Robert Morris — The Principle of Purity
So we're in a series called, Relationship through God's Top Ten. And we're talking about the ten commandments. We did the first commandment which was, I believe that there's a principle behind each commandment that is a principle of relationship. And so, we talked about the principle of priority. This weekend, we're going to talk about the principle of purity, of purity. I believe this is the principle behind the second command. Now, the reason why I want to read Deuteronomy 18 first is because I want to again, set up this series and this message, because, the second commandment begins with these three words, "You will not", or the Old King James, we say, "Thou shalt not". "Thou shalt not". "Thou shalt not". Thou shalt not.
Okay. Seven out of the ten commandments begin with the words, "You will not". "You shall not". "You will not". Okay. But I want you to understand that God is not saying that because he's a prude and he doesn't want you to have any fun. It would be like you saying to your children, "You will not play in the street. You will play in the yard". You're not doing that because the street is more fun. You're doing that because it's dangerous. You have to remember that Israel was leaving a pagan land, Egypt, and they were entering a pagan land. They left the land of many gods and still Canaan was the land of many gods but another say to it is it was the land of many idols. Absolutely horrible. They literally, listen to what Psalm 106:37 says, "They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons".
They were going into a land of idolatry and he was trying to warn them, don't get involved. So I want to show you this. You will not, in the Deuteronomy 18 passage to set up this second commandment and all the ten commandments, right? So it's like this. Deuteronomy 18:9 says, "When you come into the land, which the Lord, your God, is giving you, you shall not", see there it is again. "You shall not". "You shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire", that means, they offer the children, they made them walk in the fire alive. They burned them alive. "There shall not be anyone found among you that does that or one who practices witchcraft or a soothsayer or one who interprets omens or a sorcerer or one who conjures spells or medium or a spirituous or one calls up the dead".
And then, down in verse 14, the second part of verse 14, this is what he says. "As for you, the Lord your God, has not appointed such for you. The Lord, your God will raise up for you a Prophet", capital P, "like me from your midst", from your brethren, "Him", capital H, "You shall hear", this is talking about Jesus. Acts 3 is the fulfillment of that prophecy. Verse 22, "For Moses truly said to the Father's, 'The Lord, your God will raise up for you a Prophet', capital P, speaking of Jesus, "like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him, you shall hear in all things whatever he says to you'.
Now, here's what Deuteronomy 18 is saying. He's saying the Lord has not appointed weird and spooky stuff for you, sorcerers and mediums and spirituous but what the Lord has appointed for you is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That's what he has appointed for you. And so, the ten commandments, again, when he says. You shall not do this because I have not appointed that stuff for you, idolatry and sacrificing your children, I have appointed for you, relationship. So I'm telling you again, the ten commandments are about relationship. And the second commandment, I believe is the principle of purity.
So let me go through the three points that I have. Here's point number one. The danger of impurity. Now, in Exodus 20, if you're there, Exodus 20, the second commandment is three verses. So I'm going to take each verse for one of the points that I have today, alright. So we'll first look at the first verse of the second commandment, which is Exodus 20:4. "You shall not". "You shall not, for your good, make for yourself a carved image". I want you to notice the word image because most will reduce this and say, "idol" and that's okay. It is referring to an idol but we got to come back to the word image in a moment. "Any likeness of anything that is in Heaven above or that is in the Earth beneath or that is in the water under the Earth".
Okay. The Canaanites worshiped idols more than any other people on the face of the Earth. They had idols for everything. For fertility, for rain, for blessings, all that and they made carved images. Now, you have to understand Israel was the only nation that did not worship images of their God, only one. So he's saying, don't do this. By the way, Colossians 115, talking about Jesus, "He is the image of the invisible God". Israel is the only one that had the invisible God.
So when they go in there, the Canaanites begin to talk to them about Gods and the Canaanites begin — you have to understand, they had a personal God, a family God, and a National God. And here's the way that they tricked Israel. They said to them, oh, we understand that you have a National God, Jehovah. We have a National God too but you need a personal God and you need a family God. And they told them you needed Asherah as your personal God and you need Baal as your family God. And this is why all through the Old Testament you will see that Israel built Asherah poles and Baal idols because God said to them — now, listen, when you go on that land they're going to try to deceive you and they did.
