And already I've seen something fascinating!
It's in the very first verse of Exodus 20.
Let me share that verse with you:
"And God spake all these words, saying ..."
That's how Moses begins the chapter.
If I take these words literally, as I shall
do, God Himself SPOKE the Commandments to
His people Israel!
In my mind I had only thought of the Lord God
writing them for Moses to share with the people!
After all, Exodus 31:18 does tell us:
"And he gave unto Moses, when he had made
an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of
testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger
If these precepts are so important that God
gave them twice ... and even then
spoken ... I had
better take notice!
Now if you're still having trouble with this
concept ... do a little more reading. "Did
ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the
midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live?"
Then ... Deuteronomy 4:36 says
"Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might
instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and
thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire."
Or Deuteronomy 5:4 ---
"The LORD talked with you face to face in the mount out of the
midst of the fire ...."
And (for sure) Deuteronomy 5:22, which says:
"These words the LORD spake unto all your
assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the
cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he
added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and
delivered them unto me."
When God speaks ... we had best listen!
So ... for a few days we shall do just that
... listen to God speak (through His Word)!
We can all remember other times He spoke. At
Jesus' baptism: "And lo a voice from
heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well
pleased." Matthew 3:17
And again at Jesus' Transfiguration:
"While he yet spake, behold, a bright
cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud,
which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;
hear ye him." Matthew 17:5
Then late in Jesus' earthly ministry on earth
this is recorded. Jesus is talking: "Now
is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from
this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father,
glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying,
I have both glorified it, and will glorify it
again." John 12:27-27
What I am trying to say is this. When God
talks ... matters of
paramount importance are being presented!
He spoke at the giving of the Law ... proving
man is a sinner!
Then again during the Life of Jesus ...
providing man a Saviour!
God audibly (verbally) revealed the problem (sin)
... and then revealed the Solution (The Saviour)!
In fact, it's called "amazing grace!"
Or as Peter put it: "manifold grace!"
Either way, thank God for it today!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 2 ... JANUARY 5,
The study of Old
Testament "Law" can be so vast that one is easily confused.
After all, there are countless men who have given their whole
lives to its content and interpretation!
However it might
be wise to at least try to categorize (or compartmentalize) the
Law of God in some way to help us better focus on the "heart" of
it all, the Ten Commandments.
The old preachers used to do that this way.
They said all God's Old Testament commands could be placed under
one of three headings. Everything God required of His people
either dealt with civil law (how a nation should be governed) or
how worship should be conducted (before the Cross of Calvary) or
how one's life should be lived (day by day activity).
In the order I just mentioned, one can see
civil law (government), ceremonial law (worship) and moral law
The Jewish rabbis have said for centuries
that the Ten Commandments are the "base" of the Law, from which
613 total commandments spring! (Counting all the Old Testament
Well, we are not going to study all 613 in
Just the Ten Commandments!
They fit into the "moral law" category.
I know of no place where the civil law is
still in force. Israel today certainly does not observe it.
There are places where parts of it and principles derived from
it are still in force ... but NOT the whole thing.
Neither do Bible-believing Spirit-filled
believers today obey the details of the ceremonial law. If they
did, they would be sacrificing animals every morning and evening
as they worshiped their Lord!
BUT ... I do believe we have no right to
ignore the MORAL LAW of God ... even in this "modern" age!
It is still wrong to steal!
Or to murder!
Or to commit adultery!
In the days ahead, we shall study this
critically important text, the first seventeen verses of the
chapter before us! (Exodus 20)
Anyone ready to get started?
Lord willing, let's meet here tomorrow ...
with an open Bible in our hands!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 3 ... JANUARY 6,
Now I realize what
Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:9-10. "Knowing
this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the
lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for
unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of
mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile
themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for
perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is
contrary to sound doctrine."
And Paul is the New Testament theologian and
preacher who explains to us that the law is designed to show us
what sin really is! (Then it condemns us as people who have
miserably failed to keep its high and righteous standards! It
shows us that we need a Saviour!)
This all being true, I still want to
emphasize something God said in Exodus 20:2. Here are His words:
"I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land
of Egypt, out of the house of bondage."
These are His introductory words ... to the
whole decalogue (a term meaning ten commandments).
Just initially notice that the Lord is giving
His Law to His people!
To those who have been redeemed! To
those formerly in "bondage" (in Hebrew "ebed" = slavery)!
Even to those whose homes (and lives) were
covered by the blood of the little lamb back in Egypt!
These are words from the Redeemer (Who
brought thee from Egypt, a picture of the lost world) to the
redeemed (who have been so delivered)!
At first, the Law was NOT addressed to
sinners ... but to potential saints!
This leads me to advance an opinion here.
And I believe it is a Bible based one too!
There are vital lessons drawn from the Law of
God, specifically the Ten Commandments, that STILL need to be
taught to God's people in this day!
The Law of God ... which comprises most of
Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy ... is NOT to be
ignored and relegated to some unused "corner" on a Pastor's
"ALL Scripture is given
by inspiration of God!" (2 Timothy 3:16)
These things (the Old Testament) happened for
a reason. Listen to Paul in 1st Corinthians 10:11 ---
"Now all these things happened unto them
and they are written for
our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are
So ... fellow Christians, here we go!
Into a study of the Ten Commandments, the Law
of God ... believing that there is profit in it for us
Again, Paul ... "All
Scripture is ...
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and
for instruction in righteousness" ... that we might be
perfect (mature) Believers!
In virtually the words of Psalm 119:18 ---"'Lord,
open our eyes, that we might behold wondrous things out of Thy
LAW!' In Jesus Name we pray!"
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 4 ... JANUARY 7,
It is foremost and brief. Exodus 20:3
contains it all.
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
The Lord has spoken!
The little particle "not" is (in Hebrew) the
first word of the sentence. That is usually a way of
emphasizing some vital truth! God is saying NO here to other
gods! And He is saying NO dramatically!
The verb, "shalt have" is (surprisingly) not
in the imperative mood. It is in the Qal (simple active voice)
stem and has a sense of timing that tells us God wants this fact
to be obeyed incessantly (constantly)! The verb is "hayah" and
means to happen or occur, to come to pass or to take place! God
is simply saying: This can not be! No gods! Just Jehovah!
And the last two words of the verse ...
"before Me" ... are classic! The Masoretic Text (from which the
King James Bible is translated) gives them (in Hebrew) as "al
paniym." They mean "toward the Face!" Our God denies
permission for any false god to even be ... "before His Face!"
This command is clear!
And of course this directive is repeated
again and again throughout all Scripture. (Even in the New
Testament: "Little children, keep
yourselves from idols. Amen." 1st John 5:21)
God loves us. And that being so, He demands
exclusivity! (All real love does that!) The godly faithful
husband or wife does not smile upon adultery in any form! He
wants his wife (or she her husband) to be solely loyal ...
forsaking all other lovers!
I say ... God deserves our single minded and
full hearted worship and adoration!
And, lest any of us miss it, notice that the
Gospel is inherent in this command too! No other God! Jesus is
God! One then (to obey) must accept Jesus as Saviour! Jesus is
The darling One Who made Blood atonement on our behalf! He is
THE Way to Heaven! John 14:6
Now, the Lord willing, more tomorrow on this
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 5 ... JANUARY 8,
One day this week I was reading about the Ten
Commandments. It was just a little commentary on Exodus chapter
The author quickly said something like this
in passing: "There's a portion of Scripture that tells us the
three main ways we are drawn away from the True God to idols!"
I just HAD to learn the location of that
It is found in Deuteronomy 13.
Here are the three "potential" enemies to our
worshipping God alone.
First Moses lists false prophets!
"If there arise among you a prophet,
or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and
the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee,
saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known,
and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of
that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God
proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all
your heart and with all your soul."
Be careful around certain "preachers!" Some
of them are "skilled" at leading folks away from the living God!
Secondly, we are warned even about our own
family members or close friends! Here's the text:
"If thy brother, the son of thy
mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom,
or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee
secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou
hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the
gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto
thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth
even unto the other end of the earth; Thou shalt not
consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye
pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal
As dearly as family is to be held within
one's heart (according to the Bible), they are NOT to be placed
above the Lord! He is Supreme! I've seen some people refuse to
worship at a certain Bible Believing Church ... because their
"friends" had left there! We had better put the Lord in first
Lastly, society itself (the world) is to be
watched with utmost caution. It would love to lead you into
false worship! "If thou shalt hear
say in one of thy cities, which the LORD thy God hath given
thee to dwell there, saying, Certain men, the children of
Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the
inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other
gods, which ye have not known; Then shalt thou enquire, and make
search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth,
and the thing certain, that such abomination is
wrought among you; Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of
that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and
all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the
edge of the sword."
