Summary: This sermon is about the two greatest commandments Jesus gives the Pharisees when He is questioned. Also it calls into question whether we are a player or a spectator in our church.
Well Jesus had passed the test of the Sadducees’ and had shut them down so the Pharisees stepped up to the plate so to speak. Now the Sadducees were more of a political group but the Pharisees were the keepers of scripture and Biblical Law, there were 632 laws and rules for the practice of their religion, one of them asked Jesus this question, “Which commandment in the Law is greatest?” Basically they wanted Jesus to do the impossible. Think about it, out of over 600 laws they wanted Jesus to break it down to the most important one. Think about it, I don’t know how many driving laws we have in the State of Mississippi, but can you tell me the most important one? Probably not, no one could.
Jesus was asked to prioritize the most important Law a relatively impossible task. Jesus broke the Law down into two commandments from the early Hebrews, Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18 when put together they read; "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind ... you must love your neighbor as yourself". Jesus was simply saying that if we truly loved God and our neighbor then we would naturally keep all the other commandments. Jesus was focused on the positive of what we could do instead of the negative of what we could not do.
To accentuate the positive we must give our full commitment to God, we must have total love of our creator, and this love should dominate and direct our thoughts and actions toward God. God created us for love and worship, He created us to give our all - to love God with every ounce and fiber of our being, love with all that we have.
Being partially devoted to God is a miserable way to live, to truly live a life of abundance we must be 100% devoted to God.
Some folks try just worshiping God with their emotions and never engage their brains, some folks try and use their brains and no emotion. Brothers and sisters it takes both, it takes all we have. You don’t need to check your intelligence at the door, and certainly don’t check your feelings their either. We need to know and believe the facts about Christ and we also need to feel his presence moving in our lives. To love the Lord with every fiber of our being we must establish a relationship with Jesus. We must learn all we can about God and the rest of the Trinity so that we can truly love God. We must have a Relationship with the Almighty.
So how do we do that? Well we pray daily, talk to him like we would a close friend, don’t just pray when you want something, and pray without ceasing. We must read the scriptures, establish a daily walk with God he already knows us, we just need to take the time to get to know Him and establish a relationship with him.
That’s where it begins, loving our God totally - a complete commitment to him - with our energy, our cash, our self, our emotions, our talents, our time, and our minds.
We have got to quit straddling the fence of life with a double standard – when we act as if the things of the world have equal or more importance than the love of God it causes emotional schizophrenia. When we are sitting on that fence our mental health as well as our spiritual well-being is in danger. What if we started seriously loving God with our whole self, wouldn’t that be something to behold! Think of the great things we could accomplish just by loving God.
Now loving God is easy. Right? But Jesus added a little something extra that isn’t so easy. Jesus said we must also love our neighbors... Not just love but love them as much as we love ourselves. When we read the story of the Good Samaritan we should realize that we are called to love all people, and especially those who are broken and hurting. You know I think sometimes, Lord how do you expect me to love my neighbor? It’s too hard to love them sometimes! In myself it is hard to love, but scripture has told me that “I can do all Things through Christ who gives me strength” If we have a relationship with Christ then we are capable of loving others. With a relationship with Jesus we can love anyone.
If you still judge people by the color of their skin or the amount of money in their pockets, if you’re holding a grudge, you need to grow in your love of God and begin to trust in your salvation and as you grow closer to Christ you will find that you don’t need to put someone else down in order to raise yourself up. You will begin to be more forgiving when you realize much has been forgiven for you. When people establish a loving relationship with the Master they begin to change.