Summary: God’s greatest commandment is an outline for living a life of worship.
Loving God - Leading a Life of Fourfold Worship
A Sermon by Drew Stephens
You have been selected to go on a perilous journey that will separate you from your friends and family and keep you incommunicado for at least 20 years. You have been given a piece of paper on which to write the most important message you can to all the people your life could have an impact on. You only have room for 36 words. The same message goes to family members, friends, acquaintances, neighbors, co-workers and even to people who do not as yet know you or know anything about you. What will you write? What is the most important message you could communicate in a few words?
In the New Testament Jesus summed up the most important message from God to man with these words:
29 Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: ’Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.
30 ’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.’
Jesus summed up the most important message of God to man as this: Worship the Lord with all your being!
This commandment was a reinforcement of what God gave to Israel through Moses in
4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!
5 "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
7 "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
8 "You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
9 "You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
This passage is called the “Shema” which in Hebrew means “Hear or Listen.” This is the message that God wanted His people to listen to and to tell their children. This is the message He wanted them to think about when they got up in the morning and when they went to bed. The message He wanted to be in their hearts and on their minds as they went about the task of the day.
Verse 8 talks about how they are to be a sign on your hand and as Frontlets on between your eyes. This is where the Jews get their Phylacteries. An Orthodox Jew will wear strips of leather that has a box mounted to it that contains this scripture on his left arm or on his forehead.
God wanted this command to be what governed the thoughts and labors of His people.
Further more He wanted it written on the doorposts of their home. This is called a “Mezuzah.” It is a small tube that contains the written “Shema” this command, which was to be nailed to the entrance of their homes. I have a Mezuzah that I got in Israel that is attached to the doorway of our home.
It is a great reminder that God is to control our home and that our home is to reflect our love for God.
In this great command God wants to teach the world this message:
Understand who I am, and then love me in with your hearts, your thoughts, your deeds, your relationships, your emotions, your sleep, everything that you are and do.
The short version is this.
Know Me, and Worship Me with ALL your being!
That’s the Drewlian translation but it is consistent with God’s Word.
In the New Testament Jesus reinforced this command. The translations in Matthew, Mark and Luke and Deuteronomy vary somewhat, however what is very clear is that God wants us to love Him with all of our being.
Now the question is how do we love God. Let me use a different word that perhaps we think of as an equivalent to loving God.
How do we Worship God with all of our being?
I. WHO do we Worship?
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!
1. We are called to KNOW God.
It is vitally important that we spend regular time in God’s Word for the sole purpose of getting to know God. There are times we spend in the Word for encouragement, and for direction, but it is crucial that we also spend time getting to know the Lord, and to understand His attributes.
2. God has revealed Himself as the great I AM.