Our Values: Healthy Relationships
Well a couple of weeks ago I wrapped up our series on the Holy Spirit and before I get into the next book that we're going to be going through as a church I'm I wanted to take a break kind of in the fall here and do a series on our mission as a church and our values and so last week what we did is we talked about what our mission is as a church and for those of you who don't have a memorized yet you know we don't need to worry about that our mission is not for everyone to have our mission statement memorized but our mission is here church to say we are developing committed followers of Jesus Christ through the teaching encouraging of God's word it's the last week we looked at what it what I committed follower of Jesus Christ looks like and it's someone who imitates Christ both with grace and truth the things that we know and then also the way that we live our lives and so if we're talking about an imitator of Jesus Christ or a follower of Jesus Christ you have to ask yourself what does what does that person do you know how do they live their life what does what does an imitator look like and fortunately the Bible gives us a really great example of that Jesus told us as did Moses back in Deuteronomy and we're going to look at this pretty quickly a follower of Jesus Christ will do and practice the two greatest commands to love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself and so that's what we do is followers of Jesus Christ and as we break that down and we say OK if we're going to love God and we're going to love our neighbor as ourselves there are certain things that we're going to practice and so we have four values as a church and today what we're going to do is we're going to look at the value of healthy relationships and so I'd like you to open your Bibles actually back to Deuteronomy Chapter six. Going to go in the Old Testament today and you'll notice on your bulletins or your sermon that I have several other passage from for you that I want you to look at as well but in Deuteronomy Chapter six this is kind of work begins and we're going to look at this the first time when the greatest commandment was given before that I want to kind of. There's a new phrase that I'm going to probably use quite a bit more often and hopefully this will be something that we kind of think about a lot but when we talk about the two greatest commandments. You know what exactly does that mean how do we do this we're going to develop healthy relationships with God and other people and if you come across somebody who has said something in a very good eloquent way you take what they said and don't try to reinvent the wheel right so I have a I have several different people that I like to read I'm somewhat different authors a pastor that I really enjoy learning from his name is Andy Stanley some of you might know his father Charles Stanley he's been on the television for years and years and years and years well and he stay on these probably in his early fifty's now and he passes a church in Atlanta Georgia called Northpoint church and he came up with this this phrase to describe how what it's like to put into practice the two greatest commandments and this is what he says and since I can't come up with a better phrase I'm going to just use this myself OK but I'm going to give him credit at least so this is how we describe doing the two greatest commandments we want people to grow in their intimacy with God.
Their community with insiders people within the church and their influence with outsiders that's how we fulfill the two greatest commandments next Sunday we're going to talk about having community with insiders people within the church and their influence with outsiders but for today we're going to talk about how we grow our intimacy with God And so if we're all here in Deuteronomy Chapter six let's begin reading and we'll start off in verse one during the chapter six beginning in verse one and so this is what Moses said to the Israelites as they're getting prepared to enter into the promised land he says now this is the commandment the statutes and the rules that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you. That you may do them in the land to which you are going over to possess it that you may fear the Lord your God You and your son and your son son by keeping all the statutes and his commands Commandments which I command you all the days of your life and that your days may be long here therefore all Israel and be careful to do them that I may go well with you and that you may multiply greatly as the Lord the God of your fathers has promised you in a land flowing with milk and honey and so God is saying this is what I want you to do is your entering into this really this new phase of Israel's history do these things and if you do I will bless you and I want to bless you.
He says in verse four hero Israel the Lord our God The Lord is one you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might and these words I command you today shall be on your heart 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 you shall bind them as signs on your hand and they shall be as front let's between your eyes and you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates and when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers to Abraham Isaac and Jacob to give you with great and good cities that you did not build and houses full of good all good things that you did not fill and cisterns that you did not dig and vineyards and all of trees that you did not plant and when you eat and are full then take care lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt out of the house of slavery it is the Lord your God you shall fear him you shall serve him by his name you shall swear you shall not go after other gods the gods of the peoples who are around you for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous god. God lets the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.
