Listen to this Sermon!Have you ever thought about all the expectations that people put on you? How much of your life is spent trying to meet the expectations of others? Have you ever thought about that?

When I was a kid, there were lots of days when I felt I was being bossed around by everyone. I was told to clean up my room, do my homework, take out the garbage, be nice to your brothers, eat your vegetables, and so on… – and sometimes I wished I could warp through time and suddenly become an adult. Because if I was an adult, no one could tell me what to do. I could do whatever I wanted. All those demands and expectations that people put on me – I wouldn’t have to deal with them anymore.

Are there any teenagers here today that can relate? Anyone looking forward to that day of independence? Well, don’t get your hopes up!

I’ve found that as an adult, I have way more expectations put on me now then when I was a kid. Let me show you what I mean.

For example, when you’re a grown up, you’re expected to pay your bills. You’ll have expectations from the phone company, the power company, the water company, the cable company, the internet company, the gas company, the credit card company. They expect you to pay your bills.

Because of that, you’re expected to get a job. That means that you’re going to have a boss and your boss will expect you to come to work. And not only does he expect you to show up on a regular basis, he expects you to do a good job. He’ll expect you to accomplish a certain number of things each day.

Of course, if you’re married, or even dating, you’ll have a girl that is going to have expectations for you too. She’ll expect you to be thoughtful and helpful. She’ll expect you to spend time with her and take out on dates and such. (I’m speaking from a guys perspective, but you girls know you’ve got expectations on you too!)

When you add kids to them mix, the expectations increase. You’re expected to change their diapers, and calm their crying, buy them food and clothing. As they grow older, you’re expected to take them to school and hockey practice, ballet and youth group. You’ll be expected to love and discipline and nurture them as they grow and become adults themselves.

And even as a grown up, your family will have expectations for you. You’re mom will always expect you to call her on her birthday. You’ll be expected to go to Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners with the rest of your family. You’ll be expected to go to your cousins wedding and your nephew’s graduation.

The government has expectations for you too. First of all, they expect you to pay taxes. They also expect you to obey the laws of the land. They expect you not to drive 140km per hour on the highway.

And then there are all the other little things that our culture expects of us that we probably don’t even think of. People expect us to return their calls when they leave a message. We’re expected to leave a tip for the waiter when we eat out. We’re expected to check our email regularly and carry our cell phone where ever we go.

And if you’re a Christian, the expectations grow even more! We’re expected to go to church each Sunday and volunteer our time. We’re expected to read our Bibles and pray. We’re expected to be good and to avoid sin. We’re expected to win our neighbors to Christ and bring good food to the potluck!

And we could come up with thousands of other expectations that people put on us. And that’s not to say that they are all bad – the vast majority of those expectations are good things. But the truth of the matter is, we will spend most of our lives trying our best to meet the expectations of other people. But we just can’t do it! We can’t possibly meet everyone’s expectations of us. Eventually we will disappoint someone. We will let people down. It’s inevitable.

But I have some good news for you this morning. You see, at the end of the day – when all is said and done – it really doesn’t matter how many of those expectations you met or didn’t meet.

It doesn’t really matter if you didn’t meet all the expectations of your mother.
It doesn’t really matter if your meet all the expectations of your boss.
It doesn’t even really matter if you didn’t meet all the expectations that you put on your self.

Because at the end of the day, those people aren’t the ones that you will stand before and give an account to. The Bible tells us, in Romans 14:12 and in several other passages actually, that each of us will give an account of our lives to God. It’s His expectations of us that really matter.

So the obvious question then is, “What does God expect of us? What are his expectations?” When we stand before Him and we give an account of our life – what’s the criteria that He will use to determine whether we did well or whether we did poorly? I think that’s a pretty important question to answer, so we’re going to look at that this morning.

We’re going to be looking primarily at a passage in Deuteronomy chapter 10. This is actually part of a sermon that Moses gave to the people of Israel shortly before He died. In the chapters leading up to this, Moses reminds the Israelites about all the things that God had done for them. How He led them out of Egypt and provided for them in the wilderness. How He made a covenant with them on Mt. Sinai and gave them the laws that they needed to live by.

And after going through all these amazing things that God had done for Israel, Moses poses this question: “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you?” And so that’s where we’re going to pick it up in Deuteronomy chapter 10, starting at verse 12.

