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Passing on the Essentials

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Passing on the Essentials

Sunday, December 31, 2007

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Subject:         Passing on the Essentials

Theme:          How to pass on the Essentials to our children

Proposition:   ??



As many of you know, Amanda & I are new parents.  I know not all of you have been able to see baby Elizabeth, so I thought I’d bless you with a few pictures.

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Maybe it’s the lack of sleep, but have you ever noticed how becoming a parent can cause insanity? 

·         TOYS: Last time I shared that I received all sorts of toys at our baby showers which I wouldn’t play with.  I had several folks tell me that I would.  You know what, they were right! 

·         SWAY: And the other day were with some friends from our small group.  Amanda was holding Elizabeth, but I’m standing there talking like this (sway and bounce).

·         TALK: I carry on conversations with a little person who cannot possibly understand me.  I tell her all sorts of things she’ll never remember.  I ask questions like “Oh, did you just make a big poo-poo?” or “Are you ready for beddy bye?” or “Why won’t you stop crying?”          Don’t laugh; you’ve done it too. 

But sometimes I tell her something very important, like “you are so beautiful” or “God made you so special” or “Mommy & Daddy love you so very much.”   I don’t know when she’ll start understanding it, but it sure seems important to say it anyway b/c

These are truths I want her to KNOW – AND NEVER FORGET. 

(TRANS) How do I help Elizabeth remember these things?  How do I help her NEVER FORGET so these Essential Truths become part of her person?  

With my six weeks of experience, I don’t claim to be an expert on parenting.  But I do trust that our heavenly Father knows how we should do it.  He has given us lots of instructions in the Bible on how to be good parents. 

This morning we are going to examine a few verses where Moses tells the nation of Israel the ESSENTIALS they must know and never forget.  He also goes on to explain how we can pass on these ESSENTIALS to our children.

Now, those of you who are not parents, or whose children are already out of the home, don’t tune out.  Though the passage speaks of passing on the essentials to our children, the principles really apply to anyone you have relationship with.

If you’d like, you can start turning to Deut 6. 


As you are navigating there, let’s get our bearings about this book.  It’s the fifth book of the Bible, and it’s mostly just Moses’ final speech to the nation of Israel.   He’s just finished sharing with them the 10 Commandments.  He’ll go on to share many more commandments with them.  But in the middle of all this, Moses boils it all down to just a couple ESSENTIALS.

Please STAND as we read God’s word in Deut 6:4-9

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.

 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.

 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.


Let’s unpack this verse by verse.  You can follow along, if you would like, with the sermon notes in your bulletin. 

You can only pass to others what you possess.  You can’t pass along to your kids what you don’t know yourself. 

Have you noticed how they learn so well by mimicking what you do?  You teach first by example, then by explanation.  If there is any hypocrisy, and contradiction between what I say and do, kids will see right thru it.  If so, which will they remember better, my words or my actions?  The best way to pass along the ESSENTIALS is to know them yourself and live them out before your kids.

So, what are these essentials I must know?



(v.4) establishes the identity of the God whom they are to worship.


Deuteronomy 6:4

 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

Whenever you see the word LORD all in capital letters, that is not a title; it God’s actual name – Yahweh, or Jehovah.  He is not just A GOD, he is THE GOD.  He is the only true God.  He’s not one of many.  Yes, there are other so-called “gods”, but they are nothing compared to him.  He is in a class by himself.  All the commands that follow mean nothing unless they direct us toward this God.

(TRANS) Once I realize who he really is, the next logical question is “How Do I Respond to Him?” 


That is found in v.5.

Deuteronomy 6:5

 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

If you want your children follow this command, the best way is for them to see Dad & Mom loving God wholeheartedly.

(ILL) I remember thru my years growing up at home that nearly every morning, if I was up early enough, I would see my dad reading his floppy paper-back Bible.  I talked to him about this later.  He didn’t think of it as a way of being an example.  But it showed me what it looks like when of a man loves God and his Word.

What does love look like?  If I told you to draw a picture of love on your bulletin, what would you draw?  If I love God, what is that going to look like to my kids or to others who see me?

