The First Commandment – “No Other Gods”

Date written: 8 January 2015

SUBJECT: Idolatry, Ten Commandments

TITLE: The First Commandment – No Other Gods

PROPOSITION: Having no other gods before the LORD means 1) God comes first in our hearts and in our lives, 2) The idols of our heart must be identified, 3) Our idols must be torn down.

OBJECTIVE: To understand the importance of the first commandment in relationship to competition with God.

Aim: We do not have to bow down to a graven image to be caught up in idolatry.


1. Read: Exodus 20:3-5 “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

2. About the Text:

3. The Ten Commandments

1) These are called the Ten Commandments in Exodus 34:28, Deut.4:3, and 10:4.

2) They were the basis for the Mosaic Law, a nucleus for God’s morality.

3) They are introduced by God Himself in a grave and somber context.

4) We’ve seen a renewed focus by some upon the Ten Commandments.

5) Some recent Supreme Court decisions have been made removing the Ten Commandments from public places.

6) Do we know what the Ten Commandments are?

7) Do we understand their relevance to our society today?

8) What do we have in the Ten Commandments?

i. The first four deal with man’s relationship with God.

ii. The last six deal with man’s relationship with man.

9) Thus, they all fit into the highest two commands of loving God and loving neighbor as oneself (Matthew 22:36-40).

4. The First Commandment – “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

1) The Israelites were given this commandment to prevent idolatry of any kind.

2) Idols come in more shapes and sizes than wood and stone figurines.

3) This commandment is really about competition with God.

4) We read in Ezekiel 14:3 “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?”

5) Ezekiel writes during the time of Babylonian captivity.

6) However, they still have a problem with idolatry.

7) The new idols that they serve are not made of wood and stone, but are within the heart.

8) Colossians 3:5 says, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:”

9) Covetousness is idolatry of material possessions whose throne is the heart.

10) Let’s consider the meaning and purpose of the first commandment.

5. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.

DISCUSSION: Having no other gods before the LORD God means . . . .

I.   God comes first in our hearts and in our lives.

1. Jesus said that the commandment with the highest priority is to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37).

2. Jesus taught plainly that nothing can be held equal to or in competition with God.

i. “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).

ii. Matthew 4:10 “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

iii. Matthew 6:33

3. Paul left everything that he might know Christ – “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Phil.3:7-8).

4. This is the heart of the first commandment.

II.  The idols of our heart must be identified

1. These idols are things that are most precious to us.

2. These are different for different people, but let’s look at some of the most popular ones.

3. The idol of consumption / gluttony.

i. “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)” (Phil.3:19).

ii. “Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God” (2 Tim.3:4).

iii. Titus 1:12 “slow bellies”.

4. The idol of sexuality.

i. Read 1 Thess.4:3-8

ii. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

5. The idol of materialism.

i. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Col.3:5).

ii. “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

6. The idol of self.

i. 2 Timothy 3:2-5 “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

ii. “For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s” (Phil.2:21).

III. Our idols must be torn down.

1. When we put false idols in front of us, we become what we worship.

2. This is what repentance is all about.

i. Repentance is a change of mind that results in a reformation of life.

ii. It is renouncing all of those physical desires that controlled us and submitting to Christ.

iii. Consider Galatians 5:19-24

3. We must place our identity in Christ alone (Galatians 2:20).


1. Having no other gods before us means . . .

i. God comes first in our hearts and lives.

ii. We must identify those idols in our lives.

iii. Our idols must be torn down.

2. Invitation