The words in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 are not just suggestions from God or recommendations from God to us. They are commands from God because God knows what works and what doesn’t work. God gives us these commands as He does His entire Word for two specific reasons . . . to bring glory to Him and to give us joy in life.
As we work through each segment of this series we have been focusing on the overriding truth that this entire passage is all about Gospel Saturation. So often when we talk about Jesus and His place in our lives, we will say that He is first in a long list of other people, situations, and things. But Jesus is not meant to be first among many other people and things but He is to be within everything about us. Jesus must saturate everything about us. Gospel Saturation means Jesus saturates everything in your life. Gospel Saturation means . . . You Learn the Gospel . . . You Love the Gospel . . . You Live the Gospel.
Our first “Foundation Stone” from where all the rest of this flows from was Example. Our Big Idea was, My Example Is All I Can Expect From Others. You can’t teach when you sit, walk, lie down and rise until you are loving God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. You can’t put these commands on your hands, between your eyes, and write these commands on your doorposts and gates until you are loving God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Who we are and everything we say flows from and is a reflection of our example. You might think you are hiding things but you will never be able to hide your character and your example.
Our next “Foundation Stone” was Time. In many conversations about time we will often say, “Well, I don’t really have a lot of time with my kids but what I try to focus on is quality time.” Quality time just doesn’t happen. Many times depending on the mood of the day there might not be much if any quality within that time. When it comes to time spent with our kids it is never . . . Quality verses Quantity.
Our Big Idea was . . . You Can’t Count The Moments Until You Make the Moments Count. What we must realize is we can’t have quality time unless we are willing to spend a significant quantity of time. And to do that we don’t need to create more time. Admittedly most of us have schedules that are incredibly busy. All we have to do is maximize the moments that we already have and use the things we already enjoy doing to make the moments count.
Our next “Foundation Stone” was Moments. We talked about different ways we can capture moments in life that come along and use them as teaching moments and “God moments.” Our Big Idea today was . . . Live The Minutes To Capture the Moments. What we mean by moments is capturing and leveraging opportunities in the course of everyday life. Again, it is within what already happens in everyday life and not adding anything.
Every event and every moment in life can be a Gospel teaching moment if we will just take the time to capture that moment and make it a God moment. Everything good or bad that happens in life . . . Every situation we are faced with . . . Every television show . . . Everything that happens in the culture . . . etc. If we will just take the time to process all of this through the lens of the Gospel, they can all become moments where we teach and have a Gospel-centered conversation.
In this entire passage God is describing the “rhythm of life”. Everyday we talk, sit, walk (drive), lie down and rise. And what God is telling us is throughout the day there will be situations, circumstances and cultural events that we can use to teach the gospel. Jesus practiced this with His disciples on a regular basis. Jesus took whatever was happening or how they were acting or reacting to teach about the Gospel and the Kingdom.
To be effective in sharing the Gospel and redeeming some “God moments” in life does not require creating another event. All it takes is maximizing the moments as they happen and the things we are already doing. This happens when we are being observant about what is happening around us, being prepared by knowing the character and attributes of God and simply being real and sharing “life on life” with people around us.
Our last “Foundation Stone” is Memories. (Put the block in the foundation). This is a really big part of the process because that should be our goal. Memories are extremely important because of the very definition of word . . . memories are memorable! We remember memories because they make an impression on us. You might forget a lot of things but you will always remember a memory because it is memorable.
The Shema says, 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. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
The Message translation combines Deuteronomy 6:6-7 together in one thought. It says, 6-9 Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). Growing up I was probably like most of you here. I carried and read from the KJV. I was given a KJV Bible at High School graduation that I still have. When I was in college I came across something that blew me away. I found out that in 1984 something came out that I could understand a lot easier and focus on so much more than the KJV. The NIV was on the bookshelves at Christian Bookstores. In 1986 I began reading the NIV and loved it. It was the Bible translation I read until 2012 and still read it a lot today. I memorized most of the Scripture verses I know in the NIV.
The reason I say that is I love how the NIV translates this verse in The Shema. It says, 7 Impress them on your children. (Deuteronomy 6:7). When I read the word “impress” I think of the term “make an impression.” It’s like when I took Industrial Arts Class and we made these leather bracelets. We would wet the leather to make it softer, take these big metal letter stamps and then hammer the image into the leather to customize our bracelets. Those letters made an impression in the leather. If you say, “They/That really impressed me” what you mean is something stood out about that person or that event. Something that impresses you or makes an impression on you means it is different or special and worth remembering.
If you are like me you don’t remember everything from your past. You probably only remember a few things from your past. What you remember are the things that stood out and made an impression on you. I remember particular plays from sports (breaking my finger playing football and injuring my ankle really bad playing basketball) . . . Baptism . . . Call to Ministry . . . Ordination . . . Wedding . . . Births . . . Baptizing Debbie . . . My kids coming to know Jesus . . . Baptizing my kids . . . etc.
If something from your past didn’t really stick out as something different or special, you probably didn’t remember it years later. But if something or someone was really different and impressed you, that is what you stored away in your memory bank as worth remembering. By how we live and what we say we must make a lasting impression for the Gospel on those who are far from God and especially those in the next generation. By doing that we will be making a memory that will last a lifetime and even extend into eternity. How do we make an impression that lasts a lifetime and extends into eternity?
It happens when we truly take to heart all that is within this passage and make a daily decision to live it out. Here is our summary for this series and the Big Idea for today . . . If I live an example and take the time to capture the moments I will make memories! If you are going to make an impression that is an eternal impression . . . you have to live an example . . . you have to take time . . . you have to capture the moments . . . and then you will make memories.
You are constantly aware of living a Godly example in all you think, say and do. You are willing to daily sacrifice and do as Paul challenges Timothy to do, 7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; (1 Timothy 4:7). You don’t waste the minutes God gives you but you choose to make every minute count. You want every moment to count for the Gospel so you are always looking to redeem the moments in your life and make them “God moments.” 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:15-17).
If your goal is to make impressions on others that will be eternal, here is what you have to do:
Make a daily decision to live an exemplary life that honors God.
Don’t waste your moments but make the moments count.
Intentionally seek to capture moments and make them “God moments”.
Then you will make impressions that are lasting and eternal impressions.
It all happens when we do “life-on-life” with people where we live, work and play. (Motion of rubbing hands together). I call this The 4-I’s of Life-on-Life . . . Investigate . . . Initiate . . . Invest . . . Invite.