Sermon – A God to become like (Exodus 20:1 – 20:17) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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A God to become like

Gavin Kinnaird, Exodus 20:1 - 20:17, 30 June 2024

In this one-off special, our guest speaker Gavin Kinnaird takes us through the first of the Ten Commandments, preaching from Exodus 20:1-17. In this passage we see God’s law for how we are to live our lives, with a focus on the first commandment ‘You shall have no other Gods but me’. We see the nature of the God who gives this command, the consequences of putting other things in this God’s place as ‘mini-gods’, and what it means for us today.


Exodus 20:1 - 20:17

20:1 And God spoke all these words, saying,

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

13 “You shall not murder.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

15 “You shall not steal.

16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

(ESV)


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

So exit this chapter 20 verse 1 to 17. And god spoke all these words. I am the lord or god who brought you out of Egypt. Out of the land of slavery.

You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above, or on the earth beneath, or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them. For I, the lord your god, am a jealous god. Pottishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not misuse my the name of the lord or god For the lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy, 6 days, use your labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the lord your god. On it, you shall not do any work. Neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in 6 days, the lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.

Therefore, the lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Honor your father and your mother so that you may live long in the land the lord your god has given you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal.

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male or female servant, his ox, or donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor. Yeah. It's such a good joy to be together. Thank you so much.

And let me just have my warm as welcome again. As we begin, shall I pray for us? And then we will think about at least first 3, from, from that reading that Roy's just read out for. So let me commit our time to the lord. Heavenly father, we thank you for your words.

We thank you that all of it is profitable for us in knowing Christ. And being faithful to him, but we need the spirit of Jesus if we are to love you and understand what your words says for us. So help us now we ask in jesus name we pray, amen. Well, I understand that I I cannot say everything about the 10 commandments as we begin our time together. When when you read those 17 verses and you see essentially a list of prohibitions and what you're not allowed to do It can kind of feel a little bit restrictive, and wears all the fun and that kind of thing.

But at least let me say 1 thing about the 10 commandments, which is really important, because though they look like they are telling us what we can't do, The 10 commandments are telling you how to keep your freedom and how to stay free. So the 10 have been given to the people of Israel right after they have been set free from slavery for 400 years in Egypt. And so the 10 commandments is god's kind of protection over their freedom that he has gloriously 1 for them. But because they had been set free by god, and they have been promised a life of freedom, We have to say freedom is got to be all about god himself, and who got it, and following god. Not everyone in our culture will say they're religious, not everyone will say that they're god fearers, or even that they follow a god, will they?

Many would say that they don't follow any god at all. I want to disagree with that. Everyone has a god. Everyone follows a god. And more than that, everyone becomes like the god they choose to follow.

I'll say that again. Everyone becomes like the god they choose to follow. So if 1 makes money, one's god, 1 will become greedy, 1 will become selfish, and 1 will become unpleasant because you become like your god, you see? If 1 makes sex god, well, 1 will start to objectify other peoples and not see them as people at all, but as simply objects to be used. You become like your god, you say.

Everyone becomes like whatever god they choose to follow. Perhaps I can illustrate the same idea from a different angle. I came across a quote recently by a bloke. He's called Jonathan Dimblebee. He claims to be her store.

He's at least rewritten books about history. And He said in a newspaper, I quote this. He was calling on our government to, I quote, get off the fence, and support legislation that will allow assisted suicide. Poor behavior. Let's agree on that.

Poor behavior. What was his reason for this? He said it's not just in the public interest, but the public are in overwhelming favor of it. We might and I hope agree with that that his words are poor behavior. Who's Dimblebee's god here?

Man is god in his situation. Dimple b has made himself god. And this is very enticing. Because every god comes with a moral code, but get this. If your god or if Dimpleby's got, or if the public is got, you get to create right to wrong for yourself.

But it's a lie, isn't it? We haven't been made like that, and so Dimblebee is his own god and he's become like his own god, which is a lie. He's become like the god he follows. As we think about the first command, here's basically what I owe I'm gonna argue is what it shows. It goes like this.

You shall have no other gods beside me or before me. Xures chapter 20 verse 3. Now what I wanna do now is to make 3 statements about this command in our remaining time together. 3 statements about this command. The first 1, I want to begin at the end of the command and ask who is the me there in verse 3.

So statement number 1, who is god? That's my first statement. Who is This god. Who is the me speaking in verse 3? I've got a little clicker here, don't I?

Oh, there we go. That's exciting. Who is got what's happened there? Oh, yeah. Stay.

Stay. Very good. Who is the me speaking in verse 3? 2 titles are given to this god in the context of these verses. Let me give them to you.

The first title comes in verse 1, and god spoke all these words. I hope it's okay if I give you the Hebrew word for god here. Is that okay? Cause the Hebrew title there in verse 1 forgot, If the name, elohim, that's the name. Elohim.

Elohim basically means this. God is massive. That's kinda my take on it. Like, god is massive. That's what elohim means.

Or a fancy word transcendent. It means he's above. It means he's beyond It means he's separate from and distinct from our entire universe. The name god or Elohim speaks about god's massiveness if we can put it that way. His power, his power to create absolutely everything in our world.

