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God's Top Ten List

June 17, 2018
Rev. Terry Martinson



  • I’m counting you to help me this morning… I’ve been away on vacation for several weeks and per order of the Deacons, my vacation didn’t include any sermon preparation…
  • I’m going to begin the sermon this morning by telling you a little about the 10 Commandents – “God’s Top Ten List” – and then I’m going to ask you to help me create a list of commandments for parents and others…


  • The Ten Commandments that Moses brought down from the mountaintop to God’s people wandering in the wilderness included 8 things that we should never do never do and 2 things that we should always do…
  • James W. Moore writes, “The Ten Commandments tell us clearly how things are, how things work, how life holds together, and how God meant things to be.”  <When All Else Fails… Read The Instructions  – p. 95>
  • “Anyone who is awake enough to ‘smell the coffee” can easily see that life is better when we love God and other people; life is better when we respect our parents and tell the truth; life is better when we are honest, faithful, kind, and gracious in all our relationships. That’s the way God meant it to be, and life works better for us when we live daily by these dependable spiritual laws.” <Ibid – p.95>
  • Some argue that the world has changed so much since the time of Moses that the Ten Commandments are now obsolete – “outdated rules” – but the Ten Commandments did not come with an expiration date stamped upon them like milk cartons do… they are not outdated and they are as practical and as important today as they were in the time of the exodus.
  • Others argue that the teachings of Jesus replaced the Ten Commandments, but Jesus very clearly said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter… will pass from the law until all is accomplished.”  <Matthew 5:17-18>
  • “The Ten Commandments tell us how things are, how life works best, and they are as valid now as they were for Moses and the people of Israel – and indeed for all people who ever lived or ever will live on the face of the earth. They are not a set of negative rules that Moses decided to draw up one day to keep the people in line. They are God’s eternal principles woven into the fabric of life. <Ibid – p. 97>


  • How is it that the Ten Commandments came from God’s “hand” into the hands of Moses?
  • The answer is found in the 19th chapter of Exodus… here’s a quick summary:
  • On their long journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, the Hebrew people eventually came to the wilderness of Sinai and camped in front of the mountain…
  • God called to Moses from the mountain saying, “If you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation.”  <Exodus 19:5-6>
  • Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, in order that the people may hear when I speak with you and so trust you ever after…. Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and prepare for the third day, because on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mt. Sinai in the sight of all the people.”  
  • On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, as well as a thick cloud on the mountain… Moses brought the people out of camp to meet God… they took their stand at the foot of the mountain… Now Mt. Sinai was wrapped in smoke, because the Lord had descended upon it… <vs. 16 -19>
  • Moses would speak and God would answer him in thunder… and the Lord summoned Moses to the top of the mountain and Moses went up… the people remained behind at the foot of the mountain… <vs. 19-20>
  • There on the top of Mt. Sinai, God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses… though God also gave Moses other ordinances (chapters 21-23) the Ten Commandments formed the core of Israel’s obligation in its relationship with God…
  • “God first gave them to Israel through Moses on Mount Sinai, so that people would have a way to live with one another peaceably as they entered the Promised Land. For without parameters, without rules, chaos will reign. By giving order to society, God is giving all of us the opportunity to live together in peace, and so to prosper, and live well in the land that God has given us.” <Erlandson>


  • I wonder how our lives would be different - I wonder how life would be different - if we truly followed the Ten Commandments today…
  • Life is better – so very much better – when we love God and other people… when we respect our parents and tell the truth… when we are honest, faithful, kind, and gracious in all our relationships… for that is the way God meant it to be…
  • Now, being Father’s Day, I’m hoping that you will help me to create a list of commandments for parents and others…

Hopefully the congregation will provide responses, butjust in case, here are some possibilities:

  • POSSIBLE RESPONSES  (various resources)
    • Treat your children fairly…
    • Keep your promises…
    • Don’t lie to your children…
    • Be consistent
    • Practice what you preach…
    • Listen carefully to your children… listen… listen… listen
    • Love your children unconditionally… love them, no matter what
    • Give your children the gift of your time… make time for your children
    • Don’t expect more from your children than they can deliver…
    • Build a character-centered family, not an entertainment-centered family
    • View your children as adults in the making…
    • Encourage your children to have goals…
    • Teach your children to have a relationship with God… help them develop their faith
    • Cultivate discipline
    • Know that you don’t have to be the perfect parent… you just need to try…

Sermon Seeds

  • When All Else Fails… Read The Instructions – James W. Moore
  • The 10 Commandments of Common Sense – Hal Urban
  • The Ten Commandments – a Lenten reflection by James Erlandson

Selected results from Googling “Ten Commandments for Parents

Worship Bulletin

Worship Insert