Vision: Where Do We Start?
Where do we start?
Our passage this morning comes from Deuteronomy 6, could you work your
way there as I introduce the passage to you. This passage that we will be
looking at is one of the reasons that I have gone into ministry. This passage
combined Matthew 28 are the two verses that map out everything that Kaley and
I do in our ministry. I pray that you can see it manifested in every aspect of our
ministry and our everyday lives. In fact, this chapter is so important that we see
Jesus directly quoting from it four times during his ministry.
So our question today is, Where do we start? Last week we talked about
what God would most want us to do with our lives and we said that he wants us
to be making disciples that make disciples. However, the problem is that
sometimes we do not know where to start. One of the reasons because we
ourselves where never discipled. We were just told to come to church. One of
the reasons discipleship has become weak has been because modern
evangelism strategies have taught people how to share their faith instead of
sharing their lives. So as a result, too many times we have stopped at
conversion rather follow through with the great commission.
Pop quiz: How many people do you know who came to know Christ
through the witness of a friend? How many do you know who came to
know Christ through faithful parents? How many are in Christ due to the
week-to-week preaching of Christ in a local church? Probably a lot, right?
Okay, now answer this: How many people do you know who came to
know Christ through event that are still a Christian today? If you know one,
you’re outpacing me, and everyone I’ve ever talked to about this. The Holy Spirit
tends to work through the preaching of Christ (Rom 10:17). That’s how he points
the world to sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8).
So does that mean we stop doing events? No, but we change our
motives. We use events instead of trying to get someone to pray a prayer but to
build relationships with those that are lost. It is a beginning point not and ending
point. We will reach our neighborhoods by going to them the same way people
have come to us to share the Gospel, by Christian people loving them enough to
build relationships, inviting them to church, sharing the gospel, and witnessing of
So as we become a church that wants to change our community for Christ,to see our neighbors, family, and loved ones set free from the bondage of sin.
We need to keep our eyes open for the needs of this community that we can
reach. And I believe that our passage today exposes one of the main ways that
we can make the biggest impact on our community. And that weakness is the
family. Our community is full of broken homes and broken families. And we need
to be a light to this community by having families that are founded on God’s
You see the problem is that Americans revere the Bible- but, largely, they do
not read it. And because we do not read it, we have become a nation of Biblical
So you might be thinking surely I am exaggerating, how bad can it be?
Well, this is how bad it can be… Fewer than half of all adults can name the four
Gospels. Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the
disciples. 60 percent of Americans cannot name even 5 of the 10
commandments. Americans may demand that the 10 commandments be posted
in the courthouse, but they seem unable to remember what exactly they are.
What is scarier is that 82 percent of Americans think that “God helps those
who help themselves”, is a Bible verse. A majority of adults think the Bible
teaches that the most important purpose in life is taking care of one’ family.
Another survey of graduating high school seniors reveals that more than 50
percent thought Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife. Yet another
survey revealed that a considerable number of respondents thought that the
Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.
In summary, we are in big trouble. And we might need to quit looking at the
outside and complain about what is happening and start considering if this might
be our fault. We may just discover that the reason our nation is in such bad
shape is because our churches are so unhealthy. And I think that it is foolish to
think that God is going to cause a revival to happen unless the church rises up
and stop looking so much like the world.
So what do we do? Churches must recover the centrality and urgency of
Biblical teaching and preaching. And I do not mean just in the pulpit. It starts
here but Biblical illiteracy is our problem and recovery starts at home.
That is one of the reasons that I do a Monday morning recap is to be a
resource for you to apply God’s Word to your life and to aid conversations with
Parents are to be the first and most important educators of their own
children, teaching them the Word of God. Parents cannot franchise out their
responsibility to the congregation, no matter how faithful it may be. The many
fronts of Christian compromise in this generation can be directly traced to Biblical
illiteracy in the pews and the absence of Biblical preaching and teaching in our
homes and churches. (Mohler, 2005)
Just think about it this way, your greatest accomplishment in your lifetime
might not be something you accomplish, but someone that you raise and
disciple. And I am not just talking about biological or adopted children, of course,
it starts there, but also someone that you might pour your life into teaching them
all that Christ has taught you.
WHAT IS THE TEXT SAYING
V.1 Recap of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. In
chapter 5 Moses had just given the nation of Israel the 10 commandments and
reminds them now in chapter 6 that while they are entering into the Promised
Land that they need to remember to do these important things to make sure that
God will continue to bless them.
V. 2-3: Moses says to his people, if you want to make sure that your legacy lasts
forever, make sure you do this. Here we look today to see what God would have
us to do to make sure that our legacy of glorifying God is passed down from one
generation to the next, so that maybe the next generations might be spared from
what we are going through now.
