Summary: Discusses the Greatest Commandment.


All scripture marked NKJV: The New King James Version. 1996, c1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

My wife and I love the card game “Canasta”. Around 1950, Canasta became the biggest card came craze ever. ( My parents played it and Monica and I bought a set and began to play several years ago. One year, we took a vacation up to one of the Kentucky State Parks and all we did was play cards—it was a great way to spend time together.

When I went home for mid-tour, one night I ran by Publix and picked up some chips and salsa and drinks. After supper, I cleaned off the table and set out the cards and the food. I called Monica and we sat down to a night of canasta.

We sat down and she took the cards and the score sheet. Then she began to deal. It was then that we both realized that we didn’t have a clue on how to play.

We knew that it involved cards and that it was fun. The last time we played was over a year ago.

Too many times, we react the same way with regard to our spiritual life. We forget how to play—how to do the basics and we are lost with nothing to focus on…many times we simply walk away.

We are in a series of messages about Radiation. We are using the term “Radiation” to describe the light that we omit to others. The first week we talked about who should be emitting light. Last week, we discuss what we should be doing to emit light. Tonight, we are going to talk a couple of minutes about how to we emit light.

In order to fully, understand how we are to show the world that we mean business—we must get back to the very basics of Christianity.

Jesus gives us the basics, while he is teaching. We have come to know it as the “Great Commandment” found in Mark 12. Mark 12 is found on page 896 in the red Bible underneath your chair.

Look down at verse 28—found in the right hand column about halfway down on page 896.

28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” (MK 12:29, NKJV)

The scribe is asking him—what does Jesus consider most important—of all of the things that Jesus could say—what would Jesus consider “THE” most important of all the commandments. He says to…

1. Love God

Look at Mark 12: 29.

29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. (MK 12:29-30, NKJV)

As basic as that sounds—loving God is the most important thing Jesus says that we should be doing. This is the essence of our message to the world—that we are people that love God…and that we have a God worth loving.

John Piper says that “love is the overflow of joy in God.”(Piper, John. Desiring God, 2003)

For those of you who are coffee drinkers, you would understand this. Have you ever filled your coffee cup to the brim with coffee, before adding the cream and sugar.

This always happens at Burger King. You go through the drive through the server hands you a full cup of coffee, and several packets of cream and sugar—for me its 4 sugars and one cream.

You pull over to get out of the way and you open up you cup, add the cream and sugar—and everything is good until you have to still—then it’s like starting the blend without the cap…coffee goes flying everywhere.

Anyway, the point is the coffee that gets left over is the love. The coffee in the cup is the joy. We need to be so filled with the joy of God that our overflow is continually running over.

We need to have joy in who God is, what he has done for us, and what He will do for the world. Jesus died on a cross in our place—even as dirty and as grumpy as we are—he loved us anyway…in fact he is joyous about our lives enough that it over flows. He died so that we may have life—abundant life!

When we choose to have joy in our God, we begin to love Him and that is radiated throughout our lives and into the people that we meet.

How do we love God? Jesus answers that commandment as well;

In John 14:15 Jesus says;

“If you love Me, keep My commandments. (JN 14:15, NKJV)

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