Performance of the Word
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 6, as we continue our discussion of this portion of the Word of God. We are going to read the paragraph that we will be discussing, beginning in chapter 5, verse 32. We refer to chapter 6 because I believe these chapter divisions could come at better places than they do as far as the subject matter is concerned. We read:

Deuteronomy 5:

32Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.
33Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.

Deuteronomy 6:

1Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it:
2That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.
3Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.
4Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord:
5And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
6And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
8And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
9And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
10And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,
11And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;
12Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
13Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.
14Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;
15(For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.
16Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.
17Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.
18And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers.
19To cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as the Lord hath spoken.
20And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God hath commanded you?
21Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand:
22And the Lord shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes:
23And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers.
24And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.
25And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.

Review

You will recall that last week we began a discussion of what we referred to as Moses' Second Discourse . We said that the book of Deuteronomy was made up of three discourses: one song, one prophecy of blessing, and one obituary. The first discourse was contained in chapters 1-4. The second discourse begins with chapter 5 and goes on through chapter 26. It is important to keep in mind that all three of these discourses—the song, the blessing, and the obituary—were delivered by Moses over a period of forty days as the children of Israel were waiting to get into the land of Israel.

In the first discourse, which Moses delivered in the first four chapters, he reviewed the forty years of Israel in the past with a view to warning the children of Israel not to fall for the same things again. He reviewed God's faithfulness in the midst of their failures.

In this second discourse, he is delivering the law of God. We said it is actually a repetition of the law because in Exodus, chapter 20, we had the moral law presented and here in Deuteronomy, chapter 5, we have the moral law presented. We also said that there was not just a repetition of the law of God; it was a repetition of the law of God with amplification and exhortation. We showed you, as we compared Deuteronomy, chapter 5, with Exodus, chapter 20, that there were some amplifications of the law. We pointed out to you that this particular section, which is referred to as the repetition of the law , begins with chapter 5 and goes through chapter 26. It falls into three natural divisions: Chapters 5-11 deal with the moral law; chapters 12-16 deal with the ceremonial law; chapters 17-26 deal with the judicial law.

The moral law is contained in what we commonly call the Ten Commandments , and though there were amplifications and exhortations related to it, we found and will find that there is no change in the moral law from the wilderness experience to the land experience because God's moral law remains the same. In any age, His principles never change.

We will discover when we look at the ceremonial law that there are some differences because while they were in the wilderness, for example, there were some things that they could not do in relation to the ceremonial law that they could do when they got into the land. And there are some things when they got into the land that they did not need to do that they had to do while they were in the wilderness. Likewise, with the judicial law.

The thing that we would like to emphasize is that the basis of all the law of God is His moral law, and that it is such an awesome thing and contains with it such great responsibility that an ordinary human would feel just as the Israelites felt—scared to death. You may recall that last week we found them so frightened when the law was given that they besought God for a mediator. They said, “We don't dare talk to You face-to-face.” They said, “Moses, God has talked to you face-to face. You are not afraid.”

That is the way it appeared to them, but when you read the comments in the book of Hebrews on this same experience, you will read that Moses exceedingly feared and quaked, but the people didn't know it. That happens quite often you know. Sometimes when a person is in a place of leadership, he is as scared as anybody else, but he can't afford to let folk know it. It is like mothers and fathers who, sometimes when there is a real emergency, may be scared to death, but don't dare let the children know it because there would be worse confusion. Moses was just as frightened as they, but he took the responsibility of becoming a mediator. That is why in the book of Hebrews we are told that the law was given into the hands of a mediator and Moses was his name.

We discovered when we looked at the mediatorial work of Moses a need and an illustration of a greater mediatorial work, and that is the mediatorial work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Moses accepted the responsibility and was limited in the discharge of it. The Lord Jesus Christ volunteered for the responsibility, and there are no limits. That is why we have free access before the throne of grace. None of us needs to be afraid that we will not be accepted. We are welcome.

You probably noticed in the passage of Scripture which we read in your hearing that in verse 31, Moses was standing as mediator. Then in the paragraph which began with verse 32, he said, in so many words, “Now that I have agreed to stand between you and God and God is going to give me the message that He wants you to have, I want you to perform it.” So we want to think about the relationship of the individual to the Word as it is delivered—the relationship of the individual Israelite to the law of God as it was proclaimed. As we examine that relationship, we will have an illustration by comparison and contrast of the response that every believer today ought to have to the Word of God.

