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Sermon:

The Greatest Commandment

 July 24, 2011

There are two universal truths of love that should drive the life of every Christian, and indeed, every human being. The greatest is to love God with all that lies within us: body, soul, mind, and heart. That means to love with our physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional selves. We love God because He first loved us. That great love was manifested in that He gave His son to die for us, to take away our sins. We learn of God's charity -- that is, love that is unearned or undeserved. If we will reach spiritual maturity -- perfection -- we will only do so when we understand and adopt charity.

Bernie Parsons 

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The Greatest Commandment:

Love God With All That You Are

By Bernie Parsons

 

Presented to Globe church of Christ on 07-24-2011

Presented to Load church of Christ on 07-31-2011

 

 

Matthew 22:35 "Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

 

These two commandments are underrated and not discussed as frequently as they should be. Jesus stated that the entire Law of Moses and all of the teachings of the prophets hung on those two great commandments. If that doesnít get a God-fearing personís attention, I donít know what would!

 

Today we want to examine the first commandment, which was set forth in the Law of Moses:

 

Deuteronomy 6:4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes

9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates."

 

This commandment was so vital that the people were told to teach it to their children, every day, all day long! It was to be at the heart of the life of each Israelite.

 

Deuteronomy 5:7 "Thou shalt have none other gods before me.

8 Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:

9 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,

10 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments."

 

God is both a merciful and a vengeful God. Merciful to those who revere and obey Him, and vengeful to those who ignore or otherwise disobey Him.

 

Ecclesiastes 12:12 "And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."

 

It is an eternal truth that we were created and placed here by God so that we might do the work that He puts before us. That is our whole duty, and upon this we shall be judged.

 

Mark 12:29 "And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

34 And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question."

 

Empty sacrifice without love of God is wasted.

 

Luke 11:42 "But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone."

 

Religious men often put their confidence in their own knowledge of right and wrong.

 

1 Corinthians 8:1 "Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

2 And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.

3 But if any man love God, the same is known of him."

 

Just knowing does not substitute for love of God. If we truly love God, we will seek to please Him in all things. If we love knowledge more than God, mere knowledge will not save us. We need the Holy Spirit sent from God, and not just knowledge about God.

 

 

Romans 5:5 "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."

 

1 John 4:13 "Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit."

 

We love God because we witness the love of God.

 

1 John 4:9 "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."

 

We love God because He first loved us.

 

1 John 4:"16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

19 We love him, because he first loved us."

 

We love God with all of our being, because we recognize His great love for us. His love in us, shed abroad in our hearts by His Holy Spirit, gives us boldness in His presence. We revere God and hold Him in awe and high regard, recognizing His power.

 

Matthew 10:28 "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

 

If we are to fear, it is God that we must fear. Yet, our love for God gives us boldness.

 

Hebrews 10:19 "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

21 And having an high priest over the house of God;

22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."

 

Perfect love casts out fear, allowing us to be the people that God meant for us to be Ė His children. As children, we approach our heavenly Father with a true heart, in full assurance of faith. We obey Him as a child obeys his father, and He loves us as His children.

 

 

 

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