The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 9 years ago

Do This and You Shall Live: An Exposition of the Ten Commandments for the 21st Century

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This is part one of a ten-lecture series designed to show how the Law of God directs all people to Christ, manifests His beauty and holiness, and reveals God's will for His people in every place and time. Learn more about Patristic Nectar Publications.

Ancient faith. Radio and patristic nectarpublications present the arena Sunday homilies and theological reflections with Father Josiah trenum. Thelecture you're about to hear is the introductory lecture in a ten part lecture seriesentitled do this and you shall live, an exposition of the Ten Commandments forthe twenty first century. patristic nectar publications invites all who are spiritually thirsty tocome and be nourished by the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. For theremaining lectures, please visit our website at www dot patristic nectar dot org.And now here's father Josiah, the name of the father, the son andthe Holy Spirit. This is our the first class in our new course,first lecture our new course in our Saint John Krossostom catechetical school, which wehave had going for fourteen years. In fact, this last Sunday, theMurr bearer's Sunday, is very precious to me because this was the fifteenth homilyI've given to the community the parish of St Andrew. This was the firsttime I was I served. The liturgy was murderers Sunday. And the firsttime that I ever preached to this congregation in one thousand nine hundred and ninetyeight Merbearis Sunday. We have we started that year the Saint John Krassostom schooland we have been going many different subjects, at least four major series a year, which would be what this would probably be around the sixty five subjectover those years. Schools exist in our churches, in some places more thanin others, but in general the church is allays laboring to educate her faithful. She's more than a school, but she's not less than a school,and especially in every geographical area that should be some churches dedicated to catechetical instruction, a serious educational plan so that those who are interested in becoming Orthodox Christiansand every geographical area can have good access to instruction. We're attempting to addressthat in our little church here, and this is happening in many places.Some of our parishes are famed and have been famed. The catechetical school inthe cathedral and Alexandria, from the end of the second through the end ofthe fourth century, was a powerhouse of teaching that led to the conversions oftens of thousands of people. They were taught by incredible scholars like pantanus andClement and origin and others teaching in that school. So I welcome you toanother class. What I'd like to do by way of structure for each ofthese lectures I have twenty principles about the law of God that I would liketo give to you, as well as an examination of each of the TenCommandments. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to give you acouple principles to start each lecture and then follow that with the commandment of thenight. So tonight I'll give you two principles with regards to the Law ofGod so that you can understand what the law is and what the Church's mindis about our relationship to the law, and then we'll make a fairly seriousexamination of commandment number one. So the two principles tonight. The first isthat the law is about Jesus, Christ...

...beginning, middle and end. TheChurch says that the law of God is Christological at its heart, meaning thatif you understand it properly, you will see Jesus and know Jesus. OurLord himself was constantly direct doing the minds of the scribes, of the scholarsof the old covenant, to the fact that everything there in the law andthe Psalms and the prophets was about himself. He said to them in John ChapterFive, verse Thirty Nine, that you seek eternal life in the scriptures, but it is these that bear witness to me. This was one ofmany places he made such references. He often taught his disciples that the minutiaof his life, what was unfolding in his life, his ministry, hissuffering, ultimately his death and crucifixion and resurrection from the dead, were allforetold by the prophets and anticipated in the law. The scriptures are about Christ, and let me suggest a few ways that Jesus, Christ is found inthe law and in the Ten Commandments. First, the law manifest Jesus ischaracter, reveals his disposition, his own righteousness. He is the man whois blessed who keeps the law of the Psalm. One man blessed is theman who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, but his delightis in the law of the Lord and he on his law. He meditatesday and night and he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams ofwater. Who is this man, this man of Jesus Christ? The lawreveals his righteousness and what he's like. The law also reveals our need ofhim. It shows us our path to him. Saint Paul says that thelaw was given because of sin and it serves by as a tutor to grabour hand and to lead us to Jesus himself. So if we're relating tothe law properly, we're going to be brought to a sense of our needof Jesus himself. He's also the substance of every commandment. Let me explainthat to you. Each of the ten commandments is about him. The firstcommandment, I am the Lord Thy God, thou shalt have no other gods beforeme, is about Christ. He is, in fact the one thatwe worship together with his father, in the Holy Spirit. He is alsoaccording to commandment number two, thou shalt not make unto thyself any graven image. He is the true and perfect image of the father. We assue falseimages and we bow down before him, the true icon of God. Commandmentnumber three, thou shalt not take the name of the Lord Thy God invain. That name is chiefly Jesus Christ, the name above every name, thename at which every need will bow in heaven and on earth and everytongue will confess. Commandment. Number four, remember the Sabbath, Ay to keepit holy. He himself is the Lord, the master of the Sabbath. He is the rest of our souls. The only way to get this restis to rest in Christ himself. Number Five, honor thy father andthy mother. Our Savior teaches us that these familial relations supremely are expressed inhonoring him as our elder brother. He even expects from us a higher devotionthan to our parents, and he, by that connection that he offers us, brings us in, restores us to the family of God. Through him, we participate in Quio Physia, adoption...

