Summary: I believe that Jesus points out three aspects of love that combined together form a complete love for our lives. We should love God, love others, and love ourselves… these three are components of complete love.
30 DAYS TO LIVE: LOVE COMPLETELY
I have a confession before I begin my sermon today. I hope you will still want to listen to me even after I tell you this. I am sure you all would want to know what kind of person is preaching to you today. I… I… [act pensive] I must confess to you that this morning when you all came in, you received a bulletin. Well, I have laced all of the bulletins with ‘Iocane powder’ poison. You have been poisoned. You have 30 days to live.
I thought that I would preach on this subject of ’30 days to live’, but I realized that the message would get lost because you really would not die in 30 days… or at least you would not know you would be dead in 30 days. This way, you know. I have poisoned you… you have 30 days to live. I now realize that it was probably a mistake (probably) and I will go to jail and all that, but at least I will have preached an effective sermon.
Now, before we go much further, and before I give some of you the antidote [give wife a tic-tac], I thought I would let you sweat a little and go ahead and preach my sermon. What will you do now? What will you do now that you have 30 days to live? Are your priorities a little different? Will your conversations be different?
The main question I want to ask you, however, is: Will you love differently NOW because you only have 30 days to live? Will you love differently? Will you love completely? Will you love completely and how do we even do that?
Jesus talks about loving completely in the passage we will read this morning. Now I know you all are worried about the poison and the antidote, but concentrate on the message and the antidote will come. Jesus is among some crowds and He is teaching about the authority He has from Heaven (Mark 11:27-33), He presents the Parable of the Wicked Tenants (Mark 12:1-12), He speaks about giving and taxes (Mark 12:13-17), and He speaks about marriage and Heaven (Mark 12:18-27). Jesus is teaching the crowds and in the midst of the crowds the Pharisees and Sadducees were asking questions and were trying to trap Jesus. It was in the midst of these trapping and sly questions that a person genuinely seeking an answer comes up to Jesus. Let’s read.
“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?" 29 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: ’Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these." 32 "Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." 34 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.”
A teacher of the law came and asked a genuine question. Jesus’ teaching is the answer to ‘how we love completely.’ I believe that Jesus points out three aspects of love that combined together form a complete love for our lives. We should love God, love others, and love ourselves… these three are components of complete love.
I. LOVE GOD COMPLETELY
Jesus is quite clear when He speaks to the crowds and to the teacher of the law, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Let’s read and say that verse out loud together. [do so] Loving God completely should be our first and primary goal.
Jesus says we should love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. What does that mean? To be honest, I could separate heart and soul and mind and strength and each one of them could be its own sermon! Yet, I think loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength means 100% intentional devotion in all of these areas.
The problem is that our heart gets divided among day-to-day activities and the people around us.