Listen to some of these scriptures, Judges 3:7, "So the children of Israel did evil in sight of the Lord. They forgot their Lord, their God and served the Baals and the Asherah's and, then when Elijah called everyone up on Mount Carmel and he called fire down, 1 King 18:19, "Now, therefore sin together all Israel to me on Mount Carmel the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel's table". Remember, by the way, when God was telling Moses, "Own the mountain. Do not make an idol. Do not have a carved image", while he's telling Moses this, on the mountain, the children of Israel are at the bottom of the mountain making two golden calves. And they say, "These calves brought us out of Egypt".
Now, sometimes I find humor in the Bible. Just want you to — here's what they said. "These calves that we just made brought us out of Egypt". How crazy. While God's telling them, "Don't have any images", they're already making an image. Now, think about this. The Canaanites believed that the God's lived in Heaven and that when you carved an image, the God in Heaven of that image would put his spirit in that image. And then, they would take that image around to the inner fields to bless their crops. They would make an image of fertility and put it in their bedroom so they would conceive. Okay. Who gave the Canaanites that idea? Listen to me, Satan did. And you know where he got it? Because God fashioned an image of himself on the Earth and put his spirit in it. Genesis 1:26, he said, "Let us make man in our image". That's why there doesn't need to be another image of God on the Earth. You are the image of God on the Earth and God puts His spirit in you.
Now again, these are idols but think about the word, "image". The word image is the root word of the word imagination. I almost named this message, The principle of reality, because when you live in a fantasy world, when you live with imaginations that are ungodly, if you imagine yourself with another person sexually than your spouse, if you imagine yourself in another job or another house and I'm talking about where you can't be content, you can't be happy until you get this raise or this promotion or this title or this position or this much money in the bank. When you begin to imagine yourself doing something other than what God has provided for you, you have an idol. You have an idol. So these are the dangers. This is the danger of impurity.
Let me tell you secondly, here are the consequences of impurity. This is the second verse of the second commandment. Verse 5, "You shall not bow down to them nor serve them". Now, here's what he's telling them. We're going to go into more detail what he's telling him. They're going to take into bondage. They're going to take you into bondage. You're going to serve them. Now, here's the reason why. "For I the Lord, your God, am a jealous God visiting", I want you notice this word visiting because I think people have totally misunderstood this as well. "visiting the inequities of the Father's upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those of who hate me".
Okay. First of all, I want you to notice that this happens to people who hate God, not people who love God. You can't imagine how this had been misapplied in the body of Christ. This happens, he said, "I visit the inequities to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me". He's going to tell us in a moment what he does for those who love him. "To the third and fourth generation". Okay. Just think, I just want people to understand the grace of God even in the Old Testament. He didn't say the word visiting, it's a great word. Think about visit. When you visit. Listen, he didn't say, "I'm going to cause these inequities to inhabit the next generations". He said, but I am going to let them visit them, not inhabit, but visit. Visit is a big word.
So let me just tell you in the natural how this could have happened. In Israel, most houses had four generations living in one house. In my own life, my parents are still alive and Debbie's mother is still alive. So when we gather for Christmas, Thanksgiving, family functions, we have my parents and Debbie's mom, then Debbie and me, then our children, and then, our grandchildren. How many generations? Four. Every holiday we have four generations. So in Israel, four generations living in a house. This is amazing. God said to the third and fourth generation. Think about, now my father is a very godly man. He's a very godly man. So this not applicable to him today at all. But think about if my father was an alcoholic and he showed up at all these family functions drunk. It would influence, it would affect my children and grandchildren, the third and fourth generation. Are you following me?
Okay. So God says, it's going to do this. But why would God even allow this? Why would God say, "I am going to visit them"? Well, he gives us the reason. "I'm a jealous God". "I'm a jealous God". I am jealous for your affection so I'm going to do something to get your affection. Now, I'll explain to you in a moment how it does get your affection but let me explain jealousy for a moment. Jealousy, is listed as a work of the flesh but there's a good jealousy and a bad jealousy. The bad jealousy is you're jealous for another person because of selfish reasons. The good jealousy, is you're jealous of another person because of Godly reasons, because you love that person and don't want anything to happen.
