Summary: This is the first in a series of messages title "A Love Affair".
HAVING A LOVE AFFAIR…WITH THE FATHER
A Love Affair – 1
What is the greatest force or power on earth known to mankind? Some dreaded military weapon? The latest technology? The authority of key world leaders? Economics? These may all be powerful forces indeed, but none of them is the greatest power on earth. The greatest force on earth is arguably love. The power of love drives people to do all kinds of things they wouldn’t otherwise do. It even has the power to motivate someone to make the ultimate sacrifice of laying down their live for another.
When we come to the Bible we find that love is the key to the Christian life. When Jesus was asked one day what the greatest commandment was he said that it was to love God with all of your heart and with all of your mind and with all of your soul and with all of your strength. Then he voluntarily went on to say that the second greatest commandment was to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said that all of the laws in the Old Testament and all of the teachings of the prophets were fulfilled in those two commandments.
I think that makes love the most important and most powerful force in the world today. John Wesley said, “If you look for anything but more love, you are looking wide of the mark, you are getting out of the royal way… You can go no higher than this, till you are carried into Abraham’s bosom.” In other words he was saying that this side of heaven there is nothing greater than the pursuit of more love.
So today we are going to begin a study of this very subject of love and I think that is fitting since this is the month of Valentines Day. Today we are beginning a series of messages I am titling “A Love Affair.” Over the next three weeks we will be looking at how to have a love affair with the Father – our Heavenly Father, with the Faithful – the body of believers – and with the Family.
We are going to begin this series today by looking at a passage of Scripture from the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy. When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment he replied by quoting from Deuteronomy 6. But before we get into Deuteronomy I want to look at how love for God is defined according to Jesus. John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commands.” Wow! We usually don’t think of love and commands as going together, but Jesus says that is what it means to love God. So love for God – far from being a mere emotional feeling – is expressed in obedience to his commands. This is a key theme for John because he makes this connection between love for God and obedience 7 times in his writings.
And so we see that the central element of the Christian life is love and that the central element of love for God is obedience. You can tell who is carrying on a love affair with God very easily. Who is living a life of obedience to his commands?
All of this talk about law and rules and commands and obedience might not sound very pleasant, but obedience to God is the most pleasant thing of all. We can easily see this by looking at…
1. THE RESULTS OF OBEDIENCE.
We are going to get started with some incentives as we look at the results or the blessing of living a life of obedience to God. As we have seen in our previous sermon series, God is the Creator and Author of life. Therefore, God knows exactly how life should be lived. The reason he gave us his commands and instructions wasn’t to limit us, but to keep us living in such a way that we could enjoy life without harming ourselves or those around us. God has our best interests at heart like any good Father would. He doesn’t want to see his children get hurt and so he has laid down some ground rules for us to follow and when we do we are all much better off.
Deuteronomy 6:1-3, “These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you.”