Summary: A clear answer to the question, "What Would Jesus Do?"
Mark 12:28-31 The Great Commandment
INTRODUCTION: Charles Sheldon’s classic, In His Steps has achieved its greatest fame in the last few years. The novel about one church’s decision to live by the question, “What would Jesus do?” has inspired sequels, merchandise, clothing, and every conceivable presentation of the kernel of true Christian discipleship. The letters W.W.J.D. have taken on a fresh significance as more and more people advertise their Christian faith to the masses.
But what of that question, “What would Jesus do?” Have we truly come to grips with that choice in our daily lives? Do we wear the merchandise without practicing the motto? I dare say most of the people wearing and carrying the WWJD message are far from the level of commitment exhibited by the characters in Sheldon’s book.
I read In His Steps yesterday. I saw the story of businessmen who lost their jobs and their security for choosing to operate their businesses in the way Jesus would operate a business. I saw families disrupted by the commitment of some family members to Christ while others remained aloof and unconcerned. I saw the case of a newspaper reporter losing his job because he refused to cover a story due to his beliefs. The list goes on.
There is a positive side to this story, too. In His Steps chronicles the radical transformation of Christianity when Christians choose to take seriously the meaning of serving and following Jesus. It is faith aflame, a true picture of what God intended for His people from the beginning.
CONTEXT: Today’s message is taken from a passage in Mark’s gospel where Jesus is under attack. If you look back through chapter twelve, you see the challenge of the Pharisees beginning in verse thirteen. This is followed by a question from the Sadducees in verse eighteen. Our study today begins with an inquiry from one of the scribes. It is interesting to note that in each of the earlier instances, Jesus offered strict teaching and even a rebuke to the Sadducees. But to this scribe he replies, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
Someone has said that the difference between heaven and hell is about nine inches in most cases. That’s the distance from your head to your heart. In other words, you can know all about how to be a Christian and go to hell, or you can know Jesus through a heart relationship and go to heaven. It’s all an issue of nine inches.
But what about these verses? What would God have us know about Him today? I believe this passage of Scripture has three clear lessons for us
to apply to our lives as we seek to live out our Christian faith in today’s world.
1. There is only one God. (v.29)
- the old statement, “There is a God,
and you’re not Him.”
- not like other world religions with
monism (all is divine) or
pantheism (many gods) or even
panentheism (god in everything)
- He is three in one. Father, Son, and
- Interesting to note that in the OT, the
word Elohim is a plural noun
- Ex. 20:5 “I am a jealous god.”
- He is the only one worthy of praise.
- One of a kind.
2. There is only one way to love God. (v.30)
- total love and devotion
- the first and greatest thought
- the object of our attention and affection
- total infatuation.
- peaceful satisfaction in Him
- begin the day with Him; end the day
- He never sleeps nor slumbers
- Love relationship.
3. There is only one effect of loving God (v.31).
-John 13:34; 15:12; 15:17 love one
-Rom. 13:8-12 Owe no man any thing,
but to love one another.
-Gal. 5:13-15 by love serve one another.
-Eph. 4:2 foebearing one another in love.
-1 Thess. 4:9, 10 love one another.
-James 2:8, 9 fulfill the royal law...
-1 Peter 1:22, 23 love one another with a
pure heart fervently...
-1 John 3:14, 18; 4:7, 11, 20; 5:2.
-Love for believers and nonbelievers.
-Not just warm feelings or sympathy.
-Having a HEART FOR people.
-If you and I don’t love people, how can
we possibly love God? (1 John
CONCLUSION: Recent events in our church have made me question the truthfulness in our claim to love each other. Maintaining a love relationship requires work on both sides of every issue. I sense here today a lot of unresolved anger and hurts. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.”
Gary Smalley writes these words:
Anger should not be welcomed as a
heart-guest. When we allow anger to
linger and settle in, it brings harm not