And all starts with the fear of the Lord. This fear is not a terror of God, rather
it is a response of reverent awe and trust to the redemptive revelation of God. It
is the Old Testament equivalent of trusting Christ or believing the Gospel. The
fear of the Lord is the response of faith to all that God has done to redeem his
people, as he himself interprets what he has done by his Word. (Goldsworthy,
V. 4: It would be difficult to overstate the significance of the monotheistic
declaration of verse 4. Israel is summoned to hear and take notice. YAHWEH is
their God. YAHWEH is one. Moses says to his people if you want things to go
good for you in the Promised Land, do this. This is greatly significant. Therefore,
verse four is then explained in verses 5-9. Starting with verse 5.
V.5: Since YAHWEH is the sole deity means that, he is to be loved. Jesus
himself quotes this passage in Matthew 22 verse 38 as the first and greatest
commandment. We are not just to kind of love God, we are not to just love God,
my wife, my family, baseball, and my dog, along with other things. It is our love; it
is what we desire more than anything. Our love for God should be so great that it
looks like we hate everything else.
But, how can this be so? How can God command us to love Him? This
is so counter-cultural, that many cannot fathom how someone can be
commanded to love. People today often think love is like the wind. It blows
where it wills. You cannot control it, you cannot do anything about it. If you are
in love with your spouse, great. But if you wake up one morning and “fall out of
love”, go ahead and get a divorce.
Or, if you love your next-door neighbors, that’s good. But if they and their
annoying kids annoy you to no end, well, there is nothing you can do about it.
You cannot force yourself to love them, right?
In short, too many of us think of love as the wind. If the wind strikes us, we
are inspired. If not, we are indifferent. However, love in the Bible is very different
thing. For one, love can be commanded. The Bible commands us over and over
again to love God, our neighbor, our fellow Christians, and even our enemies.
Certainly love can grow cold, and can lose the love we had at first. But, scripture
commands us to love each other genuinely, affectionately, and earnestly, and to
love God with all we got. Love is not the wind that cannot be grasped, but
something that can be commanded and striven for, something we can even stir
up in others. (Jamieson, 2013)
Therefore, love God with all you have, if you do not feel like it that particular
day, start by reflecting on what he did for you. While you were still in sin, while
you were still an enemy, he went to the cross for you so that you can spend
eternity with him, because he loves you.
Verse 6 shows us that we are to obey our one and only God. Here in this verse
we get some very good news. Here Moses is answering the question, how are
we going to keep these commandments? You see Christianity is not a works
based religion, you are not going to be able to work your way to heaven. So You
cannot keep the commandments faithfully enough to get there either. So if you
leave here today burdened, thinking that I told you to do more and try harder, you
missed the point.
So follow the train of thought that is going on so far. Moses is telling us that
if you fear and love your one and only God, you should expect an internal
transformation. God gives you a new heart. This echoes the words of Jesus
when he says, “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” You see, we
keep the commandments because God through the Holy Spirit changes our
hearts, not because of our own willpower or because it is a checklist of things to
do to make sure God still loves you.
So in this passage we are not called to pull ourselves up by our own boot
straps, to do more, to try harder. No, in fact it is a test, a measuring stick for how
we are doing. Moses is answering the question, how can I know that I am
loving and fearing God enough? The answer is if you have received a new
heart and on that new heart is written God’s commandments. We obey not out of
our own willpower, but because of the heart change that has occurred in us.
We should pause here and take stock of the enormous significance of what
Moses announces in chapter 6 verses 4 through 6: YAHWEH alone is God; Israel
is to love YAHWEH; his commands are to be on their hearts. What Moses says
next will undoubtedly be of great significance.
What will he say next? Something about kings or armies or
economics? Or is there something more fundamental than those things?
Perhaps something that will produce righteous kings? Something that will
teach soldiers that there are things worth more than peace and more than
life? Something that will ensure economic stability? And what might
accomplish all that?
The high and beautiful truths that YAHWEH is the only true and living God
who is to be loved and obeyed will be followed by something of equal
significance: a specified approach to passing on the knowledge of this one true
God to the generations that will follow.
And who will be responsible for passing this valuable information to
the next generation? Will it be the king, maybe the prophets, or what about
the priests? No, the main responsibility for education falls to the parents.
This concept has become counter-cultural to us. We hire math teachers to
teach us math, we hire science teachers to teach us science, football coaches to
teach us football, baseball coaches to teach baseball. Parents today can
delegate out almost everything that there child needs to learn. However, let us
take the example of baseball.
When you go to the community park and you watch kids that get equal time
with coaches, equal time on the playing field, equal time at practice, but it
becomes evident that not all players are equal. Why is that? You could say,
that it is because of different levels of athletic ability, but I believe that has little to
do with it.
