Radar Speed Signs

November 26th 2017

David Sorn

Find out the true purpose of the 10 Commandments! 

Browse Archives of all Past Renovation Church Messages



Morning. My name is David Sorn. I'm the Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.

Morning to you.

For much of 2017, we've been walking through the Book of Exodus in the

Bible...and following the Israelites journey out of slavery in Egypt.

1. In our chapter for today, chapter 20, the Israelites are at Mt Sinai, and

are going to receive the famous 10 Commandments

a. If you were here last week, we talked about how God has just

descended down onto a trembling mountain in smoke and fire...

i. ...in preparation for delivering the 10 commandments...so

that the people would take them seriously

ii. Speaking of the 10 commandments, that reminds me of the story of the first

grade Sunday school teacher who was teaching her class about the 10


1. When she got to "Do not commit adultery," she got really nervous and

was wondering how in the world she was going to explain it

a. She read the command, and then, a 7-year old girl raised her

hand, and said teacher... "What does... 'commit' mean?" 

b. We are in a particular section of Exodus right now called "The Law"

i. Last week, in chapter 19, God prepared them to hear "the law"

ii. This week, in chapter 20, we're going to get the bedrock of "the law" (the 10


iii. And next week, when we do chapters 21-23...we'll get into the nitty

gritty of The Law

1. So next week we're going to cover many of tiny and odd laws in the

Bible that you may read and think, "Wait, what? Why is that in the

Bible? And why don't we pay attention to that anymore?"

i. Or maybe a skeptic who's never read the Bible...pulls

out that verse to you (because they googled it)...and

says, "Ha! See!! You guys just pick and choose what

you believe!"

1. We're going to cover that dicey topic next

week...so be here for that.

c. So God is going to give the 10 Commandments to the people now.

(Page 60)

(renovation app)

And by the way, God speaks the 10 commandments AUDIBLY to the

entire assembly of Israelites.

Probably, due to Hollywood interpretations, I think many of us picture

Moses going up the mountain, getting the 10 commandments from

God, and bringing them down and then explaining them.

Moses does indeed get them written on tablets by God later...

But the very first time God gave the 10 commandments,

they were spoken audibly by the voice of God to the

entire assembly of Israelites...so there would be no

doubt to their source and authority.

(Exodus 20:1-17) -- NIV

And God spoke all these words:

2  "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

3  "You shall have no other gods before me.

4  "You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the

earth beneath or in the waters below.  5  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for

I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the

third and fourth generation of those who hate me,  6  but showing love to a

thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

7  "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone

guiltless who misuses his name.

8  "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  9  Six days you shall labor and do all your

work,  10  but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any

work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your

animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.  11  For in six days the LORD made the heavens

and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore,

the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12  "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your

God is giving you.

13  "You shall not murder.

14  "You shall not commit adultery.

15  "You shall not steal.

16  "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

17  "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his

male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

So there you have it.

10 incredibly important commandments on how we should be in

relationship with God and with each other.


Now, I'm going to go about this kind of differently today.

I could do the typical thing...and just walk through each of the 10 ...giving you 3

paragraphs on each and why you should obey them.

But if I do that...my fear is that this chapter of Scripture...isolated from

the rest of the Bible (as it often is)...could lead you to the wrong

conclusions about the basic purposes of the 10 commandments...and I

certainly don't want that.

Because for generations...and for centuries...The 10

Commandments have been looked at as merely rules.

But, Biblically...their purpose is much richer than simply

being rules.

I want to start by telling you about what the commandments can NOT do.

Firstly, they can NOT make you obey.

"The Law" (God's commandments) in the Bible...have often been called a

guardrail, a mirror, a guide...but...I was thinking about it this week, and I think

they could also be called a Radar Speed Sign.

Do you know what I'm talking about?

The signs that not only have the speed limit but show you how

fast you're going

Now, they're nice...studies show they're effective...

But they can't MAKE you obey.

