Summary: People who have a heart for the true God observe the outward trappings of Biblical faith, but they put the focus loving and knowing God by internalizing His Word.
God or the Trappings of Religion?
1. There is more than one way to look at things.
2. "Our daughter took the afternoon off from her job at the funeral home to visit her daughter in preschool. When one of the kids asked what she did for a living, my granddaughter answered for her: ’She sells underground furniture.’" Reader’s Digest.
3. The teachings of Jesus can be viewed from more than one perspective.
4. Did Jesus simply utter inspired speech, as though in a trance, or did He study the Torah and deliver sermons and expansions from it? I believe it was the latter, although He certainly added His own infallible teachings.
5. We know in today’s Gospel text that Jesus is in Deuteronomy 6 because He quotes a portion of it. But how do we know he is actually teaching or applying the passage in general? Because of where He continues.
6. Two distractions have kept us from noticing that Jesus is teaching from Deuteronomy 6 in this text. First, Jesus is interrupted with questions. Second, chapter divisions.
7. The theme of today’s text is the importance of a heart for God contrasted with the trappings of religion.
8. When it comes to social status, some people confuse success with the trappings of success. Although perhaps not always true, it does seem that the more image-conscious a person is, the more shallow he or she is. The same is often true in the spiritual realm.
Main Idea: People who have a heart for the true God observe the outward trappings of Biblical faith, but they put the focus loving and knowing God by internalizing His Word.
I. God’s Sh’ma: LOVE-DRIVEN Obedience (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 15)
"SHEMA (sshee’ mah) Transliteration of Hebrew imperative meaning, ’Hear,’ (Deuteronomy 6:4) and applied to Deuteronomy 6:4-9, as the basic statement of the Jewish law. The Shema became for the people of God a confession of faith by which they acknowledged the one true God and His commandments for them." Holman Bible Dictionary
Possible video clip here
A. Based on solid THEOLOGY (4)
• not just religion or spirituality, but one God
• the idea is unique; not just the strongest of the gods, but the only God
• not just any God, but Yahweh, the God of Israel
• He is to be feared, reverenced (2)
B. MOTIVATED by our love for God (5)
1. Loving God with all we have
2. Temptation: to consign God to one realm
3. Loving God is not some shallow sentimentality
4. It involves great effort of mind and heart and actions
C. Centered around INTERNALIZING His Word (6-9)
1. On your heart
2. Impress upon children
3. Talk about while relaxing
4. Be obsessed with them: write them, tie them…
D. Influenced by the FEAR of God (15)
1. God is a jealous God
2. Being motivated by love does not mean no fear
3. Because God is jealous, the glory must go to Him
4. A jealous husband is particularly sensitive to whom his wife gives attention; this is true of God. Dennis De Haan illustrates:
Shep, the newest member of our family, is a young Shetland sheepdog who openly displays his jealousy when I kiss my wife. He doesn’t snarl or bite, but in the language of barking he seems to be saying, “Hey, Master, you belong to me!” His jealousy gives me a good feeling. After all, don’t we all like someone to care that much about us?
There’s another kind of jealousy— a righteous jealousy—at work in the life of every Christian. It’s not the yearning of a subject for his master, like that of my dog Shep, but of the Master for His subject. Someone has rephrased James 4:5-6 to read, “Do you think that Scripture says without reason that the Holy Spirit, whom God caused to live in us, jealously wants us exclusively to Himself in order to pour out His grace on us generously?”
When we lust, covet, and create strife, we embrace the world’s values, and this stirs up God’s jealousy. He continually longs to keep us near to Him. He corrects, rebukes, comforts, guides, and urges us to get to know Him better. (Our Daily Bread).
People who have a heart for the true God observe the outward trappings of Biblical faith, but they put the focus loving and knowing God by internalizing His Word.
II. Jesus’ MIDRASH on the Sh’ma (Matthew 22:34-40, 23:1-12)
A. Phylacteries (tefillin), TASSELS (tzitzit), and the Mezuzah
The Torah states in Numbers 15:38: "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, that they shall make themselves fringes on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and they shall put on the corner fringe a blue (tekhelet) thread."