【Bible Study】Exodus 20: Ten Commandments: The Spiritual Art of War

Pastor Samuel Sharing

Brother William Sharing

Bible Study: Exodus


Good morning everyone. Today let's look at Exodus chapter 20. When I was sharing chapter 20 in Chinese, it took me two sessions to finish because it is so important. People usually call the most important things "the bottom line". When Moses, by the mighty power of God, led the people of Israel out of Egypt, the Israelites were still slaves! They were slaves. That is, they do not even belong to themselves! How horrible it is! You work and you see the salaries and results, but none of those belong to you. You work and work, but you don't even belong to yourself. You are not going to even have the chance to open a bank account because you don't even have an identity. You don't even belong to yourself, but to your master. You are the property of your master. You are just like a donkey, a camel, like one of the livestock. This is the kind of life the Israelites were living in Egypt, but Moses led them out. Now, they became free people, and suddenly they belonged to themselves. When they belonged to themselves, that was a big problem. Do you know what the problem is? "Oh, I can open a bank account now. Oh, I have an IC card. I can own property, eventually, property and money will belong to me and I can own things!"

When you are free, that is the problem! When you were slaves, you wouldn't even think about these things! You don't have the right, you are not even qualified to own anything. And now, they are qualified to own things, so they have problems. But Moses led these people out of Egypt, and the Army of God came out of Egypt. When we talk about the army, we are talking about things like the art of war: the secrets of the martial arts, the secrets of developing the weapons. All these are considered to be the secrets of the art of war. But Moses did not write an "Art of War." You know, the book was written by Sun Tzu. Moses never developed theories on how to fight the war. But he laid a very foundational piece, a bottom line to win the war. And this is called the art of war by Moses.

The Ten Commandments Are The Basic Requirements

If you want to fight the spiritual battle and go against the devil, there is a secret: the art of war is the ten commandments. That is the bottom line. Even if you go above it, you are not someone so great. That is not something to boast about. If you did not kill anyone, and you boast "I did not kill anyone", so many people can also boast about that. It is not so great, but it is the bottom line, the basic requirement. It is the basic requirement for the people of God. Once you drop below this basic requirement, you will be cursed. If you are above, you may not be blessed. But surely, if you go below, you will be cursed.

If you have spent enough effort to observe the people, especially Christians in churches; I know all of you have been attending this or that church, and somehow landed in the doctrine of destiny (Ming Ding). Why I don't like the word "destiny", is because it carries a lot of other meanings. But let me tell you, "Ming Ding" is a better word. So let me teach you this Chinese word. One day, it will go into the Oxford dictionary, and it will have a new word, Ming Ding. Ming Ding means "what I live for, what I die for, why I came to this world".

So finally, you landed in the doctrine of Ming Ding, and you see that this place has a lot of blessings. Why? Because we simply demand our church members to observe the basic requirements of God. You say, "Oh no, no. This is the Old Testament. We are living in the New Testament." Trust me, in the New Testament, the basic requirement is above the requirements of the ten commandments, it is the highest standard. The ten commandments are still the bottom line, still the basic requirements. If you observe the people in the churches, some people die of cancer and the pastor may die of cancer, some people suffer this, suffer that. A lot of people in the church were telling me this, I don't know if it is true.

The percentage of cancer in the church is higher than normal, and the percentage of cancer in the pastors is about double the normal rate. Why is this so? Because they fell below the basic requirements. If you cannot even meet the basic requirements, what will you do? You are not going to win the battle at all because this is fundamental. These ten commandments are the foundation. This is like drawing a red line: if your go below it, you will get into curses.

When I was preaching the word of God, I will lead the Bible study. Almost every time I talk about curse and blessing because it is so important. When people live under the curse, no matter how much they struggle it will be no use at all. When people live under the blessing, they will get good things. If this person is blessed, that is wonderful. We, as Christians, should live in blessings of the Almighty God, not by the work of our hands.

