Sermon Summary (10/13/19) “Moses: Ten Commandments: (Ex 20:1-17)
I’ve often wondered which of the commandments made sense to kids growing up. Probably not, “not kill,” because we played cops and robbers all day Saturday, went to the cowboys and Indian’s shoot ‘em up movies on Saturday night before being told “Thou shall not kill” on Sunday morning. I learned “Thou shall not cuss” from my mother washing my mouth out with soap at age five, and thou shall not do anything humiliating when I took some chestnuts from the girls across the street and Mom made me not only return them but apologize!
What makes the Ten Commandments special? They are the foundation for Western Civilization. God gave them to Moses and then to us 1200 years before Christ, 600 years before democracy in Greece. They became the foundation for Judaism before every other major religion except maybe Hinduism.
We need rules to live together, by which to base our culture. We learn rules at an early age from Mom. Maybe we begin with toilet training. By age two, we need rules to limit our expansive egos. The world does not belong to us. By age five we are learning in kindergarten: “Share everything, play fair, don’t’ take things that aren’t yours, warm cookies and milk are good for you, when you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.” (Robert Fulghum)
We need to teach our youngsters. In fact, Moses (Deut 6:7) is emphatic about it, “Teach them diligently to your children.”
Jesus came along and said (paraphrasing), “you know all those laws, if you have them on your heart, you only need two: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your mind, and your strength,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’” Then he said, “on these two hang all the law and the prophets., the big Ten and the other 603.”
“With all your heart.” When Jesus went up on the mountain (to be the new law giver as he gave us the Sermon on the Mount), he told us it was not just “do not kill,” it was a matter of the heart, “whoever is angry with his brother or sister.” And it was not just “do not commit adultery,” it was a matter of the heart, “whoever lusts after another.”
The scribes and Pharisees were the ultimate rule keepers, but Jesus told them they needed to have a changed heart: 25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean. (Mt 23:25)
If we are going to live together, we need to change our hearts, “our hearts need to be full of the love of God and one another, having the mind of Christ and walking as he walked.” (John Wesley) Amen.