I would like to speak with you this morning about two stones that reveal one rock, and I hope you will be wide awake as we take our tour, and travel through the voyage of the Bible.
Modern people want freedom. We don't like rules and regulations. We like to have mobility and no borders. Rules are for the birds, they say. Laws are old-fashioned, especially God's law. Everybody wants to get rid of the 10 Commandments.
I was meeting with one of my neighbors, a Methodist. Now Methodists are good people. And we were having a little Bible study and were discussing the fact that the law was, the 10 Commandments, were nailed to the cross. A lot of people believe that. And I said, “You know, I don't think so.” “Well yes, we don't have to keep the Sabbath anymore,” people say.
So it's a challenge, and throughout maritime history, the sailors that sailed these big schooners and big wind-jammers and ships, they had to keep track of where they were. Their latitude and their longitude, and so they had sextants. But before the sextant they would just look out and find the north star. And you find the north star by looking at Cassiopeia or the Big Dipper and there's the north star and that way, on your journey, you have located yourself. You know your bearing and you know your heading and your orientation. So just so, the 10 Commandments are God's great standard and we need to locate ourselves by looking at that. It's a great standard by which all human beings maintain and establish their bearing.
I have found that the application of one rule in my life has saved me a lot of trouble. And it's basically this. Whatever the devil hates, I love, and whatever the devil loves, I hate, and if that's the only rule you have you’re going to do pretty good. And I have discovered something that the devil hates.
Come over here to the book of Revelation in your Bible. Revelation, chapter 12, and verse 17. Revelation 12:17. “The dragon,” this is the serpent, the snake, the dragon, the devil, Satan, “was wroth,” and you would expect him to be mad. He's mad almost all the time, I would imagine, and he's really upset. He’s wroth with the woman. “And he went to make war with the remnant of her seed,” because basically he's mad at them too, because of two factors. They keep what? The commandments of God, and they have what? The testimony of Jesus. He hates the commandments and he hates people that keep the commandments. He hates people that hold to the testimony of Jesus, and you know what those two things are. And so because he hates them so much we ought to learn to love them, amen?
If the 10 Commandments, if God's law was nailed to the cross, then we as a society of the United States of America and all the modern nations, our government, we have lost our bearings. And this is largely the cause of what is happening in America today. We don't know what sin is. We don't know which direction we're going. First John, chapter 3, verse 4 defines sin. It says, “Sin is the transgression of” what? “Of the law.”
What law was nailed to the cross? Was it the 10 Commandments? Was it the law of Moses? Was it the ceremonial law? I know that we nailed the Lawgiver to the cross, but what law was nailed to the cross?
Well, we want to discuss that for a minute. There was a law that was done away with on the cross, and the Methodists and the Baptists and the Presbyterians and the Lutherans and the Episcopalians think that it was God's law, the 10 Commandments.
Now I want you to mark three texts in your Bible. I actually want you to take out your pen or your highlighter, open it and mark, if you will, underline, circle, whatever, three little phrases in your Bible, okay?
The first one is in Colossians. Come over here to Colossians, chapter 2 and verse 14. Now don't mark the whole verse yet, let me just read it to you, I want you to look at this. It says, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.” So something was nailed to the cross. One of God's ordinances, one of God's laws was nailed to the cross. What law was it? I want you to take your pen now and just underline or circle or highlight with your highlighter, the words “against us” in verse 14 there. Obviously some laws were nailed to the cross. Does this refer to the law of God or the law of Moses? Just mark or circle that small phrase “against us”, okay. And then write down beside that, Deuteronomy 31:26. Actually write in the margin of your Bible now, Deuteronomy 31:26, because this is going to reference you back to an explanation of what this is referring to. The law that was against us was nailed to the cross. You're clear on that, aren’t you? The law that was against us was nailed to the cross. Deuteronomy 31:26.
