Reasons we need Jesus
The Ten Commandments are big. Even people who know nothing about the bible have heard of them. They probably don’t know what they are…
1) How many can you name off the top of your head?
Exodus 20:1-17 The Ten Commandments (Also found in Deuteronomy 6.)
And God spoke all these words: “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. You shall not make for yourself an image 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 parents 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. You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. 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 male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 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. Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Which are the 10? It turns out different churches count them differently.
2) Number them where you think.
3) People sometimes feel like they can keep these. Not so hard. How about you?
Which one is which is not so important. What is important, is that these became a way of summing up the Law. For Jews, keeping the Law was the most important thing about honoring God. All the rules, and there were thousands. That’s why Jesus was so shocking, when they thought he was not following the Law.
Matthew 5 The Fulfillment of the Law
17-20 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”4) Fulfilling the Law? That’s probably more shocking than changing it. The idea here is that the Pharisees were practically perfect at law keeping. Better than that? What’s an expression we could have like that? If you’re not better at basketball than Michael Jordan, you’re not going to heaven.
Murder 21-22 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”
(Raca was an insult at the time that meant ‘worthless.’)
Adultery 27-28 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Oaths 33-34, 37 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all… All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
Eye for Eye 38-42 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Love for Enemies 43-47 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
Finally Jesus just says: 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
5) What would it have been like for people hearing this? How would you feel if our pastor said, “Basically, you all have to be perfect or you’re going to hell.”
But then there’s the Good News. Paul wrote in Romans 10:9-13
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
So Jesus was telling people that you can never be good enough. But just so that he could let us know that he was doing it for us.
6) Do you know many people who think they get to heaven by being good? What might you say to them?