Ten Rules for Life (An Antidote for Chaos)

We are beginning a series on Sunday mornings called “Ten Rules for Life.” The series subtitle is “An Antidote to Chaos.” The title bears some resemblance to the bestselling book, “Twelve Rules for Life (An Antidote to Chaos,” by Jordan B. Peterson. There’s a reason for this. The Ten Commandments are an antidote to chaos because they are certainly ten essential rules that should govern our lives.

This sermon series will bear little resemblance to Peterson’s book. In fairness to Peterson, he gets a lot right in his book in terms of practical wisdom. However, because of his Jungian worldview he gets a whole lot wrong. Peterson is a master of observation and conclusion. That is to say as a clinician and a scientist when he applies the scientific method to human affairs and relies on objective research, his conclusions about our society, culture, and individual behavior are spot on. But when he gets into root cause, his worldview is often, though not always, a serious departure from a Christian worldview. And while Peterson often conducts lectures on the Bible and biblical topics, his interpretative practices tend to be allegorical and hyper-spiritualized. That’s the Jungian influence. But as Peterson often points out in his lectures, “Words have meaning.” As a Christian pastor, as a practical theologian, and as a biblical exegete I approach the text of Scripture differently, asking three basic questions of the text:

1.     What do the words of a passage say (what does the text say)?

2.     What do the words mean (based upon context and language)?

3.     What do I do (how then shall we live)?

Peterson’s approach is more allegorical than literal. As Christians, we interpret the Bible in a literal fashion. Don’t get me wrong, we recognize genre, turns of phrase, figures of speech, etc. However, when Jesus says “I am the door…” we understand He means what He says. He’s not claiming to have hinges and a knob. He’s claiming to be the way to God, the channel of salvation. The text means what it says. We can know from the context and flow of thought. When Jesus says, “Jerusalem… Jerusalem… how I have longed to gather you under My wings…. like chicks…” We understand that Jesus says what He means and means what He says… We don’t say that Jesus has feathers but that He longs to be their Savior and Protector. The Bible is not allegorical it’s literal. Genre strengthens the message rather than blurring it. Jesus is the door… He is like a mother hen wanting to gather the chicks into His kingdom. This is no allegory.

And so, we come to “Ten Rules for Life.” The Ten Commandments are ten rules for avoiding the kind of chaos in your life that results from living a life absent the will and the word of God. The Ten Commandments are literal, understandable, and applicable. They are as applicable today as they were when they were codified on Mount Sinai around 1446 BC. I invite you to join us on this journey through the Ten Commandments. And in and through this journey I hope and pray that we will come to understand them in a way that is life changing. Here are the message titles:

·      Make God the Priority… Accept No Substitutes

·      (Be) Careful What You Say.                          

·      Make Time for God.                                                                     

·      Respect Your Parents.                                                                                   

·      Respect Life.                                                                                              

·      Respect Your Spouse.                                                                             

·      Respect (Other) People’s Property.                                                          

·      Respect the Truth.                                                                                 

·      Learn and Practice Contentment.                                

What we see structurally here is that the Ten are about relationships. These relationships are vertical and horizontal: how we relate to God and people. And when we relate properly, we honor and love our holy God and we love those he has placed in our path. We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength and our neighbor (people) as ourselves. Jesus said all things biblical hang on these two ideas. And we find the details of these ideas in the Ten Commandments. Join us for this journey so that you can avoid the chaos that follows those who ignore them. You’ll be glad you did! Listen online at www.hillside.org or drop in and see us!

Keith Crosby