November 9, 2013

{Day 9} Saved and Called: "The Big Ten"

If you're just popping in on this November series, you can catch up here.

Having laid the necessary foundation upon which we must build the Christian life, (or as we're calling it this month based on 1 Timothy 1:9, the holy life), we can start the next phase of this month's study, looking daily at specific passages or verses that relate to the theme.

What is that foundation? (Links will take you to posts on the topic from earlier this month.)
  1. God saves and calls people.  We are sinners in need of saving.  God is able and does save those who respond to Him in faith through Jesus.  We are dependent all our lives on God for salvation!
  2. God is holy and calls us holy, setting us apart for His purposes when we put our trust in Him.  Being set apart gives us a new identity and a new purpose: to take off in His direction.
  3. God equips by placing His own Spirit in the hearts of His people to help, correct, and sustain us on our way.
  4. God communicates with us not only though His Spirit but also by His Word.  We need to know it in order to follow the path He has for His people.
Any questions?  Feel free to drop me a note in the comments.

Don't Look at Others' Lives

In preparation over last month, I was reading an old book called A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, by William Law.  I have not come close to finishing it, but (while sometimes a bit too works-righteousness-ish) I have appreciated many of his thoughts on the subject.  This thought struck me as quite helpful:
He [the rich man] will not look at the lives of Christians, to learn how he ought to spend his estate, but he will look into the Scriptures and make every doctrine, parable, precept, or instruction that relates to rich men, a law to himself in the use of his estate.  (p 10)
The point Law is trying to make, is that the Word of God needs to be our primary guide.  Insert whatever kind of person in there in whatever his situation and Law is right on!  I spend so much of my time thinking, What's a Christian supposed to do in this situation, then looking to others as my guide rather than first and foremost to God and His Word.  Do you know what I mean?  Others can be a help and the Church needs every part of the body, but our primary instruction on how to live the holy life should be sought in God's Word to us.  We need to surround ourselves with people who encourage us to look to God's Word and who speak God's Word to us.

On to today's passage!

The Ten Commandments

Funnily enough, as I was brainstorming passages to investigate deeper in this series, the ten commandments never occurred to me!  Only recently did I think, Oh hey, it would be a good idea to begin with some of God's first directions for His people!  (Don't sign me up for any Bible Student of the Year awards!  I mean really, what Christian when thinking about the Christian life FORGETS the ten commandments?!  Good grief.)

Aaaaaanyway.  This is how God gave His people their first directions.

And God spoke all these words:
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
“You shall have no other gods before me.
“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
“You shall not murder.
“You shall not commit adultery.
“You shall not steal.
“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”
Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”
The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.  Exodus 20: 1-21

Did you read all of that?  What are you thinking?  Feeling?  I am feeling convicted, and thankful/relieved that God is merciful.  Repent and believe the Good News!

What do you make of the people's response and Moses' words to them?  What do you think about what God's presence looks like?  It sure seems like Holiness is not to be messed with!  And yet, Holiness came down to save and direct.  Let our words be few.

This post is long enough and tomorrow's the Sabbath day, a great time to meditate on God's Word.  So we'll leave it at this for today and tomorrow. (Go back and read those 21 verses if you haven't yet.)

Till Monday!

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