May 1, 2013
Mark 12:29, 30; John 14:15
I have done this when preaching in a church service or teaching a Bible study, especially when those in attendance are Christians. I ask, “How many love the Lord Jesus Christ? Let me see your hands.” Almost everyone’s hand goes up.
It is easy to say “I love you,” at least for many people. Those three words come from my lips often, directed to my dear wife and family. I tell my friends that I love them also. This morning as I was out early in the bright sunshine, enjoying God’s creation as it springs to life after a long winter, those words seemed to flow naturally from my heart and lips, “I love you, Lord Jesus!” I guess I have a definite emotional and/or romantic streak. But if it is easy to say “I love you,” it is more difficult to show that proclaimed love!
So, in that service or Bible study, after I have asked, “How many love the Lord Jesus Christ?” and hands go up, I then ask the people to turn in their Bibles to John 14:15. I have someone read it out loud: “If you love me [Jesus said], keep my commandments.” Then I ask, “Now, how many of you obey the Lord Jesus Christ all the time? Let me see your hands again.” I have seldom seen any hands – except maybe for an occasional Nazarene! And I am not picking on Church of the Nazarene members. I have some dear friends in that denomination. I just do not agree with their total sanctification theology!
Jesus called it “…the first and great commandment…” in Mattehw 22:38. I like Mark’s version of it in Mark 12:29 and 30:
The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one
Lord: 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….
Jesus was quoting from Deuteronomy 6:4 and 5, part of the great Hebrew confession of faith called the Shema (the complete Shema includes Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:13-21 and Numbers 15:37-41).
The point is this: we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength – all the time! And if you transfer the idea that Jesus brings forth in John 14:15, we are to obey the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength – all the time! Now that is not easy to accomplish! I don’t do that, and neither do you – all the time!
Let’s go back to the March 13th blog called, A Little Help Here, Please! It involves the gem I learned long ago from Philippians 2:12 and 13:
Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only,
but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and
trembling. For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good
As we live out – Paul says, work out – our salvation, we have the marvelous asset of help from within and above. He is above because He is God, and He is above all – great and powerful, loving and gracious – beyond all that we can ask or think. And by His Holy Spirit He resides in every Christian. And by His Holy Spirit He works from the inside out not only to do His good pleasure, but also to will it in us, that is, to give us the want to! So, though I do not always obey my Lord – and so always love my Lord, I want to! And when I really want to give Jesus my love and obedience, it becomes much easier to do it. And since God works in me to do it, such love and obedience comes more and more naturally.
You will just have to read over the March 13th blog again! Philippians 2:12 and 13 really has meant a world of difference in my Christian life.
Now, Christian, when you consider saying you are Loving The Lord, that is well and good. But, remember, by Jesus’ definition, to love the Lord is to obey Him! Now go, and let Him do that in you and through you – His good pleasure for His greater glory!