The Trellis of His Word
De 6:1 "Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the LORD your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, 2 "that you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. 3 "Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you-'a land flowing with milk and honey.' 4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! 5 "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 "You shall teach them diligently 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. 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.
Ro 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
Lu 2:41 His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. 43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; 44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day's journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. 46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. 48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously." 49 And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?"
50 But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them. 51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
Letís recap the life of Jesus up to this point. Born in Bethlehem likely in September of 3 B.C. Worshiped by the shepherds, circumcised on the 8th day, redeemed at the temple in Jerusalem as a first born Son sometime after His 40th day. Visited by the wise men in Bethlehem, likely around Dec 25th of 2 B.C.
Then off to Egypt until Herod dies in 1 B.C. and then returning to Galilee settling down in Nazareth, where Jesus grew ďand became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.Ē (Luke 2:40)
Thatís all we really know about His childhood. Nothing else is written about Him until He turns 12 years old. We can infer from our text today that this was just one of many trips to Jerusalem for Him. ďHis parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. It seems logical that they would have brought Him with them.
But why the mention of His age? Why is 12 years old worthy of mentioning by the good Dr. Luke? At the age of twelve a Jewish boy was called "son of the law," and was now responsible for all his actions.
Henceforth it would be his personal duty to keep the law as he was presented before the authorities of the synagogue. Sort of what we do at confirmation, as the confirmand takes personal responsibility for what needs to takes place at the communion table because of the Law.
I donít know if these young Jewish men were quizzed on their knowledge of the Law or not, but we can be reasonably certain that Joseph and Mary had prepared Jesus for this day by teaching the commands, ďdiligently to their child, talking of them when they sat in their house, when they walked by the way, before they went to bed, and when they arose in the morning.Ē This was the responsibility of every Jewish parent!
Well, itís plain that confirmation classes were conducted by the parents in those days, as they prepared their young men to become ďsons of the law.Ē and quite frankly thatís the way it should be even today. Confirmation should be nothing but a review. The children should already know the catechism backwards and forwards.
Luther wanted the catechism to be used by the head of the household as an aid to teach the family the Christian faith and life, to teach the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. But what has happened? The world has crowded in and pushed the catechism right out of our lives.
It was a lot easier to utilize the catechism when we were peasants....what else are you going to do at night when thereís no TV? No soccer practice? No ballet lessons? But weíre a lot more sophisticated than peasants arenít we? Yup we sure are, and we are raising sophisticated kids with no moral compass!
Do you have young children, not yet in confirmation? Get on it! I encourage you to make the catechism a regular part of your family devotional routine. Start tomorrow, or better yet, start today. Just do a little chunk at a time, but be consistent! Donít overwhelm yourself or your children. Youíll be amazed at the difference it will make in your life and in the life of your family!
This teaching of the commands of God is no small thing as we see in our OT lesson today. Letís turn there now and see what we can garner from these passages. In verse 1 we read, ďnow this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgements which the Lord your God has commanded to teach you.Ē
Note the use of the words this and these. This is the commandment...singular. These are the statutes and judgements .....plural.
The singular commandment is found in verses 4 and 5, ď Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God , the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.Ē
All the other statutes and commands and judgements are contingent on this first great command, because if you truly love the Lord with everything thatís in you, well, you will gladly seek to do the things that He says.
Note the three things that are to be taught in v1, the Commandment, statutes and judgements. Especially note the term judgements. Judgements are punishments, they are what happens to those who disobey commandments and statutes. And thatís why v2 says, ďthat you may fear the Lord our God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments.Ē
Judgements are an incentive to obey the rules. Why are rules put in place by authorities? Letís just think about traffic rules. They are in place for your safety and the safety of others.
Before you are allowed to drive in Wisconsin, you need to take a written test to show that you understand these rules. You also are aware that there are penalties if you get caught breaking the rules.
Armed with that knowledge, we all develop a holy fear of police cars. What goes through your mind when a police car pulls up behind you and follows you through town? Or when you see a policeman on the side of the road with a radar gun?
Typically, you will check your speedometer and hope that you arenít driving over the limit. If thatís okay, then you start going through a checklist of other possible violations.
You do this because you are aware of the ďjudgementsĒ of the Law. This causes you to fear and respect police officers. Thatís why Moses was told to not only teach the ďstatutesĒ the rules of the road, but also to include the judgements, so the people would fear the Lord God and obey His rules of the road.
We will teach those in our confirmation classes the judgements and the statutes of God, but there is something different about our students. They are not going through confirmation to become sons of the Law, they are going through to become children of the Gospel.
And one of the things that we will make clear to our students is the Gospel. They must know they are helpless lawbreakers, in need of the forgiveness freely offered through faith in Jesus Christ. This prepares them to rightly receive the forgiveness and renewal offered to them through daily confession and repentance, and regular participation in the Lordís Supper.
Now, in verse 6, we are told that these words of Moses ďshall be in our heart.Ē And in verse 7 we are commanded to pass them along to our children! Our problem is we donít consistently do anything until there 12 years old, then we stick them in a confirmation class and expect them to become super Christians by the time they are done.
