Sermons

Summary: A series about how to better worship the Lord. Part 4

Worship with Love

Mark 12:28-34

February 26, 2017

A number of years ago, a radio station ran a contest in which the disc jockeys asked their listeners to answer the question "Just for fun, when you wake up to the sound of FM-106, call and tell us the first words you said when you rolled out of bed. If you're the 3rd caller, tell us what you said, and you'll win $106."

The contest grew in popularity, as people began calling in and telling the DJ’s what their first thoughts and comments were - - - The DJ would enthusiastically respond, "Caller number 3, what did you say when you rolled out of bed this morning?"

They would hear comments like ~ "Do I smell coffee burning?" "Oh no, I'm late for work." Somebody else said her first words were, "Honey, did I put out the dog last night?" With a muffled response in the background angrily telling her, "No, you didn't." It was a funny contest and people were eager to win an easy $106.

One morning, something was different. The DJ said his usual ~ "Good morning, this is FM-106. What did you say when you rolled out of bed this morning?"

A man asked him, "You want to know my first words in the morning?"

The excited DJ went along with him, exclaiming "Yes, sir! Tell us what you said."

The man responded with this "Shema, Israel . . .”

The DJ was clueless and thought it was a joke, and asked “what that means?”

The man said, “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.”

There was a moment of silence. Then the radio announcer said, “Sorry, wrong number,” and cut to a commercial.

Do you remember what you said this morning when you rolled out of bed? Oftentimes those words set the tone for the rest of the day. For the pious Jew the first words of each morning should be the same, and they were the words spoken that morning on FM-106.

They were first spoken by Moses, and I thought I would read these 3 verses in Hebrew, and also let you see the translation next to them. . .

4 Here O Israel, The Lord our God, the Lord is One.

5 And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.

6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart;

When I was a young boy going to Hebrew School, I learned this prayer, and understood it was the most important prayer of the Jewish people. Moses followed up that prayer with words which still hold true today and words which Jesus stated as the Greatest of our Commandments.

We’ve been talking about worship for the past few weeks and I wanted to look at this greatest commandment and see what it means for us as we consider worship.

To set the stage, we are in the gospel of Mark, chapter 12. Jesus was being questioned by a scribe, someone who knew the law backwards and forwards. I believe it was an attempt to trap Jesus, but everyone walked away a little more in awe of Jesus, including the scribe.

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that He answered them well, asked Jesus, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”

29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

32 And the scribe said to Him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that He is one, and there is no other besides Him.

33 And to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask Him any more questions.

Jesus could have chosen any of the 613 commandments, there were 365 which said, don’t! And there were 248 which said do! They were waiting to pounce on whichever answer Jesus gave, yet the scribe backs off when Jesus answers, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength."

For the Jewish person, they understood the call to love God with all of their heart. It’s the center of all passion and trust. In Greek there are 4 different words for LOVE, the most intimate being agape. That’s the word Jesus uses each time He says the word love in this passage.

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