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Loving God: The First and Great Commandment

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 15, 2021 3:00 am

Loving God: The First and Great Commandment

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 15, 2021 3:00 am

Sometimes it’s easiest to see our human idiosyncracies in other people. Take a toddler, for instance. The little one may be despairing over the toy...or the cookie...he can’t have – until daddy walks through the door, home from work. Suddenly, his focus changes and his little world is all about dad. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out, when our love and focus is on our Heavenly Father, we won’t despair for the things of this world.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul on coming up today after Gregori points out the importance of loving God.

Everything God with all of their but there's no hard discipline himself to study God's word and their easily led astray all things way to love God. As we talked a little one baby despairing over the cooking. You can have filled that he walked home from work is focus changes the world is all about beginning. Lori points out when our love and focuses on our heavenly things the hard way here.expression. The phrase that you can't bring all man I'm heart broken if you find that someone is insensitive to what you're talking about. You might say something along the lines of know what you are heartless or of someone is very emotional and quick to express the way that they feel we might save them when you know they wear their hearts on their sleep and then there's countless songs about the heart as well = about heartache and I Bruce Springsteen thing ever is hungry heart Neil Young thing about searching for a heart of gold.

Then of course there's Billy Ray Cyrus to thing about is achy Breaky heart.

Maybe that's why Tony Branson recorded a song called un-break my heart because he got it achy Breaky heart so she wanted it on broken.

So what we learned so far about the heart from some of these funds.

Your heart gets broken then to get unbroken. That's a lot of trauma for the heart go today.

No wonder Stevie nicks say stop Dragon my heart around because your heart can be broken. It can be unbroken. It can be drug around.

That's probably why the Bee Gees recorded a song. How can you mend a broken heart. What we mean when we say the heart, usually were referring to our emotional center. The waves usually frame goes along the lines of what my mind tells me to do one thing but my heart tells me another you know a lot of crazy things have been done in the name of I'm doing this from my heart. Princess Diana once said, quote only do what your heart tells you," I guess Woody Allen believed that when he left his live-in lover and took up with her adopted daughter was quite the scandal when he was asked why he would do such a thing is explanation was well the heart once what it wants. Yeah, what is all this talk of the heart doing with the heart one etc. well this is a very important subject. Let me first say that you should not let your heart tell you what to do because your heart to mislead you. The Bible also speaks of the heart, and here's what it says in Jeremiah 17 nine the heart is deceitfully wicked above all things.

Who can know it. And then Jesus went on to say in Matthew 15, out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, that lying and slander. Yeah, it's true, the heart wants what it was and a lot of times the heart one wrong thing so we should not focus on our heart as much as we are to focus our heart on God that brings us to our text where Jesus tells us what to do with our heart instead of talking about it being broken or unbroken or dragging it around wearing it on your sleep. He tells you to use your heart as well as your mind and your soul for what they were created for now. The backdrop of this is Jesus had just dealt with the Sadducees.

As you recall, there were the religious leaders that did not believe that there was life beyond the great so they came to Christ with a hypothetical situation talk about woman.

It was very she married his brother. He died, she married another of his brothers. He died on this 1 to 7 brothers. They all died. And then they asked the question will whose wife will she be in the resurrection Jesus response was you guys. You know you don't know the Scripture, or the power of God's we put them in their place and answer their question now the Pharisees feel it's their turn they come with this question we picked it up in Matthew 22 verse 34 when the Pharisees heard he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer as to my question, testing him understand this was designed to paint Christ into a corner if you will testing him and say teacher once is the greatest commandment in the law. Jesus said you shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul and with all of your mind. This is the first and great commandment in the second is like it you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

On these two commandments hang all of the law and the profit. So here are the Pharisees trying to trap Jesus because the endless debate about what commandments were greater or lesser. They basically have documented 613 Commandments in the law and they identify 248 of those commandments has been positive and 365 of them being negative and so they knew that no one can keep all of the commandment. Therefore, the identified son commandment is heavy and other commandments as life we have a modern equivalent of this in the idea of sin being described as both mortal and venial. The idea here is a venial sin is bad but it's not as bad as a mortal sin. Some sins are worse than others. There's a problem with all of this thinking is not biblical. God is a make those distinctions and there is no such thing as a moral or a venial sin.

