The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 10 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 nectar publications present the arena Sunday homilies and theological reflections with Father Josiah trenum. The lecture you're about to hear is the introductory lecture in a ten part lecture series entitled do this and you shall live, an exposition of the Ten Commandments for the twenty first century. patristic nectar publications invites all who are spiritually thirsty to come and be nourished by the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. For the remaining 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 and the 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 we have had going for fourteen years. In fact, this last Sunday, the Murr bearer's Sunday, is very precious to me because this was the fifteenth homily I've given to the community the parish of St Andrew. This was the first time I was I served. The liturgy was murderers Sunday. And the first time that I ever preached to this congregation in one thousand nine hundred and ninety eight Merbearis Sunday. We have we started that year the Saint John Krassostom school and 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 subject over those years. Schools exist in our churches, in some places more than in 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 Christians and every geographical area can have good access to instruction. We're attempting to address that 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 in the cathedral and Alexandria, from the end of the second through the end of the fourth century, was a powerhouse of teaching that led to the conversions of tens of thousands of people. They were taught by incredible scholars like pantanus and Clement and origin and others teaching in that school. So I welcome you to another class. What I'd like to do by way of structure for each of these lectures I have twenty principles about the law of God that I would like to give to you, as well as an examination of each of the Ten Commandments. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to give you a couple principles to start each lecture and then follow that with the commandment of the night. So tonight I'll give you two principles with regards to the Law of God so that you can understand what the law is and what the Church's mind is about our relationship to the law, and then we'll make a fairly serious examination of commandment number one. So the two principles tonight. The first is that the law is about Jesus, Christ...

...beginning, middle and end. The Church says that the law of God is Christological at its heart, meaning that if you understand it properly, you will see Jesus and know Jesus. Our Lord himself was constantly direct doing the minds of the scribes, of the scholars of the old covenant, to the fact that everything there in the law and the Psalms and the prophets was about himself. He said to them in John Chapter Five, verse Thirty Nine, that you seek eternal life in the scriptures, but it is these that bear witness to me. This was one of many places he made such references. He often taught his disciples that the minutia of his life, what was unfolding in his life, his ministry, his suffering, ultimately his death and crucifixion and resurrection from the dead, were all foretold 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 in the law and in the Ten Commandments. First, the law manifest Jesus is character, reveals his disposition, his own righteousness. He is the man who is blessed who keeps the law of the Psalm. One man blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, but his delight is in the law of the Lord and he on his law. He meditates day and night and he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water. Who is this man, this man of Jesus Christ? The law reveals his righteousness and what he's like. The law also reveals our need of him. It shows us our path to him. Saint Paul says that the law was given because of sin and it serves by as a tutor to grab our hand and to lead us to Jesus himself. So if we're relating to the law properly, we're going to be brought to a sense of our need of Jesus himself. He's also the substance of every commandment. Let me explain that to you. Each of the ten commandments is about him. The first commandment, I am the Lord Thy God, thou shalt have no other gods before me, is about Christ. He is, in fact the one that we worship together with his father, in the Holy Spirit. He is also according 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 false images and we bow down before him, the true icon of God. Commandment number three, thou shalt not take the name of the Lord Thy God in vain. That name is chiefly Jesus Christ, the name above every name, the name at which every need will bow in heaven and on earth and every tongue will confess. Commandment. Number four, remember the Sabbath, Ay to keep it holy. He himself is the Lord, the master of the Sabbath. He is the rest of our souls. The only way to get this rest is to rest in Christ himself. Number Five, honor thy father and thy mother. Our Savior teaches us that these familial relations supremely are expressed in honoring him as our elder brother. He even expects from us a higher devotion than 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 commit adultery. 