4755 Kimball Bridge Rd. Alpharetta, GA 30005

The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments

Part One: The Worshiping of God

Radiant Church’s lead pastor, Keith Welton, delivers a sermon from Exodus 20:1-8, which tells us how to worship God and how to prevent any other gods from becoming idols in our lives. Below, you can watch our whole service, or listen to the sermon audio, and access the sermon notes.

To listen to last week’s message on Hebrews 13:18-25, you can access the audio or video here.

Sermon Audio

Sermon Notes

Ten Commandments

Part 1: The Worship of God

Exodus 20:1-8 . Then God spoke all these words: 2 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. 3 Do not have other gods besides Me. 4 Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. 5 You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands. 7 Do not misuse the name of the LORD your God, because the LORD will punish anyone who misuses His name. 8 Remember to dedicate the Sabbath day: 9 You are to labor six days and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. You must not do any work– you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the foreigner who is within your gates. 11 For the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy. (Exodus 20:1-11 CSB)

We are doing a short series on the Ten Commandments. The reason we are doing this is quite frankly because we need it. We are in an interesting time in history. Morality is changing. What used to be right and wrong have changed. Christian views on sex and marriage, which used to be more mainstream, are now looked down upon. Christians find themselves on the margins of society. But even more we also see the disappearance of truthfulness. People will lie to create a good story or to get more views. The disappearance of honesty. People lie. And it is all about themselves and there is no sense of honoring any one other than themselves. 

Society feels more oppressive every day. Thrown off the constraints of religion. Aldous Huxley Animal Farm, when the animals (with leadership from pigs Snowball and Napoleon) overthrow the tyranny of the alcoholic farmer Mr. Jones, they experience freedom, for a bit, then they begin to institute new rules that were more problematic than the first. Society has thrown off the constraints of religion and are beginning to feel the bite of something even more enslaving.

Philosopher Umberto Echo wrote his book Chronicles of Liquid Society to point out how wishy- washy people are today. There is nothing grounding people. They are liquid that flows to the place of least resistance. There are few principles that people are willing to stand on and stand firm on and sacrifice for. I want to see my kids be honest, truthful, and strong. Can only do that by knowing the Lord. 

The value of the day is tolerance. That is the religion of the day. At least until you differ with someone on a particular issue. Then you find out how intolerant tolerance really is. Tolerance seeks to make everything ok. It suppresses religion. The form of Christianity that tolerance and the world accept is an apathetic practice of Christianity. It is an emasculated form, robbed of any virility and truth. It is a form of Christianity that is repudiated throughout the whole of Scripture. We cannot and ought not to buy into that. 

One of the things that makes it more palatable is spiritualism. People will say, “I’m spiritual but not religious.” Spiritual is so amorphous, having no form. It simply means I believe in God but do whatever I want. It gives God tokens and enthrones the self as Lord of all. You make your decision, you decide what is right and wrong, and baptize them in the name of God. It’s a false view of the world. 

God gave his law to people so that there is a clear path to serving him. There is a right and wrong way. That is not popular, but it is absolutely true and it is extremely helpful to know. In his law he tells people how to live. It means we have something worth living for, something worth sacrificing for, something bigger than ourselves, something more enduring than the momentary pleasures that arise and pass away forever. We have something to live for, and to die for. It means there is something called character, the quality of a person. And character is based on following God, who is the greatest 

We don’t need to make Christianity more palatable to our culture. We need to be utterly distinct from our culture and we need to be more emphatic about the need to be distinct. These ten words that God gave his people are the embodiment of the whole law. 

Prop: The Ten Commandments gives shape, form, and definition to what it means to serve God as God. 

  1. The Lord the Deliverer 

[And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (Exo 20:2 ESV)

God speaks. He is the living God. He speaks and reveals himself. Because he has done that means that we ought to seek after what he has said. He has not left us in the dark on how we are to know him and serve him. He has made it clear. God has spoken. We ought to seek to listen. 

I am Yahweh. This is the name God used to reveal himself to Moses. It is his covenantal name. The name he gave his people to call on him. State of being. Hard verb form to understand. In giving us this name God gives us a way to access him, and yet there is still a shroud of mystery to it. Capitalized

He is the God who redeems. He saved his people out of Egypt. They were in slavery. He has set them free. Notice his giving commands is not further enslavement. It is the essence of life. If you want life, and want it to the full, then you take his commands upon you. These commands were given for a people meant to be in relationship with God. Good rulers give commands that bring life and freedom to all. 

