Summary: God calls his children to respond to His love for them with love in return.
Jesus had just finished answering a trick question posed by some of His enemies who were trying to trip Him up. After witnessing our Lord’s answer and because he was impressed, the Bible tells us that one of the teachers of the law decided to ask Jesus a legitimate question.
Today, we’re going to look at the first of God’s five purposes for your life - you were planned for God's pleasure.
“You created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created.” - Revelation 4:12 (NLT)
Last week we talked about how we were created to be loved by God. This week we’re looking at the flip side, the first purpose of your life, which is that God wants us to love Him back.
In a parallel account of our passage found in Matthew 22, we read in verse 38 that Jesus said that loving God is the “first and greatest commandment” In other words, God says: “I made you to love you, and I want you to know and love me.”
Now, there’s a word for this. It’s the word “worship.” Worship is responding to God’s love for us by knowing and loving Him back.
Now, the problem is, worship is misunderstood today. When I say the word “worship,” what do you think of? you may think of prayer, or singing, or rituals, or communion, something you do in church. But worship is far more than all those things. My first purpose in life is to worship God. Since this is the case, we need to understand what worship is. Our passage teaches us three things.
1. Worship is expressing my affection to God - God wants us to love Him passionately.
Now, it can be risky to “bare your heart and soul” to someone. But God has removed the risk.
Do you remember the first time you ever said I love you to somebody? Probably scared to you death. Your palms were sweaty and your stomach was in a knot. You were all nervous, wondering, “Are they going to say it back to me?”
It’s risky to say “I love you.” But God has He’s taken away the risk. He said it first. God has said it in a thousand ways. He created you. He’s taken care of you. Even when you didn’t know it. He has shown love to you. And the ultimate way God has said “I love you,” was the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
“But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.” - Romans 5:8 (Amplified)
Worship is simply responding to God’s love for us by expressing our love for Him.
“We love Him because He first loved us.” - 1 John 4:19 (NKJV)
Many see God as an angry tyrant that you have to appease and be afraid of. But that’s not the real God. The Bible says that God loves you and He wants you to love Him in return. That’s worship. And God wants us to love Him passionately.
How about if I walked up to my wife one day and I say, “Honey, here are some flowers for you. And I am giving you these flowers for three strategic reasons: First, I am your husband. Second, it is our anniversary. Third, husbands are supposed to give their wives flowers on their anniversary. So here.” Wouldn’t she be thrilled? I don’t think so. Why? She wants me to love her passionately. She doesn’t want duty. She wants desire. God doesn’t want your duty. He wants your desire. He doesn’t want ritual and religion and rules and regulation. He wants a relationship. And He’s passionate about it!
“I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” - Hosea 6:6 (NLT)
Which brings us a second thought about worship.
2. Worship is focusing my attention on God - God wants us to love Him thoughtfully.
In a lot of religions, the idea of worship is to put your mind into neutral, sort of lose your mind to the universe. But that is not how our God wants us to worship Him. He wants us to actively focus our attention on Him. He wants you to love Him “with all your mind.” In other words, He wants you to not just “go through the motions,” to do it without thinking. He wants you to worship Him thoughtfully, to know and love Him thoughtfully.
“I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your