Deuteronomy 12 – Skip Heitzig

Deuteronomy 12 – Skip Heitzig


[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome to Expound, our
verse-by-verse study of God’s word. Our goal is to expand your
knowledge of the truth of God by explaining the word of God
in a way that is interactive, enjoyable, and congregational. Hey, I’m grateful tonight. I’m really thankful
on a number of levels. I feel like the Psalmist
in Psalm 45 when he said, my heart is overflowing
with a good theme. And I’ve been with a friend
for the last couple of days that I met when I
was 15 years old, and we’ve been
friends ever since. And as we were together,
we were reminiscing about how bad we were
when we were kids and how we got arrested
and the trouble we got into and how we almost died
a couple of times, but how we both got saved
around the same time, and we’re both in
ministry serving the Lord all of these years,
and we still like each other after all this time. It was just an amazing thing. So I’ve just sort
of been in touch with that thankful grateful
theme for what God has done, and I am very grateful. I’m thankful to God for you. I’m thankful to
God for this city, for this state, for this amazing
time in history that we have, and for the opportunities
that God has set before us. I’m going to do something a
little bit different tonight. It’s communion, and we’ve
been in Deuteronomy. And usually what we do is
we read a couple verses, and then we expound
and dig deep, and then read a few verses, and dig down,
and go deep, and go an hour, and we cover a chapter or two. What I’m going to do
is something different. I am going to look at
Deuteronomy chapter 12, but I am just going
to read it through, and I’m going to make
some comments after we’re done that apply to us
and take communion, so it’s not going to
be a lengthy message. But as I go through
Deuteronomy 12, there’s three basic
undercurrents, three themes that
I want to draw out from that I think are very
pertinent to us taking the Lord’s supper tonight
in this amphitheater. And first is the theme of
regathering, regathering. You see, the children of Israel
were going to go into a land, and they were going
to scatter everywhere, and once they scatter into
different regions of the land, they will have the need to
regather, to get back together for fellowship, and
to do that frequently during the year at a special
place that God chooses. So the first theme is
regathering, getting together, back together frequently. The second is the
theme of redemption. Sacrifice is mentioned
in this chapter. The shedding of blood is
mentioned in this chapter, and then there’s a third
theme, and that is rejoicing. You’ll hear it when I read
it, but it’s a command that God gives to his
people to rejoice. Maria, I loved what you said. You saw a bunch of
grumpy Christians, and it turned you off. And so God will give a command
to his children to rejoice, and as I think about
these three themes– regathering, redemption,
and rejoicing– I think, it’s not a
coincidence that we’re in chapter 12 of Deuteronomy. I think that’s exactly the
theme of what we’re doing with communion here tonight. So I’m going to read the
chapter if you don’t mind, and some of it might
sound laborious, but just hold onto your seat. We’ll be done with it soon. Deuteronomy, chapter 12,
beginning in verse one, “These are the statutes
and the judgments, which you shall be careful
to observe in the land which the Lord, God of
your fathers, is giving you to possess,
all the days that you live on the earth. You shall utterly
destroy all the places where the nations, which
you shall dispossess, served their gods, on the high
mountains and on the hills and under every green tree, and
you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, burn
there wooden images with fire. You shall cut down the
carved images of their gods and destroy their
names from that place. You shall not worship the Lord,
your God, with such things. But you shall seek the place
where the Lord, your God, chooses out of all
your tribes to put his name for his dwelling
place, and there you shall go. There you shall take your burnt
offerings, your sacrifice, your tithes, the heave
offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your free
will offerings, and the first born of your herds and flocks. And there you shall eat
before the Lord, your God, and you shall rejoice
in all to which you have put your hand and
you and your household, in which the Lord, your
God, has blessed you. You shall not at all do as
we are doing here today, every man doing what is
right in his own eyes, for as yet, you have not come
to the rest and the inheritance which the Lord, your
God, is giving you. But when you cross over
