Ten Commandments(1) – The 1st Commandment

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[Exodus 20:1-3]
“Then God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before Me.”

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

When you begin to attend church, there are some things you have to learn. Some of those things are the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Ten Commandments.

The Lord’s Prayer is what the Lord taught His disciples as to how to pray and is the model of how we believers should pray to God. The Apostles’ Creed is the most fundamental confession of faith of believers.

Along with them, Ten Commandments are also what we have to remember. It is the Ten Commandments given by God to the people Israel through Moses.

This is the summary of the 66 books of the Bible in ten items, and is like the frame of the Bible.

Although you cannot remember all the 66 books of the Bible, you should at least remember the Ten Commandments. It is the basic of faith for the believers.

That is why when you receive baptism, you make a vow to keep Ten Commandments.

And for you to keep the Ten Commandments properly, you first have to understand the spiritual meaning of each.

For example, the command, “Do not murder”, is not only prohibiting killing other people, but it has deeper spiritual meaning.

You may initially think you keep this commandment because you didn’t murder anybody, but if you learn the spiritual meaning, many of you will confess you do not keep this commandment.

Through this sermon series on the Ten Commandments, I hope you will clearly understand the love of God in giving these commandments.

Also, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will imprint the meaning of each in your heart and practice them fully.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, those who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior will receive the authority of the children of God and the citizenship of heavenly kingdom.

Just as there is law in this world, there is also law that we have to keep as God’s children.

Once you gained the citizenship of heavenly kingdom, you have to keep the law of God in your life.

Only then will we be able to enjoy the eternal blessings in the kingdom of heaven and also receive blessings on this earth to lead a life of prosperity.

The law of God that believers have to keep is all the commandments recorded in the 66 books of the Bible.

If you keep the commands that say, “Do this,” “Don’t do that,” “Keep this,” and “Throw that away,” you are living in the law of God. And those children of God who keep the law are under the protection of God, so the enemy devil and Satan cannot bring any test or trials upon them.

On the contrary, God cannot protect those who violate the law even when the enemy devil and Satan bring on them trials and sufferings. Also, if you violate the commandments, it means you commit sins, so you become a servant of sin, a servant of the devil and finally you have to fall into hell.

Therefore, the reason why our God gave us the commandments is not to give us burden and hard time. It is the detailed explanations for us to get into heavenly kingdom and to lead a blessed life.

But even though the Ten Commandments are such blessed word, how many believers are actually keeping them properly?

Some people argue, “How can a man keep all Ten Commandments?” They say a man who has body cannot keep all of the Ten Commandments, and they can only try to keep them.

But God doesn’t say so. 1 John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”

The evidence that we love God is to keep His commandments in our lives. It says God’s commandments are not burdensome for us to keep.

Even in this world, if you love somebody, you are happy just to be with that person. So, even in cold winter, you won’t say it is cold.

Also, if somebody whom you really love asks you a favor, you will joyfully do it for that person even though it is something very difficult.

Even if you have to sacrifice yourself, you won’t feel it is hard, but you will rather be happy that you can do something for the one whom you love. Also, when you see the other person happy, you become even happier. It is the same when you love God.

If we truly love God, it is not difficult at all to keep His commandments, but we will keep them with joy. Moreover, in the Old Testament times, they had to keep them with their own will and effort, but it is not so in the New Testament times.

To forgive our sins, sinless Jesus became the atoning sacrifice and was crucified to redeem us from all sins.

So, anyone who believes this and accepts Jesus Christ receives Holy Spirit in his heart and he can receive the help from the Holy Spirit. When we deeply realize the love of God who gave out His one and only Son and receive the strength of the Holy Spirit, we can keep even the things that we cannot really keep with only our effort and willpower.

So, if you say it is difficult to keep God’s commandments and still dwell in sins not trying to keep His commandments, you cannot be said to love God or have true faith.

Therefore, 1 John 1:6 says, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;”

Also, 1 John 2:4 says, “The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

Revelation 21:27, when it explains about the glory of New Jerusalem, says those who practice lying cannot come in there.

If the word of God, the truth is in you, obviously, you cannot sin and you will live by the truth.

But if you say you believe in God but do not keep His commandments, it means you don’t have the truth in you, and you are lying before God. Likewise, God’s commandments, especially the Ten Commandments are a must for us and we are more than able to keep them.

Now, let us delve into the first commandment.

Today’s passage Exodus 20:1-3 says, “Then God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before Me.”

‘You’ in this passage refers to not only Moses and the people of Israel who heard this message but also all children of God who are saved by the name of the Lord today.

Just as God is the one who saved the people of Israel from the slavery in Egypt by manifesting great signs and wonders, it is also God the Father who saved you who were slaves of sin in this world that is falling into destruction being full of sins.

Therefore, we must never have any other god than our God the Father in us. Brothers and sisters, only the one God is the almighty and true God, and is the creator of heaven and earth and all things in it.

Also, God is the only one who controls over all things in the universe, the history of mankind, and the life, death, fortune, and misfortune of men, and who gives us true and eternal life.

But the worldly people worship many other meaningless gods, not this true one God. Some worship Buddha, some rocks, or old trees, or even the Big Dipper.

When exorcists do their rituals, they call such gods as the ‘god of Back Doo Mountain’, ‘god of Halla Mountain’ or the god of ‘some generals’. They make the nature or the dead people as gods and call their names.

Different races and different countries worship different gods, and our neighbor Japan has more than 8 million gods. But what we have to know is that these things do not have the power to save us or give us blessings.

Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

When we look at all things in the universe, we can realize that there is Creator, and there is only one Creator God.

