Series: Family Matters
Message: Time Matters
Text: Deuteronomy 6:4-6

Read Deuteronomy 6:4-6

Sermon Summary:

When it comes to family, our time matters.  It matters most to God because he created both time and family.  Therefore, every moment we spend needs to count for something greater than ourselves.  In the message, we learned about how God used Moses to share a new kind of law with the people of Israel (His Chosen People).  It was a command that if followed would lead to the best of results.  The Command was simple: Love God. Love God with everything in you and experience the wonderful result of a relationship with Creator of the Universe.

But, how do we do this?  Our Scripture revealed that we must focus on the one true God and then fight for the heart, not only within us, but our family as well.  And, we accomplish this by declaring that He is the one true God, and also demonstrating that in front of our family as we follow Jesus.  If we pursue this, every second that we have with our families will count.  Our time will matter.

Sermon Outline:

Time Matters: (Deut. 6:4-6)
1. So, Focus on the One True God (vs 4)
2. So, Fight for the Heart (vs 5-6)

Community Group Discussion Questions

1. ICEBREAKER: What is something that you waste your time on?  Could be something past or present.

2. We learned that we have only 936 weeks with a child from the time they are born until they graduate high school. How God has helped you to make the most of time in your family?  If you could go back and spend more time doing something different, what would it be?

3. Focusing on the one true God does not just mean that we "declare" our belief in Him.  It also is a call for a "demonstration" of our faith in the way we live.  Why is this so important?  How have you demonstrated your faith to your family?

4. We learned that our command from God is to Love him with all of our heart is an admonition command (a command that encourages positive behavior and is not a restrictive rule like prohibition commands). If you could issue your child or someone in the next generation an admonition command, what would it be?

Example: Pastor Andrew said that he challenges his daughter with three admonition commands every morning before school.  "Love Jesus, Be Kind, and Have Courage." It is the kind of command that says "Do this" without any consideration for an alternative and will encourage positive results.


Time Matters

Sermon Notes:

Good Morning. It is great to see you all today. As many of you know our pastor is in Haiti right now with the rest of our team. I got word from them yesterday that they finished their medical at House of Blessings orphanage and they saw 67 children and 12 adults. They are now hosting a medical clinic at poverty resolutions and will return on Wednesday. Content to keep them in your prayers.

What a blessing it is that we get to celebrate Mother’s Day. Mom’s are truly a gift from God. They do so much for children. First of all, moms carry babies within their womb and go through the difficulty of childbirth. We know that some moms have never experienced child birth, but have joined our Lord in his love and compassion for orphans and have taken on the role of mom through adoption.

We also have some ladies in our church who are spiritual moms to another family member, a child of a friend, or someone that they teach and mentor in the children’s ministry. They have joined God in his desire to reach the next generation. What a blessing. Today we are thankful for our moms.

We are thankful for the sleepless nights when crying won’t stop. Thankful for the comfort you give when earaches are painful and runny noses won’t stop. Thankful for patience whenever you hear word “no” a thousand times.

We are thankful that you answer questions even if most of them are “Why? Why? Why?” We are thankful for the miles that you have put on the car traveling to games, lessons, or rehearsals. We are thankful for helping with homework even though you sometimes have to learn it again yourself.

We are thankful for the advice that you give concerning relationships even if sometimes you are not agreed with. We are thankful for the sacrifices you make so others can have what you didn’t. We are thankful for these things and so much more. Happy Mother's Day.

Moms have such a crucial role in our world. And today we reflect on how much moms matter to us and our families. For a few months now, we have prayed about this and found it fitting to lead our church through a series over the next three weeks entitled Family Matters. Family matters for the mom, the dad, the children, the grandchildren.

[holding the jar of marbles] The video that we just watched had an interesting stat. It showed the number of weeks that a child has from birth until graduation from high school. Anyone remember the number?

936 weeks

Each one of these marbles represents one of those weeks. As the video progressed we saw the number of marbles getting lower as the child went through various life stages until the at the very the last marble falls off the table. Time is short. And how we spend it with our family matters to God most of all. He did in fact design both time and family.