Now, I suspect in 30 years...these things

will electronically communicate with

your car and MAKE you drive the speed


But for now...they can't make

you do anything.


And "Biblical law" is similar.

Let me go at this a different way.

What do we want to see in our lives...as Christians?

We want to see good fruit.

The Apostle Paul describes that fruit in his letter to the

Galatians as Love, Joy, Peace, patience, kindness, goodness,

faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control

And you can create rules to make those things happen

If you have grumpy teenagers, you can't say,

"We have a new rule in this house...and you

WILL be joyful!"

People aren't going to obey God's commandments simply because

they've been made aware of them.

Awareness helps (but we'll talk later that it has to come in the right


Knowledge, without a change of heart, doesn't bring obedience.

I think a lot of Christians don't understand this Biblical


They are convinced that if they could just make

more people "aware" of God's rules...society

would change

That's simply not what history tells us

There are plenty of examples of this.

John Calvin, who was one of the leaders of the Reformation in the

1500's, tried to enforce God's Biblical law on his entire town in Geneva,

Switzerland (it was enforced whether you were following Jesus or

not)...and it was a disaster.


Because you cannot legislate morality

Thank back to the 1920's and Prohibition.

Leading up to the 1920's, Christians were concerned that alcohol was

ruining lives of far too many people (as alcoholism was rampant), and so

they successfully lobbied politicians to ban the production and sale of

alcohol in America from 1920-1933....

It actually did make an impact on the overall amount of alcohol

that was consumed...

But rules don't change hearts...

You can discipline someone into outward

compliance...(which may look like changed

behavior)...but that doesn't mean you changed

their heart.

This happens in parenting all the time.

Parents can create an exhaustive list of rules,

and through those rules, they can discipline and

force their kids into outward compliance

But God isn't concerned about

compliance if the heart doesn't come

with it.

Think of the Pharisees in the NT.

They followed hundreds of rules, but Jesus

called them whitewashed tombs...because

while they looked good on the outside...they

were rotten on the inside.

And that's why I'm not simply standing

here and telling you to obey each of the

10 commandments.

The enforcement of

commandments (absent of the

heart) completely

misunderstands the purpose of


In fact, what happens when you enforce commands (without the heart

going along with them) is what I like to call "whac-a- mole syndrome"

So go back to Prohibition: The U.S. government banned alcohol

in the 20's (the mole goes down)...but in its place (another

mole) popped up (because you haven't changed the heart!!!)

As a result of prohibition, the American Mafia exploded

in growth all over the country...

 "The Mob" (which previous to this...was tiny)

was now tolerated because it was the "The

Mob" that began to illegally brew and distribute


Which police and politicians still


And so...the Mafia (now

unchecked) morphed into an

enormously powerful system of

organized crime

So, it looked like we appeared to fix one

problem...but it just popped up in a different



Because you cannot create a rule, and just by the existence of said

rule...change someone's heart to obey it

Even the Book of Exodus itself clearly proves this

Just a few chapters after the 10 commandments...we're

going to see Moses go up the mountain to meet with

God...and by the time he comes back 40 days later...

The people all seem to be in one drunken, sex-

charged stupor...and...AND...they're

worshipping a golden calf as their God!

They knew the rules!

But mere knowledge and enforcement

of the rules won't change hearts.

SO what's the purpose of rules

and commandments, then?

d. Before we answer that, let me give you one more thing that God's rules can NOT do.

1) They cannot make you obey AND 2) They cannot save you.

Think back to the Radar Speed Sign.

If I'm driving high up in the mountains somewhere...along a

dangerously curvy road.

And I'm flying around the curve at 40mph, and I see a

Radar Speed Sign that says 25 mph...will that save me?

No...it could help me...but a command can't

save me

And the 10 commandments and God's

law...they can't save you either.

And yet, Christians have been dealing with the temptation to believe that for the last

2,000 years.

Every century has had its battle with legalism (the idea that if I adhere to the

law well enough...I can earn God's love)

Which is the exact opposite of what Christianity is.