the Jordan and dwell in the land which the Lord, your
God, is giving you to inherit, and he gives you rest
from all your enemies around about so that
you do well in safety, then there shall be the place
where the Lord, your God, chooses to make his name abide. There, you shall bring
all that I command you– your burnt offerings, your
sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings
of your hand, and all your choice offerings,
which you vow to the Lord, and you shall rejoice
before the Lord, your God, you and your sons
and your daughters, your male and female servants,
and the Levite who is within your gates,
since he has no portion nor inheritance with you. Take heed to yourself
that you do not offer your burnt
offerings in every place that you see, but in the
place which the Lord chooses. In one of your tribes,
there you shall offer your burnt offerings,
and there you shall do all that I command you. However, you may slaughter and
eat meat within all your gates, whatever your heart
desires, according to the blessing of the
Lord, your God, which he has given you. The unclean and the clean may
eat of it, of the gazelle, of the deer alike. Only you shall
not eat the blood. You shall pour it on
the earth like water. You may not eat
within your gates the tide of your
grain or your new wine or your oil of the
first born of your herd or your flock of any
of your offerings which you vow your
free will offerings or the heave offering
in your hand. But you must eat them
before the Lord, your God, in the place which the
Lord, your God, chooses. You and your son and your
daughter, your male servant, your female servant, and the
Levite who is within your gate, and you shall rejoice before the
Lord, your God, in all to which you put your hands. Take heed to yourself that you
do not forsake the Levite as long as you live in your land. When the Lord,
your God, enlarges your border, as he has
promised you, and you say, let me eat meat, because
you long to eat meat, you may eat as much meat
as your heart desires. If the place where
the Lord, your God, chooses to put his name
is too far from you, then you may slaughter
from your herd and from your flock which
the Lord has given you. Just as I commanded you, you
may eat within your gates as much as your heart desires. Just as the gazelle and the deer
are eaten, you may eat them. The unclean and the
clean alike may eat them. Only be sure that you
do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life. You may not eat the
life with the meat. You shall not eat it. You shall pour it on
the earth like water. You shall not eat it that
it may go well with you and your children after you. When you do what is right
in the sight of the Lord only the holy things which you
have in your vowed offerings, you shall take and go to the
place which the Lord chooses. And you shall offer your
burnt offerings– the meat, the blood– on the altar of the
Lord, your God, and the blood of your sacrifice
shall be poured out on the altar of
the Lord, your God, and you shall eat the meat. Observe and behold all these
words which I command you that it may go well with
you and your children after you forever
when you do what is good and right in the
sight of the Lord, your God. When the Lord, your God,
cuts off from before you the nations which
you go to dispossess, and you displace them
and dwell on their land, take heed to yourself that you
are not ensnared to follow them after they are destroyed
from before you, and that you do not inquire
after their god saying, how did these nations
serve their gods? I will do likewise. You shall not worship the
Lord, your God, in that way, for every abomination to
the Lord which he hates, they have done to their gods. For they burn even
their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever I command you, you
shall be careful to observe it. You shall not add to it, nor
shall you take away from it.” There’s a lot of information
to be given on this chapter, but I want to restrict what
I have to say to those three themes that I announced for the
purpose of taking the Lord’s supper communion together. First of all, they were to
be regathering together. You see, while they were in the
wilderness marching through, there was a tabernacle, and
they were always together. They were camped
around the sanctuary, so they were always
with each other. It was like a tent city. It was like a camp of refugees
for 40 years with each other in the wilderness camped
around the tabernacle marching from place to place. But now it’s going
to be different. Now they’re going to
cross the Jordan River. The land will be plotted
out for different tribes, so they’re going to be
scattered all over a larger piece of real estate. Therefore, they
