Summary: Our calling to love others as He has loved us – which has been modeled so beautifully for us by the people of church!
Greater Things – The Great Demand
Bumper Video – Leslie Kiley
Every time I hear Leslie’s story I’m reminded of God’s amazing, unfailing love. I’m also reminded of our calling to love others as He has loved us – which has been modeled so beautifully for us by the people of church!
But loving people is not always easy to do is it – especially when they don’t want to be loved or put expectation on the kind of love they will receive. I think that’s why Jesus made sure he placed loving others behind loving Him – to love someone w/ less than the love of Christ is to not love at all. Until we get our relationship w/ Him in correct alignment, we’ll never truly be able to love others the way He loves us. And even then, it can be incredibly painful to love people to the truth. Honestly, I’ve never hurt so much as to try to love someone to Jesus who only wanted a different kind of love.
Insert – As we begin this AM, I want to invite you to open your hearts and minds to what God wants to do in your life and in our midst today – OPENNESS
I’ve heard it said that money makes the world go round. While this might be true I believe that it is love that makes the trip worthwhile.
But not just any love will suffice! And sadly, too many people have gone looking for love in all the wrong places only to discover a perversion of love that leaves them empty, scarred, and abandoned. Yet should a man go looking for love in all the right places, he would find a virtue that would elevate him to a place of fulfillment, hope, and healing that he could never imagine – a love that exceeds circumstances and brings satisfaction to the soul. This is the kind of love God wants to give to us all. Yet this kind of love does not come on our conditions – but His conditions.
Last week we began a series of lessons on the (4) most vital teaching of Christ regarding knowing God, loving God, following God, and serving God. It’d be fair to say that these are the primary teaches of Christ’s ministry. In fact, the vast majority of His teachings area one of these (4) areas. Last week we looked at Jesus’ call to come, take, and learn to find rest and salvation, this AM, we’re going to look at the commission to love God and love others in His name. (text)
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus answered, “’Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God w/ all your heart and w/ all your soul and w/ all your mind and w/ all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him w/ all your heart, w/ all your understanding and w/ all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions. Mark 12:28-34
Known by most of us as the Great Commandment – we find in the Gospel accounts (3) separate testimonies of the same event. Matthew focuses on the conditions that the Pharisees/Sadducees were trying to trip Jesus up to arrest Him. Luke focuses on what it looks like when a person loves God w/ all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength – they love people the way Jesus loves them – including the parable of the Good Samaritan. And Mark’s gives us remarkable insight into the heart of the teaching. In all (3) accounts, Jesus is conversing w/ the religious leaders of His day providing them w/ clarity of who He was (Messiah) and why He had entered time and space – to seek and to save the lost. And they were struggling to grasp how long and high – how deep and wide was the love of God.
Now if you remember from last week – this was Jesus’ yoke – His interpretation of the Law and the prophets – the Torah, Talmud, and Mishnah. Jesus summed 613 rules into 2 – love God and love people as God loves you.