Matt Hagee - Follow The Signs
Today, I want to show you in the scripture how to follow the signs so that you can walk the path of righteousness and be willing and obedient, and receive the blessings of God. That's the message of Deuteronomy 6. Deuteronomy 6 tells us very clearly that, "God told the children of Israel, here's what you're going to do. You're going to teach your children diligently". That word "Diligently" does not mean on occasion: it means constantly, consistently, compassionately, diligently. You're going to teach them that, one, there is only one God, and then you're going to teach them how to love that God with all of their heart, with all of their soul, with all of their mind, with all of their strength. And he said, "There's going to be signs that you're going to use to demonstrate this faith that you have in God".
People should be able to watch your conduct and know what you believe. The way that they used to say it was, "Practice what you preach". But said simply, you do not believe and then behave: you behave like you believe. People should be able to tell by your conduct who you believe in and what he means to you. And in Deuteronomy 6, there's a simple sign that's given. In verse 8, it says, "You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house". This is speaking directly to the phylactery that you see, the orthodox men wear after the age of 13. Thirteen is whenever they're considered fully mature and they're a part of the congregation, so they receive at their bar mitzvah the symbol of the Word of God. And they wrap it around their hand whenever they go to prayer, and they put it on their eyes right here between the front of their forehead, so that whenever they look up, they're looking through the Word of God. It's a sign.
But here's the thing about the sign. You need to recognize it's not the symbol: it's the source. Oftentimes, we want to touch the sign, and we believe that the sign is enough, but it's never the sign: it's always the source. It's not the sign of what's been wrapped around their hand. It's the source behind it. The sign is, this is the Word of God, but the reality is, the Word of God itself is Holy Spirit inspired. And all of it is good. There's not one part of this book that's bad for you. From the days of Moses to even now, the children of Israel has followed these signs. Deuteronomy 6:7, it says, "You shall teach them diligently to your children, this is what an orthodox man wearing the phylacteries looks like. He's got the straps around his arm, he's got the box between his eyes. This is where they wear it when they go to pray and they spend their time in the Word of God. They pass it down to their children and to their grandchildren".
This scripture that we're reading from Deuteronomy is almost 4.000 years old, and these pictures were taken in recent history. Why? Because they have been faithful to diligently teach it to their children. This is a young man praying on a plane as it's flying into Israel. There's every generation, this is a young man receiving the phylactery at his bar mitzvah, receiving the traditions of the Word of God. Why? Because it's a demonstration that they are faithful and they are obedient. Now God being the true supernatural and practical genius that he is, not only did he ask his children to do this for the purpose of obedience, but think about the practical moment. God understands the curiosity of children. How many of you have kids that knew how to ask why? God knew that when kids saw something that didn't make reasonable sense, they would ask why.
So whenever a child saw a father wrap these straps around his arm and put this box over his eyes, and begin to pray, he would ask, "Why? Dad, why do you do that? Dad, why do you do this? Dad why, dad why, dad why"? And because he wanted fathers to diligently teach their children, he was creating a built-in moment for the children to be able to hear why dad did what he did. Continue reading in Deuteronomy. And Deuteronomy 6:20, it says, "When your son asks you in time to come, what is the meaning of this testimony, what are these judgments the Lord God has commanded to you"? In verse 21, it says, "And then you shall say to your son, 'we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the Lord brought us out with his mighty hand'".
What is it that we're supposed to teach our children when they see the signs of our Christian behavior? We're not supposed to teach them, "Well, this is just what they showed us at Sunday school". No. What we're supposed to teach them is, "We were once slaves, but the Lord brought us out with his mighty hand". "Dad, why do you do what you do"? "I do what I do because I was once bound by sin, but the Lord brought me out with his mighty hand". "Why do you raise your hands in worship"? "Because I was once blind, but now, by the mighty hand of God, I see that he is the Creator of heaven and earth, and he is great and greatly to be praised". "Dad, why do you give what you give"? "I give what I give because I was once in poverty, but he took on poverty for my sake so that I could become the blessed and highly favored of the Lord and see that he has freely given me all things". They should see how much you love him. They should know how much he's done for you. And when they ask you, don't shrug your shoulders. Tell them, "I was once a slave but whom the son sets free is free indeed"! Give the Lord a handclap in this house!
So where do we start? You start at your table. That's what Deuteronomy 6 says. It says, "You shall teach them diligently". Verse 7, it says, "Teach them when you sit in your home". That's speaking about the dinner table. How many of you regularly make a habit of sitting down with your family for dinner? If you don't, you should. Your life should not be individuals who share the same space. You need to do life with your family, and that begins at the dinner table. It says, "When you sit in your home". It says, "When you walk by the way". That means as you go through life and God does things that prove he's faithful, you need to point out his faithfulness to your children. And then it says, "When you rise up and when you lie down". This speaks about priority, the Word of God should be important all day long. And you teach it to your children. When you teach it to your children, the Bible gives us this promise: it says, "If you teach them, they will live on the good of the land". Remember the "if" is always in us.
