Summary: What is God’s most important command? In this message we will see what is most important to God. You will leave here today knowing what God’s top priority is and how you can do it. You will discover where to start, what comes first, what is most important
THE GREATEST COMMANDS
My kids get frustrated sometimes trying to figure out which of my many commands take priority, which comes first.
Ever been frustrated by a boss who gives multiple assignments, all of which are ‘top priority?’
Overwhelmed by all you hear in church? Have difficulty knowing where to start, what to give priority to?
PREV: In today’s text, from Mark 12:28-34, Jesus is asked by a teacher of the law, which of God’s commandments is the greatest, or weightiest, or most important. This was a common point of debate among such teachers, and it was more difficult than you might think. We’re not just choosing the best of the 10 commandments. These guys identified 613 different commands in the Torah.
In his answer, we will see what is most important to God. You will leave here today knowing what God’s top priority is and how you can do it. You will discover where to start, what comes first, what I most important to God.
So what is God’s most important command? Let’s see both the question and the answer as I read Mark 12:28-34.
I. THE GREATEST COMMAND IS TO LOVE GOD WITH ALL OF YOURSELF
In his answer, Jesus quotes from Deut. 6:4-5, the Shema`. The greatest command is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
His answer is to love God with everything, every part of you.
Today we are going to talk about what it means to love God.
This is difficult because:
• Women can have trouble talking about loving God because of what has been done to them in the name of ‘love.’
• Us men are uncomfortable talking about “love.” We don’t say “I love you,” we say, “me too.” Its hard for us to talk about “loving God” because we describe him in male terms. Talking about love seems to move us into the realm of feelings, and we are not good at talking about this realm. That leads us to another difficulty.
• Our society’s definition of love tends to make us think of syrupy greeting cards. To love someone comes to mean “to have warm, sentimental feelings” about them.
But even with these difficulties, we must talk about it, because Jesus said the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind, all of your strength.” It isn’t to ‘believe’ or to ‘follow’ or to ‘have faith in’ or ‘obey’ God. It is to love God. So today I’d like us to unpack this idea of loving God, and get a picture of what it means and why it can be so difficult. I think you’ll “love” the results!
Transition: So what does it mean to love God? How do we go about loving God? Show slide of Mark 12:29-30
A. Loving God means focusing all of our longings on him.
Think about this: What or who do you love? And why?
We love things and people that bring us joy, or happiness, or pleasure, or delight, or significance.
Ex.: I love pecan pie – it brings me pleasure
Ex.: I love my job, because I feel significant.
Ex.: I love my kids, they bring delight and meaning.
Ex.: I love Anne: I delight in her beauty I feel secure in her embrace, her words encourage me, etc.
We invest our love in those things, people who bring us joy
God calls us to invest all this love in Him.
The things that we love all provide for us, in varying degrees, some joy and satisfaction. But from God’s point of view, these things are nothing compared to Himself. What you are looking for, joy, happiness, meaning, satisfaction can be found so much more in God.
Ps. 16:11 – You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Ps. 37:4 – Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
John Piper, in “Desiring God” puts it this way: (p. 284)
Take all of your longing and focus it on God until He satisfies it completely.
Have pleasure in God.
Recognize that in him (not from him) is true joy.
Focus your love on God. Place all your longing, searching, attempts to fulfill on him, and him alone.
Again, John Piper says:
Find in God a satisfaction so full that it fills up all your heart. Find in God a meaning so rich and so deep that it fills up all the aching corners of your soul. Spare no strain or exertion to put yourself in a position to see the all-satisfying grace of God poured out on you. Find in God the riches of knowledge and insight and wisdom that guide and satisfy all that the human mind was meant for.