Summary: Without Love our witness is useless and hopeless...
Date Written: March 14, 2014
Date Preached: March 16, 2014
Where Preached: OPBC (AM)
Series Title: A Sermon for New Purpose Statement
Sermon Title: Love Makes It All Work
Sermon Text: Matthew 22:37-40 [ESV] – Read all here
37And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the great and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Love is the center of God’s plan and purpose here in this world. It is God’s LOVE for His creation that He sent His Son Jesus to die on the Cross of Calvary for OUR sin! It is only through His love that He cradles us in His arms when the world seeks to do us harm and when the storms of life come crashing in on our world.
Jesus focused on love in His time here in this world and in John 13:34-35 we have him saying these words:
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Love was how Jesus wanted us to be known to the world…He reemphasizes this when he is speaking with His disciples during His last week before His crucifixion. After His triumphal entry Jesus had cleared the Temple and been challenged by the religious leaders… He countered every question they had with Scripture and the wisdom of God… but Jesus saw that they did not know what God was all about!
The religious leaders saw God as a moderator and enforcer of RULES and REGULATIONS, but Jesus wanted these people to know that it was much more about being in a relationship with God than about following rules or laws… the rules and laws were there for our protection, but the focus was supposed to be on the relationship…with God…and with those around us!
What Jesus said here in Matt 22 was revolutionary… He was sharing a totally radical view of how to approach serving God… a way based on love and mutual respect among those who followed God.
Lets take a look at what Jesus said, and what it means for us today:
37And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the great[est] and first commandment.
Not only is this the most important commandment, Jesus states that this most important of all commandments has an order to it... Let me share with you what I mean. You see, to love God we can't just say "I love God" and that be it... our words often betray us!
So we find Jesus placing some standards in place so that we can truly know when we DO love God... Jesus sets forth 3 basic standards to know if you "Love" God or if you are all words or full of hot air—Jesus says
First that we are to love God with all of our Heart – what does that mean? Well to love with all your heart simply means that you have a complete and total commitment of all your actions toward God! Whatever you do is focused on showing your love to and for God! Loving God from our hearts is fleshed out in our actions in life...
Do your actions reflect your love for God? Do people see your love for God in what you do and how you live your life? To love God requires ALL of your heart… and we know He has our heart when our actions reveals our love!
Second, Jesus says that we are to love God with all of our Soul – well what does THAT mean preacher? For you to love God with all your soul means that you exhibit complete and total commitment of your attitude to loving Him.
Let me try to explain what I mean. It means that how you approach things and what attitude you carry around in life should reflect a love for God… that attitude comes from within our very soul...
If love from your heart is fleshed out in your actions then whatever you DO, is driven by your underlying attitude of love for God and that comes from within who you are… your very soul!
In other words, God you have changed me by YOUR grace and now I have a new attitude of love for you! That is the focus of my life and it is the underlying factor for all my actions!