need to regather. They need to gather together
again with each other, and they need to
do it frequently. God, knowing that, prescribed
three mandatory festivals where they would
all go to one place, and that is Jerusalem, where
the Tabernacle will eventually end up, and the temple
will eventually be built. Those three festivals are
the festival of Passover. The second is the
festival of Pentecost, and the third is the
festival of Tabernacles. It is mandatory for the
males within a certain radius to come to Jerusalem,
but it is preferable that everybody in Israel can
gather together and worship together on one of those feasts. Now we don’t live together,
and that’s probably a very good thing. We’d probably all get
on each other’s nerves if we all tried to camp out
here at this church day in and day out. So we live in different
places in the community or in communities around, but
we are called in the Bible to gather together frequently. We need to regather like
they needed to regather. Listen to what the
writer of Hebrews said in Hebrews chapter 10. “Let us not neglect our meeting
together as some people do, but encourage and warn
each other, especially now that the day of his coming
back is drawing near.” Let me put it to you this way. As we move on toward
the coming of the Lord, and the world gets
darker and darker, and it’s harder to
be a Christian– it’s more difficult. The
persecution is mounting. Perhaps you’re starting
to taste a little bit more and see more of it than
you ever have before. And as you’re feeling the
pinch of the world around you, there is the need to regather
frequently and more frequently to get reoriented in a place
like this at a time like this, in fellowship with each other,
to worship together in song, to hear the Bible taught, to get
on the same page spiritually. This is why the
Church of Jesus Christ will never go out of style
ever, and here’s why. In our world that is
increasing with its technology, that face-to-face fellowship
becomes even more important. I just read an article before I
came out here on my computer– two of them, actually– about
how technology is making people feel more isolated. Sure, we can text. Sure, we can
Instagram and tweet. But there’s nothing like
looking somebody in the eye, opening up your heart,
and having true koinonia or fellowship with
that other person. That is becoming harder,
and you can’t do it with a little mobile
device or a computer. So the article went on to say
that with all the advances we have in communication, we
are feeling more lonely, more alienated, and more isolated. Sometimes I almost
feel like if I had a computer
screen for a face, people would look at me more. Ever been in a restaurant,
and you see people at the same table, and they’re
looking at their devices? They’re not even
talking to each other. They’re probably
texting each other. But I’ll tell you what. As long as the church
stays biblical, it will never go out of style,
because one thing we ought to be really good at is
letting our guard down, being real with each
other, being a community together– it’s not always
the case, but it ought to be. When we’re a biblical
community and we gather together to
lift one another up, to bear one another’s burdens,
to encourage each other, to teach each other,
it becomes something that is irreplaceable. You can’t get it on
a computer screen. You can’t get a fellowship
app for your phone. You need another person
to have fellowship with. I know you can
FaceTime, but it ain’t the same thing as being
together with one another. There’s an old Jewish
proverb that says, a friendless man is
like the left hand bereft of the right hand. And I would say that a
Christian out of fellowship is like a left hand
bereft of the right hand. Proverbs 18 says,
a man who isolates himself seeks his own
desire, and he rages against all wise judgement. You need a family. I need a family. And that’s why we
want to welcome you as we did at the beginning
as part of a family of God. You’re not an audience. You’re a family. You’re my brother, my sister. We should treat each
other in that capacity. So the need of regathering–
that’s the first theme. Here’s the second theme
I want to draw out. That’s the theme of redemption. You noted while I read
through Chapter 12 the mention of offerings. We’ve already taught in
depth on them and Leviticus, but there were five different
prescribed offerings that were to be brought
to the Tabernacle and later on to the
temple, and a couple of times in our
passage is the mention of blood– the shedding of
blood, pouring out the blood, not eating or
drinking the blood. I know that sounds really gross,