And so here we have this passage and God knew what these Israelites were about to go through and so he tells them be on your guard you're about to experience all these new things and he says keep your focus on me the one who called you up out of Egypt so I want to break down this command into these different parts the heart the soul and the might and also in your notice your note you're going to realize that there's another there's another word in there Jesus in Mass you Chapter twenty two thirty six says The greatest commandment but instead of the Hebrew word for Might he uses a Greek word for mind and a kind of go into that and you'll see how they're very similar and maybe the reason why Jesus didn't use the Hebrew word is because there is no Hebrew equivalent for the word and we'll look at that just a minute but as as I look at this passage in Deuteronomy I kind of see this through the eyes of a father and hopefully you can too kind of is fresh as a parent parents for those of you if this applies to you Do you remember the dime when you sent your kids off to school for the very first day ever. It's kind of a sad someone's already crying while you send your kids off to school and you know how my kid is going to experience all these new things there's going to be great friends to make and it's going to be so bad kids are going to avoid Well if you're sending your child off into a new experience you want to tell them something that's very clear going to give them a guideline of how they're going to survive the new experience and so you might say I obey your teacher you know watch out for the ninety kids or you know don't don't be one of the ninety kids in and hopefully your children will learn to thrive in that environment and then when you send your child a child off to college which someday is going to happen for us you probably sooner than I'd like to you know what do you say to a child then then they have freedom like they've never had before they're going to experience new opportunities or new temptations that they never had before so what do you say you want to say something very clear. Are you concise to the meat you want to cut through the fluff and tell them the most important thing for them to know and that's what God is doing here to the nation of Israel you're about to go enjoy a lot of wonderful things things that you will enjoy and you had nothing to do with them you're enjoying the first of someone else's labor but what I want you to do is I want you to make sure that you're loving me and that I'm at the for the in the first and foremost part of your heart and so as we look at these three things are these actually these four areas of who we are that we need to love God with I hope as we go through this you're going to quickly realize that God is not breaking down and kind of dividing us into these three or four different segments but this is one of the one of the ways in which God is saying that with every part of you your entire being from the inside out you are to love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and strength Well let's begin where Moses' began and let's look at what it looks like To love God with all of our heart.
So when it says that we are to love God with all of our heart this is really talking about our affections in really even our loyalty you know who are you loyal to what are your affections What do you find most precious in this life you know what has captivated your heart to the point that you will stop at nothing to do nothing to get it and if we're all honest with ourself the most the thing that most human beings place of the center of their heart if they're willing to admit this or not is money and possessions that's what most people turn to and say that's what I'm going to run after and so this is why God says to love Him with all of our heart and not to replace that I want you to stay here and in Deuteronomy or at least keep piece of paper or something but I want you to turn over to Matthew chapter six.
Going to look at a couple of the. Warnings where we are warned.
About not giving our heart over to anything else Matthew chapter six beginning in verse nineteen.
Your Jesus speaking kind of gives us this warning about how precious our heart is and how we should guard it Matthew six beginning in verse nineteen. Says Do not lay out for yourselves treasures on earth where Mohsen rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal but lay out for yourselves treasures in heaven or neither mosque nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal for where your treasure is there your heart will be also. The eye is a lamp of the body so if your eyes are healthy your whole body will be full of light but if your eye is bad your whole body will be full of darkness if then the light in you is darkness how great is the darkness I think this is one way of saying be careful what you look at because what you look at is what you're going to want and then verse twenty four Jesus said no one can serve two masters for either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other you cannot serve God and money and I think all of us understand this don't we there can be only one thing at the center of our hearts and that should be God but again maybe the one thing that we replace God with is money or just this idea that if I had money or these possessions that it will bring me happiness and that's why it's so important to remember the greatest command on proverbs for all we all just read this passage for you proverbs for twenty three it says keep your heart with all vigilance for from it flows the springs of life I mean isn't that true Haven't you noticed this is true for yourself Have you ever struggled with this I have I think everyone. US has struggled with us is some point where we get convinced that I will be happy if I only and then you fill in the blank if I only had a motorcycle or five motorcycles or if I only had a bigger house or if I only had this relationship I only had ten or whatever it is we do that all the time and we allow ourselves to get caught up in this this happiness the money and things can buy us you know a really good example of how the in the nation of Israel had they were doing things right and they had God of the center of their heart and they were they were loving the Lord with all their heart and soul and strength and someone messed up and how much destruction it brought upon them is found right after the Israeli's started taking possession of the promised land I want you to turn over to Joshua chapter six.
