What’s the way to heaven? In the minds of many it’s simple: “Pray and keep the Ten Commandments.” It is true that the Commandments spell out God’s will for mankind. Jesus summed them up like this: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength….Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mk. 12:30-31). He told an expert in the law, “Do this and you will live” (Lk. 10:28).
The problem is that no one can keep the Commandments by perfect love in action as God requires. Think about it. Did you spend time in the Word and prayer yesterday? If you did, was your mind perfectly focused on the Word and the Word alone. Were all your prayers without any hint of selfishness. Were your thoughts so pure that you wouldn’t mind them splashed across Facebook for everyone to see? All our best efforts are like filthy rags before the holy Judge. We deserve only God’s condemnation and eternal punishment. No one is ever going to heaven by praying and keeping the Ten Commandments.
Yet God wants us to be sure of our salvation, and we can be, because of what Jesus has done for us. We’re not perfect, but Jesus is. We haven’t kept a single Commandment, but Jesus fulfilled them all in our place. We could spend a lifetime trying to make up for the mean comment we made about someone behind their back yesterday and we would fail. Jesus paid for the sin of all mankind by His sacrifice on the cross. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).
Tomorrow’s sermon text is the Ten Commandments as recorded in Exodus 20:1-17. The Spirit did not include them in Scripture as our path to heaven. Rather, they serve as a mirror to show us in painful detail what we are really like and how desperate our spiritual condition is. They are ten reasons why we need Jesus.
Yours in Him,
The Lord’s Supper will be celebrated in both services.