Putting it into Practice

Deuteronomy 6:1-9

October 21, 2023 | Brian Bill

When I was a student at Moody Bible Institute, I attended Moody Church on Sunday nights.  At the beginning of one message, Erwin Lutzer said he was going to preach a shorter sermon.  Then he made this statement, “If you can’t strike oil in 15 minutes, stop boring.”  He proceeded to preach for 50 minutes.  

We’re wrapping up our Unshaken and Unashamed series this weekend.  The sermon will be shorter (no, really), so we can end with a panel discussion to help us apply what we’ve learned these past six weeks.  Before that, in light of all that is going on in the Middle East, I sense we need to be reminded of some biblical truth.

  • God is powerful and in control.  The Bible tells us that God works wonders, even when we don’t understand what is happening.  Jesus said in John 5:17, “I and the Father are always at work.”  Isaiah 40:22 calls us to remember God’s reign and rule: “…He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth…” 
  • God loves to bring good out of bad.  This principle helps us see that with God at the center of life, there’s always reason to hope.  Listen to what Joseph said in Genesis 50:20: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good…”  BTW, our topic next weekend will be “Revive us Again.”  I believe the greatest revivals in history are still to come. 
  • Things will get worse before they get better.  As we get closer to the return of Christ, 2 Timothy 3:1 warns us things will get increasingly worse: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.”  In Matthew 24:6, Jesus said, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.  See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.”
  • Live one day at a time.  One of the best ways to deal with anxiety is to simply focus on the day in front of us as we learn in Matthew 6:34: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.” 
  • We are made for a different place.  For the believer in Jesus Christ, this world is not our home.  2 Corinthians 5:1 reminds us: “…we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven…”  1 Peter 2:11 states we are only temporary residents here: Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”
  • The Bible is filled with predictive prophecy.  In Luke 21:26, when asked what signs will tell us the second coming of Christ is near, Jesus described “people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world.”  In verse 28, He said, “Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”  This would also be a good time to read Daniel 9, Zechariah 12, Ezekiel 38-39, Matthew 24, 1 Thessalonians 4-5, and the Book of Revelation.
  • Repent so you’re ready.  One day, some people described an event similar to 9/11 to Jesus, when a number of innocent individuals were annihilated.  Jesus brought up another situation in which 18 people were killed when a tower fell on them.  In both instances, Jesus doesn’t give them an answer as to “why” these things happened.  Instead, He personalizes it and says twice in Luke 13:3-5, “Unless you repent, you too will perish!”

I like the insight of Corrie ten Boom: “Look within and be depressed.  Look without and be distressed.  Look to Christ and be at rest…worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow.  It empties today of its strength.”

Let’s review what we’ve learned together these past weeks.

  • What you believe about God’s Word will determine how you view the world around you.  If your worldview does not come from God’s Word, it will come from the world.
  • The story of God is all about the glory of God and the unfolding of the gospel.
  • Make sure Jesus is preeminent in your life, not just prominent.
  • Since Jesus is truth, we must be ready at all times to tell others the truth about Him.
  • Our world teaches that people can be whoever they identify themselves to be.  The Word of God teaches you are who God says you are.
  • If the Christian worldview is true, then it must be lived out to help create a more flourishing society.

Please turn in your Bibles to Deuteronomy 6.  Here’s our main idea: parents and grandparents must pass along the faith they possess.

Let’s set the scene.  The people of God have been doing laps in the wilderness for 40 years and are now on the verge of finally entering the Promised Land.  The disobedient generation has died and now “generation next” is on the scene.  

Moses doesn’t give them instructions on farming, shepherding, economics, construction, or even battle plans.  God’s people were about to enter a pagan land, filled with over 40 different people groups and yet his focus was on the family.  In that sense, isn’t the setting similar to our own situation?  

Our parental job description comes with five main responsibilities.

  1. Fear God reverently (1-2).
  2. Follow God wholeheartedly (3).
  3. Fervently love God (4-6).
  4. Fill your family with faith (7-9).
  5. Facilitate future faithfulness (10-12).

1.  Fear God reverently.  

The first task is to revere God’s Word.  We see this in verses 1-2: “Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long.”  

It’s important for us to know as much of the Bible as we can because we will never grow in our relationship with God unless we grow in our relationship with God’s Word.  The word “fear” means, “to revere.”  Isaiah 66:2 says, “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”

2. Follow God wholeheartedly. 

It’s not enough to just learn God’s Word, we must also live it out according to verse 3: “Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.”  We must be careful to obey by hearing and heeding.  The word “careful” means, “to watch carefully, to be on guard.”  It’s not enough to just know information – it must lead to personal transformation.  

3. Fervently love God. 

Check out verse 4: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” This is the beginning of the Jewish Shema, which literally means, “Hear!” or we might say, “Listen up!”  It can also mean “to listen intelligently and attentively; to obey.”  The Shema is a declaration of faith, a pledge of allegiance to the Almighty.  It was recited when rising in the morning and when going to bed at night.  It was the first prayer a Jewish child was taught to pray, and it was the last thing a Jew would pray prior to death.  

