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Like the ancient Israelites, God's people today often receive the gift of salvation but remain enslaved to sin. The truth is, our behavior is merely a result of whom or what we worship. Our gods influence our priorities, values, morality, choices, and ultimately our eternity. This sermon series focuses on life under the protection, wisdom, and goodness of a Father who loves us.
Week-to-week, we’ll look at where each commandment collides with modern culture in these following posts.
“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3
Throughout the Old Testament, we find God’s people, the Israelites, breaking this commandment by worshiping numerous gods with names like Baal, Asherah, Chemosh, and Molech. The people paid homage to multiple deities to hedge their bets, in a sense. Different gods promised to give different things like sex, fame, money, pleasure, comfort, fertility, children, physical health, power, promotion . . . you name it, the list goes on. People would sacrifice time, talent, and treasure to these gods in order get the desired outcome. Feed your god, and it will bless you.
Our contemporary world is still wrought with sex problems, finance problems, relationship problems, employment problems, and health problems. People still sacrifice time, talent, and treasure to these “gods.” And the results of chasing after sex, money, and power are as tenuous and disappointing as ever. We may not talk much about Molech, but just like the "uncivilized" cultures of old, plenty of people still sacrifice their children—sometimes literally, through abortion—in the process of pursuing higher financial or vocational status.
Make no mistake, false gods still exist and we still worship them. Satan has just rebranded old demons as new spirituality.
“You shall not bow down to [idols] or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God . . .” Exodus 20:5
Last Friday, thousands of people around the world stood in line for hours to get their hands on the latest version of the iPhone. The most popular model? Like the calf that God’s people worshiped in Exodus, it was the gold edition.
For the first time ever—since the iPhone’s very beginning in 2007—Andy Girton was not a part of the throng. Deacon Andy leads the production and live events team at Mars Hill Church. Before that he worked for many years in IT and technology, at one point running tech support for keynote presentations for Bill Gates. Suffice it to say, his geek cred is impressive. And he’s worked hard to maintain that image.
“I enjoy technology,” Andy says. “It’s always been a part of my job, but it’s more than a work thing. It’s a competition. It’s a pride thing. You want the latest and greatest so that you can walk into the office and impress everyone.”
In the past, Andy would spend up to 20 hours in line for the new iPhone, arriving hours before the next would-be customer in order to guarantee that he’d get it first. By God’s grace, something changed for Andy this year.
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” Exodus 20:7
Flippantly using God’s name as a curse word is one of the obvious ways of breaking the third commandment, but what about the not-so-obvious? Sometimes, well-meaning Christians violate the third commandment with false platitudes when God or his name is treated too lightly.
Silly Christian t-shirts are good for a laugh, but are they too careless with God’s identity?
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8–11
Christians today tend to overlook how absolutely essential and central the Sabbath was for God’s people in the Old Testament. For a few thousand years, they celebrated the Sabbath with absolute devotion. Life, commerce, and worship orbited around it. It was the centerpiece of the week.
The Bible’s emphasis on the Sabbath raises all kinds of questions for Christians today. Should we observe the Sabbath? If so, on what day and in what way? How does it apply to us—if at all?
The fourth commandment is a bridge between the first three commandments (which relate to our worship of God) and the last six commandments (which relate to our worship of God as demonstrated by loving others). The fourth commandment fuses together our theological relationship with God and our social and ethical relationships with others.
The fourth commandment is about rest, but it’s also about work. God prescribes six days for work and one day for Sabbath. For 21st century Americans accustomed to the two-day weekend, six days of work may sound like a lot. But put yourself in the sandals of the ancient Israelites, who suffered under Pharaoh’s whip. Slaves don’t get a day off. If you’ve been working for four centuries straight, one day of rest in every seven sounds like welcome relief.
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).
Parenting is hard, no matter the circumstances, and everyone needs a little help. So to go along with Ten Commandments sermon V. Honor Your Father and Mother, we’ve put together a list of our favorite parenting resources.
“You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13).
From Pastor Mark:
I first met Grace, my wife and the mother of our five children, over 25 years ago in high school. I was pro-abortion. She was pro-life. We argued over the issue. I pretty much always won. I was wrong, but I was tough to debate with.
She came from an evangelical home. I came from a Catholic home. Both of our homes were pro-life. But I was not only pro-choice, I was pro-abortion. I agreed with the underlying principles of Thomas Robert Malthus, which greatly influenced Nazi Germany, and Margaret Sanger, who founded Planned Parenthood. I read up on the issue quite a bit, and won debates in high school and my freshman year of college defending population control and abortion.
I would have said I was a Christian, but I was not. Grace was a Christian. She bought me a Bible once she understood I had very little biblical knowledge. I started reading it my freshman year of college and Jesus saved me. My heart changed, and my mind changed on many things—including the sanctity of human life made in God’s image, and the fact that abortion is murder.
Source: Hayes International consultants
EMPLOYEE TIME THEFT
Time spent on the computer doing personal tasks during work time (per week):
What websites do you visit if you stray from work?
Daily personal Internet use at work by age group:
Top ten time-wasting activities:
Source: AOL and Salary.com survey
Jesus was a man who claimed to be God. Think on that for a minute. If that were true, how would it change the way you thought, felt, and lived this life?
At Mars Hill, we believe that Jesus is God. We take him at his word. Because of this, everything we do is all about Jesus. We invite you to learn more about this man who is God and how you can find forgiveness and new life in him.
God reveals himself through us to others. Our priority is to make disciples who love God and love others well.
God works through his church to make disciples. Our commitment is to plant churches that love God and love others.
Visiting a church for the first time can be nerve-racking. But having an idea of what to expect can help. There are three main parts to every Sunday service: preaching, worship, and kids. To learn more about each of these, click the links below.
Church is more than a service. It’s people living life together and helping one another throughout our cities to serve our cities. Each week, thousands of people at Mars Hill meet in hundreds of small communities to learn about God, pray, eat, laugh, and live. We call these Community Groups—and they’re the heart of our church.
We provide a number of resources to help you grow as a disciple of Jesus. You’ll find videos on a number of topics and from various conferences. The Mars Hill Blog connects you to life around the church and personal growth. And Resurgence is a blog dedicated to helping you grow as a leader at home, work, and church.
Mars Hill musicians write fresh music and rearrange timeless hymns for our worship services and recording. Explore Mars Hill Music.
Jesus is the most generous person who ever lived. He gave his life so that we might live. As Christians, we give our time, talent, and money joyfully in response to Jesus’ generosity and to help more people meet Jesus.
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