Love God and Love People

Weekend Services, September 19 & 20, 2020 – Pastor George Dupree

Mark 12:28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

The answer that Jesus gave comes from two Old Testament passages
Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!  5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

Leviticus 19:18 “Never seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

In essence what Jesus is saying is that the most important thing for us as Christ Followers is that we Love God and Love People. You could say that Jesus is telling us that the way we love God is by loving people, after all, isn’t that what He did by giving His life for the payment for our sin? Greater love has no one than this; that he lay down his life for his friends.

How do we love God?

WE LOVE HIM... THOUGHTFULLY “with my mind” (attention)
PASSIONATELY  “with my heart and soul” (affection)
PRACTICALLY  “with my strength” (abilities)

Even though God has created all things there are three things He doesn’t have unless you give them to Him. He doesn’t have your attention, your affection and your abilities. When you give God these three things to God that’s worship or loving God. Attention is a powerful expression of love. When you are in love with someone you focus your attention, your thoughts, your mind on them. Have you ever had someone say “look at me” when they were talking to you, Have you ever had a child hold your face in their hands to get your FULL attention? They want you to focus on them.

Psalm 139:1-3 You have looked deep into my heart, Lord, and you know all about me. You know when I am resting or when I am working...You notice everything I do and everywhere I go.

WE NEED TO FOCUS ON GOD – We are not auto focus camera’s…we have to decide to focus.
Just like choosing to focus on something or someone love is a choice. Although love has feelings it’s not a feeling, it’s a choice. For God so loved the world… Choose a particular time to be with God…alone, that’s focusing on Him.

The prayer closet is a place to focus on God
Matthew 6:6 (Message Bible) Find a quiet, secluded place (it can be ANY place) so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” Just Be Yourself – Don’t TRY to look spiritual.

The result of focusing on God is PEACE
Isaiah 26:3 (NLT) You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, whose thoughts are fixed on You!

We lose focus for God when we focus on SELF
Romans 8:7 (Message Bible) Focusing on yourself is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, and ends up thinking more about self than God. We lose focus for God when we focus on this PRESENT world
Romans 12:2a (Message Bible) Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God.

It’s as easy as saying “I love you”. But maybe that’s not so easy to say to God; maybe it seems weird. But it’s not; it’s an expression of thankfulness for all of who He is.

Worship Is Normal – Make It Your Everyday Routine – Start By Saying Thanks
Psalm 105:4 (TEV) Worship Him continually.

Maybe you don’t know if He will receive your love…but He will…He loved you first.
1 John 4:19 (KJV) We love Him, because He first loved us.
God Wants Your LOVE Hosea 6:6 (LB) I don't want your sacrifices -- I want your love!
Exodus 34:14 (NLT) You must worship no other gods, but only the LORD, for he is a God who is passionate about his relationship with you.

Galatians 5:13 For you have been called to live in freedom—not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love.  14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

We love out neighbor by being attentive to their need and doing what we can to meet that need.
1 John 3:17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
James 2:14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. We love our neighbor by forgiving them
1 Corinthians 13:5 (love is not) rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.

In the opening verse Jesus says this to the man “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions. The man was close but not in the Kingdom of God.

So my question to you today is this Are You In?  
The way you get in is to ask Jesus to come into your life, do that today.
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