Ten simple but all- encompassing ways. These ten commands are repeated in the Old Testament, elaborated on by others., Jesus taught on them and showed their true intent. 

The law is an expression of God’s holy moral character. Eternal in that it expresses his wishes for people. When rightly understood, it is a joy and delight to follow. 

Eternal law of God that transcends cultures and times. Other laws were tied closely to worship in the tabernacle or the political aspect of Israel. 

We are looking at the first four commands as these focus on our relationship to God. Next step is toward our neighbor. 

  1. Do not have other gods. 

[3 Do not have other gods besides Me.

He is the only God who is. He is the God we should worship. The first command establishes the priority of God in our lives. He is first. We are not to worship, seek after, praise, trust in any other god. All the other commands flow from this first command. If you don’t get the first right, you won’t get any of the others right. God is the one we worship, we call on, pray to, seek to please, submit to, and try to conform all of our thinking and hopes to. God, Yahweh, Jesus is our ultimate source of meaning, guidance, authority, obedience. We seek to honor him, understand him. When life seems to be falling apart we seek after him. 

This is narrow minded today. Let me give you an argument for this. How can you say there is only one way? Is there evil at work in the world? Everyone will say yes. If there is evil in the world that intentionally takes us away from God’s purposes, then the greatest strategy of that evil would be to distort, distract, or remove God’s word. If evil, then good, and we must determine what is and is not true. People who seek remove God will come up with their own justification for life without him. 

Lies of secularism. A more neutral way of looking at life. If you remove God, you do not get neutrality. Something else fills the void left by him. Remove a person of power from a position, and another will move in and fill the void. Everyone has an ultimate. Everyone has a god they serve. What is the name of yours? Government, science, money, society?. 

First command is giving God the first part of life. It can be easy to say God is first. The other commandments will give concrete pathways to that.  

  1. Do not make for yourself an idol. 

[Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. 5 You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands. (Exodus 20:4-6 CSB)

First commandment deals with whom to worship. Second commandment deals with how to worship. 

Don’t make idols– graven images. Made images on stone. Does this mean we are not to have any image of God? That would prohibit the making of any image of God. That would mean no movies about God or Jesus. Don’t watch The Chosen, The Passion of the Christ or Da Vinci’s masterful painting the Last Supper.

If true, then God would have broken his own command. Told the people in the construction of the ark to have cherubim on it. These are angelic figures.

Pesel. We should not make images for the purpose of bowing down to them. Pesel is translated carved image. In Scripture it is never simply a piece of art. It is always used for an image, used for idolatrous purposes, used of things that are worshiped. God does not forbid art, but rather art made for worship. 

[v5. Shall not bow down or worship.

This is what Aaron did when Moses left the people to go up on the mountain of God. He had the people donate their gold and he formed it into a calf to worship. 

You need to throw away your idols. You have put a sense of identity into them that they do not deserve. Worship and serve the true God. They cannot and will not do anything to you. Don’t live in fear of them. Ouija boards, tarot cards, lucky bracelets, family idols, tarot cards, mediums. Those are other gods that are not gods at all. 

Let me say right here how foolish this is. But sin is not logical. Sin distorts our view of the world. The people wanted instant security. Something to see in the moment. They wanted someone to present to them a god who is near, accessible, not threatening or making demands. This god they can control. The people stood on the mountain and were scared of the holiness of God. They trembled. An idol they can control. 

-Idols also tend to be things we worship. It can bey synonymous with another God. 

Calvin the human heart is a perpetual factory of idols. Our heart is constantly making things for us to trust in, bow down to. Serve in hopes of getting what we want, not what God wants.

“The evil in our desire often lies not in what we want but in the fact that we want it too much.” Powlison. 

There is nothing wrong with wanting to get married, or wanting kids. Those are good things. But when it consumes us and we are depressed and can’t function, or you’re willing to throw yourself at the first person who shows some interest. You have an idol. 

-It’s not wrong to want to play video games. But when you do that to the neglect of your other duties, that thing has become too important. sex.

-It’s OK to want to plan and schedule things. But when you are made at everyone for interfering with your plans and cutting them down then a good desire has become too important. 

Good things can become idols and god’s . John Calvin. 


