Recap Unit (5) on values and resources.


The tension between Kingdom and worldly values

What difference does it makes to be a Christian in this world?

Unit 1 looked at the tension Christians feel between the values of the world and those of the kingdom of God. We considered the following graphic:


In this unit we are going to further consider the values of the kingdom of God - which are in constant tension with the values of the world (ie: ungodly values).

Human efforts at self-regulation

Over the past centuries people have tried to morally go it alone. Rather than learn from our Creator, we have continuously chosen to ignore God and the "manufacturer's manual" - trying to regulate our own society our own way.

What has been the result?

Millions and millions of laws, bills and regulations - which have not changed our moral stature one iota!!! God started us off with the Ten Commandments and we have never been able to improve on them - and never will.

Incredible isn't it? Isn't it about time we went back to seek out what our Creator has to say about how we should live? We need a reference point for life outside of ourselves. History has established the fact that we cannot rely on the shifting sands of public opinion to determine what is right and wrong. Without moral and spiritual foundations, any society will collapse.

The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments were given through Moses on Mount Sinai to the people of Israel. This occurred following the nation's exodus from Egypt, during their 40 year sojourn in the Sinai desert. The Israelis were a people chosen to live in a covenant relationship with God, and the Ten Commandments were the first theocratic laws for the regulation of society. They are found in Exodus_20:1-17,:

"And God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery...

[Our relationship with God]

  1. "You shall have no other gods before me.

  2. "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

  3. "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

  4. "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

    [Our relationship with each other]

  5. "Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

  6. "You shall not murder.

  7. "You shall not commit adultery.

  8. "You shall not steal.

  9. "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.

  10. "You shall not covet your neighbour's house. You shall not covet your neighbour's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour."

Note the emphasis above on God's grace ("I am the God who brought you out of Egypt"). To the Christian this represents being brought out of slavery to sin and separation from God. His grace calls for a response of receiving and obeying God's commands.

His commands show us how to live - what God's priorities are - and how we can please him. They are non-negotiable and inter-connected like a Roman arch - each stone is necessary for the others to hold together. God's commandments work!

If we break one commandment, we are probably breaking a number of them. For example stealing - - putting money as more important than God - - lying to cover it up - - and perhaps falsely implicating someone else in the process!

Joy in the "law"

Originally the law was the delight of those who loved God, helping them to draw closer to God. For example:

    "The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward" (Psalms_19:7-11).

As time went on, after the original law was given, religious authorities added their own restrictions and interpretations - taking the law from a joy to a bondage. This is why Jesus hit out so hard against the Pharisees for their harsh, legalistic corruption of the principles of the law (e.g: Matthew_23:24). Jesus fulfilled the law by drawing people back to its original purposes.

The principles Jesus brings to us
are as concerned with our motives as what we do!

The limitations and fulfilment of the "law"

Jesus made the following vital comments about the laws of God:

    "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practises and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven". (Matthew_5:17-20)

    "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "Love your neighbour as yourself." All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew_22:36-40).

The Bible teaches that we can never make it to holiness by attempting to keep all the laws of God in our own strength. We will fail! Something greater is needed, and that something greater is:

  • God's grace extended to us through Jesus, and
  • His empowering by the Holy Spirit.


"He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter
but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life".

In this new "living" way God sends His Spirit to reside in the Christian, writing the laws of God on our hearts (Hebrews_10:19-20).

    "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people" (Hebrews_8:10).

This means being inwardly motivated by radically changed attitudes of heart - so that it is our deep desire to want to please God. Now, through the Cross of Christ, if we sin again - we quickly put it right and go on.

    "We now serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code." (Romans_7:6).

This is known as God's new covenant. Anyone who comes under this new covenant (profound promise) of God, is part of the new Israel - those who seek to serve God from the heart.

With the new covenant in Christ (Hebrews_9:15) our heart response should be one of great thanks for God's grace. Because of this we seek to follow Jesus in a whole-hearted way.

    Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God (Colossians_3:1).

    It is not the purpose of this unit to become too involved in difficult theological questions such as keeping the Sabbath, service in the military, re-marriage etc. These issues should be handled in the context of the local church teaching.

The Sermon on the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount is found in Matthew_5:3_-_7:29 and Luke_6:20_-_49. Here is found the greatest teaching about life ever brought together. This passage provides tremendous insight and understanding into the eternal values of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus took the laws of God beyond a literal or legalistic interpretation. He understood the deeper meaning to be a matter of attitudes and values - not just outward appearances. The kingdom of heaven involves a righteousness surpassing that of the Pharisees (Jewish religious leaders of the time) and the teachers of the law (Matthew_5:20).

Jesus expounded these kingdom values like building blocks, one upon the other. For example in the Beatitudes (Matthew_5:3-11) He brings to us the secret of true happiness:

The deepest blessings of God come to those who -

  • Are poor in spirit (willing to be emptied of self and be filled with God's Spirit);
  • Mourn (over the poverty of their position before God and their needs);
  • Are meek (humble and submissive to God);
  • Hunger and thirst for the righteousness which comes from God;
  • Are merciful;
  • Are pure in heart;
  • Are peacemakers (seeking the spirit of peace, and reconciliation in relationships).
  • Are persecuted because of righteousness.

What are the blessings which come as a result of these attitudes?


Jesus elaborated on other specific commands such as:

ThemeTen CommandmentsSermon on the Mount
Idols and moneyExodus_20:4Matthew_6:19-34
Use of God's nameExodus_20:7Matthew_5:34

The Sermon on the mount goes much wider than this small selection. It addresses so many practical issues of life and elaborates on many other O.T. injunctions. This is a subject for future personal devotions as we search out a better understanding of the values of the Kingdom.

Jesus wants to turn the motivation of our lives inside out,
to liberate us from:


The Great Commandment

    "Which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew_22:36-40)

We can't live this life under our own steam. We can't earn God's favour by our own good efforts! The secret is allowing God to live this life through us, and not settling for less.

Unit 6: Prayer and Worship [Next Section]

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Created on: 28 August 1997 Last updated: 28 August 1997