In the same way, listen, God says all through the Old Testament, "I am so jealous for Israel". He's not angry at them. He's angry at the ones that are taking them captive. He's upset. He's going to come in. So why would he visit the inequity? Well, it's amazing. It's because that inequity actually frustrates the next generation so that search for God. They see the consequences of the inequity like an alcoholic in the family and they decide, I'm never going to have anything to do with that. As a matter of fact, they had a saying in Israel where they misinterpreted this commandment and their saying was, "A son shall die for the sins of his father". It's like our say, "Like father, like, son". Okay. "A son shall die for the sins of his father".
In Ezekiel 18, I don't have time to read the whole chapter but God comes in and says, "You will no longer say that because I am a just God". And he says, and this is what he says. Let me just show you a couple scriptures if I have an idea of where, okay, on the page, here it is. Exodus 18:14, he says, "If however", this is the bad guy, "be begets a son who sees all the sins which his father has done and considers it", thinks about it, "but does not do likewise". And then, in verse 17, "He", the son, "shall not die for the inequity of his father. He shall surely live".
He comes in and say, listen, I want to visit these inequities on you but you have a choice whether you're going to continue in that way or not. And if you'll turn from that, if you'll consider it and turn — remember I used that illustration about my father. My father grew up in an alcoholic home. He saw alcoholism. We never had a drop of anything in the house. You want to know why? Because he saw it, he considered it, and listen to me, and he broke that generational curse over our family because he turned away from it.
So you got the dangers of impurity, the consequences, and then, look at the blessings of purity. Here's point three. The blessings of purity in verse 6, which is the third verse of the second commandment, but, "But", in other words, he just said, "I'm going to visit the inequities to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me but", but, "showing mercy to thousands", and the implication here is generation and you say, well, how do you know that? Well, I'll back it up with another scripture. "To those who love me and keep my commandments". And let me show you another scripture because a lot of people say, well, that's just thousands of people not thousands of generations. The problem is there are three other scriptures that state, "Thousands of generations".
In Deuteronomy 7, Deuteronomy by the way, is the second law. You got Exodus as the law, Deuteronomy is the second law. In other words, the law repeated. Deuteronomy 7:9, "Therefore, know that the Lord, your God, he is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love him and keep his commandments". Isn't that cool? I mean, and so many times, again, we read the Old Testament and we see judgment, law, all this stuff and yet, all of it is for relationship. It's all for good. God doesn't want you to walk in impurity because it affects your relationship with him. He wants to have a pure relationship with you and it not only will affect you, but it will affect your children and your grandchildren and your great grandchildren.
You should get — Rabbi Consant last week, if there's anything in your life that you know is impure, wrong, you need to get it out of your life. That's exactly right. It's exactly right because it's going to affect your purity, your relationship with God.
Now, we talked about the word visiting. Let me just tell you just a moment about the word showing, showing. Okay. This word showing is a Hebrew word and it's translated other ways. Some of the ways it's translated are fashion, accomplish, prepare, appoint, ordain, institute, bring about, produce, press, and squeeze. Okay. I want you to think about this. God is going to fashion mercy for you. He's going to accomplish it. He's going to prepare mercy for you. He's going to appoint mercy for you. He's going to ordain mercy for you. He's going to institute, bring about, produce, press, and squeeze mercy and blessing all over you and all over your decedents for a thousand generations.
If you'll simply love him and keep his commandments. So please hear me. The ten commandments aren't bad. Paul says that even in the New Testament, he says, they're not bad. The commandments aren't bad. They're good. And what they're doing is they're not this list of, thou shalt not, thou shalt not, thou shalt not because God doesn't want us playing in the street because the street is more fun. They are a list of principles that if we understand this principle, it's going to bless us and it's going to bless everyone that lives after us, everyone.
