It's a Matter of Priorities

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It’s a matter of Priorities  Mark 12:28-34

EBC  7/16/09

  Many times we are accused of not having our Priorities in order. I want you to listen carefully because this is one priority that can’t be out of order.

  In Mark 12:13-17, a group of Herodians and Pharisees came together to ask Jesus a question.  Jesus used this question to embarrass them publically.

  In Mark 12:28, a scribe came with a question (Matt 22:35). Tempting- to test in a malicious sense. 

  Jesus is asked a very important question and his answer gets right to the heart of what it means to be saved.

I. The Question (12:28)

   A. Scribe- a lawyer, an expert in the Mosaic Law and sacred writings. He specialized in interpreting the Law.

    1. Answered them well- he had done a beautiful job of answering- hadn’t left a knot untied.

    2. The scribe then asks his own question- “which is the first commandment of all”. This was a common  question among the Jews.

      a. The scribes had identifies 613 commands in the Bible. There put these in two categories- heavy and light. The problem was they couldn’t agree on which were heavy and which were light.

      b. The scribes loved to debate the law. They loved to argue about the Bible.

  B. The truth is before any man can see God they have to perfectly keep every command- both heavy and light.

     1. James 2:10- one slip during your whole life and you have broken every commandment.

        a. Gal 3:10b- cursed is everyone………

     2. Rom. 3:23- the truth is all have sinned

        a. Isa. 64:6- our works are as filthy rags. The only hope we have of being accepted by God is for his righteousness to be given to us.

        b. Rom. 4:22-25- faith in Jesus imputes God’s righteousness upon us. When we believe on the finished work of Christ- we are regarded by God as having kept the full letter of the Law.

      1. God was pleased to find a man that took Him at this word. This was not written for Abraham alone but for us also. Our faith is likewise reckoned for righteousness when we believe on God, who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead. The only difference is this: Abraham believed that God would give life to the dead (that is, to his weak body and Sarah’s barren womb). We believe that God has given life to the dead by raising the Lord Jesus Christ. C. H. Mackintosh explains:  Abraham was called to believe in a promise, whereas we are privileged to believe in an accomplished fact. He was called to look forward to something which was to be done; we look back on something that is done, even an accomplished redemption, attested by the fact of a risen and glorified Savior at the right hand of the majesty in the heavens. John MacArthur- . But the good news of salvation, “the gospel of God” (Rom. 1:1), is that the Lord will take the faith that He Himself has enabled a person to possess and count that faith as divine righteousness on the believing sinner’s behalf.

   c. Rom. 10:4- although we are still sinners God sees us as righteous.

    d. 2 Cor. 5:21-

   3. The truth is salvation isn’t a matter of who can keep the law, it’s a matter of who believes upon Jesus. In 1347, a disease which has come to be known as Black Death killed 20-30 million people, in 1918 Influenzia killed approx. 50 million people in Europe. But, there’s the plague of plagues that puts down all other plagues- that’s that all are sinners. But, the good news is there is a cure for this disease. This verse describes how man’s sin tarnished soul can be made right with God.

    a. Crossway Commentary- The only sense in which we are made the righteousness of God is that we are regarded and treated as righteous in Christ.  

   b. 1 John 5:11-13-

II. The Answer (12:30-31)-

  A. Thou shalt love- this is agape love. It is a love that is purposeful, committed and an act of the will. I don’t love God because someone makes me or because I am afraid not to. I love God because I want to. I make a choice to do that.

    1. Agape is the kind of love God has for us. It is kind, unchangeable, unconditional and eternal. It is utterly unselfish. It is the kind of love that caused Jesus to go to the cross for us.

     a. How can I have this type of love- 1 John 4:19-

  B. The Lord- (koo-ree-os)- one who owns another, a master. We truly can’t love the Lord until we see him as Lord- Master over us.

    1. This is a call for complete surrender

      a. Rom. 12:1-

      b. Heb. 12:1-

  C. Thy God- speaks of a personal relationship. Is He your God today? It’s not enough for Him to be your mother’s God or your father’s God. Is He your God? Have you surrendered to Him?

  D. With all your heart- heart- the core of our being. The very core of our beings should throb with the Lord for God. When this is present we will have no trouble obeying Him.

  E. With all your soul- the soul is the seat of emotions. Out love for Him should also be an emotional love. We should have no trouble expressing love thru tears and crying out and testifying about Him. We choose to love Him or we choose to hold back out love.

  F. With all your mind-intellect-

  G. With all your strength- with all my abilities, talents and everything I possess I will love the Lord.   The idea here is that we love God with all that we have.

III.The Addition to the Answer (12:31)

  A. The second command builds on the first. Jesus takes his answer a step further to show that genuine love for God shows in our love for our fellow man.

    1. 1 John 3:14-16-

  B. Thou shalt love- once again agape love- unconditionally and eternally.

  C. Thy neighbor- who is my neighbor. According to Jesus in Luke 10:30-37 the Parable of the Good Samaritan- our neighbor is anybody that wears skin. He is not just the person who likes me or who runs in my crowd- my neighbor is anybody.

  D. As thyself- I am to love my neighbor to the same order that I love myself.

    1. 1 John 3:17-18-

  E. Matt. 22:41- Jesus said the Old Testament could be summed up in these two commands. Getting these two commands will change our homes, churches and communities.

   1. When all the veneer is ripped off all our problems can be traced back to our love for God and fellow man.

  F. Here is what we need to understand. This scribe grasped the truth that external religion and its rituals will never be enough to save the soul. He understood that relationship is far more important than religion. He knew that he could keep all the Law and offer all the sacrifices and still not be right with God. Most folks never understand that truth. All over the world people will go to church and go through their rituals and think they are in a saving relationship with God. In truth, they are lost and on their way to Hell!

           Religious works will not save the soul, Eph. 2:8-9;  It is grace that saves the soul! A person can go through all the things we place so much emphasis in like baptism, church membership, communion, and still die lost. It is not enough to be religious or to do religious things. For a sinner to be saved, that sinner must have vital faith relationship with Almighty God.

       We need to understand the implications of this message> Jesus was talking to a decent man, a religious man. A man who kept the law to the best of his ability.

    It is possible to have a religious upbringing and still be lost.

   It is possible to know the truth an still be lost

   It is possible to be within an inch of Heaven and still go to Hell.

  What is your relationship today with God?

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