Joshua chapter six actually to have surgery Joshua chapter seven but without looking at this yet how many of you know the first person among Israel to really mess up.
The first person in Israel to really mess up and get distracted right after God says to keep your eyes on me and don't don't fall in love with the devoted things is a man by the name of a can. And this is right after they had defeated Jericho and this is a great defeat this is on a slant and they're all thinking this is great God is giving us the promised land and then there's this little city just up the hill called AI and they said all this is a little city we don't need everyone to go and fight against AI let's just send three thousand people so Joshua sends three thousand people have to die and they get defeated thirty six thirty six Israelites were killed and the rest of the people and then I chased all the Israelites back down to their camp and so you know what do you do after you have a great victory and then you have a small defeat you know you throw your hands up in the area and say oh God you know we're going to die and why did you lead us out of Egypt just so that we could die here and so Josh was having this pity party and Moses and God is saying this is why it happened look at Joshua seven verse ten.
Joshua seven verse ten.
Then the Lord said to Joshua get up why have you fallen on your face Israel has sinned they have transgress my covenant and I can as I that I commanded them they have taken some of the devoted things they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings and so instead of loving the Lord with all their heart soul and strength someone a can specifically saw something else and said I want this I value this this will bring me happiness and so they drew drew lots to figure out who had done this and came to a can and so Joshua confronted a can and this is what it says in verse nineteen. Then Joshua said to a can my son give glory to the Lord God of Israel and give praise to him and tell me now what you have done do not hide it from me and you can answer Joshua truly I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel and this is what I did when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from China are in two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels then I coveted them and took them and see they are hidden in the earth inside my tent with the silver underneath.
Again I think all of us can relate to this we're trying to do what's right we're trying to have our priorities straight and then we see something else and we say I want that I really really want that and suddenly we replace God and we take him off the throne of our heart and we start to fall in love with something else. This kind of makes me think of what James said in the first part of James and I we went through the book of James last year at this time in talking about how we get led into sin in James says James one thirteen Let no one say when he is tempted I am being tempted by God for God cannot be. Tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin and sin when it is full grown gives birth to death as a great example is akin to what happened to make it verse sixteen says Do not be deceived my beloved brothers every good gift and every perfect gift is from above coming down from the Father of Lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change Satan wants to deceive us into thinking that he can provide us with the good things that will satisfy our heart but this is Do not be deceived every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and so that's why we need to put God in the center of our hearts and truly love Him with all of our heart and soul and our strain you know as long as we live in this world all of us are going to be susceptible to getting distracted I think all of us realize that that's why we must be vigilant and really guard our hearts while the greatest commandment begins with the heart you know what is the most been precious dear thing to us and it moves from the heart out to the rest of us and you know I have found this to be true with myself and maybe you have as well but the more my heart is concerned and consumed with the things of God I have found that in my life everything else doesn't nearly matter nearly as much if you notice that you just kind of have this content and you have this peace to know I love the Lord I will seek only him for the things that are going to bring me pleasure and I'm OK and I'm content with whatever else happens well that's why our relationship with God is so important and begins at the heart well next what does it look like for us to love God with all of our soul. All right maybe some of you are thinking oh boy I was hoping that he was going to talk about this I was really curious what it meant I'm not going to actually spend much time at all talking about the soul. What the Soul is is just a collection of our passions thoughts and emotions in Genesis two seventeen in Genesis two seven on this it says that God had made man into a living soul so then the Lord formed God formed the man from the dust of the ground to breathe into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living creature that word for creature is the word soul and so a soul is just just the complete totality of who we are in the Greek the soul can be translated appetite mind living being desire emotions and passions so that's what it means to say that we love God with all of our soul and that's basically all of us all right every single part of us OK I want to leave that where it is and then kind of talk about the next two weeks I think these are really interesting so in back in Deuteronomy Chapter six when Moses says that we are to love the Lord with all of our might. What do you think that mean it's you know this is a really interesting word what is the meaning of loving God with all of our Might this is fascinating the word here in Deuteronomy the word that's translated might or strange so many translations might say strength usually functions as an adverb OK this is the noun that's only found a couple times is a noun but the adverb that's usually translated from this Hebrew word is the adverb very.