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 and Thou Shalt Not Covet. He is our complete sufficiency. Every one of these commandments 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. We meet 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 saint mark the ascetic. The Lord is hidden in his commandments and is found by those who seek him to the extent that they fulfill the commandments. This is in 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 with him, keep them and he'll be with you. This is Saint Maximo's confessor. God. The word of God, the father, is mystically present in each of his commandments. God, the father is by nature completely inseparable in the entirety of his word. Therefore, he who receives their divine commandment and fulfills it receives the word of God who is in it, and he who receives the word through the commandments receives through him the father who is in him by nature, and the spirit, who is also in him by nature. And in this way, he who receives a commandment and carries it out receives in mystical possession the Holy Trinity. This is the works, like the Second Century, 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 the Law 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 regards to our our approach to the Ten Commandments, is that the law of God is written on every human heart. The Law of God has written on every human heart. By virtue of creation, the commandments of God are placed into the human heart. Seet Paul says in the second chapter of his epistle to the Romans that when those who do not have the law do instinctively the things of 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 a human being, fashioned in the image and according to the likeness of God and given a conscience to bear witness to the law of God which is on the heart. The written law on the tablets of stone was added because sin came in and we became darkened at our understanding and did not listen carefully to our conscience, 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 those who deny the commandments of God really have to work hard. They really have to work hard to do so. Set Paul describes it as a process of suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. The law of denied because the denier does not want 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 and about morality. We should not assume that a position of neutrality, as though we have to convince someone of the fact that these things are true. If we do convince someone, it's because we love them and we want to Labor with them, but we don't want to give them the idea that this is some foreign concept that they have to become convinced of. We want, through our interaction, to help them recognize that they believe this already, that this is inside of them, that their own conscience bears witness to it. That's particularly 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 is so basic. That is not something that we're just going to throw out and say, well, let's talk about all these different options as those. They are equals. We know that every human being knows that a family involves a man and a woman and that there is no comparison between that and to lesbians or two gay men. There is no parallel there. So these are two principles. The Law of God is about Jesus Christ himself. He is the very substance, the constituent element, the heart of the law of God and every single commandment, particularly I give you examples of the Ten Commandments, but we can apply that to every commandment. And principle number two. The law of God is in every human heart and in these coming lectures I'll give you eighteen more principles. Okay about this, so that by the end we should be 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. I am the Lord, thy God, thou shalt have no other gods before me. These commandments, remember, we're given by the Lord God to Moses on the top of Mount Sinai, with lightning and thunders and earthquakes. Moses was full of fear and trembling, it says in the Holy Scriptures, as he heard 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 from bondage in Egypt. They had gone through miraculously the Red Sea and they had come into the Wilderness, and there God met them in fire and smoke and revealed the Sacred Commandments. There he formalized his relationship with his people. He cut a covenant, a faithful bond with his people, and he started it with these sacred words. I am the Lord, thy God, thou shalt have no other gods before me. What does this mean? The first commandment commands complete devotion to God and exclusive allegiance. It rejects all competition for our loyalty and our love, and it forbids all hatred of God and all indifference to him. The first commandment commands the worship of the Lord, that we acknowledge the Holy Trinity is the only true God and our God, not just that 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 before me. The first commandment demands that all human being seek to do his will exclusively. We're shipping and glorifying him...

...accordingly by thinking, meditating, remembering, highly esteeming, honoring, adoring, choosing, loving, desiring, fearing and believing in him, trusting him, hoping in him, delighting and rejoicing in him, being zealous for him, calling upon him, giving all praise and thanks to him, rendering him all obedience and submission, with our entire persons 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, and notice how the Lord points himself out to man. At the very beginning. He says, I am the Lord, thy God, I who just did all 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 not be content not to be known by the beloved. The delight is in the mutual 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 in church and in the study of our faith at home and at school. You're here 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's why we read the Scriptures faithfully and we push ourselves to read the fathers and the saints, to hear stories like we heard tonight from the ambone about the lives of Saints Timothy and Mara. We want to know these things because they all manifest who God is and his wonders, and there is no knowledge higher than that. 