...by grace into the family of God. Thou shalt not murder. He is our life. Thou shalt not commitadultery. He is the bridegroom to whom we exercise ultimate loyalty and faithfulness.Thou shalt not steal. He is the source of our inheritance and everything good. That shall not bear false witness. We honor him as God's truth andThou Shalt Not Covet. He is our complete sufficiency. Every one of thesecommandments has at its heart Jesus Christ himself and is kept by living with him. We find Jesus literally, we find him in the Holy Commandments. Wemeet him there and we have communion with him by the keeping of the Commandments. Listen to these words by some of our holy fathers. This is saintmark the ascetic. The Lord is hidden in his commandments and is found bythose who seek him to the extent that they fulfill the commandments. This isin his work on the spiritual law that's in the first volume of the PHILOPICALIA. The Lord is hidden in the commandments and if you want to be withhim, keep them and he'll be with you. This is Saint Maximo's confessor. God. The word of God, the father, is mystically present ineach of his commandments. God, the father is by nature completely inseparable inthe entirety of his word. Therefore, he who receives their divine commandment andfulfills it receives the word of God who is in it, and he whoreceives the word through the commandments receives through him the father who is in himby nature, and the spirit, who is also in him by nature.And in this way, he who receives a commandment and carries it out receivesin mystical possession the Holy Trinity. This is the works, like the SecondCentury, on theology and on the incarnate economy of the son of God.It's a Maximo's confessor. This is principle number one. The heart of theLaw of God, the heart of the Ten Commandments, is Jesus Christ himself. And the second principle that I wish to introduce to you tonight with regardsto our our approach to the Ten Commandments, is that the law of God iswritten on every human heart. The Law of God has written on everyhuman heart. By virtue of creation, the commandments of God are placed intothe human heart. Seet Paul says in the second chapter of his epistle tothe Romans that when those who do not have the law do instinctively the thingsof the law, they manifest that this law is written on their hearts.This is very important to know. This is a constituent element of being ahuman being, fashioned in the image and according to the likeness of God andgiven a conscience to bear witness to the law of God which is on theheart. The written law on the tablets of stone was added because sin camein and we became darkened at our understanding and did not listen carefully to ourconscience, and God brought in in order to manifest his will more clearly,the written law. This means that in every interaction with a human being,when the church is articulating the will of God, we're not addressing tabuloosis,we're not dealing with people who are blank slates. It also means that thosewho deny the commandments of God really have to work hard. They really haveto work hard to do so. Set Paul describes it as a process ofsuppressing the truth in unrighteousness. The law of denied because the denier does notwant it to be true, even though he knows it to be true.This is very important when we have any...

