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His Love Wins Our Hearts

Transcript

Well this is the fourth talk in our series in the Book of Deuteronomy, For the Love of God. I should just point out that in our Growth Groups we're studying the Ten Commandments. We're spending quite a bit of time in the Ten Commandments, which is Deuteronomy chapter 5 by the way. So if you're not in a Growth Group, you're missing out. But it is online for you. You can go look online, and you'll see it [inaudible 00:04:05].

As you know, we love questions and answers at our church. After this talk, there will be an opportunity for you to ask questions. I think Christianity, the growth of Christianity depends on asking questions. We welcome questions. We encourage questions.

But there is a question that we regularly get. It comes up in various forms. Here's the question. We got it two weeks ago. Here's the question: "How can I love God more? How can I love God more?" Or "I don't feel that I love God." Perhaps you're not even thinking of how can I love God more, you're just thinking "How can I love God?"

Well in one sense this is what the series is about: For the Love of God. I think that's what the Book of Deuteronomy's about.

But I want to ask a more basic question. Here's my question: "Why would you want to love God? Why would you want to love God? Do I have to love God? Can't I just get away with believing in God? There's God, right? I believe in You. So be happy with that." Is that enough, just to believe in Him?

Many people in Perth think that they're Christians because they believe in God. Can you believe that? I was telling to a lady this morning. I'm gonna stop saying this, but after every morning. Anyway, so I was chatting to a lady this morning after church. She was telling me her son believes in God. He thinks that's enough. He thinks he's a Christian. No he's not. The Bible is so clear. Believing in God does not make you a Christian.

So why do I need to love Him? Other religions don't ask this. You can go to other religions, you just follow the formula, and you follow the program, and you obey. You don't have to love. You might be here this morning, and you've been invited by someone, and it's really good to have you. And you're thinking to yourself, "Why should I love God? Why should I love God? Why would you want to love God?"

Now there's a number of ways to answer this. One answer could simply just be joy. Joy. When you love something, you experience joy, because joy is the essence of love, isn't it? If you love something you get filled with joy. Now obviously if you want to have joy forever, you better find something that lasts forever to love, because that's what joy will be.

If you've never loved something, you've never felt joy. So joy's a good reason to love something. You want it to last forever? Love God. You'll have joy forever. There's a good reason.

It's not just joy. It's destiny. If you were here last week, I said this. Your heaven and your hell are determined by what you love. That's not just rocket surgery. That's common knowledge. If you go to someone in Perth, anyone, say to them, "What's heaven? What's heaven?" "Well, heaven is where you can be with what you love forever." For some people, heaven is a chocolate factory, you know. For some people heaven is perfect surf, you know.

Just be very careful that you never get tired of it. Be careful what you love, because if you get tired of it, soon your chocolate factory will melt, and you'll be really, really in hell. So be careful about what you choose to love.

So why love God? Because who wants a loveless life? Who wants a loveless eternity? Who wants a joyless life? Who wants a joyless eternity? Those are good reasons to love God, but there's another reason. It's what God wants from you.

The plain fact of the matter is God commands you and me to love Him. That's what He wants. Ask yourself, "What does God want from me?" I'm telling you. God wants you to love Him.

Christianity is the most demanding belief system in the world, because God will settle for nothing less than that you love Him.

Here's this, look at this verse here. This is the most important verse in the Book of Deuteronomy. I think it is. It's the heart of Deuteronomy. Here, "Israel," this is what Moses says to God's people. "The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind. These words I command you today shall be on your heart." God wants not your tummy. God doesn't want your brains. God wants your heart. He wants you to love Him.

But this, look at this verse. How am I supposed to do this? Why didn't God say, "I want you to sweep the floor." I can do that. "I want you to say your prayers." Okay. I'll do it. "I want." Okay. God says, "Love me." And guess what? I can't do that. How am I supposed to do that?

In fact, let me ask you a hard question. How do you command someone to love you? Parents, tell your children to love you. See if it works. Can you command love? So we're back... Thanks Shawn. So we're back to our question. How can I do this? How can I love God?

Are you ready for the answer? The answer is simple and yet so profound. Hear me. Only love begets love. Right? Love is the most powerful, the most powerful force in the universe. So only love can generate love. Only love begets love. Only love has the power to enter a broken, self-centered, selfish, damaged heart, change it, and produce love. Only love can do that.

So hear this. How can I love God? Here's how. God's overwhelming love for us produces love in our hearts for him. Get it? We love God because He first loved us. That's how it works. Here's the answer very simply. The way to love God is to immerse yourself in His love for you. That's how to love God is to immerse yourself in His love for you. That's what Deuteronomy chapter 4 from verse 32 to verse 40's all about.

Here's the title. It's on the slide in front of you. His Love Wins Our Hearts. That's what we're gonna look at this morning. His love wins our hearts. Moses is here. He's in front of the people of God. And he's saying to them, "Love God, because look at the way He's loved you."

Three things. The first one's up there already for you. In love, God chose His people. Look with me from verse 37. There is no other love like this. This is what love does. Look at me from verse 37. "Because He loved your fathers and chose their offspring after them, and brought you out of Egypt with His own presence, by His great power." Listen to this, "Driving out before you nations, greater mightier than yourselves." Much better looking. "To bring you in to give you their land for inheritance as it is to this day. "Know therefore today and lay it to your heart."

What did God do for Israel? He chose them. Look again with me at verse 37. "Because He loved your fathers, He chose you." Now look at those two words. Love and choice always go together. Love makes choices. All of your life, you know this, all of your life teaches you this, from the stupid little things to the most important things.

Why do you eat burgers and not bubble gum? Because you love burgers. And you don't love bubble gum. Your love makes you make a choice. "Ah yes, Dwayne. But I eat spinach, and I don't love spinach." Yes, but you love health more than you love taste. See? If you loved honey, you'd get both. It's easy.

What I'm saying is that love always leads to choice. Those were stupid little things. Let's go higher. Let's go bigger. Why did you choose to marry this person? It's a question my wife asks all the time. Why did you choose to marry this person? Answer: because I loved him. I love... Love makes choices.

If you're sitting here today as a man, and you say, "I love all the women in this room," you need Biblical counseling. You need help. You've got a problem. Let me put it to you another way. He who loves everyone the same loves no one. That's true. Love makes choices. You're not gonna like me saying this, but it's true. Love discriminates, because love must have an object, the thing it loves.

God's love also chooses. In His love God chose Israel. Look with me here at Deuteronomy chapter 6. "The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His treasured possession." Out of all the people's on the face of the earth, He chose you. Why? Why did He choose you? Look at what it says. "It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set His love on you and chose you." Just notice, it's nothing in you. It's not about you. It was never about you. It's about Him.

In fact you were the fewest of all the peoples. So why did God choose them? Why did God love them? Well look how the verse carries on. "But it is because the Lord loves you, and He's keeping the promise He made to your fathers." Have you ever heard circular argument like that before? I'm a lawyer. I know what a circular argument looks like. Why does the Lord love you? He chose you. Why did He choose you? Because He loves you. Yeah, but why did He? Because He chose you. But why did? Because He loves you. It goes round and round forever.

That's what love does. Love does that. Love is its own reason. Let me say that again. Here is the great Augustine. This is what he says. "Love has reasons which reason knows nothing of." Love is higher than reason.

There's this one little kid in the morning congregation who's so smart. He's only nine or ten. He always comes to me with questions. He comes to and he says to me this morning, "Why do you say love is higher than reason?" I mean, how good a question is that? The answer is, "Well mate, do you remember when you were born you were this big? You had nothing going for you. Your mom and dad loved you, because love is greater than reason. Love is higher than reason. Love is better than reason."

In love, God chose His people. And no one can deny this, because this is the history of the world. God loved Abel and received his sacrifice. Cain and Abel both came to God with their offerings. God loved Abel. God chose Abel. God chose Noah, not the others. God chose Abraham, not Lot. God chose Jacob, not Esau. God chose Israel and, you're gonna be offended by this, not the Aztecs. Can you believe God didn't choose the Aztecs? He chose Israel, because that's what love does. God chose David, not Saul. David had lots of sons, one of them was so good looking, long red hair. God chose Solomon, and not Absalom with his hair.

And in Israel, even there, God chose a remnant within Israel to be His people. And that remnant got smaller and smaller until it became one man: Jesus Christ the true Israelite. And when Jesus grew up and in the power of the Spirit began his ministry, He said "You did not choose me. I chose you." And Jesus chose 12 apostles. He didn't choose 653. He chose 12 apostles.

One of those apostles he chose was Paul. Paul was horrible. Bad choice. Paul was killing the church. He was hating Jesus. Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus and said, "Paul, this is what I want you to do." Paul was not going to an Alpha course. And he wasn't attending a Bible teaching church. God chose Paul.

And Paul told us, Romans 5, "While we were still sinners, Christ set His love upon us." Throughout history, God has been calling his people to himself from every tribe, language, nation, tongue. And He calls them, sets His love on them, and brings them to himself.

And it's such a surprise. There's nothing in us. I can't believe, don't offend anyone. But look at the person next to you. Can you believe God set His love on them? I mean, who would have thought? Huh?

It's a surprise how God loves. His love is a constant surprise. There is nothing in us. Look at us. We're not the same. Some of us are stupid, surfy, ex beach-bums. Some of us are geeky, awkwardly dressed engineers. You know? We're so different. We're so different. What keeps us together? His love. He set His love on you and called you.

Now here's the thing. Why is Moses saying this? Why is Moses standing in front of the people of Israel and saying this? Why is he telling them this? So that they would feel the love. Look at verse 39. "Know therefore today and lay it to your heart." Let God's love for you win your heart. Don't quibble with him. Don't fight with him. When the man goes down on his knees at the fancy restaurant at Hillary's and looks you in the eye, misty and holds out this ring and says, "Darling, I love you. Will you?" What do you say? What about all the other women in the room? What about her? You don't... You lay it to heart. You receive the love.

God loves you. If you're here, why are you here? Why are you here? You might be thinking that now. You're here because God loves you, and He's drawing you Himself. Be blown away. Lay it to your heart. Why you? Why you?

Did you know this morning the Quicksilver Pro kicked off. If you don't know what that is, how uncool are you? It's the surfing, the world surfing tourney. Kicked off on [inaudible 00:21:29] this morning. Why aren't you there? Why are you here and not watching it at home? Because He loved you. You thought you were here seeking God. You're wrong. You're here because God is seeking you. He loves you. He's drawn you to a Bible teaching church where you hear His word.

If you even think the question, "Gee I wish I loved God more." Oh really. Love is at work in your heart. His love is before your love. There's an old hymn that nobody knows, but there you go. Words are called, listen to this. "I sought the Lord. And afterward, I knew he moved my soul to seek Him seeking me. It was not I that found a savior true. No I was found by thee."

Moses is telling Israel, "God loves you. And He chose you to be His people."

So this morning, feel the love. Feel the love. Or pat yourself on the back, because you're amazing. Find someone else who will tell you that. God will tell you the truth.

But secondly, God didn't just in love choose His people. Look what else. Look at number two. God rescued His people for Himself and spoke to them. Now look at that. Look at that point closely. Notice it's words and deeds.

I don't know about you, but I don't just want to hear sweet nothings. I don't just want to hear whisperings, sweet nothings. It's got to be both. I'm thinking of a whole lot of songs are jumping into my head. What's has one? More than Words. More than words. If you want me to know you love me, don't just tell me stuff. Show me. Do something.

But I don't think that's very cool. John Mayer. Way cool. If you don't know who John Mayer is, you really are uncool. John Mayer says, he sings a song, "Love is a verb." Think about that. Love is a verb. He's clever, because love is a word, it's gotta be words. But it's a verb, which is a doing word, an action word.

Now look what God does. He doesn't just talk. He rescues His people for himself, and He speaks to them. God is a perfect lover.

Look with me in verse 32. "For ask now of the days that are past which were before you." Sorry. "Since the day that God created man on the earth. Ask from one end of heaven to the other with such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard.

It's mind blowing. From one side of the planet to the other side of the planet has anything like this ever... Did you see the words? Happened. It's an event. Something happened. It wasn't talkie talkie. I don't need some prophet to come and tell me God loves me. I want someone to tell me what God did for me. And Moses is saying to Israel, "Look at what happened. God did something.

