The First Commandment: Ultimate Allegiance

By Joe Boot/ January 12, 2014

Series  Ten Commandments

Context  Westminster Chapel Toronto

Topic  Law & Gospel

Scripture  Exodus 20:1-3

All other loyalties and affections find their rightful places as we put God first in everything.

Scripture:  Exodus 20:1-21

Sermon Notes:

  1. We have the written Torah, the law of God, and the living Torah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. God’s law is given to govern the activity of God’s people.
  3. Law in every culture is religious in origin.   A change in law reflects a change in ultimate allegiance, a change of gods.
  4. The opposite of law is not grace but lawlessness; it is by grace that we are brought into obedience to God’s law.
  5. The Ten Commandments lie at the core of our civilization.
  6. For about 80 years we have been in revolt against biblical law, repealing its principles for public life.
  7. The law was never given as a means of salvation.
  8. It sets forth God’s righteous character and provides a standard of moral conduct for men and nations.
  9. Many who say they believe in God are not willing to submit their lives to God’s commandments. But the Sovereign Lord gives us Ten Commandments not Ten Suggestions.
  10. Despite technological advances, in every essential respect people and societies remain the same. 
  11. The core problems are still guilt and shame and how to be free from sin and its consequences.
  12. People think that if something is old, then it is obsolete and irrelevant.  They deny that God’s Laws are transcultural, transnational, and binding standards of conduct.
  13. In the name of freedom we have rejected God’s commands.  Ironically, this leaves us in a moral vacuum without recourse against crime, oppression, and lawlessness.
  14. God’s law frees us from the tyranny of man’s coercion and man-made laws.
  15. Christ, the new Adam, kept the law, atoned for sin, and restores man to his original role of exercising dominion under God.
  16. Under the new covenant we are enabled by the Spirit to obey the law, not as the source of life, but as our way of life.
  17. The law of God is not simply a set of rules; it provides guidelines for a life of blessing under God.
  18. All other commandments are explanations of and expansions on the first commandment to put God first.
  19. Psalms, Proverbs, and the precepts of the New Testament are but applications and amplifications of the Ten Commandments.  Case laws provide specific applications.
  20. We do not need a special word from God to make decisions in life.  God’s Word declares what He requires.
  21. Our whole being is to be devoted to God our Saviour.
  22. God’s law is a sovereignly dictated charter which governs our inner and outer life (Deut. 6:4-10; Matt. 22:37).
  23. In entering into covenant with us, God renders us entirely dependent, so that He may draw us to Himself.
  24. The infinite God has entered into covenant with us, giving us His law, and writing it on our hearts as a path of blessing and delight.
  25. The first commandment forbids: ignorance of God, atheism (whether theoretical or practical), false gods, disobedience, self-will, defiance, and setting our hearts and minds on created things that eclipse God.
  26. We are enjoined to joyfully choose to act, think, meditate, desire, fear, adore, and love our God through the Lord Jesus.
  27. All other loyalties and affections find their rightful places as we put God first in everything. 

Application Questions

  1. List competing gods idolized in our culture (cf. Phil 3:19).
  2. Are we honouring God’s will that He be first in everything?
  3. What is the role of God’s law in the life of the believer?
  4. Explain why law and liberty are not opposites.
  5. What is required and forbidden in the first commandment?

Sermon Notes