Both Blessings and Curses Come from God

Pay attention to these ten commandments. God is a jealous God, God is the Almighty God. We'd better have fear of God so we can keep ourselves from sinning. God controls everything, blessings, and curses. All blessings and curses come from God. A lot of Christians don't even know that curses come from God, too. They think that curses come from the devil, from older generations. Some people say: "Pastor, can you break my curse? My curse is from the forefathers!" I said: "Oh, you don't need to break that. You need to love God."

If you love God, the curse will be automatically broken. I hardly say automatically, but this time I am using this strong word because it will be broken, in the automatic approach. Why? Because you love God, and God knows you love him, and you have this kind of relationship. Curses come from God!

Curses come from God, and blessings come from God, too. To hate God, and to love God, are two different things. If you love God, He will give you all kinds of blessings. If you hate God, you do not even meet the basic requirement. That is the root cause of all curses.

At the end of chapter 20, it says, "If you build an altar, you shall not defile it or use any tools on it. Do not engrave anything on it." You know, you can't use a tool or a stone to make the altar of God nicer. No. God does not need you to do that. Once you do that, you will defile it. It is not by man's effort, because God is self-sufficient. God is the God of heaven and earth. We do not need to help him. And I realized that a lot of people want to help God.

One day, I met this lady. She lost millions of dollars, which was all her money. She called me and asked me to pray for her money. I asked: "What happened to your money?" She said: "I saw a lot of pastors and preachers in my city, and I saw they were so poor! That is why I started a business and invested millions. But now I have lost all my money." When I heard this, I thought: "Oh my God. She wants to help God." Those pastors suffering from poverty are already living under the curse. Maybe some are not, but God does not need you to help him to make all of these pastors richer. God supplies all they need.

What I am trying to stress is that the ten commandments are the art of war, of the spiritual war. It is not that grand, but it is a fundamental requirement. If you fall below it, you will surely be defeated and surely get cursed.

When the army of God came out of Egypt and was set free, and God said, "I give you these ten commandments for you to observe", even though we are living in the New Testament age, we still need to observe higher standards than this. I don't even need to mention that this is the basic requirement, as Moses wrote.

We Have A Relationship with God

What I am trying to say is this: Why did God give us these commandments? Because we have a relationship with God. God is the one who brought us out of slavery in Egypt. If you have no relationship with God, then these commandments are not written for you. It has nothing to do with you. That is why the whole Bible, even the books of Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, is written for believers. So curses and blessings are written for believers, for those who have a relationship with God. What if you are people of God, you belong to the Army of God, and you do not value this kind of relationship and go on your own way? If you go astray and you go on your own, you will have a big problem. Like it or not, since the day you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you have been living under this kind of basic requirement. Like it or not, it will surely work. That is why many things happen to Christians.

I don't talk about the comforting words. Do you know why? I saw a pastor who died of cancer. Oh my God. I won't say, "Oh, he loved God", because I don't think so. I have never seen, in the whole Bible, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and many others, I have never seen them with long and lasting diseases. I have never seen that. I have never seen such diseases fall on these people.

Some people say: Elisha died of a disease. Yes, when the time comes, people die. But there are also times when the time has not come, and people still die. Do you know why all these things happen? Because people crossed the red line of the basic requirements. If you believe these things, try to do what I share with you. If you do not believe these things, you can read Exodus chapter 20, and then you will see what the basic requirements are.

This is the relationship! We have a relationship with God because God is our God! God, who created the whole universe, is our God! Do you know what this means? "I am the Lord your God!" That is how Exodus 20 started. God spoke these words: "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of slavery." This is the relationship. "I am your God, and you are my people". And this is a wonderful relationship. Do you know what happened? I have God, the one who created the universe is my Lord and my God, the Lord of the whole universe is my God. That kind of relationship. Once you have this kind of relationship, you cannot have any kind of relationship with another God, because this God cannot tolerate that.

A lot of people say this, but I cannot figure out their logic. There is a pastor, I know him, who shared in the church: "I put God first, and my family second." It sounds good, but I have never seen in the Bible any commandment that puts God first and the family second. Such a "basic requirement" is invented by them. Do you know what they say next? "I put ministering God third." What kind of funny logic is this, to put ministering God in the third place?

