Summary: A sermon series on the major theological beliefs in Christianity.
Series – “Does It Matter What You Believe?”
Luke 1:1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, KJV
“About the Sovereign”
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: 5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. KJV
Introduction: Today I’m starting a 6 part series that asks the question, “Does it matter what you believe?” As you can imagine in a 41 year ministry I’ve had occasion to hear all kinds of things that deal with what people believe. I’ve even heard that, “It doesn’t matter what you believe, just as long as you believe.” The folks who make those kinds of statements haven’t given a great deal of thought as to the implications of such an attitude. Let’s say that you declare that you do not believe in the “law of gravity” and that you are very adamant in your belief and that you are willing to “shout it from the roof top.” There is just one small inconvenient truth; if you should slip and fall off that same roof top you will hit the ground so hard that it will “knock sparks off of you!” Another thing that must be taken into account is that the Bible makes it plain that “believing” is not enough if you are just acknowledging an intellectual assent or agreement to a group of facts. In James treatise on the relationship between faith and works he writes:
James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
The point I’m making is that it does matter what you believe and that you put what you believe into practice.
The context of these verses in Deuteronomy is critically important to our understanding about God. The Israelites had been in Egypt for almost 430 years when they left headed to the promised land and they had been exposed to the polytheism of their Egyptian neighbors all of that time. This is important to remember because this exposure and the familiarity of the Israelites with these Gods had a profound influence on them so it is in this cultural and spiritual context that we have this declaration. Moses begins this teaching in Deuteronomy 1:5 when the children of Israel are on the East side of Jordan in the land of Moab and he is reminding them of who God is and what He requires. The Good News Bible translates this passage:
6:4 "Israel, remember this! The LORD ---and the LORD alone---is our God. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
In Deuteronomy 6:4 the burden of the law commences, which is not a new law added to the Ten Commandments, but simply the development and unfolding of the covenant laws and rights enclosed as a germ in the Decalogue, simply an exposition of the law, as had already been announced in Deut. 1:5. “The exposition commences with an explanation and enforcing of the first commandment.”