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 over the course of this lecture series that he refers to so many of the ten commandments and defends them against abuses, for instance the fifth commandment. When we get there we'll see in greater detail that he criticized the PHARASAIC interpretation of the fifth commandment about honoring parents and he called them to be serious about honoring their mother and father. But he exalted this commandment above the fifth commandment. He taught his discion piples to have a loyalty to him that was greater even than that to their own earthly parents. He said, unless a man hates his own father and mother, he cannot mean be my disciple, meaning that unless your heart is so hot for me, unless your love for me is so extreme that when you compare it to a love of anything creaturely, anything in the earthly capacity, it appears as hatred, you can't follow me. The love of God is what is being asked for by the Almighty in this first commandment, and the Supreme Apostolic Example of this commandment and practice, I would suggest, as found in St Paul's self description, found in the third chapter of 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 of the surpassing value of knowing Christ, Jesus, my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them Dung in order that I may gain Christ. That is the fulfillment of Jesus's call to hate your own life 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 the dogs do on the grass. Literally that is the word, by the way. It's not a very nice word that he uses, mad vic it's a very, very nasty word, proparable to something else which I won't mention. But you see it, Saint Paul was living it. He was living the first commandment. He had no other gods, he had no other loyalties that compared, no other affection, no other devotion. He was exclusively the Lord's beautiful, Supreme Apostolic Model of the First Commandment, and this love shows itself in the worship of the Lord Chiefly. Many commentators throughout church history have commented on the ten commandments by noting that the first four commandments regulate the worship of the Lord God. The first commandment tells us who is to be worshiped, the object of our worship. The second commandment how, or the manner of our worship, with no false images, the third with what, or the language of worship, with deep reverence for the name of God, and then, fourthly, the when of worship or the time of worship, the Sabbath Day, the holy days. The highest commandment is a command of exclusive loyalty to God, shown in worship. If we love God, then we will worship him and will adore him and delight in him. This is very important for us to see because these days civic discussion about morality often excludes the first four commandments, as though somehow they're just unimportant. In being a moral person, as long as you know, you don't commit adulter you don't kill someone, 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 Holy Trinity. The Church would say, not so, not so. You can't fulfill the first commandment unless you're a fervent worshiper, because if you love God, you will bow down before him, you will worship him, the Supreme Lord. We ought not think that the second table is all that constitutes morality. A person may stay married, never steal, never tell a lie and be a gross violator of the commandments of God and found on the Day of judgment to be horrifically sinful because the first four were completely ignored. Christians understand 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 human beings 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 the angels of God Worship Him. This is Hebrews Chapter One, and one day everyone will bow down before his name and...

...the Great Hymns of triumph in the apocalypse. In chapters five and seven, the great hymns of praise of the redeemed are addressed to Jesus Christ. So here our Lord and his teaching places himself as the receiver of the praise and devotion of the first commandment. It's one of the most obvious proofs of the fact that our savior was not just a 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, expressed in 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 by being zealous for God's House. Remember how twice he cleansed the temple in his zeal for the worship of his father. He was at the temple and he found inappropriate things there, people who had turned a house of reverence and worship and holiness into a place for bartering and exchanging and money grubbing, and he was furious. He says and his testimony that zeal for his father's house consumed him. That's because he was a keeper of the first commandment and we should have the same zeal for the House of God if we're going to keep this commandment. This is the worship called from us from the first commandment. But that 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 whole lives to God as a living sacrifice. You remember seeing Paul's beautiful words in Romans Chapter Twelve. May read them to you. I urge you, there for brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and a 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 renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good, acceptable and perfect. So the first commandment drives us then, it drives us, in our expression of devotion to God, not just into the church for services, but to come out of the church and to seek to make the whole world a church. This commandment moves us to want to bring every aspect of our life, even if we're at a desk for ten hours a day, that desk becomes in this sense and alter for us, that telephone becomes something sacred, that pad of paper, that computer that you use, those people who are your colleagues and the interaction there. The heart of the person who keeps the commandments of God like this, wants to turn all of those interactions into a spiritual service of worship, not being conformed but transformed, turning all of these things into something beautiful. Cooking in the kitchen, washing the children in the bathtub, holding on their clothes, driving them in the car to school, these things are, for the keeper of the First Commandments, acts of devotion and...

