Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Ten Commandments: Murder

“You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13 NIV)

The Authorized Version says, “Thou shalt not kill.” From the context, we know that the word used in this commandment is more specific than “kill.” The very next chapter says, “Anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death.” Exodus 21:12 requires the execution of a man who kills another man. If the command in Exodus 20 meant “kill” in a general sense, the execution required in Exodus 21 would be violating this command.

No, the word is “murder.” However, the word is still more specific than that.

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Matthew 5:21-22)

There are murderers (physical and spiritual) who escape judgment on this earth. However, there is no murderer who escapes the judgment of God unless his robes are washed.

“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” (Revelation 22:12-15)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Ten Commandments: The Sabbath

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping 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, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:8-12)

This is a wonderful command. It tells us to work six days and rest one. God did not say, “Work five and rest two.” God gave Himself as the reason for this pattern by His own example. He worked six days and rested one.

The Church today is divided over which day is the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week or the first day. However, the argument is generally over which day we are to gather together for worship, not which day we should rest. The command does not speak to the subject of worship. It speaks only to the subjects of work and rest.

The New Testament reinforces this emphasis in every instance where Jesus is called to heal on the Sabbath. The question was working, not worship. Here are two complaints:

“Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, ‘There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.’” (Luke 13:14)

“The Pharisees said to him, ‘Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?’” (Mark 2:24)

Jesus’ answers to these two complaints were:

“The Lord answered him, ‘You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?’” (Luke 13:15-16)

“Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.’” (Mark 2:27)

Healing on the Sabbath is not violating the Sabbath, and the Day of Rest was made for the good of man. Man was not made to be a servant of the Day of Rest.

Jesus is the Lord of the Day of Rest.

Are you violating the Day of Rest? Read Isaiah 58.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Ten Commandments, Part 3

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” (Exodus 20:7)

There are two parts to this. The first is the command. The second is the reason for the command as far as men are concerned.

There are many people who think that they are not violating this command because they are only using His name thoughtlessly or by habit. They think that “in vain” means maliciously or in anger. Because they do not use “God” or “Jesus” in anger, they assume that they are innocent of the violation. In “vain” means “for nothing.” “Empty.” What they are doing is exactly what is prohibited.

This next part is serious!

God will not hold anyone guiltless who uses His name with no meaning.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Ten Commandments, Part 2

“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:4-6)

This command is comprehensive. We are not to make an idol of anything, like anything, anywhere. This should be clear, but it is not clear to many people.

• You shall not make
• You shall not bow

If for some reason an idol got made, it is not to be worshipped.

Why? The real creator, God, is jealous and will punish to the fourth generation those who:

• hate God
• disobey God

He will show love to a thousand generations those who:

• love God
• obey God

Do you get the message?

“Not to us, O LORD, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.
Why do the nations say,
‘Where is their God?’
Our God is in heaven;
he does whatever pleases him.
But their idols are silver and gold,
made by the hands of men.
They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but they cannot see;
they have ears, but cannot hear,
noses, but they cannot smell;
they have hands, but cannot feel,
feet, but they cannot walk;
nor can they utter a sound with their throats.
Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.” (Psalm 115:1-8)

Idolatry is not innocent. It is a great evil.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Ten Commandments, Part 1

The next few weeks, my subject will be the Ten Commandments and related teaching in the New Testament. These commands were first given orally.

“On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently, and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.” (Exodus 19:16-19)

“Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, ‘Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.’ You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness. Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice. He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow and then wrote them on two stone tablets. And the LORD directed me at that time to teach you the decrees and laws you are to follow in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully.” (Deuteronomy 4:10-15)

Here is the first commandment:

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:2-3)

First, we find out who God is by what He did:

• Ten miracles in Egypt
• Many more miracles in the 40 years in the wilderness, including food, water, and clothing.

The Israelites knew firsthand who had brought them out of Egypt.

Second, the imperative:

You shall have no other gods before me.

Since this is the first command, it follows that the violation of it is the greatest sin.

In the past, the gods of Greek, Roman, Germanic, and Norse mythology were the gods that God is speaking about. Historically, this oral command took place around 1440 B.C.

Today, this means all of the world religions with their multitude of created gods. It also means all of the animistic religions of the world, thousands of primitive tribes who are fearful of and attempt to placate demons.

It also means all those in the present that worship their cars, their girlfriends, and themselves.

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

Here we have the oneness of God and the command to love Him with all that we are.

I think that we all qualify as sinners because of our disobedience to this command in practice as well as in nature.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Good News/Bad News: The Solution and Judgment

Bad news:

“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.” (Titus 3:3)

Good news:

“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” (Titus 3:4-8)

The good news is the solution to the character of the bad news and to the judgment on the bad news.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Two Destinations

“For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Philippians 3:18-21)

There are two destinations:

1) Destruction
2) Heaven and a glorious body like Christ’s glorious body

The means to the first destination:

• Be an enemy of the Cross of Christ.
• Have your stomach as your god.
• Glory in your shame.
• Set your mind on earthly things.

The means to the second destination:

• Anticipate with eagerness the return of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Are you on the right path?