All right so this is the word very kind of interesting so if the word usually means very What would it mean to love God with all of our very this an interesting way to think about this interestingly the Greek translation of this word is power and the Aramaic translation is wealth and both of these are kind of pointing in the same direction one way that we can think of this is saying this the meaning of the strength of a person is not simply in who they are but what they have at their disposal.
So. Of you love God with all of your very minister all of your might you're talking about the things that you have that your disposal that you can affect other people with and so this means that the call to love God is not only with our physical muscles but with everything that we have available for God to use and that could be our spouse our children our resources our finances our everything that we have everything that we have at our disposal is our my or our strength and so when you look at this passage you say God is telling us to love God with all of our heart with all of our soul and with all of our might or strength everything that we have at our disposal you see how God is saying that love for him needs to be all consuming in every single part of our lives Well lastly what I want to do is I want to look at how Jesus said that we are to love God with our minds and this is we find this in the New Testament the mother word for mind in Matthew is the Greek word Di annoyer and the the mind this is the kind of the Greek definition of this the mind as the faculty of understanding our feelings and our desires. And so this is not the usual word that is translated into knowledge or know but it has this connection between our minds and our hearts and I think it's interesting that Jesus chose to use this word because it really makes a connection between our thoughts our feelings and our actions I want to read a few other verses where we see this and you'll see that there is a connection between our minds and our hearts and I did a word search on this and it's only used a few different places in the New Testament but in the FIJA it's the first few chapters Paul uses this word quite often and so let's go over to the book of the seasons.
The seasons chapter one. And I want to see a couple. I swear this word is used and it's interesting that in the first few chapters of if Eason's Paul uses the same Greek word that Jesus used to say love Lord with all of our heart or soul in our mind and this Greek word is translated into three separate English words here in just.
So let's read chapter one and as you read this what I want you to do is I want you to see how our minds and our hearts are connected and so this is really showing us that the greatest commandment is to love God with every single part of us the things that we think about and the things that we feel so if you just Chapter one beginning in verse eighteen.
He's won eighteen Paul says having the eyes of your heart and that is the actual word for mind that Jesus used having the eyes of your hearts in light and that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the say so and so here in this passage Paul is praying that our hearts are actually you can even say our minds will be enlightened so that we will know the hope that God has called us to and if we are focused on the hope that God has called us to that's the thing that we're going to be desiring the most and so here is a connection between our hearts and our minds if we love God with our minds this verse teaches us the truth of the resurrection is going to be something that we're looking forward to the most I'll go to a fusion chapter two.
He's in chapter two and just the first three verses here in this chapter.
In Chapter two beginning in verse one it says and you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked following the course of this world following the prince of the power of the air the spirit that is now work in the sons of disobedience among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flashed. Carrying out the desire of the body and the mind that's the word right there and were by nature children of wrath like the rest of mankind and so here we see a bad example if the mind is focused on the things of this world then our spots will move to the heart and this passage says because their hearts were filled with all of these things they were by nature objects of God's wrath go to one other instance of this word being used fusions for.
Efficiency for seventeen and eighteen.
For verses seventeen and eighteen.
