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The 6th Commandment

The 6th Commandment

April 17, 2024 by Pastor David Hubbard
Passages:Exodus 20:13

Sermon Synopsis

Exodus 20:13
“Thou shalt not kill.”
Good evening everyone,
I’m delighted to see each one of you here today. Your presence is a
testament to your commitment to understanding and living out
God’s word in your daily lives. Today, we’re going to explore a
commandment that, at first glance, may seem straightforward, but
upon closer examination, reveals a profound depth – the 6th
‘Thou shalt not kill,
’ found in Exodus 20:13.
This commandment, one of the Ten Commandments given to
Moses on Mount Sinai, forms the bedrock of moral law for not only
Christians, but also for many other faiths and cultures around the
world. It’s a universal principle that upholds the sanctity and value
of human life.
At its most basic level, this commandment prohibits the act of
taking another person’s life. But as followers of Christ, we know
that Jesus expanded on this commandment in His Sermon on the
Mount. In Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus teaches us that even being angry
with a brother or sister is subject to judgment. This shows us that
God’s law extends beyond our actions to our hearts and minds. It’s
not just about our deeds, but also about our attitudes and emotions.
In our discussion today, we’ll delve deeper into the implications of
this commandment. We’ll explore questions like: How does this
commandment apply to our daily lives? How do we deal with anger
and resentment in a godly way?
Moreover, we’ll also look at the broader implications of this
commandment. In a world where life is often undervalued, how do
we, as followers of Christ, uphold the sanctity of life?
Let’s approach this lesson with open hearts and minds, ready to be
challenged, ready to grow, and ready to be transformed by God’s
word. As we embark on this journey of discovery, let’s remember
the words of Proverbs 4:23,
‘Above all else, guard your heart, for
everything you do flows from it.’
Let’s begin with a prayer, inviting the Holy Spirit to guide our
discussion and open our hearts to God’s truth…”
Dear Heavenly Father,
We come before You today with humble hearts, ready to dive into
Your word and understand Your commandments more deeply. As
we explore the 6th commandment,
“Thou shalt not kill,
” we ask for
Your wisdom and guidance.
Open our hearts to Your truth, and help us to apply these teachings
in our daily lives. May our study not just increase our knowledge,
but also transform our hearts and minds, bringing us closer to You.
We thank You for Your word, which is a lamp to our feet and a light
to our path. Guide us through our study today, and may everything
we say and do be pleasing to You. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
The 6th commandment,
“Thou shalt not kill”
, is often understood
at a surface level as a prohibition against physically taking another
person’s life
. However, there’s much more depth to this
The 6th commandment is not just about physical murder. It also
encompasses actions and attitudes that devalue or harm human
. This includes hatred, anger, and abusive language, which
Jesus equates with murder. In Matthew 5:21-22 Jesus says “
have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill;
and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
22 But I
say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a
cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say
to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but
whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”
The commandment underscores the sanctity and value of human
. Humans are created in the image of God, and taking a human
life is a sin against the Creator
The commandment has implications for contemporary issues such
as abortion, capital punishment, war, and self-defense
. It
challenges us to respect and uphold the sanctity of every human
It encourages personal reflection and self-examination. Are there
ways in which we harbor anger or hatred towards others? Are there
ways in which we devalue or harm others with our words or
In summary, the 6th commandment calls us to value all human life
and to treat others with the love, respect, and dignity they deserve
as bearers of God’s image
. It’s a call to not only refrain from
physical violence but also to guard our hearts and tongues against
anger, hatred, and harmful speech
. So, while most people might
think they’re innocent because they haven’t physically taken
someone’s life, this commandment challenges us to examine our
attitudes and actions in a deeper way
In the ancient Near East, life was often cheap, and violence was
. The 6th commandment underscored the value of human
life and established a high moral standard
. It served as a
counter-cultural statement in a world where life could be easily
The commandment was necessary to maintain order and respect
for life in the Israelite society
. It helped to prevent feuds,
vendettas, and cycles of violence that could tear the community
. It also set the Israelites apart from their neighbors, whose
laws and practices did not always value human life to the same
The Israelites would have understood this commandment in its
literal sense – a prohibition against unlawfully taking another
person’s life
. However, over time, Jewish interpretation recognized
that this commandment also prohibited other forms of violence and
. For instance, it was extended to include causing emotional
harm, such as through insulting or cursing someone.
In summary, the 6th commandment played a crucial role in the
formation and preservation of the Israelite society. It established
the sanctity of human life as a fundamental principle and served as
a guide for interpersonal relationships
. It continues to be relevant
today, reminding us of the inherent value of every human life.
Let’s dive deeper into Matthew 5:21-22, where Jesus expands the
understanding of murder to include anger and insulting language.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus interprets the law in a way that
goes beyond the literal act of murder
. He says that even being
