that's more important for me. I'll tell you honestly, I was meditating on this last night because I couldn't sleep. So I was thinking I was thinking of that Psalm one kind of emphasis. Blessed is the man who meditates on Torah day and night and trying to kick myself to do that instead of meditating on some other things. And the very fact itself checked me on the first commandment, because what I tend to meditate on sometimes at night is the latest baseball game and how the Mariners did. So I find myself meditating on the Mariners trading deadlines coming up. Who are they going to trade for? Working out a number of trades. I've just been a baseball fanatic all my life, right? And then I'm thinking about the first commandment. If the first thing on my mind when I roll out of bed in the morning is a mariners game and not the Lord God. Isn't that in some sense violation of the spirit of the first commandment? Not that a judge is me and condemns me to hell, but it checks my heart. And I've committed as a spirit in dwell, a born again believer.


I want to love God by the commandments, by meditation on Torah. I start to understand meditation on the commandments. I understand what that might look like in the real world. So if I want to love God, I'll put nothing as a priority over you, and I'll continually be checking my life against that standard to love God. I'll make sure that I worship Him. Second Commandment, as he has. He truly is not as I imagine him to be. I won't make up some image of God and make that my God. I'll let God be who He is. God says I am who I am not. I am who you want me to be or I am. Whatever you think I am, I am who I am. And you better get used to that. I want to love God. I'll treat his name as a prize. It will be sacred and sanctified on my lips. I'll never misuse the name of the Lord. I'll never take up the name of God for emptiness. Whenever I use the name Jesus I want to mean what I say. Say what I mean. How do I love God? By learning that He is God and I'm not. Fourth Commandment application for me. Be still and know that I am God. This is fourth commandment Keeping for me is think of Sam 4610 Gary I be still and know that I am the Lord, not you. You live a life of response. You live in my rest. Fifth Commandment How do I love God? By honoring the authorities that God has established honoring my parents. But parental authority points to other kinds of authority living a life of submission that's honoring God. How do I love my neighbor? Well, six Commandments says.


You shall not murder. If I meditate on that, I understand that I shall do whatever it takes to benefit the well-being of my neighbor. I would never do anything to harm, but I would do something to help and to aid and to assist. How do I love my neighbor? Seventh Commandment Thou keep sacred the prized relationship between a husband and a wife. I would never do anything to violate another person. Even engagement in the plague of pornography is the opposite of loving my neighbor, because now I'm degrading someone else's being by treating them as an object for my lust. How do I love my neighbor? Eight Commandment I would never take anything if I meditate on that carefully. Maybe that even means the way I handle my computer life that I'm not going to claim as something. Something that doesn't belong to me. How do I love my neighbor? Ninth commandment? I won't speak falsehood, especially any kind of language that would bring harm to my neighbor. But I will learn to speak the truth in love. And how do I love my neighbor? 10th commandment I will not be coveting what belongs to my neighbor, but be delighting what God has given to me. All of this boils down to love. The Ten Commandments are all about love. It's all about love of God. It's all about love of neighbor. And I can only keep these through the power of the Holy Spirit. And I keep them with a focus not on the detail of each law, but really the focus on love in response. We love because he first loved us. And I do this in my own life. And as a preacher, I think the greatest challenge is when I teach these things and I think I'd be, I'd be and I'd be very unwise not to teach these things.


But when I teach these things, I teach them in a way that makes clear this is not your path to salvation. So we don't have any more Simpsons episodes coming out from the life of the church. I teach them in a way that says, No, we love because we have them as a response to God. I am going to ask you on your final exam to give me the Ten Commandments, so you're going to have to memorize this for this class. If you haven't done it already, you're going to need to do it now. I think it'd be absolutely tragic to imagine a seminary student coming out without knowing the Ten Commandments. So numbering systems, I'll give you three that I'm familiar with and show you the one that we're going to use for the sake of class. The commandments obviously are not numbered in the text. They're not numbered in either Exodus 20 or in Deuteronomy five. Those are the two passages where they're listed completely. They're listed partially. For example, Romans 13, Paul lists a number of the commandments and says all of these and whatever other commandments we can find summarized by love your neighbor as yourself. And and then when he does that notice, he doesn't say, I need to have to pay attention to that. He says, you have to pay attention to them. Love your neighbor as yourself. Do this, but not for justification or grateful response numbering systems. Let me put one in the middle here. This is the one. This one is the one that we'll use and I'll give you a couple of others. For contrast, First commandment you shall have no other gods and just memorize these in real simple form. I'm going to ask you to.


