Scripture on our hearts Deuteronomy 6

In Britain in the 21st Century it is getting harder to be a Christian and even harder to preach the gospel. Persecution of the church seems very likely to increase. But what if one day Bibles are banned? What if we ourselves were imprisoned for our faith? How well do we know the Scriptures? How much of the Bible would we remember? How would we cope?

Deuteronomy 6:1 These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 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. 3 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.

Be careful to obey!!

Love the Lord your God
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

This verse is the heart of the Shema, which has been the centrepiece of Jewish morning and evening daily prayers for more than three thousand years. Here was the truth which set Israel apart from all the other nations at the time of the Exodus. Israel believed there was only one God. To remind themselves of this monotheism they recited this portion of Deuteronomy twice a day.

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. The prayer continues:
5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

We show our love for God in every aspect of our lives. With our hearts. With our souls. With our strength. With our minds. And we show our love by obeying God. Commandments are part of a love relationship with God. We don’t have to guess what pleases God and doesn’t please God. The commands tell us what pleases our God. We obey as an expression of our love.

JOHN 15:9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command.

Loving God is not about some wishy-washy feelings towards God or towards Jesus. Loving God is about actions! It is about obedience. And God gives us His word so we know what we should do!

Scriptures on our hearts

6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.

6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. New Living Translation

Committed wholeheartedly to Scripture? Or DUMBING DOWN of Scripture

Reading “The Message” paraphrase instead of a good reliable translation

Great expository preachers – Martyn Lloyd Jones, John Stott, Dick Lucas, David Watson, Michael Green –

Spring Harvest – Bible Readings

Christian Books – nobody is writing theology any more – and nobody is reading books.

Teach the children

7 Impress them on your children.

We miss out on Bible Quizzes, Bible Competitions, Memory verses etc.

Crusaders Bible Class has become Urban Saints.

People sometimes say we should not teach children about God but instead let them make up their own minds when they are adults. The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge once had a discussion with a man who firmly believed that children should not be given formal religious instruction. Coleridge did not disagree, but instead invited the man into his somewhat neglected garden. “Do you call this a garden?” the visitor exclaimed. “There are nothing but weeds here!”
“Well, you see,” Coleridge replied, “I did not wish to infringe upon the liberty of the garden in any way. I was just giving the garden a chance to express itself.”

Talk about the Scriptures

Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Sermons

Home Groups

One-to-One

Deeper teaching –

Making Scripture a part of our everyday lives

8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.
We need reminders – posters, motto texts, Christian badges, even especially the symbol of the cross. NOT ONLY as a witness to friends and neighbours, but to remind US that we are Christians!!

When did you last quote a verse of Scripture to a friend, not in church and not at a Bible Study but just in general conversation. We need to remind each other of the Word of God – of the words of Jesus – of God’s commands to us!

Do not forget!

Did you hear a couple of weeks ago about the man who left his wife at the motorway services and drove 60 miles before he remembered and went back for her? People forget all sorts of things. We really need to make sure we never forget all the marvelous things God has done for us!

10 When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

To make sure we do not forget the wonderful salvation He has provided for us we obey the commands God has given us. That is why the Israelites obeyed the Ten Commandments. Christians often have the wrong idea about the Jewish Law. We think the Israelites obeyed the Law in order to earn their salvation from God. But that was not the idea of the Law. God saved his chosen people by his grace. Then He gave them the Law and the Ten Commandments and the Israelites showed their gratitude for their salvation by obeying the Law. Theologians give this idea a cute name – covenantal nomism. The Israelites never thought they could earn or deserve their salvation or their status as God’s special people by obeying God. They knew that God had saved the nation by His grace. They obeyed God out of gratitude, so that His blessing might continue to rest upon them. So that they would not forget His mighty works of salvation.

20 In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?” 21 tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 Before our eyes the LORD sent miraculous signs and wonders—great and terrible—upon Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. 23 But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on oath to our forefathers. 24 The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. 25 And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.”

In the same way we learn and obey and pass on the Word of God – not because we can earn our salvation – we cannot. We learn and obey and pass on the Word of God so that we can please the God who has saved us.

Obey! Time for a gentle reminder – Evangelical Christians are educated beyond our obedience.

6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.

HOW? One way = memorizing Scripture

We have the word of God in our Bibles. In our arrays of Christian books. On our tablets and our smartphones but not necessarily in our hearts.

In earlier years when very few people could read – oral tradition – everybody memorised sayings and stories word for word. Nowadays we rely on being able to look up and read anything we need to know – so we don’t bother to remember it. We prize understanding and we look down on memorizing and “rote learning”.

So we would benefit from committing Scripture to memory. That is why I featured Memory Verses in our course “Prepared to Answer” and as part of the course in my book “Fan the Flame”.

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.
7 Impress them 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.
8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.

Be careful that you do not forget!!!

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