like who would drink or eat blood? Well, there’s an answer to that. Scottish people would do that. Just saying. I’ve been to Scotland
before, and they have a thing called
blood pudding, where they take congealed pig’s blood
and put it inside an intestine, and they eat it. And they think it’s great. I don’t get it. I’m not here– that has
nothing to do with my message, but it’s just like, I’m
thinking, that’s pretty gross, but there are people
who still do it. But did you know
in ancient times in some of the pagan worship,
it was a common practice to actually take an animal’s
blood and to drink part of it or to eat it? And you say, why is that? Because it was a
superstitious belief that whatever that
animal was known for, that character trait would
become your character trait. So you could become
as fast as a lion by taking some of its blood. You could be as
free as a gazelle by taking some of its blood. You could be strong as an ox
by taking some of it’s blood. You would take on
the characteristic that that creature is known
for, and so that became part of pagan worship in antiquity. Because of that and because of
this commandment that we read, the Jews developed a
system to cut meat, to drain the blood
after washing it, drain it out so that the meat
became what they called kosher. Kosher means fitting
or proper meat. And a rabbi would
inspect it to make sure it’s cut a certain way
and washed a certain way and drained a certain way
because of the commandment that we just read. And though that is Old
Testament, some of you remember that in the
New Testament, when Gentiles, non-Jews were being
saved all over the world, the Council of
Jerusalem said, look, let’s not lay some heavy
burden on these people. Let’s just tell them
they should abstain from things polluted by idols,
from fornication, from things strangled, and from blood. Blood. If you do these things,
he said you do well. So we gather tonight,
and we are celebrating shed blood, the shed
blood not of an animal but of the Lord Jesus
Christ, and isn’t it amazing, isn’t it fascinating
that Jesus never said, make a mausoleum
that celebrates my importance and my life,
or erect a large marble pillar where I spoke
the Sermon on the Mount? No, he said. There’s one thing I want
you to do to remember me, and that is have
a meal together. Take the elements that
speak of my broken body and my shed blood just
like the Passover meal, because it would remind
us of redemption. We are reminded of redemption. We regather to remind
ourselves of redemption. The themes actually go together. And we drink, and we eat
to remember Jesus said, do it in remembrance of me. I’ve often said that
the world goes to bars, and they drink to forget. They want to forget the day. They want to forget their boss. They want to forget their job. They want to forget
their spouse. They want to forget all the
bad things in their life. They drink to forget. We drink to remember. We drink to remember. We eat to remember. It’s a priority. And I will say I am so glad for
a church, a group of people– when I say church, I
don’t mean a building. I mean you. You are the church. I’m so grateful for God’s
people, a church that makes communion a priority,
makes the cross of Jesus Christ a priority, because when
churches forsake the cross, and they become liberal
in their thinking, they become liberal
in their theology, they start forgetting that
they were redeemed by blood. So it’s always to be a priority. The cross is always to be a
monumental priority to us. We must never forget it. So we take communion. And why do we do it? Why do we do it to remember him? For a simple reason–
not just to remember him, but because he said to do it. You know, people say, well,
why should I get baptized, or why should I take communion? Easy answer. Jesus said so. I don’t think you need
any more answer than that. If you love him,
if you worship him, if he is your savior–
Jesus said, if you love me, you’ll do what I say, right? So he told us to do it, and
he was smart in doing it. Like he told the children
of Israel, regather, and as you regather, you
remember your redemption with these sacrifices and
the shedding of blood. You don’t drink it
like the pagans. You don’t conduct your
service, worship service like the pagans, but you make
sure that part of your priority is that you remember the
redemption as you regather. So regathering, redemption,
here’s the third, and then we’ll take the
elements together– rejoicing. You noticed a couple of
times where the Lord said, any you shall rejoice. You shall rejoice. You and your children and
your children’s children shall gather together. In fact, I discovered that
eight times in the law of Moses is the commandment to rejoice. No how many people do you know
