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Summary: Love is the greatest need of humans and it also the greatest obligation of humans. I would be delighted if you could rate this sermon and give a brief feedback.

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INTRODUCTION (SECURE ATTENTION) & BACKGROUND OF THE PASSAGE:

PRAY before starting the sermon.

ILLUSTRATION: {Many years ago a shabbily dressed boy trudged several miles through the snowy streets of Chicago, determined to attend a Bible class that was conducted by D. L. Moody.

When he arrived, he was asked, "Why did you come to a Sunday school so far away? Why didn't you go to one of the churches near your home?"

He answered simply, "Because you love a fellow over here."}

As we hear that story, we need to ask ourselves whether others can say the same about our families and our church.

We all struggle with loving God and loving others.

But love is the greatest need of humans and it also the greatest obligation of humans.

Would you take God’s Word and turn your Bibles with me to MARK 12:28-34 (READ)?

I have entitled today’s sermon as: “THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT.”

As mentioned in the last two sermons, Jesus was continuously opposed by the religious authorities.

In 11:27-12:44 (refer), we read about the opposition Jesus encountered from the Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes.

In 12:13-17 (refer), the Pharisees along with the Herodians test him about taxation; in 12:18-27 (refer), the Sadducees test him about the resurrection; and in 12:28-44 (refer), one of the scribes test him on the interpretation of Scripture.

In the passage that we read, we see that:

CENTRAL PROPOSITION OF THE TEXT: When the Scribe asks Jesus as to what the greatest commandment is, Jesus responds that loving God and others is the greatest commandment.

FALLEN CONDITION FOCUS: Already included.

THE PURPOSE BRIDGE: To encourage the members of EAGC to love God and to love their neighbors.

CENTRAL PROPOSITION OF THE SERMON: I have used inductive proposition for this sermon.

I. A SCRIBE ASKS AN IMPORTANT QUESTION TO JESUS.

Read verse 28.

The scribe was glad that Jesus affirmed the resurrection which the scribes taught.

The scribes were the teachers of the Law.

They were theologians during Jesus’ time.

The scribe probably wanted to test Jesus and see if Jesus would leave out any of the important aspects of the Law of Moses.

The Jews held Moses in high esteem and they wanted to see if Jesus would go against Moses’ Law so that he can be criticized as a heretic.

Though the scribe’s question and response are somewhat sincere, the parallel passage in Matthew 22:35 (refer) reveals that even this scribe wanted to test Jesus.

Now during Jesus’ time, Jews had a tendency to do 2 things.

One, they would add countless rules and regulations and thus expand the Law.

On the other hand, they also discussed as to what is the essence of the Law.

They attempted to summarize the whole Law into one sentence.

Scholars say that the Law consists of 613 commandments, out of which 365 of them are negative and 248 of them are positive.

David reduced these 613 commandments to 11 commandments in Psalm 15:1-5 (refer).

Micah reduced them to 3 commandments (read Micah 6:8).

So, the scribe asks an important question to Jesus: what is the most important commandment?

II. JESUS’ RESPONSE TO THE SCRIBE’S QUESTION.

Refer verses 29-31.

Instead of belittling some of the laws and giving prominence to others, Jesus defines the essence of the Law.

In response to the scribe’s question, Jesus cites 2 commandments from the Old Testament and puts them together.

A. Love God with everything.

Read verses 29-30.

First, he quotes Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (refer).

The statement, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” is the basic creed of Judaism.

It is known as ‘Shema’ which is the Hebrew word for ‘hear.’

It is the first word of the sentence in this verse.

These words were recited by Jews once in the morning and once in the evening.

Every synagogue service begins with this statement even today.

This statement is the basis for the teaching of monotheism.

When Jesus quoted this commandment as the most important of all the commandments, Jews would have readily agreed with him.

The Bible says that we have to love God with our whole being: all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength.

Four times, Jesus uses the phrase ‘all.’

Our love for God cannot be half-hearted.

We have to love God with everything!

Read Luke 14:26—Our love for God should be so strong that in comparison with our love for God, our love for others should look like hatred.

Loving God is what defines a believer.

Read Psalm 97:10a.

Read 1 Cor. 8:3; in contrast read 1 Cor. 16:22a.

We can obey God without loving, but when you truly love God, it naturally leads to obedience.

Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (refer to John 14:15)

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