Summary: “The Main Thing” is a sermon which assumes you have placed your faith in Jesus the Christ as your Savior & Lord and eagerly desire to live a life that is pleasing to God. It is also for those who want to know what true Christianity is really all about.
THE MAIN THING
For the [true] love of God is this: that we do His commands [keep His ordinances and are mindful of His precepts and teaching]. And these orders of His are not irksome (burdensome, oppressive, or grievous). 1 John 5:3 (AMP)
I want to impress on your mind that God says we need to do what He says! In Matthew 7:21 Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
Well what is the will of the Father? We just read it in 1st John 5:3 from the amplified... The will of the Father is that we do His commands; that we keep His ordinances; and that we are mindful of his precepts and teachings! Note He says “these orders of His are not irksome, burdensome, oppressive, or grievous.” Don’t you think that means we had better know what his command is? Jesus told us in John 15:12 – He said “This is my commandment, that you love one another.” That doesn’t sound “irksome, burdensome, oppressive, or grievous” to me!
Let’s go back to 1st John 5:3 again… Recall that it starts off with “For the true love of God is this: that we do His commands…” and Jesus in John 15:12 says “this is my command, that you love one another.” Beautiful! Simple! Straightforward! Clear! But we make it oh so complicated!
Recently, while looking at Matthew Chapter 23 where Jesus was confronting the Pharisees, I reminded you that the verse commonly translated “judge not lest ye be judged” would be better translated “condemn not lest ye be condemned”. With that in mind we observed that, yes, He was making a judgment. But, in effect, He must have really been saying, “Hey! You are wrong! I don’t condemn you – I love you! I would rather that you repent and be saved. So you need to hear this...”
The New Testament does not give us a minute by minute completely detailed account of the entire three years of Jesus’ ministry, but really just touches the highlights. I have got to think that Jesus had a number of conversations with the Pharisees from time to time (and certainly a lot of conversations with his disciples) that we don’t have down in black and white. You know that when Jesus was having dinner in the home of the Pharisees there had to be some talk. His disciples often came to him with questions. The same thing with the Pharisees – they came to him with questions. Nicodemus, for example, came to him in the dead of night saying, “…tell me about this stuff - I don’t get it!” There had to be many more conversations than what we have listed!
I think we can extrapolate, from what we do have, how those conversations might have gone. So, to indulge in a little conjecture if I may, of what some of those conversations might have been like, I’m going to use Matthew 23 to remind myself of what they may have been about:
Jesus said to his disciples, to the crowd, and primarily to the teachers of the law and the Pharisees – the religious people (that is, those who claimed to know God – that is, us); Jesus said to them, “You sit in Moses’ seat – you go to the Synagogue regularly (or in our terms today “you attend church”). You know, that’s good. There are a number of reasons why you need to do that. But that’s not the main thing. You make your phylacteries wide and the tassels on your garments long – to remind you to pray without ceasing, to pray earnestly, to pray sincerely, to intercede for one another, to commune with the Lord your God in prayer, and that’s good. You need to do that. But that’s not the main thing. Men call you Rabbi (or Pastor, or Teacher or Bible Student), and that’s really good. It means that you are into the Word – you are studying the Word. You are writing His Word on your heart. You’ve got a lot of passages of Scripture memorized. And that is really, really good! You really do need to do that! It’s important! You need to search the Scriptures because they tell you of Me! But you know what? As good as that is, it’s not the main thing either. You teach. You tell others about your faith. You travel over land and sea to win a single convert – and that’s good. Evangelism is good. Crusades are good. Revivals are good. Seeing people get saved is good. As wonderful and commendable as all that is, it’s still not the main thing.”