May 3, 2020
Rose of Sharon Baptist Church May 3, 2020
Church Service Notes
Scripture: Exodus 20:3
As we saw last week, sometimes God uses life circumstances to remind people of His will. It is the Lord’s will that all people be drawn to Him. He loves ALL people and sent His Son to die for us all. The Bible says we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. The Bible says this in another way by stating where to seek God first. If we are not seeking God first or not loving God with our all, then we are called to repent—to recognize there is sin in our life, stop sinning, and seek God first in place of the sinful thing. How do we know when we need to repent? The Lord has given us teachings in the Bible to learn when there is sin in our lives. Specifically, He has given us the Ten Commandments. Warren Wiersbe says the Law can be used like a spiritual mirror to identify our flaws and correct them. This week, we will begin a series of sermons on the Ten Commandments in order for each of us to examine our lives and listen to the Lord’s leading in any areas where we may not be fully following the Lord’s commandments so that we might be able to repent and draw nearer to the Lord. Jesus taught that those who love Him would obey God’s commands. And so, when should be striving for obedience in our lives to demonstrate our love for God.
Exodus 20:3 says “Thou shall have no other gods before me”. We might interpret this to mean we should not put anything in God’s place. Some scholars interpret this to mean there should be no other gods in the true God’s sight or there should be no other gods in opposition to the true God. In Jeremiah 25, the prophet Jeremiah describes God’s judgement brought on the people of Israel because they have continued to reject God’s commandments and worshipped false gods. Although God never stops loving us, when we sin and refuse to repent, there are consequences brought through the judgement of God.
A simple application of this commandment is to address other religions, such as Hinduism or Buddhism which worship false gods. That is true but that is not the limit of the commandment. We must identify if there are other things in our lives we are putting before God. In the New Testament, we see the parable of building a house on a foundation of rock or sand. When we examine our lives, are we “building our house”, putting our faith in other things and building our foundation on sand, or are we putting our faith in the Rock of Jesus Christ? Are we putting all of our faith in and building our house on the government or a political party? The Bible tells us no government is stronger than our God. Is money the rock you are building your house on? Do you rely on your money for your security? Jesus says you cannot serve God and money. Where are you looking for security? God tells us to rely on Him and abide in Him. If we are relying on other things above God, we are putting those things as gods before the Lord.
Another application of this commandment is to have nothing in opposition to God. The Bible is God’s true, Holy Word. Anything in opposition to it is in violation of this first commandment. Anything rivaling God’s authority is standing in opposition to God. Other religious books that claim to be sourced from other supreme beings and purported Christian books claiming to be further revelations from God are in opposition to what the Holy Bible says. Maybe you do not follow one of these religious writings in opposition to the Bible, but following teachings that are in opposition to God’s Word is also in violation of this commandment. Supporting beliefs that stand in opposition to God’s Word, such as the support of homosexuality and abortion, are standing in opposition to God.
Of key importance regarding this command is the view of Jesus Christ. Jesus and the Father are one. Jesus is the way of salvation. The Bible says there is only one name by which men are saved—Jesus Christ. Any other teaching that suggests Jesus is not God’s Son and not the Christ is false and is in violation of the first commandment. Any teaching that says there is another way to save a person’s soul is in opposition to God and thus a violation of the first commandment.
In conclusion, if we are trying to build our lives or are putting our security in anything other than the one true God, we have to repent and return to our first love. God is calling us to return to Him and seek Him first. We often put so many things in front of God—our own entertainment, our own comfort, our own security. If we are pursuing a salvation apart from Jesus we opposing God and need to repent and seek Jesus. We need to pray for God to reveal to us the areas in our lives where we have put other things before Him and put our faith in other things besides Him. God loves us so much and wants us to put Him first in our lives.
Scripture: James 4:11-12
James is speaking to believers, who have experienced persecution. Due to the persecution, believers have been spread out and churches have begun to form in different areas. The apostles would travel to these early churches and preach and teach. After the disciples left sometimes different people would vie for positions of leadership in these churches, and this caused some conflict among the believers. In order to seek their own position of authority some believers would judge other believers down and as less worthy for positions of leadership. James was instructing the early believers to avoid this judgement of others.
In verse 11, James instructs believers to not speak badly of another person. Ephesians 4:31 tells us to put away evil speaking and bitterness. We just need to keep our mouths shut sometimes. Why do we speak ill of others? Often it is due to bitterness and jealousy. When we are jealous of others and bitter it becomes easy to gossip about them and cast a condemning judgement on them. We must be careful to not speak evil of other people and put aside malice and bitterness. If we harness this, then we will not judge with condemnation and evil speaking but we will judge sin and help people. Other passages in Scripture help us in this application.
Romans 2:1-3 warns against judging the sins of others. We are reminded to recognize our own sin and allow God to be the judge. We must show others the mercy God has shown us. Too often Christians can become “holier than thou” and forget the multitude of our own past sins that the Lord forgave. We judge a a person who has sin, just as we had/have, and in doing so deny the person fellowship in the church or growth within the church or the offer of salvation. If we judge others without mercy, then we will experience the judgement of the Lord. We must not allow people’s sin to prevent us from sharing the love of the Gospel with them so that they can be saved from sin and that they can then grow in Christ.
In Romans 14:2-11, we see the reminder to not judge others on the convictions of their faith. Paul specifically addresses believers who were judging those who chose to eat things they did not think were appropriate and who celebrated various religious holidays. He reminded the believers that God is the Master and the only one in a position to judge what believers are doing. Each believer will answer to the Lord for the convictions God has placed in his heart. Paul reminds us that all are accountable to God. Today, we may see conflict over such things in the church as the type of music played, the type of clothing worn, the seating, and the use of technology in the church. These are negotiable things that do not impact salvation. We should not judge others over negotiable things. Non-negotiable things that we cannot allow to be left to preference include (but are not limited to) the Bible being without error; God being the one true God; God existing as the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; Jesus being the Son of God; Jesus living a sinless life; Jesus dying on the cross; the resurrection of Jesus; Jesus being the one way of salvation, and salvation coming by faith alone. Any teaching contradicting these truths must be judged as false and rejected.
Why is it important that we not judge fellow believers down? In John 17:20-21, Jesus prays for the unity of future believers so that others may know Him. When Christians judge other Christians or other churches down over the negotiable things people outside the church notice. And people outside the church see a divided people who cannot get along. Why would someone outside the church want to join Christians who cannot get along and are constantly deriding one another? You wouldn’t want to be a part of that and neither do they. But all people need the Savior. So for the sake of the Gospel we must learn to stand on the non-negotiables of our faith and allow people to live under differing convictions before God.
In conclusion, as believers, we are called to judge sin. We are to judge sin in a way that identifies what sin is, that shows the need for a Savior, and then points others to Jesus as the Savior. We are not to judge condemnation on others that prevents faith or cripples our testimony of the Gospel.
If we can be of help to you please let us know.
In Christ’s Love,