 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul. 13 And you must always obey the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.
14 “Look, the highest heavens and the earth and everything in it all belong to the Lord your God.15 Yet the Lord chose your ancestors as the objects of his love. And he chose you, their descendants, above all other nations, as is evident today. 16 Therefore, change your hearts and stop being stubborn.
17 “For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed. 18 He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing.19 So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.  20You must fear the Lord your God and worship him and cling to him. Your oaths must be in his name alone. 21 He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise.
Deuteronomy 10:12-21

Now that is a packed passage. It’s a lot of information to try to process at once, so let’s see if we can break it down into some bite sized pieces.

Let’s start by looking at verse 12. Moses starts off by listing three things that God required of the Israelites, and of us. He says, “What does the Lord require of you?”

He requires only that you…. #1. fear the Lord your God, and…. #2. live in a way that pleases him, and….. #3. love him and serve him with all your heart and soul.

So in a nutshell, that’s what God expects of us. If we want to hear God say at the end of our lives “Well done, good and faithful servant.” – those are the three things that we need to do.

But of course, like most things, that’s a lot easier said than done. It makes a great sermon, but what does it look like in your life!?

Well, let’s dig in a little deeper and see if can figure out what those things really mean for you.

Let’s start with the first requirement: To Fear the Lord Your God.

Now does this mean that we need to be afraid of God? That we should cower in the basement in terror of Him? No, I don’t think so. We read that passage in 2 Timothy two weeks ago about how God did not give us a spirit of fear but of love. So God isn’t looking for us to be afraid.

Then what does it mean to ‘fear the Lord’?

Well, one of the things that helps me understand what it means to ‘fear the Lord’ is electricity. I am always very cautious when working with electricity – I do not like getting electrocuted. I’ve seen the results of lightening strikes. I know the power of electricity! Anytime I do anything with the wiring in my house, I check and double check to make sure the breakers are off. I don’t leave bare wires hanging out. I don’t fool around with that sort of stuff.

That’s not to say that I’m afraid of electricity. I use it almost every hour of every day – but I respect it for what it is. I recognize it’s power. I don’t act carelessly around it.

And that’s the kind of attitude that God expects us to have towards Him. He’s not telling us to be frightened of Him, but rather to give Him the respect that He is due – to recognize that He is God.

And Moses makes this point down in verse 17. He says….

“For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed.”
Deuteronomy 10:17

God wants us to recognize that He is God. I think everyone of us falls short of understanding what that really means. We can’t really grasp the concept of God.

We can’t understand how there is a living being out there who has always existed and who will always exist. He was never born – never created. He just eternally is. We can’t wrap our brains around that. We can’t understand how such a being has complete and absolute power. How He could just speak and the universe appears. When you the atomic bomb and you think about the power and energy that’s inside one little microscopic atom, and then you multiply that by all the atoms in our world, and by the atoms in the billions of massive stars in the universe…. And God just spoke that into existence. He just willed it – he wanted it to happen and it happened. We can’t comprehend that.

God truly is, as Moses put it, “the great God – the mighty and awesome God.” And recognizing this is what it means to ‘fear the Lord’. It means that we acknowledge that He is God – and we are not. It means we recognize that He has all power and authority in heaven and on earth. It means we recognize that He is the standard by which we determine right and wrong. He is God.

Do you fear the Lord? Do you acknowledge Him as your Creator? Do you acknowledge Him as the ultimate authority for your life? And really, how you answer that question will determine the entire course of your life. I mean, there really are only two options.

If you recognize God as God – the only logical course of action is to submit your life to Him. To live in obedience to Him. If He is the almighty, everlasting God – then we would be foolish to do anything but to live for Him. That’s why the second requirements that Moses listed earlier is to “live in a way that pleases Him”. If we fear the Lord, clearly we will want to live in way that pleases Him.