What did He do? Well look what He did. Verse 33. "Did any people even hear the voice of God speaking from amidst the fire as you've hard and still live?" Verse 34. "Has any other god ever attempted to go take a nation for himself, from the midst of another nation by trials, signs, wonders, by war, by mighty hand, outstretched arm and by great deeds of terror, all of which the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before you eyes."

What's Moses saying? Can't you see what God did? Every other nation chooses its gods. Not you. Your God chose you. Your God picked. Did any other god go and take a people for himself like your God has done for you? Why did he do it? Look at verse 35. Why did he do it? "To you it was shown that you may know that the Lord is God. There is no other beside Him." Why did He do it? He wants you to know him. It's about love. "I want you to know me. I've chooses you to know me and to feel my love so that you may love me in return."

There's no other love like this. No other love like this.

Now Christian, Christian think with me. Let your cold heart be warmed by God's passionate act of love. Look at verse 32 again. "Since the beginning of the world, has a god ever become a man and died for his people?" Go from Hamilton in New Zealand where the sun rises, go all the way to the Galapagos sort of like around about where it ends. From one of the earth to the other, where has a god become a man and died for his people? Died for his people when they didn't love him? While they were still his enemies, God became a man. Nothing like that has ever happened in the history of the world. God dying for his people. Jesus Christ on that cross bearing the penalty of the people who didn't love him ought to have born.

No parent ever loved like this. No husband ever loved like this. Nothing in history compares to the cross. That's what God did for you, because He loved you. He rescued you from your sin by dying for you.

And yet, it means so little to so many people. Some people look at the cross, right? "Jesus died for my sins. Yeah. You know. Ponies and butterflies and whatever." It doesn't grab them. Why not? Why does their heart remain cold when they see the cross? Look at verse 35. "To you, to you it was shown." God's grace and mercy. If you look at the cross of Jesus Christ and it moves your heart, then that is a sign of God's love for you, to you it was shown. Not to the others. To you and your family. You're gripped by what Jesus did for you on the cross. It's His love for you that moves you to love the cross. He loves you and wants you to know. Others walk by the cross and it means nothing. But to you it was shown.

Do you know what the biggest game show in the world is? Dating show. It's called a dating show. I don't know what kind of show it's called. But it's called If You're the One. Have you ever heard of If You're the One? It's a Chinese dating show. At one stage 70 million were tuning into the show. It's the bigger. You're missing out. But that sounds like I watch it. But I never do. But if you're flicking through, you'll see it.

Anyway the idea is this, if you don't know what I'm talking about. If You're the One. What happens is you have these 24 Chinese girls in an arc. The stand in an arc. There's the guy who's after the love of his life. Some young guy. And there's the host. Now what's happened is he's already decided who his Heartbeat, that's what they say in China, it's called your Heartbeat Girl. He's already decided who his Heartbeat Girl is. He knows. The host knows. But the 24 candidates don't.

So what happens is they all get to choose him. And he's got a video, little caps of his life, and they ask him questions and he answers. But all the time he's hoping that his Heartbeat Girl will be moved by him or like something. He's got big biceps or. What's his best bait? Himself. So he's trying to be witty and funny and trying to make sure she knows. Ah. You know? But he can't cheat, and he's not allowed to tell her that she's his Heartbeat Girl.

That's how the how goes, and I've never watched one for all of that talk.

God has got his Heartbeat People. Before the foundation of the world, the Bible teaches us God has got His people.

Do you know what he does? He doesn't show a video of himself. He doesn't try to be... What he does is he parades the cross of Jesus Christ, and His Heartbeat People are immediately drawn to that. Sunday by Sunday, not just in this church, in other churches. As the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached, as the cross is raised up, God's Heartbeat People are drawn to it.

It's not just the cross. It's that He speaks to them. Look again at verse 35. "To you it was shown." Moses says to Israel, "You alone saw all these things God did that you might know the Lord is God. There's no beside Him." Look at verse 36. "Out of heaven He let you hear His voice." Why is it that when the Bible's opened you hear it?

My dad's not a Christian. He's really, really read the Bible. It did nothing for him. But you get moved by the Bible. Why? Are you smarter? My dad's pretty smart. Might be cleverer than you. I don't know. Why you? Because He loves you. He's drawn you to Himself. He let you hear His word. You ought to be sitting there feeling the love. How much does this God love me?

And there's more. Thirdly look what else Moses says to the people of Israel. "God gave his people an inheritance." In love God chose His people. In love God rescued His people for Himself. He speaks to them. And thirdly God gave His people an inheritance.

Look with me there at verse 37. "And because He loved your fathers and chose the offspring after them, brought you out of Egypt with His own presence, by His great power, driving out before you nations greater and mightier than yourselves to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance as it is to this day. Know therefore today, lay it to your heart."

Moses says to Israel, "People, take it on board. Put it in your heart how much God loves you. He's giving you an inheritance."

Think with me. Think about that motley crew. There they stand. They are ex slaves. I don't know if you've been watching the Rohingya Crisis? Has there ever been a bunch of refugees like the Israelites? In fact some of them used to have children, but their children were thrown into a river. There was genocide. All they got left were worn out thongs from 40 years of wandering the world. They got nothing.

And Moses says to them, on the plains of Moriah. There's the Jordan Valley. On the other side green rolling hills. And Moses says, "People, look here. See that there? The Lord loves you. He's giving it to you. He's giving it to you. He's giving it to you." And then he says "Know today, lay it in your heart how much God loves you."

I Corinthians chapter 10 tells me that this is the same as Christians. The parallels are exactly the same at this point. We are not in our inheritance yet. We haven't arrived there yet. We're on this side of the Jordan, and our thongs are killing us, and we're walking through the dry and in our case literally in Perth, the dry and dusty land. But we're on this side of the Jordan. And what the Bible tells us is "Look up. Look ahead. Look at what God has promised those who love Him."

Moses says to them, before they got it, Moses says, "Know," look at it again, verse 39. "Know today. Even though you don't have it. Know today what the Lord your God is giving you." And for us as Christians the way we feel God's love is not by looking at what we have. Don't look at your health and your wealth and your prosperity and think God loves you. Because then if it's your health, God loves Dwayne more. That's a bad joke. But wait till you get older. You won't think He loves you anymore. Or if you look at your wealth and say God loves me, then He loves Donald Trump more than you, because he's got more than you.

Don't look at what you have today. Be like Israel. Lift your eyes. Look at what He has in store for you. That's what Moses said. "And today lay it to your heart." Let your heart feast on what God has got in store for you. And one day when you cross the Jordan, and you die, and you go into that land, there you will me the God who has loved you before the world began. Look what I've got for you.

Why? Because I love you. I love you.

Christian, His love wins our hearts. Look at this. In love God chose you. In love He rescued you at the cross. He's drawing you to himself. In love He speaks to you. He lets you hear His words. And in love He's got laid up for you an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade.

Are you feeling the love? Are you feeling it? Well, maybe it's not your language of love. You know? We all got these languages. Five of them. You know the languages of love? Do you all know the languages of love? Well I'm about to tell you.

It doesn't matter what your language of love is. God is getting His love through... Let's pretend your language of love is words. Words of affirmation. Well, my goodness, tick the box. God has given a Bible that's fat. Look at how many words of love He's given you. How many times must He say "I love you?" If words of love is your language of love, God has spoken to you.

But maybe your language of love is deeds of service. Tick. The Son of Man came and to to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for you. God has served you to the nth degree. If that's your language of love, you're feeling the love.

Maybe your language of love is time. Quality time. Well, yes, God is always available for quality time. I spent some with Him yesterday. I went down to Lake [inaudible 00:38:28]. I took the dogs for a walk. I had Romans chapter 5 in my back pocket. I was just reading it, praying for it. And oh my goodness did I have QT. Quality Time. Of course you should feel the love. God is never too busy. He's always available.

Maybe your language of love is gifts. God gave His one and only Son. Why? Because He so loved you. That's got to get through to you.

Maybe your language of love is touch and affection. Well, God became like you. He the Spirit, eternal God entered flesh. He took on your body like you in order to love you. And more than that. He actually enters you now. Romans 5 says that God pours out His love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who He's given to us. You don't get more touchy feely than that.

In every single way, however you're wired, God's love is so communicated to you.

So what must you do? Open your heart. Look at verse 39. "Know therefore today. Lay it to your heart." Stop quibbling. Stop trying to find a different kind of god. Receive this love.

And what will happen? "Dwayne, how do I know I love God? Sometimes I feel it. Yeah. But sometimes I get flu, and then I feel horrible and I hate everybody, never mind God. You know?" it's not just a feeling. If you love God, there's only one response. You will obey Him.

Look at verse 14. "Therefore you shall keep his statues, his commandments, which I command you today that it may go well with you and with your children after you that you may prolong your days in the land that your Lord your God has given you for all time."

How do you know you love God? Don't go by your feelings. Cause when the chicken pox comes, you'll feel horrible, but don't worry. It will pass. The way you know you love God is if you obey Him. Jesus said "If you love me, you'll keep my commandments."

Three ways in this passage Moses teaches Israel that God's love wins our hearts. Christians, we've got so much more reason to know that He loves us and therefore to let His love warm and win our hearts to Him.

I'll give you a few moments to think on that. Pretty sure there will be a couple of questions. But chew on that for a few minutes. Let it warm your heart. And then I'll take a couple of questions.

Watch Yourself Carefully part 2

Transcript

We're carrying on today in the book of Deuteronomy. Let me pray and then we'll jump in. Hopefully you've got it in front of you, Deuteronomy chapter four. Let me pray. This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you sent. Father, it is in knowing you that we know ourselves. When we know you and know ourselves we get to truly live. Oh, Father, grant to us to know you and to know ourselves. Grant to us eternal life. Amen.

Now, something huge went down in Perth last night. I'll give you a clue. It was red. I don't know if you're guessing what it is yet. It was the biggest gathering in Perth, I think. I could be wrong. 60,000 people gathered last night to watch Ed Sheeran as he arrived. For those of you who don't know, there's nothing to know really. No, that's so unfair. He's a musician, okay, and he's actually very, very good. 60,000 people gathered last night to watch Ed Sheeran. Now there are consequences for this. There's a lot of consequences. One of the consequences, if you look around you this morning, some folks will be dressed even more geeky than they usually are. Another consequence is you'll see young guys walking around with black thick rimmed glasses. They've got no glasses in them, they're just frames, because thick rimmed glasses are now cool. Above all else, you'll see a whole lot of redheaded people feeling really good about themselves.

You know, for years redheaded people in schools have been bullied. No more. Red is cool again. All of this teaches me ... For those of you who don't know, Ed Sheeran is a pop star. He has red hair, black rimmed glasses and dresses badly. Anyway, listen, here's the point, we emulate what we value. That's the point. The point is we become like what we worship. Whatever your treasure is, that thing will shape you. What you esteem to be of supreme value will shape you. What you worship will shape you. It's so true when it comes to the highest things, especially God.

What we become, hear this, we become like whatever we conceive God to be. Whatever you conceive of God, you will become like that. We will always be in the likeness of what we treasure the most. Let me say it in another way. I'm saying it lots of different ways, but this is a very important principle for today's passage. We are created in the image of what we adore the most. It can be good and it can be really, really bad. It's so important that what you treasure is good, because if it's not it's going to have horrible consequences for yourself.

This week I was seeing pictures of the Sydney Mardi Gras, you know the big, gay lesbian, bisexual, I'm sorry, I haven't memorized all the letters yet. There's a lot more letters after that. I was watching this huge Mardi Gras and I saw images of people and what they looked like. Now that is a classic case. If sex is your supreme value, if sex is your highest treasure, it will end up distorting you. You will become distorted. What you treasure will have a huge impact upon yourself. We must watch our hearts very carefully. We must be so careful about what we treasure so that we don't harm ourselves.

I'm going to show you more of this as we go along. The reason I'm saying all of this is because that's what Deuteronomy chapter four is all about. Deuteronomy chapter four is all about watch your heart very carefully. Remember, look at this slide here. Remember, look at those brackets. It says "part two". That's because it is. Watch yourself very carefully. Part one was last week. Last week we looked at this verse. Look at this verse here. Only take care. Keep your soul diligently, lest you forget and lest they depart from your heart.