angry with someone or insulting them is akin to murder
. This is
because these actions and emotions can harm others, not
physically, but emotionally and spiritually
Jesus identifies anger and insults as the root causes of murder
. A
cursory reading of Matthew 5:21-22 shows that He is speaking not
so much about murder but of the steps that lead to it
. He traces the
roots of murder and war to three major sources: 1) anger, 2) hatred,
and 3) the spirit of competition and aggression—in short, the
self-centeredness of passionate carnality
Anger and insults devalue and harm life by damaging relationships,
causing emotional pain, and creating discord
. They violate the
principle of love and respect for others, which is at the heart of the
. By equating these emotions and actions with
murder, Jesus is emphasizing the importance of treating others
with kindness, respect, and love
Jesus says that righteousness is a matter of both outwardly
following the Law and inwardly reflecting the spirit behind the law1
Acting in violence and harboring violent attitudes results in
disharmony (unrighteousness)
. Therefore, it’s not enough to just
refrain from the act of murder; one must also eliminate anger and
insulting language from their hearts.
In summary, Jesus’ interpretation of the 6th commandment
challenges us to examine our attitudes and emotions. It calls us to
cultivate a spirit of love and respect for others, and to avoid not
only physical violence but also emotional and verbal harm.
Now I want to dive deeper into the implications of the expanded
understanding of the 6th commandment in today’s world.
1. Abortion: The 6th commandment’s emphasis on the sanctity
of life has significant implications for the issue of abortion
. If
every life is sacred and created in the image of God, then this
includes unborn lives as well
. This perspective challenges us
to consider the rights and value of the unborn, and it forms
the basis for many pro-life arguments
2. Capital Punishment: The commandment also has implications
for capital punishment
. If life is sacred, then the taking of a
life as a form of punishment becomes a complex issue
. Some
argue that capital punishment is a violation of the sanctity of
life, while others argue that it is a just consequence for those
who have violated the sanctity of another’s life
3. War: In times of war, the commandment challenges us to
consider the value of every human life, even those deemed
. It raises questions about the morality of war and
the taking of life in the context of conflict
4. Self-Defense: The commandment also applies to situations of
. While it is generally accepted that individuals
have a right to defend themselves when their lives are
threatened, the commandment challenges us to consider the
value of the aggressor’s life as well
5. Attitudes Towards Others: The expanded understanding of
the 6th commandment challenges our attitudes towards
others, especially those we find difficult to love or forgive
. It
calls us to respect the inherent dignity and worth of every
person, regardless of their actions or attitudes
. This can be
particularly challenging in situations of conflict or when
dealing with individuals who have caused us harm1
The expanded understanding of the 6th commandment has
far-reaching implications in today’s world
. It challenges us to
uphold the sanctity of life in all circumstances and to treat every
individual with the love, respect, and dignity they deserve as
bearers of God’s image
Jesus’ interpretation of the 6th commandment goes beyond the act
of physical murder to include anger and insulting language
(Matthew 5:21-22)
. This expanded understanding encourages us to
reflect on our own lives and examine our attitudes and behaviors
Have we harbored anger or resentment towards someone? Have we
used words that were hurtful or insulting? If so, according to Jesus’
interpretation, we have broken the 6th commandment
It’s important to note that breaking the 6th commandment isn’t
limited to physical acts of violence
. It also includes behaviors and
attitudes that devalue or harm life
. This can include harboring
bitterness, animosity, contempt, or hateful hostility towards
. Even if these feelings don’t lead to physical harm, they still
violate the intent of the 6th commandment
If we recognize that we’ve broken the 6th commandment in this
way, the next step is to seek reconciliation
. This involves
acknowledging our wrongs, asking for forgiveness from those
we’ve hurt, and making amends where possible
. It also involves
asking for God’s forgiveness and seeking His help to change our
attitudes and behaviors
Making amends can take many forms, depending on the situation
It might involve apologizing to the person we’ve hurt, trying to
right a wrong we’ve committed, or working to repair a damaged
. The goal is to restore peace and harmony, in line with
the spirit of the 6th commandment
Jesus’ interpretation of the 6th commandment challenges us to
examine our own hearts and actions
. It calls us to uphold the
sanctity of life not only in our actions but also in our attitudes and
. And when we fall short, it points us towards the path of
reconciliation and restoration.
In summarizing today’s lesson:
The 6th commandment,
“Thou shalt not kill” is found in Exodus
. This commandment protects the sanctity of human life
God originally brought life out of his life and created Adam and Eve
(Genesis 2:7). From then on, through today, God hand-created
every single person in the womb of his or her mother
Jesus expanded on this commandment in Matthew 5:21-22,
teaching that anger with one’s brother is also subject to judgment
This shows that the commandment extends beyond physical
murder to include harmful attitudes and emotions.
The commandment has many applications to current issues such as
envy, hatred, and even abortion
. It’s important to discuss these
topics in the context of the 6th commandment.
Jesus’ teachings reveal that even our envy and hatred are
considered murder because they are the root cause of murderous
Hatred takes different forms. It may be anger and resentment and
desire for revenge, or it may be something much cooler and distant.
A man who kills during an armed robbery doesn’t necessarily have