This will be a fill in the blank section and you write them out to me. No other gods, no graven images is number two. No misuse of God's name would be number three. I'll just say the name Hashem. Keep the Sabbath is number four. Honor parents is number five. And then a series of donuts. Do not know. Murder number six. No. Adult three is number seven. No, stealing is number eight. No, let's say false testimony instead of lying. No, false testimony is number nine and no coveting. So some kind of simple form like this, I'll ask you to memorize this is this is the numbering system used by reformed Christians, reformed Christians and Orthodox Christians. This is a numbering system. Lutherans and Catholics number differently. Lutherans and Catholics would take these two commandments and combine it as one. They together become a prohibition against idolatry. So this is taken as one commandment against idolatry. This becomes the second commandment. The Sabbath is the third commandment parents, fourth commandment, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and then the coveting commandment is divided into two parts. You shall not covet your neighbors possessions. You covet your neighbors. So it's divided into two parts. This is Lutherans, Catholics and Lutherans number of this way. So if you were raised in a Lutheran background, sometimes you hear other Protestants talk and you get a little confused about the fourth commandment, etc.. So that's their numbering of the Ten Commandments. One of the typical Jewish ways of numbering the commandments. Anybody know what number one is? Number one is remember, remember the word Decalogue instead of Ten Commandments. Decalogue means literally ten words, right? It's not necessarily Ten Commandments, but ten words. And the first word is, I am the Lord, your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt.


So in Jewish numbering one Jewish numbering system, the first word is I am the Lord, Your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. It's an establishing of the covenant again, and therefore everything flows out of that. That's a beautiful idea, I think, because it reminds us very much of Deuteronomy six four and five Hero Israel, the Lord, our God, the Lord is one. That's the indicative statement and the imperative flows out. Therefore, you shall love the Lord your God with everything you have. I am the Lord your God. I'm the one who rescued you. Therefore, you shall have no other gods before me flows out of a nicely. And then in the Jewish numbering system, they follow the same idea. Or it's the same idea as Catholics and Lutherans. These two are combined into one commandment prohibition against idolatry, and then the rest of it is the same as the reformed numbering system. Personally, what I like to do, since none of these are chiseled in stone, what makes sense to me is taking this I am the Lord your God, and you shall have no other God before me. And combining that as the first commandment. So the first commandment is that whole opening passage in Exodus 20. I'm the Lord, Your God brought you out of the house of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no the gods before me. Then it really does become an echo of something like Deuteronomy six four and five, and puts the emphasis on the relationship with God. As we said before, almost everybody agrees that this is a filling out of the double commandment of love shall love the Lord your God with heart, soul, mind and strength for heart, soul and strength.


Deuteronomy six five with You Shall love your neighbor as yourself. Leviticus 1918 But the part where people don't necessarily agree is where you would draw the line. And again, lines are not fixed and rigid because there's lots of overlapping here. The New Testament, especially in the mouth of Jesus especially, indicates, and John, that the way I love God most practically and tangibly is by loving my neighbor. John does a lot with that. Especially don't tell me you love God whom you've not seen if you don't love your brother whom we have seen. But where do you think you would draw the line here? Between first half focused on loving God, second half focused on loving neighbor. Between four and five. This is the typical this is the typical divide right here. So the first four focused on loving God. The second six focused on loving your neighbor. Other people would draw the line here under parents, and I'm more and more inclined to think that way because it's true. The parents are my first neighbor, but they're also my first idea of God. My parents brought me here. In a sense, they provide everything that I need. They're the ones who give me laws to obey. It's to them that I must submit. And it's interesting to me that parents are singled out in this civil law. If you curse father and mother, you should be stoned to death. No, Because why? Because they reflect God in often in youth ministry. I found out when I had a kid who was really wrestling with mom and dad, but claiming to be really spiritual. But they also had problems with God in general. But I think probably it's not surprising that this is placed in the commandments where it is.


It's kind of a hinge commandment. I think it goes both ways, speaks to both sides. Let me show you just two more thoughts here before we leave the commandments. One of the ways that the commandments are utilized as a guide, again, is in the area of ethics. So use them as a guide for ethical behavior. This is a little model. I'll show you that I learned in a class. I took on Christian ethics when I was in seminary. I remember being really excited about this class from the title, thinking, Wow, we're going to get into all the juicy hot button issues of the day. And much to my surprise, it turned out to be an exposition of the Ten Commandments from a good German Lutheran named Klaus Bucknell, who was at Regent College at the time, has since passed away. But this was his his model about where the Ten Commandments can fit in for a Christian as we face ethical. Choices, ethical dilemmas. And this is a model that he gave us that I would use as a sort of a foundational stepping point for my ethical thinking. I would use the Ten Commandments at a foundation level. In other words, I come to an ethical dilemma and I'm trying to decide what is the right thing to do in this case. That often I need look no further than one of these commandments, because taken seriously and considered seriously, it will become clear to me that to do this would somehow be bearing false testimony and that God doesn't want me to do it. I don't necessarily need to go any further than that. I don't necessarily have to pray about it. If it's clear to me that this is false testimony, then the answer is clear to me what I should do.