Now let's go to Deuteronomy chapter 31 and let's read verse 26, and I want you to mark something in this one. But don't mark it yet. Deuteronomy 31:26 says, “Take this book of the law and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God that it may be there for a witness against you.” Ok, would you mark, just circle that little phrase “against you”, “against thee” in the King James, it says. Here the law that was against us was brought to the ark. So just circle or highlight that word, “against us”, ok. This is the law that was nailed to the cross, the law that was against us. Which law is it? Well there are two great laws, the law of Moses, the ceremonial law, and the law of God. Your clue is in verse 26. Notice the location of this law. Notice where the law that was against us was placed. Ok. Where did Moses put it? Well the King James says Moses put it in the side of the ark. Not inside the ark, but in the side of the ark. The New International Version says, “Moses put it beside the ark.” Over here beside the ark. God's Word translation says, “Moses put it next to the ark.” Next to the ark. The E.S.V. says, “Moses put it by the side of the ark.” So the law that was against us was to be along side of the ark, not in the ark. You see the difference? Was there a law actually inside of the ark? Absolutely.
Now please write a final verse beside verse 26. Put down Deuteronomy, chapter 10, verse two to five. Deuteronomy, chapter 10, verse two to five, and now you are able, when you go home, to answer this question, “What law was nailed to the cross?” Let's go over here to Deuteronomy 10, now. We'll come back to chapter 10, and we are going to look, beginning with verse two, and we're going to read all the way through to verse five. Deuteronomy 10, verse two. Not don’t mark something here yet. It says, “I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you broke and then you will put them in the chest.” Where? In the chest. Verse three, “So I made the ark out of acacia wood.” They made the ark, “I made the ark out of acacia wood and chiseled out two stone tablets like the first one and I went up on the mountain with the two tablets in my hands.” Now verse four. “The Lord wrote on these tablets that which He had written before,” the 10 Commandments. What did He write on there? The 10 Commandments on these two tables of stone, “that he had proclaimed to you on the mountain out of the fire on the day of the assembly and the Lord gave them to me.” Now pay attention to verse five. “Then I came back down the mountain and put the tablets in the ark.” Would you just underline, “put the tablets in the ark.” Where did he put them? In the ark “that I had made as the Lord commanded me, and they are there now.”
So where were the 10 Commandments placed? In the Ark Where was the law of Moses placed? By the side of the ark. You can see the difference. Not inside, but beside the ark. The law that was nailed to the cross was not the law inside of the ark. The law that was against us was on the outside of the ark. The law that was nailed to the cross was on the outside of the Ark. You see the difference? God's 10 Commandments were written on two solid stone tablets. Written by the personal finger of God Himself. In fact, we have very few things that God ever wrote down Himself. This is one of them, the 10 Commandments, and placed inside of the ark for safety.
God’s 10 Commandment law was not nailed to the cross. You're clear on that, aren’t you? That answers that question. Totally answers the question. The ceremonial laws of Moses were nailed to the cross. They were the law against us and they were nailed to the cross. The Commandments were actually in the ark and exist forever. And why do we know that they exist forever? Because it says in Christ’s Object Lessons, page 305, “The law is a transcript of the character of God,” and how long does God last? Forever. So how long would the 10 Commandments last? They’re eternal. They last forever.
In the 10 Commandments, actually, you find a compodious list of the chief attributes of God's character. You find a window, in each of the 10 Commandments, revealing a little bit of the character of God. That's what you find.
So let's now actually look at the 10 Commandments. I’m not going to tell you where they are in the Bible. They’re in two places, all listed out, and God’s very nature is codified in this law of the 10 Commandments. We actually possess this. And so in Deuteronomy, chapter 32, verse 4, God is referred to as the Rock. And it's very interesting to me that the Rock writes His law upon the rock. That’s sort of a play on words, but that's interesting to me and so our sermon title today, ‘Two stones reveal one Rock’. The 10 Commandments reveal God.
So let's look now at God's immutable law revealing God's changeless character. Let's quickly look at the 10 Commandments. We’re not going to examine each one, but just to get an overview. Each one is a little window revealing God. Okay?
I am going to go to Exodus 20 and verse three. Verse three is the very first Commandment. It says, “You shall have no other gods before me.” What does that tell us about God? Well, when we read these, we so often think, “Well this is telling me to do this or not do that.” What does that reveal to you about God? Well, to me it tells me that God is love. We want to love God above all else because He first loved us. First John, chapter 4, verse 19; and He is love and true Christians are lovable and loving.
The second Commandment, verse 4. What does that tell you about God? It basically says we’re not to worship images. Not to bow down to images. What does that tell you about God's character? Well, we learn a lot through here. Christians want to love God's image and try to replicate God's image in their being. God is just and the Justifier of those who love Him. And I believe this tells me that God is very, very special.
