Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

02/05/2017 A.M.

 

Learning To Live In Love

Loving God WithAll Our Being

 

Deuteronomy6.1-9   Mark 12.28-31  Matthew 22.38-40 

2 Corinthians 5.14  John 14.23

 

All three Synoptics record the incident... A teacher of the Law comes to Jesus with a question... What is the Greatest Commandment?... Jesus gives the answer from Deuteronomy chapter 6... Let’s read both... From Moses and from Jesus...

 

From Deuteronomy... These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, promised you. Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.

 

Now from Jesus... Mark 12... Beginning with the verse numbered 28... One of them, an expert in the law, tested Jesus with this question... “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied... “The most important one is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this:‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

 

Matthew... In his record adds... All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

 

Question... If you had been told as you came in... We are taking a survey this morning... Which commandment do you think is the most important one... What would you have said?

 

• Perhaps we would have said... Faith...We must believe in God.

After all...the Hebrews’ Writer says... Without faith it is impossible to please God...Those who would come to Him must believe that He is and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.

 

• Maybe we would have quoted Jesus saying... If you will confess Me before men... I’ll confess you before the Father... However... If you deny Me... I will deny I know you.

 

• Some of us would have insisted in repentance and baptism to be the greatest... Peter did demand that his Pentecostian audience... Repent and be baptized and you’ll receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

• Maybe some of us would have mentioned that... Coming to church... Worshiping God... to be the greatest commandment.

 

Why would Jesus say... The greatest command is to love God?

 

I believe it is because... Love Compels.... Love motivates... Love leads to behavior.

 

It was Paul who wrote... The Love of God... The Love of Christ... Compels us... Since He died for us... Therefore we should no longer live for ourselves but live for Him who died for us.

 

I’m not sure whether Paul is speaking of God’s love for us... Or our love Him... Perhaps it’s both...

Love compels!...

Our King James says Love constrains us...

• The New American Standard Version says... Love controls us...

• The New Revised Standard uses the word... Urges us.

 

Well... With these translations in mind... It’s no wonder Jesus is found saying.... If you love Me... You will… You will keep My commandments… Jesus says… Love compels us to obedience.

 

You see... If we allow… God’s Love will compel us... Control us... Urge... Prompt us... To love Him...

• Then we’ll have a deep abiding faith...

• We’ll be compelled to... Repentance... Confession... Baptism... Worship Him each Lord’s Day... And a hundred other commands... attitudes... and behaviors commanded by God.

 

A man had smoked too much... Drank too much... And occasionally did drugs. For forty plus years he had tried to kick his bad habits... But without any success. Then he fell in love with a woman... Ask her to marry him... She agreed with the stipulation that he first give up his bad habits... And he did!

 

That’s loving!!... That’s wanting a relationship so badly that we will do anything to have it... This the kind of love God is asking for.

 

Truth is... We’ve all been... Prompted...Compelled... Nudged... Controlled… Into becoming better people... By Love

 

How many of we fathers have changed the way we live... When our sons and or daughters were born?

 

Here it is church... All of us here this morning have been... Compelled... Moved... Nudged... Motivated... By love... Amen?

 

Genuine Christianity... Spiritual maturity... occurs when we do what we do... Hold the beliefs we hold... Out of a genuine love for God.

 

John affirms this in 1 John 3... 4 & 5...Listen to some of these verses... See what great love the Father has lavished on us.... That we should be called the children of God... And that is what we are!... This is how we know what love is... Jesus Christ laid down His life for us... This is love... Not that we loved God... But that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning Sacrifice for our sins. Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God... And everyone who loves the father loves his child as well... God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. This is how we know that we love the children of God... By loving God and carrying out His commands... In fact... This is love for God... That we keep His commands.

 

Indeed...

• Love compels us to become God’s children...

• And it’s love that moves us toward Spiritual Maturity.

 

Well... What does it mean to live in love for God...

To love God with all our being?...

 

Jesus said... It means we love Him with all our heart.

The heart is that part of mankind that houses...

• Our desires...

• Our affections...

• Our passions...

• Our wants.

 

Paul says... My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they be saved.

 

David in Psalm 42 says... As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.

• Does our soul thirst for God?...

• Long for God?…

• Pant for God?...

• Is loving God our greatest desire?...

• Do we long to be with Him like a deer longs for water?

 

What do our hearts pant for?... Long for?... What is our life passion?

• Money and material things?

• Power?... Position?...Popularity... Prestige?... Privilege?...

• Pleasure and entertainment?

What is our... Heart’s desire and prayer to God?

Jesus tells us what our passion should be... Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

 

If you’re like me, you’ll have to admit that sometimes... Sometimes... We find ourselves craving something other than God and His righteousness... Right?

 

Church...We must know this morning that if we love God with our heart... THEN...This love will control all our... wants... Passions... And desires.

 

We are to love God with all our mind.

Jesus adds a dimension that Moses omits... Love God with all your MIND.

I am not sure I can make a distinction between the heart and the mind.

In the Greek... The word for mind speaks of...

• Our UNDERSTANDING...

• Our Intellect…

• Our DECISION making ability.

I believe Jesus is saying... we are to love God with our WILL.

