Is is a Piece of Cake or a Real KILLER?

Bible Book: Exodus  20 : 13
Subject: Murder; Killing; Life; Eternal Life; Ten Commandments
Series: Ten Commandments - God's Way, The Right Way

Is It A Piece Of Cake Or A Real KILLER? - Commandment 6

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

Exodus 20:13

A little boy in Sunday School was having trouble getting along with others. The lesson was on brotherly love and the teacher was hoping the boy would take the hint. The teacher said, "Can someone tell me a commandment in the Bible that tells us how to deal with our brothers and sisters?" The little boy raised his hand and said, "Exodus 20:13 is the answer." The teacher asked, "What does that verse say?" The little boy answered, "Thou shalt not kill."

That is what we are studying today, the 6th Commandment in our series on the Ten Commandments. We are looking at a series entitled God's Way, The Right Way, which deals with each of the Ten Commandments. The 6th Commandment is the shortest of all the Commandments, but it certainly is a very important one. After all, on a human level, what could be more horrible than the wanton, thoughtless taking of another human life?

We need to understand an important fact about this commandment. The word "kill" is better translated as "murder". But even when the word kill is translated properly, it does not convey the complete meaning of this passage. This verse means more than most people can imagine. If a survey were taken today, most of us would say that the 6th Commandment is the one we feel most likely not to have committed and the one we feel the least likely to commit in our lifetime. In fact, most of us feel that this Commandment is a piece of cake - something easy to obey. In reality, this Commandment can be a real KILLER! The fact is that many people have broken the 6th Commandment; even many in this very service of worship today have violated this commandment.

Before we get to the outline of this text and subject, let me clear up a couple important matters. First, this commandment does not prohibit killing animals. We know this because God gave directions for killing the animals to use in sacrificial offerings. Jesus, Himself, ate the Passover Lamb. Of course, cruelty to animals is detestable.

Also, this commandment does not prohibit capital punishment. In the next chapter, Exodus 21:12, we read that man who sheds the blood of man must be put to death by man. God cannot contradict himself, so capital punishment is not against the law of God. Naturally, capital punishment should be administered rarely and fairly in society.

Neither does this law prohibit defending yourself. Look at Exodus 22:2. Moses said that a thief who is struck and dies while breaking into your home or property does not constitute any guilt on your part. There is no guilt for killing someone while protecting yourself, your family, or others who are threatened.

Quakers did not believe in killing for any reason. A Quaker who was very dedicated in this matter heard a noise one night and went to investigate with gun in hand. When he found a man breaking into his home he said, "Sir, I would not hurt thee for anything on earth, but I must warn thee that I am about to shoot where thou art standing at this very moment." There is nothing wrong with defending yourself.

The Bible does not prohibit war either. We have a right and responsibility to defend our country and community against outside invaders and to defend other democracies against totalitarianism. Even the Lord sent people into war, as anyone who reads the Bible knows.

So, what does this commandment actually teach? Lets look at the answer in three divisions.

I. The Creation Of Human Life

Why is God so concerned about human life? He is concerned because He formed you differently than any other creature. You are unique in all of God's creation. You were made in the image of God! You are eternal and will live somewhere forever. So you are different from all non-human life.

I want to ask you a question. Why is human life so devalued today? Why do so many in our society today accept abortion, mercy killing and selected breeding? Why are young people shot down in our society as a part of gang violence? In Chicago, during the long weekend for Father's Day, more than thirty people were shot and many of them killed in south and west Chicago. Why? What has happened to modern man? There are two reasons for this.

"Devolution!" By this, I mean that authority for life has been transferred from the Creator to man. If man believes he is the highest authority on earth, and perhaps in the universe, he will do whatever he likes with human life. Experimentation with human tissue, cloning of human beings, bio-engineering of human embryos, abortions, euthanasia, and other activities which threaten the value of human life will continue and will increase as long as man thinks he is the authority on the matter of life and death. The concept of evolution threatens modern man, and this has led to devolution. Man has devolved. It all started in the Garden of Eden. Man is not improving in his moral life. He is fallen from God's desired state. The only hope is salvation through Christ and a return to what God intended!

