Why I'm excited to be teaching through the Ten Commandments
From January to March at Trinity at Four, we are planning a teaching series working through the Ten Commandments. Over the last few years, we have been intermittently working our way through the book of Exodus and having now got to the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, we will be slowing right down, spending more or less one sermon per commandment! I'm hugely looking forward to this series. Here are a few reasons why:
1. The Ten Commandments show us God's wonderful character
The revelation of God's law to his people is a revelation of his character. What is this God of the great rescue from Egypt (Exodus 1-18) like? The law makes that crystal clear: he is a God who is perfectly holy and righteous. What he prohibits in the Ten Commandments is a strong statement of what God is for. He's against stealing because he's for trust and security. He's against adultery because he's for the flourishing that stable relationships bring to spouses, children and society at large. He's against coveting because he's for contentment. He's against murder because he's for life lived in peace. So we could go on. In short, the God revealed in the Ten Commandments is good beyond our imagination.
2. The Ten Commandments show up our own sinfulness
The apostle Paul says, "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law, we become conscious of our sin." (Rom. 3:20) Sometimes people flippantly declare 'I keep the Ten Commandments.' But Jesus said that even getting angry with someone amounts to a breach of the 6th commandment not to murder; he said that even a lustful look amounts to a breach of the 7th commandment not to commit adultery. We don't even keep the very first command to have no other gods before the one true God. How often do we set up other things as functional 'gods' in our lives and give them more of our time and devotion than we ever do the true and living God? The Ten Commandments bring us back down to earth and remind us how far short we fall from God's perfect character.
3. The Ten Commandments help us appreciate Jesus' salvation
Whilst we cannot keep God's holy law, wonderfully God had always planned to send us a saviour. Jesus perfectly obeyed the law. The more deeply you look into the Ten Commandments, the more astonishing this truth becomes! And then in love, Jesus substituted himself for us. He took the place of the lawbreaker and bore the full punishment for lawbreaking through his death on the cross. And those who trust in Christ are now given his perfect record of law-keeping. Not only so, but Jesus then sends his Holy Spirit to bring about the fulfilment of the law in our own lives- he is remaking us into people who exhibit the perfect love that the law ultimately points towards (Romans 13:8).
4. The Ten Commandments show us what a life of love looks like
Jesus summed up the law as 'love the Lord your God with all your heart mind soul and strength and love your neighbour as yourself' (Mark 12:30-31). As Christian believers, we no longer try to obey the law to try and earn God's approval or acceptance- Jesus has won that for us unconditionally. But we long to live a life of love- and the Ten Commandments show us in some detail how that life of love should be worked out practically in our lives and relationships. The law drives us to Christ for the salvation it reveals that we need. But once we've received that salvation, Christ sends us back to the law, as the perfect revelation of God's character of love- the very character he's committed to remaking in us.
I hope you'll be free to join us for this exciting series!