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The 10 Commandments Were Not Given To Be Kept
Scripture: Romans; 1 Timothy; Psalms; James; Hebrew...
Track 3 of 7 in the 7 Truths That Will Make You Sweat series
Running time: 05 minutes

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

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How many of you have heard the old saying, ďRules were meant to be broken?Ē How much in personality or behavior is your spouse related to this saying? Are they a person who by nature loves following the rules or by nature someone who has to be a person to break every rule they come in contact with? When rules are introduced, do you get the determination to follow the letter of the law or does a gleam begin to shine in your eye that lets everyone know you have other plans?

How many of you would agree that rules are made to be broken? What I find fascinating is many people donít know just how biblical that saying really is. Rules are indeed meant to be broken and the 10 commandments are no exception. Now that is not to say they arenít good guidelines to follow or rules to live your life by. They are. But their underlying purpose--the main reason they were given in the first place - is an entirely different matter.

I love it when the writers of the Gospels write about the Pharisees. I canít remember one good commentary about any of them. Yet these were people who worked so hard to be good and they tried follow the very letter of the Law and yet they seem to be always displayed as the bad guys. It had to be a very frustrating life trying to live a perfect life in a society with people who werenít perfect and who seemed to enjoy breaking the law.

What is the general opinion of people you know about the 10 Commandments? Are they a set of rules and laws that are worth keeping or following? What about you, what do you think about them?

What about the debate about taking the 10 Commandments down and not being allowed to display them in public areas? How do you feel about that?

One preacher said on TV that he didnít want to live in a world where people didnít follow the 10 Commandments.

I have to confess that I agree with that statement. I think the world would be a much different place if Godís commandments were not held up as a good set of rules to follow in life. BUT, we must understand that following the 10 Commandments were never Godís intention. It is certainly good for the world when we follow them, but Godís purpose in giving them was intended for something else. In fact there were three reasons why he gave us his Law:

1. The Law is the vehicle God put in place to judge the world of unbelievers
2. It is the vehicle God uses to show us our need for a savior
3. It is the vehicle God uses to point us to Jesus

A Measuring Stick for Right and Wrong

First, the Law was given as a means to judge

1. For God to judge human beings
2. For the world to police and judge itself

The law is Godís measuring stick. We learned in the first lesson that Godís law has to be followed perfectly. One mistake means you are in big trouble. All human beings outside of Christ will be judged under the law. There s no wiggle room. As humans we either stand responsible for every letter of the law or are driven to faith in Jesus.

Romans 2:12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.

1 Timothy 1:8-10 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurersóand for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine

Basically, the law is an antidote to chaos. The judging purpose of the law has two practical applications.

1. It serves humanity while we are living in our earthly bodies. It governs us while we are on this side of heaven.

Think about it a minute, how would society be affected if the basic foundations of the 10 Commandments did not exist? What would our society be like today?

One thing that always amazes me is how thorough the Law is. These 10 commandments covers every possible sin man can think up to do. They actually are a work of genius and only God can be the one to receive the credit for writing them. What other set of laws created by man were better than the ones God gave us? In fact, almost all of the laws today, even those in pagan lands are founded on the basic principles of the Laws written by God.

What is truly right and just, man needs to know the boundaries. It would be unfair and unjust to be judged without telling us what is required first. Laws were written so that we can never cry foul. Law keeps everyone on an equal playing field and from running amuck. You can take God out of the equation, but the 10 Commandments still are a good governing vehicle for all of us.

2. The second application of the law as judge is so we know right from wrong from Godís perspective. If God didnít give us his law, then we would never had known what he expected of us.

Romans 4:15 And where there is no law there is no transgression.

Romans 5:13 for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law.

The point is, without the law, there would be no understanding of what was right and what was wrong. Right and wrong had to be established and God did it by giving of the Law. Think about it, our whole court system rests on defining of Law.

Have you ever had your child tell you, ďBut mom, you never told me not to do that? Sometimes they have a point and sometimes we have to amend our rules to make it better understood. That is what happens all the time in Washington and Springfield. Law are being written and introduced to cover areas of life where the Law needs to better understood or have its presence felt. Our kids will use this defense sometimes as a way to get around a punishment coming.

Have you ever used ignorance of a law as an excuse not to receive just punishment? Did it work? Were you really ignorant or just lying?