...conversations about the law of God andabout morality. We should not assume that a position of neutrality, as thoughwe have to convince someone of the fact that these things are true. Ifwe do convince someone, it's because we love them and we want to Laborwith them, but we don't want to give them the idea that this issome foreign concept that they have to become convinced of. We want, throughour interaction, to help them recognize that they believe this already, that thisis inside of them, that their own conscience bears witness to it. That'sparticularly important in some of the very serious areas of a moral confrontation today,like over whether a family should have a father and a mother. That isso basic. That is not something that we're just going to throw out andsay, well, let's talk about all these different options as those. Theyare equals. We know that every human being knows that a family involves aman and a woman and that there is no comparison between that and to lesbiansor two gay men. There is no parallel there. So these are twoprinciples. The Law of God is about Jesus Christ himself. He is thevery substance, the constituent element, the heart of the law of God andevery single commandment, particularly I give you examples of the Ten Commandments, butwe can apply that to every commandment. And principle number two. The lawof God is in every human heart and in these coming lectures I'll give youeighteen more principles. Okay about this, so that by the end we shouldbe able to have a comfort level with our relationship to the law of God. But now I'd like to turn your attention to the first commandment. Iam the Lord, thy God, thou shalt have no other gods before me. These commandments, remember, we're given by the Lord God to Moses onthe top of Mount Sinai, with lightning and thunders and earthquakes. Moses wasfull of fear and trembling, it says in the Holy Scriptures, as heheard the voice of God. These commandments were written with the finger of God. After God had, in his love, taken the people of Israel to himself, the Hebrews, the children of Abraham. He had delivered them frombondage in Egypt. They had gone through miraculously the Red Sea and they hadcome into the Wilderness, and there God met them in fire and smoke andrevealed the Sacred Commandments. There he formalized his relationship with his people. Hecut a covenant, a faithful bond with his people, and he started itwith these sacred words. I am the Lord, thy God, thou shalthave no other gods before me. What does this mean? The first commandmentcommands complete devotion to God and exclusive allegiance. It rejects all competition for our loyaltyand our love, and it forbids all hatred of God and all indifferenceto him. The first commandment commands the worship of the Lord, that weacknowledge the Holy Trinity is the only true God and our God, not justthat he is, but that he is ours, confessing him before men,owning him in public and in private. This is what the first commandment means. I am the Lord, thy God. Thou shalt have no other gods beforeme. The first commandment demands that all human being seek to do hiswill exclusively. We're shipping and glorifying him...

...accordingly by thinking, meditating, remembering, highly esteeming, honoring, adoring, choosing, loving, desiring, fearingand believing in him, trusting him, hoping in him, delighting and rejoicingin him, being zealous for him, calling upon him, giving all praiseand thanks to him, rendering him all obedience and submission, with our entirepersons carefully pleasing him and walking humbly before him, giving everything to him.This is what the first commandment asks it is the ultimate expression of love.I am holy thine. That is the response of the first commandment, andnotice how the Lord points himself out to man. At the very beginning.He says, I am the Lord, thy God, I who just didall these things for you, who just redeemed you from that Great Satan Pharaoh. He reveals himself because he is the Lord who wants to be known.He's not content having us in ignorance about him, as any lover would notbe content not to be known by the beloved. The delight is in themutual knowledge. He does not leave man to think of him as man desires, and so learning the knowledge of God is the most essential of all knowledge. This is why, to keep this commandment, we should be attentive inchurch and in the study of our faith at home and at school. You'rehere tonight because of this first commandment, because you want to know the Lord, your God, who is your God and there is no other. It'swhy we read the Scriptures faithfully and we push ourselves to read the fathers andthe saints, to hear stories like we heard tonight from the ambone about thelives of Saints Timothy and Mara. We want to know these things because theyall manifest who God is and his wonders, and there is no knowledge higher thanthat. This first commandment calls us to the love of God exclusively.You know, Jesus defended all the ten commandments and we're going to see overthe course of this lecture series that he refers to so many of the tencommandments and defends them against abuses, for instance the fifth commandment. When weget there we'll see in greater detail that he criticized the PHARASAIC interpretation of thefifth commandment about honoring parents and he called them to be serious about honoring theirmother and father. But he exalted this commandment above the fifth commandment. Hetaught his discion piples to have a loyalty to him that was greater even thanthat to their own earthly parents. He said, unless a man hates hisown father and mother, he cannot mean be my disciple, meaning that unlessyour heart is so hot for me, unless your love for me is soextreme that when you compare it to a love of anything creaturely, anything inthe earthly capacity, it appears as hatred, you can't follow me. The loveof God is what is being asked for by the Almighty in this firstcommandment, and the Supreme Apostolic Example of this commandment and practice, I wouldsuggest, as found in St Paul's self description, found in the third chapterof his epistle to the Philippians. He describes his own orientation to his master. Listen to what he says. Oh...

