(08-09-25) The Greatest Commandment - Deuteronomy 6.4-9; 1 John 4.15-21; Mark 12.28-34
Greatest Commandment – Deuteronomy 6:4-9;
1 John 4:15-21; Mark 12:28-34
· Westminster Shorter Catechism begins:
o “What is the chief end of man?”
§ ‘end’ means ‘purpose’ or ‘point’
o “Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”
· Perhaps a bolder second question?
o ‘What is the chief purpose of God?’
§ obviously not a flippant ‘What's the point of God?’
§ more; ‘What does God see His purpose as being?
§ Or even ‘What is God all about?’
· In one sense an artificial question
o applying human reason/questioning to God
· What has God revealed to us about Himself?
o turn to Ezekiel 36:22-32 and some other parts of scripture
§ Ezekiel is God's prophet to the exiled Israelites in Babylon
§ by this stage in his ministry, Jerusalem has been captured, and he is bringing a message of hope to God's people
o v22 – “to bring honour to my name…”
o v23 – “…to show…that I am holy…”; “…know that I am the Lord
o v27 – “…make you eager to obey my laws and teachings…”
o v28 – “…you will be my people, and I will be your God..”
o v32 – “I'm not doing these things for your sake..”
· Ephesians 1:11-12
· We can begin to consider a possible answer to our question:
o God's purpose is for His own glory
· We may know this in our minds, but do we live our lives as Christians in the light of this?
o the benefit that we gain from being God's children is wonderful, but it's not the primary purpose of God's actions
o God is ‘self-aware’, while we are ‘self-centred’
§ not necessarily individually, but as created beings
o we benefit so much that we often miss the point behind those benefits:
§ to bring God the glory He deserves!
· How? What do we do? What is the consequent call on the Christian’s life?
o finally our passage appears!
§ Jesus’ summary of ‘the Law’
§ as found in Deuteronomy (with a further summary)
· Offering the totality of who we are to God in love and worship
o this command impacts every second of our lives
§ challenge to stop and think how can I worship God now?
· heart, soul, mind, strength, neighbour, self..
o Jesus has already looked at this
o and is going to come back to it...
o Paul in Romans 12:1-2
· Paying taxes to Caesar
o made in the image of...
o paying out of fear of what will happen
§ perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18)
§ offering in love and gratitude
· God seeks one thing through which everything happens
o as children, created in His image, we have a part to play in that
o to be played out of love, not fear
o at all times and in all places