Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

02/17/2019 A.M.

 

Written IN STONE

No Other God’s Before Me”

Deuteronomy 19.16-20 & 20.1-3  Mark 12.28-31

 

We continue our study of the Ten Commandments...

 

We’ve mentioned that we believe these Principles to be eternal for three reasons...

 

They’re all... Commanded... Exemplified...Implied... In the New Testament... God’s New Covenant.

 

They are Written In Stone... Which may be an implication they are eternal in nature...

 

Thirdly... These Ten Words are the result of Direct Inspiration... God wrote them with His own finger.

 

So...Go with me this morning to Mount Sinai...

 

Here’s the setting... We’ve all gathered around the base of the mountain... A crowd of something in the neighborhood of a million to two million people... About the same size crowd Mayor Bill de Blasio said was gathered for New Years in Times Square.

 

Moses has just disappeared onto the Mountain. Afterward, we heard a voice say... I am the God who brought you out of Egypt...Who bore you on eagle’s wings... If you obey My voice... Keep My covenant... You’ll be My prized possession... My treasured ones... A kingdom of priests... A holy nation...  

 

All of promised... We’ll do all the Lord has to say... So the Lord said... On the third day... I will come speak in a way that will cause you to believe in Me forever.

 

So...On the third day... We consecrated ourselves... So we could hear God. When the day arrived some strange things begin to happen...

• The ground begins to shake beneath our feet...

• The top of the Mountain disappeared in fire and a thick billowing smoke.

• There was thunder and lightning...

• Then a strange eerie noise... A trumpet begins to sound blaring louder and louder and louder until we couldn’t stand the volume.

 

I think it interesting to note that the next promised trumpet sound we’ll all hear will be at the Second coming of Jesus... For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

 

As we watched in fear... God began to speak out of the fire and smoke...

 

Access a Worship Bulletin and let’s read the text together... Exodus 19... Beginning with the verse numbered sixteen... On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.

Mount Sinai was covered with smoke...

• because the Lord descended on it in fire...

• The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace...

• the whole mountain trembled violently...

• and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder.

Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him in the thunder. The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain... Now to verse one of chapter 20... And God spoke all these words... I am the Lord your God... Who brought you out of Egypt... Out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.

 

It should not surprise us that God’s first Command to Israel and to those of us gathered here this morning is that He demands first place in our lives... And it’s only right that He should...

• He created us...

• We are... absolutely... Totally... Dependent upon Him for life and living... It’s in Him that we live and move and have... Our being... Our existence.

 

And... And... Life is good... Life has meaning... There’s fulfillment... when we give Him His rightful place in our daily walk.

 

But... But... Life can be a drag... There’s depression... Disillusionment... No genuine joy... When we ignore Him... Or place Him in some other position other than...

• Top shelf...

• Top drawer...

• First over all things.

 

God is saying... Make Me first in your life... And life will be good... if... IF... We’ll live by this Eternal Sinai Principle... No other god’s before me.

 

Let’s examine this first commandment more closely... See what we can learn...

I am the LORD your God...

You shall have no other gods before Me.

 

Who is this lawgiver?... Is He qualified to tell us how to live?... Does He have any authority?... If so... Where does HE GET THIS AUTHORITY?

 

I am ...

When God first appeared to Moses at the Burning Bush... Moses asked Him who He was... God answered... I AM THAT I AM.

 

This phrase may seem strange to us... But it’s always in the present tense...Suggesting that God is eternal... He has always been... He is without beginning or end.

 

I am that I am... Says that God is... self-sufficient... And... all sufficient... God cannot be taken from or added to... He cannot be embellished or enhanced... He is everything we need Him to be... Just fill in the blank.

 

For instance Jesus said...

I am the way...

I am the life...

I am the truth...

I am the door to the kingdom... Door to the sheepfold...

I am the good shepherd...

The light of the world...

The resurrection...

I am the vine...

I am heaven’s bread...

I and the Father are one.

I was with God in the beginning and was God... I AM THE CREATOR!

 

I am that I am says that God is sovereign... He is the transcendent ABOVE ALL OTHERS. Indeed...  I AM... Tells us that... As our creator... He is qualified to tell us how to live.

 

I am the Lord...

God is not ANY Lord... Not just another Lord... HE IS THE LORD...

God is not a God among many.... He is saying... I must be your only God.

 

Scripture tells us God is a Jealous God... This is often a misunderstood statement... God is saying I want your attention like a husband desires his wife that there be no others… No rivals.

 

I am the Lord... I will have no rivals... Church… God must be our one and only... No other gods before Me!

 

IAM The God who brought you out of Egypt.

Think about this church... Israel was without excuse here... They had witnessed...The almighty... Sovereign... TRANSCENDENT...God of the universe at work in their lives...

• They witnessed His power over the God’s of Egypt as He brought about the plagues...

• They watched Him open the Red Sea allowing them to pass on dry land...

• They witnessed the destruction of Pharaoh’s army in a swirl of returning water...

• The waters of Marah were sweetened...

• They had eaten God’s manna...

• At Rephidim they drank water that miraculously flowed from a rock...

• And witnessed God’s delivery from the Amalekites.

 

Now...Israel stands at the foot of this mountain...

• There’s thunder and lightning...

• Fire...

• Smoke...

• The earth is shaking beneath their feet...

• There is a loud a trumpet sounding with no trumpet player in sight.

 

Church…Let me ask... What if this should happen here... This morning?