(EXTRA) A good principle of Bible interpretation is to always let the New Testament direct how we understand the Old Testament.  In the NT Jesus explains the significance of this OT verse.

Look at Matthew 22:34-40 on the screens. 

Matthew 22:34-40

 34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together.

 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:

 36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"

 37 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'

 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

You want a summary of the ESSENTIALS God requires of us?  It’s this: Love God; Love people.  Loving God is most important.  Everything else, including love of other people, grows out of this one command.  Our obedience to God and his laws should flow out of love.  In fact, Jesus said,

John 14:15

 15 "If you love me, you will obey what I command.

(TRANS) So that’s what love looks like – obedience.  Following God’s commands is how we demonstrate our love for Him.  To obey, we must know what his commands are.  Knowing God’s commands is ESSENTIAL to obedience, is ESSENTIAL to loving him.  That’s why we’re told in v.6 to have his commands on our hearts.


Deuteronomy 6:6

 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.

(TRANS)  And how do we get these command into our hearts and into the hearts of our children and grandchildren?  How do we pass on these ESSENTIALS?  That’s what is explained in v.7-9. 


Look at the first five words of v.7.  It says:

Deuteronomy 6:7a

 7 Impress them on your children.


I brought a visual aid to help demonstrate how to help motivate your kids to obey.  (Show knife).  I need a volunteer – just kidding!

This word “impress” is actually the word “sharpen.”  The same word is used elsewhere in the OT of sharpening a sword or the tip of an arrow.  Just as when you sharpen a knife, you rub the steel or stone up and down the blade, repeatedly, over and over and over again, so we must also teach our children God’s truth over and over again.  We drive it home thru REPITITION. 


The rest of the passage explains how we can do this.

Deuteronomy 6:7-9

 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.

 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

(TRANS) Do you see all the practical ways God gives us for repeatedly keeping God’s Word before us?  I think of these as relating to different senses or parts of the body.  In v.7 we see the ears.

EARS (v.7)

Have the sound of God’s word in your ears as often as possible thru your conversations.  Talk about God’s word at all times and in every way.  At home, when traveling, going to bed, getting up.  Take every teachable moment to pass along God’s truth.  The more real God is in your life, the more of these moments that will arise – because you will be aware of where he is working.

(ILL) I heard a good example of this the other day.  As a mom was teaching her kids how to do the dishes she instructed them to clean the inside of the cup first, then the outside.  Why?  B/c Jesus said:


Matthew 23:25-26

 25 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.

 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

Would this family’s dishes get cleaned either way?  Sure, but mom took this as a chance to teach her kid’s God’s truth that we need to have right motives in our heart, not just right actions on the outside.

These teachable moments are all around us, if we have eyes to see them.  But, as one dad told me, “You have to have moments to have teachable moments.”  In other words, you need be you’re your kids in order to take advantage of these opportunities.  Let’s not get so busy with work, school, sports, or even church that we neglect time with our family.

(TRANS) We not only need to have God’s Word consistently in our ears thru conversation, it also involves our eyes.

EYES (v.8-9)

Deuteronomy 6:8-9

 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.

 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

The Orthodox Jews take this odd command in v. 8 literally, placing little scrolls of scripture in boxes that they wear as headbands or as attachments to their hands.  But there are other ways to do this.  Look at Exodus 13:9.  After instructing the Israelites how to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Moses says of the feast:


Exodus 13:9

 9 This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that the law of the LORD is to be on your lips. For the LORD brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand.

This festival, a tradition prescribed by God, was a way of helping Israel remember what God had done for them in liberating them from slavery in Egypt.  The holiday was a means of remembering, a way of keeping God’s truth in front of them.

Traditions can be a powerful reminder when used properly. 

  • Christmas & Easter – remember what Jesus did so we could be free from sin.
  • Veteran’s Day & Memorial Day – remember those soldiers who sacrificed so we could be free.
  • Prayer before meals or bed – remember that God is the provider of all we have, and we should be thankful.
  • Family Devotions – An excellent daily tradition to teach children what God’s commands and promises are.  It also helps set the pattern for their own personal time with God as they grow older.

(TRANS) Traditions become part of a child’s world even before they understand the significance of them.  But there will come a time when they can understand.

