Deuteronomy Series #3

Does anyone see what you have spiritually, and want it? Gary Brown just shared with us about missions Sunday and West-Ark's commitment to and involvement in missions. Basically, missions is a matter of sharing what we have spiritually with other people and creating in them the desire to want it.

Why would anyone want what we have spiritually? What would touch them so profoundly that they would be willing to redirect their lives to have it? If they watch our lives on a daily basis, what would impress them about our spirituality? Our sense of duty? Our fear of hell? Our obligations? Our habits? Our routine?

One attitude is a positive attitude wherever it exists. One bond is an incredible bond wherever it exists. When this attitude, this bond, this emotion is honest, when it is genuine, people want it. People not only want it, people hunger for it. People hunger for it because it is constructive and filled with blessings.

What is this attitude, this bond, this emotion? Love. Many will never respect our sense of duty toward God. Many will never be touched by anyone's fear of hell. Our sense of obligation, our habits, or our routine will never impress many. But if our love for God directs and guides our lives, builds our relationships, determines our values, and shapes our commitments, people will notice. Love will attract their attention when nothing else can.

  1. God always wanted people to obey Him because they love Him.
    1. We destroy something precious when we challenge people to follow God and serve Christ without loving God.
      1. Spiritually, obedience and love were never intended to be separated.
        1. If we are God's people, we love God.
        2. God loves us, and He wants our love.
        3. We obey Him because we love Him.
        4. Love must express itself.
        5. So the person who loves God wants to obey God.
    2. Sometimes we think our discovery of love in the God-human relationship is something new, something only Christians understand.
      1. Jesus demonstrated the depths of God's love, but Jesus did not reveal the existence of God's love.
      2. The cross and the resurrection demonstrated the power of God's love, but they did no reveal the fact of God's love.
      3. God always has loved, and God always has wanted people to love Him.

  2. Please note that we created the impression that God can be satisfied with a form of obedience that "goes through the right motions."
    1. In the attempt to stress the importance of obedience, we destroyed the foundation of obedience.
      1. What wood was Noah to use for lumber in building the ark?
        1. "Gopher wood (Genesis 6:14)."
        2. Why? "Because God said so."
      2. Why was Nadab and Abihu burned to death when they brought their incense burners before God (Leviticus 10:1,2)?
        1. They did not use the fire God told them to use.
        2. Why did they die? "Because they did not do what God told them to do."
      3. Think about the primary examples of obedience we stressed in past years.
        1. What did we stress? That you must do exactly what God said do.
        2. What was important? Doing exactly what God said do.
        3. How often did we stress the fact that obedience must be based on love?
    2. God clearly declared to Israel the importance of loving Him.
      1. Deuteronomy 6:5,6 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
      2. Deuteronomy 10:12 Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
      3. Deuteronomy 10:16 So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer.
      4. Deuteronomy 11:13,14 It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, that He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil.
      5. Deuteronomy 11:18 You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
    3. "Israel, love me."
      1. "I destroyed your slavery; love me."
      2. "I made you a nation; love me."
      3. "I took care of your physical needs in the wilderness; love me."
      4. "I will give you your own country; love me."
    4. Many of the destructive problems existing among Christians today have their roots in our failure to love God.
      1. Our families suffer in crises because we do not love God.
      2. We treat people poorly because we do not love God.
      3. We fail to nurture each other in God's mercy and grace because we do not love God.

No one ever succeeded in being God's people without loving God. No one can succeed in being your husband without loving you. No one can succeed in being your wife without loving you. No one can succeed in being your family without loving you. No one can build a successful friendship with you without loving you. In all interpersonal relationships, love is essential for success.

Every successful interpersonal relationship must be founded on the respect, appreciation, and honor that only love can produce. That includes relationship with God.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 15 October 2000
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