that have said something like, well, you know,
the Old Testament is full of a vengeful
God, an angry God. There’s no real
happiness and joy until you get to
the New Testament. Well, I think you need to read
the Old Testament a little more closely, because eight
times in the law, especially in Deuteronomy,
even Leviticus, is the command, you shall rejoice. In fact, 23 times
in the scripture we are given a
command to rejoice, all of those in
the Old Testament. Why would God give us
a command to rejoice? Does that mean we all gather
together and do one of these? Just plant a fake smile. I’m rejoicing. No, I don’t think it
should be that lame, but it does show me
that joy is a choice. It’s a choice. You can choose to be grumpy. You can choose to be angry. You can choose to hold a grudge. You can choose to be whatever,
or you can choose to rejoice. It’s a command,
because it is a choice. And when you make the
choice, here’s the deal. The disposition or the
feeling will eventually follow the choice that you make. You’ve all read, I’m guessing,
the Book of Philippians in the New Testament. Am I right? OK, so you’ve read that book. Now that book was
written from prison. Paul was in jail when
he wrote that book. So here’s a guy
chained in jail, and he writes to the Philippians, and
he says, rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say
rejoice, and he uses the word “joy” 12 times
in the letter of Paul from prison to the
Phillippians is the word “joy” and “rejoice.” And in that letter, as a
prisoner locked up in a cell, he writes these words– “I
have learned in whatever state I’m in to be content.” I can be content in
the state of freedom. I can be content in the
state of being locked up. I can be content in the
state of sickness or health or poorness, poverty, or
wealth, in whatever state I’m in to be content. In the state of New
Mexico, you can be content. In whatever state you’re
in, you can be content. Paul is in prison,
and he tells people, and he himself is rejoicing. By the way, when Paul first
came to the city of Philippi, remember that he was thrown
in prison the first night, and he was beaten? And he was with
Silas, his buddy, and it says, about midnight,
Paul and Silas started singing hymns to the Lord. How do you sing at
midnight after being beaten up and put in a cell? Well, you regather, and you
focus on your redemption, and that should
cause you to rejoice. I’ve often wondered
what it was like to be around Paul the Apostle. I bet it was a hoot. I mean, this guy
was effervescent. This guy was unstoppable. He gets beat up. He recovers. He goes to the next
town, keeps preaching. He gets beat up. He recovers. He goes to the next
town, keeps preaching. He just is like
the Eveready bunny. God winds him up, and
he just keeps going, and he keeps going,
and to be around him must’ve been like being
around an artesian well– full of joy, full of rejoicing,
full of a positive spiritual attitude like God’s
going to do great things. Now you’re given a
command to rejoice. Wouldn’t you love it if
people would say, you know, when I’m around you, it’s like
being around an artesian well? I’ve been around
some Christians, and honestly, not all of
them, but some of them, it’s like witnessing an autopsy. It’s like, man, dude, it’s
like, are you really– you’re walking with
God, the living God? Jesus has saved
you, because I just don’t get what I see and hear. Rejoice in the Lord always. Charles Spurgeon
put it this way. “Our happy God should be
worshipped by a happy people. A joyful people is in
keeping with God’s nature and character.” I love that. When I was a kid,
I went to church, and I, like Murray,
I didn’t like it. I hated it. You know why I hated it? Because I had to go. I don’t have to go now. I want to go. I like to go. I like hanging out
with God’s people. I love regathering with
God’s people frequently. And I love thinking
about our redemption, and I even love the
command that God knows I’m giving you
a choice to rejoice, and I want you to take
that choice, and do it. We’re happy because
of what he has done. Bars have happy
hour, don’t they? No, no, no, this is happy
hour right here, right now. [APPLAUSE] So we’re going to pass
out these elements, and we’re going to
take them together. And it was Spurgeon,
, again, who said, don’t use the bread and
the wine, the elements– in our case, the
bread and the juice– don’t use them to just have
in front of you to look at. Use them as a pair of
glasses to look through. Use the bread and the juice,
the reminder of the shed blood and the broken body
of Jesus as lenses by which you are looking
through and seeing life. You are looking through
rose-colored glasses, blood-stained lenses. The blood of Jesus Christ