Hmm, whatsoever things were gained.For me, these things I have counted as lost for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be lost in view ofthe surpassing value of knowing Christ, Jesus, my Lord, for whom I havesuffered the loss of all things and count them Dung in order that Imay gain Christ. That is the fulfillment of Jesus's call to hate your ownlife and everything in the created world in comparison to your love for him.Saint Paul considered it literally all to be, you know, the stuff that thedogs do on the grass. Literally that is the word, by theway. It's not a very nice word that he uses, mad vic it'sa very, very nasty word, proparable to something else which I won't mention. But you see it, Saint Paul was living it. He was livingthe first commandment. He had no other gods, he had no other loyaltiesthat compared, no other affection, no other devotion. He was exclusively theLord's beautiful, Supreme Apostolic Model of the First Commandment, and this love showsitself in the worship of the Lord Chiefly. Many commentators throughout church history have commentedon the ten commandments by noting that the first four commandments regulate the worshipof the Lord God. The first commandment tells us who is to be worshiped, the object of our worship. The second commandment how, or the mannerof our worship, with no false images, the third with what, or thelanguage of worship, with deep reverence for the name of God, andthen, fourthly, the when of worship or the time of worship, theSabbath Day, the holy days. The highest commandment is a command of exclusiveloyalty to God, shown in worship. If we love God, then wewill worship him and will adore him and delight in him. This is veryimportant for us to see because these days civic discussion about morality often excludes thefirst four commandments, as though somehow they're just unimportant. In being a moralperson, as long as you know, you don't commit adulter you don't killsomeone, you could be good or moral, even if you've never gone to church, even if you've lived for yourself, never once bowed down before the HolyTrinity. The Church would say, not so, not so. Youcan't fulfill the first commandment unless you're a fervent worshiper, because if you loveGod, you will bow down before him, you will worship him, the SupremeLord. We ought not think that the second table is all that constitutesmorality. A person may stay married, never steal, never tell a lieand be a gross violator of the commandments of God and found on the Dayof judgment to be horrifically sinful because the first four were completely ignored. Christiansunderstand the first commandment to include the call to the worship of the Trinity,not just the father, and remember that our savior shockingly accepted worship from humanbeings after his resurrection. His disciples worshiped him and he did not correct them. He demands that we honor him as we honor the father. Even theangels of God Worship Him. This is Hebrews Chapter One, and one dayeveryone will bow down before his name and...

...the Great Hymns of triumph in theapocalypse. In chapters five and seven, the great hymns of praise of theredeemed are addressed to Jesus Christ. So here our Lord and his teaching placeshimself as the receiver of the praise and devotion of the first commandment. It'sone of the most obvious proofs of the fact that our savior was not justa man who was making good teachings, comparable to Mohammed, confucious Buddha,not so, not so. He was divine and the son of God,and this was one of the most obvious ways that he manifested it. Therefore, keeping the first commandment means not just offering to God exclusive devotion, expressedin worship formally in the divine services, it is true that that's the case, but also being zealous. Jesus shows us how to keep this commandment bybeing zealous for God's House. Remember how twice he cleansed the temple in hiszeal for the worship of his father. He was at the temple and hefound inappropriate things there, people who had turned a house of reverence and worshipand holiness into a place for bartering and exchanging and money grubbing, and hewas furious. He says and his testimony that zeal for his father's house consumedhim. That's because he was a keeper of the first commandment and we shouldhave the same zeal for the House of God if we're going to keep thiscommandment. This is the worship called from us from the first commandment. Butthat concept of worship has a narrow application, the keeping of the divine services.It also has a broader application, which is the offering of our wholelives to God as a living sacrifice. You remember seeing Paul's beautiful words inRomans Chapter Twelve. May read them to you. I urge you, therefor brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living anda holy sacrifice acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship, and do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewingof your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, thatwhich is good, acceptable and perfect. So the first commandment drives us then, it drives us, in our expression of devotion to God, not justinto the church for services, but to come out of the church and toseek to make the whole world a church. This commandment moves us to want tobring every aspect of our life, even if we're at a desk forten hours a day, that desk becomes in this sense and alter for us, that telephone becomes something sacred, that pad of paper, that computer thatyou use, those people who are your colleagues and the interaction there. Theheart of the person who keeps the commandments of God like this, wants toturn all of those interactions into a spiritual service of worship, not being conformedbut transformed, turning all of these things into something beautiful. Cooking in thekitchen, washing the children in the bathtub, holding on their clothes, driving themin the car to school, these things are, for the keeper ofthe First Commandments, acts of devotion and...