I've been reading the biography of Martin Luther...who was the leader of the Protestant

Reformation in the 1500's...and the main reason we have more than just the Catholic

Church...in Christianity.

Before Luther broke away from the Catholic Church...and started the movement

that would become the Lutheran Church...Martin Luther was a Catholic monk.

And he struggled mightily with the weight of his own sin.

So to try and make up for his sin on his own, he constantly

fasted, continually did penance for his sins (slept w/o blankets,

lived in severe poverty, and couldn't stop going to confession.

He later said, "I was a good monk, and I kept the rule of

my order so strictly that I may say that if ever a monk

got to heaven by his monkery, it was I"

But eventually, he worked himself into a severe depression...because as

hard as he tried...he could not be perfect...nor anywhere even remotely

near it!

But to his benefit (and to ours too), he eventually helped

Christians rediscover that the Bible clearly teaches us that the

law (God's commandments) weren't ever meant to save us

They're not meant to be a standard by which you earn

your way to heaven

(Galatians 2:16) -- NIV

16  know that a person is not justified by the works

of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too,

have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be

justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of

the law, because by the works of the law no one

will be justified.


So, what then is the point of the law? What is the point of the 10 commandments?

If the commandments and rules aren't there to force us into compliance or save

us...why are they there? What is their purpose??

There are two purposes really.

One for the unbeliever and one for the believer.

Let's start with the unbeliever.

The purpose of the law...for the unbeliever...is to convict them of sin.

The Bible is really clear about this:

 (Romans 3:20) -- NIV

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God's sight by the works of

the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

 (Romans 7:7) -- NIV

What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I

would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would

not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, "You shall

not covet."

Again, if I'm driving in Blaine...and I'm driving faster than I should (which unfortunately

for me, is too often)

And I see the Radar Speed Sign say that I'm driving 39 in a 30...

It doesn't force me to obey

It doesn't save me from death

But it can convict me of sin...of my wrongdoing.

It can.

Let me be honest with you...I actually hate those things.

Sometimes I just feel like shaking my first at it

I read an article this week about them, and it

said, "That some, in reaction to being told they

are speeding by a radar sign, actually speed

up...in rebellion"

And that's what the law and the commandments do for many in society.

When our hearts are not ready to hear God's truth...often the words of

the law just cause us to want to rebel even more

iii. But if you take a different person, who's not yet a Christian, and YET

God has started to begin move in their heart...

When you're not a Christian yet, and God starts moving in your

heart...and now you hear that you've sinned (you've lied, you've lusted,

you've dishonored your parents and God...now it starts to hit home.

And you see that now...you will never be good enough...that you

could never accumulate enough good deeds to be forgiven.

The law, then, actually helps people become Christians

It shows the seeker that they are indeed guilty of sin...and they

only way to be saved...is through a Savior.

That's one of the main ways that God still uses the law

and the commandments today.


But there is a second great purpose of the commandments and the law

And this one is for those who are already Christians.

We hinted at this a little last week when we described how God doesn't just want you to

avoid falling over the guardrail at the grand canyon, he wants you to LIVE...

And the flashing radar sign isn't just to convict you of wrongdoing...but to help

you live...and to continue to enjoy life in a way that's good for you...and

honoring to Him.

Next year, I'll be 36 years old.

I came to Christ when I was 18.

So then I'll have lived 18 years not following him...and 18 years

following Him.

And one of the strongest evidences I have for the existence of God is the reality

of what I found in my heart while NOT living for Him versus LIVING for Him.

I spent so much of those first 18 years breaking as many

commandments as possible...

Trying to find pleasure and life...and instead it brought me anger

and pain.

And in the last 18 years, as I've tried to live trusting in God's way...I am

constantly in awe of how wise our God's path is for us.

a. Internally I often think... "I'd rather just sin"

But one of the things that helps me avoid it...is the trust

I've developed for God that His way is INDEED so much


His law is the flashing sign to where we

experience the life we want.

