This coming Sunday, March 8th, we will discuss the 1st through the 3rd Commandments during our catechesis hour.
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT
268. What is the first commandment?
The first commandment is “I am the Lord your God. . . . You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:2–3; Deuteronomy 5:6–7; see also Psalm 97; Luke 4:5–8; 1 Corinthians 8:1–6)
269. What does it mean that the Lord is your God?
It means that I have faith that the God of the Bible is the only true God and that I entrust myself to him wholly. (Exodus 3:1–15; Deuteronomy 6:4–5; Psalm 86:8–13; Mark 12:29–34; Rev elation 15:3–4)
270. What does it mean to have no other gods?
It means that there should be nothing in my life more important than God and obeying his will. I should worship him only and love, revere, and trust him above all else. (Psalm 95; Jeremiah 10:6–10; Luke 16:10–15; 1 John 2:15–17)
271. Why are you tempted to worship other things instead of God?
I am tempted because my sinful heart seeks my own desires above all else and pursues those things which falsely promise to fulfill them. (Deuteronomy 29:16–19; Psalm 10:2–7; Acts 19:23–27; James 4:1–10)
272. How are you tempted to worship other gods?
I am tempted to trust in myself, my pleasures, my possessions, my relationships, and my success, wrongly believing that they will bring me happiness, security, and meaning. I am also tempted to believe superstitions and false religious claims, and to reject God’s call to worship him alone. (1 Kings 11:1–8; Psalm 73:1–17; Matthew 26:14–16; 27:1–5; Romans 1:18–32)
273. Can you worship and serve God perfectly?
No. Only our Lord Jesus Christ worshiped and served God perfectly; but I can seek to imitate Christ, knowing that my worship and service are acceptable to God through him. (1 Kings 15:9–14; Psalm 53:1–3; Luke 4:1–13; Ephesians 5:1–2; He brews 7:23–28)
THE SECOND COMMANDMENT
274. What is the second commandment?
The second commandment is “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them.” (Exodus 20:4–6; 34:17; Deuteronomy 5:8–10)
275. What does the second commandment mean?
God’s people are neither to worship man-made images of God or of other gods nor to make such images for the purpose of worshiping them. (Exodus 20:23; 34:17; Leviticus 26:1; Deuter onomy 4:15–20; 27:15; Psalm 97:6–9; Acts 17:22–29; 2 Corinthians 6:16–18)
276. How did Israel break the first two commandments?
Israel neglected God’s Law, worshiped the gods of the nations around them, and brought images of these gods (idols) into God’s temple, thus corrupting his worship. (Exodus 32; Judges 10:6; 1 Kings 12:28–33; 2 Kings 21:1–9; Psalm 106:19–43; Hosea 13:2; 1 Corinthians 10:1–14)
277. Why did the nations make such images?
Israel’s neighbors worshiped and served false gods by means of idols, believing they could manipulate these counterfeit gods for their own benefit. (Psalm 115:2–8; Isaiah 44:9–20; Jeremiah 10:2–15; Habakkuk 2:18–19; Revelation 2:18–29)
278. Are all images wrong?
No. God forbade the making of idols and the worship of images, yet commanded carvings and pictures for the tabernacle depicting the ten commandments creation. Christians are free to make images—including images of Jesus and the saints—as long as they do not worship them or use them superstitiously. (Exodus 37:1–9; Numbers 21:4–9; 1 Kings 6:23–35; 7:23–26; John 3:9–15)
279. Are idols always images?
No. Anything can become an idol if I look to it for salvation from my sin or comfort amid my circumstances. If I place my ultimate hope in anything but God, it is an idol. (1 Samuel 15:23; Ezekiel 14:3–5; Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:5)
280. What does the second commandment teach you about hope?
It teaches me that my ultimate hope is in God alone, for he alone is God and he made me. I must not look for salvation and fulfill- ment in myself, another person, my wealth or occupation or status, or any created thing. Only in God will I find perfect love and fulfillment. (Psalm 62; Isaiah 45:20–25; Matthew 6:19–24; 1 Thes salonians 1:9–10)
281. How was Jesus tempted to break the first two commandments?
Satan tempted Jesus to bow down and worship him, promising him an earthly kingdom without the pain of the Cross. Instead, Jesus served and worshiped God faithfully and perfectly all his life, and calls us to do the same. (Matthew 4:1–11; 16:24; Luke 22:41–44; Philippians 2:8)
282. How will idolatry affect you?
If I worship and serve idols, I will become like them, empty and alienated from God, who alone can make me whole. (Psalm 115:4– 8; Jeremiah 2:11–19; Jonah 2:7–9; Romans 1:18–25)
THE THIRD COMMANDMENT
283. What is the third commandment?
The third commandment is “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” (Exodus 20:7; Deuteronomy 5:11; see also Leviticus 22:32; see questions 172–77)
284. Why is God’s Name sacred?
God’s Name reveals who he is—his nature, his character, his power, and his purposes. All forms of God’s Name are holy. (Exo dus 3:1–15; 34:5–7; Psalms 8; 54:1; 79:9; Isaiah 57:15; Luke 1:46–49)
285. What does it mean to take God’s Name “in vain”?
“Vain” means empty, meaningless, and of no account. To take God’s Name in vain is to treat it as such. (Leviticus 24:10–16; Ro mans 2:23–24)
286. How can you avoid taking God’s Name in vain?
Because I love him, I should use God’s Name with reverence, not carelessly or profanely. (Deuteronomy 28:58–59; Psalms 86:11–12; 99:1–5; Revelation 15:2–4)
287. How might you use God’s Name profanely?
By the unholy use of God’s holy Name, especially through perjury, blasphemy, and attributing to God any falsehood, heresy, or evil deed, as if he had authorized or approved them. (Deuteronomy 18:20–22; Proverbs 30:7–9; Jeremiah 34:15–16; Ezekiel 36:16–23; Amos 2:6–7; Jude 5–13)
288. How might you use God’s Name carelessly?
Cursing, magic, broken vows, false piety, manipulation of others, and hypocrisy all cheapen God’s Name. These treat God’s Name as empty of the reality for which it stands. (Leviticus 5:4–6; 19:26b, 31; Psalm 10:2–7; Malachi 1:6–14; Matthew 5:33–37; James 3:5–12; Articles of Religion, 39)
289. How can you honor and love God’s Name?
I honor and love God’s Name, in which I was baptized, by keeping my vows and promises, by worshiping him in truth and holiness, and by invoking his Name reverently and responsibly. (Numbers 30:2; Deuteronomy 10:20–22; Psalm 105:1–5; Matthew 15:10–20; James 5:12)