The third Commandment says don't misuse God's name. God respects His name and wants us to respect Him. He’s respectable. Christians desire to love God's name and our heart cringes a little-- Let's suppose somebody was speaking very badly of your wife. How would you feel? You wouldn't feel very kindly toward that person. How do we feel when somebody speaks against our God? So let's respect God and He respects us.
The fourth Commandment. What does that tell you about God? It tells us that we should keep the Sabbath holy, but what does God do? He is willing to meet with us, 1 seventh of His time set aside totally from sundown to sundown to meet with us. That tells you that God is very giving. He’s liberal with His time. He gives His time to us. Christians want to love the Lord on the Lord's day and spend time with Him.
Commandment number five. No disobedience. Obey your parents. God is obedient to the laws of the universe. Jesus loved and obeyed His Father. We should love and obey our father.
Now Commandment number six. No killing. What does that tell you about God? God values life. God is our life Giver and Christians, we want to love our enemies and not take their life.
Number seven. No adultery. What does that tell you about God? Don't commit adultery. That tells me that God wants me to be loyal, so God must be loyal. Loyalty.
Number eight. No stealing. What does that tell you about God? God respects human rights. Christians will love their neighbors and Christians will be good neighbors.
Number nine. No lying. What does that tell you about God? God is truthful. Hebrews, chapter 6, verse 17 and 18 says God cannot lie. We learned that. Christians will love the truth and they will be truthful.
And the last Commandment. No covetousness. What does that tell you about God? He is generous. Christians will be satisfied with their situation and help others in their plight, and be generous as well.
There was a teacher that was giving a lesson on the 10 Commandments and she came to the fifth commandment, “Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” And she said, “Boys and girls, is there a Commandment about your sisters or your brother, your brother and sister?” And one little quick-witted girl spoke up, “Yes.” The teacher said, “What Commandment is that?” “Thou shall not kill.” Well.
Our response to the 10 Commandments. We love God because He loves us. We are just because He is just. We are respectful because He is a person of great respect. We give our time because He’s willing to give His time to us. We obey authority because God is the authority of the universe. Number six, we prize life, because God made all life. God is loyal. We want to be loyal. We value others, because God is faithful and God values our rights. And God is true, therefore I'm honest. God is giving, therefore I want to be generous. The 10 Commandments give us 10 little peeks, sneak peeks at the character of God.
Study them, not with the thought in mind what you should do, but study them with the thought in your mind, “What does this reveal to me about God?” and the codification of God will come clear to you.
You know, the 10 Commandments were not nailed to the cross. They were not. They were never against us. They’re for our benefit.
I read a story of a lady who was married to a legalistic, zealous husband. Each morning he would make out his list. He had a card and he would write down there all the things that he wanted her to do throughout the day. He'd say, “There, you do those,” and at the end of the day he would ask for the list back and check off all the various things that she had done. He would scrutinize this list and the best compliment that she ever received was a disinterested grunt if she actually finished everything, and did well. And she grew to hate that husband.
When he died unexpectedly, she was embarrassed that she was so relieved that he had died. Later, several years later, she met a warm and loving man, who was everything her former husband was not. They fell deeply in love. They were married. Happily married.
One day up in the attic she was going through some stuff and she found a crumpled piece of paper, which was one of the old chore lists that her first husband had given her and she sat down and read through all those things that he had required her to do, and an amazing fact hit her brain. She was actually doing all of those things for her new husband. Doing them. Not even required to do them. He never once suggested that she would do any of them, but she was doing them because she loved him. That's the motivation.
Friends, do you love God? Do you ever think of the Christian life as ”Thou shalt not do this and thou shalt not do this and please do that?” That's not what Jesus intended. In fact, He came to put an end to this long list that the Jews had. The thing had evolved and they had hundreds and thousands of laws and Jesus came to put an end to that and to get us back to the place where we should have been. All these regulations governing Israel for so many years were done away with. And Jesus said in Matthew 22, verse 37, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind.” If you love God, you will do the right things. You really will, because, not because you’d be afraid of breaking the law but because you want to honor Him and you love Him. The Christian faith has very little to do with laws and law keeping and lists, and everything to do with love.
When Peter denied Christ after the rooster crowed three times he went out and hung his head in shame, and later he came to Jesus and Jesus only asked him one question. Jesus said, “Peter, do you love Me?” That was the only, that's the bottom line, isn’t it? “Do you love me?” Peter said, “I do.” “Do you love Me?” “Yes, I love you.” “Do you love Me?” And Peter said, “I'm in love with you. I really do love you.”