No Other God Is On Par with Almighty God

Let me tell you that all these inventions are from the people who do not read carefully about Exodus Chapter 20. You cannot put any other God on par with our God. Some people say they have to balance God and their life. There's no such thing that can be found anywhere in the Bible. It was invented by some people.

How do you balance it? How do you balance your work and God? Your Labor and God? God is your God. God is not something that you can balance with, such as balancing God and your family, God and your labor, God and your job, God and whatsoever. No! This is God! The only God. That's the commandment! If you put any other things before God, you will get cursed. Are you with me?

You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. (Exodus 20:4)

You shall have no other Gods. Then what happens if you have other Gods? What happens if you put anything before God? "I'd put my family before God. I put my job before God." These are not the things that should be of any concern at all. Am I making sense? Am I saying something which has offended you?

But what I'm saying is that you cannot put any other things before God. No other God! You take things very important because you were slaves in the old days, now you are qualified. In the old days, you were not even qualified to love the world, to love money, to own money. But now you're suddenly set free, you are qualified to love money, to love the world and the things in the world.

Now you got to think about what the important things are? The most important thing is no other things can be on par with our God. If you ask me why I am so blessed. "Pastor, how come you are so blessed?" You know, in anything I do, I prosper. Trust me, in anything I do, God gives me success. Because I love God. I encourage all of you to love God. Put down, lay down everything for God, for the sake of God. I can lay down anything for our Lord Jesus Christ.

Set Yourself Apart for God

"Are you sure?" Yes! Because the day that I know God is the day that He set me free, He brought me out of the slavery of the world. And I say "It's God. This is my God." I take it as the most important day of my life.

A lot of people say "Are you sure?" Yes, I can give you a lot of evidence over the past 30 years. If we count every Sunday, how many Sundays are there in 30 years? 52 weeks a year, 30 years altogether, 30 times 52 is about 1500 Sundays. Let me tell you, I have not missed a single Sunday. If I need to move house, I will move on Saturday. I do not do it on Sunday, because **Sunday is the day that I love my God, I set myself apart for my God for the last 30 years. **

I did not miss even the Bible study or the cell groups in the church members' homes. Sometimes I knew the home cell leader talked nonsense, but on those evenings with cell groups, I set myself apart for God. Let me tell you, I did not miss any. Do you know why? Because this is my commitment. I know God is all my life. He is the most important thing in my life. I no longer live by my ability, no longer by my money, no longer by my job. My job was given by God. You will understand this if you know how I got the job during the most difficult time of my life when I could not even speak English at all. I could not speak English at all. Do you know how God gave me a job?

At that time, my boss was looking at a whole stack of resumes, trying to pick the best candidate. God used a voice. He spoke to him and told him my name. That's how I got a job, for my boss offered me a job. After three months into the job, my boss shared with me how he got me in because I was not qualified to do the job. I could not talk well. Even the resume was also written in broken English.

Can you imagine how horrible that could be? But finally, I got a job. I know God gave me a job. God is my life. How many of you can speak aloud that God is my life and everything in my life is satisfied in God? God is my provider. God provides all my needs. If you really know that God is the one who satisfies all my needs, you will worship him as God. You will take him as your Lord, your savior, your everything. That is how I know God.

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 parents 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. (Exodus 20:5-6NIV)

Do you hear that? If you love God, God will show love to a thousand generations, but if you hate God, God will punish the children, not only the children of those parents but also the third and fourth generations. Do you know that curses come from God, not from your grandfather? Because your grandfather, the father of your grandfather, hated God. Whatever they did, it had an impact on you. And the only solution is not to pray for you to break the curse! The only solution is for you to choose to love God from now on. Love God with all your energy, all your soul, all your mind, and everything you have.