Relationship of Believer to the Word

The first thing that I would like to suggest to you is that the relationship of the believer to the Word should be one of performance. That is brought to our attention in the paragraph which begins with verse 32 and goes through chapter 6, verse 3. We will read those verses again for emphasis. Notice chapter 5, verse 32:

Deuteronomy 5:

32Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.
33Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.

Deuteronomy 6:

1Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it:
2That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.
3Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.

No Deviation from the Word

I trust that you could observe the importance of the performance of the Word. If I were going to summarize this performance described in these five verses, I would describe it in two words. First, there must be no deviation from the Word of God. The Word of God is laid down as a straight line, and there must be no deviation from the Word. It must be observed as strictly as an individual's walking a tight rope.

What is brought to my mind by what I read here in verse 32:

Deuteronomy 5:

32Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.

This is an expression that is often used by God to describe the tendency of the Israelites to depart from the plain teaching of the Word of God. Here is a straight line. They sometimes were tempted to turn to the right. They were not walking in relation to the Word. They were departing from the Word. They were declining from the Word, or as they walked along, if they were not tempted to turn to the right, they might be tempted to turn to the left. That deviation from the revealed Word of God always got them into trouble.

One of the promises that God made to the Israelites was that there would come a day when that would never happen to them anymore. There would come a day when they would never have the problem of turning to the right or to the left.

Keep a marker here and turn with me to the book of Isaiah, chapter 30, and notice the promise to which I refer. This describes in part that age that is to come upon the earth known as the kingdom age, the Millennium, the age of righteousness , an age when Israel will be the head of the nations and not the tail, the age when the Lord Jesus Christ will be here on the earth to guide and direct. Israel is not ready and was not ready in Isaiah's day for this manifestation of God's blessing, but God would wait. He would wait until they were in the place of blessing, and so we read in verse 18:

Isaiah 30:

18And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.
19For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.
20And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:
21And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

Notice verse 21 especially:

Isaiah 30:

21And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

He is saying, “When I pour out My blessing upon the nation of Israel, if there is a temptation to turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice saying, ‘Don't do it. Watch out now. Don't step in that ditch'.” One of the problems Israel always faced was the blindness of their hearts, the blindness of their eyes. They meant well, but they made so many mistakes. That is why they couldn't seem to understand what God wanted them to know and to say and to do; and that is why in this portion of Isaiah, their teachers are described as being in a corner. They weren't out where they could see them, but in this new age, they will be out.

I would be remiss in dealing with the Word of God if I did not remind you that that which Israel waits for in the Millennium is ours in the age of grace because we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and I trust controlled by the Holy Spirit. Certainly we can be controlled if we are not. All we need to do is to step out of the way and let Him take control. If He controls, then we have fulfilled in our lives the promise given in Romans, chapter 8: “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Yes, even in this age of grace, as we walk this tightrope, so to speak, in the midst of a wicked and evil generation, the Holy Spirit is able to say to us, “This is the way. Walk ye in it.”

Oftentimes we are not sensitive enough to hear His voice. That is why I repeat what I have said to you many times, and that is, “I pray constantly that God will keep me sensitive to the Holy Spirit.” I don't know a better prayer to pray than that. I don't pray that I won't backslide, and I don't pray that I won't grieve the Holy Spirit. I don't pray that I won't fall into sin. I just pray, “Lord, keep me sensitive to the Holy Spirit,” because if you are sensitive to the Holy Spirit, when you are about to be out of fellowship, you will be warned of it. If you do get out of fellowship, you will be conscious of it, and quickly you can be back into fellowship again.

Go back with me to Deuteronomy, chapter 5-6. In summing up the performance of the Word, I have said that to me it is summed up in two words: no deviation, suggested by the phrase at which we have just been looking and the other word, the word declination . No deviation and no declination. That is brought to my mind by what you read in verse chapter 5, verse 33:

Deuteronomy 5:

33Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.

Notice “all the ways”—not some of the ways, but all the ways. I wonder sometimes how much more effective our lives would be if we walked in “all the way.” Most of us as Christians have a wonderful ability of rationalization. We learn to rationalize our disobedience to the Word of God. We go along, and it is no problem to us. If it is emphasized, we say, “That's right.” If we find it ourselves, we agree, but when it comes down to where we live, then we begin to rationalize.

