March 21, 2021
Sermon notes March 21, 2021
Scripture: Deuteronomy 30
We are close to wrapping up Deuteronomy. Your reading tomorrow will close the book. Looking back over the chapters it is important we keep the teachings of chapters 8, 9, and 10 on our mind for the rest of Deuteronomy. Chapters 8, 9, and 10 help answer important questions for us. Why did the Israelites have the law? Why have a law at all? Why obey the law? We have seen the law points us to God as a reminder of God, who is holy. We have seen obeying God’s law keeps us safe by protecting us from consequences and our obedience serves as a witness to others to point them to God. Earlier in Deuteronomy, we saw the importance to remember God’s Word and to teach it to our children. Chapters 12-28 cover details of the law again. This is the covenant God made with ancient Israel. We are not under this same covenant today, but lessons learned certainly apply to us now. Some of the truths include:
- There is a proper way to worship God that glorifies God and not others.
- Worship of anything besides God is to be avoided.
- Teaching lies that are opposed to God’s Word is to be condemned.
- We are to recognize God’s sovereignty and know all we have belongs to God.
- We are to give to those in need.
- We give to support God’s work.
- Truth and honesty are to be emphasized.
- Leaders are to not take advantage of their people but should seek God’s justice while leading.
- Justice matters.
- Family matters.
- Sexual conduct matters, and purity is the standard.
- Life matters.
All of these things were part of the law then and are applicable to our lives today. There is blessing in being obedient to God’s way because of the closeness in our relationship to God and His peace, courage, joy, and hope. There is harm when we reject God’s way.
After covering the law and its details we come to Deuteronomy 30 which is a wonderful chapter. The chapter deals with the fact that we are unable to always obey the law. The teaching of this chapter would have been such a welcome message to the Israelites who faced the impossible task of upholding all of God’s law. In the same way you and I should find encouragement in this chapter. Verse 1 opens the chapter with Moses telling them people that they will experience both the blessings and the curse of the previous chapters. This statement is an admission that the people would fail in part to fully follow God. Yes, there would be times of obedience but there would also be times of disobedience. This truth is one we need to understand today. You will not be perfect in your life. We should strive for perfect obedience but we cannot let a failure define us or let the failures of others devastate us to the extent our faith is shaken. People are imperfect. Verse 1 also reveals to us that when we have failures, when we stray from God, there will come a time when the follower of God realizes what has happened. In ancient time, the Israelite would reach a time when they realized the sinfulness of their ways. I believe today, a true follower of God that moves into sinful life choices, or backslides as we sometimes say, that eventually they will awaken from the sin and realize how they have strayed from God. God uses many things to bring us to our senses regarding sin such as His Word, Christian voices, and the consequences of sin. But as a true follower of God, just as the Israelites, we will realize the gravity of our sin.
And then what? Verse 2 tells us and it is so simple. We must repent! We must stop the sin we are doing and start obeying God completely again. We must seek God with all our heart and all our soul. And then, verse 3 tells us that God will have compassion and restore us. For the Israelites the restoration meant to bring that back into a nation. For Christians today our relationship with God is restored when we repent. Sin disrupts our relationship by causing interference. Sin cannot end our relationship with God, for once we surrender our life to God we are permanently brought into His Kingdom and Family forever. However, sin interferes with our closeness it pulls us away from God. When we repent we remove that interference and experience closeness to God again and enjoy the depths of His fellowship. It very much reminds me of Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son. The son disrespected his father, lived a life of sin that lead to ruin, the son eventually comes to his sense and returns home hoping to be a slave but is instead restored by his father with joy and honor. God welcomes us back when we repent. And verse 4 tells us that God restores us even from the farthest we can stray from Him! How great it is to know God always welcomes a repentant heart. Do not let guilt or shame hinder you from returning to God and His work. God bought with you with the blood of Christ so that all sins are forgiven. God redeems us from all sin. We must be willing to always repent and draw near to God no matter what sin we commit.
Once we repent we will begin to experience the fullness of dwelling with God again. Verses 5 – 10 explain those blessing again for the Israelites and remind them obedience to God is the path they should choose. For us today we don’t have a Promised Land to possess but we have spiritual blessings promised to us when we dwell in Christ. Experiencing those blessings is greatest when we obey the Lord. Verse 11 tells us that it is possible to be obedient to God. Again, we will not be perfect, but our lives should be of integrity and above reproach. Our lives should be characterized by the fruits of the Holy Spirit and obedience to God rather than sin. The truth of these teachings is plain and we have all of Scripture to serve as our guide. In this way we know what must be done just as the Israelites are told they know what to do in verses 12 – 14. Verse 15 simplifies the teaching to basic truths: life and spiritual blessing is found in obedience God while death and adversity is in being apart from God. What will you choose? I pray we all follow Moses’ instruction found at the end of verse 20 and into verse 21. Choose life. Love God. Obey God. Be faithful to God.