So, we want to look to him for guidance on the way that we spend our time, so that every second with our will count. Next week, we will learn how to make words count. And then in two weeks, we learn how we together as the family of God (the church) can leave lasting legacy for the generations that follow.

Today we are looking in the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy Chapter 6. Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Bible. and it is the last book of the pentateuch, or what the Jews know as the Torah (Gen, Ex, Lev, Num, Deut).

Historically, Moses is credited as writing Deuteronomy. There are some instances where an editor wrote some verses as well. For instance, it would have been hard for Moses to write about his death in Chapter 34 if he was already dead. There are a few other instances which lead us to believe that there were some other editor notes added to the words of Moses.

However, we can trust that Moses really did say what this book says that he said. We can also trust the authority and significance of Deuteronomy because in the New Testament Jesus declares this law to be perfect (Mt. 5:18), and he quoted scripture from this book more than any other book, except for the Psalms.

Jesus thought it had relevance in his context and culture even though it was written15 centuries before his life. We also should should have the same considerations for our culture and context today.

Much of Deuteronomy is written while Moses is close to death, and with Israelites on the verge of entering the Promised Land, coming out of 40 years of living in the wilderness. Moses’ time is up. He has lived his life serving God and the tribes, clans, and families of Israel.

And he writes about how the nation can glorify God from generation to generation to come. He writes directions from God on how their time on earth moving forward can matter. This begs the question for us: “Do we want our time to matter?” Do you want every second that you live to count for something greater.

That is what we are going to uncover. How can we make the most of our time as we lead our family. What must we do as husbands and wives, moms and dads? What must the focus of our time be to show that our families matter. Well let’s look at our scripture to find out. Deuteronomy 6:4-6.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 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 on your hearts.

For 40 years these people have spent their time watching the preceding generation die off without entering or experiencing the land God had promised for them. Because of their disobedience they spent their time as wanderers in a wilderness.

Before this time, God had pulled the Israelites out of 400 years of slavery by using miraculous signs and wonders. Through bringing plagues, God convinced pharaoh to let them go. With the Egyptians coming after them, God parted the Red Sea and they walked through on dry land and then the waters swallowed up their enemies.

God provided food for the entire nation by raining down bread from heaven despite their complaining. He sent quail to cover their camp so they would have meat. 

Despite God’s provision and fulfillment of his promises, his chosen people even spent their time making idols and worshiping false gods. In this writing, Moses challenges God’s people to move forward in taking the land that God promised.

But don't waste your time getting involved in the same things that led you to the wilderness. Moving forward making the most of your time by being fully devoted to God unlike the previous generation. So what did he say in verse 4 again?

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

So for us today. You want to make the most of your time? You want it to matter? Here is the first thing we must do.

Time Matters:
1. So, Focus on the One True God

The main verse that we are reading is known to the Jews as the Shema. They call it this because because the Hebrew word Shema is the first word of our scripture. Hear. Listen up Israel. The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

Moses was saying, “people of Israel, listen.” “Turn your attention to the one true God.” And, this isn’t some empty declaration either. Moses doesn’t just declare that God is the one and only God to be worshiped. Before this passage and beyond he reminds them how God has demonstrated it. I heard a pastor say once that a declaration is powerless without a demonstration.

A declaration is powerless without a demonstration

The people are about to enter the land God has promised. They have waited 40 years for the promise to be fulfilled. And, Moses says, listen up. The Lord your God is the one true God. And this declaration has been demonstrated to us time and time again throughout our history.

And this this isn’t only relevant for a nation in 15th century BC. God has declared himself as the one true God to us as well. Listen to what Jesus says in John 17:3

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God,

There is the declaration. Now listen to the demonstration of the power of the one true God in Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

We are about to enter the land and experience prosperity. We are about to partake in the benefits of God’s promises. But, let us not enter and forget the one true God. Let us not enter and join with the pagans living in the land and worship false God’s. Let us not partake in God’s promise and fail to know him.

Isn’t that the challenge for us today? You want to make the most of your time as a father or mother? You want to make a difference for the next generation? Declare to your children who the one true God and then demonstrate your devotion to him. Show them who the object of your affection is. Let me describe to you the difference this can make.

