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Sunday, January 23, 2011

(41) The Greatest Commandment

Last month's poll asked, which commandment is broken the most.  Here are your results:
  • 38% said Dishonoring God,  the first 3commandments
  • 33% said Lie
  • 11% said Idolatry
  • 11% said Coveting
  • 5% said Murder
  • 0% said Adultery, Stealing, or Dishonoring parents
The problem of course is we can not measure this since not of us are honest with our lives.  Hmmm, that almost sounds like Lying would be the number one sin.  But truth be known if we could understand all of these sins we commit do one thing----dishonor God.  When we break any command, we not only perhaps hurt ourselves and/or destroy our reputations, but we may also hurt others with our actions, even with what we would call our smallest actions.  There are no such things as little white lies.  There is no such thing as petty theft.  When we break even the slightest amount of a command we dishonor God.  And this is why when Jesus was asked what is the greatest command, He answered  with, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.  He wrapped up all ten commands into two and above all said the Lord comes first.

But this is also why He said that all fall short of the glory of God.  He knows we sin.  He knows we all do it and none of us are innocent.  If murder can come from our lips, we are all murderers.  If fibs are lies then we are all liars.  If we rebel against our parents we all have dishonored them.  If we put something ahead of our relationship with God then we have committed idolatry.  If we have looked at someone with some kind of impure thoughts then we have all lusted and committed adultery.  If we have competed against our neighbor to try and have better things than they do and we do it out of spite then we have coveted things.  Any of these in our lives means we have dishonored God, thereby making us all sinners.  We are all in need of a Savior.  And anything besides Jesus Christ will keep you short of any glory for there is no other who can save you but Him.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

(40) Love Thy Neighbor

Exodus 20:15-16
  • You shall not steal.
  • You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
These two commandments deal mostly with how we treat each other.  These, besides murder of course, are probably the worst things we can do to people.  It is said that the only thing worse than a thief is a liar.  Both make those we do it to feel vulnerable, used, and/or betrayed.

So if people feel this way after we do it then why do we do it?  The only answer to this is so that we gain something out of it.  People may say they do it because they have to but that is a rationalization.  There are no such things as little white lies.  There are no such things as petty theft.  Although man's law may set levels for how we do things like this, in the eyes of God it comes down to one thing.  We sinned.  We have lied.  We all have stolen.  We all deserve the penalty that comes with these, both man's and God's.  But God gave us a way out.  He of course gave us Jesus Christ.

Oddly enough Jesus' adversary (and ours) is a liar and a thief.  Go figure.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

(39) The Lord's Name

Exodus 20:7
  • You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name
Most people think this is just about saying God and damn together, or to say Jesus Christ as a term of content for a situation.  These are true but it goes more than just these.

To misuse something means you are using it in all the wrong ways.  To mention the word God in and of itself is not wrong.  Many Jewish people talk about God by writing it like this:  G_d.  They do this because they feel this is misusing His name.  But leaving out a vowel to show this does not change anything.  All they did was replaced one symbol of a language (the "o") with another symbol ("_").  Sure it may make them feel better and it may show that they are trying to show honor to where honor is due, but it misses the point.

Using the name of God to invoke power or authority, or even authenticity is using His name in vain.  This is why scripture says let your yes be yes and your no be a no.  Do not swear by God's name.  This swear does not mean the same as "cursing".  It simply means do not have God as your witness just because you need Him to back you up.  If you are telling the truth then you do not need His backing.  Telling people, "I swear to God", should be a tell-tale sign that the person is lying or has a horrible reputation for lying.  Ministers (of all kinds) should not use God's name to bring glory to themselves.  Those that proclaim to be of God just to make income or fame are using His name in vain.  Saying you have healing, prophetic, or other miraculous power from God when you do not is using His name in vain.  This is not saying that some people do not have these powers.  There are some who abuse the naivete of others.

Using God's name in vain, as some would say, means you are invoking God into situations He should not be called for.  Blaming God for earthquakes is misusing His name.  He did not cause the earthquake.  Using God as an exclamation is misusing his name.  Using OMG on your text does not exclude your sin just because you omitted letters.

Calling Allah, Buddha, or anything else God is misusing His name.  As a matter of fact it is idolatry and even blasphemous, but that is a different lesson.

Calling upon God is not wrong.  Calling out the name of God is not wrong.  Using it for your own gain, pain, or wane is when it becomes a sin.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

(38) Love and Lust

Exodus 20:14
  • Do not commit adultery
The Seinfeld episode called The Good Samaritan has a scene with George and a married woman he had a sexual encounter with.  In the scene George gets upset because he can't believe he has just committed adultery.  She comforts him by saying, "You didn't commit adultery. I did." This is not taking away from the comedic genius of the show or trying to say that watching Seinfeld is a sin or whatever before anyone thinks that.  This was just to show that this example attitude of sexual activity shows our ignorance of what sexual sin is.  Old Jewish law does back up what she said.  The woman commits adultery.  But is the man okay when this happens?  No.  He was considered part of the problem.  Notice another command was

Exodus 20:17 (c)
  • Do not covet your neighbor's wife
George did wrong as well.  Therefore when a sexual activity happens outside of marriage both parties are wrong.

So what about two people who aren't married at all?  No adultery by definition is committed then.  This is where you have to read between the lines.  Perhaps one day the people will be married.  If the woman has already slept with another man, that man is not her husband.  When she marries, it will be adultery.  It is the same with the man.  Once he marries he already has coveted.  Even if they never get married, the act itself should be implied to be wrong, just based on principle.  So the idea that you can have sex as long as you never get married would just be a rationalization.

In the New Testament Jesus even adds on to the law by saying that even if a man looks at a woman with lust in his heart, he has committed adultery.  How can it be simpler than that?

Having sexual feelings and thoughts are normal.  And the feeling itself is not wrong.  The thought will enter and that is not wrong.  But when the thought becomes more than just a thought as Jesus said it becomes sin.  Paul also states that we need to take every thought into captivity.  If the thought grows it becomes sin of the heart and may even lead to sin against humanity.  Other forms of wrong sexual activity are:  incest, bestiality, masturbation, groping, fondling, homosexuality, bisexuality, non-marital oral (yes, Bill, oral), pornography, petting, fornication, and coveting.  But do not miss this point...all forms of sexual activity outside of marriage is not appropriate, that includes even two consenting heterosexual adults even if they have been together for 30 years.  None is any worse than the other.  And even though none of us would really admit it, we all have done it one way or another.

Many people will not agree with this lesson.  And it isn't fun to hear because sexual activity is so prominent on our lives.  And perhaps out of all sins, it is the most fun.  But maybe that is also why satan uses this one to distort the truth more then the rest.  We tend to laugh when a TV show has an 80 year old woman "getting it on" with a man who is not her husband.  We all write it off as though "well at least she is having fun".  Sure the words make us laugh but in reality it shouldn't.
For more understanding here are some lyrics from Bride called Same ol' sinner

Same ol' sinner
Wearing the chains
I get the same ol' sinner

I believe your lies, desire inside
The truth I know will hurt
Your devil-eyes, I can't deny
I know what lust is worth
The devil has a healthy appetite
Raped by fear in the fire tonight
He'll tell you it's love when it's only lust
Ashes to ashes and dust to dust

The point being behind this whole lesson is that the Bible says sex has its limits.  Sexual activity outside marriage is not appropriate.  But why?  Sexual activity shows commitment.  Commitment to one person is an analogy to commitment to one God.  It is honorable and the right thing to do.

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