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Sermon 8/20/06
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 - Repetition


    Audio Sermon


“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart; you shall teach them to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 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” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

Last week we were in Corpus Christi, Texas, for the Aviation Designation Ceremony honoring 1st Lt. Daniel Douglass and others with wings as military aviation pilots. Lt. Douglass received his gold wings as a Marine Corps pilot, and on Sunday, he and his wife took us and the Curia family to Church, where we listened to a sermon by Pastor Bil Cornelius, who commented on our Scriptures for today. Pastor Bil observed that "repetition" is an integral part of learning, a fact well known to people in advertising. This young pastor was addressing a young audience and he compared Deuteronomy 6:6-9 to “Coke commercials” – “If you keep telling people, over-and-over, that ‘Coke is the best,’ they (you) will begin to believe it!” He continued, “Children watch TV 25-hours a week, and we wonder why they are like they are.”

Pastor Bil observed that the solution is contained in today’s Scripture, which was written thousands of years ago, but it is applicable for anyone, any time – we are to replace one form of repetition with another. Instead of always watching television or doing “busy” things, take every opportunity possible to prayerfully read and study God’s Word, the Bible. The pastor reminded us, “What we read, listen to and accept as truth in our lives” is a key to what we think and who we are. “Put a Bible in the bathroom,” he said, “throw out the newspaper,” and study God's Word. He was appealing to a youthful audience, but the message behind his words contained a truth we all need – God's Word is intended to fill every part of our lives.

The Lord, through His prophets, often compared us to “vessels,” as the writer of Psalm 2 did. In Acts 4:25-26, Peter told us David wrote that Psalm and quoted him.  God said through David: “You shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Psalm 2:9), alerting us that God’s judgment is on those who turn their backs on Him and His Word. Jeremiah the prophet presented a similar idea, calling us “clay” vessels, “MARRED in the hands of the potter,” and he told us of our need to be “MADE… AGAIN” (Jeremiah 18:4), an idea much like Jesus' observation that we must be "BORN again" (John 3:3). Paul the Apostle gave us the extraordinary good news that “Christ, who is the image of God” actually comes INTO "vessels" like you and me – “we have this treasure in earthen vessels,” Paul said, “that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:4-7).

I have often thought of us as similar to coffee mugs that were left for a long time without being washed. Whatever it was that was in us when we were pure and new became something that is not good and pure - we need to be made clean once more. In Christ, the “vessel” (the coffee mug, tea cup or drinking glass; whatever you prefer), is washed and made clean. Our part in this is to recognize that we NEED to be clean. We are to acknowledge our condition and go to Jesus Christ, the One who can restore us. We simply ask and He accomplishes two incredible events within our lives; and then work is commenced on a third: First we are made clean by accepting Christ's work on the cross, and then we are filled with God Himself. Those who are now clean "vessels" in the sight of God actually CONTAIN the One who was sent to us from the Father. His third step is to send His Holy Spirit, who performs a lifetime work of cleansing in our hearts and lives. Yes, we are clean from our “bath” in Christ, but then our “hands” must be washed often, for we are in contact with the world. The good work that has been done on that cross is gradually extended from the center of our being into every aspect of our lives, through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit of God. The “cup,” the “vessel” is made clean and we are filled with the goodness of God. And there is even more: His aim is to share what is in this holy “vessel” with others.

After we left the Church on Sunday morning, we drove to a mission in San Antonio, Texas, called the “Alamo,” a place made famous in 1836, when 200 or so “Texicans” lost their lives in a battle with the Mexican Army. There are a lot of flags and replicas of flags displayed in the mission and one of them is the “Battle of Gonzales” flag, used in 1835. The written motto on that flag is, “Come and Take It,” and that, when you think about it, is the way this world acts toward God. The Bible reveals that, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). And we learn: “ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This defiant “Come and Take It” manner, displayed toward God in a variety of ways, is dealt with in your life and mine by the Son of God on the cross. His work in us continues as we open and prayerfully read His Word, as we know from Scriptures such as, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). The Lord saves us and His Word makes us strong.

Pastor Bil correctly presented our Scriptures for today. We must become willing to replace the often idiotic repetition offered to us by the world - with the Word of God. It must “be in your heart.” And when it is, you become contagious, a vessel for sharing God’s Word with “your children,” your family, neighbors, friends and all your meet. You begin to include the Lord in your conversation, willingly thinking and talking of God and His Word “when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” The Scriptures you are beginning to understand are to be written as notes, posted in your bathroom, on your front door and everywhere else, so that wherever you go and whatever you do; if you are cooking, cleaning, fixing something or whatever, the very repetition of your encounter with those verses will fill up your soul with the goodness that comes from God. That is what is meant by the words, “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” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

Pastor Bil urged us all to give some thought to what is bothering us in life right now.  And then, when you have focused on your need, “take it into Scripture!” Is your problem “Money? Marriage?” he asked and then said – “Go into Scripture and see what God has to say.” Look up the words in the Concordance at the back of your Bible, or ask some pastor or someone else, and find your answer in God’s Word. Then write those Scriptures down, and post them – everywhere! God will use His Word to heal you and change you remarkably by the Word of God.

Father, I confess that I am a sinner, in need of God. Save me, fill me with Your Spirit. Place Your Word deep into my heart and heal my soul, my life. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)

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Friday Study Ministries
P.O. Box 92131
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131 USA