This past weekend, we began a new sermon series called Faithful Church. Over the next 5 weeks, we will look at what it means to be a faithful church. This week, we began our series by looking at Mark 12 and unpacking the idea that a faithful church loves God. A faithful love of God consumes us at every level of our being.
- We Pursue a Comprehensive Love of God: v.28-31
This exchange with Jesus and a scribe takes place after a series of attempts by the religious leaders to trap or undermine Jesus. The scribe though, seems to legitimately want to hear from Jesus on this. He poses the question of which command is the greatest. Jesus responds by quoting two Old Testament verses. In His response, we see a few distinct aspects of pursuing a comprehensive love of God. First, we see that a comprehensive love is consuming. In the repetition of the ways we are to love God coupled with the “all” of our being that we’re to love Him, it’s clear that a love of God is consuming. This is the idea that our love for God consumes us at every facet of our being. It’s not for a part of our life or certain times in our life, it’s for the whole of who we are for the whole of our lives! Second, a comprehensive love is expected. God is not a passive, insecure deity hoping that we will love Him. Throughout the Scriptures, God makes clear His expectation that we would love Him! Finally, a comprehensive love changes how we live. This is seen in the second commandment, loving others as ourselves. If we are going to be a healthy church, we must desire and pursue a comprehensive love of God.
- We Pursue a Prioritizing Love of God: v.32-34
We also see that a faithful church that loves God has a prioritizing love of God. We see this in the response of the scribe. His final statement about loving God and others “as much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices” is significant. Given the significance of these in the Old Testament, what the scribe is suggesting is that we are to love God more than we love the things of God. This has been an issue for the people of God throughout time. We are lulled into loving the gifts and blessings of God more than we love the person of God. Yet, what God wants from His people is that they love Him above all things, including the blessings that come from Him.
In closing, we spent a few minutes wrestling through a handful of questions. I’ll include them below for us to continue to ask God to help give us a fuller, deeper and truer love for Him. As you read through them, answer them honestly, but remember that even in our failure, God doesn’t call us to perfection but to progress.
- Does the thought of being with Jesus Christ excite me, bore me or I’m honestly indifferent to that?
- I would reshuffle my schedule for this person without a second thought?
- Is there anything that I wouldn’t walk away from for the sake of Christ?
- Is there anything, if it was taken from me today, would cause me to question or rethink my love for God?
- Is there something in my life that I know is preventing me from fully loving Jesus? Am I willing to surrender that right now? Why or why not?
- If I knew that I would not receive another gift from God, would that change my relationship with Him?