April 30, 2023
This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, Learning Family Worship.
God’s Ten Commandments are not arbitrary or temporary. They do not need to be revised, and you disregard them at your peril.
In reality, you cannot break them—they stand. Rather, we are broken on them.
The first commandment deals with who to worship, and the second commandment deals with how to worship. The second commandment forbids false worship and false gods, and therefore it commands true worship.
You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
He is the Master, and He alone is worthy of our lives. The word worship means “worth-ship.” He is worth all that we have and are.
The best thing you can do for your children is to teach them how to worship.
Everybody is going to worship something; man is incurably religious. We become like what we worship. When we worship idols, false gods, we become like the idols. (Read Psalm 115:4-8.) When we worship God, we become like God. What a privilege, and what a responsibility it is to learn family worship, because these Ten Commandments are given primarily to the home.
It is parents’ duty, joy, and privilege to give their children a proper understanding of God.
Idolatry is wrong because it gives a false concept of God. If you have a warped understanding of God, you will have a warped life.
“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). There is no place where God is not, and no material thing can designate God. “‘To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?’ says the Holy One” (Isaiah 40:25). We can say that one man is like another man, one chair is like another chair, but there is only one God.
Jealousy is to us an ugly word. But jealousy can be wrong, or right—it all depends on whether it is warranted or not. One athlete has no right to be jealous of another athlete. But God has the monopoly on being God, and He is not a part-time king. He is a jealous God. You have no right to worship anything but Him.
Idolatry is the greatest sin, because it breaks the greatest commandment: to love God with all of your heart. “Jesus said to him, ‘“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the first and great commandment’” (Matthew 22:37-38).
Most people today don’t make “graven images,” or carved images. But Martin Luther said it well: “Anything on which your heart relies and depends, I say, that is really your God” (Martin Luther, Large Catechism).
You can have idols in your heart, without making them with your hands. In modern culture, we have made gods of ourselves. Paul warned of men who would be lovers of themselves more than lovers of God. (See 2 Timothy 3:1-5.)
Some make an idol of money. The Bible says that covetous people will not inherit the kingdom of God. (See Galatians 5:19-21.)
Some make idols of their families. You ought to adore your family, you ought to sacrifice for your family, but the worst thing you can do is to put your family first—because whatever is first is god. Your children will be loved more if God is number one. Jesus said, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37).
Some make idols of pleasures. You do not have to choose between God and pleasure! At His right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11), but pleasures cannot come first.
When the Bible says “you shall not make a carved image,” it is not against religious art. The tabernacle was a work of art, and in Solomon’s temple, according to the commandment of God, there were images of flowers, pomegranates, palm trees, cherubim, etc.
The second commandment is not against art; it is against idolatry. If art is your master, that is idolatry. If art is your servant, it becomes ministry.
Parents, it is your duty to teach your children how to worship by the way you worship.
God says wrong worship is iniquity—sin! You cannot choose how you want to worship. The fathers’ false worship shows up in the sons, the grandsons, and the great-grandsons. (See Exodus 20:5.) Sin never hurts just one person.
If you want your children, your children’s children, and your great-grandchildren to love God, God says “The generation of the upright will be blessed” (Psalm 112:2).
For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. (Emphasis added.)
Parents, there must be prayerful celebration of God in your home.
Do your children believe? If someone asked your children, “What is most important to Daddy and Mommy?” How many children would say, “My daddy loves God with all his heart. To Mama, the most important thing on earth is her relationship with God.”
Celebrate God in front of your children! Your children know that their mommy and daddy are imperfect—they really know that. But let them also know that you love God. And you will be blessed to see them pass that down to your grandchildren.
Our God alone is worthy, and we need to teach our children the truth of the second commandment.
Exodus 20:4-6; Psalm 112:2, 115:4-8; John 4:24; Isaiah 40:25; Matthew 10:37, 22:37-38; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Galatians 5:19-21
Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully.
You shall not make idols for yourselves; neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear up for yourselves; nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God.
Nevertheless they would not hear, but stiffened their necks, like the necks of their fathers, who did not believe in the LORD their God. And they rejected His statutes and His covenant that He had made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He had testified against them; they followed idols, became idolaters, and went after the nations who were all around them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them that they should not do like them.
Are there any among the idols of the nations that can cause rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Are You not He, O LORD our God? Therefore we will wait for You, since You have made all these.
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”