Maybe you've been in Bible study settings or church settings before, maybe you've been listening to the radio and heard a preacher come on, and somebody said something like this, like I'm going to say today. They said, you need to love God with all of your heart. That's what he is calling you to do, is to love God with all of your heart.
And maybe if you're wired a little bit like me, OK, a little bit linear, a little bit analytical, you thought, man, that sounds really good. But if I love God with all of my heart, then what do I do with the rest of the Bible that tells me to love friends, to love the church, to love my kids, to love my wife, even to love enemies? Like, how does it work that I love God with all that I am?
And yet at the same time, I'm called to love other things as well. If you've ever wondered that before, today I hope we're going to be able to solve it in a pretty simple way. We're going to be in Deuteronomy chapter 6 this weekend. Hey, if you're at one of our campuses, man, we're excited to have you at our campuses and here at regional. If you need one of these books, you haven't grabbed one yet, or you need one today at all of our campuses. Hey, just slip your hand up. Your sermon notes this weekend are going to be on page 65.
All right, so if you need a book today to do that at one of our campuses, you can open up to page 65 and get all your sermon notes there. All right, but here's what we're going to be talking about. What does it look like to love God with everything in your life and then still have the love that we need for other things in our life and pray that it will grow? Well, I think actually this can be solved in a pretty simple analogy, OK?
And here's the analogy that I'll give. None of us would think this is weird. If I told you guys, hey, I love my wife Anna with all my heart. Nobody in here would say, OK, he said he loved his wife Anna with all his heart. Therefore, man, he must be a pretty deadbeat dad, don't even love his kids, right?
Wouldn't that be a little weird? We would say, if I said, hey, I love Anna with all my heart, nobody in here would say, nobody at our campuses would say, hey, that means he's a deadbeat who don't love his kids. That means that he don't love friends.
He don't love his animals, don't love his dogs, don't love his cows, OK? He don't love none of that, because why? Because he's wrapped all the way up in Anna and he's loved Anna with all of his heart.
Why would we not go there in our mind? Here's why we don't go there, because we understand that when I say I love Anna with all my heart, what I mean is the category of my heart that is reserved for spousal love, for romantic love, that should be directed and is directed at her and her alone. It doesn't mean that there aren't other things in my life that I love.
But in that category, the way that I'm pouring out in that way, that is reserved for her alone. So we'd be able to look in and say, man, OK, he loves Anna with all his heart. But he's able to love, yeah, but he loves his kids. He loves his animals. He loves his cows, especially when they come in the form of a ribeye, OK? Because it's categorical. Y'all, I think that's what we need to see when God calls us.
Here's the big idea this weekend. God calls us to love him completely. When he calls us to love him completely, that is not a competition so much as it is a category, OK? And this category is the God love in our life. We are called to love God with all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our mind, Jesus would say in Mark 12, actually, and a retelling of this, all of our strength. And in so doing, when that God category of our love is directed where it should be, all of a sudden, like a bucket that overflows, it begins to fill these other categories in our life. And God puts love in our life to be able to give away to children, and to family, and to friends, and to neighbors, and to our community. But it starts with this idea, putting first things first, loving God completely.
Don't give your, you could say this as a category, OK? Don't give your God love to anything else that isn't God. The basic premise of Deuteronomy chapter 6, which is maybe the most famous prayer in all the world, OK? Especially when you think about world religions, y'all in Judaism, this is still something that is recited every day, OK? When you think about this prayer, what is it about? What is the very heartbeat of it?
The very heartbeat of it is this. Don't love something that's not God like it is God. Don't give your God love away. Don't have a divided heart when it comes to God.
Don't allow there to be other things in our life that begin to siphon off that category in our life that is directed to be at Him and Him alone. And that's where we get into Deuteronomy chapter 6. All right, again, man, one of the most famous passages in all the Old Testament. And let's get into it here. We're just going, hey, here's our roadmap today. Man, we're going to read about two verses, three verses today. And I'm going to talk about it for most of the whole time. And then when we get right towards the end, we're going to talk about how this applies to where we're at as a church and to where we're at in terms of our personal generosity and our surrender to God.