God is God. He is the God of the whole universe. He's so rich. He's so wealthy and in the spiritual world, all the creatures depend on Him. All the devil and the evil spirit will tremble before us. That's how powerful it is! That's why I call this the art of war by Moses: to love God with all my life. All those diseases God gave to the Egyptians will not come upon us. The suffering from all the long and lasting diseases will not come upon us.

Loving God Is the Only Option

You love God. How much is it worth? Nothing can compare. Nothing can compare! If you ask me to share, I can share a lot with you. Love God! If God asks you, “Do you want to sacrifice yourself for me?” Do not say “Let me consider.”

One day I offered a job to someone because his son asked me to offer a job to his dad. I said “that’s fine. So from next month, you can start working. I am offering you a job, $2000 per month, you don't need to do anything.” What kind of a good job is this? I will give you $2000 every month for any job that you don't need to do anything, even if you just come in for training, what kind of job is that? It's a wonderful job, right? And the fellow said “let me consider''. He considered almost half a year until the day I was told that he got cancer. From a consider-er to a cancer-er, I was so shocked.

Because God asked “do you want to sacrifice? Do you want to die for me?” This is the qualification that means you're qualified to be asked this kind of question. If you finally are qualified to be asked this kind of question, never say let me go back and consider. Don't consider it! Just say "Yes Lord, you want me any moment, I live my life for you. If I lay my life for you, it's not just lip service, it is a heart desire." Why? Why is that so? Listen to me, in the whole chapter 20 of Exodus, if we want to live our lives, if we want to own something in this life, if we want to take something in this life, or if we want to live well in this life, the only option is to love God. Love God and you can only have God, and God is eternal. You can love Him until the day we see Him face to face. If you love anything in this world, it cannot last forever. Even for some leasehold properties, it only has a lease of 99 years or 999 years.

When I bought a property, it still had a lease of over 800 years, even though I am no longer in the world. What is that really to do with me? I cannot stay here any longer. Do you think you can own it? Yes, it's a 900 years lease, but you cannot live that long. But God, you can own God. You can have God. You can love Him with all your soul, all your mind, all your heart, and to the eternal. You see, I have made a good choice, right? Do you think I made a lousy choice? No, a lot of people are so stupid that do not know how to make a good choice.

Loving God is really worth it! Many years ago, God spoke to me. One day, I was kneeling down and praying to God during a big meeting. In the break. I had nothing to do. I did not want to mingle around. I knelt down and prayed and God spoke to me: “Do you want to die for me?” I say “Yes, God. I'm looking forward to the day and I'm willing to die for you.” A lot of people say “Oh my God. How can you make such a good choice?” This is a wonderful choice that is worth a lot.

One day you will see that God will give me a city, then 10 cities, He would probably give me more than that to manage for Him. How wonderful is that!

Misuse of the Word of God Spells Curses

“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. (Exodus 20:7)

A lot of people will ask what "misuse" means. God never says something but you say God does say something; if God says a lot, you will say God did not say that. I can give you many examples today. There are a lot of false teachings which people believe to be authentic. Because these are what they commonly hear in their churches.

Number one, the most talked about is family. It seems like the family is more important than God. Is that the sort of teaching in the Bible? Very little! If you pay attention to the Ten Commandments, it did not even mention family at all. But people say that’s God's will. Isn’t that misuse of the name of God? I'm so scared. One day, the disaster will strike them.

That's why so many people use the name of God wrongly. For example, if someone suffering from cancer went to the hospital, the pastor would say that was a blessing. That’s all he did. Is it a blessing? Come on, don't get it wrong. This is the curse! God cursed him because he never loved God. But you say this is a blessing. Oh my God! What if God says “yes, I can give you some more.” Do you want to take it? Then one day, the pastor got cancer. You see, all this sort of thing is a misuse of the word of God and the name of God.