Deuteronomy is saying watch your heart, guard it very, very carefully, be careful of what you treasure because that can damage your heart. Today we're carrying on that thing. Last week we saw this. The way to guard yourself, this was part one, is to treasure the Lord God's word. We looked at that the first half of Deuteronomy four. We saw two things. Don't tamper with his word, don't forget his word. We studied that last week. This week we're going to look at number two: treasure the Lord God alone.

That's what the next half of the book of Deuteronomy chapter four is all about. Notice treasure the Lord God alone, look at my underlines heading. It's still about watching yourself very carefully, because if you treasure the Lord God alone, you will end up protecting yourself. You will be guarding your heart. What you treasure will put your heart either in safety or in danger. Treasure the Lord God alone. Two ways we're going to look at it. Number one, no, number A, don't let your eyes ... Talking about eyes, I went to Spec Servers and they're coming on Wednesday. Okay, that's why I keep seeing things. Don't let your eyes deceive you. God is a consuming fire. Don't let your eyes deceive you. God is a consuming fire. That's from verse 15.

By the way, I just want to tell you. I don't know why this happens, but the first point is always the longest. Don't lose heart. The second one, only two points this morning, will be shorter. Point one, don't let your eyes deceive you, God is a consuming fire. Look with me at verse 15. "Therefore, watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb", that's Mount Sinai, "out of the midst of the fire. Beware, lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves in the form of any figure. The likeness of a male or a female, the likeness of any animal that's on the earth, or the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, or the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water or under the earth."

What's it saying? Moses says this. Watch yourselves. Don't turn God into an image. If you turn God into an image you're going to hurt yourself. Don't do it. Don't distort both God, and as a result don't distort yourself. Now, this idea that you've just read here, I think you're pretty used to it, but that's because you live in 2000 and whatever it is, 18. You know, this was utterly groundbreaking and unique in the history of the world. I'm not talking about Christians. I'm talking about ordinary historians will tell you that this was amazing. Israel was the only nation on earth that came up with these three ideas. Mind blowing.

One, there's only one God. I mean, where did you get that from? Nobody else ever thought that there's only one God. Two, this is amazing, he's invisible. Really? I mean, how could you conceive of an invisible God? Number three, you can't represent him. This is so unique. There's a historian called Andrew Marr. I don't know if you know him. I think he's heaps of fun. He wrote a book called History of the World. I can't tell you exactly what he says, because I didn't write it down. Okay? As much as I remember I've written here. What he says in the History of the World is this, that Jewish people came up with a unique idea. This is what he calls it, "a spark of brilliance". They came up with the idea that there's only one God, he's invisible, and he can't be visually represented.

All people acknowledge that this is groundbreaking. It's out of step with every single other human culture. In fact, you know when the Romans invaded Palestine, this is about the first century just before, and actually two or three centuries before that. When they came to the temple, and this was the temple of the Jewish God, and they smashed down the doors and they went inside, they were utterly surprised because there was nothing in it. It was like this basketball court. They went into the Jewish temple, but where are the gods? They can't see any of them. They were blown away, but there's a huge curtain, the holy of the holies. Your gods must be in there. They went through and they were blown away. There's nothing in here. Where are their gods? There's a box. What's in the box? Words, just words. It's bizarre.

Folks, we're talking about the bronze age. We haven't even got to the iron age yet. Bronze age people came up with this idea. In fact, Christians in the first century were called by Romans, we were called atheists because you couldn't see our gods, so they thought we didn't have any. Where did they get this idea from? Where did the Jewish people ... We know it's historically true. Where did they get this idea from? Well it tells you in verse 15. It's got nothing to do with their own inner brilliance. Verse 15. Look at what God says. "Therefore, watch yourselves carefully since you saw no form on the day the Lord spoke to you at Mount Sinai out of the midst of the fire. Be aware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image."

The reason the Jewish people did this was because God told them. God said to them, "here's how we're going to relate, you, me, this is how the relationship works. Use your ears. Do not use your eyes." That's what God said to them. "You saw nothing. I want you to relate to me on the basis of these things. You are to listen." Now, why? Why didn't God give us an image? Why not? Why can't we relate to God with our eyes? Here's why, because everything you see distorts God because everything you see is a misrepresentation of God. He's not like that. He's not like that. He's not like that. Everything you see doesn't represent God, it misrepresents him.

Look what it says there in verse 17. "The likeness of male, female, the likeness of any animal that's on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, likeness of any fish, the likeness of the water." Nothing you find in all of creation is an accurate representation of God. Don't make an image. Actually, if you look at it closely, this is a reversal of creation. All those things that are named are put in the exact opposite order of the way they were created in Genesis chapter one. Nothing in creation can represent God. Don't make an image.

Have a look at this. Isaiah chapter 40. He's got this wonderful little passage. Nothing represents God. "To whom then will you liken God", says the prophet Isaiah, "or what likeness compares with him? An idol?" It wants you to go, "yeah, right", because it's hard to capture in the English, but it's like, "Really? An idol? Are you kidding me?" "A craftsman casts it, a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts for it silver chains." It's very glittery. It's very valuable. It's very precious, but does that represent God? He who is [inaudible 00:14:50], but if you're too poor, you can use wood. Okay? He who is too impoverished for an offering chooses wood. What's the problem with wood? Make sure it doesn't rot, okay? We don't want your god to rot. I mean, the whole thing is in a mocking tone.

"He seeks out a skillful craftsman to set up an idol". What's the problem? It won't move. You know, the batteries have gone flat. The whole thing is a joke. It's mocking. Nothing can represent God. Don't trust what your eyes see. Let me put it to you another way, because I think everyone is going, "Can we move on now? I've never made an idol." Think with me. I want to say it this way. Don't let your eyes give you your heart's treasure. That's getting a big closer to home. Listen again. Don't let your eyes tell you what your heart must treasure. That's the lesson for us.

Look at verse 19. Moses says the same thing in verse 19. What does it say in verse 19? "Beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, the stars, all the host of heaven, you will be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that your Lord your God by judgment has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven." What's he saying? He's saying don't let your eyes tell your heart what to treasure. Don't raise your eyes. Look at the sun, it's so impressive. Look at the Milky Way, it's huge. You look at all these things. You go, "Whoa". Don't let your eyes tell you what to treasure or what to value.

That raising your eyes, we know that language. That's what Eve did in the Garden of Eden. Eve raised her eyes. What did she see? She saw this fruit. It looked delicious. This is before graphic designers who can make even McDonald's look good on a poster. This was really beautiful. She looked at it. There was this fruit, and she thought, "Oh my goodness, that looks amazing." It tells us in the book of Genesis it looked desirable. Lot did the same thing lot raised his eyes in Genesis chapter 13. God said to Abraham, "Live over there. I'm going to give you that land." Lot lifted up his eyes and says, no, that's got lots of rivers and there's a good surfing point. He didn't say that, but that looks amazing. It turned out to be Sodom and Gomorrah. My point is don't let your eyes tell your heart what to treasure.

Let me apply this. You don't have to pay extra. This is for free. All the single ladies in the house. Oh, that sounds a bit like a song. All the single people, everyone single here today, hear these words. Don't let your eyes tell you who to marry. That's what the Bible is saying. Don't let your eyes tell you who to marry. I don't care how handsome he is, don't let your eyes tell you who to marry. Why can't we have a treasure that we can see? I'm going to take you to one of the most profound verses in the Bible. Why are idols and images ... No, no, not yet. Thank you.

Why are idols and images so bad? Why? God has got his image. God has already given us a representation of himself, and it's there in verse 20. Look at verse 20. "But the Lord", watch this language. "But the Lord has taken you and brought you" watch these words, "out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day." What's that verse saying? What comes out of an iron furnace? An idol. That's how you make an idol, a smelter. God is saying you're my idol. My people are my image. You're the ones that I've brought out of the iron furnace to be my own inheritance.

In other words, hear me carefully, God's saved, God's redeemed people are recreated in his image. If you treasure kite surfing, you're treasuring something less than yourself. God has made people, whom he redeems, to be in his image. That's why we don't worship or treasure anything else. If we do, we corrupt ourselves. This is what I meant by guarding yourself. Let me try and explain this as clear as I can, because I feel I'm not being very clear. If you get God wrong, you will get yourself wrong. If you distort God, you will distort yourself. No human being can rise above his or her concept of God. That's what I'm trying to say. Guard your hearts carefully.

The Greek gods, have you read about the Greek gods? It's like, I don't know why they have home in a way and they don't have Greek in a way or whatever. Those Greek gods, they never stop lying, they never stop fighting, they never stop cheating, they never stop committing sexual immorality. They're bad, and so what was Greek culture like? Well, it was made in the image of its gods. You know, most Muslims are peace loving good people. That is true, but Islam will never free itself from violence, ever. Never has and it never will because its highest treasure is a violent person: Muhammad. Muhammad was very, very violent. History knows this, Islam knows this. You never rise above what you value the most. No one can do it.

Now, if we, his people, redeemed, are being recreated in his image, we all know we're imperfect. Where's that pointing to? Where's the perfect image of God? Okay, let's play a game. Where's God's idol? Well, let me show it to you. Have a look at this verse from the New Testament. The son. The son is the radiance of the glory of God, the exact imprint of his nature and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. What's this telling me? Listen, it's telling me that Jesus Christ is a perfect image of God. He is an exact representation of God. Can I be ... I'm going to put this badly. Jesus is God's idol. He perfectly represents the invisible God.

Let's put it all together. Let me put it this way. If you make any representation of God that isn't Jesus, you'll get God wrong and you'll get yourself wrong. You will not only dishonor God, but you will harm yourself. Let me give you an illustration. I've got two images for you. Have a look at this. Here are two images. Now we have people listening online so I'm going to have to tell them what's in front of them, what's in front of their ears. There are two images on front of you. On the left is Adolf Hitler. He, you all know. He needs no introduction. There's an image of Adolf Hitler. On the right is Mother Teresa. There's a picture of her.

Now tell me, look at those two things, which one would you rather your children idolized? Imagine you go into your son's bedroom. You walk into your son's bedroom, and like all teenagers you haven't been there for years. No, no. Anyway, you walk into your son's bed and on every wall is just pictures of Hitler. It's just Adolf Hitler over every wall. Then you look at your son. You suddenly realize he's growing this little thing under his nose. You look at your son and he's always wearing brown. Then your son starts talking badly about black people or about Jewish. Tell me what you're thinking. You're very unhappy because you're a parent. You love him. You're starting to get jealous for him.

Then you go into your daughter's bedroom and on every wall there's a picture of Mother Teresa and all the children that she loves. Your daughter says to you, "Mom, you know what I've decided to do? When I've finished school I'm going to take a gap year and I want to go work in an orphanage somewhere." She's modeling herself on the things she treasures. Now tell me, which one would you rather your children idolize? How much more should we treasure and value Jesus Christ, the perfect human being? When we do that, it will shape us and we will guard our hearts. Thanks.

As a parent, you can understand jealousy and anger. Jealousy is a good thing, anger is a good thing, if it's from the right place. When we dishonor God, devalue ourselves, God is the best parent, and he gets jealous for us. Have a look what Moses says. He says that in verse 21. Look what happens. "Furthermore, the Lord was angry with me because of you and he swore that I would not cross the Jordan, I would not enter the good land that the Lord your God is giving you for inheritance. I must die in this land. I must not go over the Jordan", which makes you realize how serious God is about sinning. If Moses can't get into the promised land, how will we? Moses is teaching us here that the wages of sin is death. In fact, it's very interesting that the mediator shares in the penalty that the people deserve. Where's that pointing to? Oh, wait, I can think of another mediator who bore the penalty of his people's sins.

Anyway, here's the point though. Look what Moses says verse 23. "Take care lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the Lord your God has forbidden you." Why? "For the Lord your God is a consuming fire." What's he saying? If you dishonor God, hear me out, if you treasure anything more than Jesus Christ, the perfect image of God, then you're dishonoring God, you're distorting yourself, you're devaluing yourself, and all that's left for you is a consuming fire. It's that serious. It's that serious. God says if you ruin my children, if you distort my children, you're going to find me a consuming fire.