He's separate from the universe, but he's the creator of it insofar as he owns it. That is a big god. He is a massive god, and it means he's also created and owns every human being, doesn't it? It means Elohim is the owner of not just some of humanity, but all of humanity. And also we can say this If elohim has spoken, let's think about it.

If this massive god has spoken, well, then people better jolly well listen, right? Because this is the timeless powerful, separate, distinct, transcendent, massive god, and he's just spoken in verse 1. The first title is what the Hebrew will call elohim in verse 1. There is another title for him. May I offer it to you in verse 2.

Have a look down at verse 2. I am the lord your god. When you look at verse 2, do you see the word lord there is capitalized? That is another title for god, revealed to Moses in Exodus chapter 3 verse 14, the Hebrew word we call Yahweh. You heard that that word?

Yahweh That name, and that title expresses a different essence of god's character. It expresses his deep intimate, profound covenant love. It's his personal name, revealed to his chosen people. It's the title he uses to express covenant love based on his initiative forging it a relationship with rebellious sinners, like Israel, or like you or me. Yahweh, his personal precious covenant name, the name by which he says, I'm close to you.

I'm near you. This is who god is. On the 1 hand, he's kinda far away. He's elohim, but he's also yahweh, an intimate and close. It's who god is.

And this evening, may we not say, as New Testament Christians, we also have the advantage of adding further vital information to who god is. We don't just know him as Elohim or yahweh but we can also say to his father. We can also say his son. We can also say his holy spirit, We've got this secret to him as Trinity. Right?

The speaking god here, in other words, defies human beings, human intellect, and human categories. And therefore, not only does god make us very small because of how very big he is, He also makes us highly exalted because he's coming to us personally in covenant. We experience that covenant in Christ That's who god is in these verses. Statement number 1, is to try to answer the question who is god. If we're gonna be free, we need to know the answer to that question.

Statement number 2, a god who will not be shared. Hey god, who will not be shared. Question, everyone. What is the major problem with other gods? Because that's the spirit of the command, isn't it?

He says to his people, you are not to have any other gods before me or beside me. I want you to think like an Israelite for a few minutes. Where have you been rescued from? You've been this you've been rescued from Egypt, haven't you? And your slavery there.

Now let's us think about the religious life of Egypt that you've seen firsthand. Because you have seen just how many gods the Egyptians worshiped. They worshiped the Nile. It was 1 of their gods. They worshiped the sun.

That was a god. They had a god for the air as well, a wind god. In other words, for a pagan country like Egypt, their gods operated in what we might call a community with 1 another. They shared the space. They shared their divine community space with 1 another.

And they've all got their different demands. Yes, asking for worship. I understand, but as an Israelite, you've seen that kind of religious life for 400 years. God's sharing their space. Now, continue to think like an israelite with me.

You get to verse 3. What is the shock? What's the shock of verse 3? Ready? Israel's god shares community with no 1.

He shares community with no 1. You will have no other gods before me, like in front of me. You will have no other gods beside me next to me. But why? Because god shares his glory with no 1.

And because he shares his glory with no other god, his people, likewise, are not to share the hearts of their space or the space of their hearts with any other gods. You see? A god who will not be shared. That's the problem with false gods. That's why idolatry in the Bible is so absolutely simply unacceptable.

Because we suggest that we can share the the glory of god and his presence with other created false gods, like when you get to x to 32, you see it's a golden calf, right? And there, The great god of Exodus 20 is being shared, and that's not right. So think about your lord Jesus. Does he agree? Well, what does he say?

He says in 1 part of the Bible, you cannot serve god and money. You cannot bring another thing like money into community with the lifting triune god of the Bible because that would ask god to share his glory and share his space his precious, divine space with another thing, not worthy of him. That's serious. Now for a moment. I like us to try and appreciate a a destructive lie, which I think is very easy to swallow.

The deception goes something along these lines. As long as I live to the right god, as in As long as I make him my primary god, the secondary gods that I might have may not be that big of a deal, because think about it. God knows I love him. God knows I carve out time for him. God knows I've prioritized, you see, the right god.

So Because of that, can't I live for money at the same time? I can also live for the world at the same time. I can live for myself at the same time. I can live for sex at the same time. I can live for my career at the same time.

I can worship my children at the same time, but you see what you've done with the lies. Suddenly, god is sharing the community of your heart with other things. God is sharing his glory with another. EXas chapter 20 verse 3 says, I do not share my glory with anyone or anything else. And so Jesus himself says, Matthew chapter 6, verse 24, that is not okay.

You cannot serve god in money. He understands let's go with money for a second. He understands the power of money in Matthew 6. He understands it really does offer security, and he really does offer safety in this world. He understands it's a need.

He understands it promises pleasure and power. But therefore, Jesus also knows It also promises to be a savior. And if it promises to be a savior, it promises to be a god. And if money promises to be a god, it also demands I begin sharing god's glory with it. Might, we not say this evening.

