Ten Choices That Will Change Your Life
Week 1: Exodus 19:4-6, 20:1-3
This week we begin a new series on the Ten Commandments. These are listed for us in Exodus 20. They instruct God’s people how to live life to the fullest. The Commandments are not a way to earn salvation. Rather, they show us how saved people are to live. The LORD himself said it this way: “… you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6). We are our Redeemer’s treasured possession – his precious people. We have value not because of wealth or talent or influence, but because God placed his love on us. We are kings and priests – trophies demonstrating God’s power to transform. We have been given a purpose in our salvation – to act as bridges that connect others to God. We display his glory and goodness in every circumstance of life as a beacon of hope to a world adrift in the dark. We are a holy nation – responsible to demonstrate how our God is different from the idols of this world. He is holy and powerful and good and kind. He cares. And he calls his people to demonstrate his character in our thoughts, words, actions, work, study, leisure, and relationships. What a life we have been given. What a purpose we serve. What a calling we have. Our study of the Ten Commandments will invite us to make ten choices that put all of this into practice. These are ten choices that will change your life.
When you think of the Ten Commandments, what kinds of feelings come to mind? Do they bring back good memories, bad memories, or no memories for you?
Getting into the Text:
1. (Exodus 19:4-6) In this passage, God describes his people in three ways: a treasured possession, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. How does each of these capture a different aspect of our relationship to God and his calling and purpose for our lives? (Note: A priest is one who builds a bridge between God and man; holy means set apart or distinctive.)
2. (Exodus 19:4, 20:1-2) The events of Exodus 19 and 20 take place after God has already brought the Israelites out of Egypt and through the sea by a miraculous display of power. He has freed them from slavery and is taking them to the promised-land. What is the significance of the LORD calling attention to this before giving the Ten Commandments? What does this say about the way God chooses a people for himself? Does his selection proceed from his own grace and mercy or from the people’s ability to follow his commands? How is this similar to New Testament teaching about salvation and membership in God’s family?
3. God does not call us to be saved by following the commandments. Rather, in light of the fact that we have already been brought into God’s family, he calls us to pursue holy living. See the following examples: Romans 6:12-14, Romans 12:1, Ephesians 4:1, Colossians 1:10-14, and 1 Peter 1:14-15. Given all of this, how should we as followers of Christ think of the Ten Commandments? What role do they play for us today?
4. (Exodus 20:3) God’s people are called to be loyal to him alone. The LORD will not share his position in our lives with another. What “other gods” might compete with the one true God for our loyalty in today’s culture?
1. Are you secure in knowing that God’s relationship with you is founded on his grace and not your performance? As we begin this study of the Ten Commandments, what might you need to keep in mind in order to pursue holy living for the right reasons?
2. The first commandment asks us to choose loyalty to God above all else. As you examine your life right now, is it clear that there are no other gods taking the place that Jesus should occupy? What steps might you need to take to give him the loyalty he is asking for?