It's like when your little girl has a princess party. You know. You have a little princess party and you work so hard. What you do is you buy these little mold, these little ponies, and you put them in the oven. What are you making? You're making little pretty cookie ponies. I'm sure I'm getting this right. Anyway, there you go. You bake these little cookie ponies. Would you believe it? The mold is all wrong. The mold is bad. All of them come out not as pretty cookie ponies, but demented demons. There's your little daughter with all her friends in tutus. You're going to give them demented demons. What are the other parents going to say? What do you do with those cookies? They go back in the oven or they get thrown away or whatever.

God is serious as this. If there are any human beings who distort themselves by treasuring something more than Jesus Christ, they'll go back in the oven. God will turn out to be a consuming fire. I'm not talking about believing in Jesus, because I'm so scared someone is here this morning going, "Whew, thank goodness I believe in Jesus." We're not talking about that. We're talking about idolizing Jesus, treasuring him, valuing him more than anything else, and so over time becoming more like him. When you become more like him, what will you become? More and more human, because he is the perfect human being.

Perhaps I should close with this thought. I was chatting to a lady this morning after the morning congregation. She came up to me. Her son is a horrible drug addict. She so related to what I said. An alcoholic is the same. When you look at a drug addict or an alcoholic, you see somebody for all that they say who treasures their drugs, who treasures their alcohol more than God, more than their friends, more than their family. Look at them and see what their idols have turned them into. That's what Moses is saying. Guard your heart. Treasure Jesus only.

Okay, Dwayne, well that was heavy. I'm definitely guilty. I'm standing in front of you all and I'm thinking, "Well, I've treasured kite surfing and I've treasured surfing, and I've treasured surfing, and I've treasured kite surfing." I'm guilty. You're probably sitting there thinking ... I've got such good news for you. Look again with me at verse 24. "The Lord your God is a consuming fire". It's true. He's a jealous God. Can I tell you another truth? Just as true, but so beautiful. Look at verse 31. "For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget his promises, the covenant with your fathers that he promised them." How good is this? What does the gospel do? God is a consuming fire and we're all guilty, but he doesn't stop there.

The next half of Deuteronomy four tells us God is merciful. What makes the change in God? It's the same God. The answer is, you're going to see, verse 25 to verse 31, is that if you turn back to him. That makes all the difference in the world, and that's our second thing. Much shorter. Don't stop seeking him, because God is merciful and faithful. It's wonderful. Have a look with me at verse 25. When your fire, uh when you. See, I went to spec service and it's coming on Wednesday. I keep seeing "your" when it says "you".

"When you father children and children's children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image", if you prefer kite surfing to God or anything else, "in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, so as to provoke him to anger," just let me pause there. See what Moses says. Why does he say when you grow old? These things don't happen overnight. You don't come to church on Sunday and go, "Oh, I love Jesus", and you wake up on Monday and you love something else. It doesn't work like that. It takes time to drift.

Let me tell you how it works. You love Jesus. You really love Jesus. Then you get your first job, so you buy a car, because you must. It's a good thing to do. You really like your car. Then you work hard. You earn more money. What do you do? Well, you get a better car. Why? You're earning more money, so you can. [inaudible 00:31:31], okay, great, but you love Jesus. I love Jesus. Then you keep working. You get a promotion. You earn more money. What do you do? Well, you get a better car. Why? The other one was fine. I know, but well this one's got go faster stripes on it, or whatever. You know, but you love Jesus. Then you earn more money. What do you do? Well, you get a better car because you earned more money. You deserve it. What's going on? You're drifting. You're lying to yourself. By the time you're all done you treasure stuff more than God. You still believe in Jesus totally, but you've drifted far in your heart. That's what Moses is talking about. Watch out when you get older.

Look what he says, "I call", verse 26, "heaven and earth". This is a [inaudible 00:32:20]. "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed." The wages of sin is death. I'm not joking, says Moses. You will be destroyed. Verse 27, "And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples". Do you want to live like the others? Okay, fine, be like them then that's what God says. You won't be my treasures possession. You'll be like everyone else. You want to be like them? Be like them "and you will be left few", verse 27, "in number", which is the opposite of the Abraham promise. God said to Abraham, "I'll make you a multitude of people". No, no, now you're going to be few, going to be a few of you left.

Now here's the hardest verse to hear, verse 28, "And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell." God says do you want idols? Fine, have your idols. It is a horrible, horrible judgment when God gives us over to something that's less than he is. What's the problem with idols that can't hear, eat or smell? They can't save you. Dwayne, cry out to your kite surf, you know your kite. See if it'll save you when you're in trouble. That's what God is saying. If you treasure anything more than me, let that be your savior, but remember it can't eat, see, hear or anything.

You know that this is what's happening in our society today. I don't want to spend much time on this, but one of our idols in western culture, just chatting to a lady who has come back from a different culture. She'll tell you how different it is. One of the things we treasure in the west is sex. It has become our value. What do you think will happen to us when we worship that? Well, what we're seeing. Sydney Mardi Gras, people completely confused about sexuality. They don't even know if they're a boy or a girl. How is that happening, because you've distorted God and made an idol of sex. You're distorting yourself.

This is what Romans has said. Claiming to be wise, they become fools. They exchange the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. What's the result? God gave them up. He give you over. You want to serve idols? Have your idols. He gave them up to the lusts of their hearts, to impurity. Here's the saddest thing, to the dishonoring of their bodies. You end up dishonoring yourself, and nobody is happy. It's not making anyone happy. Watch yourselves. Thank God he's not like our idols.

Look there with me at verse 20. Uh, what does it say? Verse 30. Look at verse 30. When you ... Oh no, I can't see properly. Verse 29, "But from there you will seek the Lord your God. You will find him if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul." This is so wonderful. After all we've done, God says, "But if you seek me, you will find me. I'm not going to hide from you. You will find me." Verse 30. "When you are in tribulation," I.e., when it hurts. I was chatting to that same lady and I quoted this verse to her. I said, "When your son is a drug addict decides that he's in tribulation, when it hurts him enough, he might come back to the true and the living God."

That's what Moses says. When it really hurts, "and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice." The latter days are from Pentecost till today and tomorrow. It's all the days that God pours out his Spirit and draws his people from idols to turn to the living God and wait for his son from heaven, Jesus Christ. Here's the good news. Look at verse 31. Why does God just take us back? We just assume he will. How many times will your wife accept sorry? Why does God just take us back? Look at verse 31, "For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He won't leave you or destroy you or forget the promises he's made, the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them."

God is so ... This is why we don't want to have images. Whatever you turn God into, I'm telling you, is not going to be as nice as God is. Why would you want to distort God? He's so amazing. He's merciful, kind, and keeps all these promises. You don't get better than that. Turn back to him. This morning we're going to come to communion. Think about the ways you've treasured other things more than him. We've all done it. Know that when you do that, God will present himself to you as a consuming fire, but know that if you turn back to him you will find him to be merciful and kind.

Now, where is that most clearly seen? Where can you see God as a consuming fire, and at the same time merciful? Where can you see it together? It's on the cross, when Jesus Christ died on the cross. What you see there is consuming fire. Look what God did to Jesus. Look what God did to Jesus when he carried your and my sin. Look what God did to Jesus. Consuming fire. At the same time, look at God's mercy, because ... No, keep back where you were. Look at God's mercy. You see how Jesus dies in our place for us. Consuming fire, mercy all on the cross.

I've got something even better to show you as we close. Think about this. When we distort God, when we treasure anything more than God, we distort ourselves. Humanity gets distorted. The most perfect human being that ever lived was Jesus Christ. Would you believe he was distorted? Would you believe that he was changed because of our sin? Look at this incredible verse from Isaiah 52. They're talking about Jesus on the cross. "As many were astonished at you", watch this, "his appearance was so marred beyond human semblance." This is astonishing. Here is the perfect human being, perfect image of God. Guess what happens to him? He gets marred. He gets distorted. They put a crown of thorns on his head, they whip him, they beat him. What's going on? He's being turned because of our sin. That's what we've done to ourselves. By dishonoring God, we've changed ourselves.

Jesus did it for us. Look what it says, "His form beyond that of the children of mankind". Jesus was completely marred. Why is he doing it? Look at what it says, "So shall he sprinkle many nations." Jesus did that to clean us. Jesus did that to wash us from all that idolatry, from all that valuing other things, from all the harm we've caused ourselves, he washes us clean by undergoing it for us. That's why we come to communion. When we come to communion we think about what Jesus did for us. I'm going to give you a few moments, just a bit of silence. Think about these things. Then I'll pray and I'll explain what communion is all about. Have a few moments just to think about these things.

Watch Yourself Very Carefully

Transcript

If you're a visitor here today, we're in number two. We're working our way through the book of Deuteronomy, for the love of God, and we're in number two. We began it last week and we're gonna pick it up this week again. So why don't I pray, and please have that passage open in front of you and we will look through it together. Let's pray.

Father, there are few things more hurtful or destructive of a relationship, where someone refuses to speak to someone else. There are few things that break up a relationship more than silence. Where someone will not share, or open their mind or share their feelings. Just won't talk to somebody. But Father, you've never been like that. You always speak. You speak day in and day out. All of creation speaks. But above all else, your word speaks. Here it is in front of us. So we want to be those who are quick to listen. Open our ears, our hearts, may we hear what you have to say to us. Please Lord, make us a listening and obeying people, for our good, for our happiness, for your glory. Amen.

You may not be aware of this. I came across this, this week, but did you know Australia's actually a very dangerous place to live? You may not have thought that, but did you know that 434 people die every single day in Australia? 400 and ... That's quite a sobering thought. Saturday night when you're watching Gardening Australia, because you love your wife, and you want to be there for her. Anyway, while you're watching this presentation, by the time you finished watching it, 434 people have died. Now that's a sobering thought. What's even more sobering, is did you know what the number one killer of Australians is? Number one killer; no rivals. Number one is in fact heart disease. Heart disease, and it's a very scary thought that what's going on inside of you, can kill you. Nevermind what's out there. What's inside of you, can kill you.

Well, for this reason, Australians take a lot of care. What we do as a society, we look after our hearts. We know this. There's even a thing called Heart Foundation. You know the Heart Foundation people, and they've got their little red hearts. If you go to Kohl's, and you go to Woolworth's, you only buy stuff that's got a little red heart on it, because the Heart Foundation says that's okay. That will protect your heart. We try and look after our hearts.

That's why everywhere you go there's calorie counts on everything. So, you can look after your heart.  You go to McDonald's and it'll tell you this burger has got all the calories you need for the next three weeks. It's all there for you. Or you go past a bus stop and it's got that internal organs all over it; ugly! But it's trying to say to you, "Look after your heart." And, fair enough. It's a good thing to do, don't you think? I'll give you another statistic, your heart may be the number one killer of people in Australia. Do you know what the only killer is of the human soul? It's not number one, it's only. What's the only killer of the human soul? The answer is, your heart. Your heart.

And of course I'm not talking about this little ticker that pumps blood. I'm not talking about that. I'll show you just now what I mean. But the Bible teaches us that the heart, that's the word the Bible uses, the heart is the center of your being. The heart is the real you. Everything flows from your ... Let me put it to you this way, your heart is the center of your loves. That's what your heart is. And your heart can kill you, or your heart can protect you. What you love will protect you. What you love will kill you as well. So, look at what the Bible says in the book of Proverbs. Look at this.  "Keep your heart with all vigilance." Why? "Cause from it flow the springs of life." Just that keep that up there for a while. Like water, bubbling up from a spring, it all comes from somewhere, a spring. You come from your heart. Your heart gushes out into who you are. Your heart is the epicenter of your loves.

Let me try and explain it to you. Everything about you flows from your heart. Your emotions, your feelings, where do they come from? They flow from what your heart loves. That'll determine your emotional life. The choices you make. Why do you make choices in life? Your choices are made on the basis of what your heart loves. Your heart is at the center of it all. Your mind ... How does your brain work? Well, all through the day your senses gather information, tastes, hearing, seeing .... It pulls information. What your brain does is your brain sorts and values them. "I like that. I don't like that. That's nice. That's ugly." But all of those value judgements are based on the heart. What your heart thinks. In fact, your mind will justify the choices you make. Whatever choices you make, based on your heart, your mind will come along and machinate and justify the choices you make.

