Summary: Would anyone like to have some practical ideas on how to live the Christian life in an achievable way? This message is a good place to start.

Practical Christianity - Mark 12:28-34

Intro.: Would anyone like to have some practical ideas on how to live the Christian life in an achievable way? Good, let’s look at a little background of our text…

Jesus had just finished answering a bunch of his critics. They had been trying to get him to trap himself w/his words. It didn’t work this time either. One of them finally asks a serious question that goes to the heart of what the Bible teaches about God and how we’re to relate to Him. READ: Mark 12:28-34

Here we find practical steps know God better and love Him more. I didn’t just say: know God better and love Him more. I said: take practical steps to know God better & love Him more. In vs. 30-31, we see that God wants us to love Him in 4 ways…

I. God wants us to love Him with everything inside us.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul..."

A. This is loving Him passionately.

NOTE: When we’re passionate about something, it drives us. It defines how we live

2. If a person is passionate about farming, it’s what drives their day to day life

a. They make all their decisions around that passion

B. We’re supposed to love God so much that He is how we define our lives

1. We live according to what we know will honor Him and please Him

2. This means living by God’s agenda instead of our own.

3. It means doing our jobs & raising our kids in ways that please God’s heart

C. We’re saying to God, "You’ve got me, everything I am, everything I’ve got.

I’m loving you all the way."

D. Here are a couple of ideas on how to do this:

1. Adopt or renew a form of intake of the Bible: Reading, memorizing, etc.

2. Adopt or renew a spiritual discipline: Fasting, extended prayer, solitude, etc.

Question: Why do these things? Because they open our spirits up to God and allow Him to speak to us in such a way, that we’ll actually catch what He’s trying to say

E. Some of our communication with God is like cell phone service

1. When in a valley, it’s limited or non-existent, you don’t hear what’s said

2. When you get near a tower, calls go through & you understand each other

NOTE: When we get that pipeline between us and God open, things happen in our relationship w/God & w/other people & we can love Him the way we’re suppose to.

II. God wants us to love him with our brains - "...and with all your mind..."

A. This is loving Him thoughtfully.

NOTE: Many Christians would rather quote clichés than devote themselves to God

1. Christianity is a reason able faith that reasonable people can embrace

2. Christianity is not a blind faith at all, it’s supported by evidence

3. Christianity will withstand the examination of the critics

B. We also need to accurately apply what the Bible says to real life situations

NOTE: 1 reason more people don’t come to faith in Christ is that they see Christians who have absolutely no clue how to put Biblical principles into practice in real life.

1. A good motto: “Real faith in the real God for real people in the real world.”

2. For this to take hold, we’ve got to be serious about using our brains

C. Here are some practical ideas on how to do this too:

1. Be a part of Bible study opportunities

2. Read something that challenges your thinking.

3. Choose to let Scripture filter what you read, see, & hear

NOTE: There is lots of stuff the Bible says is just fine, and there’s stuff the Bible calls sin. You need to know the difference, and that only comes from getting into it.

III. God wants us to love Him with our gifts & abilities - "...with all your strength."

A. This is loving Him practically.

B. He wants us to use the talents, gifts, finances, influence, etc. that He’s given us

NOTE: He didn’t just give us these things for our own enjoyment and enrichment. He gave them to us to use for His glory and to advance His kingdom.

C. Here is a great way to use this area of your life:

1. Take an inventory of your talents and how they can be used here at FWC

a. Some of you have trade skills, some can’t figure out a screwdriver.

b. Many are gifted musically, while others make a joyful noise

c. Some have organizational skills, or just have a good eye for decorating

NOTE: Believe me, God can use this stuff to help people find Jesus

D. What are some types of spiritual gifts that are needed to be a healthy church?

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