HAVING A LOVE AFAIR WITH THE FATHER
Sermon shared by Steven Dow
Summary: This is the first in a series of messages title "A Love Affair".
Audience: General adults
Deuteronomy 6:1-3, “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, 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, 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 ancestors, promised you.”
There are several significant blessing that are promised to those who live lives of loving obedience toward God. The first is…
a) You Learn To Fear The Lord.
Now I will admit right up front that this doesn’t sound like much of a blessing – be afraid? It really sounds more like a problem or even a curse. But in the Bible we learn that it is a very good thing to have a healthy fear of the Lord. The word “fear” means to honor or to reverence God. Basically it means to respect God. And the measure of our respect for God is our obedience to God.
But this leads me to a chicken-or-the-egg kind of question. Do we respect God because we obey Him? Or do we obey God because we respect Him? My first thought would be that we respect God and therefore we obey Him. However, if you look closely at verse 2 you will see that the fear of the Lord comes as a result of obedience to God’s commands and instructions.
But I still think that if you have no fear of the Lord you won’t obey him in the first place. Here is what I have come to conclude about this. It is not an either or answer. It is not a matter of fearing God and then obeying or of obeying and then fearing. While the fear of the Lord is about respecting God it also includes the obvious concept of fright. In other words, God is big and powerful and we are, frankly, scared of what He might do to us if we disobeyed him. It is as Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” So at least initially we may find ourselves obeying out of simple fear and yet as we obey something happens. We begin to recognize the wisdom of God and that the commands are really beneficial and helpful and protective of us. We begin to realize how much God loves us and cares for us and that this is the real motive behind all of the commands. And so, as we realize this, our fear of the Lord is transformed into respect and admiration and honor and loyalty and, yes, love for the Lord.
b) Your Life Will Be Prolonged.
The obvious objection to this would be: “What about all the faithful Christians who die young?” And I guess my response would be: Think how much younger they might have died had they not been Christians. The same could be said about those who are not Christians and yet live to a good, old age. Just think how much longer they might have lived
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