09 Jun Hear and obey the Lord
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
10 “And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13 It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. 14 You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— 15 for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.
16 “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah. 17 You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies and his statutes, which he has commanded you. 18 And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may go well with you, and that you may go in and take possession of the good land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers 19 by thrusting out all your enemies from before you, as the Lord has promised.
20 “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 And the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. 23 And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. 24 And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. 25 And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us.’
Anyone has a bad short term memory? When I was a kid, I would lose everything. I would lose my wallet, my toy and even my glasses. My mom used to tell me that if my ear is not attached to my head, I would probably lose them a long time ago. And I thought I would get better with time but apparently not as my MC can testify. My MC has gotten used to how often I forget things. It’s like almost a weekly thing for me to forget something. One of the worst things I did was I locked myself in the office garage. I left my car and office key in the office and I was stuck in the garage. So I had to call my dad to come to the office to set me free from the garage prison. First time it happened, I felt so stupid and promised that it would never happen again. But now it is almost a yearly ritual.
Let me begin with a premise. All of us have problem remembering. The kind of remembering that the Bible speaks about is different from the way we understand it. The book of Deuteronomy is actually a record of Moses’ sermons to the people of Israel. It is a compilation of few long sermons that last from chapter 1 to chapter 33, and chapter 34 told us of Moses’ death. So these are Moses’ farewell sermon to the people of Israel. And one of the theme that Moses continue to repeat is the theme of remembrance. Here is my concern as your pastor. For many of us, Christianity is just something that we wear on Sunday and we keep it in the closet on Monday to Saturday. So, when you hear the gospel being preached on Sunday, you affirm the truth of the gospel. But your life on Monday to Saturday does not reflect the truth that you hear and affirm on Sunday. We confess that Jesus is our Lord and Savior on Sunday but we do not live the kind of life that reflect the Lordship of Jesus on everyday basis. And this is the main issue that Moses was dealing with in the book of Deuteronomy.
Our passage for tonight is actually the most popular part of Moses’ sermons which is known as “Shema.” The Jews take Shema very seriously. They recite it before every synagogue service, they hang it on their doors and every household would recite Shema every morning and evening. Shema is the Hebrew word that begins verse 4, which is translated into English as the word “hear.” However, the actual meaning of the word Shema is not simply to hear something audibly. In other places, Shema is translated as “learn.” So the meaning of Shema is not only to hear something, but to understand what is being heard. It is the kind of listening that leads one to understand and do what is being said. Shema is not the kind of listening that you do as a kid when your parent told you to do something. So if my mom told me to clean my room before I leave the house and I did not do it, my mom would ask, “Why you did not clean your room? Why did you not listen to me?” The reality is, I actually listened to what she said. Technically, I can reply, “Actually Mom, I listened to everything you said. I just chose not to do it.” But that would get me into more trouble, so I didn’t say that. This kind of listening is not Shema. When Moses used the word Shema, he is telling the Israelites not just to hear but also to understand and obey what they are hearing. Instead of hearing and forgetting, Moses wants the Israelites to hear, remember, understand and obey. That’s what Shema is.
So let’s look into Moses’ most popular sermon and Shema it. I just invented a new verb. Let us Shema this passage. Five things that Moses teaches us in this passage. Know the Lord; Love the Lord; Remember the Lord; Trust the Lord; Talk of the Lord. And I’ll give quick applications at the end.
Know the Lord
Deuteronomy 6:4 – 4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Moses begins his sermon with a massive declaration “The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” What Moses is saying is that there is only true God. In those days, the dominant belief is that there are many gods. The Egyptian have their own gods; the Canaanites have their own gods; the Hittites have their own gods. Different nations have different gods. It’s more like every gods have their own territory. And on top of that, individuals can have their own gods depending on their needs. There is god for fertility; there is god for health; there is god for wealth and so on. So the popular belief is that there are many gods that you can pick and choose depending on where you live and your needs. But the God of the Bible does not allow that. He said that there is only one true God. Every other god is no god.
The question for us is, do we believe he is who he said he is? Now, let’s be honest. There are many hard sayings in the Bible. Such as what Moses says next, “for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God.” God is jealous. Do we believe that? What about this one. In this passage we learn that there is only one true God. But in other passage we also learn that there are 3 persons in this one God. They are three but one. What do we do with this revelation of who God is? I don’t think we have a choice. We simply have to believe he is who he said he is. Isn’t that how every relationship work?