I got news for you, at 12 they are no longer children....they are adolescents, and Prov 22:6 says, ďTrain up a child....not an adolescent, (the Hebrew word means anyone between the age of infancy and adolescence.) in the way he should go , and when he is old he will not depart from it.Ē The training needs to be done when they are children.
Godís commands are the trellis we must use to train our children. Is this a guarantee that your child will grow up in the way he should go? No! Just look at any plant trained on a trellis. Not all vines will remain, some become wayward, but look what happens if there is no trellis at all.
Yeah, just look at our society! See the results of children without the benfit of the trellis of Godís Law!
One of the best things you can give your children is the trellis of Godís Law! Itís hard and tedious work. They, and the pressures of this world will do everything possible to keep you from the task. Donít back off....be diligent!
Do you know what the word ďdiligently ď means here in v7? It means to teach by frequent repetition or admonition, that speaks of memorization doesnít it? It speaks of correction when commands are violated.
If God has granted you the gift of children, He has given them to you for one purpose...He seeks godly offspring.Ē (Mal 2:15) Your children are like plants in a garden. God wants you to nurture them and train them in the way they should go. Here He tells us how to do it.
By using the trellis of His Word through frequent repetition and admonition of His Law! Again I warn you. The enemy will not be happy with such a plan. He will do all he can to thwart you. Because Godís Law does another thing....it churns up the soil of the heart and prepares it to receive the Gospel seed.
The enemy knows that when the soil of the heart has been prepared by the Law of God, it is nearly impossible to snatch the seed of the gospel away. And now you know whatís really behind the removal of the ten commandments from the public square! The devil knows itís an evangelistic tool!...........They prepare hearts for the seed of the Gospel.
You know, as you read these verse, you get the sense that we ought to be talking about Godís Word a lot more than we really do. We ought to be exposing ourselves to Godís Word more than we do. We, at Living Word want to help! Thatís why we have made Portals of Prayer available for you.
Help yourself! They are on the back table. If we run out, weíll order more. Take a look at this gem of a publication. It contains Lutherís morning and evening prayer, prayers for every morning and evening of the week, prayers for special occasions and needs, and of course a short daily devotion.
Thereís even a format to follow for family worship using the daily meditations! You want to know what is music to my ears as a pastor? To hear people say things like, ďDid you read portals of prayer this morning?Ē And then hear them share how the Lord spoke to them through that particular devotion.
I often challenge people attending my Bible studies to share something that God has taught them in His Word lately! What I donít understand is why I even have to ask. When the Ruler of the Universe teaches me something, I want to shout it from the rooftop! I want to share it with others.
One of the benefits of talking back what you have learned is that you learn it in a deeper way....because as you repeat it, you begin to own it. You bless others with Godís Word and many times further discussion brings further enlightenment, and more excitement...thatís the way it should be!
Okay, now that we have talked about getting the Word into us through repetitive teaching and memorization, and constant exposure, and verbalizing what we have been taught, we must move on to the most important part.....that part that shows we have truly heard and learned.
De 6:8 "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.
The Jews took these passages literally and they wrote scriptures on pieces of paper and put them in little boxes (big boxes if you were a Pharisee) called Phylacteries. They tied them to their foreheads and left arms.
Some would also attach small wooden or metal containers to the doorframes of their houses with scripture inside. This is a classic example of obeying the letter of the Law but missing the spirit of the Law.
God didnít intend for men to walk around with boxes containing His Word strapped to our bodies, if He did, believe me, I would be the first person to duct tape a Bible to my head! No! Heís talking about something else here.
Look where He wants His Word attached. To hands, eyes, doorposts of houses, and gates of the city. Hands would indicate a ďdoingĒ of His Word.. Eyes would indicate that we should be looking for opportunities to do His Word. Gal 6:9,10 says:
Ga 6:9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Doorposts would indicate that biblical principles should be lived out in our homes and in our private life, and the gates of the city indicates the application of biblical principles in the public square. In the workplace, our neighborhood, and so on. Carrying a big thick Bible to church, plastering our cars with bumper stickers are not the true measure of our spirituality.
Jesus said, if you love Me. If you obey the first great commandment, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength,........keep My commandments.....treasure My Word!
Treasure it! Give it the greatest measure of importance in your life. Read it to your children. Help them learn it through repetition and admonition. Expose yourself to it on a regular basis. Share it with others and look for opportunities to put it into practice in your home, in your church, in your community, and in your world.
Donít be conformed to this world. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Our minds are renewed as we submit them to the authority of God and His Word. And as we learn to daily offer ourselves up as a sacrifice to Him, we will be proof of the existence of Jesus Christ to a world that is dying to see some evidence.
It starts with our children, and must continue throughout our lifetime. We must get into the Word of God and allow the Word of God to get into us, that is how we prove .....the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Let it begin today...here and now.....let go of everything that seeks to conform you to the world and purpose in your heart to do all things according to His will. Purpose to love and serve Him with all your heart, soul, and strength.
The key word in this command is all. Thatís whatís holding some of you back. You are only willing to surrender some, but God wants your all. When you grab onto that plow, you are not suppose to look back!
Give Him your all today! I will only say this, if you do, you wonít regret it.