Living By The Rules

living by the rules

Living By The Rules

By, James L. Thornton

This is a study of The Ten Commandments. We will call it “Living By The Rules.”

Some say that these are ancient laws which pertained to the Jewish Nation which Moses composed when the nation was being formed and lost their value when Jesus came to set up His kingdom. We will study these ancient laws one by one and attempt to prove that these laws written by the finger of God have never lost their force.

We will put this study on here in four different parts. I hope you will take the time to read every one of them. This is a list of the different parts of the study.


1. Introduction

2. Living By The Rules—We Need Some Rules

3. Rule #1, Get Your Priorities Right

4. Rule #2, Keep a clear vision Of God

5. Rule #3, Be Careful Of Holy Things

6. Rule #4, Use Your Time To God’s Glory

7. Rule #5, Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother

8. Rule #6, Respect Human Life

9. Rule #7, Be Faithful To Your Spouse

10. Rule #8, Never Steal

11. Rule #9, Never Lie

12. Rule #10, Learn To Be Content


1. Introduction:

God had brought the Children Of Israel out of Egypt with a mighty hand, “And there was not one feeble person among them” (Psalms 105:37). God had wrought a mass healing and refreshing of youth to them.

In the third month, they reached the mountains of which Horeb, or Mt. Sinai, was located. Here they encamped for one year while God was solidifying them into The Nation Of Israel. There is more written in the Bible about this one year period of time than any other like period. From Exodus 19 all of the book of Leviticus and to Numbers 10:13, 59 chapters in all.

At Sinai God called Moses to come up to meet with Him. God told Moses to set bounds around the Mountain lest someone even touch it and be killed (Exodus 19:24). On the third day God came down and Mt. Sinai was altogether on smoke as a furnace—the whole mountain quaked greatly, there were thunders and lightning and the voice of the trumpet exceedingly loud (Exodus 19:18-24).

Moses spent 40 days in the presence of God, in fact, He was gone so long that the people declared him dead or had deserted them, so they persuaded Aaron to make a golden calf to be their God and to go before them. God was so angry He disowned His People. He sent Moses down to confront them.

Exodus 32:15. “And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.

16 And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.”

When Moses, “saw the calf, and the dancing—his anger waxed hot he cast the tables out of his hand, and brake them beneath the mount” (Exodus 32:19). So we find that Exodus 32 and 33 were the most trying time of Moses’ life. At the end of this conflict, God again wrote The Ten Commandments and Moses brought them down from before God for a record from God for all time.

As far as we know God has written only three times in all of history. The First time was here on Sinai when He wrote The Ten Commandments on the tablets of stone by his finger. The second and third time He wrote in the judgment of those who transgressed them. He wrote in judgment against the Bel-shaz-zar king of Babylon (Daniel 5:5). Again he wrote in the sand when men brought a woman which was accused of adultery (John 8:6-8).

Before God wrote The Ten Commandments there was no written Law. This was a milestone in God’s plan and purpose for man. Jesus did not come to repeal The Ten Commandments—He came to reinforce them. This is God’s Moral Law.

The Ceremonial Law came later, and saw its day and was fulfilled. Its priestly garments, Holy vessels, candlesticks, table of Showbread, Ark of the Covenant, the keeping of days, circumcision, etc. were strictly Jewish and temporal. But The Moral Law was not a code of laws which were specifically Jewish, as is true of other legislation.. God’s Moral Law Is for all people for all time. Learn to love and respect God. Learn to respect other people.

It is fitting that The Moral Law—The Ten Commandments should be given first because they are permanent—for all time and for all people.

2. Living By The Rules: A Study Of The Ten Commandments:

Exodus 34:1 “And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.”

If you had it in your power to somehow abolish one of the Ten Commandments, which one would you choose? Our generation seems to have no reluctance about challenging God’s authority over their lives.

Our Nation has turned away from God, closed our ears, and refused to hear.

Result—We have lost all sense of moral direction as a Society.

We must turn back! We must remember God, seek God, Hear God, and obey God.

We must begin living by the rules Heaven has given in scripture. We will call them Rules for Right Living. We need some rules. We are a Nation under siege. We are a people living in fear. We have bars on our windows, deadbolt locks on our doors, automatic alarms set, and loaded guns beside the bed.

Frightening statistics point to the breakdown of Law, moral responsibility, and even conscience itself.

Genesis 4:9. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?

There is one serious crime committed every two seconds.