There are a number of ways to rationalize. One of the common ways to rationalize is to say, “I know the Bible says that, but I have prayed about it.” I have never been able to understand exactly what people mean by that, but I have been told that many, many times. “I know the Bible says that, but I have prayed about it.” I am always reminded of our Catholic friends going to the Pope for a special dispensation if there is something that violates canon law, and if they have enough influence, they can get an indulgence from the Pope. Back in medieval times, they used to sell those indulgences. Folk impress me that way when they say,“Well, I know the Bible says that, but I have prayed about it.” It is as though God says to them, “I know I have said that and it has been in My book for years, but you just don't have to pay attention to that. You go ahead and do what you want to do.” That is the way folk rationalize. In rationalizing, they are declining from the Word. They are not obeying all of the Word of God.

Another way of rationalizing is to say that this passage of Scripture really isn't meant for us. In our discussions on Sunday night, we have been endeavoring to emphasize the dispensational interpretation of the Word, and what I have just said might sound contradictory. But you will notice that I have never said, where principle is concerned, that it isn't related to us. Where principle is concerned, it is related. Some of Paul's views about the place of women in the church are usually explained away by saying, “Paul was an old bachelor and he was just mad at women, so you don't have to pay attention to anything he says along that line.” There are any number of illustrations and examples we could give, but I think you got the point. People decline from the Word. They select what they want to obey, and the rest of it they are not to concerned about.

Person for Whom the Performance is Made

We have talked about the believer in relation to the Word. The first responsibility is performance. But I want to suggest to you that no performance of the Word will ever be effective unless you recognize the Person for whom the performance is made—not the person who is doing the performing, but the Person for whom the performance is made. If this book were just a dry, dusty volume that we took off the library shelf and blew the dust off it and read something, it couldn't mean a great deal to us, could it? But when we recognize that this Book, this Word, is related to a Person, then it makes all the difference in the world. Such is the case here in Moses' plea for performance of the Word. In Deuteronomy, chapter 6, verses 4-5 he said:

Deuteronomy 6:

4Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD:
5And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

These two verses present the Person of the performance, or the Person for whom the performance is made. These two verses are named among the Jews as the great confession . It has for its title the word shma . That is what it is called. The reason for that is that the first word in the great confession is the word hear and it comes from the Hebrew word shma . What is the great confession? Here it is:

Deuteronomy 6:

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

This one verse of Scripture is the greatest testimony to the triune God that you will find in the Bible. One of the pathetic things is that Israel is so blinded today that she doesn't even recognize this testimony. You see, one of the reasons, among many, that Israel cannot accept Jesus as Messiah is that they believe in one God, and if they accepted Jesus Christ, they would be believing in more than one God.

We have a group of people among the Christians today who are very particular about this same thing. They are usually referred to in a very common way, as Jesus name only groups. They do not believe in the individual persons of the Trinity because they say that if they did, they would be believing in more than one God. It is so very plain, particularly in the original text, if you will look at it again:

Deuteronomy 6:

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

Notice the word God . That word in the Hebrew is the plural form of Elohiym, so you could read it: “The Lord our Gods, is one Lord.” It is even more effective if you recognize the word LORD here is spelled with every letter capitalized. As I have pointed out to you any number of times, that means that it is the translation of the Hebrew word Jehovah , the name of God. “Jehovah, our Gods is one Jehovah.” That word one , I have emphasized to you many times, comes from a Hebrew word which emphasizes a collective approach instead of a single line or a single numeral. The idea is, the Godhead is one—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

It is interesting to notice that the name of God is mentioned three times in this great confession: “The LORD our Gods is one LORD.” The unity of the Godhead demands the unified adoration of every believer and that is why you read in verse 5:

Deuteronomy 6:

5And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

There is no such thing as an intellectual approach alone. There is no such thing as an emotional approach. It takes the whole man to enter into the performance of the Word of God; and God, being the Person back of the performance, demanding full adoration of the individual, makes possible the performance.

I have said so often in relation to children that if you could only have one thing in relation to your children that would bring about obedience, what would it be? There are a number of things that you need, a number of things that you should emphasize, but if you had only one, what would it be? If I had only one thing to characterize my relationship to my children, it would be love. If my children are convinced that I love them, and if they love me, then their performance of my wishes is going to be recognized.

There are other things. You need to train, you need to teach, you need to illustrate, you need to help. There are many, many things, but I believe if my back were to the wall and somebody said, “You can have only one quality, and that is all,” I would choose love. I emphasize to you that your children will perform what you ask them to perform if they are convinced that you love them and they love you.

