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Summary: Therer is no one who understood what love really is, and demonstrated it, like Jesus Christ.

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Passage: Matthew 22:34-40

Intro: Baseball players talk about times when the pitch looks like a beach ball up there.

1. that’s when they smack it into the bleachers.

2. I wonder if this question asked looked like that to Jesus.

3. it was a wonderful question, and one that gave Jesus a perfect stage to tell us what God wants.

4. we make it so complex, so hard, but it is a miracle of a restored relationship of love.

5. love can be difficult to define and very challenging way to live, so we make up imitations.

6. but let’s listen to Jesus.

I. Love is Intensely Personal

1. in the middle of all this conflict, this question is different.

2. a Pharisee, an expert in the Law, who was supposed to give Jesus trouble.

3. asked a question that was probably a popular conversation starter.

Il) like “who is the greatest baseball player of all time?”

4. Mark’s record of this conversation adds a response from the questioner.

PP Mark 12:32-33

5. but hostile or a real search for truth, Jesus’ answer is striking on many levels.

6. “Love the Lord your God.”

7. it is amazing as you read the Bible how often God uses the personal possessive pronoun in describing Himself. “Your God”

Il) David got it when he wrote Psalm 23

21% of words are personal pronouns

-“shepherd” very personal relationship. Dependent

8. and here in Matthew, …”with all your heart and soul and mind.”

9. what broke at the Fall was relationship. Trust was broken, love was destroyed.

PP Genesis 3:10..”I was afraid”

10. and since then, God’s purpose is to restore that broken relationship.

11. the word for “love” here is intensely personal as well,

12. “to have affection for, to like, to love” affectionless adoration from afar.

13. it is heartfelt and acted on, knows pain when separated, seeks to draw close.

14. it is a relationship of personal security and trust.

PP Deuteronomy 10:12-13

PP Deuteronomy 30:6

15. it has always been God’s loving purpose to seek and find His lost kids and restore us to Himself.

Il) don’t settle to anything less than God wants…his children sitting on His lap!

16. when you read this command to “love the Lord your God…” don’t see it as a task to complete.

17. it is an authoritative invitation to come into the arms of God and be restored to God’s original intention for you.

18. we are invited to a very personal love relationship with our loving Heavenly Father.

II. Love in All-Encompassing

1. it would be our nature to take these “parts” and examine them individually.

2. but we must resist that!

3. because all Jesus is saying is “love God with all your are. Hold nothing back”

4. for some, easiest to love God with our minds. Love to probe, analyze.

5. for others, get caught up in the emotion, enthusiasm comes naturally

6. others, a task to be performed to show I love God, and to please Him.

7. but when love is personal, it invades every part of me, with nothing held back. Don’t wall off a part of me because I am uncomfortable

8. we sometimes get a little nervous when we read a Psalm like this, or sing it like we did last week.

PP Psalms 84:1-2

9. but this kind of total immersion in love is what God seeks.

PP Revelation 21:3-4

10. if love for God causes you to shout, then shout! Fall on your knees, then fall! Pray, then pray!

11. write a poem, then write! Give till you drop, then give!

12. we are great compartmentalizers, box makers

13. “here’s the box to love God in, and here’s how we do it in there.”

14. and Jesus responds, “Love God without restriction.”

15. how can we not be excited about a restored love relationship with the infinite Creator of the Universe!!

16. let the Word of God sink deeply into your heart. Read the parts about who God is. Isaiah 40, Revelation 4

17. spend time being amazed at the miracle of restored relationship, and that this indescribable Being loves me!!

PP Colossians 3:16

III. Love is Transforming

1. Max Lucado has given us a wonderful statement:

PP God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus”

2. and that’s why Jesus quotes another OT passage in v39, kind of a bonus answer! But they can’t be separated.

3. now before we make it a task to complete, let’s remember the context.

4. this miraculous freedom from the tyranny of self is a result of restored relationship

5. when we know the security of God’s love, and worship God instead of ourselves, something amazing happens.

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