And that's going to be our time together this weekend. All right, Deuteronomy chapter 6, here's what it says. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God.
The Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. As I said a minute ago, this is one of the most famous passages in the Old Testament. And it begins, it's called the Shema, all right? That just means, that's the Hebrew word of saying hear.
Because if you notice in verse 4, that's the first word. It says hear. And the idea there is that there is something that we need to hear or listen to. But this is important for us, OK?
It's important for where we're going today. The idea in Hebrew of hearing or listening is different than maybe the way we think about it. Hearing and listening is equated to obeying, OK? It's the idea of this, hearing God is equated to obeying God. The idea is that when we hear God speak, it would move our heart to want to change and conform our life. Remember, we talked about last week, it's not we're at the center and God's revolving around us, right? He's at the center and we're revolving around him. And so when he speaks, we would obey.
Hearing is equated to obedience. Now, sometimes it don't quite work out like this in our life with our own kids, OK? I told you we don't do worship Halloween wars about trick-or-treating or not trick-or-treating at Mercy Hill.
You need to make your own decision. My family goes trick-or-treating, OK? And so our kids, we took our kids out. And me and Pastor Bobby actually took them out. And we just, we did the, this was cool. We just rode around in the ATV and they just ran all the houses.
So we were just, we didn't have to do a lot. They're running the houses. And here's the thing, we told them, we said, hey, when you come to a house, this got the little bucket outside, all right?
There's nobody at the door. They got the bucket. You take one or two pieces. That's why everybody got it. Yeah, we got it. OK, do you hear me?
Yes, I hear you. Well, the first three houses they went to, the bucket was outside. And they came back with their buckets so full, you need a forklift to lift the thing, OK?
And I'm looking at their buckets. And I'm like, guys, we told you to take one or two pieces. Here's the phrase. You've all done this.
You've all done this with kids, right? Here's the phrase, didn't you hear me? Well, in that analogy, they're like, yeah, we heard you. OK, hearing you wasn't the problem. We heard you. We didn't hear you in this sense. This sense is, we actually made them go put it all back.
I was like, you got to walk up there and you got to put it back or whatever. The idea here is that we would hear and obey, that there would be an active listening. I would say it like this. In the Old Testament, you almost have this sense that there was expected a pre-commitment to the obedience that would follow hearing God speak. And that's what we need to be committed to today. The Shema starts with this idea. Hear.
The question is this. Are we listening? If somebody at our campus is today, are we listening to what God is going to call us to? And if we are, have we pre-committed and determined in our heart, God, I'm going to obey what you have for me and what you call me to. I am hearing.
One of our pastors says it like this. In their home, when they do devotion, he said, man, we tell our kids, you're going to listen. We're going to listen with our ears and our eyes and our heart. It's not just a physical act of listening, right? We're going to listen with everything that we have. My fear is that a couple of weeks into this deeper initiative in the series that we're in right now, my fear is what if there are some at our church, what if there are some at our campuses today that are saying, man, I'm here and I'm hearing. OK, I'm listening.
But the reality is I'm sort of just putting my head down to get through this series because I know in a couple of weeks, it'll be over. We'll get on to Christmas and get on to something else. Actually, I'm hearing with a pre-commitment to disobey. I've actually settled in my heart to say, man, I'm going to hear and I'm going to go to group, but I'm not moving in this area of my life. And if that's where you are today, we have a chance to repent of that. We have a chance to listen. We have a chance to say, no, God, I want to hear with a pre-commitment already to say I will obey. What are we asking in this series? Hey, what's the deepest desire of your heart?
And how does your life reflect that? If God begins to reveal and answer some of those questions, would we be willing to move and to say, God, I want my life to move around here, oh, Israel. The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Now, there's a beautiful passage of scripture. New Testament Christians, which if you're a believer, that's where you are. And this side of kind of the cross, and I know at every one of our services today, we're going to have folks here that are just trying to check things out.