In other words, how important is your heart? It's so important! You can live with a broken body, get some medicine. It's not going to be nice, but you can live. You can live with a broken mind. You can survive a broken mind, you can survive a broken mind, that's really not going to be nice. You can get some medicine, you can get help. It's not gonna be nice, but you can survive. But who can fix a broken heart? What medicine is there that can help with a broken heart? Therefore, surely, people, surely we want to protect our hearts. We look after the other one. It's on the bus stop. We look after our other heart, and that other heart, this little ticker, it can just kill your body. And it can only kill it once. But this heart I'm talking about, won't just kill your body. It'll kill your soul.

And after your dead, what does it do? Well, I'll tell you what it does. It puts you on a collision course with God, who designed it. And what you will find is for the rest of eternity you will oppose Him because of your heart. So, how much more value should we store on our heart?  Not this, but ... I can't draw it for you cause I don't know what it looks like. You get my point though? How valuable is the human heart? You know what the biggest danger to a human being is? I'm gonna tell it to you. Biggest danger to a human being is to love what isn't God. That's our biggest danger. This little thing inside of me, my heart, could, can you believe it, fall in love with something that's not God. Danger, big, big danger.

This is gonna go all the way through, I had some great questions this morning and they all came back to this Psalm. I'm gonna say it as clearly as I can. "What you love will determine your heaven and your hell." Your love will determine your heaven and your hell, and that's what Deuteronomy 4 is all about. Deuteronomy chapter four is all about guarding your heart. Actually, the church is the heart foundation. We're gonna learn over the next two weeks how to guard your heart. But look with me if you don't believe it. Look at four verse nine, "Only take care. Keep your soul diligently." See what it's saying in Deuteronomy four verse nine? "Keep your soul diligently." And I've got a few more, have a look on the PowerPoint. Look at this, this is all from Deuteronomy four. "Therefore, watch your selves very carefully." That's the title of this sermon. "Be weariless to raise your eyes ..." Be careful, oopsy. Don't look up and see something you might love more than God. That's what it's ... We'll get there. Beware. Take care, lest you forget. Watch out. Or verse 39, "Lay it to your heart." All of that, Deuteronomy four. What's Deuteronomy four about?  How to guard your heart. How to protect your heart. We've got two things. Here they are for you. "Treasure the Lord God's word. Treasure the Lord God alone." And that's part one and part two. Today, we're just gonna do number one. No, don't go there yet. Today, we're just gonna do number one, "Treasure the Lord God's word." Next week, we're gonna do "Treasure the Lord God alone."

And before I go on, look at the logic. Why do you say, "I thought we were gonna talk about protecting the heart? And you've got treasure the ... What are you saying?" Well, listen. Listen to Doctor Jesus, he's a cardiologist. He says, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." So, if you wanna protect your heart, you gotta find some treasure where you can deposit it. Cause your heart will follow your treasure. So, I'm gonna show you from Deuteronomy four, that the way to protect your heart is to treasure the Lord God's word. And next week, "Treasure the Lord God alone." And that will protect you! If you treasure something else, that thing will save you if it can, or it will destroy you.

Have a look at it with me. Here's number one for today. "Treasure the Lord God's word." And there's two, so don't panic we're just gonna look at two things this morning. Number one, longer than the second one. "Don't tamper with His word." I'm showing you from Deuteronomy four, how to treasure the Lord God's word. Look with me, Deuteronomy chapter four verse one. "And now, oh Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I'm teaching." And I'll just pause there. Look at those first two words, "And now," okay? This is actually very important. What's been happening is Deuteronomy chapter one, two, and three we did a sermon on it last week. And there's two growth groups studies on it. What Moses has done is he's rehearsed the history of Israel. "This is what God did. This is what God did. This is what God did." And then he gets to chapter four, from four to eleven is the preaching. But, look at verse one. "And now, do this!" And that logic is so important.

History leads to obedience.  History is about what God has done. Now, you obey Him. That's logic. That is such important logic. God rescued you from Egypt. He brought you all through the wilderness. He beat up Og, remember that cool name? He beat up Simon. He's brought you here. Now obey Him. You think I'm making a big deal? But religion does the opposite. Religion says, "Obey God, and He'll do stuff for you." That's not Christianity. Biblical Christianity is God has done stuff for you, now you obey Him. Get it? You and I haven't been saved from Egypt. I'm ... Who's ever been saved from Egypt here? Although I had such bad gastro in Egypt, I was saved from Egypt, but that's another subject. So, we don't look back to Egypt, we look back to what? To the cross. Where Jesus Christ did something for us. He died the death we deserved. He died for us, and when we look back at that history we got. Okay, that's what God did, I shall now do stuff for Him. I obey in response. God acts first, I act second. He commands ...

Religion says, "No, no, no. You act first. You obey God. Give your money to God. He'll give you money back!" No, no, that's not Christianity. Christianity is He does stuff first, and we respond in obedience. We don't obey God to be saved, we obey God because he has saved us. And, yet for all that, let me be as clear as I can. Without obedience, you can't be saved. Let me show it to you. Look in verse one, "And now Israel, in the light of everything God has done. Listen to the statutes and rules that I'm teaching you, and do them ..." Why? "That you may live." In other words, if you disobey God, you will not live. It's very simple. If you disobey God, you will not live. And more, you won't get to the place He's promised you. Look at the end of verse one there. "Go in, take possession of the land that the Lord your God of your fathers has given you."

Friends, I wanna say this as clear as I can. Let me say it. You will not get to heaven unless you obey God. You're not gonna get there. You will not live. You will go into the land the Lord the God has promised you, unless you obey Him. Now everyone hear me. But you will not get to heaven because you obey Him. So, everyone can breathe a sigh of relief.  Cause we know we don't do it perfectly. You're not going to get to heaven because you obey Him. You'll get to heaven because Jesus obeyed Him on your behalf. However, you will be excluded from heaven by your disobedience. Let me say it again. Your obedience will not get you to heaven, but your disobedience will exclude you from heaven.

If you carry on with pornography, you will not go to heaven. You heard it here, and you will die, and you will be absolutely surprised cause your whole life you called yourself a Christian. And your whole life you believed in God, but you didn't stop pornography, you will be excluded. You heard it here, and Moses says the same thing. And the book of Revelations says "Outside are the sexually immoral."

You heard it here very clearly, don't deceive yourself. And there is proof of this in verse three. Cause look at what Moses says in verse three. He says this is the way God has always worked. Verse three, "Your eyes have seen what the Lord did at Baalpeor. For the Lord your God destroyed from among you, Israel, the people of God. From among you, all those who followed the Baal of Peor." Why have I picked on the Baal of Peor? No, I haven't, Moses did. So, why did I pick on pornography? Cause that's Baal of Peor. If you go to Numbers 25, what did the men of Israel do? They started committing sexual immorality. Even though they were God's people saved from Egypt. but they committed sexual immorality and what did God do? Numbers 25, He told the Levites to grab a sword and go and stab, cut, flay, kill. And a whole lot of God's people died. God's not joking, "If you disobey me, you will not get there." He's telling you.

But, there's such encouragement, because look at what He says in verse four.  [00:18:18] "But you, who held fast to the Lord your God, are alive today."  Those who treasured Him, and treasured His word.  They were saved! Those who disobeyed Him, were excluded. But the critical point is verse two, "You shall not add to the word I command you, nor take away from it, that they may treasure. Keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you."

This is so important, don't add to God's words.  And, look, we got to get ... We got lunch coming up, so I can't go on forever, but I've got so many examples of this. You know? Don't believe the official Roman Catholic church, where the official teaching is when the Pope speaks ex-cathedral, what he says is what Jesus says. But, Moses says, "Don't add. Do not add to God's word." Nobody, it doesn't matter what your title is. Don't add to it. Don't believe those who come up to you and say, "God told me to tell you that ..." Don't believe it! Everything God told you is written here for you. Don't add to it.

But, don't take away from it either. And that's the liberal mistake. You look at the Bible and you go, "Ooh, you know this teaching on gender. Is it really binary? Is there really only male and female? Really?" Yes! "Oh, but that doesn't fit, I know a friend who really ..." I know their struggle. I love them, I care for their struggles, but they're wrong. There is only male and there is only female. We can't have ... Sexuality ... In other words, liberal is there parts of the Bible which are, I think they're outdated. There as old as the 80's you know how long ago that was! Don't take away from the Bible, don't add to the Bible.

And then what Moses does is he gives us three incentives, which I haven't got up for you. "Don't tamper with His word." And then what Moses does, is he gives us three reasons, incentives, why we should treasure God's word just as it is. Everything you need to know, people, is here. Three reasons why you should obey it. Number one, mission. It's not on the PowerPoint, but it's mission. Look at what he says in verse five and six. In other words, mission, this is your calling. Look at verse five and six. "See, I have set ..." No, my eyes are failing me, verse five, "See I've taught you statutes and rules as the Lord my God commanded me that you should do them, obey them, in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Keep them, do them," Here's the first reason, "That will be your wisdom, your understanding in this sight of other peoples, who when they hear about this all this law, these statutes, they'll say "Whoa, surely this is a great nation!  It's a wise and understanding people."

What's the first reason to obey God's word? It's because Christianity and God's people have always lived on a stage. The world's watching. And when we obey God, we're doing mission because people look at us, and go, "Oh, so that's how it's meant to be." Get it? What makes a nation great? No nation ever rises above its values. What a nation values the most, that will make it great, or make it terrible. For God's people, the word of God is our value. It's our treasure, and that will make us live on a public stage, and stick out like a sore thumb, and be a mission, a witness to people. In other words, what I'm saying is ethics and mission are inseparable.

The world looks at us, we obey God, we make the Gospel attractive. The world looks at us and says, "See North Coast Church, so that's how men are supposed to treat women.  Ah, I get it now. Ah, there's a whole bunch of men, full of testosterone, they love women, and they hate pornography. Ah, so that's what a real man is. I get it now. I didn't know that before." See? They look at us, and say, "So, that's what it means for women to be treasured and respected. And for husbands to lead, by laying down their lives for their woman. Where was I, what textbook was gonna teach me that?" But God's people will show it to you.

As we obey Him, or let's think about racism. What a joy in Australia, everywhere they're trying to fight racism. What a great thing that is. But they need to look at the church. Those who obey God's word, and go, "Oh, so that's how black, white, and all the shades in between ... That's how they love each other! That's how." In fact, it's only the church that's got a reason to reject racism. The world wants to, but it hasn't got a reason really. Evolution will never give you a reason to reject racism, but the Bible does.

We live on a public stage, mission. The second incentive to obey God's word is, listen, God's availability to us. Look with me in verse seven.  I can't find it either. There it is! "For what great ..." I went to spec-savers this week, those stupid little comments are soon gonna come to an end. Verse seven, "what great nation is there that has a God so near to it as the Lord our God is near to us whenever we call upon Him." What's that about? Moses is saying, "But, duh, why wouldn't you obey God since He's on tap? Why wouldn't you obey God cause He's always there for you?"

Parents, isn't this the best reason why your children should obey you? Mum and Dad, do you know why I listen to you? Cause you were always there for me. Yes! But, that's how it should be with your Father, He's always there for you. I watched a staff member, shall remain nameless, changing a nappy. I've graduated, but, man, this young father was changing his child's nappy. Well, all I can say it was apocalyptic. That's my best description. That was nuclear fallout if ever there was a nuclear fallout. This father patiently went about his grotty business, just with love and tenderness.

And I thought to myself, "How can that kid ever disobey a father who did that?" I mean, really? Now I'm thinking, think about your ... Moses says your Father's ... What great nation has a God on tap when you've called Him? Why wouldn't' you obey Him? "Father, I so badly wanna do this, and oh I really, really wanna do this, but I know you're right here with me. I'm gonna walk away with you. You're not far up saying, "Sort it out boy!" You're with me." What great nation has a father right next to you, whenever we call on Him? He's there.