Having said that, it's worth noting that some sins are worse than other.

Now once it is enough to keep you out of heaven right because the Bible says if you have been one point of the law are guilty of all of it yet some sins carry greater penalties and other you say what you mean by that will, when Jesus was talking to Pontius Pilate. He said the one that delivered me to you is committed the greater sin not what Pilate was about to do is pretty back okay.

Pilate was can have Christ scourged and beaten beyond human recognition and ultimately murdered in cold blood and nailed to a cross. How can anyone commit a sin were somewhat piloted done yet Jesus said the one that sent me to you is committed the greater sin will whose sent Jesus to Pilate, but we don't have the exact answer as to options that I can see one is Caiaphas. The other is Judith father was referring to Caiaphas the high priest Caiaphas study the word of God. He knew what was true, yet he intentionally locally send Jesus to be crucified. Why was his sin greater than Pilate because Pilate he was what we might describe as a garden-variety nonbeliever. He was your classic Roman pagan you know he worshiped multiple gods including the Caesars themselves. And he really had no sense of right and wrong as we would know it, but Caiaphas raised studying the Scripture knowing the Torah and now here he is a spiritual leader, yet he takes the Messiah of Israel and sends him to be put to death by the Roman or Jesus may have been referring to Judas Iscariot, was one of the handpicked Disciples of Christ. He spent some three years walking and talking with our Lord and yet he betray them for 30 pieces of silver and Judas knew he was innocent because he himself said, I have betrayed innocent blood.

So why is this in greater because they knew better and yet they did this so back to this debate, the greater commandment the lesser commandment Jesus and guys, let's get to the heart of the matter. You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul and mind.

This is known as the Shema, something that every Jew would've memorized.

They had it written down and placed in the little box that they would were strapped to their head known as the phylacteries of this was something they were very familiar with the Shema love the Lord your God will all of your hard soul and mind you, here's a crisis, a sinner worry about all these little commandment, which one is worse than the other get back to this love God with all of your be and I say all this stuff will be sorted out. Makes complete sense doesn't it.

Because really, if I love the Lord my God will all of my heart, soul and mind all naturally want to do what he wants me to do for Greg Laurie of the second half of this message moment right after a quick look at the way a new beginning touches the lives of listeners. 20 years ago I gave my life to Jesus. After listening to you on the radio.

God bless you always. Thank you for leading Christ three years ago. Are you majoring on my life and I can't thank you enough. Early last year. I found the Lord and harvest Christian Fellowship God is so I'm happy to partner with you in your mission. Great, definitely more folks that know me know that I often in my message, no matter what the topic with an invitation for people to come to Christ because there's always someone out there that doesn't know the Lord may be there in the congregation. Maybe there listening on radio. Maybe there watching online, and I want those people to know they can never relationship with Christ and I know that this is what God wants, because the Lord says he's not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance, so I'd like to throw the net and as you know, if you listen to a new beginning we throw the net a lot and you know what we see thousands of people come to Christ every year through our radio program along so that is why am thankful when you invest in our ministry because you enable us to reach a lot of people that I can never reach otherwise they'll never darken the doorway of the church, but they might be churning the radio dial income upon our show and say what is this all about, and I've had more than one person tell me that's all they found their program and ended up listening and coming to Christ, so that's what were all about. So when you support as you help us to reach more people like the ones you just heard from with the message of the gospel, you can make a generous year-end donation today by going to Pastor Greg is pointed out so far that the question of which is the greatest commandment is a moot point. We need to love God with all our heart, and if we do will do what the Lord wants us to the 10 Commandments are divided into two sections 4 and six and so is five and five is something it's four and six.

The first four commandments had to do with our relationship with God. The final 60 with our relationship with other if I really love the Lord my God wall of my heart, soul and mind. I will not want to have another God before them or worship of false idol or take his name in vain. And if I love my neighbor as I love myself I don't want to steal from him or kill her or covet something that belongs to them. The ideas of I can get out of this basic truth of loving God, everything else will find its proper place. It was Augustine that said love God and do what you please.