I want ___. Peace and quiet. Order. Control. Respect. 

I need ___. New kitchen. New car. New job. Money. Wife. husband. 

I desire ___. 

I expect ___. To succeed in everything I do. For you to do exactly what I want. 

God is going to call you to sacrifice your idols for him. Your idol is whatever you don’t disappoint. Money isn’t an idol, so give it to God. Work isn’t an idol, why are you ready to kill yourself because you lost your job. Can you give your job up and say the Lord is enough?. Can you give your money to him?. Your reputation?. 

The desire for these prevents you from keeping the Lord’s commandments. It’s an issue of whom are you going to disappoint. We would rather disobey God than disappoint our own appetites. Who is first in your life??

Liberating. Fear of man. Bondage to it. Just knew that I didn’t want a friend to see me going to Bible study, I wouldn’t carry a Bible around, and did not want them to hear me talking about my faith. Was challenged by a friend that I was living in fear of people. I began to pray about that, read books on it, memorize verses, and made a list of every time I didn’t do something because of the fear of people. I was scared of people and always trying to put up a good front, didn’t want people to know who I really was. I began learning this and being around other guys who could laugh at their mistakes, be vulnerable to their fears and concerns, and speak honestly and courageously on hard things.

Eventually I began to experience freedom from that fear. Would never in a million years have said I was an idol worshiper. But that is what I was, and Jesus set me free. What might he set you free from if you stop being apathetic and start taking his word seriously?. Or sit there and do nothing and create a following of people who hear God’s word and ignore it and are judged for it. 

God is a jealous God. jealous. Used of a husband’s jealousy for his wife. It is good and appropriate. God loves in complete holiness. God makes a covenant with his people, and, like marriage, it requires exclusive loyalty. 

Don’t call me Lord and then have your side hustles. Like marriage. Don’t propose to me and keep your others. Don’t look back to them, don’t consult them. Married Amanda, we are trying to figure out some new furniture for the living room, what if I called my girlfriend from 8th grade. Hey this is Keith, I was wondering if you could give me some advice. That is not the devotion marriage calls for. It’s foolish and stupid to think that would work in relationships. Don’t do it with God. This is why when God’s people worship other gods he calls them adulterers and prostitutes. 

Must worship God and God alone. Worship him as he has revealed himself to us. Don’t replace him with other things. Don’t serve other things more than him, don’t worship things more than him. Don’t think you can do church on Sunday and live how you want the rest of the week. That’s like having a wife during the week and a mistress on the weekends. That is completely using both people. It is vile and disgraceful. Shows how shallow and calloused is the person doing it is. And yet people do it with God all the time. 

Judgment for this. And not just for the person but for his future children. Not arbitrarily punishing children for something they did not do. Concern is creating an atmosphere of idolatry in your home that will be a model for your children. 

Cleansing effect of purging idols.

  1. Do not misuse the name of the Lord. 

[“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. (Exo 20:7 ESV)

Typically think of this as how we speak of God. Don’t curse with the Lord’s name. It is but it is more than that. Nasah is the verb and it means to lift up. Not amar or davar, used for speaking. It is not just about speaking God’s name, but more broadly for bearing his name. Shall not bear his name to no purpose. God places his name on his people. We belong to him. Our identity is in the people of God. 

Our attitude in worship. The use of God’s name constitutes worship. When we use his name, we must remember that we stand in his holy presence, and his presence always creates a situation of worship, reverence and awe. Frame 487, 

*This, like the other commandments, presents a broad perspective on all of life that in effect defines all virtues and sins. 

4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.  (Psalm 24:1 ESV)

Might hear a family member say don’t soil the family name. That is essentially what is being said here. We are to honor the Lord with our lips. If we are taking the Lord’s name in vain we ought to stop. We should stand in awe of God and show reverence for his commands. But, if we keep doing it, we show that we don’t really fear his word. Or we discover that we are enslaved to sin and cannot stop. We ought to call to him for help. 

Vain means empty, meaninglessness, trivial. We often break God’s commands because they seem trivial. The Lord promises he will not hold you guiltless. Do you think you are going to make God a liar??

Speak rightly about God. We see people today talk carelessly about divine things. They have no basis for their beliefs. It is just their thoughts and everyone nods like it is ok. Believe whatever you want. That is garbage. Can’t do that. God gave us his word to know him and to know who he is. He revealed himself. Satan’s work is accomplished by distorting God’s word. Salvation is found in none other than Jesus Christ. If I say something otherwise then I am not speaking truly. 