...a way that communion with God andcan be secured, and Jesus can be seen, since he reveals himself,since he's hidden in every one of the commandments. So these are positive thoughts, words and deeds. This is the natural life of the lover of theLaw of God. Let me now conclude my lecture by talking about the otherside, the other side of the commandment. We've talked about the positive prescriptions.Let me talk to you about the prohibitions, because in God's dealings withthe Commandments, he tells us what to do, what they mean. Healso tells us what they forbid, and there's lots of this language, isa matter of fact. If you look at these thin commandments, there's forbiddenseverywhere. Chiefly forbidden by this commandment is all lukewarmness to God. You everthought of that? That this commandment really is forbidding? What it's forbidding isto have a lukewarm heart, not to have a heart that's hot for God, is not to keep the first commandment. Remember the interaction that Jesus had withthe Church of Laodicea in the third chapter of the revelation. He said, I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot, andI would that you were cold or Hot. So, because you are lukewarm andneither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth.Revelation Three fifteen. And what does it mean to be lukewarm? It meansto put other things in God's spot, to put things in front of him. It's not that you don't have God in your life. If shifted,you got him down here, two, three, seven, eight, placesthat he won't accept. Lukewarmness is forbidden. Something else that is prohibited by thiscommandment is atheism, and if you have eyes and ears, you Ihaven't been asleep in the last several years. You Know How atheism is growing veryaggressively in our secularizing culture. The day, as is usual, onmy aol server there was a big article about methodist woman, Pastor, whojust came out as an atheist. She had been exploring atheism and doubting herfaith for some time using a pseudonym, and then just came out of thecloset as an atheist. And she's not alone. There's large groups of channelingthese conversions, reversions, whatever they may be. Atheism, the ultimate actof intellectual suicide and of spiritual depravity, is on the rise and it's explicitlyforbidden by this first commandment. We don't play with religion academic and head Games, and this also means for us, practically speaking, that we don't actlike atheists. I know, I don't think there's anyone in this room whotakes the idea of atheism seriously. I would doubt it, I would highlydoubt it. But practical atheism is a much greater danger to us. Practicalatheism is not an idea, it's a practice of life. If we leaveGod on Sunday and then we act Monday through Saturday like he's not there andwe don't include him in our life, we are functioning as practical atheists.Our life is becoming defined in its practice by those who don't include God,and our religion is worthless. We have...

...to beware of this practical atheism.Also forbidden in this commandment is polytheism, the worship of many gods and Iidolatry, infidelity, heresy, SISM, apostasy, despair, distrust of God, sorcery, superstition, sloth, the love of the creature above God,men pleasing breaking this commandment and human relations of romance or business, where wewould subject the first commandment in order to win a person or a deal ora place. If we do that, really were violating very clearly the firstcommandment and we're making the winning of a woman or man, the securing ofa business deal or a prophet. We're making that God, by putting Godunderneath forbids the wicked thoughts of God, doubting God, accusing God, andthis one I'm particularly want to press absolutely forbids. The concept of being madat God. Spiritual Babble is what that is utter, total nonsense. Thatshould never come out of our mouth. If, if we make the mistakeof having thoughts like that, that pretentious, that proud, that we think God'smade a big mistake and we're mad at him, for goodness Sake,don't talk about it, don't mention it to anyone and make your foolishness known. Just keep your mouth shutting fall on the ground and say, Lord,I'm so screwed up, help and he will help you, and he helpyou, he will help you. But we don't talk about being mad atGod like that. Somehow spiritual to talk about it or therapeutic. Utterly,totally blasphemous to say that we're mad at God. Don't say it, don'tsay it. Heinous. We don't have that freedom, nor do we allowourselves that freedom to talk like that. We're called by the Lord God inthe first commandment to a complete separation from false gods, either fictions or demons, because these are what false gods are, or both. And remember that whenJesus was being tempted by the devil in the Wilderness, what did thedevil want him to do? He wanted him to worship him. This isone of the great drives behind the Devil's work. He wants off to bowdown to false gods. He's pushing this. So we have to be careful inunderstanding what a false God is, and I should just mention that afalse god is not the same as having wrong ideas about God. This isa fine line and something we have to be very careful it. But there'sit's one thing to believe in an idol and a false god. It's anotherfor a Christian person to have some confused ideas about God. We have tobe very careful not to confuse the two or be careless about this. Thereare plenty of Catholics and Protestants, Western Christians, who have ideas about Godthat we considered to be very erroneous. The PHILIOQUA doctrine is a good example. This is a heresy that's but was embraced by the Latins and then laterby the Protestants. It's a very serious misunderstanding of the relationship of the HolySpirit to the father and to Christ. I don't think that we say that, therefore, the Catholics and the Protestants are idolaters. We have to becareful. Certainly this is a heresy, but I'm suggesting that we exercise charityand, while discussing that, the erroneous...