1 of the great sins of the Western church is this sin. Ideometry, yes, but sharing god's glory with things like money or lifestyle or those kind of things might we not say that 1 of the hallmarks of the Western church has to put god into community? With the gods of our culture. We got to say that's what is somewhat true. Acts just chapter 20 verse 3, god says, there is no other god to be in my presence.

Law Jesus himself agrees. No other god. I will not share my glory with material stuff that is not up to my value. Statement number 2, a god who will not be shared. Statement number 3, and this is my last 1.

Agard to become bike I got to become like. I spent our time at the start At least trying to show the god we choose to follow will shape the way that we live. Or the desires we have. In other words, 1 becomes like the god 1 loves. Or the god 1 has wedded one's heart too.

That's why a false god always corrupts human beings. Like it happens plenty of times in the Bible, like when Bailwood corrupt Israel. Or like Jonathan Dimbleby, that historian who's corrupted himself. He should stick to history, shouldn't he? Psalm 115 verse 8, Those who make them are just like them, as are all who trust in them.

Adam and Eve did the same thing. They believed the same lie. We will become like our own gods. So it is no surprise that Adam and Eve became a lie that they believed in. I guess that's a negative.

What's the great positive? What's the great positive of Exchess chapter 20 first 3? For the 1 who takes it seriously, What will happen if we honor god and we honor him alone? What if in the of Jesus himself of your heart, he sees, that heart has no space but for me alone, what do you think would happen? You will be calm, like god.

Who will become like god. We come to these verses through Jesus, don't we? Through what the new testament will refer to as the law of Christ. That's how we come to the law here. And the law of Christ has set us free by his death, by his resurrection for those that trusted in him, set free from sin set free from idolatry.

That is the spirit of freedom of the Christian life, but what have we been set free for? What have you been set free for? The rest of the 10 commandments here, described to us not a restricted life. They describe a beautiful life, a moral life, a satisfied life. There's no need for adultery in this life.

There's no need to steal, there's no need for murder, or there's there's love for mom and dad, there's respect for other people and their property. Who wouldn't want a world like that? That's a safe world. That's a flourishing world. I wanna say to you this morning, this evening, sorry.

That world is not only possible. That is the world of the New Testament Church, that you have now. Why? Because you, church family, have made the god of scripture, the god of your hearts. And once you do that, you become like him.

And you become like, I suppose the rest of the 10 commandments and a life of freedom. Other passages in the new testament, I would say essentially rephrase The 10 commandments, like in the language of the fruit of the spirit, Galatians 5, love joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self control. Life of freedom, a life of becoming like god. Why does Jesus come into our world? Why does he come into this world where he will live perfectly, be crucified, and rise again?

Do you know why he comes? He comes because he wants to make us like his father and make us like god. Josn't he? He comes to remove the corruption. Let me take the false worship whereby there's been an change between god's glory, his magnificent glory for the stuff of this world.

Let me take that away and replace it with the spirit of Christ himself, to set you free, but to set you free for what? To become like god. That's why he comes. There is a verse, new testament letter of second Peter says this. Through these, He has given us very great and precious promises so that through them, you may participate in what participate in the divine nature.

That's becoming like god. The 10 commandments, putting god first, and giving him our only glory is all about how to become like god. This is what it looks like to participate, to share in the divine nature. No other god in your world or mine wants that for us. Every god or the god pretends to offer pleasure, but actually brings suffering.

Every other god demands and demands and demands more and more and more. Why? Because every other god promises freedom but actually enslaves you. Takes away your freedom. Inslady to its fake power, every other god harms brings grief, and sadness.

Every other god wants you to share this god with something else or itself. And the god of the Bible comes to you and says, I wanna set you free. To become like me. To make you like my son, sharing my being, Sharing my trinitarian nature, sharing my divine nature. Don't become me, but become like me.

The most satisfying, joy giving life possible. It's the free life. Jonathan Dimpleby. He's made himself god, and so now he's harmful to others. He's become like the lie he believed in.

Let us assist in killing other people. He calls on our government with little care of what that will do. To thousands and hundreds of vulnerable people. But that's what happens. You say you become like your god.

You become cruel. You become unable or unwilling to think about the needs of others. He's become like his god, the lie he has swallowed. And yet, the other side of that, if you are in Christ this evening, God has begun to make you like him. He has begun a process of participating you in the divine nature itself.

There are some verses in the Bible that almost beg your belief that it's in there. Second Peter 1 verse 13 is 1 of them. Sharing my divine nature, participating me, become like me. As the spirit of god works in your life to put Christ first, front and center stage of our hearts. That we might not share him with another.

Shall we pray? And then we will sing our final hymn together. Well, heavenly father, we thank you that the gospel always comes with the shape of freedom Freedom from sin, freedom from false worship, freedom from the false gods that are caught would love us to follow. Father god, it frees us for you, and it frees us to become like Jesus. Heavenly father, I pray that each 1 of us would live the Christian free life.

Pray that this church family would be shaped and made like the lord Jesus more and more and more. Maybe not give up such freedom, 1 front at the cross. I do pray in our lord, Jesus' name, amen.


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