1. What are some of your favorite games to play or watch? (I love to watch football, basketball and baseball.)
2. Let’s consider football for a moment. What would a football game be without rules to play by and referees to enforce the rules? (Chaos! Complete disorder and confusion. It would not be enjoyable at all!)
The truth is without boundaries any endeavor will spiral downward to utter chaos.
3. When was the first time you remember realizing standards and rules are in place for your good?
Our natural tendency is to dislike rules. God gave a code of commandments to be obeyed so we can clearly see our bent to sin. Our need for Christ stands out starkly when we begin to understand our sin and its consequences.
Because God’s character is trustworthy, His commands for us can be trusted also. Growth in our understanding of God’s holiness and loving grace facilitates obedience as we acknowledge His wisdom is far beyond ours and that He has our best in mind.
In today’s Scripture passage, we will see that God has given us a clear standard for holy living.
God’s chosen people have reached Mount Sinai, where God first spoke to Moses!
The God of the Commandments! Read Exodus 20:1-2
1. How do these verses make clear the basis for God’s authority to set the standard? (God’s identity, His character, and His actions all make His authority clear.)
The commandments God is about to give His people start with a strong assertion of God’s identity. Recognizing His authority was a problem for the Israelites, for the people of Jesus’ day, and for people today. Many misunderstand God’s forbearance as a lack of authority.
2. Why is it important that God is the One who initiated the covenant at Sinai with His people? (God is the superior agent in this covenant He is about to establish with His people. God’s pattern in interacting with man is to approach and start the conversation. We wouldn’t be able to approach Him. He initiated the covenant with Abraham, with Moses at the burning bush, with the people at Sinai here, and with all people through His Son, Jesus. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…”—John 6:44a.)
“We are made in the image of God and He has made us to worship and serve Him. Sin inverts this truth. We define God in ways that meet our wants and desires. This is the root of all sins.”—Leaders Guide. We should ask ourselves the following question.
3. Am I worshiping the God of the Bible? Or have I neglected to understand how God has identified Himself, replacing God with a diminished version of Him?
God is properly jealous to protect the integrity and uniqueness of His relationship with His people.
Relating To God! Read Exodus 20:3-11
1. In your own words, how does verse 3 say we are to relate to God? (He is to be supreme in our lives! There is none other to be worshiped.)
2. What is the meaning of verses 4-6 in your own words? (We are not to worship the created but the creator. Even if we designed a bust of Jesus and set it up to be something special, we would have a tendency to worship the item and not Jesus!)
3. Read verse 7. What are some ways God’s name can be misused other than cursing? (“Let yes be yes and no be no!”—Matt. 5:37)
4. Why should we set aside one day to rest?
5. What are we allowed to do on the Sabbath?
6. What boundaries do we need to put in place to create time for Sabbath each week for ourselves and for our families? (We were created with a need for Sabbath, which brings us space to rest, think, and relate to God and those close to us. The practice of Sabbath is life-giving.)
7. How is keeping the first four commandments a way of demonstrating love for God?
8. How are these commands a response to God’s identity as the One who delivered Israel?
9. What are some of the best ways to honor and love God?
10. Is it possible to keep the last six commandments without keeping the first four? (In Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus uses the same formula—love God, love others! Understanding and submitting to God’s authority leads us to respect proper human authority.)
Relating to Society! Read Exodus 20:12-17
1. How do we carry out the commandment to honor our parents?
2. How does honoring our parents bring about the promise God gave here for doing so? (When respect and honor in the family breaks down it is not long before society begins to crumble. The home is the foundation for society so when the foundation falters the whole of society is affected.)
3. When is killing not murder? (From the Leader’s Guide: Prohibition against murder did not apply to defending one’s home-Ex. 22:2; to the state’s execution of murderers-Gen. 9:6; to accidental killings-Deut. 19:5; or to a nation’s involvement in certain types of war, i.e. defending one’s homeland.)
4. What do we learn from the last six commandments about our relationship with each other?
5. What are practical ways we can show respect and dignity when we relate to others?
6. Is there an issue not covered in this set of laws? If so, what?
7. To what level do you agree that all other laws are based on these?
8. How would you describe a society that fully followed these commands?
We demonstrate our love and commitment to God when we treat people with respect and dignity. The simplest way to live out the Ten Commandments is by loving God and loving others, just as Jesus boiled it down in Matthew 22:37-40!
Summarize and Challenge!
1. Do we give holy living the priority it should have in our lives today?
In order to be accepted by our God, who is holy, all we must do is perfectly obey all the commandments from birth to death! Or since we all know you can’t do that, you must confess and repent of your sin and accept by faith Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for your sin!
2. What practical steps can we take to pursue holy living in the days ahead? (Stay in the Word of God daily. Stay connected to God’s people through worship and Bible study attendance. When tempted, ask God to help you through the indwelling Holy Spirit!)
3. Are the Ten Commandments in the New Testament? See below!
· No other gods. Matt. 4:10; 6:33
· Make no idol Matt. 6:24
· Don’t misuse God’s name Matt. 5:33-37; 6:9; 23:16-22
· Remember the Sabbath Matt. 12:1-13; Mk. 2:23-27
· Honor your parents Mk. 7:9-13
· Do not murder Matt. 5:21-24
· Do not commit adultery Matt. 5:27-30
· Do not steal Matt. 5:40
· Do not lie Matt. 5:37
· Do not covet Lk. 12:15-34
Just this week we have seen once again the breakdown in our society. We have removed God from our homes, almost any public place, our schools, and our courts! The reason our society is crumbling before our very eyes is that we have removed the very foundation upon which a society must be built if it is to endure—The Word of God. Perhaps we need to pray the plea Daniel cried out to God in Daniel 9:4-19.
Read Daniel 9:4-19
Close in prayer!