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The Great Commandment

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
March 28, 2021 12:01 am

The Great Commandment

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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March 28, 2021 12:01 am

Every second of Jesus' life, He loved the Father with all of His heart, all of His soul, all of His mind, and all of His strength. Continuing his exposition of the gospel of Mark, today R.C. Sproul looks at this great commandment that sums up the whole duty of human beings before their Creator.

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When Jesus is asked about our obligation before God. He list of things everyone already knew, but he added one more requirement when Jesus summarizes the shame he said you shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of our so all of our strength both over mind the fullness of our understanding of Christian faith is an active love our neighbor. Notify sin and fill our minds with the things of God and not just when we first become Christians. This is a lifelong pursuit so much joy Dr. RC school in this Lords. The addition of Renewing Your Mind. As he preaches from the Gospel of Mark in past weeks we've looked at the different subgroups among the Jews who brought interesting questions before Jesus. First of all, we saw the Pharisees who on this occasion were united with the Herodian's to try to trap Jesus on questions of tax and then last week we looked at the plot of the Sadducees to trip up Jesus with reference to his views regarding the resurrection of the dead. Now that third group that was distinctive that we made throughout the New Testament, was that group called the scribes they were the theologians, the experts in biblical interpretation among the Jews and we note that on this occasion there is not a delegation from the scribes are costing Jesus, but only one of them who raises a question.

We note this other difference that his question presumably is not dripping with venom provide to proration is not hostile, but he succumbs because he's been profoundly impressed as he listened to the way in which Jesus handles the interrogation by the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and so we read in Mark's gospel. These words while the scribes came, having heard them reasoning together and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him which is the first commandment of all.

Now the question is not a question of temporal chronology. Jesus is not being asked what was the first commandment that God ever gave that's not the question when he says what is the first commandment. It's not the question of chronology, but the question of priority he's asking, what is the single most important commandment that God has ever given to this world, what commandment sums up the whole duty of human beings before their Creator and what is in view here is not simply a question about what the sum and substance is of obligations of members of the household of Israel, or then later of the Christian community, but rather of the entire world.

What is the chief duty of every human being created in the image of God. Other many times in the Old Testament where people gave executive summaries of our chief obligation to God, we remember Micah saying what does the Lord require of the but to love mercy, to do justly and to walk humbly with thy God, and elsewhere. The just shall live by faith. Rabbi Hillel, who taught 20 years before the ministry of Jesus sums it up this way when he said what you would not want done to you, do not do to your neighbor what you see there and here there obviously is the golden rule on this case articulated God in positive terms, as Jesus did, but in terms of a negative prohibition dog due to your neighbor what you don't want to have your neighbor do to you and then Hillel added to this. This is the essence of the law.

Everything else is mere commentary on and so there were these attempts to sum up the whole duty of man in one single sentence and so when Jesus is asked to do this. He directs the attention of the scribe back to the most fundamental summary of obligation that God gave to his people in the Old Testament. He takes them back to the stream, which is found. Of course, in numbers chapter 6 and before I read the she Mont to you and me. Read the few verses that begin chapter 6 of Deuteronomy as the introduction to it. We read now this is the commandment. And these are the statutes and judgments which the Lord your God has commanded to teach you that you may observe them in the land which are crossing over to possess that you may fear the Lord your God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments which I command you. You, your son and your grandson all the days of your life that your days may be prolonged if that's the preface and then comes the divine summons the call as it were a solemn assembly with the use of the Hebrew word stream all which means here or listen give ear to what I'm about to say and so the summons goes like this here oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one, and you shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your strength and so Jesus directs the attention the scribe back to this foundational obligation that God imposed upon his people in the she Mont here oh Israel, the Lord our God is one and you shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul and with all of your strength. Now there are couple things before I try to unpack that that I'd like to observe in passing when the Shema was uttered and the call was given for affection to God. It is announced that the object of the affection that is to come from the heart and the soul and the strength is not to some impersonal cosmic force some on named on known higher power. It starts with an assertion about the identity of God here oh Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord, Yahweh, the Lord, who has a name, the Lord, who has a personal history with you who's brought you out of the land of Egypt.

