“Families for God”
(Deuteronomy 6:4-9Open in Logos Bible Software (if available))
Series: I Love Sundays (3/5)
Rev. Todd A. Linn, PhD
Henderson’s First Baptist Church, Henderson
Words in Black: Todd
Words in Red: Rich
• Take God’s Word and open to Deuteronomy, chapter 6 (page 127; YV).
Earlier Doris Marshall read from Deuteronomy 6 and read the passage that we’ll be studying this morning. It’s a great passage for families and today we are focusing on the family. Week 3 of our “I Love Sundays” emphasis in worship and Sunday school is about how Sundays can change your whole family.
So we’re going to be looking a little more closely at Deuteronomy chapter 6, a passage we trust will be a blessing to every one of us, moms, dads, grandparents, teens, unmarrieds, singles, every person!
• Let’s go to the Lord in prayer.
The passage Doris read earlier is known in Hebrew as the “Shema.” How many of you have heard that term, Shema? It refers to these verses in our text, Deuteronomy 6, verses 4-9. It’s called the Shema because that’s the Hebrew word for the first word in verse 4, “Hear.” The word “Hear” in Hebrew is Shema. Now this passage is recited twice a day by the faithful Jew. It’s a great passage of Scripture and we want to share with you the logic of how these verses interrelate.
Verse 4, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” This is a statement referring to the exclusive One True God of the Bible. The point is, “There is no other God!” That is the point of verse 4. So while it may speak to the unity of God—He is one—it really has most pressing in mind the fact that there is no other god, but the one true God of the Bible.
Then verse 5, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” The point is, “Your total being is involved in this love for God. Be totally devoted to the Lord.” Even today we use this phrase, “I love with all my heart,” my total being.
Verse 6, “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.”
The “words” about which Moses is speaking include the 10 Commandments from the previous chapter, chapter 5, as well as every word God spoke to Moses and commanded him to pass along to the Israelites. These “words,” Moses says, “shall be in your heart.”
So note the connection between verses 5 and 6. The key to verse 5 is found in verse 6. The key to loving the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, and strength (verse 5) is to keep God’s commands in our hearts (verse 6).
Verse 7, “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
Parents and grandparents and elders in the family continue loving God with all their hearts (verse 5) by keeping the words God commands in their hearts (verse 6) and then pouring God’s word into the hearts of their children and grandchildren (verses 7-9).
So if you want your child to have a heart for God, you must first get God’s Word into your own heart and then pour God’s Word into the heart of your child, your grandchild, your niece, your nephew.
We want to break down this passage into two halves. The first half teaches the importance of treasuring God’s Word and the second half conveys the importance of teaching God’s Word.
The first half applies to every single one of us, whether we are mothers or fathers or singles or whoever. So first:
I. We Must Treasure His Word (4-6)
Remember the connection: Love the Lord your God with all your heart—verse 5—by keeping God’s Word in your heart—verse 6. You love God with all your heart when you keep God’s Word in your heart. You must treasure His Word. The psalmist in Psalm 19:10Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) writes of his love for the commands and judgments of God. He says, “More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” He treasures the Word of God.
Psalm 1:1-2Open in Logos Bible Software (if available), “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.” Treasuring the Word!
Do you treasure the Word? Is God’s Word to you more to be desired than gold, than fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb? Do you treasure it? We want to give some practical ways to treasure God’s Word; three ways, three couplets to be exact. First, treasure the Word by:
1) Reading & Studying it
Have you ever said, “Boy, I wish I could feel God’s power and presence! I mean I just really want to sense His power. How can I feel God’s power and presence?” Well, do you read and study His Word? That’s how to really feel God’s power and presence. And by the way, you don’t read and study His Word so that you’ll be powerful. You read and study His Word and He humbles you and convicts you and corrects you and encourages you and uplifts you and then you realize you feel His power and presence.
Read and study God’s Word every day. If you have never read through the Word of God, start today by turning to the New Testament, Gospel of Matthew, read chapter 1 today. Tomorrow read chapter 2, etc. Keep reading. Then read the Gospel of Mark, then Luke, then John, then Acts. Just keep reading and watch God honor your discipline. You will begin to sense His power and presence in your life.
Read and study God’s Word in Sunday school. Remember: Every Christian needs two groups: a small group—Sunday school—and a big group—corporate worship. Your small group Sunday school class is where you can read and study the Word together with like-minded friends.