...teaching, that we don't suggest thatworshippers of the Holy Trinity, because they have this heretical teaching, our worshipingfalse God. Now that's not to say that sometimes we can hear discussion aboutJesus that appears to us as Orthodox. As all they're to people are talkingabout somebody else. Many Times I've heard people talk about Jesus, which Idon't know what Jesus they're talking about. A Jesus who doesn't have priests atthese Jesus who doesn't want people confessing their sins to other human beings, aJesus who's all by himself, isn't surrounded by angels and Saint said, Jesuswho's floating around in the heaven like some decapitated head, connecting with people mysticallyin their bedrooms, apart from his church, his body. I mean these areconcepts of Jesus, which I don't recognize, and St Paul does talkabout false Jesus is re Latians chapter one. All Tim suggesting to you is thatwe have to be really careful, really careful about not moving from thosewho are Christian and have inherited trinitarian faith on principle but are confused. AreConfused about what that means in practice. I think we have to be verycareful not to stigmatize them as idol worshipers. Better, I think, just totalk about the erroneous concepts. Other monotheistic religions, however, like Judaismand Islam, provide more serious problems about the concept of false God. Somewould like to think that all monotheists worship the same God. Bano on youtwo would like to think that everyone who's a Jew, a Muslim or aChristian, where all children of Abraham. We all worship the one God.The problem with that, of course, is our faith. Problem with thatas the teaching of the New Testament and the teaching of Jesus, St Johnand his first epistle says, whoever does not have the son, what doesnot have the father. This is a very important point when we're evaluating theconcept of God in Islam and Judaism. There are some really serious problems inthose monotheistic faith because there is a form of monotheism that is incorrect. Notall monotheism is the same. There is a triadic monotheism, which is revelation, which is the Christian faith, and there is a single modad monotheism,which is Islam, a God who is not father of a son and thereforeis not love, which is why in the ninety nine names of God inIslam you will not find love. How can you be, how can yoube constituted it love, if you have no one to love except yourself?Our faith says that's not the case. The father has always loved the sonand poured out his love on the son and the Holy Spirit and they havereciprocated, and the Holy Trinity is a communion of love that we enter intowhen we're baptized. These are really serious differences with the concept of God inIslam. Hindus more explicitly worship multiple false gods and even in personal philosophical categorieslike you would find in Buddhism, function in the role of false gods.For Buddhists, if you need to know any more about that, ask anumber of our prishioners who are converts from Buddhism and they will be the firstto tell you that, though there is no explicit God in Buddhism, theseconcepts, these categories function as God, as a false God. Today,this commandment in the twenty one century specifically forbids many forms of modern and postmoderntheology, which are abounding in concepts of false gods, like the gods ofprocess theology, where God is changing, growing, getting better, radical feministtheology in which God cannot be associated with...

...any gender qualities, and these radicalfeminist theologians refused to call God a father because that's considered patriarchal and suppressive.Jesus a son. These theologies would have US baptized in the name of theCreator and the Redeemer and the sanctifier, with no references the traditional Christian categories. And there are also theologies that are assimilating Christian Dogma and moral practice tosec secular cultural developments. These are all forbidden by the first commandment. Theseare false gods. Supremely in the secular age is religious pluralism, which affirmsthat God has many names and that all religions are correct and together constitute theface of God. This is not only absolute crucifixion of reason and the Lawof noncontradiction, that a cannot be a and not a in the same placeat the same time, but it is an expression of a very uncivilized approachto religion that's a deep personalize, because no god that exists would be happyto be thought his contradiction by others, celebrating that people think he is oneat one time and three to another and fifty million at another time. There'salso, besides these explicit false gods forbidden by this first commandment, what I'mcalling God substitutes that were forbidden to worship. These are, in fact, forus, idols for destruction, and let me name some of them thatare found in scripture. They're not explicitly God's in a religious, cultic citysetting, but they function as Gods for us, as substitutes for the trueGod. First is our own strength, our own power. The Prophet Habaccacan chapter one, verse eleven. He says they will be held guilty,they whose strength is their God. We ought not worship our own power.For others it's money and possessions. Jesus is very clear that we cannot serveGod. And mammon, he personis fives in this teaching the summer on themouth money as a god and forbids us to try to serve it. andSaint Paul and his epistle to the Colossians, chapter three, verse five, saidsays consider the members of your earthly body dead to immorality, impurity,passion, evil, desire and greed, which is idolatry. But here heplaces money and the desire for money as a God, which is an idol. These God substitutes don't aren't just power or strength or money. But thereare several others I want to mention. The prophecy of Daniel makes clear thatpolitics can become a God. Politics became a God for Nebuchadnezzar and he hadto bow. Pleasure and entertainment. How relevant is this? Pleasure and entertainmentcan become an idol. Sat Paul says in the last days men will belovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. That's true. Timothy Chapter Three,food, he says. In his epistle to the Philippians, chapter three, he says whose God is their belly, or sometimes it's translated, whose Godis their appetite. Food itself can become an idol and self worship,self worship, thinking that your own hand made you power or wealth. Rememberwhen Nebuchadnezzar loft his mind. He was...