Third reason why we should obey Him, mission, God's proximity, third reason, our own good! Look it with me there, verse eight. What great nation is there, that has statutes and rules, listen ... So righteous as this word, this law that I set before you today. The word of God is its own reward! I don't obey God to be blessed. I obey God, therefore I am blessed because obedience is the reward. These laws, God's word is so good! It's so wholesome! Friends, this was displayed in front of us this week.

So, this week, Billy Graham died, 99 years old. Don't you feel like, a few more months Lord he would've made it, but anyway. Billy Graham, 99 years old. Now, the Australian media, which hates Christianity, was actually very nice. And they wrote a piece, you know Billy Graham, not a scandal in his life. His whole life, 99 years a long time, faithful to his wife. Think with me, do you think Billy Graham missed out? Do you think he died, he's obeyed God for 99 years, do you think on his deathbed he's thinking, "Oh that was a waste. There was that one secretary, oh, I could've grabbed her. I should've man, but ..." He died peace, joy, content, because obedience works! It's good for us!

Let me give you another example, Barnaby Joyce, that's the opposite. Barnaby Joyce, can you believe it? He disobeyed God, had an affair with his secretary. I see there's another allegation of sexual, whatever, against him this past week. There is Barnaby Joyce, his political career is in tatters. His reputation is shot. He's a man who obviously can't say no to himself. Disobedience doesn't work.

Now, let me ask you a genuine question. Who's happier? This morning as he woke up, who's happier, Billy Graham or Barnaby Joyce? Which one's having more fun? Obedience works. God's word is works. It's for our own joy, says Moses. You know this is true. You drive past a speeding camera when you're not speeding. How much fun is that? It's so fun! Obedience works, but it's not just individual. Look at what Moses says in verse eight,  what great nation is ... It's corporate! History has shown, beyond any doubt, wherever biblical Christianity has been in the ascendancy, society has flourished. There's peace. Women are protected, even animals are looked after. The poor, children ... History, I mean come argue with me. History.

Now, I'll ask you a genuine question. Where in the history of the world has atheism led to a flourishing society? Can you give me an example? Let me ask you another, oh, this is controversial. Where in the world has Islam created a society where women are free and protected? Where? I'm asking. Where in the world has Hinduism created an equal and just society? The Hindu caste system is the most inequitable thing ever invented by man! Moses says, these laws, these rules, God's word will be for your flourishing. What nation will be like you?

Folks, we are so blessed to have the word of God, look at verse seven. "What great nation is there?" Verse eight, "What great nation ..." We are lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky. We have His word. Don't tamper with it. Treasure it. For all those reasons.

Secondly, and more briefly, and finally, here's the next thing. Don't forget His word. What are we doing? We're seeing how to treasure God's word. And the second thing is, don't forget His word. You know as Moses stands there, okay, so you gotta picture straw, grass, whatever waving in the wind, crowds of people there, he's preaching. He's telling them, "Don't tamper with God's word." But, I think he comes across something that's even more scary. He looks up and he thinks, "What are these guys gonna do? I'll tell you what they're gonna do. They're gonna go into the promised land, they're gonna have milk and honey, they're gonna get fat, they're gonna buy jet skis, and they're going to forget God's word."

And as I as a pastor of this church, I don't think we're gonna add to God's word. I don't think we're gonna take away from it. I think we're just gonna forget it. Cause we're having too much fun. And that's what Moses addresses from verse nine. Look carefully, "Therefore, only take care. Keep your soul diligently. Why? Lest you forget the things I've said." That's the number one danger. Oh, danger, I was thinking of the word amnesia and then it jumped into the word danger. My point though is, amnesia, that's the big danger. Why are we not loving God's word? Because we've got TV, so we forget it. And, especially, the next generation.

Look with me, look at verse nine, "Watch out! Lest you forget the things your eyes have seen. Lest they depart from your heart." How do they leave your heart? Well, you forgot them. "All the days of your life," Now watch this, "Make them known to your children and your children's children." The danger for the church is generational drift. That's the biggest, biggest danger. Church history, this is how it works, I'll tell you the formula, are you ready? Here's the formula. Number one, the first generation loves and treasures the Gospel. It's front and center in everything they do. The next generation, well, of course we believe those things. We just assume the Gospel, it's not front and center, but of course we believe those things. The next generation forgets the Gospel, can't remember what we're really about. The next generation denies the Gospel. That's how it's lost, it's shift.

And that's what happens in the church, and so Moses says to them, "No! Make sure you teach, never forget." Look at this verse here, we studied 1 Peter last year. Look what he says, this is 1 Peter writing, "Therefore, I intend always to give you the same sermons as I did last week," No, sorry, "Therefore, I intend to always to remind you of these qualities. Even though you know them! And you're established in the Truth that you have. You're established! You know them, but I'm gonna remind you anyway. I think it right. As long as I'm in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder.

So, as a church, let me apply this to us. By the way, actually, I won't do that. I just wanna quickly, we're not gonna spend much time on the next verses. But I just wanna show you, what does Moses want us to pass on to the next generation before I apply it? And look what he says, look what he says, verse ten. This is what you pass on to your children, are you ready? "How on the day that you stood before the Lord your God [inaudible 00:34:15]. That's Mount Sinai. The [inaudible 00:34:17] gathers the people to me, that I may lift them [inaudible 00:34:21] my words. So, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on Earth, and that they may teach their children also."

What must we teach our children? The words of God. "You heard my words, teach your children those words." And this stands out, look with me at verse 11-14. Cause there's a hoo hah here, watch this. "And you came near," Verse 11, "And you stood at the foot of the mountain, while the whole mountain burned with fire, to the heart of heaven, wrecked in darkness, cloud, gloom." This is a cosmic audio-visual production. It's huge! It's going nuts! But, then watch verse 12.  "Then the Lord spoke to you out of the midst of the fire, you heard the sound of words, you saw no form, it was only a voice, and He declared to you His covenant, which He commanded you to obey, to perform. That is the ten commandments. He wrote them on the tablets of stone. And the Lord God commanded me at that time to teach you His word, statutes, and rules. That you may do them in the land you're going over to be lift.

Now listen, this strikes me.  Man, huge experience of God! What must the parents pass onto their children? Encounters with God 101. You need a mountain, you need fire. No! Pass on the word of God. After all those signs and wonders, and they were signs and wonders. The take home is just words. Don't teach your children to expect drama. Teach them the word of God. In fact, there's no expectation that this'll ever happen again, and it doesn't until the New Testament when Jesus comes and, boom, signs and wonders. Because whenever someone speaks the words of God, it's authenticated by signs and wonders. Once you've got it, there's only words left. That's all we have. Teach your children the Bible.

Now I wanna apply this, as we head towards a close. How do we obey this? Don't forget His word. Teach it to the next ... How do we apply it? Well, let me start with parents. Parents, actually, no! All the mums can switch off. Fathers, husbands, I'm gonna ask you straight out. Are you doing this? Are you reading the Bible with your family? It's not a complicated, it's not rocket surgery. Fathers, are you reading the Bible with your family? Confess if you're not. Confess, go to your growth group leader and say, "I have disobeyed the Lord in this area. I have done wrong." Be a man. Be a man! Go to your family, your wife, you wanna earn creed with your children, just confess. Confess in front of teenagers, and you are glorious. Go to your family, to your wife and your kids, and say, "Daddy has disobeyed God. I have not done the right thing in front of you all. I'm sorry. It's gonna change from today." And read the Bible with your ... Why wouldn't you?

Teach them to your children! I'm not saying you need to turn into Charles Haddon Spurgeon of the night. Some daddies can't string three words together, nor can I really. I'm not saying you need to be a preacher. Just do it! Pull the Bible out after dinner, or whenever suits your family, after you've gone in the bush and killed animals, or whatever your family does. Haul the Bible out, pick a passage, read it. And then say, "What do you people think?" Discuss it! You don't have to be a Spurgeon. Teach your children the word of God! Repent, listen, obey.

But let me apply to our church. Teach the children to the next children, and that's how we don't forget our word. I mean North Coast Church, I've called us, but North Coast Church, how are we not gonna free? Here's what we'll do; North Coast's youth. Will you pray for, and support, North Coast's youth? It's there to do this! I was there on Friday night, listening to J-Dub, that's not the [inaudible 00:39:08]. Now you're pulling your kids out of youth. No, no, J-Dub is a nickname I call Joe Wilson. He was preaching on Friday night. Do you know what our children got taught on Friday night? I mean how's this for not a way to grow your youth. For the wages of sin is death. There's Joe telling all those teenagers that they're gonna die if they sin! I mean that's not a way to grow youth. Let's get a skateboard park or something. Pray for him! Encourage him!

I wanna talk to all the people here.  We are not a cult. Your children do not have to come our youth. They don't. Feel free, but for goodness' sake, will you check what they're being taught? Will you phone the youth leader at that other church, and say, "Hey mate, what part of the Bible are you teaching my children this week?" Or, do you just let them go because they've got friends there? Your children don't need friends more than they need the word of God. Wake up! Check that they're being taught an authentic Jesus.

I heard about a Jesus in a youth group the other day, I don't even like Him. Check.

What about North Coast kids? Pray, support North Coast kids, Al and Rochelle. Parents, go to them and say, "So what are you teaching my children?" Find out! As we teach them the word of God.  I texted Al when I was preparing this on Saturday. I was blown away. We have at our church about 80 volunteers helping with North Coast kids. Eight-zero. How serious do we take teaching the children the word of God? It's so encouraging. By the way, please pray for a venue, this is great for us. It doesn't work for Sunday school, for the North Coast ... It does, but it's not good. This morning again, one class, 52 kids in one class. We need our own venue.

But, before you worry about youth and kids and dads, watch yourself. Look at verse nine, look at verse nine, "Keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen. Lest they depart from your heart." People, Moses is not saying, "Read your Bible." Moses is saying, "Remember your Bible." Big difference. There's no way to get around this, other than memorization.

Take a verse every day, make it a habit. One verse, memorize it! And for the rest of your day on the stock exchange, as you're making your Bitcoin trillions, just let that one verse keep going through your mind. Remember it. This will guard your heart.

I wanna close. There it is. "Treasure the Lord God's word, don't tamper with His word, don't forget His word." Now here's the question! How does that keep my heart safe? How does that keep my heart safe? I'm gonna explain it to you. You're heart will only go after what it loves. And because we're such sinners, our eyes show us things, "Ooh, jet ski!" Or, whatever. And your heart decides to love it. So, the only way you're gonna protect your heart is if your heart decides to love something else. Which is the word of God.

So, look at this verse. Brilliant. Best psychology in the whole world is in the Bible. Look at this, Proverbs 23, "My son, give me your heart. Let your eyes delight in my ways. For a prostitute is a deep pit, an adulteress is a narrow well," Now, watch how clever this is! "My son, stop being naughty! Don't go to loose women! Naughty!" No, "Give me your heart. Let your eyes delight in my word, in my way." What are we being taught here, here's, you see an available ... By the way, prostitutes in the Old Testament doesn't mean you have to pay her, it's just an available woman. Barnaby knows about these things.

What, how will you stop going after an available woman? How will you do it? You look at her, we can't tell a lie. Let's be honest. She's stunning! I can't lie! She's brilliant, et cetera. How am I gonna say no? The eleventh command, no?  Here's how. If my heart loves something else more, if I treasure something else more. One treasure will drive out another treasure. And that's what the Bible's saying. Treasure God's word, and then you won't see these things. They won't have the same impact upon you.

The only way to guard your heart is to treasure God's word. And next week, to treasure Him.

There's only one ... I don't know how bad you're feeling, cause I'm feeling terrible. You know? We all fail. There's only one person who's ever done this, let's be honest. There's only one person who has ever obeyed Deuteronomy. Jesus Christ. Here's the true Israel. Here's the one, and let me tell you this, if you come to Jesus, what He'll do, is He'll take all your disobedience from you because he died on the cross in your place. And he'll do more! He'll give you all His obedience. That's how you get to heaven, cause Jesus will give you all His righteousness because He lived the life you should have lived. But, here's the best thing of all. If you come to Him, Doctor Jesus is the world's greatest cardiologist. He can give you a new heart. Not this thing. He'll give you a heart to love Him, and to treasure Him. All you have to do, ask Him. He'll do it for you.