God never says that, but you say God does. When God says something, you deny it. Misuse is a serious problem as God's words are the foundation.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor 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 male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 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. (Exodus 20:8-11)

What would happen if I was building a house? On the sixth day, I had to rush the work, rush the job. I got to finish it and then on the seventh day would start again and keep working. The next week, the first six days you would work so hard, then rush on the seventh day. You would never be able to finish that. Because you are living under a curse. Why? It’s very simple because you are not making it holy. You are not set apart for God on this day. A lot of people like to do things on Sunday, as they have a thousand reasons to do it. Monday to Friday, they are at work, and Saturday is family time. So Sunday is the only day they can do things like moving houses. Sunday is the only day when I can attend a funeral. Sunday is the only day when I attend a wedding. Sunday is the only day... You have kept Saturday for yourself. Now, are you hoping to keep Sunday for yourself as well? Oh my God! I'm really scared that one day you will get cursed. You will see the result.

Let me share with you what I think: Work is not important! God is more important than any other day. Work is not important. The project in my hand is not important. If you have attended my church for long enough, have you seen any Sunday when I am not there? Unless I fall flat. Unless I really feel sick and cannot get up. But even then I will still try unless I really cannot talk.

You may say: "Oh, you see, you also fall sick!" Some people may be like celebrating: "I thought you said everyone gets healed. Then how come you fall sick?" Don't laugh too early. Yes, I may also fall sick. Because I'm not the standard. Sometimes I obey the word of God and there is also some time when I disobey. I'm not the standard. I'm not as holy as our Lord Jesus Christ. So I repented and I prayed to the Lord. Then I got healed!

What I'm trying to tell you is, what is the most important thing in your life? Don't try to pick on me. I'm saying that it is so important that I take the Sabbath day or another day and I set it apart from the Lord. It's so important. if you are not setting apart your time for the Lord, how can you set apart your life for the Lord? It's a very simple question, right? A very simple question.

As what I was telling you just now, that's why for the past 30 years, 1560 Sunday, I had never missed a single one of the Sunday services. That is my determination. That is my determination. Are you with me? Then someone may say: "What if you happen to travel?" Let me tell you: I don't have this kind of hobby to travel around. If I were to travel, I would be visiting my parents, or for business trips. I travel for other things. I hardly travel for my own enjoyment. I only enjoy working. I enjoy ministering. I enjoy serving our Lord!

For six days, you can labor and do all your work and the seventh day is set apart for God. Are you with me? It's not six days set apart for God and the seventh day to do the work? Are six days not enough for you to do the work? Absolutely enough. But because people are greedy, they want to swallow all the time to produce something valuable. But they forgot that the most valuable thing is God. The most valuable thing is God. The relationship with God should be put first. The relationship with work should be put underneath.

Remember that God is the most important thing in our life and God gave us the assignment to manage, to rule over all things. We are not supposed to be managed by the work. If we need to renovate our house, the renovation cannot rule over me. I am the one who makes the decision whether I start, whether I stop or whether I continue. Are you with me? So Sabbath day is very important. The issue is not about whether the Sabbath day should fall on Saturday or Sunday. No, not that. But what is important is setting apart our time for God.

Honor Your Father And Your Mother

All these are just the bottom line. Come on! All these are just the bottom line, the basic requirement for the Army of God, the basic requirement for people of God. Those who fall below this bottom line would fall under curses. If people fall under curses, there is no more hope. There is no more chance.

Honor your father and your mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12) So have fear of God. Come on, have fear of God. Are you with me? Are you having fear of God? If you have fear of God, when you need to make a decision, you'd better make a good decision. Maybe you want to say: "Oh, I have to do this or that on this day because I only have this time slot!" No, it's not whether you have the time slot or not but that time slot belongs to God. If you want to do something, make sure you know that.

This is the bottom line. You cannot fall below it. If you fall below, you will get cursed. In the New Testament, if one does not love God, one deserves to be cursed. In The New Testament, curses and blessings are still working, still governing the day and the night and the people.

So what I'm trying to tell you is that

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Exodus 20:12-17)

You can only love God. You see that there is a lot of time when people do not know the fundamental rules. Here's what I say. You do not understand the fundamental rule. The basic rule is that all these things, whether you own them or not, are not going to add much value to your life. If people own a better property, or carry a better phone, or carry a better computer, or have a good-looking wife, or have good children or have a good servant and you covet their belongings, do you know what will happen? You will get cursed. You covet and you get cursed. That's very simple.