Power of Performance

Step into a higher realm, and I say to you that our performance of the Word will be no stronger than our love for God. But you already realize that no matter how much you love the Lord and how much you want to love Him, it is pretty hard to do, isn't it? No matter how much you love Him, no matter how much you want to obey Him, it is pretty hard to do.

Where is the power of the performance? If I were to ask for some responses, I might be told that the power of performance is found in the determination to do what God wants you to do. But is that true? How many times have you determined to please the Lord and failed? How many times have you clenched your fist, so to speak, and gritted your teeth and said, “God, I am going to do it. I am going to obey You if it kills me.” It very nearly kills you because it is so hard to do.

What is the secret? What is the power? This is the Old Testament, and everything is not given in detail, but it is a wonderful thing to see how truth is related to both of the Testaments. Someone said, in relation to the Scripture, “In the Old is the New concealed, and in the New is the Old revealed.” We are talking about the Testaments now. In the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and in the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. I love to look for these New Testament truths which are concealed in the Old Testament. I suppose if I were to ask you to give me one word that would characterize the Old Testament, you would say, “Law.” If I were to ask you to give me one word that would characterize the New Testament, you would say, “Grace.” In a general way, you would be right, but remember, the Old Testament is not law to the exclusion of grace, nor is the New Testament grace to the exclusion of law. I suggest to you that the power of performance is found right here in this portion of the Word under the title grace . Notice verse 10:

Deuteronomy 6:

10And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,
11And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;
12Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

Go back over that paragraph with me, and notice these words: “It shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, to give thee houses full of good things and wells digged and vineyards and olive trees…” God gives them this, and lest any of you think for a moment that they had anything to do with it, he emphasized, notice, concerning the cities: “…which they buildedst not, and concerning the houses, which thou fillest not, and concerning the vineyards and the olive trees, which thou plantedst not.” They didn't have a thing in the world to do with it, did they? God gave it to them lest some of them come along and say, “But, we deserved it,” he said in verse 10, “I gave you this because I promised. I sware unto your fathers.”

One of the wonderful illustrations of the grace of God in this chapter is in verse 23:

Deuteronomy 6:

23And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers.

You see, he was saying, “I want you to give a testimony to your children, and this is the testimony I want you to give. 'God brought us out from thence that he might bring us in to give us this land which he sware to our fathers'.” Isn't that one of the simplest explanations of the Gospel that you would find anywhere? Could you find a more simple explanation in the New Testament? I don't believe you could. What is He saying? “He brought them out from Egypt.” What for? “To bring them into the land.” Why? “Because He said He would.” What did He do for us? He brought us out of our Egypt, the land of sin or, if you want to use the expression Paul uses, the kingdom of darkness. What for? To bring us into the kingdom of God's dear Son. Why? Because He said He would.

Beloved, this is grace. You see, there are some of God's dear children who know that God has brought them out. They know they have been saved. They don't question that at all, but they don't know whether God is going to bring them in or not. I don't know how many times I have talked with folk who are worried about that. You talk with them and you say, “Are you sure you are born again?” They say, “Oh, I am sure I am born again. I know that.” They can even tell you that glorious time when they met the Lord. The experience was rich to them. They know that, but they are not sure He is going to take them in.

Beloved, that is the reason He got you out—so He could take you in. “He which hath begun a good work in you will also perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” When you try to offer these words of comfort, you are met with a response, “But I may be failing in some way. Maybe I won't keep my word, and maybe I won't be able to do all I want to do.” Remember what we read here. He is doing it because He made a promise. He brought you out. What for? To bring you in. Why? Because He said He would. His word never fails. Beloved, this is the power of performance.

I have said before and I re-emphasize that you cannot work your soul to save. For that work, Christ has died. But you should work like any slave for love of God's dear Son. That puts it in its right perspective. It puts it where it ought to be.

Perils of Spiritual Prosperity

I wish I could tell you that if you are avid in your performance of the Word, there would be no problem, but there are perils related to performance. Those perils of performance are emphasized in this chapter because complete obedience to the Word of God always brings prosperity. It has to. God said that it would. For example, you will notice in chapter 5, verse 33:

Deuteronomy 5:

32Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.

We just finished reading how God was going to give goodly cities and full houses and fruitful vineyards. God always blesses obedience to His Word. He says, “No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.” But sometimes when we get into the land of promise—remember the land of promise is not Heaven. The land of promise is the place of victory—we get careless and we fall prey to some of the perils of a prosperous life. One of the sad commentaries on Christian experiences is that you see Christians who do so well for a while, then things don't go so well with them. They don't go on like they started out, and you wonder why. You ask yourself, “What has happened to so-and-so? Why isn't he doing as well as he did at one time?”

