19 July 2009
· Matthew 22:36 - What is the greatest commandment of the law?
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind, you shall love your neighbor as yourself”
· All the requirements of the law are summed up and fulfilled in extravagant and wholehearted love for God and for people.
· Jesus came to reveal the passionate love that God has for us and to impart it to us.
· Luke 15:20 - The Prodigal Son returns to his Father.
“… the Father saw him, had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck, and kissed him”.
· Extravagant = Going beyond what is reasonable or deserved, abundant.
· Passionate = expressing or showing strong emotion or feeling.
· We love and respond to God according to the revelation we have for Him.
· 1 John 4:19 - “We love Him because He first loved us”
· Wholehearted = fully or completely sincere, enthusiastic, unreserved.
· Matthew 22:36 - “Love the Lord with all your heart”
- God is seeking a response from us – a heartfelt response.
- Religion is about laws, duties – God seeks a relationship.
· Halfhearted = having or showing little enthusiasm, indifferent, passive.
· No one enjoys or is blessed by the halfhearted involvement of others.
· Wholehearted love for God is the overflow of personal experience of Him.
· Wholehearted love for God is revealed in 3 key ways:
(i) Pursuing His Presence – Pursuing Him:
· Mark 3:14 - He appointed 12 that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach.
· Jesus’ primary concern was to develop love, intimacy, relationship.
· The disciples’ success was connected to being in the presence of Jesus.
· Acts 4:13 - “…they realized they had been with Jesus”
· Personal pursuit of God is fuel for relationship.
(ii) Heartfelt Obedience to the Word of God:
· Ephesians 6:6 - “Not with eye service as men-pleasers but as bondservants of Christ doing the will of God from the heart”.
· Revelation of God’s love for us awakens the desire to please Him.
· Obedience birthed out of revelation of love for us produces the strongest commitment.
· Obedience based out of fear or duty is lifeless and dead.
· John 14:21 - “He who has my commandments and keep them, it is he who loves me.
· John 14:15 - “If you love me…keep my commandments”.
· The reality of our love for God is revealed in how we respond to His words.
· You cannot separate loving God from loving and keeping His Word.
· Love God = align life with the word of God – Do what God says!
· Many people like to experience the presence of God but love for God requires a response to His Word e.g. finance, relationship, priorities 1 John 5:3
(iii) Tangible Kindness to People:
· 1 John 4:20 - “If someone says he loves God but hates his brother he is a liar for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?”
· Wholehearted love for God is revealed on how we treat His family.
· Our interactions with people give opportunity to reveal self-centeredness and to grow in love.
· Some Christians become so focused on personal spiritual experiences that they become unaware just how self-centered and immature they really are.
· Our spiritual maturity is displayed in how we relate to and treat people.
- Our attitude (e.g. Priest Luke 10:31, our actions, e.g. Samaritan Luke 10:33)
· 1 John 3:14-18 - “Let us not love in word or in tongue but in dead and in truth”.
· Wholehearted love for God = overflow of tangible kindness to people.
· Matthew 22:36 - “Love the Lord with all your heart and all your soul, and all your mind”
· “All” = no reserve or holding back, no half-heartedness.
· What does this look like? How does this express itself?
i) Expressive Praise:
· Psalm 47:1 - “Clap your hands all you people, shout unto God with a voice of triumph”
· Samuel 6:14 - King David danced with all his might.
ii) Tender Worship:
· John 4:24 - “God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth”
· Luke 7:37-48 - Woman with the alabaster box.
· Forgives much = loved much = express affection and love.
iii) Meditate in the Word of God:
· Use your spiritual imagination to picture and ponder the Word of God.
· Picture scenes from scripture = see the details, consider the feelings.
· Prodigal Son being reunited with his Father
· Leper being touched by Jesus.
· Allow your imagination to picture truth and embrace it within.
· Repeat over and over until the Holy Spirit writes it into your inner man.
· Return to that truth during the day to become conscious of God.
iv) Deal with Issues Promptly:
· The heart is easily distracted and divided Proverbs 4:23
· E.g. offence, disappointment, love for other things
· Luke 10:41 - Martha – issue of priorities in life.