I'm reminded of an incident took place in the early years of my college teaching I was teaching a college course in theology and just as the bell was ringing to begin the. This girl came in the doorway and she was glowing. She had this big smile on her face and she was followed closely by a young man and as the girl entered into the classroom. There were some blinking going on as she sort of walked in like this, like her arm were broken but really the she might display the diamond ring that was on her finger and I stop versus Mary, I said is that a diamond ring I see in your hand, and she allow that it was and I said, does that mean that you are engaged and she was happy to announce that she was yes engaged and I said are you engaged to John who just walked in the room with her and she said yes I am I civil before we start class.

I just take a moment here, let me ask you since you are now engaged to John you're planning to marry and you're wearing his ring you love him. She civil course I love. I saw spinous enough tell me why you love and she thought for second season. I love him because he's so intelligent, so you will get a argue for May's excellent student on the Dean's list every semester, probably has an all college 3.8. But here's Bill over her and the other side of the room is get a straight 4.0 I know that students can get good grades just by extra labor and some of them are educated beyond their intelligence.

For I think when in the case of Bill. He's intelligent student would you grant that she so yes yes I said John love Bill 11 John Susan Wright. Since Amanda must be something about John but you love that's not in Bill, what is it she said she said John is so athletic. I suggested place on the basketball team. He starts these good good ballplayers are grandson bills.

The high scorer and he's the captain of the team said grant.

The bill also has athletic ability.

When Sue and she said yes I said John love with Bill. Your level drawn to the right? Come onů We can't waste the whole day at the tell me more. What is it about John that makes you love him, but Bill she civil John is so polite and courteous for Bill that you hear that are you rude all Mary said.

Not only does to cast aspersions on Bill and that way I civil, Mary Bill has all these qualities that you say you find in John and yet they don't define your love. Please let's hurry up now tell me what it is about John that makes you love by this time she is so nervous. I'm sure she has started crying assuming I hated when I was teaching the handsome young lady burst into tears under one of my interrogations in the classroom make me feel like such a CAD, but she was trembling us and please marry us to tell us what it is about John she civil I love John because he's I love it because it I love the I love them because he's because he's he's John said yes. I think when you ran out of the specific qualities that you could enumerate in order to capture the essence of this person you went to his name because he knew everything that John represents is bound up in his name. And so it is with God. The name Yahweh is the name of our God and we love him, not because he's intelligent and we love him, not because he's strong or because he's polite, courteous, or, 11 were not to love God simply for all the wonderful gifts and benefits that we received from his aunt where to love him for who he is in himself. We don't really progress in the Christian life. Until we understand that that to love God is to love him because he is lovely is wonderful and he is worthy of the creatures on qualified affection.

So in the same Israel was commanded to love God, not simply with all of the heart. But the idea here is that the love is the common from the heart. It's not just the superficial affection not just a casual or cavalier endearment, but an affection comes from the very root of our being with this affection is not surpassed by any other affection that we ever experience in this world.

It's an un-diluted unmixed love for God and it's a love that is to come from the soul from the very center again of our being.

Remember the judgment morning that Jesus gave to the Laodicean church so I wish that you were either hot or cold.

Because you are lukewarm I will spew you out of my mouth when we love God with all of our souls. There is nothing And there's nothing lukewarm about that affection and then the samosas with all your strength. The affection we have for God is not to be a week impotent thing, but that we call upon all of the strength that we can muster up in our persons to magnify that affection for him to notice something strange here about how Jesus quotes the sumo in the Shema of the Old Testament.

There are three dimensions about our love for God were to love them with all of our heart. All of our soul. All of our strength. Some Hebrew scholars say that in the word for strength is ambiguously but implicitly contained the idea of the mind, but it's not spelled out while Jesus doesn't leave it in any ambiguity when Jesus summarizes the Shema.