...a way that communion with God and can 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 the Law of God. Let me now conclude my lecture by talking about the other side, 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 with the Commandments, he tells us what to do, what they mean. He also tells us what they forbid, and there's lots of this language, is a matter of fact. If you look at these thin commandments, there's forbiddens everywhere. Chiefly forbidden by this commandment is all lukewarmness to God. You ever thought of that? That this commandment really is forbidding? What it's forbidding is to 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 with the Church of Laodicea in the third chapter of the revelation. He said, I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot, and I would that you were cold or Hot. So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth. Revelation Three fifteen. And what does it mean to be lukewarm? It means to 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, places that he won't accept. Lukewarmness is forbidden. Something else that is prohibited by this commandment is atheism, and if you have eyes and ears, you I haven't been asleep in the last several years. You Know How atheism is growing very aggressively in our secularizing culture. The day, as is usual, on my aol server there was a big article about methodist woman, Pastor, who just came out as an atheist. She had been exploring atheism and doubting her faith for some time using a pseudonym, and then just came out of the closet as an atheist. And she's not alone. There's large groups of channeling these conversions, reversions, whatever they may be. Atheism, the ultimate act of intellectual suicide and of spiritual depravity, is on the rise and it's explicitly forbidden 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 act like atheists. I know, I don't think there's anyone in this room who takes the idea of atheism seriously. I would doubt it, I would highly doubt it. But practical atheism is a much greater danger to us. Practical atheism is not an idea, it's a practice of life. If we leave God on Sunday and then we act Monday through Saturday like he's not there and we 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 I idolatry, 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 we would subject the first commandment in order to win a person or a deal or a place. If we do that, really were violating very clearly the first commandment and we're making the winning of a woman or man, the securing of a business deal or a prophet. We're making that God, by putting God underneath forbids the wicked thoughts of God, doubting God, accusing God, and this one I'm particularly want to press absolutely forbids. The concept of being mad at God. Spiritual Babble is what that is utter, total nonsense. That should never come out of our mouth. If, if we make the mistake of having thoughts like that, that pretentious, that proud, that we think God's made 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 help you, he will help you. But we don't talk about being mad at God 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't say it. Heinous. We don't have that freedom, nor do we allow ourselves that freedom to talk like that. We're called by the Lord God in the 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 when Jesus was being tempted by the devil in the Wilderness, what did the devil want him to do? He wanted him to worship him. This is one of the great drives behind the Devil's work. He wants off to bow down to false gods. He's pushing this. So we have to be careful in understanding what a false God is, and I should just mention that a false god is not the same as having wrong ideas about God. This is a fine line and something we have to be very careful it. But there's it's one thing to believe in an idol and a false god. It's another for a Christian person to have some confused ideas about God. We have to be very careful not to confuse the two or be careless about this. There are plenty of Catholics and Protestants, Western Christians, who have ideas about God that 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 later by the Protestants. It's a very serious misunderstanding of the relationship of the Holy Spirit 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 be careful. Certainly this is a heresy, but I'm suggesting that we exercise charity and, while discussing that, the erroneous...

...teaching, that we don't suggest that worshippers of the Holy Trinity, because they have this heretical teaching, our worshiping false God. Now that's not to say that sometimes we can hear discussion about Jesus that appears to us as Orthodox. As all they're to people are talking about somebody else. Many Times I've heard people talk about Jesus, which I don't know what Jesus they're talking about. A Jesus who doesn't have priests at these Jesus who doesn't want people confessing their sins to other human beings, a Jesus who's all by himself, isn't surrounded by angels and Saint said, Jesus who's floating around in the heaven like some decapitated head, connecting with people mystically in their bedrooms, apart from his church, his body. I mean these are concepts of Jesus, which I don't recognize, and St Paul does talk about false Jesus is re Latians chapter one. All Tim suggesting to you is that we have to be really careful, really careful about not moving from those who are Christian and have inherited trinitarian faith on principle but are confused. Are Confused about what that means in practice. I think we have to be very careful not to stigmatize them as idol worshipers. Better, I think, just to talk about the erroneous concepts. Other monotheistic religions, however, like Judaism and Islam, provide more serious problems about the concept of false God. Some would like to think that all monotheists worship the same God. Bano on you two would like to think that everyone who's a Jew, a Muslim or a Christian, where all children of Abraham. We all worship the one God. The problem with that, of course, is our faith. Problem with that as the teaching of the New Testament and the teaching of Jesus, St John and his first epistle says, whoever does not have the son, what does not have the father. This is a very important point when we're evaluating the concept of God in Islam and Judaism. There are some really serious problems in those monotheistic faith because there is a form of monotheism that is incorrect. Not all 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 therefore is not love, which is why in the ninety nine names of God in Islam you will not find love. How can you be, how can you be 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 son and poured out his love on the son and the Holy Spirit and they have reciprocated, and the Holy Trinity is a communion of love that we enter into when we're baptized. These are really serious differences with the concept of God in Islam. Hindus more explicitly worship multiple false gods and even in personal philosophical categories like you would find in Buddhism, function in the role of false gods. For Buddhists, if you need to know any more about that, ask a number of our prishioners who are converts from Buddhism and they will be the first to tell you that, though there is no explicit God in Buddhism, these concepts, these categories function as God, as a false God. Today, this commandment in the twenty one century specifically forbids many forms of modern and postmodern theology, which are abounding in concepts of false gods, like the gods of process theology, where God is changing, growing, getting better, radical feminist theology in which God cannot be associated with...

