In Matthew 22:35-36, an “expert in religious law” asked Jesus, “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replies with 2 Great Commandments. He actually is takes the original 10 Commandments, given by God to humans through Moses, and sums them up into 2. They both center around relationships…
- Between people and God
- Between one another
Let’s see how the 10 Commandments fit nicely into these two categories. We’ll start with the first one that covers Commandments 1-4 and tomorrow we’ll cover 5-10. Let’s begin with Jesus’ summary of part 1…
The Greatest Commandment
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.Matthew 22:37-38 NLT
Why does Jesus break down HOW we must love God into 3 parts? Jim Denison of Denison Forum explains…
“In Jewish theology, your “heart” is the will, your practical dimension. Your “soul” is your intuitive dimension. Your “mind” is your rational dimension.”Jim Denison
Let’s now look at the first 4 Commandments…
Then God gave the people all these instructions:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.
3 “You must not have any other god but me.”Exodus 20:1-3 NLT
The first commandment is foundational. Without God preeminent (first) in our lives, everything begins to crack. By the way, these “instructions” are from God, NOT Moses.
“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. 5 You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. 6 But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.”Exodus 20:4-6 NLT
Do not worship statues or ANYTHING made by man. We are NEVER to make God in our image. And idolatry can be in the form of worshiping the things of this world — like Mary and the saints. Paul warned us…
5 You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.Ephesians 5:5 NLT
“You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.”Exodus 20:7 NLT
No blasphemy! Do not use God’s name or Jesus’ name as a curse word or an exclamation. That goes for “OMG” and its variations.
8 “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.”Exodus 20:8-11 NLT
This is simple. Labor or work (for money) for 6 days, then rest for one day. Believe me, if you try to work 7 days a week without rest, you will kill yourself. Your health and family life will suffer. I know mine did. The Jewish leaders added more “don’ts” to this law and Jesus confronted them when He healed many on Sabbath days. Jesus explained that the Sabbath was for man, not man for the Sabbath.
Then, there’s a special “rest” that only Jesus gives us. That’s not having to work for our Salvation!
God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. 2 For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God. 3 For only we who believe can enter his rest. As for the others, God said,
“In my anger I took an oath:
‘They will never enter my place of rest,’”[Psalm 95:11]
even though this rest has been ready since he made the world. 4 We know it is ready because of the place in the Scriptures where it mentions the seventh day: “On the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5 But in the other passage God said, “They will never enter my place of rest.”
6 So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. 7 So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted:
“Today when you hear his voice,
don’t harden your hearts.”[Psalm 95:7-8]
8 Now if Joshua had succeeded in giving them this rest, God would not have spoken about another day of rest still to come. 9 So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. 10 For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. 11 So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.Hebrews 4:1-11 NLT
8 “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”Matthew 11:28
This means that we don’t have to struggle to be good enough. We can NEVER be good enough. By ourselves, we can’t make ourselves right with God. That means that we don’t need religion! We don’t need…
- Baby baptism
- Confessing to a priest
- The hocus pocus of the Eucharist
- Roman Catholicism
We rest in Jesus!
Let’s review how Jesus summed up these first 4 commandments…
“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.”Jesus
- Open your whole heart to Jesus and seek His will for your life and follow it.
- Trust Jesus with your whole being. Again, seek Him first.
- Seek His wisdom in all you do and watch what you worship, idolize, pray to, read, listen to, and watch. Let Jesus guard your speech. Take a break once a week. Rest from religion and seek Jesus for salvation.
How do you do this?
You might think this is too hard. Well, it is hard. However, Jesus gives us His Helper, the Holy Spirit to guide us, convict us when we stray from the rules and He gives us peace and REST!
What are you waiting for?
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.
Next Steps in Your New Walk with Jesus…
- Start reading the Bible daily to get to know God. If you don’t have one, I recommend the YouVersion, Bible.app and Through the Word app — both are free and have a lot of great Bible studies.
- Pray every day. Talk to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you daily.
- Find and join a Bible-believing church — preferably a non-denominational one and be baptized!