Why is that so? Because life is so short. It does not depend on what you own. It depends on how much joy there is in your heart. If you covet you get cursed and you will attract the devil to come to your heart. And then until so much so, you do killing, you do murder, you commit adultery, you steal, you give false testimony against someone. You do all kinds of silly things. You do all kinds of silly things. Or you did not honor your father and your mother. Do you know why? Because they are eyeing the money and the property of the father and mother. You better think twice. You better think twice.

I have seen with my own eyes how it works. My mom. I would say I have a good mom. I love my mom. I really love my mom. Well, when my mom was 26 years old (You know, 26 years old is very young) my grandfather fell sick badly and my mom looked after my grandfather, the father of my father. My mom took leave to look after him day and night for six months. She borrowed a lot of money. I think the amount my mom borrowed would take her 20 years to pay back with her salary. But my mom still took the responsibility.

My mom sent telegraphs to my aunties, who are the sisters of my father. But none of them responded. My grandfather was crying and crying because he missed all his daughters. He was crying so loud that it sounded almost like screaming. He wanted to see his daughters but the daughters refused to come over. Why? Because if they come over, they got to share the medical bill! All for the sake of money. But my mom took the burden of all. The next year I was born. I become a blessing to my mom.

Many years later, my aunties met my mom. My mom asked: "Why were you not responding? Why didn't you come over to see your father? That is my father-in-law. Do you know your father was screaming because he missed you all so much?" What kind of heart is that? My aunties, the sisters of my father, kept their mouths shut. When my aunties saw their children and saw the children of my mom, they said: "How can you have good children like this? How come we only have bad children like that?" This is what you sow. You reap what you sow. So for the whole life of my mom, I will say my mom is really a blessing.

Now, honor your father and your mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. At that time my mom might not know God at all, but somehow she observed the word like this: honored her father-in-law. You know that the next year I was born and after this, soon enough somehow God gave a good success to my mom. All the debts were paid. Amazing! Amazing!

Make a Good Choice to Observe The Word of God

So I encourage all of you to think twice. Know that honoring your father and your mother is truly a blessing. This is the only commandment that carries a promise, so that you may live long in the land God is giving you. Why? Because by honoring their father and mother, people are taking their father and mother as more important than the money, more important than the job, than the work! Take your God as more important among all! Observe the word of God!

Blessings and curses are working today. So what is your choice? I encourage you to do a good choice, to choose a blessed path, not to choose a cursed path. Try to engrave this in your heart. If you value your family more than God or value your job more than God, or value money more than your father and mother, or value all these sorts of things in the opposite order God set for you, let me tell you: you have no future. You're not going to have a future.

Blessings are so important. The word of God is not so difficult for you and me. It is in our hearts. What is our hearts' desire? If we have a thorough understanding of life and death, we will look down on many things. We will look up to God. Any other thing is not going to rule over us. We are going to rule over all the things: the project, the job, the work, and all other things. We will rule over. We will manage because we honor God. God provides everything. God is going to satisfy everything. This is the art of war, the art of spiritual war.

Never fall below this. Never, never fall below this. You would not want to look at things in the opposite way God looks at things. You would not covet your neighbor's house. You would not covet your neighbor's wife or you will not covet the male and female servants, the ox, the donkeys, or anything belonging to your neighbor.

That's amazing. All your life, do you want to live a life of blessing? Do you want to live under a blessing? Or do you want to choose to live under a curse? That's your choice. It's not so difficult. If you have a thorough understanding of life and death, if you have a thorough understanding of the eternal, if you have a thorough understanding of the spiritual world, you will make a good choice.

I hope all of you make a good choice. Go much, much, much more beyond the bottom line. Love your God with all your soul, all your mind, and all your heart. Even today, I don't think that I have loved my God enough. I will do more. I would love him more and God is the amazing God.

May the Lord bless you. See you next week.

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