Summary: Sermon Objective: Loving God with our soul means turning our life and will towards Him.
A SOUL-SEARCHING INVENTORY
Sermon Objective: Loving God with our soul means turning our life and will towards Him.
28One 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. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’31The 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. 33To 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."
34When 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.
So how is your closet coming along? You know … the closet I was talking with the kids about earlier? If you are like me, you and God are sorting through the stuff in your life. You are looking at that which shows evidence that you love Him and you are discovering other aspects that need discarded or renewed with fuller meaning.
I keep asking myself whether “this” or “that” shows evidence that I am loving God with my whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Last week we looked at the heart. We discovered that it is the command center – it is the place where my desires and passions reside. I gave you some questions to take home to help you as you ask God to search your heart (Psalm 139:23-24).
This week we will do some SOUL-searching.
There is, of course, some interplay between each of the realms represented in the greatest command. One could make a case that they work as stair steps, first we create a desire, then we act upon the desire, and that shows itself in the activities of the mind and the body (strength). Each component influences and tugs at the remaining … in unison, they show whether one loves God or some alterative.
There is some overlap; but each stands on its own too.
Sometimes I see another relationship. I see them less as categories and more as complimentary superlatives. If I may paraphrase, it is as if Jesus was telling us to “Love God with all your HEART … you know, all your being … you know…. You know with your mind AND your body!”
If I look at the command in this way I see all four components as pretty much being synonymous with each other … each trying to emphasize loving God with the whole you from a different vantage point.
Today we will focus on “LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR … SOUL”
I appreciate the positive perspective of this command. I appreciate that God is calling us to relationship and to love rather than calling us from something. It shows us much about the character of God.
It shows us much about the character he wants in us … for us to be people of love.
The soul is a confusing entity to us. Its understanding has been assumed and misunderstood for so long that it has become hard for us to define or explain. But, if God requires us to love Him with it, it seems necessary that we give some attention to what it is before we look at how to love him with it,
The New Testament word is “psuche” & the Old Testament word is “nephesh”. They mean pretty much the same thing. They mean the “life”, “self”, or “life’s essence.” We have tried, at times, to make them mean something else. This is what often confuses the subject.
The first time the word “soul” is used is in Genesis 2:7. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (KJV). The NRSV and the NIV translate “living soul” as “living being”. The ESV translates it “living creature”. This is important because it helps us get a grasp on what is being communicated.
You see, the first time the word is used it is in creation … it helps us grasp how God understands our composition.