But if you refuse to acknowledge God as God – if you refuse to ‘fear the Lord’ – then the only logical course of action is to do whatever you want. To make your own rules. Set your own expectations. And while that might seem appealing at first, the Bible is clear that it will only end in disaster. Paul paints a very clear picture for us in Romans 1 & 2. Romans 1:28 says…

Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.
Romans 1:28-32

This is what happens when people refuse to acknowledge God as God – when they refuse to fear the Lord. When people do whatever they want to do – with no “God” as their authority or standard, sin runs rampant. We can see it happening all around us. And as bad as that is, that’s not the worst of it. Paul continues in chapter 2. Jump down to Romans 2:5…

 But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 He will judge everyone according to what they have done. 7 He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. 8 But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness.
Romans 2:5-8

So you can see how this whole issue of whether we choose to ‘Fear the Lord’ or not, really determines the course of our entire life – our entire eternity. This is the hinge point. And God has given us complete freedom to choose whichever way we wish. It’s our choice to make.

But before you make that choice, there is something else you need to know. Not only is God the Almighty, everlasting God who created the universe with his absolute power, but He is also the God of infinite love. While He gives us complete freedom in our choice to follow Him or not, He has done everything possible short of dragging us to heaven so that each one of us can have eternal life with Him.

Jump back to our Deuteronomy passage – verse 14.

14 “Look, the highest heavens and the earth and everything in it all belong to the Lord your God.15 Yet the Lord chose your ancestors as the objects of his love. And he chose you, their descendants, above all other nations, as is evident today. 16 Therefore, change your hearts and stop being stubborn.
Deuteronomy 10:14-16

Moses is reminding the people of Israel that even though God is God – He is the Almighty – All-powerful Creator of the universe – everything belongs to Him – and yet God chose to love them. And what’s more – God choose to love you too.

I talked earlier about how we can’t possibly wrap our minds around how infinite and powerful God is, I also think its impossible for us to understand how that infinite God could love us. I mean, He doesn’t just ‘put up with us’. He doesn’t just think we’re a ‘neat science project’ he came up with one day. He actually loves us – with a love greater than anything we’ve ever seen or experienced on earth.

Get this: That infinite, all-powerful God who created us from nothing – loved us so much, so that when he saw how sinful we had become – how our hearts were against Him from the day we were born – and He knew that He would have to destroy us because of our sinfulness – instead of wiping us off the planet and condemning us to an eternity in the Lake of fire, the infinite, all-powerful God chose instead to become one of us, and to suffer and die on a cross in our place, taking the punishment for our sin, so that we might have the opportunity to choose to forgiveness over death.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16

Have you believed in Him? Have you put your faith and trust in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins and the promise of eternal life? God loves you like crazy and He’s done everything He can – short of dragging you to heaven – to ensure that you can have eternal life with Him. But it’s your choice to make.

Will you choose today to fear the Lord? To acknowledge Him as God? To acknowledge Him as YOUR God?

As Moses answers the question, “What does the Lord require of you?” – the last two requirements that he lays out for us go hand in hand. Once we have made that decision in our heart to fear the Lord, the next steps for us are to #1. Live in a way that pleases Him and #2. Love Him and serve Him with all our heart and soul. And I think that flows right out of a life that acknowledges God as God.

So on the practical side of things, if you’re struggling live a life that pleases God – if you’re struggling to love and serve Him with all your heart and soul, maybe you need to examine how you see God. Do you see Him for who He really is? Do you recognize His power and his authority – and perhaps most importantly, do you recognize his incredible love for you?

I think if we truly understood God’s love for us, we would have a very difficult time choosing to sin against Him. Living to please Him would be our natural response. All the other things that clamor for our attention, all the other demands and exceptions that get put on us, would all fade in their significance compared to our desire to please God and meet his requirements!

It’s like that old hymn that says “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim – in the light of His glory and grace.”

The more we get to know who God really is, the more we will want to please Him and serve Him and love Him. I’ve found this to be true in my life.

The more I understand about how much God loves me, the more I want to let Him be God in my life. I want to obey Him. I want to serve Him. I want to please Him with my life. While there are still lots of expectations that other people have for me – pleasing people is no longer my top priority. Pleasing God is. Meeting his expectations for my life is the most important thing I can do.

So I encourage you, get to know this God. Read His Word. Talk to Him in prayer. Invite Him to be YOUR God. The more you get to know Him – the more you’ll want to please and love and serve Him.
The last two verses of our passage in Deuteronomy says this:

You must fear the Lord your God and worship him and cling to him. Your oaths must be in his name alone. 21 He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise.
Deuteronomy 10:20-21

And that’s so true. There is none other who is worthy of our worship. None other who is worthy of our praise. He alone is God.