Summary: Today’s text leads us toward an answer toward life’s biggest question: What is God’s main goal for me on earth?

Vertical and Horizontal Love

Mark 12:28-34

1. Bernie and Esther were not the most religious Jews and in fact they really only went to Temple once a year. As they were leaving the Temple, the Rabbi said, "Bernie, it sure would be nice to see you and Esther here more than once a year!"

"I know," replied Bernie, "but at least we keep the Ten Commandments."

"That's great," the Rabbi said. "I'm glad to hear that you keep the Commandments."

"Yep," Bernie said proudly, "Esther keeps six of them and I keep the other four."


2. The problem with Bernie and Esther was their failure to grasp that the 10 commandments — like the hundreds of commands in the Bible — are sub-categories defining how we are to love God and love others.

3. Looking at specific commandments without taking seeing them in the larger view as to the meaning can make them trite, tedious, and irrelevant to life. We need a big picture to start with.

Main Idea: Today’s text leads us toward an answer toward life’s biggest question: What is God’s main goal for me on earth?

I. The Scribe Was Wise to Want to See the BIG Picture (28).

A. He asked the right PERSON .

1. One sign of wisdom is the sense to ask the right person, not just anybody

2. Many Christians seek guidance from people who really don’t know the Word or who do not value the Word above the culture

B. He asked the right QUESTION.

1. How many people ask the question “What is life about?” in old age

2. This is a question we should be asking when young… high school

3. Failure to come to a decision about what life is about means relegating everything you do to what others around you are doing…

C. Major problem: FOCUS on the less crucial

1. The most common logical fallacy is substituting a part for the whole

2. Some people never do understand the concept of the big picture

II. Jesus’ Answer Was MAINSTREAM. (29-31).

A. The Rabbis of Hillel were RIGHT about most things.

Rabbi Simlai taught "Six hundred and thirteen commandments were given to Moses; then David came and reduced them to eleven in Psalm 15.; Isaiah (33:15), to six; Micah (6:8), to three; Isaiah again (56:1), to two; and Habakkuk (2:4), to one: 'The just lives by his faithfulness'." Makkot 23b-24a

B. The first command is MOST important, loving God.

1. Not part of the 10 commandments

2. More important than the rest of the 613

3. This is called the Sh’ma

4. Must begin here before loving others

C. How do we LOVE God?

1. With our WILL

John 14:21, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.

2. With our AFFECTIONS

3. With our INTELLECT

D. The second commandment FLOW from the first.

1. Since God commands us to love others, we must

2. This love looks different between spouse, neighbor, enemy

3. A reasonable level of concern for other people based upon relationship

E. Do humans exist primarily to GLORIFY God or to LOVE Him and others?

1. No Scripture states man’s chief purpose is to glorify God

2. There are commands to both love and glorify God

3. Since love summarizes all the commands, glorifying God must be a sub-category under love

4. All creation will glorify God, but believers glorify Him by love

III. We Must Always Consider Both Vertical and Horizontal LOVE.

A. Church meetings are both vertical and HORIZONTAL.

Ephesians 5:18-20, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…”

I Corinthians 14:26b [NASB] “Let all things be done for edification.”

ESV “Let all things be done for building up.”

B. Church leaders must be at least modestly successful in their RELATIONSHIPS to be qualified to minister in the church (I Timothy 3).

C. We must love GOD more than even our parents, children, or spouses.

Luke 14:26, ““If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”

D. We must constantly REALIGN ourselves the priorities Jesus clearly teaches.


1. How good are you at loving God and others? All of us, I think, could say, “Not good enough.” Still, some of us love better than we used to. Love is not something you have or don’t have, it is a continuum — how much you have.

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