That's a dangerous statement, but really, if we love God as we ought to. We will want to do the things that please God but what does it mean when Jesus says love the Lord tells us we should love them with our heart with our soul, and with our mind and marks version of this adds the word strings to it as well.

It means that you are to love God with every part of your be. Let's break this down for a moment and try to understand these terms. First of all, love the Lord your God with all of your heart for the Hebrew mine.

The heart spoke of this center or the core of one's being. Proverbs 423 says above all else, guard your heart word affects everything that you do so, it just speaks of your core, your heart there words soul.

Probably more closely correlates to our use of the word heart for the Hebrew, the soul referred to their emotion. It's a word that Jesus used when he cried out in the garden of Gethsemane.

My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death. So as I said in some ways the Hebrew word for soul was closer to our word heart. But then he says a word to love God with our mind as well. So this is the idea of moving ahead with energy and strength to put it all together genuine love for the Lord is intelligent. It's feeling it's willing and serving again. It's an intelligent love that feeling love. It's a willing love and it's a serving. Some people love God with all of their minds. But there's no harm in it. They love to study. They love to be correct.

Theologically, but there's no passion in their life.

Some people love God with all of their hard and their passion and their emotion, but they haven't. Discipline themselves to study God's word and their easily led astray know we need all of these things in play.

To love God. As we ought to. This is why after Peter crashed and burned and met with Jesus by the Sea of Galilee are Lord posed this question to them. Simon, son of Jonas, you love me he could've asked them Simon, son of Jonas deal of faith in me where he could've said Simon. Are you theologically correct or Simon are you obedient to me knowing enough those questions he asked him do you love me and by the way, he asked that three times. Maybe corresponding to the fact that Peter denied him three times. One of the asked him do you love me because Jesus knew if he loved him as he should. All these other areas would be taken care of friend since I know people that are sticklers for correct doctrine, yet many of them are miserable mean arrogant and condemning all their rights and they'll take the truth and use it like a sledgehammer in the life of another person.

I know people that are very active and busy for God, but the love for the Lord seems to be lacking. Yes, we can love the Lord as we ought to. Then our life will find its proper balance. Just what this love that we have for Christ to be walked away from.

Sometimes we don't love him as we once did we look back in our lives as Christians or mosaic. There was a time in my walk with the Lord were my love was much stronger than it is today. I've effectively left my first love. This happens in marriage all the time. You know two people are newly married. Maybe you see them out about their so affectionate. You see this young couple holding hands, gazing into each other's eyes kissing is a they must be newly married. Why, because we will been married for a while.

Don't do that anymore heart when the newly married couple has her first conflict we say the honeymoon is over. Right. This happens in our faith to where that affection is gone. That passion is gone. The communication is broken down and in effect, the honeymoon is over. This was the situation with the church in Ephesus that Jesus spoke to in the book of Revelation. They were an active busy engaged church but there were lacking in love. So let's read about them. Now go over the Revelation to verse one to the angel of the church of Ephesus write these things says he holds the seven stars in his right hand is the speaking of Christ who wants in the midst of the seven golden lampstands. This is a picture of the church. So here's Jesus walking through the church. I know your work, your labor, your patient, you cannot bear those who are evil. You have tested those who say there are apostles and are not, and you found them liars. And you are persevered and impatient zeal labored for my namesake and you've not become wary. Nevertheless I have this against you, you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you will fall and repent and do the first words girls I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place unless you repent all its understand that these words of Jesus were to eight literal church that was in Ephesus, the apostle Paul and possibly the apostle John had both pastored it when Revelation was written given to John the apostle and the island of Patmos. This church was in its second generation.

So many of these people and been raised in a Christian home. They were born to believing parents have been taught the word of God from you.

Here we find a really active church serving the Lord with great effort. Jesus even says numbers do I know your labor and your patients are better translation would be your perseverance and I know that you work hard first three labored for my namesake that can be translated you've labored to the point of exhaustion.

The original Greek would indicate an effort that produce work even at the cost of paying these people were really hard working. They were discerning they were hard-working, they were faithful but they were guilty of a sin that the average person could not detect the unless reversal doesn't say they lost that sometimes people ask the question you lost your first you don't lose it you leave it that's the word Jesus uses. If you lose something you don't know where it is otherwise it would not be lost. It would be found, but you can leave something you can walk away from someone that's what Jesus is talking about when he says you have left your first love is effectively saying you no longer love me as you first did you see these believers in Ephesus were so busy maintaining their separation. They were neglecting their adoration they were substituting perspiration for inspiration. I was this really that big of a deal only update thing they left their first love.

