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Murderers and the Murdered One

Understanding our violation of the sixth commandment
This sermon is part of the sermon series "The Good Life". See series.


We're in our sixth week in our series on the Ten Commandments and today we're talking about the sixth commandment, Deuteronomy 5:17: "You shall not murder." Four words. In Hebrew it's even less—two words: "No murder." This is a sermon on two words. It's a sermon that's certain to stir some stuff up. It will bring conviction, but in the end it brings hope.

The sixth commandment is the only commandment upon which everybody seems to agree. Every culture has a prohibition against murder. Nobody thinks murder is a good idea. Everybody accepts the sixth commandment, but nobody thinks it applies to him. You might think you can finally relax in this series, but here's the truth: you are a murderer. We are all murderers; we are all in some shape or form guilty of murder.

Today we're going to ask this passage a series of three questions: What does the sixth commandment really say (and not say)? Why don't we keep it? and How can we keep it?

What the sixth commandment says (and doesn't say)

First, we need to look at what this commandment doesn't say. People get confused with this commandment, thinking it addresses issues that it really doesn't address. The Hebrew language has eight different words for killing. The word used here has been carefully chosen: ratzach. This particular Hebrew word doesn't address all types of killing; it deals exclusively with murder. Ratzach deals with the intentional taking of innocent life—with the unjust, premeditated taking of an innocent life.

The King James Version gets it wrong: "Thou shalt not kill." That's not what the Hebrew text says; rather, it says "You shall not murder." This commandment deals with private morality, with an individual person unjustly taking the life of another ...

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Justin Buzzard is founder and lead pastor of Garden City Church in Silicon Valley, California.

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Sermon Outline:


I. What the sixth commandment says (and doesn't say)

II. Why we don't keep the sixth commandment

III. How we can keep the sixth commandment