Let’s say that when I am old, someone comes up to me and says that he is interested in writing a biography of my life. “You know Pastor Yos, your life is really a blessing. I have been in this church for a while and I can see how much you love Jesus and live for the glory of his name. I am really inspired by your life story, especially your battle with Leukemia. It’s a shame if your story is not told to many people out there. I want to write a biography of your life.” I look at him and say, “Wow, you want to write a biography of my ordinary life, that would be awesome.” He replies, “That’s the thing. Even though you love Jesus, your life is kind of boring. In order to make your biography a success, we need to change few things. I can see that you are 60 years old and you still don’t have a girlfriend. That’s boring. So here is what I’m going to do. In your biography, I’m going to make you born in a very poor family. Your parents could not support you and you had to work 40 hours a week since you were 10 years old. But by the grace of God, you managed to graduate from DBU with Cum Laude. And while you were in Dallas, you fell in love and married a Spanish girl named Sabrina. As soon as you came back from Dallas, you were diagnosed with Leukemia and it was a big blow for your family. And at the same time, Sabrina was pregnant with little Yo-yo. It was a major crisis but from this crisis your eyes were opened to the beauty of the Gospel and God graciously healed you from cancer. Then for the next 40 years of your life, you continued to preach the gospel faithfully and mentored many other faithful preachers of the gospel. Today, RSI is a solid gospel-centered church and God has blessed you and Sabrina with 12 kids.” Now, what would be my response? I won’t accept it. That’s not me. I am sure I won’t be single by the time I am 60. If you believe it say Amen. Even though there are some truth in his story, there are many parts of it that is not true.
When we get to know a person we don’t get to choose who we want them to be. We have to accept them for who they said they are. Any personal relationship require the other person to be able to contradict you. If that’s how we approach relationship with one another, what makes us think that we can do it differently with God? We don’t get to pick and choose the characteristic of God that we want and do not want. We simply have to know him as he reveals himself to us. Which mean, there will be many things about God that you will find offensive. Why? Because he is not you; he is God. If your god never offended you then he is not the true living God. He is most likely the image of god that you created on your own. The God of the Bible will constantly offended you.
Love the Lord
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 – 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Some commentaries that I read on this passage try to break this commandment into parts. They try to explain what it means to love the Lord with your heart, what it means to love the Lord with your soul and so on. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it but I don’t think that is Moses’ primary goal. I don’t think Moses is trying to separate our love for God into different parts but rather he is trying to tell us to love God with all that we have. That’s why he repeated the word ‘all’. All your hearts, all your soul, all your might. God wants the totality of your being to love him. He does not want 99.99%; He wants 100% of you to love him. To borrow John Legend’s words, God wants your response to him to be “all of me loves all of you.” This is the heartbeat of every law in the Bible. This is essentially the greatest commandment. God wants all of you to love all of him. Nothing less will suffice. He wants you to love him more than your boyfriend or girlfriend. He wants you to love him more than your family. He wants you to love him more than your study. He wants you to love him more than your career. He wants you to love him more than your dream. He wants you to love him more than you love yourself. He wants you to love him more than life. How do you know if you love God with all of you? The proof of your love for God is a transformed life. You can’t say you love God on Sunday and live like the devil on Monday to Saturday. How you live on Monday to Saturday is the evidence of your love declaration on Sunday. We need to love God in such a way that our heart and mind are in sync with one another. It cannot be one or the other. But our tendency is to choose one over the other.
Let me give you example from my own life. I love to read theology books. I can spend hours just to sit and read on my day off. But because I love to learn and study theology, it is very easy for me to get caught up in an intellectual game. I can feel very good about my relationship with God because of what I know in my head. So when I hear Ps. Achien preach, I would go in my head, “Hmmm he switched his second Bible from Piper’s ‘Desiring God’ to Keller’s ‘counterfeit gods’. He always talks about idol now.” And I’d say ‘AMEN.’ But when I hear Edrick preach, I might go in my head, “You need to study more bro. Stop plagiarizing Kent Hughes and Chandler. Shame on you. No preaching for the next 6 months.” Right? My point is simply this. If I’m not careful, the Bible can simply become a great knowledge in my head, but it does not move my heart. And let me confess to you – it is an ongoing struggle for me. More often than not, my head and my heart are not in sync with one another. There is an enormous gap between my head and my heart. And to love God with all of me means that’s the gap need to be shortened and eventually close.