A Journey With God

Transcript

Let me open in prayer and we're going to come to this book together. Let me pray.

Father, it was a long time ago where God's people stood in a big bunch, a great crowd, quiet, out in the open fields, probably the wind blowing, standing there as Moses, Your servant, got up and spoke these words to his people. It's no different today. Thousands of years later, we gather as Your people, listening to what the timeless God has got to say to us. We're in a basketball court, not in open fields. But little else changes for Your spirit is one, Your word is one, Your people are one. Speak to us now, we pray and may we, unlike Israel, may we hear and obey for we ask it in Our Savior's name, Jesus. Amen.

Well, today we begin our journey in the book of Deuteronomy. If you're a visitor, you've picked the right day to visit our church. You've missed nothing because we're starting today. Now, I'm not going to bore you with a long introduction to the book of Deuteronomy. I'm going to jump straight into the text in front of you but I want to comment to you that this past week or the week before, we did some recording and if you go to our church website, northcoastchurch.org.au, you will see the resources tab and you will see an introduction, both by Matt and by myself, to the book of Deuteronomy. You will see in there, the main idea of the book of Deuteronomy.

In fact, our growth groups are going to be studying Deuteronomy alongside of us, looking at complimentary passages. So, the growth groups are going to be studying chapter two and chapter three in their next meetings together. But it's all there for you. If you want to get the most out of this book, I strongly commend to you, come to church on Sundays and go to a growth group and you will be, I don't know, I think you're all going to be banging on my door, "Can we go to another book in a couple of months’ time?" Because we are going to be sinking Deuteronomy so much but I'm going to jump into it right now.

Now, we all know that smartphones are getting smarter, especially if you've got a Samsung. Smartphones are getting smarter and smarter. We know this. You got apps that can do almost anything. Really, I've got an entire world of knowledge in my back pocket. How did we ever get by without smartphones? How will you know when to go kite surfing without the Seabreeze app. You'll never lose a credit card ever again. You just haul out your phone, Android Pay, there you go. Your kids can hijack Spotify from you and you never get to, I don't know why you pay it because they use it all ... Banking, you can see how much you owe all the time. All these apps are so useful all the time. And there's an appropriate I use all the time, you probably know 100 better but I'm old school, and that's Google Maps. How did we get by without Google Maps? I don't even know my way around anymore because my phone just tells me. You type in your address and it just guides you every step of the way.

But there's one app that they haven't invented yet and if I knew how to do it, I would but I don't. But I've got a name for it, I've invented a name for it. It's called the Google Life Map. It's not yet invented but I can't wait for them to sort it out because life is a journey and there's so many different decisions, turns, which way do I go? Wouldn't it be great if I could turn to my smartphone, look up the Google Life Map and it told you what you should do. I mean, there you are, imagine you look at your Google Life Map, "In two weeks’ time, take the job offer on the right." Wouldn't that be great? Wouldn't that just help your life? Or you're walking along and your phone, and you take it out, "In 200 meters at the bus stop on the left is your husband for the future." It will be great. Imagine an app like that?

Well, I want to tell you, life is a journey. Everyone knows this, every 4×4 that goes past me has got laughs, not a destination, it's a journey. Everyone knows this. Life is a journey and if you're a Christian, life is a journey every step of the way with God. That's the Christian life. In fact, if you're not yet a Christian, life is still a journey from God. Your whole life is arranged to reign from Him but if you've turned to Him, then life is a journey with God and Google Life Maps won't help you. It won't help you because God has given you the app. In front of you on your lap, so however you have it, maybe you've got a mobile phone app with a Bible on ... There's your Google Life Map. I should have thought of that. But anyway, in front of you, you have the app from God. This is your life map.

The overriding feature of the book of Deuteronomy is it's God's people on a journey with God being directed by God's words. If they listen and if they obey and if you follow what it says, you will meet with success and life, if you disobey, if you refuse, you will meet with failure and death. That's the overriding feature of the book of Deuteronomy and don't argue with Google Maps. My Dad, my dad's hilarious. I've never met a guy who can argue with his phone more than he ... So he'll go Google Maps and it'll say, "In 200 meters, turn left." And he'll go, "No, I know it's not that way. It's not that way. It's this way." And off he goes, gets lost and then Google has to patiently and graciously help him all over again. Don't argue with the app. Listen to it.

We're going to see three lessons as we start our journey in the book of Deuteronomy this morning. Three things, here they are for you. Number one, this is the first thing you're going to see, the journey with ... I keep looking at that and it's not working. Look there Duane. The journey with God is directed by the word of God. This is not an alternative Christianity. This the only Christianity that there is. The journey with God is directed by the word of God. Look with me in Deuteronomy, chapter 1:1, "These are the words that Moses spoke." I find that such a trumpet call. "These are," not those, not some are lost. "These are the words that Moses spoke." In fact, in the Hebrew Bible, the book Deuteronomy is not called, "Deuteronomy." The Hebrew Bible, the book Deuteronomy is called, "Devarim," which is the Hebrew word for, "These are the words." It's called, "The Words." "The Words," those are stunning words. "These are the words." We are such lucky, lucky people. We're sitting here this morning, "These are the words."

The first temptation Satan ever gave God's people was, "Did God really say?" In other words, have you really got the words? Have you? I don't know. But look what it says, "These are the words." We are so absolutely blessed here in front of us are the words that Moses spoke. It puts us in an incredibly privileged position. Folk outside there are on a journey that's going in circles. They're driving aimlessly because they don't have these words. We've got the app. "These are the words." None other, "These are the words." Life is a journey, not a destination. Everyone knows this and our challenge to you as you come to the book of Deuteronomy is, what map are you following? I would want to say to you, "Have you got your life mapped out or will you let these words shape your journey?" This is going to be the challenge for the book of Deuteronomy. If you're not yet persuaded, keep coming. Keep hearing these words.

Deuteronomy is about God's people on a journey with Him and it's been an incredible journey. I have to give you a little bit of background. This is one of the greatest people movements in the history of mankind. Here's where we started. I've got a map or two for you. Hopefully, it'll come out, just the risk. Look at this. Can you see that? Oh, you can. All right, brilliant.

You are here. This is where you are. By the way, that's the Middle East, that's the Mediterranean on the left but I hope you know that. Those two little brackets I've got there for you, that's the promised land. And the book of Deuteronomy is happening at the end of my little arrow there. You are here. They are standing on these plains of Moab and there's a valley below them called the Jordan Valley and then it goes up the other side and there it is, the promised land.

How did they get there? How did they get to that spot? Well, the book of Exodus tells us, have a look at the next map. This is the story of the book of Exodus. What God did is he rescued this circle, is Egypt and particularly, the Land of Goshen where they were, and God has led them to that little circle I've drawn there for you, that's Mount Sinai. God's people are being taken on a journey. You'll see this all the way through. Journey, journey, journey. They've come from horrible slavery and they're on this journey with God and he's brought them to himself. Here's how God describes the journey, look at this verse from Exodus 19, "You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians." God can't free you unless He beats up your enemies. That's what He's done. "And how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself." This is the fundamental nature of the journey with God, is that, "Where are we going? Where are we going?" We're going to Him. He brings us to Himself.

"Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant," that's how the journey is meant to go. By holding God's word, listening to His word. "You shall be," the outcome will be that you will be, "my treasured possession among all peoples for all the earth is mine." How do you become special to God? How do you become his treasured possession? That's a hard thing to hear because that tells me not everyone on earth is God's treasured possession. It all belongs to him but there's a special people who are His. Who are those? Those who keep His words. Those are the ones who are His treasured possession. Have a look at the map and when you see Mount Sinai, here's what you must think. When you hear the word, "Mount Sinai," think marriage. That's what you must think, marriage, because this is where God made a covenant with his people. What's a covenant? But a marriage.

When God brought Israel to Himself, he entered into a marriage with them. It was a covenant which we're not going to go into now but just understand that it is a level of commitment that you will only see in a good marriage. It's about love. It's about absolute other person centeredness. It's about commitment. God doesn't do casual relationships. What's that stupid song going through my head which I'm now embarrassed about? "You change your mind like a girl changes clothes. It's yes, then it's no." This not God, okay? It's a horrible illustration. I'll never say that again. It just jumped into my head. But my point is that's not God. He's absolutely committed. He doesn't do casual rela ... In fact, He's so committed, I reckon in the future, God will probably end up dying for His people. That's how committed he is.

Now, all relationships are based on communication. Married couples, you know this. And it's the same with God. That's why look at our point, number one, the journey with God is directed by the Word of God because it's a covenantal relationship, ain't going to go anywhere and there's communication, is at the heart of it. "These are the words." So cool. We've got them right in front of us.

The book of Deuteronomy is three sermons, roughly, roughly. Three sermons and two poems. Why isn't it full of magic? Because it's the words. It's the words that form the relationship. Have a look with me at verse 6 and 7. Watch how God directs through His word, verse 6, "The Lord our God said to us at Horeb," Horeb by the way is Mount Sinai, same place. "The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, 'You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey, and go.'" Can you see God's driving the bus? Can you see His word? There we are in the dessert at Mount Sinai, "I feel like a change, let's go there." No. God says, "Okay, that's enough, move. All right, now you go there." God's word directs the journey every step of the way.

Perhaps I can use this illustration which I've used before. Forgive me if you've heard it before. For some believers, the word of God, the Bible ... Imagine if your Christian life is a journey in a car. You're going on a very long journey, maybe to Yanchep or something. Now, imagine the Christian life is like that. For some Christians, the word of God, the Bible, sits in the boot of the car and when you open the boot or when you get a flat fire, if suddenly when something really goes wrong, you have to pull off the road, pause, open, go around to the boot and get the spare tire. Some people treat the Bible like that. It's in the boot and it's useful for? For emergencies only.

Some Christians have the Bible on the back seat and you know how irritating that is because you want to do your own thing and the backseat driver keeps going, "I think you're going too fast dear." You go, "Well, I'm not, okay? Because look at the people in front of me. If the camera's going to flash, they're going to get busted. Not me, so it's okay." And you like slow down ... The word of God is like a backseat driver, it interferes with what you really want to do. For some Christians, the word of God, well, it sits in the cubbyhole and it's actually not a bad reference. You tend to take pieces and put it on your fridge because it's nice to refer to it all the time. Every now and then, you open the cubbyhole, just double check. Where are you going?

I want to suggest to you that those are all horrible pictures. Where should the word of God be? The answer is it should be holding the steering wheel. The word of God should be driving. The word of God is what actually drives the bus and this is not going to come overnight. It didn't come overnight for Israel. It's a journey. It's not about magic. There you are and you're thinking, "I've got this huge wedding tonight, massive wedding. I've got to go. So should I wear the dress with the flowers or should I wear the blue dress?" I know in Paris, they're all wearing the blue dress. That's pretty cool. What should I wear Lord? You go to your Bible and you open up Matthew 5 and Jesus says, "Look at the flowers of the field? Are you dressed like these." I will, I'll wear the flower dress. It doesn't work like that. It's not magic. Instead, it works like this. Let me show it to you.

Here is a beautiful passage from the book of Hebrews 5 and going onto 6, "For everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. Solid food is for the mature, for those who," ... "Powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish between good and evil. Therefore let us leave elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity." I know there's a lot there but notice that it's a journey. We're not going to to Yanchep. Our journey is not to a place. Our journey is from childhood to maturity. Life is a journey. That's our journey. The way we grow in this is what? Well, through the word of righteousness. That's how we make our journey as we grow in the word of righteousness. Look how you do it? You do it by, look what it says there, constant practice, trained by constant practice. That doesn't come overnight. That's going to take a long time. It's a journey.

But as you do that, you end up being able to distinguish good from evil. No longer do you have Google Maps saying go marry that person sitting at the bus stop over there with the bald head because those are the best people. Don't do it. You don't have that. Here's what you got, throughout life, you're learning to make wise choices, discerning between good and bad. How did you do that? Through constant practice in the word of God. That's how it works. That's why as a church, we're committed to expository preaching. That's why at our church, the sermon's always going to be more than we sing. Always, because we want to mature. We want to take that journey with God. Expository preaching is where you take the Bible and look what I'm doing, I let the Bible ... Deuteronomy is going to drive our church for the next couple of months.

