“FOLLOW THE SIGNS”                                    By Pastor YAU

Text: Deuteronomy 30:15-20                               April 26, 2009.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)      Signs to benefit the body: At a shopping mall in Coventry, English, researchers posted signs along the steps of a staircase saying: “Taking the stairs, protect your heart.” Over a 6-week period, the number of people who chose to walk up the stairs instead of riding the adjacent escalator increased more than double. Researchers said that every step counts and that long-term behavior will change only if the signs are seen regularly. I would add this: and if people will continue to follow it.

2)      Signs to benefit the soul: So often we hope that our spiritual life will change for the better and higher through a giant leap of faith, a profound life experience or a significant act of service. In reality, quality of spiritual growth and behavior change is achieved only if biblical principles of Christians living are seen regularly and Christians continue to take the steps in following the biblical signs. Remember: every step counts.

 

ALL ABOUT SIGNS:

1)   The importance of signs: When we travel to a strange place, it is very important that we follow the signs on the highways and streets that were placed to direct us safely to our destination. Signs are placed by authorities and people who have knowledge of traffic safety for the benefits of drivers. Same principle can be applied to our spiritual journey in this strange world: we are to follow biblical signs placed by God who knows everything about life. You want to arrive safely at your destination without trouble? you better follow the signs.

2)   Getting to know the signs: The biggest part in taking a driver’s license test is to understand all the traffic signs and what they mean in particular situation and condition of traffic. Same thing is true in reading and following biblical signs. You have to spend time and concentration in reading the instruction book: the Bible, to know all the signs God placed in there. You need to spend time to read them, understand them and apply them when it comes to your life situation.

3)   Willing to obey the signs: Signs are placed intended to protect drivers’ safety and to guide them to their destinations. It is the good will and responsibility of the government to its citizens. It is vitally important for drivers to obey all signs for their own safety and that of others. God placed spiritual signs and rules in the Bible to protect the safety of all His children. It is imperative that we all respect and obey God’s signs for the good of our own safety and that of others. To ignore God’s signs, either intentionally or by negligence, may cause serious injuries and suffering to yourself and others.

4)   Follow the right signs: Sometimes, street signs can be confusing and misleading. Asking for direction from the locals may not get what you want. Few years back when we, the Evergreen group, were traveling in Galveston late at night, trying to find our way back to Houston, we asked someone at a pizza shop and was given a direction which led us to a beach facing the Gulf of Mexico. There are signs in this world that will lead you to trouble, risks and destruction. Always look for signs in the word of God, the Bible. He knows every highway of life and every dangerous turn. Make sure you look only to God for all the right signs you need to navigate life in this world.

 

TROUBLES IN FOLLOWING SIGNS:

1)   When there are no signs: Have you ever traveled to a place where no sign was posted to give directions? It is impossible to determine if you are traveling on the right way and the right direction without the help of signs. Many times we feel the same way when there is no sign of direction we can follow in making important decisions. There are places in this world no signs were posted. Everyone has to make their own signs and choose their own ways. No wonder we have so much trouble in this world because there is no signs of direction.

2)   Everyone makes his own signs: This is a worst trouble in the world today: everyone designs and makes his own signs and follow his own rules. Many in today’s society believe that they have the right to do whatever they like. They claim that it is their freedom to do that. These people don’t respect the norms of the society, the authority of the government and they don't even respect the sovereignty of God. When a person or a society does not respect the authority of government and God, chaos is the sure outcome.

3)   No body follows the signs: This is a common problem in making signs to work for the intended results: few people, if any, are willing and consistently follow the signs. Some of these people think that signs are too restrictive. Others think that they are smarter than the signs. Still others believe that they don’t have to follow any sign and won’t get caught. Most Christians believe that God’s way is the best way. But when it is put into practice, few of them really follow God’s way. This is the most serious trouble in today’s churches and Christian life.

4)   There are too many signs: With the freedom of religion intended for protection of religious groups, new religions spring up every year, everywhere. Each of these groups caters to certain aspects of the society and the population. When people choose religion to meet their personal needs, it becomes a commodity. That’s why we see some people switch their allegiance from one religion to another and from one church to another because of personal freedom and benefits. Others are confused because there are too many signs in the religious arena that they don’t know which one is good and true to follow.

 

MARKS OF TRUE SIGNS: (Deuteronomy 30:15-20)

1)   Signs that are from God: “These are the term of the covenant the Lord commanded Moses to make with the Israelis.” (Deut. 29:1) The text of this message, 30:15-20, is part of the whole message God commanded Moses to give to the Israelis starting from Chapter 29. These terms, or signs, are not from human wisdom or experience. They are from the Almighty God. If you are truly sincere in searching for signs to follow, this is the only place you can and need to go: the Bible. All signs from God are the only signs that will give you the best instruction and lead you to a fulfilling life.

2)   Signs of vital importance: “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.” (30:15) God is serious about our future. He wants the best for us. It is a serious matter, in fact it is about life and death, that we seek God’s signs and faithfully follow them. His signs and our attitude to them will determine our future life whether it is life and prosperity or death and destruction. Never take God’s signs lightly.

3)   Signs demand obedience: “For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways and to keep his command-ments, decrees and laws.” (30:16)Obedience is more important to God than sacrifice, said Prophet Samuel to King Saul. God did not give us signs for fun. He intended for us to follow to the letters of every word. Learn His signs and obey them.

4)   Signs with blessings: “You will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you.” (30:16b)God is just. He is not blind to our devotion and obedience. He promised to bless those who are faithful in observing His signs and follow His leads.

5)   Signs with punishment: “But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing to Jordan to enter and possess.” (3017-18) God can not be mocked. What we sow is what we will reap. No one may be lucky to violate God’s sign and free from consequences. We are responsible for our choices and their consequences.

6)   Signs affect your children: “Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” (30:19)You may take chances to ignore God’s signs, but please have concern for your children in doing so. We are responsible for the life and future of our children. Our acts of disobedience will certainly affect the life and future of our children. They are watching the way we live. They will become victims of our disobedience and reckless choices.

7)   Signs that meet all needs: “And you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life and He will give you many years in the land He swore to give to your fathers.” (30:20)All the blessings, life and prosperity were promised to be theirs if the Israelis will just pay attention to and obey the signs God commanded in His word. This is the same promise God made to all those who will seek, find and faithfully follow His signs in the Bible. God hadn’t failed any of His promises in the past and He will not fail to bless all of us in the future if we seek and follow His signs.

CONCLUSION:

1)     Seek the signs: All signs of the street and highways are posted for our safety and they deserve our attention and respect. God set rules and signs to help us live a productive and fruitful life. Spend time to seek God’s signs in the Bible daily. Regular seeing of God’s signs will help us to follow them. Cut down time on watching TV, reading newspaper, talking on the phone or even cleaning the house. Spend time in God’s word and you will increase your wisdom and sense of proper direction.

2)     Follow the signs: Do not think you are smart enough that you don't need God or His signs for your life. You do. Obey God’s signs and let them lead you life to safety. This will protect you and you family from unnecessary pain and suffering. Few people tumble into a black hole in a dramatic accident. It is the small steps in wrong direction, bad choices and ignorant pride that add up to the point for a disaster. Watch each small step, follow the signs along the way and you will be safe.

3)     Take the first step: The first step in seeking and following God and His signs is your relationship with Jesus Christ, God’s Son. Confess your sins to Him and ask Him to forgive you. Then ask Him to enter into your heart to become the Lord of your life. He will show you His signs to lead you to a higher ground for a meaningful life. Start it today, now.