 

You see... God created us free moral agents... He gave us a will... We have the power to control the desires & passions of our heart... We do that with our mind.

 

Have we made up our mind to love god?... Have we willed to love god... and thus obey His commands? Loving God is a function of our will...We love God because we determine to.

 

This kind of decision...This kind of determinate choice is what led...

• Thomas Edison to keep trying to invent the light bulb after 2300 failures.

• It led Henry Ford to keep on trying after going bankrupt three times.

• It led the Wright brothers to keep on trying after repeated failures to fly.

• It led Abraham Lincoln to keep trying at politics after he was defeated again and again.

• This kind of determination allowed... Stephen... The Apostles... And thousands of others to give their life in martyrdom.

 

Today...Marriages fail... Friendships rupture... Churches split... Our Christian zeal fades and is lost... Because we’ve lost… Our will... Our determination… To love at all cost.

 

Sometimes we need to grab our want to...Our DESIRE... By our will and say...

• I am going to love...

• I’m going to improve this marriage...

• I'm gonna keep this friendship alive...

• I’m going to maintain unity...

• I’m going to live for Jesus... Regardless!

 

So…The question becomes!!... Have you and your preacher determined to love God?

 

Jesus said... We are to love God with all our soul.

The Hebrew and Greek words for soul... Can be translated Breath... Or LIFE.

Loving God with all our soul means that we are willing and ready to do whatever it takes to... Fight the fight... Finish the course... Keep the faith… Until life is over… Breath is gone.

 

Revelation 2.10 says... Be faithful, until and unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

 

Loving God with all our soul... Means that we love Him with such intensity that we are committed to Him even to the point of death.

 

Revelation 12.11 speaks of those who gave their love and allegiance to Christ to the point that… They would not give up even in the face of death.  You see... They loved something greater than life... They loved God:

• With all their soul…

• With all their Life.

DoWe?... Do We?... Sobering question!

 

Now...Church... Jesus is not talking... JUST... ONLY... about dying physically!Scripture tells us that we are to DAILY die to self... And Live for Jesus. We die daily for Jesus by doing what He wants... Rather than doing what we want.

 

Paul speaks of genuine New Testament conversion as crucifying the old man and living a new life in Christ. We are to become... What?... Living sacrifices.

 

Let me show you something... Did you know that the word DIE is found in the middle of the word obedience?... It is...

 

Everytime we are obedient to a command of God... We die to self.

• When we choose to edify rather than criticize others... We die to self.

• When we choose to forsake some addiction...Laziness... Materialism... Alcohol... Drugs... Overeating... etc... We die to self.

• When we say no to R-rated video material and internet pornography... We die to self.

• When we say no to dishonest business deals... We die to self.

• When we choose not to gossip and complain...We die to self.

• When we lose ourselves in service to others... We die to self.

• When we choose to attend Bible study & worship rather than sleep in or go to the lake... We die to self.

Forgiving when we don’t feel like forgiving is dying to self.

 

Love is Jesus dying to self to save us... Now He is asking us to love Him enough to die to sin... This is what it means to love God with all our soul... All our life... DO WE??

 

Then…We are to love God with all our strength.

Our King James says... with all our might. 

The Greek of Jesus’ time could be translated with all our ability.

The idea here is to love God...

• With all we have....

• With all that we are…

• In all things…

• In every way...

• With all our resources.

 

We demonstrate our love for him in the way we use the... Time... Talent... Treasure... Energy... And truth... He has given us.

 

Paul put it in these words in Colossians 3... Whatever you do... Whatever you do... Whether in word or deed... Do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.

 

You see... Our Whole Life is to be a love letter written to God by the way we live.

 

Well... Make no mistake about it...Loving God is not a Sunday morning only affair.

• It is using all that we are and all that we have in honor to Him and His Son Jesus.

• It is loving Him DAILY with the totality of our being.

• It is loving Him...Diligently!.... Aggressively!.. Vigorously!... Energetically!

 

I was intrigued by a story about the Conductor… Eugene Ormandy... Who while leading the Philadelphia orchestra... Did so with such enthusiasm that he Dislocated his shoulder.

 

When was the last time we worshiped and served God with such intensity that we were in danger of dislocating anything?

 

Well… What does it look like to Love God?... Jesus said...

• We must love Him with all our heart... All our desires and passions.

• We must love Him with all our mind... All our intellect and will.

• We must love Him with all our soul... All our life and breath.

• We must love Him with all our strength... All our abilities and resources. 

 

Most of us here this morning have made this kind of commitment to love God...

Some of us a long time ago... RIGHT?

 

But sometimes we get distracted.  So... We need to hear... This command... This truth... Again and again and again.

 

• Some of us need to fan the flame of love for Him in our lives daily.

 

• We need to rededicate our life to a Biblical loving God... With all our being.

 

• To determine this morning to genuinely Live In Love.

 

Why not determine to give to God what you gave to Him years ago... To love Him with all our heart.... Mind... Strength... and soul.

 

If you haven’t yet expressed your love to God in Genuine Conversion... We invite you today by.... Faith... Repentance... and New Testament baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

 

Come live in His Love... As we stand and sing together.