You find other churches where there are verses here, there are verses here and there's a verse over there. They're Christians. I'm not being judgmental but I'll tell you this, you won't mature under that kind of teaching because you're really hearing what the preacher wants to say and there's a couple of verses that back him up. We want the Bible to grip the steering wheel and drive it. That's our first lesson for this morning. The journey with God is directed by the word of God.

Second thing we see this morning, disobedience to God's word will result in discipline. It will. God is a serious parent, very serious. Two things worry me about this journey. Look at verse 6, “The Lord our God said to us at Horeb," listen to this language, maybe it's just me. Look at it. "You have stayed long enough at this mountain," what does that sound like to you? Doesn't it sound a bit negative? It sounds a little bit impatient. Like, "All right, enough dawdling now. Stop fething," like trying to get my kids to school or church or whatever.

But you know why that is the case? Because the book of exodus tells us that Mount Sinai was a catastrophe. Israel cheated on God at the wedding night. That same night, they cheated on God. Exodus tells us that when the covenant was being given and Moses was receiving the covenant from God to go down and say, "Will you marry me," God's people were building golden calves. Some of them were even saying this, listen, "Let's go back to Egypt." Are you kidding me? In other words, they're at Mount Sinai. There was humming and ha-ing or what we say in South Africa, [foreign language 00:21:55]. Like a girl, you change your mind like your clothes. You just don't want to make up your mind. Are you going to go with God or aren't you? Or do you want to go back? You want to go back to what you were like before you were a Christian? Have you even decided? "Gee, I don't know if that was better. I'm not sure because there ... "

This is what God's people did and God says to them, "You've wasted enough time. You're wasting time." You know folks, when you fall in love with someone, if you really love someone, you'll think to yourself, "Gee, I wasted time." Sometimes I see pictures of my little wifey, Naomi, as a child, and I think to myself, "I wish I knew her. I wish I knew her when she was at uni, talked to her because apparently she knew me but that's tragic because I ... " But anyway ... For the wrong reasons but I'm moving on swiftly as I can. Here's the point though. When you love someone, you look back and you think, "I've wasted time. I've wasted time. Why did I go out with Sansa and Sansa, when she was always there?" When you really get to know God, you will think to yourself, "Gee, I've wasted time. I wish I had known Him all my life. Why did I not obey Him all my life? I've wasted so much time." That's the first thing that strikes me.

But God's response is really what gets me because disobedience to God's word will result in discipline. The more you delay, it's going to hurt. Look with me at verse 1 there. "These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah opposite Suph, between Paran, Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth," you know all those places, "and Dizahab." Look at this. "It is 11 days' journey from Mount Sinai by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea." Here's a map for you. How long does it take to go from marriage, Mount Sinai, to the promised land? Well, it's written there for you. Dumb question, 11 days. 11 days. But have a look at verse 3, "In the fortieth year," can you believe it? What should have taken 11 days, if you had just listened to me, but now it's taken you 40 years. Here's why.

I just want to tell you that's not accurate, okay? I don't know where they really went but that map there ... But this is the book of numbers. What the book of numbers tells us is, "Oh my goodness, grumbling, complaining, whining, 'Come on let's go back to Egypt,' 'Where's God when you need him,' 'Oh, I'm hungry now,' 'Have you seen my blisters,'" endless complaining. In fact, in one of our ... next week, I think I'm going to preach on one of those disobediences. But 40 years, 40 years. Why did it take so long? Well, God tells us in the book of Deuteronomy, have a look at this verse, God in Deuteronomy 8, "You shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these 40 years in the wilderness." Why? Why 40 years? Did God forget where he was going? "Oh my goodness, I created that mountain, I forgot I put it there. We're going to have to go around that." No, God knew exactly where they were going.

Here's the point. He did it, look what it says, "That he might humble you." Now, there's a lot of Christians who are going to struggle with what I'm about to say. God breaks His people down. He may not like that. That's the truth. That's what humble means. I put you through hard times. I led you through tough times. Why did You do it Lord? To humble you, to break you down, testing you, to know what was in your heart. Doesn't mean God doesn't know. He knows. But it's to expose. "When you suffer, we'll see what's in your heart," says God. To know what's in your heart whether you will keep His commandment or not.

Have a look at this verse from Deuteronomy, "Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines," his children, "his son, the Lord your God disciplines you." Why has Christianity lost sight of this? Why can we not see this? Please don't think discipline, please, do not think discipline means punishment because Jesus Christ was punished for you on the cross. Your sins are being punished. But He certainly disciplines you, He certainly disciplines you and never feels nice. Discipline is correcting, training in righteousness. In chapter two and chapter three in our growth group studies, you're going to look at some of the journey and you're going to see God's grace through it all. I'm not going to preach on it. It's on the growth group study but the key lesson is that God will discipline us if we don't obey His word. He will.

In fact, you know what? The only people who get away with not listening to God are people who are not Christians. You're surprised at that? Really? Yeah, well Psalm 73 tells me. Lots of places in the Bible tells me, look at them. They've all gone to the beach and He lets them get away with it but if I go to the beach, what do you think will happen? It won't be long I'm now, "Oh Lord, what's wrong? Why are You here?" Because He receives us as His children. I don't worry one day their punishment will come but for Christians, He disciplines us. Jesus said, "Every branch in me that doesn't bear fruit, My Father cuts off." But listen to this, "Every branch that does bear fruit," what happens to that one? He cuts it. He prunes it, so that it can bear more fruit.

Listen to this verse here from the book of Hebrews, it says this, "My son," children, "do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord." Don't believe those who say your best life now. "Don't regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastises everyone son He receives." Now listen, we know, for the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant. It's all fun. How long, oh Lord? Can you hurry up? But later, it yields the peaceful food of righteousness to those who have been trained but do not follow any form of Christianity that tells you God never wants you to suffer. Don't follow that form of Christianity. It's not true. He doesn't delight in you suffering. It doesn't make him happy. Just like when I discipline my child, it doesn't make me happy. But He does do it, because He's a good father.

Two things we've seen so far. The journey with God is directed by the word of God. Disobedience to God's word will result in discipline. I'll just pause there. Who's put off? Is anyone here thinking, "Well, I don't know if that sounds like a lot of fun? I'm looking at that journey and I think, I'm rather going to go Flight Centre because there must be a better journey somewhere else. I mean, look at those beaches. It all looks [inaudible 00:30:06]. That doesn't look like fun to me."

I want to show you, thirdly and finally for this morning, here's the joy. God will definitely get you there. God will definitely get you there. This is such an encouragement to God's people. look at the map. Just everyone take stock. Where are we? We're right at the edge of the promised land. Look at the map. Would you believe it, that bunch of ragamuffin people have whined, complained, there's been no IGA, there's been no centerlink, there's been no air con, it's been a horrific journey and where are they? Guess what? God got them there. Look, He did it. He got them there despite everything about them and can you imagine the joy when they're standing there, looking over at the promised land.

Me and my sister, we actually, when I was very little, we actually grew up in a horrible place called Johannesburg. Well, I've offended a few people but there you go. Later on, we went to the promised land, which was Durban at that time but anyway, enough of that. Anyway, when we were little, we grew up in Johannesburg. Now for those of you Australians, Johannesburg's far from the sea. It's higher than any city in Australia. It's high on a plateau and there's no ocean and every year, once a year, when I was little, we used to go to Durban. What's at Durban? The sea.

My sister gets so car sick. She vomits from Jo-burg to Durban. But I'll tell you what, we play this game. Every time we're coming to Durban, those of you who know South Africa, it's a massive mountain and you go down these mountains into Natal, which is green. We play this game, first to see the sea. Oh, when we knew we were getting close, we'd be peering. My mom had a little VW beetle, you know the old beetles? It's got the screen lock that's ... I remember basically breaking my finger shouting, "There's the sea," and smashing it on the windscreen. It was so exciting when you saw that big blue, ah, you forgot you were vomiting. You forgot her and I had lands drawn on the seat because we'd been fight ... It was just joy, instant joy, instant happiness. There it is, it's been such a hell ... No, there it is.

Imagine what Israel must've felt when they finally looked at the land God had promised them. It's the same for us. Look with me as we close. Verse 8, "See," look what God says to His people, "I have set the land before you." You can go ahead there, thanks. "I've set the land before you." Christianity, hear me, is about what lies before us. Hear that. Christianity is about what lies ahead. Christians do not have their best lives now. It's ahead. It's before us. We haven't arrived. We're still in Perth. It's about what lies before us. But we're not idle spectators.

I was in Dubai airport. Do you know you've got those things because I don't know how ... I don't know why you don't get another flight from the airplane that's landed to the terminal. It's so far. You stand on these things and you don't walk, the whole thing just goes. That's not Christianity because look what God says, "I have set the land before you." Look what God says, "Go in, take possession of the land." It's verb, it's active. I've set it before you, now what must you do? Lay in the escalator. No. Active, go in, take it. Take control of it, grab it for yourself. This morning, you're being offered to grab this for yourself and yet at the same time, look what God says, "Go in, take possession of the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," and look what God says, "to give them and all their offspring after them."

Even though we are told to grab it, God says, "I'll give it to you." It's both. Don't try and make those things fight against each other. They're both true. In fact, logically, if I give you a gift, you have to take it. That's what God says. "I'm giving you this land. It lies in front of you. It's the land I promised." In fact, look what God says there, "I swore, not on my mother's grave but on the death of my son, I've promised this land to you. Go in, grab it, take hold of it." After all our sin, after our worry, sometimes thinking, "I'm going nowhere in my Christian life. I'm on an escalator that's going round and round." God promises He will get you there. Don't worry, the first 80 years are the hardest, then it's easy after that.

Have a look at what we've seen this morning. The journey with God is directed by the word of God. Disobedience to God's word will result in discipline. God will definitely get you there. Friends, if God got Israel there, how much more will he get us there. How much more, look at this verse from Jesus Christ himself, look what He says, "Let not your hearts be troubled." Stop worrying. Am I really going to make it in the end? No, don't worry. "Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you I'm going to prepare this place for you? And if I go," and He did, "and I prepare a place for you, I will come again. I'm going to come back and I'll take you to myself." There's the destination. Me, you're coming to me. "That where I am you may be also."

The journey's hard because look what Thomas says. Thomas saw, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" They haven't invented Google Life Maps yet. How will I know? Jesus says to him, "I am the way, I am the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except," there's your Google Life Map. It's a person. It's Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is this journey. Jesus Christ on the cross died to begin the journey, to open access. Jesus Christ, who died rose again and He says, "Lo, I'm with you every step of the way. I will get you there."

This is what we've seen this morning. The journey of God is directed by the word of God. Disobedience to God's word will result in discipline. God will definitely get you there.

Where do you stand this morning? Perhaps you're here this morning, you haven't even began the journey. What do you have because you're not at the beach. You're here, hearing God's word. I want to ask you, seriously, why not come on this journey with us? God has promised us such good things. They lie just ahead. Why not come with us. If you're not yet a Christian, you know life is a journey, not a destination, that only applies to Christians. If you're not yet a Christian, welcome to your destination because you're not going anywhere. You haven't got a destination. You are at the best it's ever going to be. You're like talking heads. We're on the road to nowhere. Those who don't know God, aren't on a journey. This is the best it's ever going to ...

They're like a hamster on a treadmill. It's just always going to go round and round. Welcome to Perth Treadsville. I want to plead with you. As we begin our journey in Deuteronomy, come with us. Come, grab it. God is offering you an incredible journey with Him. I'm going to give you a few minutes to think about these things and then I will pray for us and if there's any questions, I'll take a few questions.

God says, "See, I've set the land before you. Go in, take possession of the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, to give to them and their children after them." Father, if we would but believe your promises, we would be Abraham's children and we would receive what You've promised. Please, may we, as a people, listen to Israel, listen to their experiences and learn to obey You. Please, may every heart be softened, may every heart be packing up their bags, ready to follow you on this journey. For we ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.