Here’s another way you can treasure the Word of God, by:
2) Memorizing & Praying it
If you can memorize your phone number, your Social Security Number and the pin number you need to punch-in to use your debit card, you can memorize Scripture. Listen for verses that really speak to you and determine to commit them to memory.
The first time I head Jeremiah 29:11Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) I knew I wanted to hear it again; “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Memorize the Word of God.
And pray the Word of God. Open the book of Psalms and pray. Open to the psalm Brother Todd mentioned earlier, Psalm 1, and prayerfully read, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,” and say, “Dear God, help me today to not walk among fools and the ungodly.” Read, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD,” and pray, “Dear God help me to locate my delight in your Word, not in my career, not in my house, not in lust and temptation, but in Your Word.”
You treasure God’s Word by reading & studying it, memorizing & praying it and then:
3) Hearing & Singing it
Once again, every Christian needs two groups: a small group—Sunday school—and a big group—corporate worship. Both are necessary. In big group you hear the Word of God and sing the Word of God. These disciplines help us treasure the Word by getting it into our heart so that we are equipped to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts. You hear God’s Word in corporate worship through preaching of the Word and you sing God’s Word in corporate worship through music and praise to the Lord.
So first half of these verses convey the idea of treasuring the Word of God. We must treasure His Word. To treasure His word is to cherish His word. Our mission statement, as you know, begins with the statement: “We cherish the Word.”
Those of you who know me well know that I love good espresso. I have an espresso machine in my kitchen at home and I love using it in the morning. I’ll grind some beans into what’s called a portafilter and then I’ll tamp the grounds evenly into it and lock it into the machine and push a button that extracts the espresso. And there’s a little dial on the machine and when the extraction is just right, the pointer on the dial will be right in the middle of a little window of measurement. And when it is right in the middle, I know I’m going to get a good shot of espresso. The machine is humming away and the coffee is pouring down and the aroma begins to waft upward from the little demitasse, the little espresso cup, and I smell the perfect, heavenly aroma of the espresso, the essence of coffee! Then I push a button and the shot is complete. I bring it up to my nose and smell it again and then take my first sip—it’s great! A perfect shot of espresso.
Espresso lovers refer to this as a “God shot,” a God shot because it is just perfect—just like God. So I’ll take another sip and allow it to just roll all over my tongue and palate and, listen: I cherish every ounce of it. I enjoy it slowly and take in every bit of its essence.
That’s a bit what it is like to cherish the Word of God. If we treasure the Word, we’ll cherish the Word. We look forward to taking it in, joyfully opening up the Word and reading it, reading slowly, allowing it to move about within us, getting down deep into our hearts, feeling its truth, savoring it, enjoying every bit of its essence.
So the passage teaches that one of the keys to really loving the Lord with all our heart is to treasure His Word. We must treasure His Word. In the second half of our text we find that:
II. We Must Teach His Word (7-9)
If you have children—moms and dads—here’s what you are to do, verses 7-9, teach God’s Word diligently to your children. And if you don’t yet have children, perhaps one day you will. And if it’s not God’s plan for you to have children, then you partner with your friends and loved ones in your church family to pour into the hearts of kids the Word of God. Verse 7:
7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
The idea is to always be about the business of teaching your children and grandchildren the Word of God. If you want your kids to have a heart for God, you must first have a heart for God. And you have a heart for God by treasuring His Word in your heart and then pouring His Word into the heart of your child. You are the primary faith trainer of your children and grandchildren. Look how important this is, verses 8-9:
8 You shall bind them (the commands of God) as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
The Jews take these verses literally. They literally—verse 8—bind the Word of God as a sign on their hand and on their foreheads. Some of you may have seen Jews wearing these small boxes called phylacteries. It’s a small black, calfskin case containing God’s Word from this passage as well as another and the little case is fastened with strings to the forehead or to the left hand or arm.
The Jews do the same with verse 9, same thing. God says in verse 9, “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and your gates.” The Jews place a couple of passages of Scripture in a protective case called a mezuzah and they hang these on the doorposts of their homes. Actually several of these cases are affixed to the doorpost of each room in the house as well as at the place of business.
But of course greater than the question of whether we are supposed to literally place these verses into little boxes or containers is our living out the meaning of these verses. The meaning of these verses is that we are to teach our children the Word of God. Parents are to teach God’s Word to their children, being the primary faith trainers of their kids.
