Summary: This is a Full Text Sermon on loving God.
Series: Loving God
Sermon: 1 - Loving God with all your Heart
Rev. Bruce A. Shields
First Baptist Church Tawas City, Michigan
Mark 12:28 – 31 (The Greatest Commandment)
“28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
29 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: ’Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
31 The second is this: ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these."
PRAYER FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT
At the time this conversation takes place, Jesus had already made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. (Matthew 21:1)
He cursed the fig tree for not producing fruit when it was supposed to have fruit, and it withered up and died. (Matthew 21:19)
He has cleared the temple of those who would steal God’s offerings for worthless sacrifices. (Matthew 21:12)
And He has had His authority questioned. (Matthew 21:23)
It is now Tuesday of His last week and He is preaching in the Temple.
It had been a day of intense debate, a war of wits and words with the Sadducees, Pharisees and Herodians.
The Herodians were a Jewish political party who sympathized with the Herodian rulers in their general policy of government, and in the social customs which they introduced from Rome.
They were at one with the Sadducees in holding the duty of submission to Rome, and of supporting the Herods on the throne.
These three groups have been trying to trap Jesus, asking Him what appear to be honest, straight forward question.
But most of the questions would have been a no win situation for anyone other than Jesus.
It really wasn’t much of a contest, these people questioning Jesus.
As any debate, this had attracted a sizeable number of spectators.
One of those happened to be a scribe.
Scribes appear throughout this Gospel, and except for this story; they always appear in a negative light.
This scribe comes to Jesus because he sees that Jesus has answered His opponents well.
The Sadducees had just tried to stump Jesus with a question about the resurrection, of which they did not believe.
There is a good possibility that this scribe is a Pharisee, and the Pharisees DO believe in the resurrection.
If he is a Pharisee, he must have been pleased to see Jesus best the Sadducees on that question.
So he asks, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
It doesn’t appear that he is trying to trap Jesus.
This seems to be a sincere question.
It sounds like he wants to know what the most important commandment is.
Maybe he was looking for the one command from God that would help him understand the others.
Or maybe he was looking for the commandment that would point his life in the right direction.
Now, you need to understand that this man was a scribe.
This means that he had dedicated his life to manually copying the scriptures.
Then they would count the letters on the page to ensure they copied it correctly.
He had more than likely spent years reading, writing and memorizing the Holy Scriptures.
But you see, knowing the scriptures and understanding them are two different things.
Understanding them, THEN applying them to your life is yet another thing.
This scribe knew the scriptures, but wanted understanding.
So he asked Jesus for understanding.
We do this today. Understanding the scriptures ONLY comes by the Holy Spirit.
Without the Holy Spirit you can not understand the scriptures.
This is why Jesus spoke in parables. So the people would have some sort of understanding.
When the disciples asked Jesus, Why do you speak in parables? He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.”
“But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding.”
Without God’s spirit in us we have no understanding.
Without understanding you can not properly apply the scriptures to your life.
This is why before each sermon I pray for the Holy Spirit so we CAN have understanding, and then we can properly apply God’s Holy Word to our lives.
We can see scripture misapplied all the time.
Those who think because the scripture makes mention that we can handle vipers and drink poison and not be affected, this means they should dance with poisonous snakes and drink strychnine during the worship service.