Exodus 20:1-17 and Revelation 21:23-24
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…You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God…Remember the Sabbath day…Honour your father and your mother…You shall not murder…commit adultery…steal…give false testimony…[nor] covet anything that belongs to your neighbour.” (Exodus 20:1-17)
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendour into it. (Rev 21:23-24)
Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
The Daily Telegraph tells the story (02.09.2015) of how in 1990 the Phan family escaped Communist Vietnam for a new life in Australia with only the clothes on their backs. Le Phan recalls how they survived corruption, boat engine failures, and a Thai refugee camp, before a church sponsored them to settle in Bankstown, Sydney in 1995. Le Phan says, “Australia has helped me a lot because without coming to Australia, what I have right now would never happen. I thank Australia for that.” Mr Phan gives back to his native land with his Vietnam Beautiful Smile charity, which helps correct cleft lips in children. Gratitude for the gift of a new Australian life through the sponsorship of that Sydney church motivates Le Phan to also give to others.
The 10 Commandments summarise the moral code that humanity has had an awareness of since the dawn of time. It is very good, because it summarises God’s standard of right and wrong. But there’s a danger. What’s the danger? That we’ll read it like Israel did, by ignoring the opening sentence: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” Before God told Israel how to behave, he saved them from slavery to Pharaoh. They were rescued by God, and in him they were meant to trust. Obedience was to be the result of their relationship with the rescuing God, not the other way around. Paul says of his own people in Romans 9:31-32 “…but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works.” Too many Christians have fallen into Israel’s mistake. Obedience to Jesus is meant to be the result of the relationship with God Jesus established for us at the cross, not the other way around. The cross rescues us from slavery to our broken and rebellious ways. From this good news of rescue, obedience to Jesus then flourishes, not the other way around. We don’t serve hoping to get saved. We have been saved to serve.
Head: Do I believe that obedience to Jesus is meant to be the result of the relationship with God Jesus established for me at the cross, not the other way around?
Heart: Does my heart believe that I must serve to keep God’s favour? Or do I believe that I am free to serve because I’m already accepted and forgiven through Jesus?
Hands: What practical acts of gratitude to the goodness of God and his people might I undertake?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the church that sponsored the Phan family and how that generosity is bearing fruit in their lives. Please guide me to do practical acts of gratitude to the goodness of you and your people. Please enable my heart to believe that I am free to serve because I’m accepted and forgiven through Jesus, that I am free to walk in his light. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
A song to listen to: Joy!