Deuteronomy 6:11, it says, "Teach your children, and they'll live in houses they didn't build. They'll eat from vineyards they didn't plant. They'll live under olive trees that they did not have to harvest from. If an enemy comes, I'll drive them out before you". Now how many of you want those kinds of promises from God? Then obey his word. God expects us to teach our children how to follow him. And let me tell you something, there are so many things that we've given our kids in this life that they don't need. The one thing that they cannot get out of life without is Jesus Christ in their heart, soul, mind, and body. If you give your children anything in this life, make sure that you give them Jesus, because he is the source of life. He is the source of strength. He is the source of hope. He is the source of confidence. They can live without the rest, but they cannot live without him! So how do you do that? You teach your children to follow the signs. You teach them what the Bible says, that "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path".
This written book gives you instructions on how to get through life. Some people say, B-I-B-L-E: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. Now I don't think that's why we call it the Bible, but Psalms 119 says, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path". That means that the written word shows you the next step that you should take. Now the Old Testament and the New Testament give us this instruction, "The just shall live by faith". Say that with me. "The just shall live by faith". So where does faith come from? Romans 10:17, it says, "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of God". Now there's two types of hearing that are spoken of here. First, there is the hearing of the written word, and then there is the hearing of the spoken word.
You say, "Well, how do you hear written word"? Have you ever read the Bible and you started to believe that what you were reading was for you? It's amazing. You need to understand that whenever you're reading this book, it's reading you. And it's talking to you about you. And the argument that you're having with yourself about what you're reading, that argument's about you. That's what hearing from the Word of God means. You're reading it and it's reflecting its mirror image of your soul. And then there's the hearing that comes from the spoken word. The hearing of the written word is information. The hearing of the spoken word is application, and you need both. Because information and application leads to transformation. And that's why the Bible says, "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind". How do you renew your mind? Not on Netflix. You renew your mind right here.
So in the balance of this service, I want to take you back to school and give you the opportunity to recognize what it means to teach our children to follow the signs. How many of you recognize this sign, "School Zone"? Whenever you see this sign, you've got to slow down. And it's a reminder to us that taking the time to teach our children is well worth the effort. Don't be too hurried to tell your kids the truth. Slow down and teach them. The first sign that you should teach your children on the road of life tells us very clearly that there is only one way. John 14:6 tells us, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the father but by me".
The first thing that you need to teach your children is that there is only one way to live in this life, and that is for Jesus Christ, the author and the finisher of our faith. The world that we live in right now says that there's any way that you choose to live your life. Just pick a feeling and follow that feeling. But you need to understand your feelings will betray you. And the fact is that your feelings are filled with your flesh. But Jesus Christ came to conquer the world, the flesh and the devil. And whenever you live for him, you're truly living. If you go the wrong way down a one-way street, you are going to hurt yourself and others. And so often in life, people go the wrong way. People want to believe that there's many ways to find Christ. Jesus settled that argument once and for all. He said, "I am the way. I am the truth. I am the life".
Do you know where confidence comes from? Confidence comes with living in faith in Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life. Go the right direction on the right path, and you fulfill what the proverb says, "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart. Lean not to your own understandings. In all of your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path". The promises of God are where your confidence comes from. Whenever you are living for him, you recognized that his truth endures from generation to generation. You realize that God is for you and not against you. You begin to believe what 1 John 4:4 says, "Greater is he who is in me than he who is in the world," and, "He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it even unto the day of Christ Jesus".
If you're going to teach your children that there's a way to live, teach them to live for Jesus so that they'll know they can do all things through Christ who gives them strength! This next sign is something we really need to learn a lot about, because in my years of experience, there's not too many people on the face of the earth that understand what this means. Yield. I'm not even talking spiritually right now. I'm just talking 1604 and stone oak. How many of you admit that people struggle with yielding? This sign does not mean, "Park and eat a sandwich". I don't know who taught you to drive, but they need to be fired. Nor does this sign mean it's a personal challenge, slam on the gas and let's see who wins. What this sign means is willingly get in the right place. If you belong in front, get in front. And if you belong in the back, get in the back. Give way is what the word "Yield" means.
And the Bible has yield signs all over it. One of them comes from James 4:7. It says, "Submit to God. Resist the devil and he'll flee from you". That word "Submission" literally means yield. Whenever it comes to your will and God's will, let God's will get out front, and you go ahead and pull back behind him, because when he's out front, you'll go farther and faster into greater blessings than you've ever known. If you get out front, then you're in charge of your provision, you're in charge of your peace, you're in charge of your joy, you're in charge of your health, you're in charge of your salvation, and you're not enough! But when you yield, and the King of kings and the Lord of lords gets out in front of your life, he'll lead you in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. You'll walk and not grow weary, you'll run and not faint. He'll prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemies. No weapon formed against you would prosper. His angels will go before you and behind you. He'll open doors that no man could open. He'll make a way that no man can make.