...on top of his palace and hewas overlooking Babylon the great, and he actually set out last is it?Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have fashioned as my ownroyal residence in order to display the majesty of my presence? When he saidthat God spoke to him and he said, Nebuchadnezzar, your sovereignty has been removed. The greatest king in the whole world pushed the true King, Jeff, too far, Jeff too far, and the Lord God said to himthat's it, you who think you made everything by Your own strength. You'redone. It's God. Not only are you not going to rule this anymore, but you are even going to be able to take care of the verymost basic kingdom anyone has, which is yourself. I'm going to take yourmind and you're going to become like an animal. You're going to crawl forseven years on all four and you're going to grow feathers like a bird andyour nails like the claws of an animal. And he did, and at theend of seven years he came to his own senses. So sometimes ourown sense of self becomes our God and we worship ourselves. Nevichadnezzar learned itthe hard way. So here it is, this wonderful commandment calling up to exclusiveloyalty and love and devotion to God. Also forbids, false God's idols,Gods Substitutes, and also the practices of false religions like divination and sorcery, necromancy, human sacrifice, superstitions. Were to watch out for false prophetsand teachers to the issue the occult, seeking psychics or fortune tellers or mediums. These are all forbidden by the first commandment. We don't seek supernatural knowledgeexcept from one, except from the Lord God, and we should also notpractice what I call reverse superstition, and that is being superstition about superstitious,about people who are superstitious. Sometimes we get so worked up. We getso worked up because people are superstitious. Let me give you an example.If you see someone reading the Horoscope, it's not going to hurt you.If you touch the newspaper, it's not going to hurt you. We shouldlaugh at them. Oh, I tell me what's going to happen in mylife today. Oh, isn't that interesting? Just laugh at them. Halloween isanother example. Forgive me, we are a way, way too workedup about Halloween. We are practicing reverse superstition, as though somehow, onHalloween night, when Orthodox Christians walk outside, we have to beware because we're goingto get cursed. Nonsense, nonsense, nuts, the evil eye. Sometimeswe get all worked up about the evil eye. I think someone's goingto throw us an evil ee. And some of our Orthodox cultures we havelittle beads that we wear. Quite a few of our parishioners, especially thosefrom the Middle East, like to put their little blue eyeballs over their doors. Nonsense. Blue eyeballs are going to keep us from the evil eye.No, no, this keeps us from everything and is a terror to allevil. We don't have to be worried about these kinds of things. Lastly, let me conclude by just mentioning that under this commandment, the fathers ofthe Church would forbid membership in secret societies like the freemasons. Freemasonry is notjust a network, but it's a religion.

It has its own concepts of God, it has its own sacred oats that can't be shared. We're notallowed to participate in that kind of thing. Many hierarchs and saints have talked aboutsecret societies like this and we're not allowed to participate in them. SoI'll stop there. Next week, God willing, commandment number two, remember, can be a blessing. The blessings of the Holy Trinity, the fatherand the son and the Holy Spirit, be with you all tonight and foreverChrist is risen. The lecture you have just heard is the introductory lecture ina ten part lecture series entitled do this and you shall live, an expositionof the Ten Commandments for the twenty one century. For the remaining lectures,please visit our website at www dot patristic nectar dot org. Again, that'swww dot patristic nectar dot org. Until next time,.

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