Sermon on February 2 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi
Scripture: Mark 12:28-34
The question is not: will we love for we were made to love. It is: whom will you love and why does it matter?
If you want your love to count::
1. LOVE GOD SUPREMELY!
- Love God – for who He is (v28,29)
Of the 613 commands rabbis identified in the Torah, Jesus goes to the one that flows from the nature of God.
‘Listen (shema) Israel, the Lord (Yahweh) our God (Elohim) is one’
God is not what I want Him to be, or how we would like Him to be.
Your witness should not be that you are a ‘person of faith’, or have a set of values. It is your love for all God is.
- Love God – with all you are (v30)
A little later Jesus tells of a poor widow giving everything and holding nothing back.
To the original shema, Jesus adds the word mind as well as loving Him with all your heart, soul and strength.
Don’t be tempted to say: studying the Bible and going deep is for others, but I have ‘a simple faith’.
Jesus is the only One who loved the Father all the time with all He is.
When you are secure in His love and ‘obedience on your behalf’, you will love others because you know you are loved.
2. LOVE GOD SELFLESSLY!
Only Jesus takes the reference to loving God and others and places them side by side – only He models this:
‘Serve one another in love, the entire law is summed up in a single commandment, love your neighbor as you love yourself’
- Love – with proper self-love (v31)
Jesus is commending a healthy self-love that loves out of the knowledge of being loved.
‘You’re not just one in millions, a face lost in the crowd. In the heart of God, you’re unique, a distinct person with a particular name, chosen from before the foundation of the world’
(Elyse Fitzpatrick: ‘Because He Loves me’.)
- Love – through personal sacrifice (v32-34)
The Christian life is nothing if it is not a life that is turning out of itself to love others.
Loving is not always easy and calls us to mutual accountability (Lev 19:17)
Are you waiting for your neighbor to love you? When you were at your worst, Jesus loved you and gave up His life for you.
Loving God wholeheartedly, and others intentionally, begins by embracing what was done at Calvary.
Once you have been to the Cross, you cannot come away the same.
Only a relationship with Jesus, not religion, will propel you to love God supremely and others selflessly.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
- Which of the Ten Commandments do you consider to be the most important? Why?
- Think of the Christians who impacted you most in your walk with Jesus. Did they love God and others? How was this expressed? What impressed you about this?
- What is a healthy ‘self-love’ as opposed to an unbiblical ‘self-esteem’?
- If loving God is more important than burnt offerings and sacrifices, why did God command Israel to bring these? What is the only sacrifice pleasing to God and what does it produce?
Photo credit FreeImages.com/Nat Arnett