Sermon

The Sixth Commandment (Exodus 20:13)

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

The Lord told Moses and Israel, “You shall not murder.” This command should not come as a surprise because the Lord had previously told Noah, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man” (Gen 9:6). To understand why murder is prohibited, we need to understand what murder means. Murder—in its Hebrew context—means to “put to death improperly, for selfish reasons…No Israelite acting on his own could decide that he had the right to end someone’s life” (Douglas Stuart, New American Commentary). The Sixth Commandment was not contradictory to the death penalty (Capital Punishment) after due process (Deut 17:6) and a proper trial (Num 35:22-28) as this is clearly established in the Law of Moses. The Sixth Commandment served to protect the nation from evildoers and serves to protect the accused from mob “justice”.

The Sanctity of Life

The Sixth Commandment along with the unified testimony of the Bible compels Christians to affirm the sanctity of life and the dignity of all human beings. This applies especially to the most vulnerable among us such as the unborn, the aged, and any individuals that could unjustly be labeled as “undesirable” or “unwanted”. As a Christian church we affirm the Biblical truth that all people are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). Being created in the image of God refers to having a “likeness” of God that nothing else in all creation can claim to possess. Humans are unique in that they can have a relationship with God in ways nothing else created can.

The Profaning of Life

Christians embrace the sanctity of life and reject the profaning of life and the desecration of the dignity of human beings and all that it entails. Christians must—out of love for God and others—fight against the tendency of a culture to treat human beings as objects to be used rather than humans to be loved. This includes the scourge of pornography and the filth in movies and television that cheapen the value of life. This includes abuse and neglect. It also includes anger. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount that murder begins in the heart in the form of anger (Matt 5:22).

Human Trafficking

There is a plague of wickedness in our very own nation in which men and women are routinely killed, trafficked, enslaved, and abused. According to the Missouri Baptist Children’s home: “There are 100,000 to 300,000 underage girls being sold for sex in America. The average age of American victims is 12-14 years old. 1 out of every 3 teens on the street will be lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of running away from home. Minor victims were sold an average of 10-15 times a day, 6 days a week.” Christians must work to drive this evil from our land through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We also support such organizations as the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home and encourage our police to work to rescue all who are suffering this grave injustice. We commit to fighting against this evil.

Racism

Christians respect the dignity of all human beings regardless of race or ethnicity. Since we believe that all humans are created in the image of God, we do not believe any color of humans is better than another. Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis said it well, “all humans have one main pigment in their skin—we are essentially all the same color (brown), just differing shades of brown.” There should not be “white churches” or “black churches” but Churches in which all Christians are welcome and encouraged to worship Jesus. We recognize that the sin of racism is what everyone (of every shade of brown) must repent of when committed.

Abortion, Euthanasia, and Suicide

We must stand against the culture of death in which the womb has become a dangerous place. According to the American Life League, “The total number of abortions in the U.S. between 1973-2018 were approximately 61,800,000. There were approximately 862,320 abortions in 2017 in our Country; resulting in 2,362 abortions per day, 98 abortions per hour, and an abortion occurring every 96 seconds.” God’s command to not murder includes those in the womb. We must stand against suicide and the ending of our own life. Suicide is a sinful action. It is not the unforgivable sin, but it is sin, nonetheless. Suicide is also destructive because it takes your pain and transfers it to those who love you the most. We must also stand against the culture of death that seeks to put to death older individuals before they die of natural causes. Proponents of euthanasia (or assisted suicide) try to present it as an act of mercy and kindness, but it is nonetheless sinful because it involves killing in a way that God has not granted. Christians support life from conception to natural death.

The Giving of Life

The Sixth Commandment is necessary because the image of God became corrupted with Adam’s sin (Gen 3). God had warned that rebellion against Him would result in death (Gen 2:17), and when they rebelled, they suffered spiritual death that brought with it physical death (Rom 5:12). God’s response to the corruption of His image is to provide a new and better image. God sent His Son into the world to be “born in the likeness of men” (Phil 2:7) and to testify to the reality and goodness of God as “image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15; 2 Cor 4:4) who “is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature” (Heb 1:3). Jesus “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14) to “give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Jesus did what Adam did not do in keeping God’s commands. 

As we consider the Sixth Commandment and the prohibition against murder, we need to be followers of Jesus Christ. We must repent of our sin and be born again (John 3:3). We then ask God for wisdom to be faithful Christians in a fallen world. We have a command to not murder, but Christians are called to something greater: to love one another! How do we love better? We love God more! As we love God more and more our love for others will grow. We will, through our actions, demonstrate that we treasure all stages of life. Let us magnify the One in whose image we bear as we bear the burdens of our fellow image bearers.


[1] Douglas Stuart, New American Commentary