I can't do that. Sometimes I'll wrestle with the issue and it's not that clear to me. And so then I can look to the rest of Scripture for further guidance and especially to the New Testament. And maybe there are some things which are kind of gray matters even after considering the commandments. But if I take this piece of a New Testament picture seriously, it becomes clear to me. For example, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, If someone strikes you on the left right cheek, turn him to the left. Also, that may not be a thought that I find in the Ten Commandments unless I'm really a good meditator. But I clearly find it as a New Testament teaching a New Testament principle. And so I, upon further reflection, I say, Well, in this case, I'm not sure what I should do, but if I think about it, maybe this is a case for me to just like Paul to the Corinthians, instead of suing each other in the court of law, why not rather be Why not rather be abused? Why not rather be the victim? You don't have to go out, prove yourself to one another, and drag the name of the Lord through the mud here. So maybe here I start for an ethical decision. When I find clarity, I'm all set. I don't find clarity. I can look to further New Testament teaching. And if then I'm still uncertain of the decision, maybe at that level, then I have to look for some specific guidance from the Holy Spirit and pray about this. There's still ambiguity. It's still not clear which way is right. And maybe at this level then I pray and I just make the best decision. I know of trying as hard as I know how to to be obedient to the Lord and just trusting him for the results.


Here's the main point of this. Here's the main point of this from Dr. MacNeill's perspective. The point is, what you don't do is invert this. You don't face a moral decision and say, well, what would the Holy Spirit have me do? And then find yourself violating perhaps what God had already laid down as a moral precept in the Ten Commandments, for example? I've heard this before. I don't know if you've heard something like this, but someone says, Well, I've decided to divorce my wife. Why? Well, you know, I believe now, based on prayer, that this just isn't God's will. I married outside of the will of God, and so God doesn't want me in this relationship, and I'm moving out. Well, that would be a case of inverting this, this and putting the Holy Spirit at the primary level, personal sense of what God's calling me to do. And now I'm saying this is what God's call me to do. But I turn the thing on his head and I have God contradicting himself. Because God said in a prior ethical statement, God said no to adultery. And that commandment understood carefully or even from a New Testament teaching. So for moral dilemmas, sometimes the commandments answer the question very simply for us. So we don't need to go any further. So this is the idea. Two and three as a component for using the commandments in ethics. And that's normally what we think of when we think of the Commandments as an ethical guide. But let's add to this again, the emphasis on it's only by the power of the spirit that we can keep the commandments in any sense. And it's only first. John 419. It's only love and response as we have been long.


It's not to merit God's love. The other thing, though, that I would like to say about the Commandments application is not only in the area of ethics. The other great area where the commandments are helpful for us is in the area of worship. And I have taught a number of times over the years on worship. I mentioned that I go to DTS and teach on the subject of worship. I have never found a better place to turn as a worship manual than the Ten Commandments. And let me show you how that works. Just just to demonstrate. The first commandment teaches me about the importance of fidelity in worship or faithfulness in worship, that there must be no other object of worship except. All that to him alone. I must be faithful in my worship. The second commandment following the reform numbering system speaks to me about clarity in worship. In other words, I must worship God as He really is, not as I want him to be, not as I pretend him to be or would make him be. I must worship God as he's revealed himself to be. And as we said last time, part of our fundamental requirement in worship, worship in spirit and in truth. So who are you really? God. If somebody makes a false physical image, what is that? But an extension of a false mental image that they've allowed to fester in their mind? We may not make false physical images today, but churches are filled with people making false mental images. I can apply this both at the individual level and at the corporate level. At the individual level I mentioned. Maybe I'm struggling with something, a relationship or ambition or a job or a career. Putting that ahead of God.


But at the congregational level, maybe a congregation is struggling with human leadership and treating their pastor or some other human leader in an inappropriate way about the Lord. On a personal level, I want to make sure that I'm not allowing myself to move with major misconceptions of God, and I have to let God be God on a congregational level. This reminds me of the importance of, say, our music, our preaching and everything, honoring and exalting the truth about God, revealing who He really is. The third commandment reminds me of sincerity or integrity in my worship. It's about the name, the name of God, and literally take the name of the Lord in vain. It can be translated. Never lift up the name of the Lord for emptiness. So in worship do I mean what I say? And do I say what I mean? Am I sincere in worship, or am I just mouthing the words? And then the fourth commandment reminds me of receptivity back to the idea of Sabbath as establishing the fact that God is the initiator and we are the respondents and ultimately we rest in him. And I see worship in some ways is God's great invitation into his life. Go back to John Chapter four. Remember where that commandment shows up? Are the teaching worship in spirit and truth? How did that whole conversation start? It's about water. It's about living water. It's about never hungering before. Some people think that verse 19 of John Chapter four represents a change of subject. The woman's uncomfortable about adultery or her adulterous background, perhaps. And so she gets theological and starts talking about worship. And then Jesus takes the conversation there. I think that Jesus managed this conversation from the very outset.


