Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sermon preview--The First Commandment

This week, a blog I like to read posted a video of Billy Graham being interviewed by Woody Allen on a TV show in the 1970s. It’s amazing to watch these two men, so very different in their outlooks on life—at one point, Allen tells Graham, “I am determined to convert you to agnosticism,” and Graham retorts with, “Many people have tried”—who were so very gracious toward one another before a national audience. Later in the interview, the subject of premarital sex comes up. Allen asserts that the Christian understanding—that sex is for marriage, period—doesn’t make a lot of practical sense. He points out that we certainly don’t buy a car until we give it a test drive, so why would a man marry a woman without…well, you get the picture.

We’re beginning a series on the Ten Commandments this week; taking a break from our year-long study of the parables of Jesus to do this. You might be wondering why. After all, many people these days—including many Christians—feel a sense of weariness with the rules of Scripture. Like Woody Allen, they feel like some—if not many—of the Bible’s commands are outdated, maybe a little arbitrary, designed by fusty old ladies and judgmental preachers to keep the rest of us from having fun. Others of us are a little embarrassed at the way Christians have often over-emphasized the rules to the detriment of the message of the Gospel. After all, Jesus didn’t come to give us more rules to follow; He came to set us free. The Pharisees were the ones who were focused on rules, and they’re the ones who conspired to kill Jesus. So why spend ten weeks on a bunch of thou-shalt-nots? And still others will say, “There are thousands of commands in the Bible. What’s so special about these ten?”

Hopefully over the next ten weeks, you'll see what's so special about these commands so important, God wrote them in stone with His own finger. We'll start this Sunday with the first commandment. Take a look at Exodus 20 this week to read the entire list.

Here's a link to the video. It's worth a look.

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