The Ten Commandments
As we read through the Ten Commandments, we see some start with actions (do not kill, steal), some with attitude (honor your parents), but only one starts with the hidden heart – “You shall not covet”. This is often the sin that upstanding, religions folks are most prone toward – because it’s the only one you can’t see from the outside. And, for that reason it is all the more dangerous. However, God sees the heart, and through knowing Him, enables us to disarm our covetous hearts.
Study Guide (pdf): 03.30.08 Tenth Command: The Hidden Heart
“Language is a community’s lifeblood”. The Bible teaches that God has endowed humans with an elevated gift of words – and those words are powerful. The way our words go is the way our relationships go. And, so the ninth commandment – “You shall not bear false witness” (pertaining to all lying), means a lot is at stake. Slander, gossip, half-truths – speaking or receiving them – has a devastating effect upon people, and ourselves. And, understanding why we lie, and the grace of truth, is our starting point for becoming truth-tellers.
Study Guide (pdf): 03.16.08 Ninth Command: Heart of a Liar
It’s not often that we see our view of God’s goodness and generosity effecting whether we steal or not, but it does. It’s also not often that we understand lack of generosity to be a breaking of the eighth commandment, but it is. You Shall Not Steal, brings us straight to our understanding of who God is and what He’s done for us. And, it also directs us to a God who is gracious to thieves like ourselves.
Study Guide (pdf): 03.09.08 Eighth Command: Heart of a Thief
The wisdom the Bible offers on the topics of sex and marriage is extremely unpopular these days, sometimes even for those within the Church. Some may even consider the Seventh Commandment against adultery to be immoral—that it’s perverse and unhealthy to restrict our “natural” sexual impulses in any way. But the Bible tells us that God is for us and our sexuality, not against us. We’ll start to discover this when we see how this commandment was given to protect our souls and to reveal the heart of Jesus, our true and faithful Spouse.
Study Guide (pdf): 03.02.08 Seventh Command: Heart of Adultery (Exodus 20.1-17)
The Sixth Commandment is the one to which most folks respond: “Well, at least I haven’t done that”. But, when we grasp the long reach of these commandments we understand that isn’t true. In fact, according to Jesus, it’s likely we transgress this commandment everyday. Early on in the history of men, murder was introduced to the human race–and that by the first two children, and first brothers. But, before it appeared in the news of the world, it appeared in the heart. Are we aware of the heart of murder that lurks inside each of us?
Study Guide (pdf): 02.24.08 Sixth Command: Heart of Murder
“Honor your Father and Mother”–is there any commandment that pushes our buttons more? Why, of all relationships, does God highlight one so complex and with such history? There is no relationship like that of parent and child, and, as we read the Bible we see that it’s not only central to our lives, but actually central to all of society. In learning how to honor our parents we learn how to honor society.
Study Guide (pdf): 02.17.08 Fifth Command: Parents and God
On the one hand the idea of a “Sabbath” (holy day to God) seems like a leftover from ancient culture or even a killjoy (the command to sit around all day in a church). On the other hand, the signs of our failure to rest are seen everywhere – physical and emotional burnout, anxiety; our world is reduced to work, we get small – obviously the current way is not working. Is it possible that we’ve missed something about the Sabbath? Is it possible that God gave us the first prescription for rest long ago in the Fourth Commandment?
Study Guide (pdf): 02.10.08 Fourth Command: Rest is Holy (Exodus 20.1-17)
Often the third commandment – You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain – is understood to mean you should not curse with God’s name. Now of course, that’s part of it but it really goes much deeper than that because names are more than names. We know this from our own culture and laws that prohibit slander and defamation because names are bound to character and identity. God’s name is a window into His character and identity and through it we come to know Him and understand why we must use his name well.
Study Guide (pdf): 02.03.08 Third Command: Name of God
Most modern people hear the Second Commandment, which forbids making images of God for worship, and reason that we’re in the clear. Not many folks have gold or silver statues for worship around the home. However, that’s really a surface understanding of what God is talking about, it is rather any man-made representation of God – physical, emotional, or mental. And, with that definition, all of us break this commandment, and yet God doesn’t leave us there. He provides an image for us.
Study Guide (pdf): 01.27.08 Second Command: A God Too Glorious to Make (Exodus 20.1-17)
Laws always tell you something about the lawmaker–something of their character–this is true for the 10 Commandments. So, what does the First Commandment (‘have no other gods’) teach us about God? Is it that He’s insecure and controlling? No. What we find is a God more personal than we’ve ever imagined. A God whose jealousy and compassion bestows worth whereas false gods steal it.