Baseball is a game of repetition, a game of skill, just being athletic is not
going to help you hit an 80MPH fastball and definitely not a curve ball. No, when
you go to the ballpark, it will soon become clear which kids practice at home,
which ones find ways to play it every chance they get, the ones that even think
about it the most compared to those that only come out for the scheduled times
their teams play or practice. Your child is never going to be good at the game of
baseball if they are only doing the least amount as possible.
I say all this to say, how many of us do this with our discipling of our
own children and grandchildren, or maybe others that God has placed in
our lives to disciple? How many of us rely solely rely on the hour on
Sunday, to have God’s Word spoken into our lives? I can guarantee you this,
you if you are only spending one-two hours with God a week, it doesn’t matter if it
was Billy Graham preaching to you, your life and your family’s life will never be
changed if you allow the world to speak into your family’s life the other 165-166
hours of the week.
If we know that a baseball player needs to be making 200 cuts a day, how
much more important to the growth of a disciple of Christ to be in his Word,
reading it, praying it, discussing it, and applying it.
However, before we look at the details of verse 7, we must observe that only
those who believe that YAHWEH alone is God (4) will do this; only those who
live to love YAHWEH in everything they are and do (5) will do this; and only those
on whose laws are written on their hearts (6) will obey what verse 7 commands.
So it is important for us not to ask the question, “how can I be a better
father, grandfather, or disciple-maker?” And skip right here to verse 7. In
order to be effective here you have to be committed to verses 4 through 6.
V.7: This one and only God is to be remembered verbally in the household.
What follows verses 4-6 is an explanation of the means for passing on the
knowledge of this one God to generations yet to come. If YAHWEH alone is
God, he deserves to be worshipped, loved, and obeyed even after the current
generation dies. Here Moses is answering the question, “Since our God
deserves to be glorified in the next generations, how & when is the best time to
be making disciples? We learn the how in the first word of this verse. Repeat,
repetition aids learning. We are not to just tell our children about God, but are to
repeatedly tell our children about God.
Moses responds to when we disciple our children by saying, when you are
getting up, when you are laying down, when you are walking, when you are
sitting. Discipling your children is not in a hit-or-miss manner. You must be
intentional. In other words, anytime is a good time to talk about the things of
God. (Hamilition, 2011)
The main point of verse 7 is that at the beginning and end of the day, and at
every opportunity in-between, God’s word is to be repeated, pondered, explored,
explained, and celebrated.
V.8: In verse 8, this one and only God is the window in which we interpret life.
Now it is probably obvious that I do not take these verses to be literal since I am
not wearing scripture bound to my forehead and hands. But, before we are too
hard on Jews that do take this to be literal, calling them a bit radical, let us ask
ourselves, “what are we doing to keep scripture always on our mind, and is
it working better than if we were to bind them in-between our eyes and on
The main point of verse 8 is not to bring about some mechanical activity of
attaching the law to one’s forehead or hand, but to display to us that this is our
power and this is the window that we should be judging every decision. It is our
measuring stick for truth. In the Old Testament, the “hand” is often a figurative
reference to physical power or might, and the “eye” is the organ of perception. I
believe that verse 8 is calling us to bind God’s Word on our power and to make
God’s Word the filter for our perception. And when we do so, it will change
everything in our lives, not only our actions, but even our attitudes.
V.9: And finally, this one and only God is to be memorialized on doorposts and
gates in verse 9. The doorposts and gates were the two primary points of access
in their lives. They will pass through their doorposts whenever they enter or
leave their homes. And they would see them at the gate because the gate of a
city was the center of public activity. Buying and selling took place at the gate.
Legal decisions were rendered in the area of the city gate.
However, it is clear that the writing of the words on doorposts and gates will
accomplish nothing if Israel does not recognize that YAHWEH alone is God (4),
love him (5), obey his commands (6), and remember Him by the teaching God’s
word to their sons (7). The house and gates are to be marked by the word of god
as a reflection of the inward reality that Israel is devoted to YAHWEH. Verses 4
& 5 make it clear that these items in verses 6-9 are not simply about the laws but
about the one who gives the laws.
Moses did not summon Israel to obey because he was teaching a law-based
religion. Moses is not giving us a stepladder into heaven, nor is he giving us a 6-
step plan on parenting, or how to have your best life now. As we see in the New
Testament, love for God is demonstrated by obedience. Whole-life love for
YAHWEH will result in his commandments being on the heart.
You see this is a result of a change on the inside, God changes your heart
therefore, you do these things. You see we will greatly miss the point of this
passage if we think that we can do this on our own. That kind of devotion to the
commandments divorced from love for YAHWEH also breaks the first
commandment, leading only to a condemning sense of burdensome duty.