But with God, he is very clear and his law is very clear. The only way around it is to just ignore the law and do things anyway. God told us that he holds us accountable. He doesnít grade on a curve and he doesnít bend the rules for some and not for others. Everyone receives the same judgment if the law is broken. The law was given as a vehicle to judge us, in both the worldís eye and Godís eye.

Come Out With Your Hand Up

I love western movies. There is something about that time period that seems exciting. I wonder what kind of person I would have been like. Would I have been a gun slinger, a marshal or the grocery store owner scared to death of his shadow. I doubt I would have been a Clint Eastwood type. In every movie though there is always a scene where the bad guys are told to come out with their hands up. The basic idea is surrender or die.

Psalm 130:3 If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?

Well the answer is a loud, NO ONE! As we studied earlier, no one can fully keep the law. It must be kept in thought, word and deed and we know it is humanly impossible to keep it perfectly because we are human. Mark and Luke record for us what Jesus said about this, no one is perfect except for God. With this being true, then there must have been another purpose for the law other than merely as a means to judge.

Just think a minute, what would happen if the law was only given to convict and judge man? What hope would we have and what kind of a future would we have to look forward to?

This brings us to the second purpose of the law, which is to drive us to surrender. God continually uses the law to teach us about and remind us of our sins and our hopeless imperfect state. There are literally hundreds of scripture passages telling us what to do and not to do. For many Christians, all this makes them feel depressed, exhausted and hopeless. It is as though God wonít let up. Back off a little on the rules why donít youÖgive me a break a minute. If you find yourself there also, then GOOD! This is Godís plan.

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

We all know the benefit of struggling with trials and problems. It is surviving the trials that make us more patient and helps us to endure. But how many of you look at sin the same way. Sin also can cause the same affect. Many times it is the weight and pain of sin that eventually breaks us. For many, there comes a time when feeling bad all the time has to stop. Some eventually get tired of the deep depression that comes from being evil all the time and the effects it has on others. So they give up, they surrender.

When do you think of God the most, when things are going great or when things are going really bad? How about when things are going really bad because you are acting against Godís law?

I always find it interesting when I hear people complain when God allows bad things to happen to good people. We have to understand that many times in the scriptures, God used the law to conform, mold and even chastise his people when it was necessary. It is not out of cruelty or because he likes to flex his muscles that God does that--it is because he loves us.

Hebrews 12:4-7 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: ďMy son, do not make light of the Lordís discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.Ē Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?

The law is the vehicle sometimes that God uses to scourge us. At times it is necessary to remind us of what is right or wrong and to bring us back to our senses and to get us back in line. He uses the law to force us to surrender and to get us to the point of brokenness. This is all Godís plan.

How does God do this?

Romans 7:5 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.

The law arouses us to sin. It tempts us to disobey the law. Do you know where sin gets its strength? From the Law, the very thing God gave to man. The rules were made to be broken.

1 Corinthians 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

Romans 5:20 The law was added so that the trespass might increase.

It is almost like God sent his biggest bully to come down, push our face in the mud, twist our arm behind us and make us say and scream uncle. Basically he gave us his law to judge us and to entice us to sin at the same time. Through this he reveals our hopeless humanness.

Getting Headed in the Right Direction

If you feel as though God did all this to just set you up to fail, you are probably right in thinking that. But why would God do this to those he says he really loves? The answer can be found in the third purpose of the law.

Galatians 3:24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.

Basically, the law is the large road sign right in the middle of the road of life that says, this way to Jesus! Lets go back to a verse we just looked at but lets read the rest of the story.

Romans 5:20-21 The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The more we sin and recognize our helplessness, the more we recognize we need a savior. Imagine you are tired, weary, defeated, and beat up. Your body aches for rest. Then all of a sudden you see a sign that says, ďCome inside and relax for a while. Free food and drink. Stay as long as you likeĒ

That is Jesus! In fact, Jesus almost said the very same thing in Matthew 11

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.Ē

But it gets even better than that. Once we are in Christís arms, God wipes away the old law. No longer are we judged by it any longer. The 10 Commandments have no further purpose for you. You are set free. The law doesnít apply to you any more. What causes me to rest? His Grace.

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

He has given us a new law, one that is not written on stone but on our hearts. We no longer have to work for salvation; we have it thanks to Jesus. But our motivation has changed. We want to keep his commands because of our Love for Jesus. It is our nature to be this way.

This then is the purpose of the law. It was not given to be kept, but rather to set up His rescue mission. Godís purpose was always Jesus.