1. A murder every 23 minutes

2. A rape every 6 minutes

3. A robbery every 58 seconds

4. An aggravated assault every 48 seconds

5. A theft every 4 seconds

One noted big city Police chief said: “We have allowed ourselves to degenerate to the point where we are living like animals.” Seventy percent of the people arrested for a crime are under 25 years of age. What has gone wrong?

Our Society has rejected the notion of a set of fixed rules of conduct. Our society lacks the internal control of a strong sense of right and wrong. We don’t have standards anymore. Our society says that nobody has a right to make rules for our generation.

Without rules, norms, or standards, we are moving towards chaos. Where do we get the clear moral standards we need?  What is right and what is wrong?

Right for me is what I want and it is what makes me happy.

Judges 17:6. In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

We must get back to the Word of God.

Proverbs 14:12. There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Psalms 119:172. My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.

God has not left it to us to decide what is right or what is wrong. Let us not resent the Rules that God has given us in the Bible. We need to be fully acquainted with the One who wrote the Book and gave the rules.

His Holiness should inspire us to want to live by His Rules. Our love for Him should prompt us to keep His statutes continually. Right living then is walking in God’s Commandments. Breaking those commandments is a form of self-destruction. Although we may challenge and defy God’s Commandments, but we don’t really break them. No one has ever “broken or set aside” the law of gravity.

Psalms 119:89. Forever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

Rules aren’t such bad things after all. Most people refrain from stealing, adultery, murder, or other acts not because they fear punishment but because they believe such things are wrong. Internal restraints on behavior are far more powerful than external ones. We want to restudy, learn, commit to, and show by example these rules for right living in our troubled world.

Jesus said He did not come to abolish the rules.

Matthew 5:17. Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

18. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

19. Whosoever, therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus did not renounce Moses. He did not repudiate or vilify the Ten Commandments. The Ceremonial Law, the keeping of days and sacrificing of lambs and turtledoves was “fulfilled” in Jesus’ Death on the Cross. Jesus built His Kingdom upon the Moral concepts of the Ten Commandments. Jesus reinforced the Rules.

3. Rule #1, Get Your Priorities Right:

Exodus 20:2 “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

This Commandment declares God’s absolute Divine authority over the lives of human beings. Without this commandment, there would be no basis to follow any other of the Ten Commandments.

The First Commandment establishes priorities in our lives. The first decision that each of us must make in life is this. What is going to be the most important thing in my life?

Am I going to live for pleasure and carnal satisfaction?

Galatians 6:8. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Am I going to live for selfish ambitions:

Luke 12:20. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

21. So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

Live for God and your life will have a peace and fulfillment the world cannot give.

Romans 12:2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

When we get our priorities right others things which once seemed so important suddenly lose their value. Other things fade into insignificance and doing the Will of God becomes the driving force of our existence.  So the first rule of a good life is this; get your priorities right.

Put God first in everything job, home, family, friends, sports, and pleasure.

Jesus put this rule in our language when He said in

Matthew 6:33. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

John summed up this rule when he said in

1 John 2:15. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world.

17. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

So what is really important in this life? What is really lasting? What is really satisfying? Listen to Paul when he speaks of life’s priorities.

Colossians 3:1. If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

2. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

3. For ye are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

4. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

Galatians 2:20. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

First get your priorities right. Let us look at the First Commandment in the eyes of those to whom it was given. Ten generations of Jacob’s descendants grew up in Egypt – 400 years

Genesis 15:13. And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;

Although the Israelites maintained some degree of loyalty to the God of their fathers, they were also influenced by Egyptian culture, morals, and religion. So because of these negative influences, they needed powerful assurances of the power, authority, and the supremacy of their God.

They needed a positive assurance that their God was the One True God, who alone was to be served. So God proved Himself to them against the gods of Egypt. The Egyptians like most of the other Nations had a god for everything. So Israel’s God took on the gods of Egypt.

The god of the Nile was subdued when the waters were turned to blood. The 10 plagues which came upon Egypt were a demonstration of a power far beyond the gods of the Egyptians. The sun turned to darkness to disprove the sun god.

Finally the death of the firstborn, even of Pharaoh’s own house, God had proved His power in these plagues and then opened up a path in the Red Sea for the Israelites to pass through.

Exodus 20:2. I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

This was the covenant name of the God of Israel. The English word Jehovah is derived by adding a couple of letters to the Hebrew Word YHWH. This word is rendered “Lord” in King James, and the revised standard version of the Bible.

God said to Moses “I AM THAT I AM.” The God of your Fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob……. This is My Name forever.”

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