Does it mean we do not have to study the Bible? Of course not. Knowledge is very crucial. For many of us who grew up in Charismatic church, this is our fatal weaknesses. We equate loving the Lord to feeling. We judge whether or not God speaks to us by how we feel at the end of the sermon. If we feel bad or if we cry, we think that is a good church service. But if I ask you how is the Lord transforming you through his words, you’ll say, “Well the preacher told us to have faith. He told a story of how his beloved dog just died and it was a very sad story. And it reminded me of my cat that died few months ago. But he also said that if we believe and trust in Jesus, then we will see our pet again in Heaven. I was very happy. It gave me hope. I felt like God was telling me that Hello Kitty is with him in heaven and I don’t have to worry. If I trust Jesus, I will see Kitty again.” What? Where does it say in the Bible that pets go to heaven? Scooby-Doo, maybe. Hello Kitty, hell for sure. So you want to trust Jesus so that you can see your cat again in Heaven? Really? I exaggerate, I know. But something along this line happens a lot. People felt touched by a story or a statement or a promise from a preacher that has nothing to do with Jesus and his beauty. Some of you watched American Gospel already. And you think how dumb those people could be to believe those lies. But can we be honest enough to admit that we used to believe those lies as well? This is what happen when our mind is not engaged in the word of God. You need to know your Bible and you need to study your Bible.
But knowledge alone is not enough. Moses says that the commandment of God need to be on our heart, not just in our mind. We are called to love God with all of our heart. This involves so much more than intellect. This involves our affection, our desire and our will. For those of you who are wired intellectually like I am, we need to understand that intellectual gain is not equal to a transformed life. And for those of you who are feeling-driven, you need to know that your feeling is not the measure; the word of God is. We need both our heart and head to be in sync. Because when they do, it will lead to a transformed life. It is impossible for you to love God with all of you and not have your life being transformed. And a transformed life will express itself in your love for other people. You’ll want to talk to people about Jesus. You will want to teach people his ways. Your love for God will drive your love for others and it will make it impossible for you to not care about the poor, the widow, the orphan, and your housemate that you don’t like. Your public life is the expression of your private life. We can have all the right doctrines but it is not enough until our lives are shaped by what we believe. The truth of the gospel needs to penetrate every area of our lives.
Remember the Lord
Deuteronomy 6:10-15 – 10 “And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13 It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. 14 You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— 15 for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.
Here it is. The importance of remembrance. Do you know what Israel number one problem is? Sin. But do you know why they sin against God? Moses tells us that they sin against God because they forget the Lord their God. God tells them clearly that he will give them the Promised Land; God will drive out their enemies; God will supply them with resources and strength; God will provide them with everything they need, but remember the Lord their God lest they sin. But they forget the Lord. Israelites thought that they can do it on their own and that what they have is the result of their own works. But Moses cannot be clearer. He keeps repeating the phrase, “you did not”. You did not build, you did not fill, and you did not dig. Everything that Israel has, it is because the Lord is giving it to them. But they forget. That’s their problem and that’s our problem. We forget easily.
Do you realized that there is something about our heart that easily forget the good but remember the bad? I don’t remember much about 2018. That’s only a year ago. In fact, I don’t remember anything good in 2018. I am sure there are many but I can’t recall it on top of my head. But I will never forget what happened on 30th June 2018 at Wiseman Ferry. I will never forget the very first time I got high with a happy gas and carried into ambulance because I slipped and dislocated my knee. Isn’t that true about our hearts? We easily forget the good we received but exaggerate the bad we experienced. We forget the complements we received but remember every word of criticism we received, even to its very tone, pause and comma. Our heart is corrupted with sin that it resists the good and put a spotlight on the bad. We easily forget the goodness of God. Our sinful nature makes it very easy for us to take credit when things are going well and blame God when things are going bad. We forget that all that we have is because God has been so good to us.
And here we find one of the most breathtaking statement about God. Moses says “for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God.” I love it. The way we used the word jealous today often gives a negative connotation. And it is right for us to think that way. Human jealousy is often driven by pride, insecurity and covetousness. But that is not true of God. There is a kind of jealousy that is driven by love. God is not insecure. He knows that he is the greatest being in existent and there is no one like him. He loves his people so much that he wants his people to experience the greatest good. He will not let his people to wander and have their eyes on lesser good. The fact that God is a jealous God is a good news because God will not forget his people even when his people forget him. It’s like in a marriage relatioship. A husband who loves his wife wants what is good for her. And because of it a husband is jealous for his wife’s affections. And if there is any man that threaten to steal her affection from him, that man will witness the transformation of Bruce Banner into the Incredible Hulk and experience the wrath of Hulk. This is what it means for God to be a jealous God. He will punch anyone who tries to steal the affection of his people and he will also discipline his people so they may remember him and return to him. God wants the best for his people and God knows that he is the greatest good for his people.