City life is often not godly life! Here's a
pretty good illustration of the dangers of "worldliness!"
Christians, today we do not live in a
theocracy (where God is the King), and the Mosaic penalty for
idolatry is not applicable in American jurisprudence ... but we
are still to exercise stringent caution concerning those who
would lead us astray! "Avoid them," Paul says!
There is only One Real God!
And He, because He loves us, demands our
worship and praise!
How do we know? Because the first of the Ten
Commandments tells us so! "And God
spake saying ... Thou shalt have no other gods before Me."
Exodus 20:1 and 3
And He repeats this admonition in MANY other
Bible Passages too!
Let us simply obey!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 6 ...
MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2005:
The verse I'd like to discuss with you today
is Exodus 20:3. "Thou shalt have no other
gods before Me."
God simply demands this of those who follow
Him. In fact, He requires this of all the world!
But, how can a people follow this command?
I mean people who have all their lives
followed some other 'god?'
People who have prayed to some wooden idol or
stone or some person claiming to be God?
There is only one way.
He or she MUST realize that there is but One
true and eternally living God!
They must simply trust Him on the sheer force
of His Word!
Hebrews 11:6 ---
"Without faith it is impossible to please Him
(God): for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and
that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."
And, once they get to know Him ... it's all
To KNOW Him is to LOVE Him!
Knowledge of the True God will expel any
knowledge of false gods!
The Love of the True God (Love He has for us)
will demolish any "fake" love of the false gods!
What idol ever answered a prayer ... at least
in a good and proper way ... for our own eternal and spiritual
What god ever sent his son to die for you?
What god can tell you he will never die,
claiming to be eternal?
What god can truly promise that he (or she)
will never leave you or forsake you?
Yet the awesome living God of the Bible has
done all these things (or will do them)!
We worship the
Lord God Almighty
for two reasons.
Firstly, He commands it and we accept that
(and Him) by faith!
Secondly, He so far outclasses all that false
religion ... that no real "contest" exists!
The TRUE ... once found and enjoyed ...
always defeats the false!
An old preacher called this principle: "The
expulsive power of a new affection!"
If we ever experience the LOVE of God ... the
love of false gods will wither and die!
Here's how John put it in his largest little
epistle: "Love not the world, neither the
things that are in the world. If any man love the world,
the love of the Father is not in him." 1st John 2:15
See it? The LOVE OF THE FATHER expels the
love of the world! You can't have both! They are mutually
Rib-eye steak conquers baloney any day!
Maybe that's why Jesus loved to invite people
just to ... "Come and see!"
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
The very first of
the Ten Commandments is quite clear in what it says. The Lord
thunders, "Thou shalt have no other gods
Yet today many
folks in America mock that "order" from God.
I mean church
"Of course no one
at our church disobeys the first commandment," they assume!
But listen to
something Paul said in Colossians 3:5.
"Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth;
fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil
covetousness, which is idolatry." Notice the last
five words ... "And covetousness, which is
The very things we
desire (strongly crave or lust after) can become substitutes for
the Living God!
The Greek root for
covetousness means "to have ... more!"
Our "wants" can
become our gods!
Think about that!
What do you WANT
today so badly that the desire for that thing controls your mind
and rules your emotions and alters your plans?
If such a thing
exists, it is your god!
Therefore ... by
concentrating on this verse, Exodus 20:3, we can easily see that
one meaning it carries is this: GOD ALONE is to be our SUPREME
See if you think
this Psalmist had a desire for God. "As
for me, I will behold Thy Face in righteousness: I shall be
satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness." Psalm 17:5
Now listen to
David: "One thing have I desired
of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the
house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty
of the LORD, and to enquire in His temple." Psalm 27:4
death, said he had a desire to be with Christ!
"Having a desire to depart, and to be
with Christ." Philippians 1:23
Jesus taught us in
Mark 12:30 to ... "Love the Lord thy God
with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy
mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first
That just about
says it all!
Who is first place
in your life?
where we started this morning: "Thou
shalt have no other gods before Me."
Let's meditate on
this command today.
consciously practice it every hour we live!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 8 ...
TUESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2005:
The first Commandment tells me
Whom to worship,
the Lord God Almighty.
The second Commandment tells me
how to worship
"Thou shalt not make
unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing
that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth
beneath, or that is in the water under the earth."
The words "graven image" translate a Hebrew
noun, "pecel," that means simply an idol!
God forbids our using any "likeness" of Him
We cannot lower God to a thing ... nor
elevate a thing to God!
Likely this prohibition is aimed at making
any representations of God ... more than its being aimed
against substitutes for God! (Although both are certainly
included in the negation here.)
Jesus reminds us that to truly worship and
adore the Lord our God we must do so "in
spirit and in truth!" (John 4:24) That omits any
Paul adds that our God is an "invisible"
God! "Now unto the King eternal,
the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever.
Amen." 1st Timothy 1:17
But ... how then can we know Him?
In Colossians 1 the Scriptures clearly answer
It tells us of Jesus, God's ...
"Dear Son: In whom we have redemption
through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Who is the image of the
invisible God, the firstborn of every creature."
Jesus is the Image of the invisible God!
To see God the Father ... look at Jesus!
... And we see Jesus ... in the Word of God,
the Bible! (Not in religious art or on some media screen! But
... in the Scripture!)
There you have it!
Commandment Number Two: Do not worship any
image of God! Only Jesus reveals the Godhead in all its
Worship Him, the darling Son of God!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 9 ... JANUARY
The second of the
Ten Commandments is unique.
To give you the
whole commandment entails three verses of Scripture!
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven
image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or
that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the
earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:
for I the LORD thy God am a jealous
God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto
the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And
shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my
commandments." Exodus 20:4-6
The Passage tells
us that God is a jealous God!
This adjective is
only used 19 times in the whole Bible.
And ... it (in
Hebrew = "qanna") nearly always refers to God!
The "root" of the
word involves "zealousness." That means being fervent, heated,
vigorously involved in or toward a matter!
It also can
include the idea of being "envious," though here not in an evil
definition for these two words, jealousy and envy are as
Jealousy ... a
fear of loss!
Envy ... a desire
Let's apply these
qualities (without any tinge of wrongdoing involved in them) to
the Lord God Almighty!
Is He jealous?
He fears our loss
of anything good and holy. (He also had no intention of
"losing" us either! He paid a Price for our souls ... the Blood
of Jesus ... and He does not allow for the possibility of our
being "lost" to sin or the devil ever again!)
He just told us He
He desires that we
worship Him and Him alone ... and in the very way He teaches us
and in that way alone ... because He wants us to have spiritual
growth and benefit and gain in our Christian life! That's holy
jealousy and holy envy!
You may question
this concept of "holy envy!" But James uses the Greek term for
"envy and jealousy" in reference to the Holy Spirit once I
believe. "Do ye think that the scripture
saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?"
James 4:5 (The Holy Spirit within us is VERY possessive, even
purely jealous and envious of our souls ... for Jesus' sake!)
Our dear Lord
Jesus, as His prime Disciple Paul is years later, is
"jealous over us with godly jealousy ... that He may present us
as a chaste virgin to Christ." 2nd Corinthians 11:2
burns so hot that He will thoroughly punish those who disobey
this second commandment!
"For thou shalt worship no other god: for
the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a
Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and
they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their
gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; And
thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters
go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring
after their gods. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods."
Exodus 34:14-17 (Here God's very Name is "Jealous!")
For a view of the
"heat" of God's jealousy, see Deuteronomy 4:24.
"For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire,
even a jealous God." Wow!
relates to God's righteousness:
"Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the
captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of
Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name." His Name
is unique ... and to be reverenced! ("Hallowed by Thy Name!")
And here's a new
view of God's jealousy: "Then will the
LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people." Joel
2:18 God apparently places special value on that real estate we
call "Israel!" Here's the same thought again:
"So the angel that communed with me said
unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am
jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy."
So ... how might
we apply this "jealousy" concept in our lives? (If we are to
"be ye holy" because God is holy ... are we to "be ye jealous"
because God is jealous?) While I can't fully answer that
question, I can say this. Elijah adopted some of God's holy
Listen to him in 1
Kings 19:10 --- "And he (Elijah) said, I
have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the
children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine
altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I
only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."
Though discouraged at that time, he spoke the truth about his
jealous feelings for God's Honor! And, as we have seen earlier
today, so was Paul jealous for the Lord's sake! He wrote to his
Corinthian converts: "For I am jealous
over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one
husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ."
2 Corinthians 11:2
Daddy, be jealous
over your family to the Glory of God!
Mom, over your
Pastors, over your
your very souls!
It IS a
godly trait if kept unselfish and pure and practiced for God's
What a thought for
"A Godly Jealousy!"
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 10 ... JANUARY 13, 2005:
One of the
"consequences" of failing to obey God's Word is rather
Exodus 20:5-6 give
us the details: "For I the LORD thy God
am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the
children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate
Me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and
keep My commandments."
appears to be particularly attached to the Second of the Ten
Commandments. (Although Numbers 14:18 seems to "expand" its
Many enemies of
our God have said this just isn't fair!
I will tell you
right now ... whatever God does may or may not be "fair"
according to man's standards ... but it IS always RIGHT! God
can do no wrong!
Abraham knew this
back in Genesis 18:25 when he asked:
"Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"
If a man (or a
woman) refuses to worship God properly ... substituting idols in
God's stead or even as a "representation" of Him, his sins will
so impact and influence his children that for generations they
likely will live according to that father's (or mother's)
And, according to
the Bible, those oncoming generations will be punished for this
wrongdoing as well!
In fact, to be
exactly true to our text here ... whether those ensuing
generations sin exactly as their parents did or not ... they
will be visited by God in judgment!
Some refer to this
truth as the Bible principle of "imputation."
We see it taught
again in Romans 5 by the Apostle Paul.
"By the offence of one (Adam) judgment
came upon all men to condemnation!" That's what Paul
teaches! By means of Adam's sin ... the initial sin by a human
... the judgment of God fell upon us all! And that's more than
3 or 4 generations too!
Here it is again:
"By one man (again, Adam) sin entered
into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all
men!" All men die ... because of sin ... which started
(humanly speaking) with Adam!
But here's some
Just as Adam's sin
is "imputed" to his children (us all) ... so is Jesus' non-sin
(Jesus' righteousness) passed along (imputed) to those who
become His children!
"Therefore as by the offence of one (Adam)
judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the
righteousness of one (JESUS) the free gift came upon all men
unto justification of life." Romans 5:18
Adam made us sinners! Jesus can (by
salvation) make us saints!
Look at Romans 5 again:
"For as by one man's disobedience (Adam) many were made
sinners, so by the obedience of one (JESUS) shall many be made
righteous." Romans 5:19
Glory to God!
You may call this harsh ... but it the means
of Grace that God legitimately used to impute Jesus
Righteousness to our wretched (but repentant and forgiven and
now Blood-washed) souls!
Daddy, be careful how you live!
Professing Christian Daddy, be careful how
Do these things Biblically!
If not, the consequences are "far reaching!"
Therefore ... if you really love your
children ... you must first really love the Lord God Almighty!
Today ... even in Law ... we have seen GRACE!
Here's just a bit more Grace too. In
Exodus 20:5-6 we see that "sin" is visited to the 3rd or 4th
generation ... while MERCY is visited to the 1,000th generation!
That may not be fair either ... but it's God! Here again mercy
rejoices against judgment! See James 2:13.
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 11 ... JANUARY
God's Name is so
holy that the ancient Israelites refused to even say It!
They feared using
The Name of The Lord in vain.
Commandment in Exodus 20 gives us a legal basis for such
reverence. "Thou shalt not take the Name
of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him
guiltless that taketh His Name in vain." Exodus 20:7
The verb "take"
here is interesting. It is in Hebrew "nasa" (used 659 times in
Scripture) and carries a host of meanings. Of those
occurrences, 58 are translated "take."
Its "root" idea is
"to bear or lift up" something. (Used 219 times in that sense.)
The Linguist Who
wrote this verse (the Holy Spirit!) believed that to put God's
Name on one's lips and speak It was (surely) to "lift It up" in
honor, respect and holy worship!
I suggest to you
that today men no longer consciously "lift up" The Name ... they
decry It, belittle It, ignore It, and figuratively spit upon It
millions of times a day!
I fear that even
in Church we have so familiarized ourselves and acclimatized
ourselves to His Name that we no longer place it on our tongues
with an upward elevating thought behind it!
And the word
"vain," a noun in Hebrew ("shav"), is only found 58 times in the
whole Bible! It means "emptiness, nothingness or
worthlessness!" It also means "false."
background suggests (from its "root" stem) a storm ... and means
"to rush over!" Hence the authorities say that by implication
it means "devastation."
Do NOT speak God's
Name without meaning behind It! Reverently KNOW what you are
saying. Attach to It (consciously and mentally) Its proper
significance as you utter It reverently!
And just to show
us how serious God is about this matter ... we are told that He
will not "hold him guiltless" that
taketh His Name in vain!
This verb ("naqah")
means "to be unpunished" or "to be innocent, clear or
blameless." Twice in the Old Testament (King James Version) it
is rendered "acquitted!"
God just will not
overlook the slandering of His Name!
Remember next time
you speak of Deity ... do so respectfully!
The verse today
bears repeating: "Thou shalt not take the
name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him
guiltless that taketh his name in vain."
I guess you might
call me a "legalist" after I say this. But this precept (this
Third of the Ten Commandments) needs to be preached again today
in all our Bible-believing Churches!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 12 ... SATURDAY, JANUARY 15, 2005:
Yes, when we use
God's Name it must be with utmost care! Listen to the Prophet
Isaiah. "Hear ye this, O house of Jacob,
which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out
of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the LORD, and
make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor
in righteousness." (Isaiah 48:1) If we speak His Name,
let it be in TRUTH and RIGHTEOUSNESS!
And here's a group
who did not use His Name properly also:
"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not
prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils?
and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I
profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that
work iniquity." (Matthew 7:22-23) Wow!
The English word
for God comes from a root stem that means "good." Others say
the word comes from a verbal stem that means "to pour,"
picturing God simply as one who must be appeased and satisfied
all the time!
The Greek word for
God is "theos" and comes from a verb that means to put or to
place, revealing God Who created all things and put them into
And the Latin word
for God is "deus" which probably means "sky," where they knew
God to live!
Now look at how
poorly (though truthfully to some degree) those words describe
and define our True and Living God!
Now think of the
Bible Names and Titles for Him! How full and robust in meaning
they are! How divinely inspired! How holy and reverent! How
filled with Truth to help us live day by day! How loaded with
Real Light about
God comes from His Name as It is revealed in the Bible! (Not in
an etymology dictionary!)
creation tells us some things about His precious Name!
"Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks,
unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is
near thy wondrous works declare." (Psalm 75:1)
Therefore I suggest to you that evolution, which denies God as
Creator, may be a violation of this Third Commandment! Darwin
therefore further popularized another form of blasphemy against
I believe the
fullest revelation of God's Name is in the Son! In the Lord
Jesus Christ! Can anyone prove me wrong? Acts 4:12 says of
Jesus: "Neither is there salvation in any
other: for there is none other name under heaven given among
men, whereby we must be saved." Of course, the Jehovah
of the Old Testament is The Jesus of the New Testament! That's
what Jesus taught when He said to Philip:
"Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known
me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father."
We now live in a
country where God's Name is profaned daily millions of times.
(And television and Hollywood are among the top offenders!) But
... let them ONCE start blaspheming or cursing or using the name
of Allah (the God of the Muslims) in vain and see what happens!
All I can say is
this. Judgment Day is coming!
In the meantime, I
can reverence and obey God's Name daily as long as I live!
It just may be
that the "Lord's Prayer" is so structured that the petition
"Hallowed be Thy Name" is also tied
in with the descriptive phrase "In earth
as it is in Heaven!" If grammatically so ... we must
revere The Names and Titles of God with utmost care! Amen!
He is such a
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 13 ... SUNDAY, JANUARY 16, 2005:
Commandment reads this way: "Remember the
sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do
all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the
LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor
thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant,
nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy
gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh
day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed
it." Exodus 20:8-11
This is the one
Commandment that is not precisely repeated in the New Testament.
In fact we today
worship NOT on the Sabbath (Saturday), but on Sunday!
Yet I believe
there is a principle at work in this commandment (as is
operative in ALL God's orders to us) that transcends Moses and
I am not willing
to say that this "day of rest" concept is void in the Age of
Grace, the Church Age in which we live!
I will tell you
right now that the idea of Sabbath rest was around a long time
before Moses and the law!
It began Creation
Week! And God Himself started it! Read Genesis 2:2 ---"And
on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he
rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made."
Rest ... on the
seventh day ... the first week of world history!
pre-Mosaic incident concerning rest. In Exodus 16 we are told
that the manna did not come on the Sabbath Day! Therefore God
allowed a double supply the day before! The Jews would not have
to bake on the Sabbath! "And it came to
pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much
bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the
congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them, This
is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the
rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which
ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and
that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the
morning." (Exodus 16:22-23) Again, this was before the
law was ever given!
And of course we
all know that Sabbath rest and worship was in force for the
hundreds of years of Law (The Dispensation of Law). (Roughly
from 1500 BC until the death of Christ!)
But ... even now
after Jesus has come and bled and died, being buried and raised
again ... Paul (using the motif of the Sabbath and its rest)
tells us in Hebrews: "There remaineth
therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered
into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God
did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that
rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief."
(Hebrews 4:9-11) Heaven itself is a type of this rest!
And so is the Millennium!
Even prophetically (one day with the Lord being as a thousand
years) this earth has only existed so far about 6,000 years (six
days to the Lord) ... and soon (I believe) there will follow
1,000 years of millennial rest (a Sabbath "Day") when Jesus
comes again! Even our God's program of prophecy may be based on
the Sabbath principle of rest!
So ... let me
close by saying this. We would be wise NOT to mock the Sabbath
principle. Not to ignore God's program of rest and worship!
When I grew up in
rural South Carolina my Mom and Dad would not allow us to do
much on Sunday, the "Christian" Sabbath! The stores were all
closed too. No one would think of cutting grass or working on a
car! And the godly older ladies even cooked on Saturday so
Sunday meals would be served without work!
Excuse me, but I
think those were the "good old days!"
Some day we may
all wish we had "rested" according to our God's glorious plan!
The is more to the
Law that the letter!
There are behind
it principles of godly living that we have yet to discover!
After all, we
serve an ALL WISE God!
(Do you remember
why God put Judah in Babylonians captivity for 70
years? Exactly because she had failed to obey 70 years of
sabbaticals on her land! Israel refused to let the land (and
her farmers, etc.) rest for a total of 70 (sabbatical) years! So
God just added up her violations and place them all together
into one 70 year period of forced rest! Read it for yourself!
"And them that had escaped from the sword
carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and
his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: to fulfil the
word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had
enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she
kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years." (2nd
God kept count!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
Often it is said
about some portion of the Bible: "That does not apply to us
anymore!" Or "That's archaic!" Some would even say: "This is
not 'workable' in today's world!"
Now while I do
believe in the Dispensations God has meted to this old earth and
its people ... I also believe that no Scripture is without
profit! ("All scripture is given by
inspiration of God, and is
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly
furnished unto all good works." 2
For example, how
many times have I heard one of us fundamentalists say: "You can
forget what the Bible says about all that Sabbath business.
It's not for our age."
Now of course it
is true that we do NOT worship on the Sabbath day any longer.
(That was Saturday!) We worship on the First Day of the week,
on Sunday, the day our Lord Jesus Christ arose from the grave!
(And we base our practice on the patterns established by the
early post-resurrection church in the book of Acts!)
BUT still ... the
fourth commandment has relevance for us in other ways. There
are "principles" behind those "precepts!"
Exodus 20:8 tells us to ...
the sabbath day, to keep it holy."
Then Deuteronomy 5:12 adds:
the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath
Here's an example of "truth" to be gleaned
from these two expressions of God's Commandment.
The old Jewish rabbis taught their people
this. The verb "remember" carries the implication of doing
positive things that would enhance one's delight in the Lord's
Day. While the verb "keep" forbids doing negative things that
would desecrate the Lord's Day! The Hebrew verbs are obviously
quite different in scope! "Remember" (in Hebrew = "zakar")
means to think upon, to be mindful of or to mention! "Keep" (in
Hebrew = "shamar") means to beware, to heed or to guard! (One
verb IS more positive while the other IS more negative!) What
beauty is to be found in Bible vocabulary!
On remembering the Lord's Day ... many older
saints used to "count" the days until worship and preaching
time! Each day was numbered by how far it was from the Sabbath
or how near it was to the Sabbath! Wouldn't it be something if
we Christians woke up each morning and thought ... only two days
ago I was in church! Or ... only three days until Sunday!
Then notice that the fourth Commandment also
"includes" others in one's household! Just after the order from
God, He adds: "But the seventh day is
the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not
do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy
manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy
stranger that is within thy gates." One's family,
employees and guests must also worship! (That says a lot
about: "Preacher, we won't be here next Sunday. We have
company coming for the weekend!" Hey! Tell them, "Be ready to
go to the Lord's House with us Sunday morning and Sunday night
when you come!") Also notice in the verse above that even the
animals rested! The Bible says more than we realize about caring
for livestock and God's other little creatures too.
Lastly for today, look at this. In Exodus 20
remembering the Sabbath is based upon the fact of creation.
Here's verse 11 --- "For in six
days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in
them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD
blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." But in the
Deuteronomy account Sabbath observance is based upon something
else altogether! "And remember that thou
wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God
brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched
out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the
sabbath day." Here things are based upon redemption,
deliverance from bondage! (Creation and Redemption! Our Lord
is both Creator and Redeemer! Both! By the way, if He is NOT
your Creator ... you may have no need for a Redeemer! The whole
Bible must be true! One cannot "pick" and "choose" what parts
he likes or rejects!) Their Sabbaths celebrated creation
The great Apostle Paul himself used those two
approaches to lost folks in His ministry too! Often when
talking to Gentiles (with no Bible background) he started with
creation and led them to redemption!
Think of this too! (So much for that "lastly"
I used two paragraphs ago!) God's "creation" work week was
headed toward REST! Not more and more obsessive work! His
"goal" was rest! And that's exactly where we Christians are
headed too! We had best work now ... while it is yet day ...
night's coming! For after our "work" comes an eternity of rest
and praise and worship of our darling Saviour! Adam and Eve were
created BEFORE the command to tend the garden was given. They
were not primarily (or exclusively) made for work! They were
made to fellowship with God! To "rest" in Him! So were we
made! Hebrews 4:9 promises us today:
"There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God."
Look what we've done this Monday. While NOT
teaching Sabbath (Saturday) worship ... we have nonetheless
drawn several brief but helpful (I trust) "principles" of truth
from this most neglected Commandment.
What "beauty" the Law of God contains!
What "grace" it enfolds!
And folks, also don't forget ... go to Church
Because ... Jesus lives!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 15 ... TUESDAY,
JANUARY 18, 2005:
The Bible says "Honour
thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the
land which the LORD thy God giveth thee." That's found
in Exodus 20:12. It is known as the Fifth Commandment. The
"parallel" passage in Deuteronomy 5 words it like this:
"Honour thy father and thy mother, as the
LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be
prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which
the LORD thy God giveth thee."
Paul calls this "the
first commandment with promise." See Ephesians 6:2.
The verb "honor" (in Hebrew = "kabad") is an
imperative here, expressing a direct order from God! It means
to prize highly or to show respect. (Literally, to give
"weight" to their positions and opinions and instructions and
persons!) Leviticus 19:3 goes so far as to say "fear"
Notice the parents are named, father and
mother. This is a two parent home, God's ideal standard. (I'm
about tired of this world's portrayal of a family as anything
but a husband and a wife! I'll stick with Moses' description
And God promises generally longer life to
those who honor their parents too.
In Deuteronomy things "going well" in one's
life is also an added "benefit!" The idea here is a good,
pleasing, joyful, glad, right and even beautiful life! (Quite a
One preacher showed me how Deuteronomy
21:18-21 catalogues three areas of "honor" toward our parents.
"If a man have a stubborn and rebellious
son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice
of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him,
will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother
lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city,
and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the
elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and
rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton,
and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with
stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you;
and all Israel shall hear, and fear."
Honor them with our words! With our
actions! And with our attitudes! (Three areas where the
"rebel" in our verses above did NOT excel!)
And of course the Pharisees had figured out
how to avoid honoring their elderly parents by using a
"religious" cloak to cover their disobedience! Listen to Jesus:
"But he answered and said unto them, Why
do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He
that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye
say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his
mother, It is a gift,
by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not
his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye
made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
Ye hypocrites ...." Matthew 15:3-7 (The "support"
money, that should have gone to elderly parents to care for
them, was instead diverted to Temple service by calling it
"gift" money! In Mark's account this "gift" is called "corban."
Stealing from one's parents and justifying such evil actions by
calling the money a "gift" to God!) Jesus condemns such
It appears that Jesus loved family life! He
healed Peter's Mother-in-Law and worked a miracle for Jairus'
sick daughter too. The wedding at Canaan was a family affair
too. From the Cross, as He died, He placed His Mother into
John's hands for safe-keeping! Yet our Lord said such things
as: "He that loveth father or mother more
than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter
more than me is not worthy of me." (Matthew 10:37) or
"If any man come to me, and hate
not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and
brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be
my disciple." (Luke 14:26) Explain this!
I believe Jesus here was just subordinating
the fifth commandment to the first one! Parents must be honored
... but God solely must be worshipped!
Lord willing, more tomorrow.
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 16 ...
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 19, 2005:
While most folks have long since forgotten
the Ten Commandments (much less the "order" in which were
given), let me suggest to you there's reason even for the
sequence in which they occur!
The fifth Commandment about honoring one's
parents follows the first four Commandments about being right
Likely because of this one great fact. If a
person is RIGHT with God (the Authority above) ... he or she
will also be right with his or her parents (one's first
authority on earth)!
Therefore: "Honour thy
father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land
which the LORD thy God giveth thee." Exodus 20:12
This honoring one's parents goes deep into
the soul and spirit! Listen to Paul in Hebrews 12:9 as he
almost incidentally mentions:
"Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected
us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much
rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?"
He just taught us to "reverence" our fathers!
Now I believe this fifth Commandment implies
something in reference to the parents too. These are supposedly
godly parents Moses is addressing here. They are assumed to be
teachers of spiritual things to their children!
"And, ye fathers, provoke not your
children to wrath: but
bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
Ephesians 6:4 (Teach them the things of God!) Next
parents are to provide for their children physically. You Dads
listen: "But if any
provide not for his own,
and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the
faith, and is worse than an infidel." 1st Timothy 5:8
Yet, regardless of one's parents, he or she
is to honor them! (If you can't respect their persons ...
respect their position as the ones who brought you into the
Recent surveys now tell us that half of
America's young folks do NOT believe it's their responsibility
to honor and (in later years) care for their parents! Let
someone else do it!
Let me show you what's about to happen in our
Country. The parents now have aborted 1,500,00 babies a year
for a long time. America has been killing the brothers and
sisters of our current children for over 30 years now (since
1973)! So ... guess what? When these kids are grown and in
political office ... they are going to return the favor ... and
start killing the old folks! No, it won't be called murder!
(Just as abortion is not called murder now!) It will be called
euthanasia! (The word means "good death!" Mercy killing!) And
it's on the way to the USA! (Ever heard that verse about reaping
what one sows?)
Christian parents, if you are wise, you will
teach this fifth Commandment to your youngsters!
Lastly, notice what kinds of sins Paul
associates with disrespect to parents in 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
"This know also, that in the last days
perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own
selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers,
disobedient to parents,
unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers,
false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are
good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than
lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power
thereof: from such turn away." Few sins stand alone!
They come in packs! One leads to another!
Truthfully, in a craze one Preacher calls "youthism"
... our nation has devalued old age and idolized youth! (How
very stupid!) Old folks now are ignorant, decrepit, and useless
to hear many tell it. And young folks are "it!" We've
forgotten Scriptures such as Proverbs 16:31 ---
"The hoary head (gray, white hair) is
a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of
My Mom and Dad are in heaven now ... but I
can still honor their memory and their testimony and their
teaching by living a godly life! After all, I'll see them again
some day. And, knowing my Dad, I'd better be "right" when I get
Someone today reading these lines needs to
immediately log off ... pick up the phone or grab the car keys
... and apologize to a dear Mom or Dad for your past living.
And start today honoring them to the glory of God! (Take a
Christmas present or a Birthday gift with you as you go! You
just may have overlooked that earlier!)
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 17 ... JANUARY
clearly "Thou shalt not kill."
Jesus, of course,
never really "negates" that Command. In fact, He "intensifies"
The verb used here
for "kill" is (in Hebrew) "ratzsah." It specifically means to
slay (to murder). Originally it had the idea of premeditated
The word is used
47 times in the Bible.
Gradually, in a
grammatical sense, the word expanded its meaning to include
manslaughter (accidentally killing someone) as well as
In the historical
context, about the eighth century (the 700's AD) the word came
to mean even more! That is, violence against a person resulting
from feelings of hatred or malice!
In one of His six
"antitheses," Jesus said "Ye have heard
that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and
whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I
say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a
cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall
say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but
whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell
fire." Matthew 5:21-22
Now THAT is
amplifying a Scripture Text!
Disciple whom Jesus loved, took up that theme from our Lord and
said: "Whosoever hateth his brother is a
murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding
in him." 1st John 3:15
Lord, help us to
live by those words!
Help us to
"love one another!" 1st John 3:11
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
As I studied the
sixth commandment, "Thou shalt not kill,"
I came across an interesting list of prohibitions.
Let me share them
forbidden! (The deliberate act of slaying another human being)
So is feticide!
(Killing an unborn fetus, an infant, a little boy or girl) In
the Bible the "fetus" of little John the Baptist jumped in the
womb when He heard of the coming Messiah! Of course the Bible
never uses the word "fetus," just baby or babe.
Suicide is not
allowed either under the sixth commandment. That's the murder
God) is against the Law too, but the people of Jesus' day did so
anyway. I fear they have paid the consequences for that too!
Of course He arose from the dead! (Some liberal preachers and
theologians are trying to kill Him yet again! They will fail!)
murder (the meaning of that verb "kill") God also excludes the
emotions that lead to murder! Envy, hatred, anger and revenge
were often called acts of "hidden murder"! That's what the old
fashioned preachers used to say.
on this commandment, shows us the spirit behind it rather
than just the letter of it! His remarks are found in
Matthew 5, the Sermon on the Mount. "Ye
have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not
kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the
judgment: but I say unto you, That whosoever is
angry with his
brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and
whosoever shall say to
his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but
whosoever shall say,
Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." The
"spirit" of this law goes far beyond merely not killing
someone! It even goes to the thoughts that would lead to such
killing ... anger for example! The word "raca" simply means
useless or senseless or empty and "fool" means (literally in
English) a "moron!" (Here's name calling as a "root" behind
Then Jesus goes
even further! Listen ... "Therefore if
thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy
brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the
altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and
then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary
quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time
the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver
thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison." Here
the Lord "adds" to His teaching.
Not only "do not
kill" ... and not only do not have angry revengeful feelings
that could somehow lead to murder! Neither should we let
"unrest" or "alienation" between us and someone else continue!
If someone has "ought" (anything or something or just a certain
little thing) against you ... get it solved immediately!
Talk about the
"spirit" of a command!
Jesus could really
get to the "heart" of a verse of Scripture, couldn't He?
Let none of us be
guilty of murder in any way! Either in act or emotion or
problem before it festers into something worse!
However, do keep
in mind that Jesus was willing to STAND on issues of great
importance spiritually and morally and theologically! He is not
here teaching compromise on those great facets of life!
I believe that we
have had a lesson in hermeneutics today ... from the Master
Teacher, the dear Lord Jesus! (Hermeneutics is the science of
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 19 ... JANUARY 25, 2005:
It was certainly
in force in the Garden of Eden! (Genesis 2:24)
And it was
reinforced in the day of Moses! (See Deuteronomy 5:18)
Jesus preached it
too! (Matthew 5:28)
And I am quite
sure ... God requires it yet today!
Commandment, "Thou shalt not commit
what Exodus 20:14 says!
And Jesus, just as
He did with the other commandments, not only emphasized literal
obedience to it ... but also strict adherence to anything
associated with it as well.
For example, do
not just avoid adultery (a sinful sexual relationship by a
married man or woman with someone other than his wife or her
husband) ... but also avoid any thoughts that could lead to
Listen to our
Lord. "Ye have heard that it was said by
them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto
you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath
committed adultery with her already in his heart."
And twice Jesus
said this about the matter: "What
therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."
Matthew 19:6 and Mark 10:9
I know that today
I am on an unpopular verse.
But it's still in
I really believe
that one reason (among many) that God is so careful about this
commandment is that the marriage relationship pictures something
precious to Him! The husband is a "type" of the Bridegroom
Jesus ... and the wife is a picture of the Church Jesus died to
save! And the Jesus/Church union is NOT to be dissolved!
Brethren, each of
you today should make it a point to tell your wife that you're
committed to her "till death do you part!"
will visit here tomorrow, but I'm not through with this one yet.
Why is this sin
particularly so rampant today among professing Christians?
We shall try to
deal with this question Wednesday morning, Lord willing.
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 20 ... WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 26, 2005:
It is perhaps now
the "silent" commandment!
At least one has
to admit that it's not preached much any more!
Violations of it
have inched into our churches as these days of apostasy have
"Thou shalt not commit adultery." Exodus 20:14
Why is this so?
I believe the
first answer to that question must be placed in the hands of us
We have simply
failed to preach the WHOLE Word of God!
As folks have more
and more developed "itching ears," we have more and more
designed "politically correct" sermons to please them!
It seems we don't
mind preaching about Heaven ... but not about living right on
the way there!
We love to declare
salvation ... but not separation!
We tells folks
about Jesus as Saviour ... but not too much as Lord!
We proclaim the
positive ... but not the negative!
God, help us to
"Preach the Word," the entire Word of God!
Next I think we as
Christians have failed to emphasize the lines against sin that
once were so clearly marked!
If we let liars
serve in Church leadership positions ... as well as gossips and
rebels and profane people, why not include adulterers also?
We are about to
adopt the world's philosophy which denies the very existence of
Lying is a sin ...
slander and gossip are wrong ... rebellion is Biblically
compared to witchcraft ... and adultery is as bad (really ...
worse) than them all!
Let me draw one of
those lines today. It might help someone. Preachers, do not
TOUCH any woman other than your wife! A lot of adulterous
activity got started with that one forbidden "touch!" Men of
God, keep your hands OFF the women (in and out of church)! Do
NOT meet with a woman (other than your wife) alone anywhere
under any circumstances! If an emergency develops, take someone
with you. Avoid the very "appearance" of evil.
Lastly, at least
for now, we have removed any "penalty" for sins of this type!
Adulterers and adulteresses are now too often allowed to return
to church un-rebuked and accepted back into their former
positions while yet unrepentant and proud! There are Pastors
today in (formerly) fundamental Churches that fit into this
category! Listen to Proverbs: "But
whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh
understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.
A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not
be wiped away." (Proverbs 6:32-33) Sin, even when
forgiven, still has consequences! Whatever happened to
old-fashioned church discipline? Has the word
"disqualification" passed into extinction?
put all this in perspective when He cautioned us not to commit
adultery ... then immediately brought up our thought life! Even
to "think" adultery in some lustful way ... is wrong in God's
eyes! (That's likely where it all begins anyway!) Paul
re-emphasized this truth by saying:
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever
things are honest, whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are
lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there
be any virtue, and if there be any praise,
think on these things."
Plus ... "But put ye on the Lord
Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil
the lusts thereof." Then ...
"Nevertheless, to avoid
fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every
woman have her own husband." Yet again ...
"Keep thyself pure."
In 1631, during
the early days of the printing of the King James Version of the
Bible, a printer made an "error" in the typesetting. He left
out the word NOT in that seventh commandment. Exodus 20:14
wrongly (again, due to human error) read: "Thou shalt commit
adultery." You don't reckon a few copies of THAT Bible still
exist today, do you? After so many years? If so ... I think I
know some churches where they're using it!
But the real Bible
still says ... "Thou shalt NOT commit
adultery," and we had better obey it!
If would not
surprise me that today someone is reading these lines and is now
But neither would
it surprise me that someone has ventured here and read ...
convicted by the Holy Spirit ... and ready to decide some
changes have to be made ... before it's too late!
If so, our time
today has been well spent!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
We of course are studying the Ten
A Preacher just made reference to the six
"antitheses" Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount (concerning
I thought, "What?"
(An "antithesis" is a contrast in ideas or
definitions! It in Latin means "to set against.")
Well, after some investigation, I found
them! Here they are.
Again, each will quote one of the
commandments or one of their derivatives.
Number 1: "Ye have
heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill;
and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
But I say unto you,
That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall
be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his
brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever
shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."
The antithesis begins with the words ... "BUT
I SAY UNTO YOU!"
Number 2: "Ye have
heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not
commit adultery: But I
say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust
after her hath committed adultery with her already in his
heart." Matthew 5:27-28
Number 3: "It hath
been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a
writing of divorcement:
But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his
wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit
adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced
committeth adultery." Matthew 5:31-32
Number 4: "Again, ye
have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou
shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord
thine oaths: But I say
unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is
God's throne: nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither
by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither
shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one
hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea;
Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil."
Number 5: "Ye have
heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for
a tooth: But I say unto
you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite
thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."
Number 6: "Ye have
heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and
hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless
them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for
them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may
be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh
his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on
the just and on the unjust." Matthew 5:43-45
Now, grouping these all together, I see
several great things bout Jesus our Lord!
Notice His great POWER!
He is taking the very place of Moses and further amplifying
Scripture! Who could do that but God?
Notice His great
PERCEPTION! His Discernment into the meaning of the Word
of God! He is skillfully wielding the Sword of the Spirit,
isn't He? I guess He can! He wrote It! He saw not only the
letter of the Law ... but the Spirit behind it also! What
"insight" He has, the omniscient Son of God!
Notice His great
PURITY! His holiness of life! Never did He sin. He not
only expanded these commandments,
He lived by them!
Then notice His great
PREACHING! His declaration of God's Word! No one ever
spoke like He did! His
pulpit ministry consisted of the exposition of God's Word for
Lastly see His great
PASSION! His desire to reach souls! He is doing all this
(giving us God's way of life) because He loves men and women!
He longs to see sinners saved! That's why He came!
(The Law shows us we're
all sinners ... and desperately need a Saviour!)
Would you agree with me? These "antitheses"
of our Lord sure tell us a lot about Him ... both as a Man and
as a Preacher!
Glory to HIS Name!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
The Bible in
Exodus 20, after commanding us not to kill or commit adultery,
then tells us not to steal.
There is of course
a beautiful orderly progression in all these prohibitions. (In
fact, this is true with the whole number of the Ten
Just glance at
these 3 ... but for the moment "in reverse." We must have
things (a home or a job ... to buy groceries) before we can have
a wife! (I still believe that old Bible precept that a man's
duty is to care for his wife and family!) Thus the "things
issue" calls for the "no stealing" commandment.
successfully and faithfully having a wife demands that one not
commit adultery. Adultery of course would destroy that precious
But why all this
about the sanctity of marriage? The Bible immediately tells us
why. Malachi states a critical reason for marriage:
"That he might seek a godly seed." (Malachi 2:15) We
marry to produce life (a child or children)! That's life to be
lived for God!
Hence ... do not
I hope you see
what I'm trying to say.
We definitely have
Now, further into
... "Thou shalt not steal." Exodus
That Hebrew verb
(steal = "ganab") is used 39 times in Scripture. Once in the
King James Bible it is translated "carrieth away." (Job 21:18)
And that's the "root" idea the word conveys. To take something
(property) that belongs to another!
The old rabbis
also tell us the word here has in it an element of
"secrecy!" Taking by stealth! In a sneaky manner!
Biblically the word is used in other ways too. In 2 Samuel 15:6
Absalom (son of David) stole something other than property.
"So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of
Israel." (But he even did this in a "secret" way!)
And of course, the
New Testament repeats this command often!
Ephesians 4:28 --- "Let him that stole
steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands
the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that
Paul has likely
here recorded the "spirit" of the whole Eighth Commandment.
1. Do not rob from
2. Go get a job
and earn some money with which to buy what you really need.
3. Then give to
those who lack due to sickness or hard times!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 23 ... JANUARY 28, 2005:
If I take
something that belongs to another (say a relative or my employer
or even a total stranger), from whom have I stolen?
That seems like a
silly question on the surface.
stolen from the one (whoever he or she is) who owned that item!
At least as far as
it goes, that's a right answer!
But what if I
suggest that the "thief" has also stolen from God!
For in reality
those cattle up on the hill, the ones belonging to the dairy
farmer next door, belong to GOD too!
Now someone will
need Bible proof for this statement!
Listen to our
great God in Psalm 50:10 --- "For every
beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand
And that land
dealer who swindled the widow lady out of those acres, He too
took from the Almighty God of the universe!
Here's Bible for
that one: "The earth is the LORD'S, and
the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein."
I found five
separate times in Scripture where this truth is taught!
Now ... these
facts being so, what about the person who refuses to give the
Lord a "tithe" (10%) of his income?
Many would argue
that whatever one does with his money is HIS business.
Yet God requires a
portion of it. Surely no one denies that fact!
The "tithe" is
His! "And all the tithe of the land,
whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is
the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD." Leviticus 27:30
That's why Malachi
quotes God as He charges Israel with robbery!
"Will a man rob God? Yet ye
have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed
thee? In tithes and offerings." Malachi 3:8
This sure seems to
place "stealing" into a higher category than simple pilfering!
All those "Ten
Commandments" no doubt carry prohibitions that ultimately offend
the righteousness of a Holy God, Whom we Christians are to serve
and please day by day!
"Thou shalt not steal." Exodus
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 24 ... JANUARY 29, 2005:
"Thou shalt not bear
Thatís what Exodus 20:16 says.
The verb here is "sheqer" (in Hebrew) and
means to lie or deceive or speak vanity (emptiness)!
And the parallel term in Deuteronomy 5:20 is
"shav" which clearly means speaking lies, falsehoods or vain
things! ("Neither shalt thou bear false
witness against thy neighbour.")
The third Commandment deals with respect for
Godís Name! Now this ninth Commandment deals with proper respect
for our brothersí and sistersí names! Proper talk TOWARD God and
proper talk ABOUT our neighbor!
And the ninth Commandment ("No false
witness") protects peopleís names and reputations just as the
eighth Command ("No stealing") protects their property!
While Iíve never realized it this clearly
before, this Commandment forbids gossip, slander and such talk
"Thou shalt not bear
This Law is all about the
Be truthful. Donít hedge on your words! Jesus
said: "But let your communication be, Yea,
yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of
evil." Matthew 5:37
In other words ... mean what you say and say
what you mean!
Listen to Jeremiah talk about the sharp
"tongues" of his day. "And they bend their
tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for
the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil,
and they know not me, saith the LORD. Take ye heed every one of
his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every
brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk
with slanders. And they will deceive every one his neighbour,
and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to
speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity. Thine
habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse
to know me, saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD of
hosts, Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how shall I
do for the daughter of my people? Their tongue is as an arrow
shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his
neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait. Shall
I not visit them for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my
soul be avenged on such a nation as this?" Jeremiah
Speaking of truth, the two major Bible words
(one in Hebrew and one in Greek) are lovely! The New Testament
uses "aletheia" which has the idea of not forgetting something!
(Etymology: "a" means no or not ... and "letho" means to
forget!) New Testament Truth is something that once seen ...
cannot be forgotten! And the Old Testament uses "emunah" which
means firmness or faithfulness! If something is true, you can
lean upon it. It will not fail you!
As Christians who have access to that kind of
Truth, why would we ever want to bear false witness?
But is this sin so bad? Everyone tells a
little white lie sometimes!
Yes, it is! It is bad!
Liars are following the devil!
"Ye are of your father the devil, and the
lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the
beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth
in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for
he is a liar, and the
father of it." John 8:44
Anyone who habitually lies ... is NOT saved!
"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and
the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers,
and idolaters, and all
liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth
with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
Lord, help us to speak the truth!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
When the Lord
says "Thou shalt not bear false witness,"
He frames that great Command in legal terms!
purpose for this Ninth Imperative from God is the integrity of
the Jewish legal system. For example, Deuteronomy 17:6 ---
"At the mouth of two witnesses, or three
witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death;
but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to
death." And the position of witness was so critical,
that he (the witness) had to cast the first stone (in capital
punishment cases)! "The hands of the
witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and
afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the
evil away from among you." Deuteronomy 17:7
Once lying on
the witness stand (perjury) is accepted by a society, its total
disintegration is not far away! And America is getting closer
And if you
think bearing false witness had no consequences in Jewish
courts, read this: "And the judges shall
make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness
be a false witness, and hath testified falsely
against his brother; then shall ye do unto him, as he had
thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the
evil away from among you." Deuteronomy 19:18-19 (In
other words ... when involving capital cases ... they were to
slay the false witness!)
Here are some
other examples of "bearing false witness" too:
lying! (Often called telling a little "white" lie!) But
Biblically there is no such thing! A High School teacher I had
once taught us: "A lie in an intention to deceive!" That
definition covers a lot of territory!
lying! This is saying things just to hurt someone! Often in
this process facts get terribly distorted!
wonder how many little "half-truths" have been edited and
embellished to help kill someone's testimony or reputation!
(Simply talking critically about someone behind their back ...
with the added condition of being "sloppy" with the truth!)
(Just spreading what you have heard ... irregardless of whether
it's accurate or not!)
Lying to God!
This is just not keeping your word to our Heavenly Father. What
did you promise Him at the altar Sunday before last? Have you
done it? How about that vow you made years ago? (To tithe or
to witness or to read your Bible)
In reality not
bearing false witness is more than what one does with his lips
and tongue and mouth. It becomes a lifestyle!
Scripture says things like this: "And
(Hezekiah the King) said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee,
how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart,
and have done that which is good in thy sight."
(Isaiah 38:3) Or to get a New Testament sample:
"I have no greater joy than to hear that
my children walk in truth." 3rd John 4
Let us as Paul
admonished "speak the truth ...!"
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
The verse is found in Proverbs 25:18.
"A man that beareth false witness against
his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow."
Most Preachers have been victims of some
"false witness" in their years of service for the Lord.
A liar who frames his (or her) deadly talk as
gossip or slander or "a prayer request" or just a
"have-you-heard-the-latest" format ... is
still just a
Our verse here reveals God's view of a sneaky
lying tongue! (The term "False Witness," in Hebrew, implies
both thoughts ... deceit and untruthfulness.)
Such a person is like a "maul." This is the
first and the only time this word is used in all the Bible! A
"maul" in English is a hammer or a heavy weapon! In Hebrew (the
language of the Old Testament) the word is developed from a verb
root that primarily means "to scatter." False witnesses scatter
the people who should be near us! It also can mean "to shatter
or break!" Many a person has suffered a broken reputation via
the lying lips of a false accuser! And in some forms the verb
also means "to overflow!" Once a lying gossip begins ... it's
hard stopping them! Their deadly words seem to overflow
The noun "sword" is just as bad too! The
word in Hebrew is spelled "chebub" and in the King James Bible
is translated in the following ways: sword (401 times), knife
(3 times), dagger (3 times), axes (1 time), mattocks (1 time)
and tool (1 time)! These are bad things to have "after" you!
But they fit God's estimation of a false witness!
Then comes the sharp arrow! ("Sharp" means
whetted or pricked!) And the noun "arrow" (in Hebrew = "chetzs")
means a dart or shaft for the archer to use! Once in our Bible
it is rendered "wound!"
Another Bible name for the "false witness" is
"Thou shalt not go up
and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt
thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the
LORD." Leviticus 19:16
"A talebearer revealeth
secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the
matter." Proberbs 11:13
"The words of a
talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the
innermost parts of the belly." Proverbs 18:8 and 26:22
(The very same words ... twice!)
"He that goeth about
as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with
him that flattereth with his lips." Proverbs 19:20
no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no
talebearer, the strife ceaseth." Proverbs 26:20
Preachers, here's a "nugget!"
does one deal with such false witnesses and talebearers?
Again, Proverbs tells us:
"The north wind driveth away rain:
so doth an angry
countenance a backbiting tongue." (Proverbs
25:23) Do not stand around smiling and nodding while you listen
to that garbage! Stop it! Let's all go home and practice
developing "an angry countenance" just for such occasions as
Preachers, next that wicked junk starts ...
look 'em down! Tell them with your countenance alone that you
know they're lying! Don't encourage them in any way at all!
That's Bible advice!
I just thought this might be helpful some
(Although, I hope not soon!)
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
Quote the last of
the Ten Commandments.
Can you do that?
Well, here it is:
"Thou shalt not covet!"
But that's just
part of the whole verse in which it appears:
"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's
house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his
manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor
any thing that is thy neighbour's." Exodus 20:17
That verb "covet" in Hebrew is spelled "chamad"
and means "to strongly desire." It also means "to take pleasure
in, to delight in, or to lust after!"
