Summary: Our heart is the “vital centre” of our being – everything flows from our heart. In order to love God with “all our heart” we need to allow the Gospel to cut to our heart and bring our naturally deceitful heart into alignment with the heart of God.
You can listen to the full message here:-
All Your Heart
Over the next five weeks the sermons are going to focus on two verses of Scripture.
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 neighbour as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these.’
The sermon series will be called “All in Love”, and the five sermons will focus on
If you have been around church even for a little while you would be familiar with these verses. Maybe not exactly where they can be found in the Scripture, but the actual verse is well known.
And they are not just well-known to Christians. These verses are also well known to the Jews. That is because Jesus here is quoting two Old Testament verses.
5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
18 Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the Lord.
Deuteronomy calls us to love with heart, soul and strength.
Mark calls us to love with heart, soul, MIND and strength.
When we get to the sermon on the mind we will look at why there is a difference. For now, let’s put these verses in their context.
We read Mark 12:28-34
When you understand what it means to love God and your neighbour then Jesus Himself commends you.
These verses take us beyond mere religion … beyond offering and sacrifice.
These verses put us in a place where we are living wisely.
These verses equip us with essential kingdom character.
There is even a sense that – when you understand these verses – you will stop questioning and testing Jesus and you will just trust.
Now, this is not the only time in the Gospels that these verses from Mark 12:30-31 come up.
Jesus uses them in Matthew 22:37-39. That context is very similar to the one in Mark. But Matthew doesn’t give such an extensive record of the conversation between Jesus and the teacher of the law.
In Luke’s Gospel these verses occur in Luke 10:27 in a different context. There an expert in the law asks, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus turns the question around says, “Well what do you think?”
The expert in the law uses the same words as the ones in Mark. Which, by the way, is more proof that, in the days of Jesus, many people understand the significance of these verses.
Then this happens
But he (the expert in the law) wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”
Then Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan. We will have a closer look at the significance of that situation and that context when we focus on loving our neighbour.
So that was a fair bit to take in – but now we have a good overview of the context and a broader biblical perspective on these verses.
Now let’s focus on what it means to love God with all our heart
From the outset let’s make it clear. Almost always, when the Bible uses the word “heart”, it is not talking about the physical organ that pumps the blood through our body.
But knowing the importance of the relationship between our physical heart and our physical body – really helps us to understand the importance of the relationship between our heart and our love for God.
Our physical heart is vital for life.
If our heart stops beating we die.
If our heart has defects it makes living very difficult.
Most the time you don’t even think about making your heart beat – it just happens.
Even in those terrible situations where people have had terrible accidents and they are completely unconscious. If you can do CPR – along with mouth to mouth – if you can do that you can keep a body alive.
And if medical personal can get that heart beating again, you can continue to live your life as if you had not been dead.
The physical heart is at the vital centre of your physical life.
The spiritual heart …
… I’m kind of hesitant to describe it that way.
It isn’t really a comparison between physical verses spiritual.
It is more about the vital centre of your identity.
What drives you and takes your focus.
It forms your worldview and it governs your character.