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Ten Commandments Part One

March 4, 2018

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Third Sunday in Lent                                                         Trinity Lutheran Church

4 March 2018                                                                                           Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +


Exodus 20:1-17


Today’s sermon begins a two part series. Today. Commandments 1-3. Next week Commandments 4-10. Two Sunday’s on Exodus 20. Otherwise today’s sermon would be too long, you’d take me out to the woodshed. I don’t want that. So here goes.


God has something on His mind. So He speaks. “I am the LORD your God.” He’s God. You’re not. He is God FOR YOU. He acts as God FOR YOU. Brought Israel out of Egypt. Out of the land of slavery. So, He has claimed Israel for Himself. He is their God. So too with you. He has brought you out of Egyptian hell. Redeemed you from the slavery of sin, death and damnation. Through a greater and better Moses, His Son, Jesus Christ. God claims you as His own through the Good Friday death and Easter Sunday Resurrection of His Son! So, God has ten words. Ten commandments. For you.


For you, His died for and redeemed people, the Ten Commandments prescribe and describe. They PRESCRIBE God’s holy will for your life – before Him (Commandments 1-3) and your life before others (Commandments 4-10). Faith toward God – love for others. Faith in Jesus for salvation. Being given His Good Friday salvational benefits in Word and sacrament. Love – the sacrificial life of love for others because you are saved in Jesus. Love for others – God’s good use of you His people for the sake of helping others simply because they need your help. Faith and love – it’s what it means to be a human being. So, the Ten Commandments clearly spell out what God wants you to do and not to do. They also DESCRIBE what your life looks like when you believe that He is God FOR YOU and for your salvation in His Son Jesus and that you are His people.


So, today, I will preach the first Three Commandments to you and FOR YOU. As prescription and as description! For your Lenten repentance. Yes, for your daily repentance of your sin against God and His commandments. After all, your old Adam always opposes God’s Word given in the commandments. Your old Adam preaches his own words – words that always contradict the commandments. So I preach today to kill your old Adam. After all, that’s the only thing a preacher can do to your sinful nature. In addition, I also preach today for your faith in Jesus for salvation and for your holy living according to these ten words from the LORD. Better get going. You’re chomping at the bit aren’t you?


FIRST COMMANDMENT. Here God’s wants your heart. Faith. Trust. When the Holy Trinity is your God there is no room for other gods. “I am the LORD, your God. You shall have no other gods before me.” A no brainer! Right? Who would want any other “god” but the Triune God who gives Himself to you and saves you? In our day, just like in Moses’, there is the old-Adamic desire to make idols. To construct little pretend divinities in our own image and likeness. Portable, domesticated and housebroken idols. Little images that promise self-fulfillment, reaching your potential, and unbridled success of self. Little idols that fit in your pocket. Nice lap-dog gods to have around. You control them and they supposedly fulfill your deepest and inmost needs. So you put your faith in them. And you cling tightly to them. You don’t easily part with what you trust – even if it’s your own idolatrous making.


Now, I’m here to tell you that the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a jealous God. His jealousy is His love! Seriously! His jealousy FOR YOU is His love! He tolerates no competition! He wants you all to and for Himself! He went to the ultimate extreme to be God FOR YOU.


He brought you out of the Egyptian penitentiary of sin and freed you from the chains of death. The Father gave His only begotten Son Jesus as your Good Friday Passover Lamb. Through His divine Good Friday blood you walk in freedom. In addition, the Triune God has brought you through the Red Sea of baptism, your exodus to the Promised Land of eternal life and heaven. The Trinity paid dearly to be God FOR YOU! You are bought with a price – the divine blood of the Father’s Son shed on the cross. The Holy Trinity is jealous for His precious Good Friday-ed, died-for people. Therefore, “you shall have no other gods.”  


SECOND COMMANDMENT. Here God wants your mouth and lips. To use them properly from faith that trusts only in Him. “I am the LORD your God. You shall not misuse my name.” To have God is to have His divine, holy and salvific name. One of the greatest gifts God gives to you is His Name! With His Name He gives you Himself! All that He is and all that He has in Christ Jesus! He gave you His saving Name (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) in Holy Baptism. Now you belong to Him or now God promises to be God FOR YOU! To act as God FOR YOU.


God’s name has power. Salvational power! He forgives you in His Name. He heals, blesses and protects you with His Name. With His Name His face shines upon you and He is gracious to you. Where God puts or gives His Name – salvation is bestowed. In the Old Testament God put His name and dwelling in the temple. In the New Testament God’s name and dwelling is in the flesh of Jesus His Son.