In his book, A Spiritual Clinic, J. Oswald Sanders, compares two family lineages. One was the Max Jukes family and the other was the Jonathan Edwards family. Both of these families began in the 1700s in New York State.

Max Jukes was a man who did not believe in God and he married a woman of like character who lacked principle. And among their known decedents, over 1200 were studied. Of those, 310 became professional vagrants, 440 physically wrecked their lives due to their immoral lifestyle.

130 were sent to prison for an average of 13 years each, 7 of them for murder. There were over 100 who became alcoholics; 60 became habitual thieves; 190 public prostitutes. Of the 20 who learned a trade, 10 of them learned that trade in a state prison. And that education cost the state about $1.5 million dollars and they still made no contribution to society.

Starting in the same location and era was the Jonathan Edwards family. Edwards, was a man of God, and married a woman of like character. Their lineage includes 300 pastors, missionaries, and theological professors; over 100 became college professors; over 100 became attorneys, 30 of them judges.

60 of them became physicians; another 60 became authors good classics and other good books; 14 became presidents of universities. There were numerous gains in American industry that emerged from this family. Three became US congressmen and one became the vice president of the US.

It is not a guarantee that your family will turn out like the Edwards family if you follow God. But, the odds are certainly against that possibility if you don’t. If you don’t, It will take the love and effort of someone else down the line to share the good news of Jesus. Someone else, and this is a maybe, will witness your family becoming part of God’s family.

Wouldn’t you rather it be you? God certainly does. Spend your time focused on the one true God and it will make a lasting impact on generations to come. But how do we do that? How do we focus on the one true God. Well, God shares this with a law. A Command. Look at Verse 5-6.

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 on your hearts.

If our time here on earth is to matter, if it is to count we must first Focus on the One True God, and secondly we must Fight for the Heart.

Time Matters:
1. So, Focus on the One True God
2. So, Fight for the Heart

This will make sense in just a moment, but I want to explain something first. The verse here is of great significance for the Israelites, because prior to this scripture we rarely see passages that point to a persons love for God.

There are passages about God’s love for people, about human love for one another, but not many for a person’s love for God. The verses that we do find speak about worship, respect, and fear. But here, God directs Moses to give them a transformational command. Something different from what they have always heard: Love God.

Don't just fear him. Don't just respect. Don't just worship him. Love him. In the Old Testament, you will find different commands or types of laws that God presents to his people. Sometimes, he gives laws that deal with certain criminal or civil cases rather than religious ones.

Types of Law in the Bible:
1. Criminal Law
2. Civil Law

This is much of what we see in our justice system today. For example, Ex 21:18-19.

“If people quarrel and one person hits another with a stone or with their fist and the victim does not die but is confined to bed, the one who struck the blow will not be held liable if the other can get up and walk around outside with a staff; however, the guilty party must pay the injured person for any loss of time and see that the victim is completely healed.
Exodus 21:18-19 (NIV)

So that's just one example of many criminal or civil laws. Yet, there is a another major category of law that is given that deals with absolute laws.

Types of Law in the Bible:
1. Criminal Law
2. Civil Law
3. Absolute Law

These are the ones that our nation struggles with today. Absolute laws are unconditional directions, commands, or prohibitions from God. “Do this” or “Don’t do this”. And God usually personalized the command, “you shall do this, you shall not do that. The best known form of this law is prohibition. Prohibition of a negative action.

Types of Law in the Bible:
1. Criminal Law
2. Civil Law
3. Absolute Law
a. Prohibition (Negative)

You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. Now, good parents will from time-to-time have to lay down some law. And, parents most commonly make prohibition laws or negative commands in their households. Close your mouth when you eat.

It’s a negative command because when you don’t close your mouth you get a negative result, smacking. Don’t pick your nose. For the love don’t eat your boogers. Don’t fight with your brother. Don’t cheat in school. Don’t talk back to me young man. Don’t run in the house. Don’t use your outside voice inside my house.

Don’t take something that is not yours. Thou shall not date until your 16. Don’t text while driving. Thou shalt not be out past 10:00. Don’t hang out with that person anymore. Don’t drink alcohol. Don’t smoke. Don’t do drugs. These are commands that parents give to prohibit negative actions.

