Mark 12:30 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.
Intro: If I were to ask you what it means to love God, what would you say?
I’m amazed at the people that profess to love God that seem to have no idea what it means.
So, what does it mean to love God?
- It is more than fond thoughts.
- It is more than favorable thoughts.
- It is not being comfortable around saved people.
- It is not talking about spiritual things.
- It is not a love for gospel music.
Watching some people insist that they love God is like:
- A person saying how much they love drinking water while holding a chocolate milkshake.
- A person trying to convince you how much they love driving a Chevrolet while pushing a Ford.
- A person that says swears they are vegan while eating a meat-lovers pizza.
One thing is clear to me – simply saying you love God cannot be the deciding factor.
QUOTE: When it comes to loving God, our declaration does not supersede God’s definition. Our confession doesn’t override God’s criteria. We can only say we love God when God says we do. – Stacey Shiflett
QUOTE: If loving God with all our heart and soul and might is the greatest commandment, `then it follows that not loving Him that way is the greatest sin. – R. A. Torrey
Look at our text:
- Mark 12:30 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.
What we can draw from this verse:
The word ALL is mentioned four times.
Four is the number of the world or creation.
There are four directions; four elements (earth, water, air, fire)
Our world; our existence should revolve around our love for God.
Our love for God will affect every single relationship in our lives.
- Heart – upward – our relationship with God
- Soul – outward – our relationship with others
- Mind – inward – our relationship with ourselves
- Strength – downward – our relationship with the earth
Everything in our universe revolves around our love for God.
Our love for God defines us.
It determines every decision we make.
It influences every aspect of our lives.
It influences very ounce of energy we expend.
It determines every friendship and relationship we foster.
It affects our thought life, our dreams, our hopes, our ambitions.
It determines what we do, where we go, who we are, who we will become.
It is the epitome of making Jesus the Lord of our life.
Everything in our life is a byproduct of our love for God.
Some Bible facts about Loving God.
Our love for God, to whatever extent it might be, is a response to His love.
- 1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
Someone once said, “The greatest reason to love God is God.”
Loving God is a choice.
To love God is a command, therefore it is a choice.
In Titus 2, the aged women are commanded to teach the younger women to love their children and husbands.
In Ephesians 5, the husband is commanded to love his wife, even as Christ also hath loved the church.
In Mark 12:30, we are commanded to love God.
Loving God is not an emotional or physical uncontrollable action.
Loving God is an exercise of our free will to decide and choose to love God.
If we do not truly love God, it is because you do not want to.
If you do love God, it is not by accident or by chance; you love God on purpose.
God knows if we love Him or not.
- John 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee…
- John 5:42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.
Others know if we love God or not.
- 1 Corinthians 8:3 But if any man love God, the same is known of him.
Our love for God will be evident by our life.
We will have a testimony that we love God or that we do not love God.
Our life will speak louder than our lips.
Not loving God is serious.
- 1 Corinthians 16:22 If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.
Anathema: a person or thing doomed to destruction; a curse; a man accursed, devoted to the direst of woes
Maranatha: our Lord cometh or will come
You can lie about loving God.
- 1 John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar…
Your love for God can be diminished or left.
- Revelation 2:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
- Matthew 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
Loving God requires attention.
- Joshua 23:11 Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God.
Intro: We are going to look at what it means to love God tonight.
We could preach all night on WHY we should love God.
There are a number of reasons why we should love God.
A. Because He loved us first
- 1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.
B. Because He has forgiven us
- Luke 7:47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
C. Because He preserveth the faithful
- Psalms 31:23 O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.
D. Because He hears and answers prayers
- Psalms 116:1 I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.
E. Because He will make all things work together for our good
- Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
I will repeat what I said this morning at the beginning of the message.
If I were to ask you what it means to love God, what would you say?
So, what does it mean to love God?
Loving God is a relationship in the Bible that consists of very specific criteria.
What does the Bible say about what it means to love God?
How does a person demonstrate or prove that they love God?
I. Love God with Your Compliance with the Scripture
- 15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
- 21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
- 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
- 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
1 John 5
- 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
- 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Simple fact: You cannot profess to love God and deliberately disobey His Word.
It is impossible. Jesus said it repeatedly.
Remember what I said this morning: QUOTE: When it comes to loving God, our declaration does not supersede God’s definition. Our confession doesn’t override God’s criteria. We can only say we love God when God says we do.
We love God by embracing and obeying His commandments. It’s just that simple.
If a person insists on disobeying and rebelling against God, they cannot say “I love God.”
What they CAN say is, “I love myself.”
II. Love God with Your Contempt for Sin
- Psalms 97:10 Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.
There will not be a defensive attitude toward sin when we love God.
When we love God, we will hate evil.
Not tolerate it; not accept it; not ignore it; not excuse it; not laugh at it.
We will hate it.
Sin is what put Jesus on the cross.
We cannot be in love with Jesus Christ and in love with our sin at the same time.
We must choose – sin or the Savior.
III. Love God with Your Commitment to the Sheep
- 15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
- 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
- 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
The church was the passion of God.
He died for the church.
He loved the church and gave Himself for it.
He purchased the church with His own blood.
KEY TRUTH: You cannot say you love God and not love His church.
- I John 4:21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
- I John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
But it goes much further than loving the people of God.
Loving God will produce a desire to serve the church.
Peter was by trade a fisherman.
Peter could demonstrate his love for Jesus by forsaking his own career and interests and commit to the health and furtherance of the flock that Jesus purchased with His own blood.
Jesus was asking him to forsake his career and pursue a new path – being a shepherd.
Jesus had invested heavily in this new flock of sheep.
He was looking for someone to invest in them; to commit to serving them as well.
He was looking for someone that would invest time, treasure and talent in HIS interests.
- “Feed my sheep” was not a one-time event.
- “Feed my sheep” was not a once-a-week chore.
- “Feed my sheep” was a command to commit to a daily, faithful involvement in the furtherance of God’s passion.
- “Feed my sheep” was a lifetime of work, labor, service and commitment to the flock of God.
Jesus said, If you love me, feed my sheep.
IV. Love God with Your Communion with the Savior
- 44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
- 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
- 46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
- 47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
Loving God means spending time at His feet.
There will be time of tears at the feet of Jesus.
Jesus used this woman as an example of someone that loved him.
QUOTE: A man may study because his brain is hungry for knowledge, even Bible knowledge. But he prays because his soul is hungry for God. – Leonard Ravenhill
- Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
We know that nothing can separate us from the love of God. (Romans 8)
So, we don’t have to keep ourselves when it comes to God loving us.
But we do have to pay attention and make sure our love for God doesn’t grow cold.
We need to keep ourselves in the love of God by choosing to love Him supremely in all things.