Sermon Date: Nov. 28, 2010
Sermon Title: Family Survival
Sermon Text: Deuteronomy 6:1-9; 11:18-20
Small Group Text: Deuteronomy 6:1-9 The reality of God’s love toward His people and the world is best conveyed by those who give Him preeminence in their lives. The message of the gospel is especially obvious when communicated through a family’s evident love for God. By this, the Lord is publically glorified and the reality of the gospel’s transformational message spreads throughout the world from one generation to the next. And there are advantages for these families as well. The most notable benefits are joy in the home and the general sense of well-being (blessing) among family members. Deuteronomy 6:1-9; & 11:18-20 lend insight into the momentum behind a healthy family life. And though written centuries ago, the words of Moses resonate with as much relevance today as when first spoken. Note these words from the Apostle Paul: For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4
READ DEUTERONOMY 6:1-9 In family, we place God’s Word in our hearts Writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit, Moses is keenly aware that the prosperity and well-being of God’s people are keyed into two complementary realities: 1. Obedience to God’s word is inherently life-enhancing. 2. The family (the parent) is primarily responsible for communicating God’s word from one generation to the next. All that God declares in His word (“commands, decrees and laws”) – every principle and precept – has been given to promote the health and well-being of His people. When we understand this and align our lives to conform to His eternal truth, God interprets our obedience as an act of love toward Him. How marvelous! He loves us by revealing lifeaffirming truth and we love Him back with our willingness to keep His commandments. In essence, to love God wholeheartedly is equivalent to obeying Him implicitly: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Deut. 6:5-6
In English, “heart” is used figuratively to refer to human emotion – in contrast to the “mind” which represents logic and reason. But the ancient Hebrews use “heart” more comprehensively to refer to the center of both emotions and reason/intellect. Hundreds of years after Moses wrote Deuteronomy, Jesus again underscores this truth. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." John 14:21
Our home commits wholeheartedly to God’s Word This, at least in part, is Moses’ concern – that God’s people would “hear” life-affirming words – not just once from him, but over and over again, passed on from one generation to the next and thus ensuring the health and well-being of God’s people for generations to come. … so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.  Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, promised you.  Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Deut. 6:2-4
The commitment to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” (Deut. 6:5) is tantamount to incorporating God’s words into every part of family life—allowing it’s teaching to reshape values, attitudes and, most assuredly, behaviors as well. The Apostle Paul asks what seems to be an obvious question relative to people’s knowledge of God. And yet, the question begs an answer: But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? Romans 10:14 (NLT)
In other words, from where does the next generation of God-honoring families come? In family, we pass God’s Word on - to the next generation (Deut. 6:7) The transmission of God’s word into the hearts of each new generation is vital to the prolonged health and well-being of God’s people and the fulfillment of God’s purposes on earth. To this end, God-honoring parents teach their children Biblical truths that have taken root in their own lives. Our home learns God’s Word through knowledge and experience Impress them (God’s words) on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deut. 6:7
In short, God’s word is to become part of the very fabric of family life. God never intended for the learning and understanding of the Scriptures to be reserved for a few professional priests or pastors. It was never God’s plan to relegate the spiritual education of children to private schools, religious institutions, summer camps or youth groups. Certainly these programs and organizations support the home – coming along side and lending assistance. But to guarantee that God’s people would continue to love and obey Him, Moses exhorts parents to faithfully transmit God’s word from one generation to the next – in the home. Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Deut. 4:9
And here’s the most profound part: the process of spiritual education should incorporate all of family life. It is to be a way of being – permeating every aspect of the home. •
Fathers and mothers are to “impress" (v.7) (to stress and emphasize) upon their children the importance of obeying God’s word.
Parents are to make the most of any occasion to "talk" (v.7) about life-principles found in God’s word. The insight and wisdom of the Scriptures are to be acknowledged throughout the day – providing topics for conversation when… o Sitting (rehearsing the events of the day at mealtimes within the context of a God-honoring world-view ). o Walking or driving (turning short conversations into opportunities to share godly wisdom).
o Lying down (reading a Bible story just prior to bedtime and kneeling in prayer as a parent tucks the children into bed).
o Getting up (sending the children off in the morning with a prayer of blessing and a one-liner of relevant Godly counsel for the day). In this way, spiritual education becomes life-oriented, not information-oriented. It’s experiential not academic. God’s word unfolds naturally within the context of daily life. If the next generation of children are to become faithful follows of the Lord, parents must make God and His word part of everyday experiences. This is the way, parents teach the children to recognize and experience God in all aspects of life, not just on Sunday at church. See also Psalm 78:1-7. In family, we project God’s Word through our public testimony (Deut. 6:8-9) Tie them (God’s words) as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deut. 6:8-9 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, Deut. 11:18-20
The tying, binding and writing of God’s word onto one’s body or door frame is most likely figurative language used by Moses to emphasize the importance of consciously making God’s word an integral part of daily life. It would be similar to the Apostle Paul instructing the church to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). But, in fact, these words of Moses were taken literally by some later Jewish readers who tied/bound Scripture holders onto their bodies (Hebrew tefillin; Greek phulakterion, phylacteries) and attached Scripture to their doorframes (Hebrew mezuzot, mezuzahs). During the life and ministry of Jesus, he condemned the attitude of pride that had come to accompany this practice (Matt. 23:5). Most likely, Moses is simply symbolically emphasizing the need for the constant presence of God’s word in people’s lives. But here’s a thought: There still might be something we need to “put on” to indicate that we, indeed, are people of the Word. Our home lives out God’s Word in evident ways Just as phylacteries and mezuzahs immediately identified a person or household as belonging to God; what if, instead of putting on these physical objects of identification, Christian families were to “put on” behaviors that identified them as people belonging to God? Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Col. 3:12-14 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 1 Peter 2:12 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
Conclusion/Summary Deuteronomy 6:1-9 accents the importance of Christian parents teaching God’s word to their children. It also presents something of a guide as to how moms and dads might form the habit of looking for everyday occasions to highlight Biblical truths so that godly wisdom permeates the home life. Exciting Bible stories and biblical wisdom afford a vast resource of teaching material to the parent(s) who, themselves, are taking time to grow in the knowledge of God’s word. How unfortunate for a Christian child to be raised with the idea that the Bible is only relevant one day a week – at church. Bottom line: Eternal truths are most effectively learned in the loving environment of a God-honoring home. 3