Some of you know that we have three children, Josh, James, and Elaine. Two boys and a girl and then, their spouses and grandchildren. Elaine lived a double life for about two years when she was a teenager, a late teenager and we knew that her attitude was wrong. And some of you who have had older children, you've gone through something like this. You can see it in their attitude but we didn't know how wrong her actions were during that time until she confessed to us. But for about two years we did what any parent would do and that's pray and seek God and try to get through and try to talk and do what we could do.
And the only reason I'm sharing this, by the way, is she shares this publicly. She's actually preaching at Pastor Tim Ross's church today so she teaches and preaches and conferences and all now and loves the Lord, serves the Lord, godly husband, Ethan. But she walked away from the Lord for about two years and she did it privately. She had a secret life. And so, she repented, came back to the Lord and probably, truly got saved at 19 years old. And she said to, after she repented, she came to Debbie and me and she said, "I need to confess some things to you guys".
So we went outside on the patio to talk and in our house, we have a grandchildren candy jar. Just so you know, it's for grandchildren and papaw. But anyway, so I got those little Tootsie Rolls. You know the little ones, you know, okay. So I got two of those Tootsie Rolls. We go outside. I don't know what all she's going to confess. Well, I start eating one of the Tootsie Rolls. She starts confessing and it's pretty bad. And my heart begins to break for my daughter and so, I didn't eat the second Tootsie Roll. So we talked. We loved her. We prayed for her, prayed over her, things like that. And we're reunited.
And when I went in that night, I saw this Tootsie Roll in my pocket and I started to throw it away and I felt like the Lord said, "Keep that". And so, I put it away somewhere and I kept it. Six months later, now, she's met Ethan, who's her husband now, a godly man. She's been serving the Lord. She's going great and we started talking during that time. We even went to a counselor together because some of the reasons she rebelled was her response to me. And I failed her in some ways. The church was large and that's not your fault, it's my fault. The television. The books. The things like that. I didn't know how to handle some of that stuff and again, that's not an excuse. She understands it's a reason but it's not an excuse. But I wasn't there then for her during some formidable teenage years as much as I should have been.
So I began to ask her things like that of, how did I fail you? How can I ask your forgiveness and make that up to you during that six month time? Once of the things she said, she said, "Dad, this is so small but it's just been in my heart but it's a small thing". So I said, "What is it"? Well, when she was three years old, we were driving to Dallas one day and it was at night and where Reunion Tower was lighted. You ever seen where Reunion Tower when it lights and the lights flash and all that. And it's the first time she had ever seen it. And so, she's three and so, she said this, she said, "Dad, look at that". I said, "Yeah, isn't it pretty"? And she said, "Yeah, Dad, please buy that for me".
Well, obviously, I can't buy Reunion Tower for her so I said, "Well, sugar, I can't buy that". I said, "But it's a restaurant". And I said, "I tell you what, when you get older I'll take you on a date to Reunion Tower". And I forgot all about that. But she didn't forget about it. And she said, "Dad, it's just a small thing but you never did that". And so, we set up a date and while I was getting ready to take her to Reunion Tower, the Lord spoke something to my heart and I put that Tootsie Roll in my pocket. And so, we had our dinner.
Two days later I knew that Ethan was going to propose to her. He had already talked to us about it. And I said to her after dinner, I said, "You want some desert"? She said, "Yeah". And I pulled that Tootsie Roll out and she said, "That's our desert"? I said, "Well, we can order something else in a moment". But I said, "Do you have any idea what this is"? She said, "No". And so, I told her about the two Tootsie Rolls and I said, "The Lord told me that you and I are going to eat this Tootsie Roll tonight because we're closing the chapter on the time you walked away from God and we're breaking those curses to our future generations. And we ate that Tootsie Roll. It was horrible. Are you hearing me? When God said, "You shall not", it's not because He doesn't want you to have fun. It's because he wants you to walk in a pure relationship with him.
God really does want us to have a pure relationship with him. These ten commandments are not about you shall not, you shall not. These ten commandments are principles of how we can have a better relationship with God and a better relationship with others. If there's an area of impurity in your life, not because God's mad at you, but because God loves you, I want you to lay it down today.