...any gender qualities, and these radical feminist 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 the Creator 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 to sec secular cultural developments. These are all forbidden by the first commandment. These are false gods. Supremely in the secular age is religious pluralism, which affirms that God has many names and that all religions are correct and together constitute the face of God. This is not only absolute crucifixion of reason and the Law of noncontradiction, that a cannot be a and not a in the same place at the same time, but it is an expression of a very uncivilized approach to religion that's a deep personalize, because no god that exists would be happy to be thought his contradiction by others, celebrating that people think he is one at one time and three to another and fifty million at another time. There's also, besides these explicit false gods forbidden by this first commandment, what I'm calling God substitutes that were forbidden to worship. These are, in fact, for us, idols for destruction, and let me name some of them that are found in scripture. They're not explicitly God's in a religious, cultic city setting, but they function as Gods for us, as substitutes for the true God. First is our own strength, our own power. The Prophet Habacca can 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 serve God. And mammon, he personis fives in this teaching the summer on the mouth money as a god and forbids us to try to serve it. and Saint Paul and his epistle to the Colossians, chapter three, verse five, said says consider the members of your earthly body dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil, desire and greed, which is idolatry. But here he places 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 there are several others I want to mention. The prophecy of Daniel makes clear that politics can become a God. Politics became a God for Nebuchadnezzar and he had to bow. Pleasure and entertainment. How relevant is this? Pleasure and entertainment can become an idol. Sat Paul says in the last days men will be lovers 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 God is their appetite. Food itself can become an idol and self worship, self worship, thinking that your own hand made you power or wealth. Remember when Nebuchadnezzar loft his mind. He was...

...on top of his palace and he was 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 own royal residence in order to display the majesty of my presence? When he said that 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 him that's it, you who think you made everything by Your own strength. You're done. 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 very most basic kingdom anyone has, which is yourself. I'm going to take your mind and you're going to become like an animal. You're going to crawl for seven years on all four and you're going to grow feathers like a bird and your nails like the claws of an animal. And he did, and at the end of seven years he came to his own senses. So sometimes our own sense of self becomes our God and we worship ourselves. Nevichadnezzar learned it the hard way. So here it is, this wonderful commandment calling up to exclusive loyalty 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 prophets and 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 knowledge except from one, except from the Lord God, and we should also not practice what I call reverse superstition, and that is being superstition about superstitious, about people who are superstitious. Sometimes we get so worked up. We get so 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 should laugh at them. Oh, I tell me what's going to happen in my life today. Oh, isn't that interesting? Just laugh at them. Halloween is another example. Forgive me, we are a way, way too worked up about Halloween. We are practicing reverse superstition, as though somehow, on Halloween night, when Orthodox Christians walk outside, we have to beware because we're going to get cursed. Nonsense, nonsense, nuts, the evil eye. Sometimes we get all worked up about the evil eye. I think someone's going to throw us an evil ee. And some of our Orthodox cultures we have little beads that we wear. Quite a few of our parishioners, especially those from 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 all evil. 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 of the Church would forbid membership in secret societies like the freemasons. Freemasonry is not just 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 not allowed to participate in that kind of thing. Many hierarchs and saints have talked about secret societies like this and we're not allowed to participate in them. So I'll stop there. Next week, God willing, commandment number two, remember, can be a blessing. The blessings of the Holy Trinity, the father and the son and the Holy Spirit, be with you all tonight and forever Christ is risen. The lecture you have just heard is the introductory lecture in a ten part lecture series entitled do this and you shall live, an exposition of 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's www dot patristic nectar dot org. Until next time,.

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