This verse defines the relationship God’s people are to have with Him: God is the only God, there is no other.  He is totally unique, not some vague pantheistic force.  Surrounded by a world filled with other so-called deities, the people of God must declare: “The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.”  Notice He is “our” God – He is personal and relational, and His people can enjoy intimacy with Him.  

Verse 5 continues with a challenge to love God with everything we’ve got: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”  Our love is to be wholehearted and is to pervade every aspect of our life because God wants our exclusive and intensive devotion.  

We’re to love Him with everything we have – with devotion in our hearts, with passion in our souls, and with the much-ness of our lives

Notice the uses of the word “all.”  God’s whole-hearted love for us cannot be answered with half-hearted commitment from us.  The word strength literally means, “with our much-ness.”  We’re to love Him with everything we have – with devotion in our hearts, with passion in our souls, and with the much-ness of our lives.  

Verse 6 reminds us God’s Word is not to just be in our heads, but also in our hearts.  The Bible is to be lived out, it’s not just something we give mental assent to: “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.”  The people knew God’s commands were engraved on tablets of stone; God wants His holy Word to be resident in their hearts and fleshed out through their hands.  

Parents and grandparents must pass along the faith they possess.  

4. Fill your family with faith. 

We’re given three ways to do that in verses 7-9.

  • Teach truth intentionally.  We see this in the first part of verse 7: “You shall teach them diligently to your children.”  The phrase “teach diligently” means “to sharpen” or to “teach incisively.”  It’s the idea of going over and over until the knife is razor sharp.  It also means to use gentle pressure so as to leave a mark in the mind or memory.  We are to teach truth so intentionally that we look for ways to precisely pass along what we are learning, what we are living, and who we are loving.  

It’s a joy to see our daughters and sons-in-law intentionally imprinting truth upon our seven grandchildren.  Just recently, I complimented one of them for being so engaged in his parenting.  His response made me smile, “It’s the most important discipleship I can do.”

Would you notice whose responsibility this is?  Look at this clause again: “teach them diligently to your children.”  This task is not for the church to fulfill but for the parent to faithfully do.  The church is meant to supplement what is done in the home.  

  • Talk truth relationally.  Look at the last part of verse 7: “…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.”   Notice this is more than just getting your kids up for church once a week, but it certainly includes that.  We are to make an impression upon our children by talking about God when we’re sitting at home, when we’re out and about, at bedtime and at breakfast.  What was instinctive in Hebrew homes must become intentional in families today.  

We could break it down this way.

Times                        Communication                             Goal

Meal Time                Formal Discussion                        Establish Values

Drive Time.              Informal Dialogue                         Interpret Life

Bed Time                  Intimate Conversation                 Build Intimacy

Morning Time         Encouraging Words                      Instill Purpose

We are to show our kids who God is, not just in formal spiritual settings, but also in the casual classroom of everyday life.  

  • Transmit truth practically.  In verses 8-9, we see the Israelites had visual reminders everywhere about God: “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”  Many Jews took this literally by putting passages of Scripture into little boxes called phylacteries and attaching them to their hands and foreheads.  They would also put mezuzahs containing Deuteronomy 6 on the doors of their homes.  The idea is for God’s Word to be so central to your family’s life your kids think about God every time they turn around.  

While it’s ok to put up literal reminders, our “hands” represent our actions, “frontlets” represent our thoughts and attitudes, “doorposts” symbolize our homes and “gates” refer to social life outside of our homes.  

5. Facilitate future faithfulness. 

In verses 10-11, God looks ahead to the time when His people will finally arrive in the Promised Land.  They will have flourishing cities, furnished homes, and an abundance of food and refreshments.  

Satisfaction can lead to spiritual stagnation and forgetting can lead to forsaking.  Look at verse 12: “Then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”  God wants us to be “careful” to not forget we were at one time slaves to sin, lost and separated from God.  It is only by His grace that we’ve been set free.  When we start to forget, we’re in danger of losing our edge spiritually. 

Parents and grandparents must pass along the faith they possess.  

Panel Discussion


Before we can pass along our faith to the next generation, we must make sure we have a relationship with Jesus.  

You can only pass along what has first entered into your own life

Are you in the family of God?  Have you trusted Christ yourself?  Have you engaged your will and received the greatest gift of all time by asking Jesus to save you from your sins?  You can’t give your kids or grandkids what you don’t have.  You can only pass along what has first entered into your own life.  Over 100 years ago, Woodrow Wilson said: “If you wish your children to be Christians you must really take the trouble to be a Christian yourself.”

If you’re ready to be saved, pray this prayer with me.

Jesus, I realize I’m a selfish and self-centered sinner.  I repent of how I’ve been living and confess I desperately need You.  Thank You for dying in my place on the cross as my substitute and for rising from the dead on the third day.  I come to You in need of the mercy and rest only You can provide.  I believe and now I receive You into my life.  As my Lord, enable me to follow Your will and Your way.  If there’s anything that needs to change in my life, please change it so I can reflect You to the world around me.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

Once you know Jesus, you have a friend in Him forever.

Closing Song: Friend in Jesus

I have found a friend in Jesus,

He is everything to me.

He walks with me,

He talks with me.

And He tells me I am His own,

And the joy we share, 

What else compares,

It’s like nothing I’ve ever known.

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?