Summary: Do we REALLY love God, or just giving God and others lip service?
Back in 2012, we had a three part message series on the year's theme DRIVEN. I find that for us to be united as brethren here in our church, we need to use these same principles.Thus, we are going through these same three messages then one more message beyond that, and finally, Lord willing, back to our study in Revelation.
The great quest of life, the question that each person asks parents, spouses, friends and even pastors: Why am I here? My short answer has always been found in Ephesians 2:10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Yet, there is more. If you look at today's key Scripture passage, you will see that loving God and loving others is the greatest commandment. We are created to love God, love others and to do good works.
Our key priority as brethren or kindred in Christ is to love God and to love others. Our theme from 2012 was this:
Essentially, the theme of Love God, Love Others is the umbrella under which God-Family-Church -Others exists: loving God and loving others is infused within the four subcategories.
Sound confusing? I hope not. But over the next few weeks we will flesh out the details of each category. This week, we will review the concept of Loving God, and what that entails.
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:30-31, NKJV
God First, Everything Else Second: Love God, Love His Word
I have preached in 2011 about the paramount importance of the above scripture and it's parallel scriptures in the Gospels of both Matthew and Luke. In short, as the above title states, God first, everything else second.
I have found that we must remember that it is important to expand on what it means to love God; loving people is the secondary importance to loving God. Yet how many times do preachers "soften" their messages because they do not want to offend people? We that are called to teach and preach the Word of God have our first priority and responsibility to handle the Word of God with diligence, respect and honor. To make the Word of God understandable to men is applaudable; to make the Word of God acceptable to men is an abomination.
Our first priority in loving God is to love His Word. I love worshiping God in song and in prayer, but God's Word shows us that the Scriptures must be above all else:
I will praise You with my whole heart;
Before the gods I will sing praises to You.
I will worship toward Your holy temple,
And praise Your name
For Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word above all Your name. Ps 138:1-2, NKJV
Now let's break down this passage part by part, but look at the last part of verse two first: For You have magnified Your word above all Your name. The English Standard Version translates this segment as for you have exalted above all things your name and your word, with "you have exalted your word above all your name" in the margin. In either case, God holds his Word either above or at least equal to His very name. Blasphemy, or the abuse of God's name, is addressed in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) third, right after the commands of "only one God" and the "no idol worship" commands. So then, the very first thing is that God's Word must be of utmost importance to the Christian and to the man who delivers messages for God, the pastor or preacher!
Now look at the passage keeping in mind that God's word is the reason for it all (the word for in the mentioned segment shows God's Word as such):
I praise you with my whole heart--with everything I am, because of God's Word. I will sing praises before other gods--which are false gods that do not exist--because God's Word tell me this is so. I will worship toward where your glory is-- Your holy temple (remember, this is Old Testament) because of what your Word tells me--of your lovingkindness and your unwavering truth. All of this is because God has magnified--made large--His Word above His very name!
God First, Everything Else Second: Love God, Love To Praise Him
Loving God means loving His Word. His Word is the revelation of Him; while God's Word does not reveal everything about God, it does reveal everything we need to know about God. And the more we get to know God, the more we love Him.