Thou Shalt Not ...
Text: Romans 13:8-10
I. In continuing our series on understanding the Ten Commandments, I would like for us to focus our attention on the commands which begin “You shall not ...” - Exodus 20:13-17
A. The repeating of a phrase, in this case “you shall not”, causes one to pay attention to the words. It sets up a rhythm that helps fix the rest into a person’s mind.
B. We will look at each one and see that each speaks of more than it appears on the surface.
II. You shall not murder
A. The requirement for punishing murder actually precedes the Old Law - Genesis 9:5-6
B. Some act as if this verse is saying that none should kill. However, this causes extreme difficulties. Each of the Ten Commandments carried a death penalty for violations of the commands.
C. Even all acts where one man killed another were not treated the same
1. Exodus 21:12 - General application
2. Exodus 21:13 - Accidental deaths are an exception
3. Exodus 21:14 - Indirect deaths caused by deceit are included
4. Exodus 21:29 - Indirect death due to negligence are included
D. Yet how were the Israelites to distinguish between a murder punishable by death and an accidental death?
1. Numbers 35:20-21 - If the death can be proven to be motivated by hatred or proven to have been planned in advance, then it was punishable by death
a. Note that this would include suicide, because such deaths are planned, however briefly.
2. Numbers 35:22-25 - But if there was no hatred involved or if the death was not plotted, then the punishment was confinement to a city until the death of the current High Priest.
3. What was the distinction between the two deaths? Hatred!
a. The very fact that a death was plotted shows hatred.
b. The fact that a known danger was not dealt with shows a hatred for your neighbors.
E. Hence, when we get to the New Law, we learn that the key to preventing murder is to deal with the hatred people have - Matthew 5:21-22
1. Jesus takes the law to its logical conclusion. Hatred is the cause of murder, so we must not hate people.
2. That includes not calling people names because name-calling is a symptom of hatred.
3. I John 3:14-18 - Hatred for a brother is equivalent to murder
a. Notice that even the neglect of aiding a brother when we have the ability is a symptom of a general hatred for brethren and therefore an application of “You shall not murder.”
b. It is similar to a man, knowing he had a vicious animal, not doing anything about it.
F. How do you not commit murder?
1. By learning to love all your neighbors - I John 4:20-21
2. Instead of acting on hatred, we act on concern - Romans 12:17-21
3. Jesus said it this way - Matthew 5:43-48
III. You shall not commit adultery
A. Adultery is the violation of the marriage covenant by having sex with someone to whom you are not married.
1. It does not matter if the partner was willing, such as a prostitute - Proverbs 6:23-26
a. Notice that she is called both a harlot and an adulteress.
B. There is more implied here.
1. When an engaged person has sex, it is a violation of the covenant that will be made - Deuteronomy 22:22-24
a. An exception is made on the part of the woman in the case of rape.
2. By extension, sex prior to marriage is a violation against a person’s future mate, even though you haven’t yet met - Deuteronomy 22:13-14, 20-21
3. Thus you find in the New Testament - Hebrews 13:4
C. Like murder, adultery is not something that just happens. It begins earlier with lust - Matthew 5:27-28
D. So how does one not commit adultery?
1. By abstaining from sex or getting married - I Corinthians 7:1-2, 8-9
2. If marriage is to prevent adultery, then the withholding of sex within a marriage cannot be used as a weapon - I Corinthians 7:5
E. That marriage is a lifetime commitment - Romans 7:2-3
1. It means to avoid divorce because it will encourage adultery - Matthew 5:31-32
2. Just because you leave your spouse doesn’t mean that God no longer considers you married.
F. Not committing adultery implies that we do not given the impression that we approve of sexual sins - Ephesians 5:3-7
1. Sexual sins should not be associated with Christians.
2. To keep that purity, Christians are not show acceptance of it in their talk, in the words that they use, or even the jokes that they tell.
IV. You shall not steal
A. Stealing is taking what belongs to another.
B. Includes more than the outright taking
1. Exodus 21:16 - Kidnaping is a form of stealing
2. Leviticus 6:2 - When you are entrusted with the safe keeping something and you lose it or it becomes damaged by your neglect, then it is stealing.
