Summary: Sermon on the importance of Christian education
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
How many of you have a cell phone that you usually take with you wherever you go? Let’s see a show of hands. How many of you know someone who hardly ever goes anywhere without their cell phone? Especially now that cell phones have become smaller, cheaper, and more powerful than ever before many people carry a cell phone—even if it is just for convenience or security. Should an emergency arise while you are out on the highway the cell phone is close at hand and help is only a phone call away. If someone you know is out on the boat fishing the cell phone is close at hand to either find out how the fish are biting or to find out if it’s McDonald’s for supper. For many people that little plastic box filled with micro-chips and electronic circuitry is something that they always want to keep close at hand.
While a cell phone is indeed a very convenient tool for keeping in communication with others as the children of God you and I, my friends, have all been given a communication tool which is far more powerful, far more necessary and far more convenient. Today on the basis of these words from the book of Deuteronomy let’s see how Moses encourages us to always make sure that we KEEP GOD’S WORD CLOSE AT HAND.
The words of our text were spoken by Moses towards the very end of his ministry as the leader of God’s Old Testament people. Moses had watched as the Lord brought the Children of Israel out of Egypt with signs, wonders and mighty power. Moses had watched the people of God rebel, repent and return to the Lord time and time again. He had watched as an entirely new generation arose while an entire old generation died off in the wilderness never to enter the promised land of Canaan because of their disobedience and unfaithfulness.
In fact, Moses himself had disobeyed the Lord and was told that he would not be allowed to enter into the earthly Promised Land. And so now at the end of this long and mostly distinguished ministry, now as he turned the mantle of leadership over to Joshua his God-appointed successor, Moses takes this opportunity to focus the hearts, minds and the lives of God’s people on the glorious covenant which God had established with them. This glorious covenant promised blessings beyond imagination for all those who remain faithful to God.
At the same time a lack of faithfulness to this covenant would most certainly bring with it trouble, sorrow, discipline and judgment as God’s people had already experienced far too many times.
Well then, if faithfulness to the covenant is the key then God’s people need to know in no uncertain terms on what basis this faithfulness is to be measured! How is faithfulness or unfaithfulness to be determined? Moses very clearly addresses this concern when he says to God’s people, "The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers, if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul."
Faithfulness to the covenant is determined by the faithfulness of one’s heart to the holy revealed Word of God. Through this written Word God revealed to his chosen people exactly what he did and did not want them to think, do, say and believe. Faithfulness to the written Word of the Lord was therefore to be a top priority in the hearts and lives of God’s people. Unfortunately, just like the Israelites, here is where we have failed.
False gods and idols constantly led the Children of Abraham astray and we also have fallen into the same trap. Anything we place above God is considered idolatry. It may be our job, money, sports, or even leisure activities, anything that prevents us from making God number one and keeping his word close at hand.
God’s word tells us that we are to regard his word as holy and gladly hear and learn it. Yet our attendance in Bible classes is almost non-existent and we limit our church attendance to when worship services do not interfere with our work, sporting events, or leisure activities.
If we measure our faithfulness to God and his Word according to his law and commandments, we find that we fall far short of what God requires. And according to the law we find that we all deserve only his wrath and punishment.
But our God is a loving God and in his mercy he does not treat us as our sins deserve. Purely out of his eternal grace God has given his written Word to us and his word very clearly reveals how he would provide eternal salvation for a sinful corrupt world.