Man, you're here, you're not quite sure where you land. But if you've been a Christian for a while, and you're on our side of the cross, here's what we all do. We read this and we say, the Lord our God is one. We immediately think Trinity. And we want to go to the unity of the Godhead. And if you're new to this whole thing, the Trinity is kind of the way we think about God. God is one God, but he's in three persons. And it's unlike anything else in the world. And we start to think about that.
And there's certainly truth here for that. One of the early church fathers, I thought this was really beautiful. He said it like this, when you're thinking about the Trinity, the Lord, Father, Son, Spirit, but all in one God, how do we think about this? Well, he said it like this, no sooner do I conceive of the one that I am illuminated by the splendor of the three. No sooner do I distinguish them than I am carried back to the one. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.
Now, it's a beautiful thing, I think we could go there. The thing is though, I actually think Deuteronomy chapter six is not taking us there primarily. I think where Deuteronomy chapter six is trying to get us to see is that the Lord is one, meaning he's the only one, okay? That he is, and one of the reasons I say that is because in Hebrew, there's no such thing as a present tense verb. So if you were to read this in a wooden way, just like one of the words actually said, it doesn't say the Lord is one, it says the Lord won.
The Lord won. Now you put yourself in the Bible where this is. Think about Deuteronomy, but what's Moses doing? Moses is instilling courage in a people that are about to step into the great unknown.
If you go back one chapter, what do you have? You have something called the Ten Commandments where the people have a summation of how God wants them to live. Okay, you know what Deuteronomy chapter six is here in verse four and five? This idea, the Lord is one. It's a retelling of the very first commandment, I believe. It's getting us back to C, like Deuteronomy five, seven says. Remember the very first commandment.
You shall have no other gods before me. I think this is less maybe about the unity of the Trinity, although I think we could talk about that. I think this is more about the practical, listen, practical monotheism that the people of God were going to struggle with as they entered a new land that had a lot of polytheism. You don't have to be a theologian to understand those words, mono, one, poly, many, okay? And I think that's what this passage is getting at. Hey, remember the Lord one.
Remember that he is the only one. And I think about that for them. You know, we have this concept in our mind, when we look back at the children of Israel and we think to ourselves, okay, yeah, they really struggled with, I'm sure they struggled with the monotheism, all the culture around them and polytheism and there's a bunch of gods and all that kind of stuff, but that's them in a different land, y'all. We struggle with monotheism as well, practically. Maybe not theologically, maybe not like in our mind, but guys, we struggle with it as well.
There is a practical battle for monotheism and the life of the believer. What do I mean by that? Our idols are not, you know, temples to Baal or sacrifices to Molech.
I understand that. You know, maybe that's, I mean, you know, there could be somebody at one of our campuses that is dealing with some occult thing or pagan thing, maybe, okay? Generally speaking, it's not the temple to Baal or the sacrifice to Molech. Instead, it's bank accounts, promotions, kids success, acceptance letters to a college, you know, perfect health, vacations and vehicles.
Am I getting at it? Like, it may not be like, it may not be a statue to that thing that we're burning incense to and we may not think about it like it's a god, but practically in our heart, Moses is saying, as you go in, you're gonna need to remember the first where all the rest of them kind of flow out of, hey, have no other gods before me and I feel like that's what we've got to talk about even here today. Do we have any other gods before God? Because the definition of that is an idol.
That's what it is. It's something that we're giving worship to, that we're attributing worth to it as if it's a god. We're saying I'm not gonna be secure unless I have that. I'm not gonna have self-worth unless I have that.
I'm not gonna be ultimately happy unless I have that. We're attributing to things in creation what we should only be thinking about giving away to God. You know, I remember this, I've shared this before, but I remember this story that one of our sent ones told us from South Asia in a place where they do burn incense and there's statues and temples and all this stuff and I've been there and maybe some of you guys have been to places like that. But he was talking to me about a guy that was a driver for him and he was witnessing to the guy and sharing the gospel with the guy. And here's what he says to, he asked the guy, hey, what god do you follow?
What gods do you follow? Because the typical answer for that could be, you know, it's man, it's pick and choose and there might be a bunch of answers to that. The guy looks back at him and says, you know, I've thought about that and I really think the answer is this car is my god. Little bit weird, little strange. What do you, okay, explain that to me. What do you mean?
