His Love Wins Our Hearts
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.