These laws can only be fulfilled by those who are dominated by the reality
that YAHWEH alone is God, consumed with a love for him that finds expression
in desire to please him, commitment to obeying him, and the constant occupation
of mind, heart, and imagination with the wonder of who he is.
WHAT IS THE TEXT TEACHING US
In short, only those who live to worship YAHWEH as an expression of love
for him-those who trust him more than what they see with their eyes, will have
the law on their hearts, teach it to their children, bind it on their hands, frontlet it
to their eyes, and write it on doorposts and gates.
That is a high standard, we are going to make mistakes, and we are going to
fall short. However, we serve a God, that is worth passing on to the next
generation, that is worth our love, our obedience, and our remembrance. And I
pray this morning that you do not hear me say, try harder, work harder, but that
you hear me say that if Christ is your Lord, Savior, and Treasure.
If he is valuable to you, then you should be desiring that to be passed on to the
next generation and that you naturally should be doing some of these things
already. What I am calling you to is to reverse the cultural norms of our nation
and to become more intentional with your own children, grandchildren, spouse,
and those that God has put in your life to disciple.
HOW DOES THIS TEXT POINT US TO CHRIST
And that is exactly what we see in the life of Jesus. Jesus used all waking
moments and activities, He used the opportunities at hand to speak of the creator
God, of all aspects of his creation and also of the God who is in covenant
relationship with his people.
For example, Jesus trained his disciples through formal teaching such as the
Sermon on the Mount. However, Jesus also taught as he walked, as he talked,
and the disciples learned from him on a day-by-day, moment by moment basis.
As a result, many of the episodes in the Gospels reveal how Jesus used different
opportunities as teaching moments. For example, the parable of the fig tree.
The good news for families in this passage is that there is nothing
complicated here. There is not a 10 step plan that you need to stick strictly too.
There is not instructions on that you must make soteriology perfectly clear, or to
be able to clearly explain the book of Revelations. There are no strict rules, such
as you must read your Bible to them all the way through in a year, have them
memorize the Bible by the time they are 15, or go through Wayne Grudem’s
Systematic Theology nightly.
No, God keeps it simple. As you are loving God, as you are living out your
commandments, as you are rising, walking, and resting make sure that you are
intentional about sharing the Gospel with your children.
Now the word intentional is the key word in that sentence. Discipleship is
not going to happen by accident. Satan will do everything in his power to make
sure of that, so make sure that you are intentional in your teaching and always
looking for ways to communicate the glory of your one and only God to your
WHAT CHANGES MONDAY BECAUSE WE ENCOUNTERED GOD’S WORD
So where do you start? This might all seem overwhelming to you. I
encourage you to start small and to be faithful to it and see how God blesses it
and grows it. Start with maybe a prayer before going to work and school. Maybe
reading a passage before dinner or before going to bed.
Start small, be intentional, and be consistent. No longer assume that it is the
church’s responsibility to teach your children the Bible. It is, in fact, the
responsibility of every parent. And if you are a parent and you do not know the
Bible, you should immediately begin reading and studying it, because at final
judgment, God will hold you as parents, not the leaders of your church
responsible, for the teaching of your children the Christian faith.
I pray that when we get serious about passages like Deuteronomy 6 and
Matthew 28 that God will do something in our community that could be epic. It is
not going to be tent revivals or the mega churches. It is going to happen around
the family table. The family table is central to worship. I
My heart is that in our community will come a day when people use a biblical
worldview as their filter for everything. That this culture that has gotten so far
from the Lord will come running back.
So here is my dream: My prayer is that one day I will walk around and see
people living out discipleship. Teaching others as they rise, as they sit, and as
they lie down at night. That the Gospel is their strength, it is the way they view all
things in this life. And it is all rooted because of their love for Christ and that they
then go into to the community to share this good news with others.
That our families will stand out, that they will become attractive, that people
will see that there is something different about us, that they will just have to ask
us and seek us out to see what the difference is. And then we will be able to
point them to the Gospel, and that we also go out making disciples that make
disciples. That is how the community is going to be redesigned. (Coobs, 2011)
1. Are there more gods than one?
2. What are you living for? What is going to be your legacy?
3. How can God command us to love Him?
4. How can I know that I am loving and fearing God enough?
5. Who is responsible for passing this valuable information to the next generation?
18 of 19
6. How can we be a better disciple-maker?
7. Since our God deserves to be glorified in the next generations, how & when is the best time to be making disciples?
8. What are we doing to keep scripture always on our mind, and is it working better than if we were to bind them in
between our eyes and on our hands?