Summary: Right relationship with God leads to a right relationship with one another. The greace of God is experienced as we share our lives together.
FREEDOM IN CHRIST
If you can I want you to think for a moment about what existed before God created the world. Before there were any galaxies, before there were any plants, animals, before anything existed – can you think what there was? God! God – no beginning and no end. God in three persons, perfect trinity. Now listen carefully to what I am going to say next because it is the foundation to all else I am going to share with you this morning. Because God is Trinitarian, three distinct persons, yet one – at the very heart of creation is a relationship because the very essence, the very core of God is a perfect relationship. When you read the accounts of creation in Genesis you realise that God created man in His own image and He then states this “It is not good for man to be alone.” We usually limit that to the creation of Eve and to the institution of marriage. Yet the Biblical truth is that God created Adam for relationship – primarily with God and then with one other in the intimacy of marriage, and then with family that he blessed them with and the wider community. At the very heart of all that God created, all that He declared to be good, was (and is) relationship. So this morning I want to share with you the freedom that we find in a right relationship with God and the freedom we experience in a right relationship with one another.
RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
In Mathew 22 Jesus has answered a series of questions put to Him by the Sadducees. Their questions were an attempt to trip Him up and entrap Him. When they fail to corner Christ the Pharisees think they will have a go. And so in verses 34-35 you have this question posed: “What is the greatest commandment.” There are nearly 700 laws in the OT and the Pharisees want Christ to reduce it to one. With astounding wisdom and with authority we hear Christ’s response – read verses 37-40. In His answer Jesus goes to the very heart of the reason we have been created and He sets before the Pharisees, and us, the essential order of right relationships. Look closely at what He says in answer to the question. Jesus in summing up all of the Law of God tells us that it can be encapsulated in this one command – Love the Lord your God…
“Love the Lord your God…” Love, eternal love, perfect love, unconditional love – is at the centre of the relationship of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and here Christ puts love of God as the foundation to a right relationship with God. Notice will you how personal the command is – “the Lord your God.” There is a relationship in those words. The “Lord your God.” Do you see the emphasis on the personal relationship with God? You know when we read of God in the OT He always reveals Himself in the context of a relationship. How often we read “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” God is personal and in order to love Him we must know Him personally. The question is: “Do you?”
All of us this morning are called to Love the Lord God – but for how many of you is it a personal truth? For how many is the personal relationship of the commandment a reality? All of us begin life alienated from God because of sin. Scripture tells us clearly – “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Adam and Eve disobeyed God and brought sin and death into the created order. That act of disobedience broke the relationship with God and God in His love and mercy sent Christ to die that the relationship might be restored. But let me ask you has it been restored for you this morning? There is a need for a personal response to a general question. Christ commands us to Love the Lord God in and through a personal relationship with Him.
To help them understand this command to love God Christ adds that this is to be done “with all your heart, soul and mind.” In essence you are to love God with all that you are, with every part of your being. Every faculty, every capacity that you have is to love God first.
Friends let me ask you a question this morning: “Would you say that your heart, your soul and your mind are focused primarily on loving God?” “Is the primary concern of your life loving God?” I don’t mean do you think occasionally about God. I don’t mean do you read your Bible or pray now and then. I mean is Christ, is God, the very heartbeat of your heart, the life of your soul and the thoughts of your mind? Do you actually love God? Do you seek to know His love more and more each day? Do you delight in His love? Maybe I should have asked “Do you know the love of God in your life?”