So we want to share three practical ways to teach children the Word. First:
1) Take Children to Worship & Sunday School
Take them. Don’t drop them off. Take them with you. You go, they go.
Take your children to both worship and Sunday school. Both! You are the primary faith trainer. You teach your children the Word of God and the church comes alongside you and “seconds” the work you are doing. Parents, the church assists you. The church does not replace you. The church reinforces what parents do.
You can train up your child in the way he or she should go, having a heart for God by taking your children to church. Show them the Lord’s Day means something. Like we stressed last week: Disengage from all the stuff you normally do during the week and enjoy the fourth commandment by spending the day, not just an hour of the day, but the entire day, focusing on spiritual conversation and worship. Take your children to church.
In the “I Love Sundays” Sunday school booklet, the author has provided a number of suggested questions to ask the family, questions such as, “What was most interesting about the sermon or class lesson today?” or, “What is your favorite worship song and why?”
2) Practice Family Devotions
Really try to make time for family devotions, even if only once or twice a week. You may wish to follow Don Whitney’s suggestion of “Read, Pray, Sing.” It’s really simple. If there’s a dad in the home, dads lead. Read a passage of Scripture. Pray and then sing a brief hymn or chorus. Before our boys left the house we would read a chapter of Proverbs in the morning, maybe share an insight or two then we’d stand and join hands and pray and sing something like the first verse of “Amazing Grace.” This is like 10 minutes tops. It may not seem like much, but it goes a long way in teaching children what is important.
Teach God’s Word by taking children to church and having family devotion. Thirdly, teach God’s Word with:
3) Faith Talks & God Sightings
Faith talks are planned. They usually take the form of a special night set aside to teach and reinforce spiritual truths.
A “God Sighting” is unplanned. It is an opportunity God gives you through circumstances to teach or reinforce a spiritual truth. So they are not planned, but rather just happen and then parents seize upon the occasion to point children to God. Maybe your child comments on a beautiful sun set and you seize the opportunity to talk about the God of all creation.
Faith talks and God sightings are wonderful ways to teach our children—verse 7—talking to them when they sit in our house, walk by the way, lie down, and rise up.
It’s true that dads are supposed to be the spiritual leader in the home and we realize that causes a lot of dads to tremble: “I’m not sure I’m qualified to lead my family!” We share that fear and for that reason we’re giving out this book today to every man present. It’s entitled, Mighty Men, and men, it is a helpful “Starter’s guide to leading your family.” You will find this book immensely helpful to you as you read it and put it into practice. They’re available today in your Sunday School classrooms so men be sure and pick one up. Copies are also available at the Connection Center.
Sundays really can change your whole family. This passage is a helpful reminder to us that we are to treasure the Word and teach the Word. We treasure it by reading & studying it, memorizing & praying it, hearing & singing it. And we teach it in the home by taking our children and grandchildren to worship and Sunday school, practicing family devotions, and taking time for faith talks and God sightings.
Let’s stand for prayer…
In a moment we’ll be singing these words of surrender. We’ll sing:
All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all,
I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
Let me invite you this morning as you sing those words to surrender to Jesus your family. Surrender to Jesus your time so that you endeavor to both treasure God’s Word and teach God’s Word to your family.
You may wish to pray right now a simple prayer like this, “Dear God, help me to lead my family wisely. Give me the grace I need to schedule a regular time of Bible reading. Grow my desire to treasure Your Word. And then grow my desire to teach God’s Word to my family and to live it out for Your glory.
Some of you may not be saved. You have not trusted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Surrender your life to Christ this morning. Just say to Him, “I surrender. I will ever love and trust You, Lord. I will live in your presence daily.”
Remember to pick up your free t-shirt in the fellowship hall today.
And next week: We’ll be talking about how Sundays can change your eternity so invite a friend to be with you. It’s an evangelistic emphasis, “Sunday Can Change Your Eternity.” Every visitor and everyone who brings a visitor will receive a special “I Love Sundays” gift.—so to get the gift you have to bring someone with you, bring a visitor with you next week and you and your guest will both receive a special gift. Pick up these invite cards today and invite a guest to join you next week.
Tonight at 6PM, “The God Who Directs the Arrows.” from 1 Kings 22. Our series, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”
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