In Old Testament Law, prohibition commands are the most common form of absolute law that is given. Likewise, in parenting, this is the kind of law that parents most often give children, and they are very much necessary just as they are in the Old Testament. However, another form of absolute law is an admonition or a law that issues a positive command.

Types of Law in the Bible:
1. Criminal Law
2. Civil Law
3. Absolute Law
a. Prohibition (Negative)
b. Admonition (Positive)

Honor your father and mother. Keep the Sabbath holy. Admonition commands are the kind that say, “Do this!” without any consideration for an alternative, and experience a positive result. And that is exactly what we have here in our verse. Absolute law with admonition: Love the Lord your God with all your heart without any consideration for an alternative.

Typically, when admonition commands are lived out by those who receive them, they cover a majority of prohibition commands. When a child has been instructed to be kind and actually lives according to that, then they may not hear, “Don’t insult your sister.” “Don’t punch your brother in the face.”

My wife and I took our girls to see Cinderella last month. In the movie, there was something that stood out to us. On her death bed, Cinderella’s mother gave Cinderella two commands to live by. Be kind and have courage. A positive command which suggests no other alternative way to live. Be kind and have courage.

Those two commands really impacted Amy and me. And so every morning before my daughter goes to school, I give her three admonition commands. I added one. I say, “Remember, love Jesus, have courage, and be kind.” It’s a command for positive action without any consideration for an alternative.

When she waivers from that, I give her a prohibition command, “Don’t do that!” Sweetie, “When you do that this is what happens.” But I try and remind her that it goes against what I have already challenged her to do, “Love Jesus, have courage, and be kind.”

You see, this shift the focus of discipline from the rule to the heart. We have to have both. Prohibition commands and rules are necessary for our good. But we must not neglect the heart when we teach our children.

As we focus on God, we will have a greater desire to fight for the hearts of our children. But will be an worthless fight if our own hearts are not in tune with God’s. Listen to the intensity of what is said:

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 on your hearts.

A theologian named Chris Wright explains how the people of Israel would have understood heart, soul, and strength. The heart to them is what we would call the mind today. The heart was the organ of the will. It was where you made decision and choices.

They understood the soul to be their “inner person” or what we would now call the heart. With all of their strength, literally means “with as much as you have to give.” But, if we got consumed in trying to break down each part, we would miss the point. God doesn’t want us compartmentalize our love for him.

This verse simply gathers these terms to show that we should love God with our entire being. Everything that is within us should should be about loving God. And you say, how do I do that? Well, the answer is that you don’t. God does.

God loves us, so much so, that he sacrificed his one and only son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins, and when we finally come to realize his great love for us, and trust in Jesus as our Savior, he gives us his Holy Spirit. His Holy Spirit fills our hearts with His love.

And, as we get to know our creator through the study of his word, through prayer, through conviction, we in turn, love him back with the love was first instilled in us. That is why the Scripture says,

We love because He first loved us.

And this is not a burden. This is not some meaningless obligation. Just like a starving person would not consider it a burden to eat a good meal. Or a homeless person would not consider it a burden have a safe and comfortable shelter for the night.

God is not commanding us to love him to add another obligation to us. He commands us because he knows that due to our sin, we so easily forget his great love for us. Just like the Israelites, we so easily forget that he has pulled us from slavery. For us it is the slavery of sin.

We so easily forget how he provided for us every step of the way. We are quick to construct idols in our lives and shift our attention to other things. But God says, love me with all your heart, everything that is in you. Not just to follow a rule, but to have a relationship with the One True God. Philosopher William James once said:

“The great use of time is to spend it on things that will outlast our lives.”

[Holding the Jar of Marbles] If our families really matter to us, and we desire the best for the generations to come, then we should make our time count, each week count by focusing on the One True God fighting for the heart. Our heart first. Our relationship with God first, and then for those we love.

When we do that, we are making much more than just a declaration of our love for God. We will will be demonstrating it for those who are watching, as we abide in our relationship with God. I submit to you today, that if Jesus is your focus and the one you love, then your time with your family will matter. Every one of these weeks will count. Our time matters.