(ILL)  Elizabeth is changing daily.  I’ve had so many people tell me to enjoy each stage, not being too anxious for it to be over.  Well, one stage I am not looking forward to is the “why?” stage.  I’m sure most of you are very familiar with that.  No matter what I say, she will want to know “why?” 

This is no surprise to God.  He’s even given us instructions on how to answer, at least as far as it pertains to the teaching of his commands.  Look at v. 20-25.

Dueteronomy 6:20-25

 20 In the future, when your son asks you, "What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?"

 21 tell him: "We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.

 22 Before our eyes the LORD sent miraculous signs and wonders-- great and terrible-- upon Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household.

 23 But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on oath to our forefathers.

 24 The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today.

 25 And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness."

(ILL) I saw a neat example of this parent/child Q&A session the other day.  I was with some friends from church, in their home.  They have a couple verses stenciled in big letters across the wall in their living room and dining room.  We were discussing this Deut passage, and their oldest son asks his mom if this Deut passage was the reason she put those verses up there.  When mom said yes, this boy responded, “That’s cool.” 

There is great value in sharpening and shaping our kids thru teaching them God’s commands.  We remind them of them over and over again, even if they don’t understand the reason behind them.  We take every opportunity we can to place it before their eyes, every chance we can to discuss it with them.

(TRANS) I know what some of you are thinking: “I don’t know the Bible that well, how can I teach my kids?”  You don’t have to be some great theologian to lead your family in this.  There are many simple ways you can do it.  Even though it is your God-given role to be the primary teacher about God to your children, he’s also given you other believers who can come alongside and help.  The church is never a replacement for what only you can do,  but we can equip and prepare you to lead your family.

(APP) Here’s some practical ideas:

FAMILY DEVOTIONS: Just read a passage of Scripture, talk about how to apply it, then pray, asking God’s help to live it out.  And if you were not here last week, our Children’s Ministry handed out these children’s story Bibles.  This makes it even simpler b/c the passages are already selected for you and written in a simple way that kids can understand.  All you have to do is read one page per day with your kids.

FAITH TALK:  Cards that start God-centered conversations.  A big help if these kinds of conversations are new, or if you need some help with creativity.

ORCHARD:  I’ve also heard that folks have enjoyed the new family-style Orchard Bible studies.  We had the men, women, teens, and kids all learning the same portions of the Bible in their own studies.  This helps parents lead their families in discussing God’s word together. 

There’s an insert in the bulletin today that will tell you about the Orchards studies that are starting in just a couple weeks.

(TRANS) All of these are ways of keeping God’s Word in front of you.  Just like with the doorposts, hands, forheads, etc, these are all just a means of getting it into your heart.  If it only makes it to your eyes or ears, not your heart, then it doesn’t do a bit of good. 

It would be very easy for us to forget the Lord our God, who sent Jesus to earth, to live and die and be raised on our behalf.  But we are not to forget.  He is a God who longs to bless us, but he cannot bless disobedience.  That’s why he gave us these commands, for our own good, so we can know how to love him and please him and he can continue to bless us.

We must take every opportunity we can to keep God’s commands before our eyes.  Keep his truth ringing in your ears by discussing it in the normal everyday activities of life.  And make good use of traditions as a way of reinforcing it for ourselves and our kids.

And when God is real to you, that will be the greatest proof and reminder to your kids that God is the one and only true God, the one we are to love with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and the one to whom we can show that love through our obedience.

CLOSE: Pray Deut 6. 

Pass on the Essentials

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Know the Essentials

1.    Who God is (v.4)

Yahweh – the One & Only God

2.    How I should respond to Him (v.5)

Love  (Matthew 22:34-40)

Obedience  (John 14:15)



Pass on the Essentials


For your EARS (v.7)

For your EYES (v.8-9)



          Deuteronomy 6:1-25


Deuteronomy 6:4-5

Matthew 15:7-9

Matthew 22:34-40

1John 2:3-6


Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Exodus 13:1-10

Matthew 23:1-5


Deuteronomy 6:7, 20-25        

Proverbs 22:6

Ephesians 6:4

2Timothy 3:14-17


Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 119:9-16

2Timothy 2:15


Deuteronomy 6:1-25

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