any strong feelings against his victim. He just wants what the other
person has, and he couldn’t care less about that person’s life.
A company which saves money by exposing workers to great risk
rather than paying for a safer working environment isn’t angry at
its workers. It just doesn’t care about them. A tobacco company
isn’t trying to get revenge on the smokers it helps kill. It just cares
more about profit than about people. A woman who aborts her baby
doesn’t have a grudge against the baby. She just cares less about
that baby’s future than her own.
The use of hateful words and labels is damaging enough to the
spirit, but it also helps to make the physical act of killing easier. For
a religious terrorist, which is easier to blow up: a fellow human, or
an “infidel”? Labels make killing easier. When doctors and nurses
are giving advice on prenatal care to pregnant women, they always
speak of “your baby,
” but if they are about to perform an abortion,
they refer only to “the fetus.” Words that depersonalize and
degrade are expressions of a killer instinct.
Me First
Hatred, whether in its hot and angry form or in its cool and
uncaring form, is the essence of the killer instinct, and it all boils
down to this: I matter more than you. I would rather you didn’t exist
at all than change my own priorities, and I would rather fight to get
what I want than learn to trust in God’s care and love. In James
4:1-2, the Bible says,
“What causes fights and quarrels among you?
Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want
something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have
what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do
not ask God.”
Apart from God, the only rule is hatred. Even in supposedly good
relationships, the underlying rule is the killer instinct that says,
matter more than you. My life matters more than yours.”
This killer instinct asks,
“Am I my brother’s keeper? If push comes
to shove, my life matters more than his.” This is the mind of death.
It means that we are already murderers in the way we think, and
that under certain circumstances, we could become murderers in
deed as well. This killer instinct brings death to relationships, death
to other persons, and ultimately, eternal death to every person who
remains in it. As the Bible says,
“Anyone who does not love remains
in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know
that no murderer has eternal life in him”.
The sixth commandment,
“Thou shalt not kill,
” helps us to see
murder for what it is, and it helps us to understand the deadly
attitudes that lie behind it. The commandment shows us the ugly
truth about ourselves, and then it drives us to seek a better way. It
drives us to the foot of the cross of Christ.
Here are some practical ways to apply the 6th commandment,
“Thou shalt not kill,
” in daily life:
1. Respect Life: Value and respect all forms of life. This includes
not only refraining from physical harm, but also from
emotional or psychological harm.
2. Control Anger: As Jesus taught, even anger can be a form of
murder in the heart. Practice patience and understanding to
manage anger effectively.
3. Promote Peace: Strive to be a peacemaker in your
relationships and your community. Encourage dialogue and
understanding to resolve conflicts.
4. Support Life-Affirming Causes: Support organizations and
causes that promote the sanctity of life. This could include
charities, non-profits, or movements that work to end
violence, poverty, or injustice.
5. Forgiveness: Holding onto grudges can lead to hatred and
anger. Practice forgiveness to let go of these negative
6. Healthy Relationships: Maintain healthy relationships with
everyone around you. Avoid toxic relationships that can lead
to negative emotions or actions.
7. Self-care: Taking care of your own physical, emotional, and
mental health is also a way of respecting life.
Remember, the 6th commandment is not just about refraining from
killing, but promoting a culture of life, love, and respect for all.
As we conclude our study of the Sixth Commandment,
“Thou shalt
not kill,
” we find ourselves standing on the precipice of a chilling
abyss. This commandment, etched in stone by the finger of God,
serves as a stark reminder of the sanctity of life and the profound
darkness that engulfs us when it is violated.
The echoes of violence and bloodshed throughout history bear
testament to the grim reality of this transgression. Each act of
murder, each life unjustly extinguished, casts a long, dark shadow
that stretches across the canvas of human history. The pain, the
suffering, the irreparable damage inflicted upon families and
communities, are all stark reminders of the cost of disregarding
this commandment.
Yet, amidst this darkness, there is a glimmer of hope. The Sixth
Commandment is not merely a prohibition against killing; it is a
call to affirm life, to protect it, to value it in all its forms. It is a call
to step away from the path of violence and destruction, and to walk
instead on the path of peace and love.
As we leave this place, let us carry with us the weight of this
commandment. Let it serve as a constant reminder of the darkness
that lies in wait, should we stray from the path. But let it also
inspire us to uphold the sanctity of life, to strive for peace, and to
extend our hands in love and compassion to all.
In the face of the grim realities of this world, let us be beacons of
hope, shining brightly in the darkness.
Let’s pray…
Dear Heavenly Father, as we conclude our discussion today, we are
humbled by the depth and breadth of Your 6th commandment. We
recognize that it calls us not only to refrain from physical harm but
also to guard our hearts and tongues against anger and harmful
We ask for Your help in living out this commandment in our daily
lives. Give us the strength to resist anger, the grace to forgive those
who have wronged us, and the wisdom to uphold the sanctity of life
in all that we do. Help us to see others as You see them, made in
Your image and deserving of love and respect. In Jesus’ name, we
pray. Amen.

Exodus 20:13

13 “You shall not murder.

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