Yeah, acceptable big deal because if you read the words of Jesus. Of the seven churches in Revelation your findings get progressively worse. Starting with a breakdown of the first love to the church of Ephesus, and culminating with the outright rejection of Christ and the church of Laodicea we find Jesus is on the outside trying to get in; I sent at the door knocking up you'll hear my voice, and open the door, I will commit that verse is often quoted as we tell nonbelievers about how they can accept Christ but in its context.

It was to the church.

The unbelieving church and so this is how things can get worse.

So yes, it is a big deal to leave your first love because it can lead to worse things down the road and glory pointing out the danger of leaving our first love and he'll have more from the study called loving God before we leave today so please stay tuned investigators.

Many of our listeners know our mission here at harvest ministries is to make disciples.

We reach out as far as we can with the gospel and then we help new believers get started in their walk with the Lord.

That's right now we're making available the TV series called the chosen is a great series yes how can this resource help those who are new to the faith.

But I think it it strengthens us and what we believe these are true stories center in the Bible that the greatest stories ever told. But when they're traumatized when you see them in cinematic form, they can come to light for you and a way that maybe they didn't come to life.

Are you reading them from the page. Of course, I encourage everyone to read the Bible, but I appreciate any tool that is out there that will reinforce the great stories of Scripture I can't think of anyone who's done a better job of this than Dallas Jenkins who was the producer and director of this new series on the life of Christ, called the chosen.

It is a monster a success. Millions and millions of people have watched it and are watching it and I'm very excited to announce that we are offering this month, the month of December, the month will we celebrate the birth of Jesus, season one of the chosen your gonna want to sit down and watch us with your family enemy at this.

What a great way to start in evangelistic conversation invite somebody over and have them watch an episode of the chosen with you and then afterwards talk about Jesus, you'll find this is a very engaging series. It's something that's going to actually be a blessing to you and I have to say it's very entertaining as well so order your copy of the chosen. I will send it to you for your gift of any size. Let me encourage you to be generous because we will take the resources that you send the money you send and use it to expand this ministry to reach more people.

Look, I've dedicated my life to teaching the Bible to telling people about Jesus. So this is a great resource to reinforce that help us to continue to bring the message of the gospel to our generation. So whatever you send will be put to good use and will rush you your copy of season one of the chosen yeah that's right in your investment helps us reach literally all over the planet.

In fact we receive this note, is it I'm 16 years old from the United Kingdom.

I've been listening to the new beginning podcast for the past seven years since I was nine. I'm so thankful for the content you put online you been a blessing.

My friends and family what you know it's only through the investments of listeners that we can reach out like that. If you been a partner with us. Thank you so much and if you can partner with us right now. We hope you will ask for a copy of season one of the chosen. You can donate securely or write a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call us anytime around the clock at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300 well next time more insights from Pastor Greg's message on the importance of loving God, but before we leave today. Pastor Greg has one more thought about love and the marriage relationship. Now I'm not saying that even if you've been married for years that you should have the emotions of a person that just met someone else you know maybe when you first met your husband or wife to be here.

Maybe it's your boyfriend or girlfriend right now was a big fee. He saw them he got all excited and you were nervous about meeting them and he didn't know what to say.

The need to spend some time together and even now when they walk into the room you're your mouth goes dry your head gets light in your heart feels and has butterflies in it. If I still felt that way with my wife had been married to for 37 years. She probably think I was having a heart attack Sita the love of marriage is deeper than the mere emotional thing that brings you together. CS Lewis put it this way, quote being in love first move them the promise fidelity. This quieter. Love enables them to keep the promise. It's on this love that the engine of marriage is run. Being in love with the explosion that started it. So God is not saying I want you to always have your heart letter and have an emotional experience with the reason I wanted deeper committed lasting love and I wanted to stay strong for a life and everybody thinks or listening to this podcast to learn more about harvest ministries follow the show and consider supporting it. Just go to and find out how to know God personally go to and click on know God

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