Trust the Lord
Deuteronomy 6:16-19 – 16 “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah. 17 You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies and his statutes, which he has commanded you. 18 And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may go well with you, and that you may go in and take possession of the good land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers 19 by thrusting out all your enemies from before you, as the Lord has promised.
Moses then reminds the Israelites to not test the Lord like they tested him in Massah. This is a reference to what happened in Exodus 17, where the people of Israel were out in the desert and they thought they were going to die of thirst. The said to Moses, “Give us water or we will kill you and go back to Egypt.” What they were saying is, “We will follow God if God proves to us that he can gives us what we want. Gives us water and we will follow God.” This is what it means to test God. To test is to consider a party guilty until proven innocence. “I’ll follow you as long as…” “I’ll follow you if…” By putting a condition, we are testing God. We are basically putting what we want before God. Whenever we put a condition in our walk with God, we have yet to trust him. What we want can be a good thing. But if that thing becomes a condition for us to follow God, we are testing him.
To be fair, a lot of us started following Jesus in this way. There was a need that no one could fill and Jesus came and met that need. There is nothing wrong with that. Most of us started our relationship with God in a consumer based relationship. But at some point, that consumer based relationship need to change into trust based relationship. Whenever we put a condition in our walk with God, we have yet to trust him. The proof whether we trust God or not is not seen when life works out as we expected. We know whether we trust God or not when we get into the wilderness season of our lives. When we prayed for healing but we are still sick. When we prayed for promotion but we are still stuck in the same position. When we expected A, only to experience disappointment. When things are going terribly in our lives. This is when we know if we trust God or not.
I once heard Tim Keller told a story between a shepherd and his sheep. Every now and then a shepherd will took his sheep and put them in antiseptic pool. FYI, sheep can’t swim. And it is not enough to make the sheep wet with antiseptic, the shepherd actually have to drown his sheep in antiseptic. Now at this time, the sheep will do everything to free itself from the shepherd’s hand. If the sheep can think, the sheep will think, “Why is my shepherd trying to kill me? What is he doing? Helllppp…” It seems like the shepherd is trying to kill his sheep but he is not. The shepherd is actually saving the sheep. Unless the shepherd drown the sheep in antiseptic pool, the sheep will die from bacteria in its fleece.
Here is what Keller is saying. There are times that we experienced what those sheep experienced. There are times that we cannot figure out what God is doing with our life. We cannot figure out any reason for the treatment we are receiving from our Great Shepherd. We want explanations and like those sheep, we do not receive even a hint of explanation. But the reason the shepherd must do it is because he wants to save the sheep. He has to do it or the sheep will die. But on the other hand, there is absolutely no way the shepherd can give the sheep any explanation, comfort and assurance. Do you know why? Because there is a big gap in intelligence between the shepherd and the sheep. The gap is so great that there is no way for the shepherd to explain what he is doing to the sheep. The sheep either die or trust the shepherd without explanation. And that is our option. We either die or we choose to trust God without explanation. And if you think the gap of intelligence between the shepherd and the sheep is great, how much more the gap between us finite beings and the infinite God? What makes us think that we will understand even if God explain every little details to us? The gap between us and God is infinite. Our only option is either we reject the existence God altogether, or if we do believe there is a God, we have to trust him unconditionally. That’s consistent. What inconsistent is to follow God as long as we have him under our control.
Talk of the Lord
Deuteronomy 6:20-25 – 20 “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 And the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. 23 And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. 24 And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. 25 And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us.’
In the last part, Moses commands the Israelites to talk of the Lord to their children. This is very interesting. Moses does not say that when the children asked why they have to do all of these things, tell them because it is our obligation. Or because God commanded us. Or we have no choice. No, you cannot do that. You know this. You cannot command someone to love someone. You cannot simply command anyone to love the Lord your God with all of their heart, soul and might. Love cannot be commanded. So what do we do with Shema? Look clearly. Pay attention. How does Moses answer the question on why they should love and obey God? It is not with another command but a story. What story? Let me get some help from my future kids. “Listen up Little Yo-yo and Yo-yo Junior, let me tell you a story. Daddy was once a slave who had no future. Daddy was oppressed. But the Lord delivered daddy out of Egypt. He overcame Pharaoh with his powerful hands. There were many signs and wonders. There was a time where the Lord made the whole Egypt filled with darkness. But then one night, the angel of death came and killed all the first-born son. And Little Yo-yo, the only reason you are still alive today was because the Lord made provision for you. The Lord told us to shed the blood of the lamb on our doorpost and when the angel of death saw the blood, he passed over our house. And the Lord led daddy and all of our people out of Egypt through the wilderness and into the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. And now because of it, daddy cannot help but feel extremely grateful to the Lord. Daddy wants to obey the Lord’s commandments and honor the Lord because the Lord has set us free and Daddy loves the Lord.” Do you know what story this is? It’s the Gospel.