So as a Christian, I believe that I ought

to take the 10 commandments

incredibly serious...because I believe

they are 10 ways to glorify God and 10

ways to experience a better life on


And our culture is drowning in the pain of not understanding this right now

It seems like every day we find out there are 1 or 2 more famous people that

have sexually harassed or abused a host of people.

And it's heartbreaking to hear about what these victims have gone


But you know what else is heartbreaking?

Watching the culture-at- large trying to figure out why

it's all happening

I've read countless articles in the last month of

writers who just cannot believe that this is

happening to us right now.

And yet, it should come as no shock to us.

Since the late 1960's, Americans have been doing their very

best to deconstruct and tear down any radar signs, rules, or

regular guardrails when it comes to sex

Our movies, our television shows, our journalists have

tried their hardest to erase all the boundary lines of

sexual ethics.

But we must understand that when we do

that...and we take away the speed signs...and

we take away the guardrails...all so we can say,

"it doesn't matter what you do, sexually,


Then, we mustn't be surprised when we

feel the pain of falling off the cliff.

Our culture got sick of the radar speed signs

telling us what to do...

...so we labeled them as repressive and

we threw them off...forgetting that they

were the very things that helped us stay

on the path to life!


But we must be careful...even with that example...

What's the answer to a changed society?

Is it just to return to old fashioned morals?

Would all the sexual harassment and abuse stop if we once again

helped everyone memorize the 10 commandments?

No. Remember, just knowing the commandments can't make you obey...nor can they

change you inside or save you...

We have to understand the purpose of rules in their proper order.

But who can change you? Who can change your heart and the way you live?!

Jesus can!

 (Romans 8:3-4) -- NEW LIVING TRANSLATION!!!!!

The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our

sinful nature.  So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in

a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an

end to sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.  4  He

did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for

us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

Jesus perfectly obeyed the law...so he was a perfect sacrifice for

our sins.

And if we believe in Him...the Holy Spirit comes in

us...and starts empowering us to actually obey the law!

He CHANGES our heart

Which, previously...was always magnetized

towards disobeying God's laws...to now

(through the Spirit) we often want to obey his


You change a society by introducing the

society to one who changes hearts and

thus truly changes lives...Jesus Christ

Trying to obey the commandments by reading a list of rules and attempting to obey

them in your own strength is like trying to drive a car up and down a steep, curvy

mountain road while putting the car in neutral.

It's God who gives you the strength to not covet, to not lust, to not worship

money as an idol.

And so the proper order (the proper place of commandments)...is that once you have

the Holy Spirit inside of you...empowering you to obey the commandments...you want

to know them as well as you can...

So you can live as God wants you to!

But we must be careful to not flip the order around!

If you go back to what we said about parenting earlier...So often parents put so much

effort into getting compliance and obedience from their kids

But they put hardly any effort towards developing the heart!

But what we should be doing is prioritizing our efforts into helping our

kids fall in love with Jesus, so they can be empowered by the Spirit to

obey God's will.

Because with God's love flowing in them, obedience comes

much more naturally

And that is the purpose of commandments in their right & Godly order

And yet far too many parents focus all of their efforts into obedience

and rules (and not the heart), and it's actually a completely backwards

way of looking at the commandments

And if you teach the commandments in this backward way (and

you're always telling your kids, "This is what a Christian

does...you need to obey God"), you end up risking raising a

rebellious child or a Pharisee

But if you instead put your effort to help your child (and this is true for

you too)...you put the effort into falling in love with Jesus

And out of that...you expose their hearts to commands (in the

context of this is how we love and honor our God who saved

us)...then they will truly see those commands as radar speed

signs pointing to more LIFE

So when you go back through the 10 commandments (maybe even in House Groups this


I want you to look at them with fresh eyes.

See them not just as heavy rules to be obeyed.

But as signposts to life.

And don't try and obey them in your own strength...ask

the Spirit to empower you on the path to life

Let me pray.

Copyright: David Sorn

Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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