• Would we consider God qualified to tell us how to live?...

• Would we think we ought to obey Him?... Of course!!

 

Well... Truth is... We’ve witnessed all this and more... Much more!!...

• We’ve witnessed... The creation... The flood... The call of Abraham....

• Read about Joseph’s trials and triumphs...

• Witnessed God’s delivery from Egyptian slavery... His care in the wilderness...

• Saw the fall of Jericho...

• David’s victory over Goliath...

• The coming of Jesus exactly according to Prophecy...

• We’ve been recipients of God’s grace... Experienced His forgiveness and salvation...

 

Church... Like Israel... We’re without excuse here.

 

If Jehovah God is... Really... Really... First and foremost in our life...We’ll be like Isaiah of old... We’ll fall before Him saying... Woe is me...Here am I Lord... Let me show You my love by my obedience... Here am I Lord... Command me... Send me... Use me.

 

Well... What does it mean to have no other God’s before me.

 

I think Jesus helps us with the answer... When asked Which is the greatest commandment?... The first commandment... He replied... Love the Lord your God with all your heart... With all your soul... With all your mind... And with all your strength. The second is like it... Love your neighbor as yourself.

 

We must love Him with all our heart.

The heart is that part of mankind that houses...

• Our desires...

• Our affections...

• Our passions...

Paul speaks to us of heart desires... My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they be saved.

 

Then he tells us that this heart desire is... so deep... So intense... That he would be willing to lose his soul… If it could happen... That Israel should be saved by acknowledging Jesus as Lord.

 

Church...Can I ask you this morning...

• What is our greatest desire?...

• What is our life passion?...

 

What is our Hearts desire and prayer to God?...

• Is our desire and prayer for Money and Material Things?

• Power and political clout?

• Popularityand prestige?

• Pleasure and entertainment?

If we love God with all our heart... THEN... Our... wants... Passions... And desires... Will have to do with God and his Kingdom work.

 

Jesus said... Where ever your treasure is... There’s your heart also...

 

Listen... When Jesus is our greatest treasure.... Our affections are captured... And we know that we love God with all our heart.... Amen?

 

No other gods before Me... Means loving Him with all our mind.

In the Greek... The word for mind means...

• Our UNDERSTANDING...

• Our Intellect…

• Our DECISION.

 

I believe Jesus is saying... We are to love God with our WILL.

We control the desires and passions of our heart... with a God-given will.

 

In Romans 8.6... Paul writes... For the mind set on fleshly, worldly things is death...But the mind set on the spirit and spiritual things is life and peace.

 

You see church...  Loving God is a function of our mind... We love God because we...

• Decide to...

• Determine to...

• will to.

Question!!… Have you and I determined to Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness?... Have we?... REALLY?

 

Indeed... If we love God... If there is none before Him... His Kingdom and its work will be first and foremost in all we do... Amen?

 

We’re to love God with all our soul.

The Hebrew and Greek words for soul... Can be translated... Breath... Or LIFE.

We are to love God with all of life...

David indicates that our soul should thirst after God as a deer pants for water.

 

Paul speaks of genuine New Testament conversion as our allowing Jesus to do His transforming work within us... crucifying the old man… dying to self… Living a new life in Christ... His desires become our desires... His passions our passions.

• When we choose to edify rather than Criticize & Judge others... We die to self.

• When we choose to forsake some addiction... Be it... Sex... Pornography...Alcohol...

Drugs... Overeating... Gossip... Etc... We die to self.

• When we say no to dishonest business deals... We die to self.

• When we lose ourselves in service to others... We die to self.

• When we choose to come to Bible study and worship rather than sleep-in... Play golf... Or go to the lake... We die to self.

• Forgiving rather than holding a grudge is... dying to self.

 

Here it is church... We die daily for Jesus by... Doing what He wants... Rather than doing what we want... Fulfilling His desires rather than our fleshly desires... Amen?

 

We’re to love God with all our strength.

Our King James says... With all our might. 

The Greek of Jesus’ time could be translated with all our ability.

The idea here is to love God... With all our resources.

 

We gotta understand that Loving God with all our strength is not a Sunday Morning affair… Nor is it a spectator sport of just coming here three times a week,

 

We demonstrate our love for him in the way we use the... Time... Talent... Treasure... Energy... And truth... He has given us.

 

Life will take on new meaning when we understand the concept of genuine Biblical Stewardship.

• We own nothing...

• We came into the world with nothing...

• We’ll leave with nothing...

All we have belongs to God... Ours is to be proper stewards of it... Time... Talent... Treasure... Energy... Truth.

 

No wonder Paul is found admonishing in Colossians 3... Whatever you do... Whatever you do... Whether in word ordeed... Do it all in the name of the Lord.

 

The Bible teaches us that...

• We cannot serve Two gods...

• Have Two masters...

• Two Lords...

• Two Kings cannot rule...

No other god’s before Me.

 

Indeed... We must love Him with all our being... Heart... Mind... Soul... Strength.

 

We close with one more thought from the lips of Jesus… If you love me… You will keep My commandments.

 

If there are no other god’s before Me… You will obey Me.

 

So... The question becomes... Will we express our love for Him this morning by our obedience... By becoming His child in... Faith... Repentance... And the New Birth of baptism?

 

As His children... Will we strive to give Him His rightful place in our life?... Obey Him in every arena of life?

 

I pray we will... As we stand and sing this song together.