All of us were sinners. We were walking in our own ways and we hated God. We were enslaved by sin and we were in a path toward destruction. But God intervened. He saw us and he loved us. So he send his one and only Son Jesus to come and rescue us. And in order for him to rescue us, his blood had to be shed as payment for our sins. For the Israelites to walk out of Egypt, the blood of Passover lamb need to be in every household doorpost. For us to walk out darkness into the light, Jesus’ blood needs to cover our life. And with his love he is leading us to the Promised Land. This is the Gospel. And if you have not put your faith in Jesus, tonight I implore you to do so. You don’t have to live in sin. The Son of God has paid for your sins. Put your faith in him. This is where we find strength and motivation to love and trust the Lord. Jesus’ love for us enable us to love him in return. This is why we must talk of what the Lord has done – the Gospel.
Let me give you three quick applications and I’ll get back to my seat. First, learn and obey the Bible personally. It means that all of us need to grow deep in the gospel. You have to know your Bible and you must live out your new identity. That’s what it means to be a disciple. It is not enough to know a lot about the Bible. We need to practice what we know. But it is also not right to say that we do not need to know the Bible. What we need to do is to live out our new identity. How can we live out our new identity if we do not know the truth of our new identity? You need to know the truth in order to live out the truth.
Rankin Wilbourne gives an illustration that sticks with me. Let’s say you grow up with mean and critical parents who always see you as a disappointment. But then one day, as you clean the garage, you find a dusty lock cabinet. You pick the lock, open the cabinet and discover paper that prove you had been abducted as a baby. Your parents are not your parents, they are criminals. You discover that your real mom is a queen of England and your real dad is Chris Hemsworth. And you say to yourself, “Of course, this explains everything. No wonder my blood is blue. No wonder I look good in the mirror. I am extraordinary. I knew something is wrong with my so-called parents that I live with now.” Do you see what happen? A lot of time we are like this young man. We live with our head down believing that we are disappointment and there is nothing we can do about it. Until we discover the truth. And this truth changes everything about us. It tells us that we are different. It tells us that we are the child of the Most High God. Our lives do not have to be this way. The way we see our life and the way see everything changes. We walk out of that garage with a brand new perspective. We no longer walk with our heads down but we start to skip-walk. But in order to live out our new identity, we first need to know about our new identity. We need to learn and obey the Bible personally.
Second, learn and obey the Bible communally. It is not enough for us to learn and obey the Bible personally. We need to encourage and remind one another of the Gospel. This is the reason why Moses commanded the Israel to talk about Shema when they rise, sit, walk, lie down, bind them in their hand and write them in their doorpost. The point is they need to constantly remind one another. That is why the New Testament is filled with the “one another” commands. You cannot have a healthy relationship with God without a healthy relationship with other Christians. Are you hearing me? Praise God for Christian podcasts and YouTube. I listen to them daily. But they cannot help us to be more like Christ. It is not the people whom we listened to but the people whom we lived with that changes and makes us into who we are as Christians. If you want to be more like Christ, get planted in a community and bleed together with them. It is who you hang out with that shapes you into Christ-likeness.
Third, preach the gospel to yourself daily. We must preach the gospel to ourselves every day because we forget the gospel every day. The gospel is the source and power of all we do as Christians. We do not love and trust the Lord so he will bless us but because the Lord has blessed us. You have to continually remember and preach the gospel to your heart or you will not love and trust God unconditionally. The goal for us as Christians is not to become morally good people but to become gospel people. We want to love the Lord with all of us and trust him unconditionally. And for that, we need to preach the gospel to ourselves every day.
- Explain the meaning and the use of the word “shema.”
- Why is it impossible for us to have a God that exactly fit our understanding? Can you give examples of how our culture often tries to give God a make-over to fit their own concepts of God?
- To love the Lord with all of you means to love him in such a way that your heart and mind are in sync with one another. Are you more of a mind or a heart person? What do you need to be careful of?
- “The Lord your God is a jealous God.” Explain how God’s jealousy is different from human’s jealousy and why is it a good news.
- What does it mean to trust the Lord? Give some daily life examples.
- Love cannot be commanded. Agree or disagree? Where do we find the power to love and trust the Lord?
- Why is it important for us learn and obey the Bible communally? Share how learning and obeying the Bible communally shapes you as Christians.