How did devolution get a foothold? Because of Evolution! When man believes he is a mere biological accident, he feels he has the right to do what he wishes with human life. There is no god in the mind and heart of the humanist, or we might say that man himself is god to the humanist. Evolution has made human life appear cheap. Teach a man that he is nothing more than a higher form of animal life and he will act like an animal. One mountain preacher from North Carolina used to say, when speaking of idea of descending from apes, "Some of my ancestors may have hung from trees by their necks, but be assured that none of them ever hung from trees by their tails." When we know that man is created in the image of God, we value life differently.

We must turn to God to see that human life is a divine gift and is different from animals. Someone said, "In the eighteenth century the Bible was killed by liberalism, in the nineteenth century God was killed by evolution, and in the twentieth century man has been killed by both." We are of value only because God has created us! If we forget this or forsake this truth, we are doomed to a greater and greater devaluation of life.

A. The Commencement Of Human Life

We most acknowledge that life commenced when God created Adam and Eve. Human life did not begin as an accident. Man did not have his genesis in some primordial ooze as a one-celled protoplasm which evolved into a fish, eventually became a monkey and finally stood up on his hind legs some five million years later and said, "I sure wish I had a cheeseburger and some fries." The poet pointed out the foolishness of the college professor who believed in evolution by writing:

"I once was an amoeba in for a swim,

Then I was a tadpole with my tail tucked in,

Then I was a monkey in a banyan tree,

Now I'm a professor with a PHD."

God created life. You are a unique creature with whom God desires to have fellowship in this life and the life to come.

B. The Continuation Of Human Life

We read in Ruth 4:13, "The Lord gave her conception." God is involved in the conception of children. God was involved in your conception and mine. God put the egg and sperm together and what God hath put together no abortionist should put asunder. Jeremiah 1:5 states, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you...I ordained you a prophet to the nations."

You can ignore God, you can deny God, but you cannot get rid of God! He is there and He is in control. The Lord gives life and only the Lord should take away life.

II. The Protection Of Human Life

Knowing that God commences life and God continues life, we need to understand the importance of protecting human life. In fact, you cannot fully understand human life unless you first understand this commandment. There are three ways we can commit the sin spoken of in this commandment.

A. Murder On Your Hands

This commandment states clearly that we are not to physically take a man's life. Therefore, I know that this passage prohibits homicide. It prohibits the unethical, unlawful and un-biblical taking of human life. All murder is killing, but not all killing is murder! It is murder that is prohibited.

It also prohibits suicide. Your life comes from God. Only God has the right to take your life. Suicide is never in the will of God! Now let me make it clear that it does not matter how a Christian dies, he goes to heaven! But a Christian can never please God by committing suicide. Sadly, when a Christian commits suicide, he says that God is not big enough to meet his need. Suicide does not solve a problem, does not pay a bill, doesn't heal a marriage, cannot help the children, and certainly does not encourage others to be saved. It only gives the person committing the suicide a quick way into the presence of God, where someone has pointed that God must say, "What are you doing here?"

It prohibits infanticide. Children should have their lives protected. They are unable to protect themselves. Unborn children should not be put to death. In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that the unborn child has no rights and the would-be mother has the right to destroy the unborn baby growing and developing inside her body. How do I know that abortion is not right? Because of four words appearing in one Bible verse: "You shall not kill".

B. Murder Through Your Habits

You can kill people with your lifestyle. Children kill their parents and shorten their lives by breaking their hearts through their lifestyles! They do not do this by poison, but by an unruly life. Wives and husbands do the same to each other.

One night two wayward boys came home very late. Their dad was sitting in the living room with two pistols in his hands. They were frightened when they saw him. He called them over and they slowly walked over to him. He said, "Boys I am not going to hurt you. I am holding these two pistols for a reason. You dear mother has prayed and grieved over you long enough. I want you to go up stairs and shoot her." They looked at each and said, "Dad, have you lost your mind. We would never hurt our mother, much less shoot her." The father replied, "You are killing her slowly everyday with your worthless lives. Why don't you shoot her and get it over with." The boys got the point. They repented and asked their mother for forgiveness.

Some child, some parent, some spouse in this room could be slowly killing the people you claim to love with the sinful and hateful lifestyle you are living. If so, you are violating the 6th Commandment. You are committing a form of murder.

C. Murder In Your Heart

This is murder that may never find expression in an actual act to kill someone, but it is murder just the same. It is murder by hate or speaking contemptuously of another. God calls it murder.

Look at Matthew 15:18. Jesus pointed out that murder does not begin with the hands or the habits, but in the heart. Some people commit a form of murder, which sheds no blood, uses no gun, but murders just the same. It is a form of murder, which exists in the heart. In fact, murder always exists first in the heart. "A man is not a murderer because he kills; he kills because he is a murderer."