has colored those lenses, and you are seeing your world,
your reality through what he has done. So as we regather, and
we focus on redemption, we rejoice for what he has done. Let’s pray. Our Father, we just
thank you for your body. That’s what you call us. We are hands and feet
and eyes and ears. We are muscles and
sinews and bones. But we are all together hearing
what the brain is telling each one to do, moving
in a coordinated fashion, serving one another,
loving one another. When one member of the body
suffers, we all suffer. When one member
rejoices, we all rejoice. Lord, I pray that you
would just put within us a spirit of rejoicing,
a holy joy as we have regathered to focus on
redemption in Jesus’s name. Amen. Well, Pastor Kerry
and I are very honored to lead you in sharing
this meal together. We were told that
Paul was effervescent, and Jesus was
fervent when he came to this time of
instituting the Lord’s supper with the disciples. In fact, Luke records that
when the hour had come, Jesus sat down, and the
Twelve Apostles with him. Then he said to them,
“With fervent desire, I have desire to eat
this Passover with you before I suffer. For I say to you,
I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled
in the Kingdom of God.” And then Jesus took the cup
and gave thanks and said, take this, and divide it among
yourselves, for I say to you, I will not drink of
the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes. And Jesus took the bread,
gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to them
saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Likewise, he also took the
cup after supper saying, “This cup is the new
covenant in my blood which is shed for you.” This is good news, folks. In fact, from what we were
reminded of this past weekend, this is great and awesome news. And in as much as there’s time
for a solemn consideration of our sin before
God, we always have to come to that
point of emerging from that after confession to
just thanking God fervently, just as Jesus was
fervently sharing this meal with the
disciples, that we are a forgiven people, folks. This is great news. We get to share tonight
in this enduring meal that Jesus instituted– very
simple, very plain– to remind us to remember and
to never forget, as we were reminded of
tonight, what he’s done for us. And so you have the elements. If you haven’t already done
so, peel back the top film to release the bread. Take it in your hand. I’m going to lead us
in prayer before we take the bread together,
and then Pastor Kerry’s going to lead us
in prayer before we drink of the fruit
of the vine together. Let’s bow our heads. Father, we thank
you so very much that in a world that seems
to be entirely consumed with provoking our flesh,
with stimulating our flesh, enticing our flesh, your example
was to give your flesh away for us. God, in a world where
we are constantly beckoned to
accommodate our bodies, to make our bodies
comfortable, and to give our bodies pleasure, you
yielded all of your body for our sake, God. And so, Lord, thank you
for leading the way. Thank you for
leading by example, and thank you for this
meal of remembrance, God. Then, Lord, we can consider
that these elements represent the ultimate
Passover, that because of what these elements
represent to us, death glides right
over us because of your broken body and your
shed blood which covers us completely. God, we’re so grateful
as we remember that you gave your
flesh for us, and we take fervently,
effervescently, so proud of you as our savior,
God, we take this bread in remembrance of you. Let’s take together. Father, as we were
taught tonight, I pray that we would
choose to remember, to remember like Murray did our
testimony before we knew you, our life before, and that from
the foundations of the earth, you had a plan. You set your love upon
us like you did Israel. You came to cover us, because
we cannot cover ourselves, and we thank you so much. We choose now, Lord, to do what
you asked, to remember, to take this meal and rejoice
in our redemption, to believe with all our
heart that you chose us from the foundations
of the earth. We love you. We thank you for this
opportunity and the pleasure of knowing you. In your son’s name. Amen. Please take that. Well, friends, with
unshackled burdens, we encourage you,
with all of us, to go in the grace and knowledge
of our common Savior Jesus Christ, as we continue
to grow in the grace and knowledge of our great and
awesome Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. Right on. If you’ve missed
any of our expound. Studies, all of our
services and resources are available at expoundabq.org.

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