Humor.  We live in a day where cheap, salacious humor is the norm. Anything to get a laugh, a like, a like view. It takes talent to be funny and honoring. 

Life. Don’t talk one way at church and another way with your friends. Church friends and club friends. That is a double life. You are breaking the first, second and third commandments. Other gods, idols, and profaning his name. 

Oaths. Let your yes be and yes and your no be no. Be a man of your word. Talk about character. Say what you mean, mean what you say. That is a person you can trust. Want to marry a person you can depend on?, Watch how they talk to others and what they follow through on. Promises. Oaths. Take your oaths in his name. You live up to your promises. 

The Lord told me to… Are we claiming God’s approbation for something that…

We are to hallow his name. Show reverence for it and for him. Ultimate goal in life. 

  1. Honor the Sabbath. 

There is to be one day a week that you rest and refrain from activities. On this day you are to rest from work and responsibilities. God created the world in six days and he rested on the seventh. 

Not just rest. We rest from certain things so that we can make this day holy. We set it apart for God. It is not just to watch TV and catch up on Netflix. There is a difference between relaxation and edification. We are edified by making the day holy. Which means we go to church. 

Those who don’t rest and don’t go to church are sabbath breakers. And you are doing that by ignoring God’s commands. What is truly reigning over you?. Idols, gods.

Christian interpretation has pointed to the particular calling of this for heads of households. 

[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. (Exo 20:10 ESV)

Give rest to those under your care. I want to tell you, one of the best things we did as parents is not feel like we have to be at every activity. We don’t have to do everything there is. We treated sports as leisure activities, which it is for 99.99 percent of people. Our society is anxious, fearful, don’t understand themselves or God, or the way the world is to work., We have taken God out and we are suffering the consequences. Give your kids time to rest. Time to reset, to be quiet, to recognize you are under the Lordship of a gracious God who commands you to honor him and commands you to find your rest in him.

Rest is one of the biggest things for the church, taking time to drink and replenish.

Rest for society. There is a diminishing quality of work for most people when you push past a six- day work week. I found in college if I rested I worked more effectively. For me working six6 days and resting on the seventh helped me to view my whole week as an offering to God. 

Sabbath restores us. God created the world and rested on the seventh. God is working in the world now, but it will culminate in an end times rest. A new heaven and new earth. A rest for the people of God. We work, we sweat, we bleed, doing what God has called us to, and then we rest, we refresh ourselves and remind ourselves of what God has promised to do. We await a sabbath rest from God for his people in which God’s work of redeeming the world is completed. It is a day that he will fill our lives with every good thing. 

Observe the sabbath by resting. You can rest because God is at work. Observe the sabbath by going to church. Rest by reading the word. Some people light candles on the sabbath as the slowness of the candle reminds them to slow down. Others reflect on the sabbath to remember what God has done and been faithful to them that week. Some feast, eat with others, to remember God has a feast in store for his people. It reminds them something better is coming. It is a weekly rhythm that reminds of the hope we have in Christ. 


All this is a way to give expression to your love and devotion to God. It is not ambiguous, it is not unclear, and it is not boring, mundane, or drudgery. It shows you have life and life to the full. It is illuminating in that we see tangible ways we throw off his Lordship. We worship other gods, bow to images, profane his name, and desecrate his sabbath. We see his goodness that redeems us through Jesus just as he redeemed them through Moses. We can experience forgiveness and find renewed desire to follow him and his commands. 

It humbles us. Not just one to point our finger at others and say sinner, but point finger at our own selves. And lift our hands up for mercy. 

Favorite teachers. Love his topic and wanted others to know it very well. As you came in, you to saw everything was done with that in mind. Wasn’t trying to punish students, but to develop them. Similar here. 

As society casts off all restraint, we must remember we are not trying to call them to a list of rules but to a Savior. A savior who loves them. Knows them. Has their best in mind. We are calling them to serve him with all their heart. 

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is it important to know the Ten Commandments?
  2. Why is the first commandment about no other God’s? 
  3. How do you see idols in your life?
  4. How can you observe the command to rest? How does this command particularly show you the goodness of God’s Lordship?

Tags: , ,

%d bloggers like this: