Ten Choices That Will Change Your Life
Week 6: Exodus 20:13-14
The Ten Commandments instruct God’s people how to live life to the fullest – a life that pleases God, brings blessing, and lights our world. The commandments are not a way to earn salvation. They show us how saved people are to live. Today we examine the 6th and 7th commandments: “You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:13-14). Murder and adultery are terrible acts that regularly result in destruction and darkness in the world around us. The same was true in ancient times. Jesus made it clear that these and other sins are really the result of a heart problem. “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person” (Matthew 15:18-20). Fortunately, God is in the heart business and the gospel offers a chance for a new and transformed heart. Let’s choose to honor life and uphold sexual purity within marriage as the Lord changes our hearts.
What people in your life are the hardest to think of as people made in God’s image?
Getting into the Text:
1. (Genesis 9:6 and Hebrews 13:4) What do these two passages say about the fundamental value God places on human life and on sexual purity within marriage? Using this as a guide, how might you state the 6th and 7th commandments in the positive? (“You shall …” rather than “You shall not …”)
2. (Exodus 20:13) The verb ‘kill’ or ‘murder’ here implies a person as both subject and object. Does this command prohibit killing under any circumstances? If not, under what circumstances does God permit the taking of human life? See also Numbers 35:16-28 and Deuteronomy 20:10-18.
3. (Exodus 20:14) The Bible uses several different words to describe a variety of sexual sins. What does the word adultery mean here? See also Leviticus 20:10 and Proverbs 5:20.
4. (Matt 5:21-30) In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees had drifted far from God’s best by getting bogged down in the particulars of what is legally meant by each commandment. Jesus helps us to understand God’s broader intent behind the 6th and 7th commandments by drawing attention to the heart conditions that precede the acts. Describe the heart condition that leads to each action. What does Jesus recommend as alternative actions to take when we notice our hearts falling into sin?
1. Before Cain killed his brother Abel in Genesis 4, God asked Cain to deal with his anger by (i) identifying the source of his anger and (ii) choosing a different path that would lead to life and blessing. Unfortunately, Cain did not comply. How might these two steps be useful to you as you guard your heart from unhealthy ways of dealing with anger? What choices can you make today to better please God, enjoy blessing, and light our world as you deal with anger in your life?
2. Jesus, the Son of God, was murdered and the Bible often describes the pursuit of other gods as a form of spiritual adultery against God. He personally understands the destruction that can result when these commandments are violated at the heart level or in our words and deeds. David broke both of these commandments when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed. Psalm 51 describes his prayer for restoration and forgiveness – a request that God granted. Whether you are on the giving or receiving end of these sins or the angry or lustful heart that precedes them, there is hope in the gospel. Consider dwelling on Psalm 51 and 2 Corinthians 5:17 this week. Let God do the transforming work in you that he is eager to do. What are the next steps from your side?