And here's what the guy said. The guy said, you know, the more I've thought about it, this car takes up like all my time. It takes up all my attention. When I'm not with the car, guess what I'm thinking about? I'm thinking about how's the car doing? I take care of the car like all day long. I work in the car, the car provides for me.
I think after thinking about all that, this car is probably my god. Now, here's what I'll say. Man, as sad as that is, it's clear, isn't it? Because that guy was at least being honest about what many of us, myself included, okay, would struggle to actually voice because what he's saying is functionally, functionally this is where I am. Functionally and practically what I am going to for fulfillment, what I'm going to for ultimate happiness, what I really think takes care of me.
That one thing in my life that if it was gone, I don't think I would be okay, actually it's this. And here we go, it's not just the children of Israel going into a land with a bunch of different temples. Man, it's us, listen, stepping into the unknown and our church as a whole, man, stepping into the next chapter and us being able to say, wait, on the front end of that, I think what God is calling us to remember is practically, man, we can have all the theology in the world, but practically, is there anything that starts to steal that god love out of our life? And we begin to actually view something in creation. That's what an idolater is.
Y'all idolaters seek in creation what can only be found in God. They allow something like I mentioned, a relationship, a friendship. You know, I was talking to some of our college residents this week, codependency in relationships on the college campus is terrible, it's rampant. You know, and as people are coming out of COVID and they're latching onto relationships because they've been so starved, all of a sudden a friend now becomes more like sitting down in that kind of God category in our life where if they were to leave us, we would be, you know, all of these things, they can begin to compete with us. Now, here's where I wanna go, right? We're kind of diagnosing here a little bit and we're talking about how maybe it applies to us in terms of the practical monotheism in our life. But some of us might be here, and I've been here in my life too, okay? Some of us might be thinking today, all right, I got it, I got it.
And we've talked about idolatry before at Mercy Hill. But you might say, well, how can I diagnose if something in my life actually has risen to that level of maybe sitting down in a seat that was only reserved for the king? Like something in my life that's a good thing now has become a God thing.
It was a great thing, but now it's become an ultimate thing in the way that I'm thinking about it. And it is sitting down in a seat that it was never intended to sit down in. And what needs to happen is, as a friend of John Newton, William Cowper said, I need to rip it out of its throne that it was never meant to sit on, right?
But how do I know if it's there? Well, you know, one quick way, there's multiple things we can talk about with this. Guys, one quick way is, I want you to think about, and I'm assuming a little bit of Bible knowledge here, so if you're brand new, man, we could point you to where to kind of study some of this stuff. But listen, if you think about the Ten Commandments, okay? You think about the Ten Commandments. You know, one thing about the Ten Commandments is, you never break the last nine without having already broken the first one.
Does that make sense? Like, man, if you're stealing, it's because you have already enthroned something in your life before God. What you have decided, let's say you're stealing, it's because you have decided, well, God actually isn't sufficient, I need this other thing.
I have actually moved something before Him. You know, if we have settled down and have just decided, like, man, anxiety and fear and worry over this issue are going to rack my life, then we have already decided there is some set of circumstances that will make us happier than God. We've already broken the first commandment, and now it's kind of moved into all of the rest of these, or you know, and I'm not talking about just the Ten Commandments, the Ten Commandments are kind of a summation of everything else, but you know, that God calls us to in terms of the life that He's called us to live.
So, I mean, you can think about other things. Man, if I've sat down and just decided my life, you know, I'm not fighting the battle with pornography anymore, I'm not fighting the battle with sexual sin anymore, don't you understand? When we get to that place, it's because we've already decided there is a beauty out there more beautiful than God.
We've already broken the first one. It's kind of flowing in to the rest of the sin issues in our life or even to our series as we've been talking about how our hearts reflect generosity. When we can't give, we've already decided that our ultimate security or self-worth is in a number.