3. Leviticus 6:3 - When you find something that belongs to another and you don’t return it, then it is stealing.
4. A merchant can steal by using dishonest scales - Leviticus 19:35-37
5. An employer can steal by not paying wages on time - Leviticus 19:13
6. A person can steal justice by taking bribes or steal a person’s reputation by making a false accusation - Luke 3:12-14
7. Jesus accuses men of stealing when sought to make money off religious practices - Matthew 21:12-13
a. Charging for something that ought to be free is stealing.
C. How then do you not steal?
1. Get a job! - Ephesians 4:28
2. Work so you have something to eat - II Thessalonians 3:10
V. You shall not bear false witness
A. The most obvious application of this command is that a person should not lie in court - Exodus 23:1, 6, 7
B. Yet, this command is not limited to courtroom settings
1. You should not make a false accusation against a person - Deuteronomy 19:16-20
2. This was the crime committed against Naboth - I Kings 21:12-13
3. Such telling of tales is called slander - Proverbs 10:18
4. It doesn’t matter if the falsehood is publicly proclaimed or secretly spread - Psalm 101:5-7
5. Slander is another sin motivated by hatred - Ephesians 4:31
6. When a person speaks against his brother, sits in judgment against the brother and the law because the law states it is wrong to slander - James 4:11
7. Ultimately, what this law states is that God’s people are not to tell lies - Revelation 21:8
a. Leviticus 19:11 - Even in business dealings.
b. It means not making promises you cannot keep - Leviticus 19:12
c. A promise not kept is a false testimony against yourself.
C. How then do I not bear false witness?
1. Always speak the truth - Ephesians 4:25
a. This will eliminate malicious slander
b. But it also means you always verify what you say is true, this will eliminate gossip.
(1) I’m amazed by the number of people who pass on e-mail notes without ever checking to see if it is true or false.
2. Avoid making promises and always keep your word - Matthew 5:33-37
a. A simple “yes” or “no” is more than enough to commit a Christian
VI. You shall not covet
A. I’ve always had a difficult time defining the word covet to young people.
1. As I studied for this lesson, I was surprised to learn that it literally means “to delight in beauty.”
2. By extension it means to desire something, to lust after it, to set your heart upon something
a. “I don’t care I want it NOW!”
b. In other words it is describing greed.
3. Webster: “A greedy desire to have more; greedy of gain; marked by inordinate desire for wealth or possessions, seeking to get what is another’s in an unlawful way.”
B. Greed and self-centered desires
1. As Judah fell, Jeremiah complained of their greed - Jeremiah 6:13
2. The covetous man wants whatever his heart desires - Psalm 10:3
a. In other words, a covetous man is selfish. Other people do not matter. The only thing that matters is what I want.
3. The root cause is the lack of satisfaction - Ecclesiastes 4:6-8
a. Even when one gains, it is never enough - Ecclesiastes 5:10
b. The beginning of David’s sin with Bathsheba was covetousness. It is not as if David didn’t have a wife – in fact he had several. Yet, it didn’t stop him from wanting more.
4. The covetous cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven - I Corinthians 6:9-10
a. Why? Because greed distracts a man from worthy goals - Luke 12:13-21
b. It is a path full of traps - I Timothy 6:10
5. Coveting is actually a form of idolatry - Colossians 3:5
a. The covetous’s god is himself. He worships his own desires and sees himself as the center of the universe. Everything must bow before his desires.
C. How can I not covet?
1. By learning to be content - Philippians 4:11-13
2. Because contentment is a trust in God - Hebrews 13:5-6
3. Understanding that the material things we may want are only of this world - I Timothy 6:6-8
4. Getting our priorities straight - Psalms 37:16-22
a. Too many are willing to compromise their principles if it leads to gain.
5. See that other people are more important - Philippians 2:3-4
VII. All these commands can be seen as a list of restrictions, but in reality they are different facets of one freeing principle - Romans 13:9-10