For example, as I often tell you, we can realize this by seeing that all the structures and functions of all mankind on this earth are the same. Whether we are Africans, Caucasians, or Asians, we all have two eyes and two ears, and one nose and one mouth.

Even the locations of eyes, ears, nose, and mouth are the same.

It is not only about men but also animals.

Even elephants with long trunks have two nostrils. Even rabbits with long ears and violent lions all have same locations and functions of eyes, ears, nose, and mouth as men.

Countless living things of numerous kinds of animals, fish, birds, and even the insects have the same structure and functions, although they have slight differences according to the species. This tells us that there is one Creator.

Also, when we look at the nature, the evidence of the God the Creator is clearly seen.

The earth rotates once a day and revolves around the sun once a year. The moon revolves around the earth once a month. Because of these rotations and revolutions, there are many orderly natural phenomena on earth.

There is night and day and four seasons. There are the tide and ebb, and the air circulates. But the locations of celestial bodies and movements are designed to make the best environment for living things to continue their lives.

The distance between the sun and the earth is the most appropriate now. It must not be either closer or farther than now.

At this most appropriate distance, for countless amount of time, the earth has been rotating and revolving regularly without single error.

It is possible because the universe and all things in it were planned and made and are being operated by unimaginable wonderful wisdom of God.

God the Creator made everything and is running everything with His power.

Because there are these clear evidences, nobody can give excuse on the final judgment. It means they cannot say, “I didn’t know there is God.”

Furthermore, you members of our church always see evidences that are clearer than anything.

You always see and hear of countless people receiving healings and blessings by the power manifest by the name of the Lord, and you yourselves are experiencing them.

Even though you worshiped meaningless gods and lived in many difficulties before, if you just come before the almighty God and rely on Him only, God meets you and answers to your requests.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in human history, we can see some people who acknowledged the existence of the only God the Creator and followed goodness, although they didn’t hear the gospel.

Those who didn’t have clean heart prayed to this god and that god and served many gods, but those who had upright and clean heart feared only God the Creator, although they didn’t know about God much.

For example, in case of Admiral Yi Soon shin of Chosun dynasty, he always followed the right thing. He was faithful and honest in all he did and served God only.

He didn’t know about God or the Lord, but he didn’t worship the exorcists or meanings gods. With his good conscience, he only looked up to heaven and feared the only Creator God.

Those who fear God like this, although they didn’t learn the commandments of God, try to follow the right way and live in goodness and truth.

God opened a way to save this kind of people, and it is the judgment of conscience.

Romans 2:14-15 says, “For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, [15] in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them.”

In case of the people who lived before Jesus came or who didn’t hear of the gospel and didn’t know the law of God, if they followed their good conscience and believed in God, God of justice looked at their inner heart and opened a way of salvation for them.

But the problem is not actually with those who do not know God at all. It is rather with those who know God and say they believe in Him but rely on or serve other gods than the only God.

They say they believe in God and the Lord, but some people to go fortunetellers or rely on other kinds of sorceries. Some of them even have lucky charms or amulets.

Or there are even some people who attend the ceremonies of Gentile religions that worship false gods and align themselves with them and say it is something reasonable and generous.

Or some unbelievers say, “Christianity tells people to believe in only one God, so it has no flexibility and it is an exclusive religion.”

But it is a clear fact that there is only one creator, who created us, and only one God who can give us blessings and life.

Other gods that people worship than the only God, after all, belong to darkness that stands against God. Namely, they are from the devil, the enemy of God.

The enemy devil and Satan deceived people into keeping away from fearing God. They make people worship meaningless things. Finally, it is the enemy devil who receives the worship and it leads people to the way of destruction.

Therefore, even though you believe in God, if you have other gods in you, you will have constant trials and tests in your life, and you will suffer from tears, sorrow, or diseases.

God of love does not want us to fall into destruction by worshipping other gods. That is why God commanded us not to have any other gods before Him.

If God didn’t give us this command telling us, “You shall have no other gods before Me,” even among believers in God, those who don’t have upright and firm heart would have accepted and worshiped other gods being in disorder.

I hope you will remember all other gods except the One and Only God do not give us any benefits but rather they only harm our spirits.

One more thing you should remember is that those who truly believe in God will not just stop at the level of not worshiping other gods, but in everything they will rely on God only, not relying on the world or using their own thoughts.

Is God, who created heaven and earth and all things in it and all the parts of our body, not able to heal just one disease of yours?

Also, even when you are in a dire situation, is God who controls the universe and everything of human history, not able to change just one situation of yours?

When God sees a person who has no craftiness but only relies on God with true heart, He rejoices over that heart and certainly He will give the answer.

As said in Psalm 62:5, “My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him,” I hope you will only rely on God and always meet and experience the God of love who fills your desires.

[Conclusion]

Dear brothers and sisters, 1 Chronicles 16:26 says, “For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the Lord made the heavens.”

The people of Israel learned about the only God who created the heavens and experienced numerous miraculous works, but as time passed they left God and sought idols.

Because the gods of the Gentiles looked good in their eyes, they worshipped God, but at the same time they worshiped other Gentile gods, too. But what was the result?

They had to suffer from trials and hardships each time. When they could not bear it any more, they repented and came back to God.

God who is full of mercy and compassion accepted them and forgave them each time and drove away disasters from them.

But I hope you will not foolishly repeat these mistakes like the people of Israel at that time. Since you have seen, heard of, and experienced numerous evidences of the living God, make up your mind now and unchangingly worship and rely on the only God who created and governs all things.

Also I urge you to be brave enough to testify to the only true and one God wherever you are.

Therefore, I pray in the name of the Lord that God will love you and trust you also, and He will let you enjoy abundant blessings both on this earth and in heavenly kingdom as His children.

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