If that happens, what have we actually done? We've decided there's something more valuable than God. That's breaking the first commandment, you know, and it's flowing down to the rest of these issues in our life. And when we, so my point is, if you're kind of like, okay, man, is there something siphoning off of that God category of love in my life? Man, look at the sin patterns in our life and begin to ask diagnostic questions around that to get a little bit deeper into those things. One author, a great book called Counterfeit God, said it like this, when anything in life is an absolute requirement for your happiness and self-worth, it is essentially an idol.
It is something that you are worshiping as if it is God, even though it's not God. So let me ask a question like I did last week, okay? All right, let's just kind of stop right now and say, okay, where are we?
We've done two verses, kind of where are we at? All right, here's the thing. He is the Lord one, okay? He is the only one. Is He the only one?
He is, but is He? He is the only one, but is He the only one in our life? Look at verse five. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Now, this is how it works, all right? This is how the Bible almost always works.
Big truth about God creates response in us. Lord, the Lord one, got it. Now what? Now love Him. He's the only one. So give Him all of the love that is reserved for God.
You can say it like this. If He is our only God, then He gets all of our God love. If He is the only Lord, then He gets all of the love that we are to give to a deity in our life.
Remember, this doesn't, I love Anna with all my heart, doesn't make me a deadbeat dad who don't love my kids. All of the love that is reserved for spouse romance in my life, it goes toward her. All of the love in your life that God gives you, by the way, that's a New Testament concept, that what you have to give back to God, He's actually giving to you. But man, all the love that He, all the love that you're giving to Him, man, it's direct, the God portion of that, the God category of that is directed only at God.
That's what it's saying here. You shall love the Lord your God. Love Him with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. Now, this concept of love can be a little bit fuzzy because I think in our culture, we have equated love with a feeling.
That's it, that's it. Like man, love is a warm fuzzy, love is a feeling, okay? And what we need to see here is, man, in the Old Testament especially, when we see these terms for love, there's a loyalty to it.
There is a commitment to it. You know, this is why Christians are kind of radical about marriage. Man, marriage is not just like I fall into love so we got married, I can fall out of love, so we, it's like, no, love is a covenant. You know, love is a promise. And that's I think what we see here in the Old Testament, that love is a committed sort of loyal, committed, loving God in this way with all of our heart.
Now, what does it mean? Heart, soul and strength, okay? So God category, man, we're gonna give God all of our love in this category and it's gonna be characterized in three ways. In our hearts, you know, again, that's a little bit of, you know, you're like, man, what's the metaphor? And that, well, one of the things in the Old Testament you gotta understand is that the heart sometimes actually gets more even at the intellect and at the mind.
We think about it more in warm fuzzies, okay? This is probably why in Mark chapter 12, Jesus, when he does a retelling, you remember, when they pinned Jesus down on what's the greatest commandment, what came out? This idea, it's a concept.
If you get this right, the rest will flow, right? You land, it's a summation of the Ten Commandments, love God and love each other. But what does he say in Mark chapter 12? He actually says, not just heart, soul and strength, but he says mind as well.
And I think he's probably doing that for more of a Greek setting and all of that. So you end up with, you know, the heart, that's the mind. What is soul? Man, I think for soul, we think soul is the ghosty part of who we are, we don't really know what to say about it. In the Old Testament, soul was the total being.
I don't know how else to say it. You know, Genesis 2.7, when God breathed into Adam and became a living what, you know what it says? Became a living soul, actually.
It's the same word. All right, so it's this idea of being. This is the idea of all that you are.
And your strength, yes, your physical life. Man, we are called to love God in this way. All of us, you know, in that category, we give all of ourself to him. And we don't allow a heart to be divided when it comes to these other things that are in our life. And here's what the Bible says in verse six.
This is pretty good. This gets at how we are to begin to think about doing this. And these words that I command you today shall be upon your heart. Now, we've done this in every one of our sermons, okay?
Because if you notice, there's kind of a big theme here. Right, I mean, this is what we're bringing before the church has been in our hearts and in the seat of our leadership for the better part of a year. What are we trying, man, let's not just run for the mission. The mission is huge. Man, we want to see the church commit, you know, to be able to give what we need, to build a new home and hub, to start the worship academy, to, man, invest deeply in the foster system here in our counties. We talked about all that, the mission is great. It's not first.