One scholar simply defined covetousness as "a
yearning for something that belongs to someone else."
Hebrew teachers tell us that the verb "chamad"
also includes the inner emotion that leads to an outer action!
Now putting it all together ... the complete
Bible definition ... for "covet" is (1) a strong DESIRE for
someone or something (2) that belongs to somebody else and (3)
accompanied by thinking and scheming on how to acquire that
person or object!
If you don't think this is serious business,
ask Achan who coveted some Babylonian "trinkets." Or David who
coveted another man's wife! Or Ahab and Jezebel who coveted
Listen to Jesus warn about this sin in Luke
12:15 --- "And He said unto them, Take
heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth
not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."
And Paul, who further described what it is to
"covet" in Colossians 3:5, preached:
"Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth;
fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil
covetousness, which is idolatry." (Notice those
last few words!) The Greek word for "covetousness" here is "pleonexia,"
which means "to hold on to" ("echo" in Greek) plus "more, many
or much" ("pleion" in Greek)! To have a little bit more ...
I just saw something in Paul's statement
above. He identifies covetousness with idolatry! That being so
... the Ten Commandments begin with a warning about idolatry
("no other gods") ... and end with a warning against idolatry
("covetousness, which is idolatry")! Wow! This is called "inclusio"
(a text that begins and ends with the same thought)!
But ... what's the solution to covetousness?
Paul says to the young preacher Timothy ...
"But godliness with contentment is great
gain." 1st Timothy 6:6 (Godliness only comes through
the shed Blood of Jesus!)
He also adds (particularly to preachers ...
for this warning is recorded in a "Pastoral Epistle") ...
"And having food and raiment let us be
therewith content." 1st Timothy 6:8
But Hebrews 13:5 may give us the "heart" of
it all! Again, Jesus is The Answer! "Let
your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with
such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave
thee, nor forsake thee."
Isn't it encouraging to know that we can even
give our "desires" to Jesus?
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
We today live in
what many call a "consumer culture."
We are constantly
being bombarded with advertisements! They are everywhere!
Diving down the
highway (billboards), checking the internet news (pop-ups),
reading the local headlines (ads) or getting the radio traffic
report (60 second "breaks") ... all subject us to the philosophy
of the world at least in this one area ... increasing one's
They say, "You need a bigger home!" Or "your
car isn't new any longer!" Or "your wardrobe needs to be
They yell, "More! More! More!"
And for the Christian, in reality, these
"invitations to buy" are simply tempting us to violate the Tenth
Commandment, "Thou shalt not covet!"
While I realize that we occasionally will
have to buy a new pair of shoes or even replace a worn-out old
car, the "spirit" of the Bible is to "...
Be content with such things as ye have." Hebrews 13:5
Today's "ad" firms on Madison Avenue would
not be able to thrive so ... in a truly Christian environment!
Can you imagine what such "advertisements" would have looked
like in a New England Puritan village of the 1600's? They would
have been non-existent!
Years ago we sang a little song simply
entitled "Christ is all I need!"
In fact, read Hebrews 13:5 again ... this
time in its entirety: "Let your
conversation be without covetousness; and be
content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will
never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Scripture just said
... really Jesus just said: "I AM WITH YOU" ... what else do
Let's ask the Lord to let us ignore those ads
(hundreds of them a day) and use each of them as a pointer to
the Read Satisfaction of our lives ... the Lord Jesus Christ!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
Concerning the last of the Ten Words
(Commandments), let me just add this thought. (That's what the
Hebrew vocabulary of Deuteronomy 4:13 and 10:4 calls them ...
"Thou shalt not covet
thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's
wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor
his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."
Examine this verse with me carefully and you
will see that it flows naturally in three areas.
From BIG things to
little things! A HOUSE down to anything that is thy
neighbor's! See the progression from expensive to less
expensive! God wants to to control our longings for big and
small possessions! To lust after someone's set of hubcaps can
be as wrong as wanting his whole back account! God looks on the
From PEOPLE to things!
Do not covet thy neighbor's wife! Or his servant! Then to his
ox! Or even to his plow that his ox pulls ("anything")! While
one would assume wanting a man's wife (adultery) would weigh
heavier on God's scales of Justice than even taking his wheat
crop ... both are wrong! Do not lust after people ... do not
long after things! God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, can
satisfy all those "needs!"
From MALE to female!
In the expression "thy neighbor's house" ... "neighbor"
is a masculine gender noun. HE owns it. The we go to the
WIFE! She's female! Then back to manservant ... and on
to maidservant (male to female)! As I noticed that I
wondered: "Do you suppose man's wants differ from woman's
wants?" I suspect they do. Fundamentally so! Men. be careful
with your strong desires for that hunting trip or fishing boat
or new shotgun! You could covet them! (Or those season
tickets!) And ladies, do not lust after diamond rings or new
furniture or most recent hairstyles either! This "covet" thing
crosses gender boundaries for sure!
How very inclusive!
And how very carefully we have been warned!
Now ... I am not saying that all strong
desires are wrong!
Listen to the great Apostle Paul in 1st
Corinthians 12:31 --- "But covet earnestly
the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way."
The he goes into the great love chapter! It's all right to
Again ... in 1st Corinthians 14:31 ---
"Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy."
Wow! Paul certainly considered preaching the Word of God
superior to any of the other spiritual gifts!
In fact, in one reading of James 4:5
(correctly so I believe) the Spirit of God is said to "lust"
after us Christians ... longing for us to be totally dedicated
to Jesus! The Spirit "covets" all of you for the glory of God!
It's not simple the fact of strong desire ...
but rather WHAT that desire seeks!
God's Ten Commandments leave no stones
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 30 ... SOME
Here are a few little "gems" I gleaned while
studying and doing the research for this series of Lessons on
the Ten Commandments.
* God requires a day of rest ... because He
is REST! He IS The Festival! On the Lord's Day we should be
living Jesus, Who is the Rest Giver! (Matthew 11:28-30)
* True "Rest" then is simply anticipation of
our future life in Heaven! (And of the thousand year reign here
on earth too!)
* Every negative command (Thou shalt not do
"x") presupposes an equally positive command (Thou shalt do "not
x")! For example: No other gods ... also means focus on and
worship The One True God!
* God begins the Commandments at the
end of man's duty! (He always follows that order. He
did so in the Tabernacle too!) Man begins at number 10 and
progresses to number 1. God does the very opposite!
* The old church fathers always applied the
first three Commandments to the Trinity! "No other gods" ---
emphasizes God the Father! "No graven image" --- emphasizes the
Son, Who IS the Image of God the Father! And "Honour God's
Name" --- emphasizes the Holy Spirit Who places that Name upon
us at salvation! (He IS God too!)
* Some of the old preachers saw a parallel
between the Commandments and the Lord's Prayer! Each have two
divisions! Each gives preeminence to the Lord first ... then to
man! The first Command and the first petition of the Lord's
prayer both speak of God alone! Then we have "do not take His
Name in vain" compared to "Hallowed by Thy Name!" And the true
"Sabbath Day Rest" will occur when God's "kingdom comes!" Then
the rest of the Lord's Prayer can be epitomized as "Thy Will be
done on earth as in Heaven" ... which is a simple way of
summarizing the last 7 Commandments!
* One old Puritan, describing God's attitude
toward sin ... says this: "There are six major word pictures of
sin in the Bible ... a hog's slop and mud-hole, an all consuming
deadly fire ... a casket full of dead men's bones ... dog vomit
... the poison of venomous snakes ... and a fatal spreading
disease!" No wonder we have been given God's Ten Commandments!
* The first model of a great sermon in the
Bible is when God spoke the Ten Commandments! And what a sermon
it is! (God is quite The Preacher!) Listen to how the
Commandments chapter opens: "And God
spake all these words, saying ...." What preaching!
* And with all these 30 Lessons, we have yet
to really "begin!" That's because we are dealing with a living
Book, the precious Word of God!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
IF YOU HAVE STUDIED WITH
US THIS FAR (ALL 30 LESSONS) ... YOU TRULY HAVE THE POTENTIAL OF
BEING A DILIGENT BIBLE STUDENT! YOU HAVE A GOD-GIVEN DEGREE OF
DETERMINATION AND HUNGER FOR SCRIPTURE! I WOULD STRONGLY
SUGGEST THAT YOU STAY IN SOME KIND OF CONCENTRATED BIBLE STUDY
FOR THE REST OF YOUR EARTHLY LIFE. YOU ARE A TRUE