Have you ever been 10 pin bowling? You will know that when you send that ball down the alley it is the first few metres that
determine where that ball is going to go. Straight towards the pins our left or right to the gully’s.
Once you have let that ball go and set it on its course there is nothing you can do to change its direction.
It is the same with a
If we get the initial direction right, we should be on course for where we want to be. Everything else should fall into place.
Gods word talks about this a lot. Mark 12:28-31 28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’
29 ‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30 Love the Lord
your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”[f] 31 The second is this:
“Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these.’
What Jesus was saying is that this is the first and most important commandment, get this right and the rest will fall into place.
This is where HOPE comes in that we are hoping that we get our priorities in order so that everything else falls into place.
Our first response of the day should be thank you lord for a new day.
Lord what must I do to line up my priorities, have my ducks in a row before I head off into this new day, this new month, this new year.
What do I need to do before I start on other things, such as my family, my life, my work.
I need all that to be on the right trajectory so that I end up at the right destination. (balling ball)
Jesus answers that in v29-31.
Now here is something helpful for us, although the mand asked for the greatest commandment, Jesus gives him two when He was only asked for one.
The reason for this is that those two commandments are inseparable, you can have one without the other.
If you get the first one right the second one will be easy.
If you are having trouble with the second one then you haven’t got the first one right. (simple)
If your love for God is right then you will find it easy to love your neighbour that is what Gods love is.
Although they are two commandments they are one. It will of course involve.
All of your heart
All of your mind
All of your soul
All of your strength
It is all encompassing
Not just one or more parts but all H,M,S,S. Its a package deal. So what does it mean for you and I to love the Lord our God in this way?
Are you aware of some of the English words that meant something and now mean something else.
Jesus took the greek word AGAPE which translates to love but it was not a common word it was seldom used in the culture of that day.
Jesus hijacked the word AGAPE and used it to describe Gods love for us.
Up until that point people would just use a word that meant brotherly love.
I love you Lord
I love you guys
A family type love, affection, warmth, care..
A human level of love.
The Greeks had different words for love for different situations. Unfortunately the English have only one word and that is LOVE.
I love vanilla ice-cream
I love going to the movies
I love my dog.
They all have a different meaning Jesus wanted to establish that there was a love above and beyond the understanding of human love, so He used the word AGAPE which already existed and redefined it. He used it again and again, whenever Jesus spoke of Gods love He used the word AGAPE.
In the NT He uses it 320 times. In the OT it only appeared a couple of times.
Jesus states that it is an all encompassing love, Heart, mind, soul, strength.
It wasn’t just a flutter, I love you today but I might love someone else tomorrow. It involves the mind, I get to know some truths that inform me in the way that I love.
It involves my will, I can decide on something.
Humans are amazing in that we can make a decision with our mind that will alter the direction of our life forever. We can stand in front of someone and promise to love, honour and obey someone for the rest of our lives.
It involves our strength it is not just a feeling it is an action. Helping the needy, feeding the poor is an action.
Jesus not only spoke about AGAPE love he demonstrated it, It is not just about ice-cream movies and dogs. Listen to what it is
1 John 4:10
10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
There was a debt that I could not pay, a punishment that I deserved….he took it all and demonstrated it. In the garden of
Gethsemane he said “Father if it is possible let this cup be taken away from me-yet not my will but your will be done. I am willing to use my Heart, mind, soul and strength, to show the love that I have for these people that don’t even love me yet, I am going to shock them with AGAPE.
At the point where Jesus was dying he was loving us,
- When they nailed Him to the cross he was loving them.
- When the soldier put the spearing His side He was loving him.
- When they offered Him vinegar to drink He was loving them.
- When the disciples were running away He was loving them.
At that point of death He was coming up with a plan to rescue us from sin and hell. It involved His will, He decided that he was going to do this. It involved His strength, do you realise how much strength it takes to be beaten and whipped, not to eat, drink or sleep for 24 hours.
Carry a huge wooden cross on your shoulders. Be nailed to it, dropped into a hole while you are hanging on it, and to hang
there until He said the words father I give my life to you.
Thats strength, thats love, thats AGAPE
1 John 4:19
19 We love because he first loved us.
He showed His love see
1 John 3:16
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
There was no reason for what He did for us just the fact that He loved us.
Imagine yourself standing at the foot of the cross looking at his broken bloody body and saying to yourself, He did that for me, no reason just because he loved me.
There is nothing I can add all I can say is thank you Jesus. Thank you father for the Agape that you lavish upon me. I realise
that I am cleansed by the blood of the lamb, the price is paid and then when I realise that then the tank of my love gets fuller and fuller until it overflows and touches others around me.
Its not a human thing, I can only love AGAPE because He loved me first. It affects my mind, my will, (decisions) my strength my soul. I start to feel different, I stand at the foot of the cross and worship him.
Then the second part kicks in, I start to love other, I think to myself this guy came from heaven and died for me, He rescued me then suddenly I have this love for others.
Thats the first commandment.
So todays message of HOPE is if I get this right and start my life with AGAPE using my heart, mind soul and strength, receive the AGAPE then pass it on, all the other areas of my life will be affected and fall into place.
If we obey the first commandment can we do it?
Let us start as we mean to continue in our HOPE quest.
It means that I have to start my day right, so before I check my emails, messages, news, weather. Before I have spoken to the dog and fed my wife, sorry that should be the other way around. Before I let the busyness of the day take over I need to be saying thank you lord for a new day Thank you that your AGAPE for me never changes, that it is not based on my performance but on what your son did on the cross for me.
Let us make a commitment to be here in the fellowship every Sunday possible, so that we start the week off in the right way.
Because that will be us starting our week off in the right way through AGAPE.
Saying to ourselves, I am going to worship you lord, I am going to bask in your love, and then the week will be blessed because I got the first thing right..
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