The Sixth Commandment: The Lord of Life

By Joe Boot/ February 16, 2014

Series  Ten Commandments

Context  Westminster Chapel Toronto

Topic  Law & Gospel

Scripture  Exodus 20:13; Isaiah 51:1-8

The sixth commandment forbids unlawful killing, and further requires preserving our own lives and those of others because of the image of God in man. It is beyond our authority to take life; it is purely God's prerogative.

Scripture:  Exodus 20:13; Isaiah 51:1-8

Sermon Notes:

  1. In our culture, we face opposition for upholding the Lord’s value of life in the sixth commandment. 
  2. The justice of the Lord will be upheld, enlightening the nations and restoring the original garden-order of God.
  3. The goal of all of God’s law is life and blessing.  When we obey God’s law we come closer to the richness and fullness of life.
  4. The focus of our lives is life, hope, and salvation in Christ, and so we are spurred on to live all of life for King Jesus.
  5. Hope leads to both courage and anger.  Godly anger can be righteous anger against all lawlessness.
  6. We must be angry at lawlessness which offends God, and courageous to act with the compassion of Christ.
  7. God’s law is an expression of His character; love and life are furthered as we honour God’s law.
  8. Permissiveness in the name of love is false.  Love is never lawless. There is no higher way than honouring God’s law.
  9. Scripture does not distinguish between moral and judicial laws; the civil laws are specific applications of moral laws.
  10. The reign and kingship of Christ are reasserted in the NT, so now the family, state, and all things are under Christ.
  11. The abiding validity of God’s law does not mean it has a saving function in your life.   Rather it is the way of life.
  12. Man-made laws are viewed today as the instrument to remake society and human nature. But the purpose of law in Scripture is the way of life, not the source of salvation.
  13. The inclination of humanistic societies is always death.
  14. Every part of life has a meaning under the kingship of Christ, and every aspect of creation is on God’s terms.
  15. The Law is a gift of God with abiding validity; God’s law is a universal order which binds all men and cultures.
  16. In Hebrew, the laws are constructed as a promise dictating the social order:  “You will not murder.”
  17. There is a correlation between the first and second table of the law. When we accept the Lord of Life (command #1), we reject the humanism which disregards the image of God in man (command #6).
  18. The sixth commandment forbids unlawful killing, and further requires preserving our own lives and those of others because of the image of God in man.
  19. It is beyond our authority to take life; it is purely God’s prerogative. Life has value; people are not disposable.
  20. The image of God in man means there is a law before Moses’ time which established the penalty for death for lawless killing (see Genesis 9:6-8).
  21. The importance of any precept corresponds to the severity of the penalty.  The protection of life is strong in God’s law.
  22. No pardon is acceptable for first degree murder (Numbers 35:29-34).
  23. The Bible does not tell us to reverence all life forms (plants, animals, etc.); we are to reverence God who is the author of life.
  24. Both the protecting of life and taking of life are part of our duty under God.
  25. We are to care for the creation, but we are authorized to take plants and animals for our necessary use.
  26. Jesus was quite ready to sacrifice a whole herd of pigs to deliver one man from a demon.
  27. When we overturn God’s requirements, instead of obeying Him we are playing God.  We spare life that God requires and we take life that God protects.  In rebellion, man turns God’s law on its head. 
  28. God has given to humans the authority to execute wrath on evildoers (Romans 13:4).
  29. Paul himself in Acts 25:11 upholds the death penalty.
  30. God’s law authorizes lethal force in the case of self-defense and lawful wars (Exodus 22:2; e.g. God used Israel to judge the Canaanites).
  31. Abraham the friend of God was involved in lawful war and judicial killing.
  32. Under God, we forfeit our right to life for certain offenses.
  33. In Canada, in the name of compassion and rehabilitation, we promote lawlessness and death.  We further take the lives of innocent in abortion.  Abortion is experienced by a third of all Canadian women.
  34. “After-birth abortion” (infanticide) promotes the killing of newborn babies for the same reasons as abortion. 
  35. The evil of murder is clear, and yet Christians are likely to have an abortion (25% are conflicted on abortion) and many churches will not talk about abortion.
  36. God’s law is not a private matter; it is a public matter.
  37. The church historically has always seen induced abortion as murder (Exodus 21:22-25).
  38. The law of God protects the womb.  Murder annihilates individual persons, not clumps of tissue.
  39. No human being is perfect; would the world really be better by removing weak or defective people?
  40. In the name of compassion, euthanasia proponents end with a total disregard to human life.
  41. This command requires of us to restrain lawless anger, hatred, and slander.  Murder beings with evil desires.
  42. We are a ministry of life, health, and salvation to the world.
  43. We advance life by upholding the unborn, orphans, and widows; we are to seek justice in the courts, to care for the poor; to maintain our health; we are to avoid grudges, avoid oppression, avoid sponsoring idleness; we are to punish crime and to respect God’s creation. Neglect of our health destroys and shortens life.
  44. We have all murdered with thought, rage, pen, or tongue, but by God’s grace we can be restored.
  45. God writes His law on the hearts of His redeemed people.
  46. We have guilt upon our nation for the disregard of God’s law.  Murder contaminates the land (Numbers 35:33-34).
  47. Tolerating murder contaminates creation and it starts to stink.  God is not mocked.  Only by returning to the Law and Gospel of God can we be brought back from the judgments we are suffering.
  48. In the gospel we are to be a savour of life, as the people of the Lord of life.  
  49. Ask God that in wrath He may remember mercy.

Application Questions

  1. Why does God value human life?
  2. How does the penalty for murder indicate God’s value of life?
  3. Why must we protect one another’s reputation? 
  4. What are some practical ways to promote the life of our neighbour?   Do we really care for one another?
  5. Do we harbour lawless anger or hatred toward another?
  6. Examine your life.  Are we being God’s ministry of life, or are we still harbouring behaviours of death?

Sermon Notes