• W. Austin Gardner

Proving All Are Sinners in Need of a Savior



Exodus 20:1 And God spake all these words, saying, 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. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. 7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. 12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. 13 Thou shalt not kill. 14 Thou shalt not commit adultery. 15 Thou shalt not steal. 16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. 17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. 19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. 20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. 21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. 22 And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. 23 Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold. 24 An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. 25 And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. 26 Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.

  • As we start a study of this chapter please notice that the central theme is that He is God and there is no other Exodus 20:1 And God spake all these words, saying, 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. 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

  • Notice that He reminds them that He is the one that brought them out. 2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

  • He wants them to remember Him and what He has done

  • He is jealous of His name, His person, and what He has done

  • These commandments are given as a test 20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.

  • No one can pass this test. It was meant as a test that you would fail and that can be seen in this very passage

  • They were afraid of God 18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. 19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

  • They are to build an altar to sacrifice on for their sins and failures 24 An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.

  • Even the altar will symbolize that they didn't do it with their strength and their effort 25 And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.


  1. The purpose of the law, the 10 commandments was to bring us to Christ

  2. As our teacher, the law shows us our need for the Saviour Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

  3. Actually, the law was a ministry of death II Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:

  4. The law, the letter was written on stones

  5. The letter kills

  6. the letter was a ministry of death

  7. It had glory but only as it brought death

  8. You must die to be made alive

  9. The law was a ministry of condemnation II Corinthians 3:9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.

  10. The law condemns us

  11. There is glory in this condemnation because it shows us our need for the Saviour

  12. Jesus said that only the sick needed a doctor Matthew 9:12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

  13. Jesus didn't come to call healthy people but sick

  14. He came to call sinners to repentance

  15. We often make the same mistake as the Pharisees thinking that the 10 commandments are our pattern to live by. They are not

  16. The 10 commandments showed us our sin so we could turn to Jesus for grace

  17. The commandments were given with a specific purpose

  18. They were to show us our need for salvation

  19. They were to make it clear we are sinners

  20. They were never meant to be lived by or a standard for us to live or run our country

  21. The commandments leave us no out but to turn to Jesus

  22. The commandments are like the prosecuting attorney proving our guilt and pronouncing our guilt and that we deserve the death penalty

  23. Every mouth is to be shut Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

  24. They were to never have a god before the one and true God Exodus 20:1 And God spake all these words, saying, 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.

  25. It was God who had brought them out of slavery

  26. They were never to think of any other before they thought of God

  27. Nothing was to capture their heart like God and His power

  28. They were to be captivated in Him

  29. It was like Matthew 6:33 they were to seek Him first

  30. No one always puts God totally first

  31. We fail on the first commandment because He is not our priority. He is not before everything and everyone else in the world for us all the time

  32. They were never to have anything that served as a god reminder or to be worshipped 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

  33. God wants to be recognized as powerful and bigger than we can imagine

  34. God wants us to know how much power He has

  35. He is also jealous. He doesn't like second place. He doesn't like other things to take priority over Him

  36. God was to never be taken flippantly and not even to be responded to flippantly 7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

  37. We flippantly throw around His name

  38. We carry it poorly

  39. We use it in our curse words and exasperation

  40. We get angry with Him and blame Him for our misfortunes

  41. They were to set aside a day just for God 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

  42. They were to have a day that was just for God. It was Saturday.

  43. They were to do no work

  44. They were not to cause even strangers to have to work

  45. It is nearly impossible to live out this truth especially in the world you live in today-lights, police, hospitals, etc

  46. They were to honor their parents 12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

  47. Even this commandment is beyond us

  48. To always not only obey but to honor and respect

  49. They will be taught to stone their children if they curse or strike them.

  50. They were not to kill 13 Thou shalt not kill.

  51. They could not decide to take a life unless it was legally correct

  52. They did have rules about war, and capital punishment that will be given later

  53. Jesus wanted us to learn that this was not just about not committing murder but even the attitudes I might have against those that have done me wrong

  54. I am not to think it in my heart

  55. This is clearly a deal-breaker. We may have gotten by some of the commandments but we won’t make it through all of them

  56. Sexual immorality was wrong 14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

  57. Jesus reminded us that this was more than just the act it was the attitude

  58. If a man thinks it in his heart he is guilty

  59. This affects the way we treat our spouse and marriage

  60. This would have to do with looking at porn or things that would get my heart going after others

  61. Taking from others was wrong 15 Thou shalt not steal.

  62. If you took it you were wrong

  63. If you cheat to get it

  64. If you steal the work of others on a test

  65. If you take what isn't yours anywhere along the way then you have stolen

  66. You can’t lie about your neighbor 16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

  67. This is more than do not tell a lie

  68. It is do not lie about your neighbor

  69. It would be, do not spread a lie but we love gossip

  70. We often lend our heart and hand to help destroy the testimony of another

  71. Don’t want the things that others have 17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

  72. I can’t be wanting what others have

  73. I can’t want another man’s house

  74. I can’t be trying to keep up with the neighbors or my friends

  75. I am to be happy with what I have

  76. When you break one of the commandments you have broken them all James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

  77. Jesus came to save sinners Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

  78. The Jews had no illusion that they could measure up to what God wanted from them

  79. They saw God as great, powerful, and above them 18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.

  80. They had no flippant attitude about being ok with God they were actually terrified 19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

  81. Moses tells them to not be afraid that God has come to test them 20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. 21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.

  82. The people don't take comfort in the fact that a God so great has come to prove or test them

  83. They stand back far away

  84. They do not want to talk to God but prefer that Moses do the talking and they will let Moses talk to them

  85. They are genuinely afraid and know that they do not measure up

  86. God reminds them that He is not like a little idol or god that they make with their hands. He speaks from heaven 22 And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.

  87. This is no ordinary god. This is the god of heaven

  88. They know that they will never measure up and they are afraid

  89. No one measures up and no one ever has measured up. We are all failures, sinners, sick, and in need of a Saviour

  90. After giving them the commandments God makes provision for an altar. They will have where to go when they measure up 24 An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.

  91. The commandments came with the divine plan of a sacrifice

  92. They are given the commandments and an altar

  93. They do not yet know it but they will constantly make sacrifices for their sin and their failure

  94. God knew man would fail. He designed the plan of salvation and He did the very plan of salvation

  95. He would come in blessing as they learned of their need and made the sacrifices

  96. These sacrifices all pointed to the person of Jesus

  97. In the middle of the trial, found guilty, waiting for our death God provides a sacrifice for us to be delivered, saved

  98. They were even to realize that the altar was something that they couldn't do 25 And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.

  99. Even the altar was to be special

  100. The altar would be made of materials exactly as God had prepared them

  101. They would not lift a hand to make them like they wanted

  102. It shows that it is God and His plan, not man and his

  103. The sacrifice would be made as God wanted, where God wanted, and the way God wanted

  104. Even the altar was a God thing. We never measure up. We can’t measure up and can’t even build something that measures up

  • You can learn much from this chapter

  • All of us have failed the God of heaven

  • Every man is a sinner

  • All mouths are stopped

  • We realize that the commandments were given to bring us to Jesus and not a standard to live by

  • We realize that God has provided the answer for our sins

  • We magnify and glorify God because we see our enormous guilt and His great grace

  • We worship Him like He wants to be worshipped because He is worthy

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