Paul says Now this I say and testify in the Lord that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do in the futility of their minds they are darkened in their understanding and that's the same word right there they are darkened in their understanding Ilya native from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of heart they have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality greed to practice every kind of impurity. Yeah I like how these passages here and if Eason's tied together the desires of our heart with our thinking you know even this one word inefficiency is translated Our hearts our minds and our understanding which kind of proves God's point we can't have two masters we have to choose if we're going to love the Lord or we're going to love the things of this world you know if we get our relationship with God right I think that all our other relationships in this world are going to be healthy regardless of the circumstances and so that's why it's so important for us to really take to heart this greatest commandment I want to go back now to Deuteronomy Chapter six.
Go back to Deuteronomy and one thing I appreciate about this passage is when he says to love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and strength he goes on to explain what that looks like. You know I have to admit that as I was studying for this passage in the sermon this morning next sermon next I'm really looking for the next Sunday because it's very easy to talk about what it means to love your neighbor as yourself we're talking about people in the body of Christ in our church family in people that are outside because we can see each other right and so it's very tangible and we can make a very applicable but when we say that we're supposed to love God with all of our heart soul and strength we can't see God So how do you do that that's kind of a hard concept for us to to wrap our minds around and so that's why I appreciate not only did Moses say to do this but this is how you do it and so see how practical he makes this beginning in verse four Deuteronomy six beginning of verse four again. Hero Israel the Lord our God The Lord is one you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might in other words every single part of you should make God the priority and these words that I come in each day shall be on your heart and this is what we are to do you shall teach them diligently to your children you 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 you shall bind them as a sign on your hands and they should be front let's as front let's between your eyes and you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates and so this is what we're to do we're supposed to teach the things of God we're supposed to talk about them we're supposed to bind them so as to write them down basically our love for God and the way that we practice and demonstrate our faith is very practical and that should be a part of everything that we do so as we are as we're done now looking at this greatest commandment I guess all of us should just take the time and just kind of look into ourselves and ask us these questions you know right now who is sitting on the throne of your heart.
Or in other words what have you given your heart to who have you given your ha.
If it's anyone other than God.
Then you're not going to have the healthy relationship with God and it needs to be healthy with God If we're going to have a healthy relationship with anyone else also when it comes to your heart we talk about that but also with our minds we had to be very careful we're putting into our minds and what we are green with and so what rationale and what philosophies in this world have you allowed your mind to be in agreement with.
If it's not what the Bible teaches you cannot have a healthy relationship with God the way that God is designed us that's why we need to constantly be studying God's word so that we're allowing his thoughts to be our thoughts and so that we are in agreement with the things of God we're going next week like I said we'll look at what it means to love your neighbor as yourself and that's very practical it's very pointed and it's very frustrating because other people can be frustrating right and you want to go with that so we'll look at that and we're going to divide it up into two GET IT categories what it means to to have community with believers and influence with those that are outside the world again this phrase that I want to use I think it's a great great phrase helps us kind of understand how we fulfill the two greatest commandments is we want people to grow in their intimacy with God their community with insiders and their influence with outsiders but for this week I hope that all of us will do some soul searching and spend time developing our intimacy with God because that is the absolute most important relationship that we can possibly have was close in prayer.
Their Father I thank you so much for giving us your word and here in Deuteronomy you've told the nation of Israel through Moses and you told us even through Jesus your own son the greatest commandment is that we love you with all of our heart soul and strength in mind. And Lorida that should be all consuming we should consider how in every error. Area of our life that we can make you.
The priority in that we can give you the predominance in our life and so Father I pray for anyone here who has been struggling with that where they have put something else on the throne of their heart whether it's money whether it's possessions whether it's another person. Help us all to realize that we cannot have the healthy relationship with you that you desire of us if we have something else at the center of our hearts and so Lord help us to do the thing that's difficult and to remove it into practice putting your word into practice Lord I pray that that will be true not only for us as individuals but us as a church that has become here together and as we seek your will for our lives that we as a church will truly try to fulfill this greatest commandment we love you Lord we thank you for saving us from the death and resurrection of your son and help us to live out this love for you Christ name we pray a myth.