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Sermon28 Deut4 Guide

Deut. 4:1-8, Theme verse Deut. 4:6-7

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks true worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

Over the past few weeks, we have learned that God first led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt to Mount Sinai, stayed there, made a covenant, giving the Ten Commandments, the tabernacle, and sacrificial regulations, through which God taught them how to live holy as God's people before a holy God and how to worship Him. And then God led them to the land of Canaan, yet when they arrive at Kadesh Barnea, they sent 12 spies from each tribe to check the Canaan. But among those who returned after 40 days of spying, when10 spies except Joshua and Caleb reported that they saw the strong tribes of Anak, they complaint and asked to return to Egypt, forgetting all about God's word, His power, His guidance and protection. So God became angry at their disbelief and resentment and punished them to wander around in the wilderness for 40 years, calculating the 40 days, the number of days they had spent exploring the land, a year for each day so that God removed their disbelief, resentment, and evil and trained them to trust and obey only God. As a result, the first generation of the Exodus, except for Joshua and Caleb, all died in the wilderness after 40 years, and only the generation under 20, the generation born in the wilderness, and Joshua and Caleb could enter into Canaan. While Moses, near the end of his 40 years of wandering in the wilderness was mourning the death of his older sister Miriam in the wilderness of Zin, when the Israelites complaint about the lack of water, Moses did not show God's holiness by striking a rock and bringing out water, even though God said Moses only to command a rock to bring water to the congregation and their people, so he was not allowed to enter the land of Canaan. Therefore he climbed Mount Nebo to looked across the Jordan toward the land of Canaan and died. Before he died, he gave three instructions to the Israelites, which are written in Deuteronomy. Today's sermon is the first of these, reminding them of the Ten Commandments and urging them to keep the word of God. I hope we may learn few things from this text.

1) Deuteronomy is the last Bible of the Pentateuch, and its Hebrew name is Devarim (from the opening phrase אԵלԶԼה הԷדְּבԸרԴים, elleh haddevarim, 'these are the words'), following the practice of the ancient Jews. In English, it is called Deuteronomy which comes from the word deuteronomion in Deut. 17:18, “When he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy (deuteronomion) of this law, approved by the Levitical priests.” However, more accurately speaking, it is not a mimeograph, rather as the Hebrew name of the book suggests, the renewal of the covenant better expresses the contents of Deuteronomy. In other passages of the Bible, it is called “The book of the Law” in 2 Kings 22:8 or 2 Kings 22:8. Or it is called “the book of the Covenant” as in 2 Kings 23:2.

2) Its theme is, “Through Moses, God again taught the new generation of Israel, who had risen up after 40 years of wilderness living, on how to live faithfully before God, after entering the Promised Land.” It consists of three sermons as belows:

(1) Moses’ first sermon

a. Chapters 1-3 Summary of the journey so far

b. Chapter 4 A Call to Obedience

(2) Moses’ second sermon

a. Chapters 5-11 Ten Commandments and Shema

b. Chapters 12-26 Living according to the law

c. Chapters 27-28 Ceremonies and Rewards and Punishments

(3) Moses’ third sermon

a. Chapters 29-30 Moabite Covenant

b. Chapters 31-32 Joshua & Chapters 33-34 Blessing

3) Today's text, chapter 4, is the content of Moses' first sermon urging the new generation of Israel to obey the word of God, and consists of the prologue of verses 1-8, the body of verses 9-31, and the epilogue of verses 32-40. Verses 1-8 correspond to the prologue, urging us to “observe and practice” the word of God, and the verb “do (עשׂה, vv.1,5,6)” is used three times and “keep (שׁמר, vv.2,6)” two times to emphasize the content. And it says that when they follow the laws of the LORD, they can have a long life and the promised land, become people of a great and righteous nation with wisdom and knowledge, and also experience the intimate presence of God every time they pray.

4) We would like to learn few things from today’s text. First, as the essence of Christianity, or Christian faith, is to know God and Jesus Christ (John 17:3), we can know God through the Word as the Basics of faith and the prayer (1 Timothy 4:5). In other words, we cannot know God without reading the Word of God, and also without getting closer to God. I mean, as in John 17:17, the Word is the truth, and the truth here is the Greek word aletheia (ἀλήθεια, aletheia), which is a compound word of the negative prefix a- and lethe, meaning hidden, as its meaning. In other words, the truth is what is hidden, yet is revealed. I mwan, what was hidden in God, that is, the truth of the gospel, is revealed through God's revelation. So, in John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” What he meant was that Jesus himself is the hidden thing, the truth, the life within the truth, and the path to that life. Therefore, it says that we must read the Bible that testifies about Jesus (John 5:39) and have an intimate relationship with the Lord through prayer in order to know Him. Second, in today's verse, it is said that the words of truth which was heard through teaching (v.5) and with the ears (v.1) must be kept (v.2,6) and put into practice (v.1,5,6). If knowledge is just knowing, then faith is obedience to what you know according to the Word. That is why it is said that faith without work is dead (James 2:19-20). The imperishable seed that regenerated us, that is, the Word of God (1 Peter 1:23), must be acted upon and bear fruit through the work of the Holy Spirit. Lastly, what we should think about is that if we obey the word of God, wisdom of God and intimacy with God will appear as the fruit. But what is the motivation and enabler to begin a life of words and prayer? First, verses 37-38 of verses 32-40, which are the concluding words of Chapter 4 of Deuteronomy, “Because the LORD loved your ancestors, he chose you, their descendant, and brought you out of Egypt with his great power, and brought you to many nations stronger than you and He will drive them out before you and bring you into their land and give it to you as an inheritance, just as it is today”, God's love and grace are the motivation of a life of gratitude. And also the enabler for that life is the grace of God, because the Word of God is completely dependent on the revelation on God and the illumination of the Holy Spirit so that when we hear, God gives us a heart to understand, an eye to see the truth, and ears, that is, an obedient heart (Deuteronomy 29:4). And even when we do not know what to pray for, the Holy Spirit helps us (Rom. 8:26), answers us when we cry (Jer. 33:3), and draws near to us (v.7). I pray that all of us who are here, on the 18th Sunday of the ordinary season, will renew our zeal for the Word and prayer, which are the foundations of faith, to become wise people of God who are close to God on this earth for His glory.

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 As today's text says, the Word and prayer are the basics of Christians, so that it would be good to look at ourselves and check how faithful we are to the basics. And now we live in a post-modern society where pluralism is rampant, and relativism has infiltrated all areas. However, there is only one truth. If there are multiple truths, it is no longer the truth. Do you believe that there is only one truth, and that truth is God, that is, the Word of God? I hope you can share your thoughts with each other and share grace together.

Q2 Today’s text says that we can have intimate fellowship with God through prayer. It is said that although we can experience God's provision through prayer, prayer is also a conversation and relationship with God, allowing us to enjoy intimate fellowship with God. I wonder if our prayers have come to the point where we can enjoy such intimate fellowship with God. I hope that we can review our life of prayer and share each other's experiences and thoughts.

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon )

Please help me to live in that ( learned way of life )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.


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