This is all about living water. This is all about the life of God. And ultimately how we experience the living water is by understanding that God is spirit and we can worship him 24 hours a day, seven days a week through his spirit. So we have constant communion with God that we receive the life of God. The Fifth Commandment speaks to us about propriety and worship the whole idea of submission, mutual submission and submission to authority, submission to leadership, submission to one another in the body of Christ. And then number six through ten speaks to us about charity. That is, that ultimately worship is in fact seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and loving my neighbor is worship to the Lord. So I have found the commandments to be just a marvelous place to turn and walk through and unpack and chew on as a worship manual as well as a manual for ethics. One last thing with the content, and then we're going to move from the what question to some other things. I just want to show you a little bit of how the threefold stream of Jesus, the way the truth and the life touches the heart of people today. C.S. Lewis, Marva Don will pull this out. You'll find it in Is it a lost cause? Some of you may have unpacked this already, the word censored and which means what? According to Don. Yeah. This insatiable hunger. This insatiable hunger. Lewis talks about that. Well, thinking about Marva Don's comments on censorship reminded me of John Stott, who talks about the three quests of a man, three quest of people, and the three quests that Scott says are always there and they're never going away. Is the quest for community or intimacy the quest for significance and the quest for transcendence significance? Who am I? Why does my life count? What's the point? Transcendence.


How do I. Is there something beyond me? And how do I have touch with something bigger than myself and community? How? About my neighbor. How do I live in relationship with other people? There is a Lutheran theologian named Adolph Caballé who had something similar at work on Peace in Little pieces together here, but he wrote a book on holiness and the pursuit of holiness, and his thoughts had been picked up by another Lutheran, contemporary Lutheran Jean Edward Veith, who wrote Postmodern Times and has another book called Spirituality of the Cross, but casually said that there are some false spiritualities that people inevitably run to and didn't make mention of this. But I think these false spiritualities correspond to some sense to these hungers that not as talked about. Since we are hungry in relationship with other people, we run to a false spirituality of moralism, which is I'll I'll learn how to love my neighbor by myself and I'll do it. And when I've done well in philanthropy, when I've learned how to be a good person and do good things, that will fill my spiritual hunger. The other false spirituality, Kimberly, and we've talked about is speculation. I will find meaning through knowledge. I'll go after truth starts to sound like Solomon a little bit. And the third one is I'll find meaning in spirituality through mysticism. I'll run deep in my soul. Well, that clearly answers to this hunger for transcendence that was talked about here that says that none of these work, that what you need in the end is the spirituality of the cross. Postmodernism attacks all three of these areas or launches an attack in all of these areas. One key postmodern thinker, Foucault, says that there really is no moral behavior out there as a norm.


People don't treat each other with love, but instead we constantly want to have one upsmanship on somebody else. So any statement, any assertion of truth is a will to power. And an example of that might be deconstruction of the Declaration of Independence, for example. Americans might look at that as a marvelous statement of rights and liberties and God created things. But postmodernists will look at that as a statement of manipulation and a will to power. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. Which man? White man. It's really about power. It's really about control. That's the way it's deconstructed here. And Foucault as kind of that sort of thought. Any kind of statement is a claim to assertion of power. I see this as sort of denying the idea of morality that there really we're not real moral beings, we're selfish beings, and we just want to one up one another. Rorty is an American postmodern thinker. This didn't show up here, but it says edifying philosophy versus discovery of truth. He attacks the idea that we can ever really have truth. All we can have is sort of practical knowledge. We can learn something which is pragmatic. It's useful, but we can never make the assertion that it's really true. And then another postmodern thinker, Derrida, says that we ought to abandon the metaphysics of presence. Forget this idea that there's somebody else out here. It's just us. So all three of these streams are attacked in postmodernism. All of this stuff again reminds me of Jesus, the way the truth and the life. And we talked about our message, having some particular nuance or timely emphases. Well, I think the postmodern condition, the answer to the postmodern hunger again is, is Jesus.


Jesus is the answer to the postmodern hunger, and Jesus is the answer to the postmodern denial. One of the great big postmodern denials I'll call this the postmodern meta denial is that there's any idea of a meta narrative. You'll find this in Marva Donna as well. Well, the Christian answer is that in Jesus again and in the biblical story, we have the metanarrative, we have the story. So Jesus answers the postmodern hunger in a number of different pieces, just pointing the same direction for me.