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THE APOSTLE PAUL wrote to a young pastor named Timothy, "Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear" (1 Tim. 5:20).

I am convinced that the average churchgoer does not know what sin really is. The major reason for this is that modern-day preachers do not preach against sin. The Bible tells us that "sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4). This is where the problem is. Preachers today do not preach the Ten Commandments. Brain-washed by Scofieldism and antinomianism, they spend most of their time telling the people Christ freed us from the law. It is little wonder that a church member sees nothing wrong with lying, adultery, stealing, and even murder in some cases. From the sermons he has heard in his pulpit he thinks that Christ came to free man from the law so he could do as he pleases. Many church members believe and practice this.

Christ did free us from the law of sin and death, but He did not free us from the moral law of God. The regenerated man delights in God's law (Rom. 7:22). The moral law is the rule of life for the believer. All of the Ten Commandments are quoted in the New Testament.

The law never saved so much as one lost sinner (Heb. 10:1-4). The moral law of the Old Testament was a standard of conduct for a redeemed people. It is the same in the New Testament. The moral law is a transcript of the nature of God (Rom. 7:12).

Pastor, when did you last preach on all the Ten Commandments, explaining each of them to your church members? Have you ever? Have you omitted preaching them until there exists in your church gross ignorance as to what God requires of His people? Could it be you always preach against abortion and homosexuality as sins because you know your members are not guilty and will not be offended?

Many preachers are calling on sinners to repent and turn to Christ. This is well and good, but why does a person need to repent and turn to Christ? Because he is a sinner. But how can he know he is a sinner without someone preaching about the moral law of God? In truth he cannot, "for by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Rom. 3:20). In many cases sinners are not being given any reason to be saved. We need to return to the old paths of preaching the law and the gospel.

Let me suggest that you preach a series of sermons on the Ten Commandments, taking one at a time. If you explain them as you should, some of your members may quit the church and stop giving money to it. But are you merely preaching for numbers and money? Those who please men are not the servants of Christ (Gal. 1:10).

More so than at any other time in the history of the world, saints and sinners need to hear preaching about the Ten Commandments.

Milburn Cockrell (1941-2002), in The Berea Baptist Banner