Joke: A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds. After explaining the commandment to “honor thy father and thy mother” she asked, “Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?” Without missing a beat one little boy answered, “Thou shalt not kill.”
Text: Exodus 20:1-17; 1 John 3:23
Prop: a poster of Moses with tablets of law or picture of stone tablets to color
Summary: We should obey God’s commands out of love for Him and our fellowman.
How many of you know what a law is? It is a rule. Do you have rules at your house? I have rules at my house such as “always say the blessing before you start eating” and “don’t spit your food out even if you don’t like the way it tastes.” We have other rules like “Don’t hit your sister” and “Look both ways before crossing the street.” Most rules are meant to keep us safe from harm; others are to help us have good manners. Rules have to do with how we behave. Today I want to tell you about God’s rules.
After three months in the wilderness the children of Israel came to Mount Sinai. This was where God told Moses to come so he could give them rules to live by. We call those rules the Ten Commandments. The rules were meant for our own good. They teach us how to behave towards God and each other. God wrote these commandments on tablets of stone.
The first four commandments tell us how to behave toward God. The first rule tells us that there is only one God and we should serve only Him. The second rule says we should not make idols, which are images of other gods. He doesn’t want us to make anything or anybody more important in our lives than Him. The third rule says we should not use God’s name as a swear word. The fourth rule says to keep the seventh day holy. God made all the world in six days and on the seventh day he rested. He wants us to use one day a week for resting and thanking God.
The next six rules tell us how to behave toward each other. The fifth rule says we should honor our parents. That means we need to obey our parents. The sixth rule says do not kill. The seventh rule says married couples should be faithful to each other. The eighth rule says do not steal. The ninth rule says don’t tell lies about others. The tenth rule says don’t want something that belongs to someone else.
God gave us these rules to live by because he loves us and wants what is best for us. Your parents have rules at your house because they love you and want what is best for you. The children of Israel found it hard to live by all the rules at first, but after a while they realized that things worked better when they obeyed the rules. After many years (and lots more rules) Jesus came to explain the rules. He said we should love God first with all that we are and love our neighbor as ourselves.
And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. (1 John 3:23) If we are going to love God, we must love Jesus, His Son. Once we love Jesus, we will be able to love each other. That is what God wants us to do.
©2000 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.