Summary: Ultimately, it is not only what you know... it is what you do with what you know.
20151108 23rd Sunday after Pentecost B
Title: Teaching to the Test... and Beyond
Thesis: Ultimately, it is not only what you know… it’s what you do with what you know.
Video Clip: “How NOT to Love Jesus”
The daughter heard her Father’s command to clean her room. She even memorized, “Clean your room” in Spanish. She read a book about how to clean your room. She discussed how to clean her room with her small group. And she even mapped out a strategy as to how to clean her room and envisioned what a clean room would look like.
Only one problem… she did not clean her room.
Of course it is a parody on how we often read or hear God’s Word. We memorize it. We read about it. We discuss it and imagine what it would look like if we actually obeyed God’s Word. But there is a problem… we don’t do God’s Word.
Jesus was the first to put the two commandments, to love God and neighbor together as one. It was Jesus’ way of saying that a person evidences his or her love for God by loving others. Jesus spoke this Great Commandment as something not necessarily felt but to be done. In James 1:22 we read, “But don’t just listen to God’s Word. You must do it what it says. Otherwise you are only fooling yourselves.”
Our text is what is known as The Great Commandment. The Great Commandment brings the commandment to love God and our neighbor as we love ourselves together.
We begin with loving God.
I. Loving God
“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, and all your mind and all your strength.”
This scenario was prompted by a question posed by a teacher of religious law. It was not really an unusual question or asked with malicious intent. Religious students of the Law discussed and debated the Law like theologians today might discuss grace and works or eschatology or a biblical understanding of immigration or the Christian’s position on the LGBT movement or whatever…
The teachers of religious law ran the gamut of those who believed the Law was the Ten Commandments and others believed the law included some 613 do’s and don’ts lifted from the Books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy as well as a bunch of rules and regulations that were matters of interpretation…
So the question was simply, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
If Jesus were to speak to the most important of the 10 Commandments… would he say, “Having no gods other than God” or would he say, “You must not commit adultery” or would he say, “You shall not covet?”
If Jesus were to take a wider view of the Law, would Jesus make reference to Leviticus 20 and say, “If a man or woman practices homosexuality with another man or another woman, both shall be put to death?” Or would he reference Deuteronomy 22:8 and say, “When you build a new house, you must build a railing around the roof of the house so you will not be guilty of murder if someone falls from the roof?” Or would he quote verse 22, “If a man is discovered committing adultery, both he and the woman must die?”
From all of the 613 plus commandments found in the Books of the Law Jesus chose two. The first is from the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4…
A. Love the Lord your God -
If the commandment is to love the Lord your God… it is fair to ask, “What does it mean to love God?”
To all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God… a birth that comes from God. John 1:12-13
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is who we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they do not know him. I John 3:1
We become children of God by entering into a relationship with God. When we become believers, as followers of Jesus we become children of God and as children of God and as we live into that relationship we get to know God more and more.
It may come as a huge surprise to you to learn that I have not always loved Bonnie. The first time I saw her, I was in my dorm room in college… like the first day of college life. I heard a girl screaming and looked out the window. There was Bonnie running in the grassy area between Old Main and the Men’s Dorm, carrying a football as four or five freshmen guys chased after her. It was kind of hot but I didn’t love her. Four years later we knew each other pretty well and were married.