Summary: The chief end of loving God is being obedient to God.
Truett Cathy is an extraordinarily successful businessman who has done some very unusual things. Truett is the founder of the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain. Even though it has cost him millions and millions of dollars, all of his 1,000 restaurants are closed on Sundays. It is that important to him to honor the Lord’s Day. When he first started his restaurant chain during the days of segregation, he took a very unpopular stand as he made it a point to hire people irrespective of race. That decision cost him a lot of business but he didn’t care. He wanted to do the right thing no matter what the cost. He also took the unusual step of setting aside some of his profits to develop a successful foster home system for orphaned children. Truett Cathy did these things and many other things for one reason and one reason alone. He wanted to obey the greatest of all commandments.
Deuteronomy 6:5 commands us to "LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH." Lest we underestimate the importance of this command, Jesus repeated it in Matthew 22:37: "LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND." He then added that this was the first and greatest commandment. No wonder it is repeated over and over again throughout the Scriptures. Loving God is our greatest responsibility and privilege. "God is to be loved completely and totally because he, and he alone, is God and because he has made a covenant of love with his people. In the covenant God promises himself totally in love to his people, so he expects his people to give themselves totally (soul, mind and strength) in love to him." (737/Vol.8/Exp. Com.) Loving God should be an absolute priority in our lives just like it is in Truett Cathy’s life.
"From the viewpoint of biblical anthropology, ’heart,’ ’soul,’ and ’mind’ are not mutually exclusive but overlapping categories, together demanding our love for God to come from our whole person, our every faculty and capacity." (464/Vol.8/Exp.) The "heart" and "soul" and "mind" are references to our emotions, wills and intellect. Such represents the Hebrew way of saying that we are to love God with our whole being. With all of our might and strength. Admittedly, this whole concept of loving a God we cannot see or physically touch seems so perplexing.How does one express or demonstrate love to a God we cannot embrace or audibly hear His voice? What is involved in loving God The Hebrew verb that is translated ’to love’ in this setting communicates not so much an emotional idea as one of covenant commitment." Our text for this morning helps us better understand just what it means to love God It tells us what we must do if we would keep this great commandment.
Loving God has more to do with obeying Him than anything else. Our text (1 John 5:3) says, "THIS IS LOVE FOR GOD: TO OBEY HIS COMMANDS." Obedience is the sign of our love for God. Jesus made this truth very clear when in John 14:15 He said to His disciples, "IF YOU LOVE ME, YOU WILL OBEY WHAT I COMMAND." It is very clear, our love for God is expressed through obedience. This truth is also evident in 1 Samuel 15:22 where God says , "…TO OBEY IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE…" Many people in Samuel’s time erroneously thought that the ultimate expression of their love for God occurred when they brought their sacrifices to the altar. Not so, said the Lord God. Obedience is what God is looking for from us. Loving God has more to do with obeying Him than anything else. This obedience is exhibited in three areas of our lives and they are our concern this morning.
We love God when we take Him at His Word, believing it and acting upon it. "When He says we are forgiven, we believe Him and unload the guilt. (111/795/Lucado) When He says we’re valuable, we believe Him. When He says we have eternal life, we believe Him and bury our fear. When He says He will meet our needs, we believe Him and stop worrying. In believing God we love Him. The story is told of a lowly private in the army of Alexander the Great. who ran after and caught Alexander’s runaway horse. When he brought the horse back, Alexander thanked him by saying, "Thank you, captain. With one word the private was promoted.When Alexander said it, the private believed it. He immediately selected a new uniform and moved to the officer’s quarters. Because Alexander said it, he believed it. Would that we could do the same with God