One lady went to the doctor. He said, "Madam, you have rabies." She took a pen and started to write. He asked, "What are you doing, writing your will?" She said, "No, I am making a list of the people I want to bite." Some people carry hate around in their hearts. It may be hate for a race of people. It may be hate for someone who has hurt you in some way. It may be hate and bitterness for purely selfish reasons. But, God calls it murder!

Matthew 5:21-22 states, "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell."

What does the 6th Commandment mean? Jesus said that anger in the heart is murder in the eyes of the heart! Listen to 1 John 3:15, "Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in abiding in him." If your heart is a headquarters for hate you are a murderer.

One fellow said, "I don't hate anybody, but if I ever start I've got the fellow picked out already." Some of us just don't want to admit that we carry murder in our hearts.

Death and life are in the tongue. People have been placed in an early grave due to a scurrilous lie told about them. You can be buried early because of lies.

Who among us has not had hate in our heart at some point in life, and spoken bitterly of someone to others. In a flash of anger, most people have wished someone dead. How evil are our hearts. Murder can be done with the hand, through our habits and even hidden in our hearts!

There is the story told of a man who was asked by his wife if he would remarry if she died. He said, "I don't know." She asked, "Well, if you did remarry, would you let the new wife wear my jewelry?" He answered, "Absolutely not!" Then she asked, "Would you let her wear my clothes?" He replied, "No way!" Then she questioned him, "Would you let her use my golf clubs?" He said, "No, besides, she is left-handed!"

I think that guy was in danger of being murdered! Actually, some people carry murder around in their hearts every day. I know the little story I just told is simple a joke, however, many murders begin when someone wants a person out of the way so he or she can go forward with personal desires. After all, such a murder begins in heart first, shows up in the habits later and finally reveals blood on the hands.

III. The Elevation Of Human Life

No one can deny that life has been diminished in our day. One American is shot, stabbed, beaten, or strangled to death every minute in the United States. In fact, no matter where you look in this world, there are murders. A murder rate of 10 in every 100,000 means that your chances of being murdered are far greater than your chances of dying in an airplane or automobile crash. Murder is a horrible crime against God and against one's fellow man. It may be the greatest offense of all given the enormity of death and what follows thereafter. Imagine taking a person's life and that person going immediately into Hell.

People are killed for their name brand clothes. Drive by shootings kill the innocent, young and old daily. Students are killed at school. Employees are killed at the work place. Abortion and assisted suicide are commonplace. Newborn babies are being left for dead in garbage bags, rest rooms and motel rooms. Yes, human life has been devalued - but only by other human beings. Our streets have become killing grounds.

What does God think about all this? To see what God thinks of life, look to Calvary. There at the cross we see the Son of God dying for the sake of the entire human race. All life is important to God. The Bible tells us that not one single sparrow falls to the earth that God is not aware of it and cares about it, but Jesus did not die for sparrows. He died for you and for me. The full effect of His death is only known to us when we come to accept Him as our Savior, but be assured that He died for you!

A. The Value Of The Each Life

The value of money comes from the picture stamped upon it. Some years ago I read about someone in a store accepting a counterfeit $200.00 bill with a picture of a George Bush  on it. Now you know the person who accepted that payment was not very smart! But money is valued for the valid picture and official words stamped upon it. That is exactly what makes human life valuable. We have the stamp of God upon us. We are made in His image. Of course, we have desecrated that image. Sin has ruined us so that in ourselves we are worthy of judgment. But God loves you even though you are a sinner. He died to rescue you and I from our sins!

B. The Victory of Eternal Life

The greatest elevation of life is found in the eternal, abundant life, which Jesus offers to us all. The marvelous thing about eternal life in Christ is that no one can take it from you. As the song writer penned,

"The world didn't give it to me, and the world can't take it away."

One of us could be murdered before another chance to worship comes our way, but when we are in Jesus Christ we are secure and safe. We have a life that the bullet cannot touch. We have a life that the knife cannot cut. We have a life that the poison cannot reach. We have our soul anchored in heaven, in the very person of Jesus Christ.

Be assured that every one of us has at some point been filled with anger. At some point we have likely committed the sin of rage, even reaching to the point of murder in the heart. But God forgives. Turn to Him now! Trust Him! He will forgive and save.