And that's the bottom line, and Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” That's all Jesus wants. If you love Him, you will keep His commandments. Jesus wants us to keep them because our life is going to be healthier. We’re going to be happier. The Journal of the National Cancer Institute said, for instance, that adultery is bad for you. Women whose husbands had numerous extramarital affairs had between five and 11 times greater risk of cervical cancer. In other words, nothing is more healthful for you than righteousness, right? These laws here in the Bible are for your benefit. God, our omniscient Creator, knows which rules are best for mankind and His moral laws are the codification of His nature. The universe functions best when God's laws are actually obeyed.
There was a woman who was walking from the sea shore up the path to the cabin of an old retired sea captain. His name was Elijah Tilly, and as she walked up there, she noticed a number of wooden stakes driven into the ground at various places. Each stake was white with a yellow top, matching the colors of his house, and after she got up to the top and she caught her breath she said, “Could you answer a question of mine. What are all those stakes for that I passed on the way up here?” And he said, “Well, when I first plowed this ground the plow snagged on many large rocks that were just beneath the surface so I put these stakes in where the rocks are in order to avoid the rocks in the future.” And you know, in a sense that's exactly what God has done. He says, “These are the trouble spots that can happen in your life. You avoid these and you won't snag your plow.” Avoid these and you won't snag your plow. It’s for your benefit. You'll be blessed if you'll avoid those things.
You know, in the United States, I sense that the United States of America is going down a path that I'm scared of. I think we’re slipping right into the end of time, and I'm a preacher and I'm not allowed to talk about politics from the pulpit. We have a president, Obama, and it’s just scary, what is happening. I believe we’re headed into the end of time. I sincerely believe that, and I fear for some of the things that I see happening to this country. We’re more and more ungodly. We’re more and more atheistic. We’re taking the 10 Commandments out of the courthouses. We’re taking them out of every, and there's even a movement on to take “In God we trust” off of our coins. I fear for what our country is becoming. No wonder they want the 10 Commandments vanquished, because they are becoming a generation of evildoers. It's too bad.
You know, the 10 Commandments were not designed for sinful human beings. They were designed for God-fearing people. All that God tells you to do is always going to be humanly difficult. But it's divinely easy for true Christians, amen? You can keep these commandments through the power of God. Our efforts are supplemented by the omnipotent power of the God of the universe. You can’t keep them if you belong to the world. But if you belong to Jesus, you can, through His power.
Now let me put in a caveat here. Keeping God's 10 Commandments won't save anybody. Do you agree with that? It has nothing to do with acquiring our salvation. That's not how you get salvation. We are saved 1 hundred percent by Jesus’ works, not our works. Romans, chapter 3, verse 28, “A man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.” So why do Seventh-day Adventists keep the 10 Commandments? Because we love Him. We don't keep it to acquire salvation. We keep it because we love Jesus Christ. I keep God’s laws because I love Him and because the world is a better place when I keep His laws. Because I'm a better person when I keep His laws. My prayer is much like David’s in Psalm 119 and verse 10. “Do not let me stray from Your commandments.” I want to keep them, not because they’re a list on some piece of paper, but because I love Him. I love Him. We’re not saved by keeping the 10 Commandments, but we are blessed if we do. We’re richly blessed if we do.
You know, Commandment keepers have a lot less trouble in the world. I don't get speeding tickets because I render to Caesar and I render to God. It's a much more simple life. Commandment keepers live longer. They’ve got more happiness in their life. They’re blessed. They’re blessed.
I invite you into a world of response to God's love. You’ll be blessed.
Let's sing our closing hymn. Now this is a hymn that comes out of an old songbook, Christ In Song. It’s called Blessed Are They That Do.
Dear Father. We want to be blessed, because we love You, and help our love to be responsive. To reflect Your character. Help us to see You in each commandment and may people see You in our lives. Help us to go forth from this place a blessed people because of our great love for You. Dismiss us with this joy in our hearts, we pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
Hymn of Praise: #43, When Morning Guilds the Skies Scripture: 1 John 5:1-3 Hymn of Response: "Christ In Song" #55, Blessed Are They That Do
Return to McDonald Road Sermons Index
Return to McDonald Road SDA Church Home Page
McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 6/3/09