I repeat: God gives His Name for blessing. So, you are to use His holy and divine Name for blessing and not for cursing or damning others. You are not to use God’s Name to lie but to tell the truth and keep your promises. You are not to conjure, that is, use witchcraft or satanic arts with God’s Name. You can’t manipulate God as if you’re a witch. That’s very naughty. Paganly evil! You are not to teach false things in His Name. You are not to speak careless or frivolous words in His Name. And when you do, REPENT! Ask Jesus for forgiveness and the Holy Spirit for the desire to use God’s name properly.


And that’s for blessing! So, when people are in trouble, when people are in need, you pray – you call on God’s Name to bless and help. In addition, you praise and give thanks for all things and in all situations in God’s Name. God has revealed His Name through His Son. Jesus has glorified God’s Name by dying and rising. You have been given the Triune Name in baptism. God’s Name is your identity. Your tattoo. Your mark of divine ownership. Purchased by the Good Friday blood of Jesus. Therefore, “you shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.”


THIRD COMMANDMENT. Here God wants you to use your ears properly. The Sabbath is all about — not hearing the words of your old Adam – but hearing God’s Word! To believe God’s Word. To trust it with your heart! So: “I am the LORD your God. Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy.”


The church sets aside specific days and times so that you can hear God’s most holy Word. Through His Word that He puts in your ears and hearts usually by a preacher named Kuhlman, God holies and sanctifies you. So, the Third Commandment is about a time of holy rest – a sanctifying, salvific Sabbath. In this commandment God says: “Rest for a little bit. Come. Relax. Listen to my Word by which I holy you.”


This is precisely why the Bible teaches that man cannot live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. God’s Word must be your daily and weekly food of the new life that God gave you in baptism or the new life of faith will wither and die of starvation.


Now, everyone knows that in order to do your work creatively and energetically, you need … REST! So, God provides a rest FOR YOU. No, it’s not a rest whereby you sit in the Lazy Boy recliner and watch TV. That’s not rest. That’s unrest. Rest is in the way Jesus says. He said: “Come unto me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” The rest Jesus is talking about is hearing and trusting in His Good Friday promise of salvation in His Word and in the meal of His Body and Blood. That is the true rest of God. Where Jesus is FOR YOU with His promise of salvation in Word and sacrament – THERE IS REST! A SABBATH DAY! So, rest in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Rest from the accusations of the law. Rest from guilt, shame and sin. Enjoy the Sabbath rest in the Good Friday wounds and words of Jesus.


The Third Commandment leaves no room for the silly and quite spiritually dangerous nonsense of supposedly worshipping God on the golf course, the boat, the deer stand, or a TV program. The Third Commandment requires you to hear God’s Word in the divine service on Sundays or other days it’s offered. It’s not optional. Faith in the Holy Trinity (1st Commandment) comes only by hearing the Word of Christ (Romans 10:17)! Whoever cuts himself off from the preaching of Christ’s saving Word cuts himself off from … CHRIST! AND HIS SALVATION!


I can’t be any more serious! For emphasis let me say it another way. I fear – really I do – that the person who claims to believe in Jesus and then in the same breath boasts that he has no need for the divine service on Sunday is only strong in his … unbelief. The person that regularly and purposely absents himself from the preached gospel, the absolution and the Lord’s Supper absents Himself from the Jesus that he supposedly believes in! The person who says that he believes in Jesus but will not do what He says – “Remember the Sabbath Day / Eat my body / Drink my blood,” is in extreme spiritual danger. Hellaciously perilous. Such a person, I fear, has a different Jesus (a false one / one of his own making) and a false gospel (one of his owning idolatrous making).


I preach all this for your repentance, faith, and desire to live a holy life according to God’s Word. Jesus is graciously and salvifically present in His Word of gospel preaching, absolution, baptism and Supper. There He gives you rest, a salvific Sabbath, new creation spelled F-A-I-T-H. Jesus is God’s Sabbath. You have your rest only in Him and His Word. The two – Jesus and His Word go together. Therefore, “Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy.”


Well, there you have it. The first Three Commandments. For your repentance, faith and holy living. Got to call it quits today. I’m tired. Too long-winded! To be continued next week. Commandments 4-10 next week. See you next Sunday!


In the Name of Jesus.

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