There could be any number of reasons, but I want to suggest three which are related in our text. I call them the perils of spiritual prosperity . There is the peril of spiritual amnesia. Then there is the peril of spiritual adultery, and then there is the peril of spiritual arrogancy. These three perils face every Christian who makes up his mind to go on with God and perform the Word. You see, the individual who is not concerned about God's Word, the Devil doesn't have much of a problem with him. He is not doing anything anyway. But the Christian who says, “By God's grace, I am going to do all that God wants me to do,” the Devil knows he has a problem on his hands and he can't prevent him from doing all that God wants him to do. He is so full of his zeal and determination to go all the way with God that the Devil can't stop him. So what does he do? He digs these pitfalls for him, and if he isn't careful, he will fall into them. So I would like for all of our hearts to be warned about them so that we can avoid them.

Why do I refer to spiritual amnesia? Look at verse 12:

Deuteronomy 6:

12Then beware lest thou forget the Lord…

I'm not going to have time to suggest all of the ways in which you can forget the Lord. It is so easy to do. You forget Him. You forget what He has done for you. You forget the need of dependence upon Him. The first thing you know, you are operating under your own steam instead of the power He gives. Spiritual adultery usually follows spiritual amnesia as one verse follows another. Notice verse 14:

Deuteronomy 6:

14Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;
15(For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

That is spiritual adultery. God describes it that way. God says that when you put anything in place of Him, you have committed spiritual adultery. Notice that I am saying adultery, not idolatry—spiritual fornication. You say, “I'm not going to bow down and worship any idols.” Quite true. But do you remember what James said? “Know ye not that friendship with the world is enmity against God?” It is possible for you to put any number of things in the place of God in your heart, any number of things other than an idol made of wood or stone. So remember, it is possible for you who are the Bride of Christ, as Israel was the bride of Jehovah, to commit spiritual fornication by giving your love and adoration to somebody besides Him. The reason that is done as a rule is because you have forgotten. The glow of your first experience with the Lord has dimmed and your relationship with Him is not as deep as it might be.

I said spiritual amnesia is one peril. Spiritual adultery is another, and if you will look at verse 16, there is spiritual arrogancy. Notice verse 16:

Deuteronomy 6:

16Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.

You know what an arrogant person is, don't you? An arrogant person is one who says, “Can God do so-and-so? God can't do anything to me.” Arrogant, proud, self-sufficient, forgetting his dependence upon the Lord. You remember how the Israelites tempted God in the wilderness. They needed water. They needed bread and the question was, “Can God do this? Moses, you boast so about your God. He can't do everything. Some things we don't need Him to do.” It is amazing when individuals commit spiritual adultery because they have suffered from spiritual amnesia how arrogant they can become. They act as though they did not need God for anything at all.

God's Promise in Relation to the Performance

There is one last thing I would like to suggest to you that comes from this chapter in relation to the performance of the Word. What was God's promise in relation to this performance? If you will look at the last few verses of chapter 6, you will notice what it was. Notice verse 24:

Deuteronomy 6:

24And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.
25And it shall be our righteousness, if [there is the big word if]we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.

What was it God promised in relation to the performance of the Word? “If you perform the Word, you shall be righteous. If you do these things, you shall live by them.” We are speaking now particularly of the Ten Commandments which these men should have done and if they had, they would have found life. But, did they?

They didn't. The Apostle Paul gives you a real testimony about that. He said, “The law slew me. It took away all chances of life.” What did he mean by that? He meant, “It condemned me, and there was no way in the world that it could get me righteousness.” A good illustration of why is found in the book of James, when James said, “If you break one of these commandments, you have broken all of them.”

You say, “Why would God promise and not fulfill? When He promises, He always fulfills. Turn with me to the book of Romans, chapter 10, for a word about the promise that God kept. In verse 1, you read:

Romans 10:

1Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
2For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
3For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

They were still trying to be righteous by performing the Word, but they failed. But God promised them righteousness. Did God just leave them dangling? No. In verse 4, you have God's promise fulfilled:

Romans 10:

4For Christ is the end of the law [the culmination] for righteousness to every one that believeth.
5For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

But this new righteousness is different. It is of faith. Notice verse 6:

Romans 10:

6But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
7Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
8But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

That is God's fulfillment of promise.


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