Exodus 20:13

Alexander M. Sanders, Jr. is the Chief Judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals. He spoke to the graduating class of the University of South Carolina in 1992. He told a story about when Zoe was 3 years old. Sanders came home to find a crisis. Zoe’s pet turtle had died and she was crying her heart out. His wife turned the problem over to him to solve. First, Mr. Sanders explained that he would go to the pet store and get her another turtle. He got nowhere with that idea. Zoe knew that life couldn’t be transferred from one turtle to another. She wanted her turtle alive. She continued to cry. Then Mr. Sanders said, “I’ll tell you what, we’ll have a funeral for the turtle.” Being three years old she didn’t know what a funeral was. “Actually,” he said, “a funeral is like a birthday party. We’ll have ice cream and cake and lemonade and balloons, and all the children in the neighborhood will come over to play. All because the turtle has died.” Success at last! Zoe’s tears began to dry up and she returned to her happy self. Then, an unforeseen thing happened. They looked down, and lo and behold, the turtle began to move. He was not dead after all. In a matter of seconds he was crawling around as lively as ever. Mr. Sanders didn’t know what to say. But Zoe appraised the situation perfectly. With all the innocence of a three year old she looked up at her father and said, “DADDY, LET’S KILL IT.” I know that the King James Version says, “Thou shalt not kill” but the most accurate translation is “You shall not murder.” There is a difference between killing and murder as we will see in this message. You may be thinking that you can skip this one. You probably don’t get the urge to murder too often (except sometimes on the interstate).But, you may not realize how much violence has been programmed into you. Did you know that by the time the average child reaches the 6th grade he/she has already witnessed over 8000 murders on television? He has watched over 100,000 acts of violence on TV. In America we have the highest homicide rate in the world. More children die from violence than they do from sickness. Jesus takes this Commandment to a different level. He applies it to the heart.

Matthew 5:21-22
21 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, ’You shall not murder,’ and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment. 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ’Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ’You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. NKJV

1 John 3:15
15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
Sin comes out of the heart of man. The first murder was in the family. Cain killed Abel because of jealously which led to anger which led to murder.
Note the progression Jesus gives: Emotional anger outburst, “Racca” (idiot) > to hate, “you fool” > murder (in danger of the fires of hell).

Emotions are powerful. They can stir up trouble in us and others. Ever notice how much children follow the example of a parent? Or a friend can influence another friend.

Anger can be contagious. Proverbs says, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man…or you may learn his ways.” (Prov. 22:24-25)

This sixth Commandment has often been misunderstood or misinterpreted. I want to cover two broad areas today: (1) What this command does not mean, (2) What this command does mean.


A. It does not prohibit killing animals or insects.
God does not contradict Himself.
Genesis 9:33 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. NKJV
You don’t have to be a vegetarian. It’s OK to eat animals for meat. Jesus ate fish.

B. It does not prohibit capital punishment.
Leviticus 24 says, “Anyone who commits murder shall be put to death.” The principle is a life for a life. God had delegated authority for this to the government. God carries out revenge by punishing wrongdoers. All the court houses used to have the 10 Commandments prominently displayed. God desires swift judgment. Our appeals court system has made a mockery of this. When President William McKinley was assassinated his assassin was caught, convicted and executed 53 days later. That can’t happen today. Ted Bundy was in jail for 11 years before he was finally executed. Some say that capital punishment really doesn’t work – it doesn’t deter criminals. It deters the one executed doesn’t it! He won’t kill again. By the way, the average life sentence now is 8 years.

C. It does not prohibit going to war.
Ecclesiastes 3:8
8 A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.
It is right to defend ourselves, to preserve freedom for ourselves and our children. Quote, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” We ought to be thankful for men and women who have fought and killed in war to protect our freedom, such as we’ll honor Athol Skeen after the service today.



Life is precious. We are created in the image of God.
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them NKJV.  That’s where the sanctity of life comes from. It separates us from animals. We must treat human life with respect and dignity. Here is what this Commandment means:

A. God says NO to Suicide
Suicide is the number 2 killer among college students, number three among H.S. students. People say, “It’s my life and I have a right to take it.” No you don’t. The Bible says, “You are not your own you were bought with a price.”

Job 14:5 Since his days are determined, The number of his months is with You;
You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass.

B. God says NO to Mercy Killing (Euthanasia)
Killing someone because of old age, deformity or incurable disease. I’m not talking about having a “Living Will” where you choose not to be kept alive artificially by machine or medicine. You prefer death by natural causes.

Job 12:10 In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind?

Euthanasia is a slippery slope. Who determines when another person should not live? Hitler did that for millions.

C. God says NO to Abortion
Psalms 139:13-16 For you formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.

Did you know that 26% of all pregnancies in America end in abortion? That’s one out of 4.

Charles Swindoll has written: “Medical authorities determine a person to be alive if there is either a detectable heartbeat or brain wave activity. With that in mind, it is eye-opening for some to realize that unborn children have detectable heartbeats at 18 days (21/2 weeks) after conception and detectable brain wave activity 40 days after conception (51/2 weeks). What is so shocking is that essentially all abortions occur after the 7th week of pregnancy.”
In 1994, the featured speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. was a small, fragile woman with no political credentials. She was surrounded by President Bill Clinton, Mrs. Clinton and other government officials. With a steady voice of certainty, Mother Teresa declared: “I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace in the world today is abortion. It is direct war against the child, a direct killing of an innocent child. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love but to use violence to get what they want. By abortion the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So, abortion just leads to more abortion.”

What if you have killed someone? Aborted a child? Hated someone so much that you are in danger of the fires of hell? What can be done? Can God forgive?
Yes, God can and has many times. Did you know that much of the Bible was written by murderers? Moses, David and Paul were all killers who were forgiven by God.

Maybe you’ve been on the other end of violence and you feel warranted to carry hatred for the one who hurt you. You can be eaten up with anger and bitterness or you can forgive. God will help you.