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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » James Meehan » James Meehan - Do the 10 Commandments Apply to Me?

James Meehan - Do the 10 Commandments Apply to Me?

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    James Meehan - Do the 10 Commandments Apply to Me?
TOPICS: Ten Commandments, Bible Nerds

Today on Bible Nerds, we are answering the question do the 10 Commandments still apply to me? And this is a really big question because like honestly this throws so many people for a loop. So hopefully what we'll be able to do today is provide a little bit of clarity so that you can continue to follow Jesus with confidence.

Well, what's up Bible Nerds? My name is James Meehan and to help us answer this question, we're gonna start by reading the 10 Commandments. You can find them in Exodus chapter 20 starting in verse one. Then God gave the people all these instructions. I am the Lord your God who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. You must not have any other God but me. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind. You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Honor your father and mother. You must not murder. You must not commit adultery, you must not steal. You must not testify falsely against your neighbor and you must not covet. So those are the 10 Commandments.

Now to the next question, do they still apply to us today? The answer is yes, with one potential exception because just about everyone agrees that nine out of 10 of these commandments apply to Christians today because they are repeated in the New Testament. The only one that's contested is the fourth commandment to observe the Sabbath day. Why? Because there are some New Testament writings that seem to indicate that the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday changed the way Sabbath is supposed to work.

Now, don't worry, we'll get there into all of the details about the new covenant and the old, but first we've gotta answer what is perhaps the most important question. How do we know what parts of the Old Testament apply to us and what parts don't? This is really the question that matters most in this discussion because learning to read and interpret the Old Testament wisely is hugely beneficial to our understanding of what it means to faithfully follow Jesus. So we're gonna spend the rest of our time today talking about a few key principles for reading the Bible wisely. First, every time we read the Bible we remember that Jesus is king and context is everything. Jesus is king. The entire Bible is a story that leads to Jesus and teaches us to become like Jesus.

In Matthew 22, Jesus is asked the question which commandment from the law is most important? And here's how he answers. You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important. Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments. Jesus is telling us that everything in the Old Testament all the commands in the laws, and all the writings of the prophets are meant to teach us how to love God with all we are and how to love others the same way that Jesus does. Jesus is king and context is everything. We often say that the Bible is God's word for us but it wasn't originally written to us. Look at what it says in verse one of the 10 Commandments. Then God gave the people all these instructions.

Who are the people? Well, these were the Jewish people who God had just rescued from slavery in Egypt, a people that he was forming into the nation of Israel. The purpose of the 10 Commandments was to teach the Jewish people how to live as functioning members of the society God established. So does that mean the 10 Commandments are just for the people of Israel? God rescued from Israel since that is who he's speaking to? Well not quite, because if we jump ahead to Deuteronomy, we read God giving the 10 Commandments to a new generation of Israelites. Now I want you to see if you can spot what's different about the giving of the 10 Commandments this time. Deuteronomy five verse one. Moses called all the people of Israel together and said listen carefully Israel hear the decrees and regulations I'm giving you today.

So you may learn them and obey them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Mount Sinai. The Lord did not make this covenant with our ancestors but with all of us who are alive today. Here, Moses is clarifying for this generation of Israelites that the commands God gave previously still applied to them because these commandments are a part of the covenant that God made with the Jewish people. And this covenant wasn't just for one generation of Jews but for every generation of Jews.

So let's talk about covenants. What is a covenant? A covenant is a divine partnership between God and people. In a partnership, both sides have a part to play. That's why it's called a partnership. This is where the different laws and commandments in the Bible come in. They're given by God to outline the part that we as his people are called to play in the covenant. It's sort of like when a couple gets married and each person vows to love and serve the other, we fulfill our vows to God by obeying his commands.

Now, here's where things get interesting because there are actually six major covenants throughout the Bible that God makes with his people. The first covenant that God made was at the very beginning with the first humans, Adam and Eve. In this covenant, God commanded them to be fruitful and to multiply, to rule over the world and importantly to not eat from the fruit of the tree of life.

The second covenant came after the flood and was made with Noah and his family. Covenant number three was made with Abraham which then brings us to the fourth major covenant often called the mosaic covenant because this was the covenant that God made with Moses and the nation of Israel. Then covenant number five is the Davidic covenant that God made with King David and through this covenant he promised the Messiah would come. And then finally, we get to the new covenant that Jesus inaugurated through his life, death, and resurrection.

Now, while all of these covenants are super meaningful for the overarching biblical story, the two most well-known ones are the mosaic which is often called the old covenant and the new covenant, the one that Jesus formed with the world. Now, as a reminder, a covenant is a divine partnership between God and humans and every covenant comes with commands. The mosaic covenant was the covenant that God made with Moses and the people of Israel aka the Jewish people. The new covenant is the covenant that Jesus made with the world that anyone who commits their life to him becomes a part of. So to state it as clearly and simply as I can, as a Christian you are a part of the new covenant, not the old covenant. Otherwise it wouldn't be called old.

In Romans 10:4, the Apostle Paul says that Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God. Then in Galatians chapter three, he says that before the way of faith in Christ was available to us we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak until the way of faith was revealed. Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came, it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come we no longer need the law as our guardian. The Apostle Paul is telling us that the law of Moses was for the nation of Israel for a specific purpose and a particular people.

Now we are under the law of Christ. What is the law of Christ? Well, it's what we read earlier in Matthew. It's loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and loving your neighbor as yourself. In John's gospel, when Jesus inaugurates the new covenant he attaches this new command. He says, I'm giving you a new commandment. Love each other just as I have loved you. That is how you should love each other. So does this mean that the Old Testament law and the 10 Commandments are irrelevant? Of course not.

Like I said earlier, nine out of 10 of the 10 commandments are repeated in the New Testament and according to Jesus, the entire Old Testament all the laws in the prophets are based on the commands of loving God and loving your neighbor. So while it's true that we are not under the Old Testament law, we can absolutely learn so much by asking ourselves the question, what does this law or what does this verse teach me about what it means to love God and love others? Galatians 5:6, for when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love. This is what it's all about becoming the kind of people who love God and love others the same way Jesus does. So take care and stay nerdy.
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