Child of God, you can't afford to live without following him! Give yourself to him, and he'll take care of the rest! And if your children are going to understand what it means to yield to God, they've got to watch you do it first. And in order to yield to God, listen to the verse, "Submit to God, resist the devil". The enemy sees what God's trying to do in your life, and he's going to tell you "Get out front. You know better, that preacher's wrong again". And when that comes, you resist that voice, and you hit the brakes, and let God get out front. "In all of your ways, acknowledge him". So often, we're willing to acknowledge God in the emergency, but we're not willing to acknowledge him in all of our ways. There's places where we say, "Oh God, I've got this". And he says, "Okay. When you're ready to get back on track, just hit the brakes and yield". "Submit to God, resist the devil and he'll flee from you".
If you can't yield, you'll get to learn what this next sign means. Everybody say it with me. The Bible says, "And you'll hear a voice from behind you saying". That voice is the voice of the Holy Spirit, "This is the way, walk in it". That's God's way of saying, "Stop"! Do you know how many things in your life would work better if you'd just... People say all the time, "Well, I just can't stop". You liar, you won't stop. 1 John 1:9, it says, "If we confess our sins". The "If" is in us: it's never in him. "If we confess our sins, he's faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness". If we refuse to live according to his word and follow him, if we refuse to yield our will to his, we're going to get the chance to do what the Bible calls repentance, which is basically where you decide to stop sinning. We don't want to stop. We want our sin explained. "I just can't get over my offense". No, you won't. I'd rather be angry. I like it this way. But you don't understand.
But this is what they said. But I. I. I. And you. And you. And they. And it. And when. It answers everything. Just stop! See. We've solved it. But all we've really proven is it's a lot easier said than done. But if, if we repent, he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The Book of Acts says, "Repent and be converted from your sins that they may be blotted out, so the times of refreshing can come".
Do you know what this nation needs more than anything? A time of refreshing. We need that Spirit of God to be poured out upon this generation like never before. The reason why it hasn't happened is because sin removes you from God's presence, but repentance returns you to God's presence. And when you get back in God's presence, you begin to feel that joy that refreshes you from sorrow. You begin to feel the power, and love, and sound mind that purges you of fear. You begin to feel the confidence that comes from knowing that God is for you. But it doesn't happen until you stop. Another one of the signs that you find in the Word of God comes from Proverbs 14:12. This is what happens when you don't stop. Wrong way. Proverbs 14:12, it says, "There is a way that seems right to man, but the end thereof is death".
How many people do it their way, and it ends up in a slow, emotional, and spiritual death? How many marriages do it their way, and they die? Businesses do it their way, and they die? Families do it their way, and they die? You cannot do it your way and survive. There's only one way, and that way is the way, the truth, and the life. It is the living, breathing, written, spoken Word of God. When you know the way, yield to it. Let him get out in front. When you lose the way, stop. His grace is sufficient. You can stop, and he'll let you start again. He'll cleanse you of all unrighteousness. But whatever you do, don't go the wrong way. It's so imperative that we teach our children, this is the direction we're headed.
This is what they're selling you in the culture. This is what they're telling you in the streets. This is what they're pushing in the classroom. And this is where we need to go, right back here to the one who came to set us free, Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords. I've got good news. No matter what signs you've been following, it's never too late to make a turnaround. It's never too late for you to go the right direction. It's never too late for you to take the step of faith that pulls you back to the path that God called you to, where the Bible says, "Draw near to God, and he'll draw near to you".
So church, today I have given you the written word, and you have heard the spoken word. It's alive and it's powerful and it works. But it'll only work if you're willing to live for it, live by it, and teach it to your children. Obey it and be blessed. Ignore it and bear the consequence of the curse. The choice is yours.
Would you stand on your feet in the house of the Lord today? With every head bowed and every eye closed, you're here today, and you say, "Pastor, we've been following the wrong signs in my family. We haven't been using the Word of God like it should be. We haven't been living in its truth. We haven't been applying its promises. And today we need to stop and turn around. We need to yield to the direction that the Lord would have us to take, so that we can walk in his path and receive his blessings". If you're willing to make that confession in this sanctuary, I want you to simply raise your hand right where you. I want every person in this room, and those of you who are watching to join me in this moment of truth with the Lord. Repeat these words with me:
Lord Jesus Christ, today, I stop walking in my way and start living in your will. Today, I repent of not following your word in all things. And now I ask you to send a refreshing season into my life, into my heart, into my mind, into my family: that we may experience your blessings, in Jesus' name. Amen.