He said you shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of our so all of our strength both over mind the fullness of our understanding in the sometimes I really get impatient when I hear people say I don't want to study. I just want have a simple faith. God did not give all of this to his people to be treated as a children's story. He calls us to apply the fullest ability of the faculty of our minds in their attempt to understand the riches and the depth of what he has given to us in his word. I live in terror on that part of the great commandment because I am aware. Not fully aware by any means, but the some degree aware of how little I know about this book. How much of the content. I don't know. I've never really carefully closely study. I know that in many many ways different. I have wasted my mind with respect to mastering the things of God.

And I know if God were to ask me your seed. Have you love me with all of your mind, I would have to say not by a million miles.

I turned my mind other things. Sometimes I'm more interested in learning the things of this world that I am about learning the word of God. Now we all know that not one of us for a single day keeps the great commandment, but we're at it, ease in Zion about it were not really under great conviction. From that matter, because we look around and we see that nobody loves the Lord their God with all their heart and all their sold all her mind and all their strength. So what's the big deal if I don't remember in the inquiry that came to Jesus from the scribe was a Jesus was being asked about the great commandment. First, in terms of importance and the Jews of that day made a distinction between heavy law and later law, there were 613. Some laws found in the Torah and the scribes distinguish between heavy ones and the light once and even Jesus does that to some degree when he talks about the least of the commandments and those commandments that are weightier than others. The New Testament recognizes that there is a love that covers a multitude of sins. Those are real sins, but nevertheless they don't call for public ecclesiastical discipline and then we find lists repeated in the New Testament of those heinous crimes that destroy the church and require ecclesiastical discipline, so distinctions are made between lesser and greater loss man is so small as to be insignificant as Galvan responded to the Roman Catholic distinction between mortal and venial sin. He said no sin is so slight that it doesn't deserve death, but no sin, so great that it actually destroys the grace of God in our soul, but if I would ask you, what's the most serious sin of all you say murder, adultery, idolatry, unbelief would seem to me that if this is the great commandment the great transgression would be to failure to keep it that scares me because I haven't kept the great commandment for five minutes in my life I have never loved God with my whole heart, my soul has never been totally rhapsodizes to buy my affection for God is already indicated to my mind is been lazy with respect to applying it to his word and I've only use a portion of my strength and my affection for God and were not for Jesus. I would perish because of that, and rightly so. Consider Jesus for a moment and asked the question, did he love his father with all of his heart was there any portion of the heart of Christ that was not completely in love with the father did Jesus hold anything back from his soul when his meat than his drink was to do the will of the father was there anything that the father revealed that Jesus ignored as being not worthy of his attention and was his affection. A spineless week affection, or did he manifest the most powerful strong affection for the father ever seen on this planet the Lord Jesus kept the great commandment perfectly every second of his life.

He love the father with all of his heart followed his soul. All of his mind and all of his strength and had he not done that it would not fulfill the law of God and would not of been worthy to save himself, let alone save us. So after gives this exposition tying to it the love of neighbor, which we don't have time to expound right now the scribe was again duly impressed complements Jesus well said teacher think he was being patronizing that humanity said you spoken the truth, for there is one God, and know another, but he into love him with all the heart, the understanding, the soul, with all the strength and the loved one may rest himself is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices not Jesus noticed when the scribe answered in this way you're not far from the kingdom of God. It is a year in the kingdom of God which close starting to get started understand what it means when the Lord God omnipotent is really regarded as the sovereign king and that we are willing to love him for who he put a powerful charge from Dr. RC Sproul, listening to Renewing Your Mind of this Lord's day am glad you joined us.

This is a call to examine our own lives is in it to determine if we are actively pursuing God. That's why we so appreciate Dr. Sproles verse by verse sermon series, through the gospel of Mark. We returned to the series.

Each Sunday and our resource offer today will be of help as you study along with this when you give a donation of any about the leader ministries will be happy to provide you with the digital download of Dr. Sproles 400 page commentary on the Gospel of Mark. You can go online to again. That's Renewing Your if you'd like to share the series with family and friends.

It's easy to do from the website. When you go to Renewing Your you'll see a share button right in the middle the page. That button allows you to share today's program on Facebook or twitter or by email. You may never know who you might help when you sure these biblical truths with others so that you next week will hear about Jesus tackling another difficult question, whose son is the Christ. I hope you be with us again next Sunday or Renewing Your Mind

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