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Summary: Knowledge is good, effort is commendable, and lifestyle is important. However, you can get all that right and miss Jesus.

"If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost" (II Cor. 4:3). Mark 12:28-34

Is close always good enough? Not when you think about it.

• If 99.9 percent were good enough ...

• The IRS would lose 2 million documents this year.

• 22,000 checks will be deducted from the wrong bank account in the next hour.

• Telecommunications companies will misdirect 1,314 telephone calls every minute.

• 2,488 books will be shipped with the wrong covers on them each day.

• More than 5.5 million cases of soft drinks in the next year will be flat.

• Over 3 million incorrect drug prescriptions will be filled each year in the U.S.

• 12 babies will be given to the wrong parents each day.

• There are times when close is not good enough.

• As important as some of these items are, nothing is more important than one’s eternal destiny.

• Researcher George Barna has discovered the disturbing fact that “half of all adults who attend Protestant churches on a typical Sunday morning are not Christian.”

• He also points out that people who call themselves Christians but are not born again are “a group that constitutes a majority of churchgoers.”

• Barna’s findings are similar to those reported by Bill Bright, founder and fifty-year president of Campus Crusade for Christ.

• According to Bright, “Our surveys suggest that over 50% of the hundred million people in church here in the United States every Sunday are not sure of their salvation.”

• In addition to discovering that 50% of people in church are “lost churchgoers,” the Barna Research Group has also revealed that 44% of Americans are “notional Christians.”

• These 90 million notional Christians are people who describe themselves as Christians but do not believe that their hope for eternal life is based on a personal relationship with Jesus and the belief that He died and rose again from the dead.

• In parables of Jesus, we learn that a majority of people who are confident about their eternal security are wrong.

• In today’s passage, a layer to ask Jesus a question, but his attitude is open to Jesus’ answer.

• What was a scribe?

• The position changed in Jesus day from what it had once been.

• Once a military position to record history and record the king’s commands(2 Sam. 8:17; 20:25; 1 Chr. 18:16; 24:6; 1 Kings 4:3; 2 Kings 12:9-11; 18:18-37, etc.), it later became a theological position of pinning the word of the prophets (Jer. 36:4, 32).

• After the captivities, when the Jews were allowed to return home, there arose another need; to copy the Law.

• As scribes began to copy, they became very familiar with it.

• Being familiar and versed in the law opened an opportunity to teach the law to the common people.

• The scribes took on that responsibility.

• They were also viewed as experts of the law for consultation in legal matters.

• The problem was, they tended to be also scribes, teachers, and experts in the commentaries of the Law, which diluted the law and made it meaningless.

• This controversy, the difference between the original Law and the liberal interpretations, was something that bothered several of the scribes.

• In this chapter alone, questions had been asked Jesus about marriage and taxes.

• Accusations towards Jesus was that He had forsaken the deepest, most valued beliefs of the Jews.

• By the end of the captivity, Israel was convinced that there was one and only one God.

• The idolatry of the pagans was no longer a threat.

• Yet, Jesus had represented Himself as God while speaking of the Heavenly Father.

• To the Jews, one plus one equaled two. Very unacceptable.

• But the clarity of Jesus’ teaching and his accurate representation of the Law was noticed and appreciated by the scribes.

• So we read:

Mar 12:28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?"

• Jesus had answered several questions and challenges.

• A scribe had been watching and perceived that Jesus’ answers were both in alignment with the Old Testament scriptures and full of wisdom.

• There was a clarity and simplicity in Jesus’ answers, and this man had something on his heart.

• Perhaps you have been there before. You have heard someone speak clearly about a trying subject and your struggle came to mind.

• This question was a topic of debate among the Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day.

• They found a need to divide the Law into two categories; Greater Laws and Lesser Laws.

• However, no two theologians could agree on where the line was drawn.

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