What's first is this idea. Man, does our heart love God, or are we divided? Now, here's what we've done in every single one of our sermons, and this is probably where, you know, you might be thinking where we're going today.
If you've been a believer for a while, you're thinking like, man, okay, I get that. I want that. I want to love God with everything that I have. I don't want to have, you know, vacations and vehicles and, you know, other things that are good things or just not God things, kids success, marriage, man, a relationship.
I don't want that to compete in that category of my life. Okay, man, what do we do? Well, y'all, it all goes back to the gospel and it all goes back to what God is gonna do in our life. Here's what he says, and these words that I command you today shall be on your hearts.
Now, why is that important? Shall be on your hearts. This gets very deep, very fast, by the way, all right?
So if you're, you know, it goes all the way to the bottom here. Well, you know that language comes up again in the New Covenant. In the New Covenant, see, Jesus, and we do this every time we take communion, right? We talk about the New Covenant and I don't have time to go through a full theological kind of exposition of the whole idea of the New Covenant. But the basic gist of the New Covenant is that because of what Christ has done on the cross, there's sort of a new deal that we get.
And the new deal is, man, listen, the blood of Christ covers you and makes you what you could never be on your own. And something about that is wrapped up in this idea of and this command to love me will be written on your heart. Look at what it says in Jeremiah 31, all right? There's a classic text, goes back to the New Covenant.
I'm just gonna read it and we'll talk about it for just a second here. Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand and to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant, that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord, for this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord. This is the point, I will put my law within them and I will write it on their hearts and I will be their God and they shall be my people.
How is it that the command that God gives us to love him with everything that we have, how does it actually happen? Y'all, it's accomplished for us by Jesus Christ. The new covenant that is spoken of in Jeremiah 31, Christ brings back in Luke chapter 22, when he holds the cup and he says, man, my blood is the blood of this new covenant. The law in you to be a God lover in the way that we are supposed to be, this is gonna come because of what I do for you and what did Jesus do for us, y'all? You know this, if you've been around our church, man, Jesus came and lived a life that we didn't live, we lived sin and sin, he didn't. At the end of his life, he deserved to have a life, to reap the rewards of a life well lived before God, but instead, he goes to the cross and takes death in our place. He's the sacrificial lamb and then in his resurrection, he gives us the opportunity to walk in the newness of life and that's all bound up and this concept of the new covenant, I think what the Bible is trying to get us to see is that when we begin to see the links at which God would go to save us, it changes us into the type of people who love God in greater ways and love him even in new ways, love him in greater depths.
Certainly, we become ones who are covered by his blood and God sees us as ultimate God lovers that we've never siphoned off any God love to anything else, but what it does is it actually begins to move us practically to become in truth, to become in practice what he has declared us to be in truth, it moves our heart in that way. I don't know if you guys have seen, have y'all ever seen a two-way mirror, okay? These things are very confusing because on Wikipedia, they're called a two-way mirror or they're called a one-way mirror, which seems like it would be the exact opposite, okay? But a two-way mirror, if you've never seen one, I guarantee you where you have seen one is on like a law and order type show where they got the interrogation room, okay? And like the people can see in, but if you're on the inside, all you see is the mirror. Some of you are like, well, I've never seen this show, but I've been in there a few times, okay?
That might be where you are, all right? So, you know, you're, so, you know, I was thinking about this and I was like, man, the concept here, I think, there's a truth about you, but then in the new covenant, there is also something that a dawning of the new truth moves our heart to actually start becoming that in practice. And I think it works like that two-way mirror because this is what happens in the gospel, because of the cross of Christ, okay? God looks at the mirror and you know what he ends up kind of seeing, even though he's looking directly at you, he's on that side of the mirror where there's a reflection.
Isn't that crazy? He's looking at you, he's looking at all your failures, he's looking at all your sin, he's looking at everything you've ever done wrong. Think about Romans chapter five, scarcely would one die for a righteous man, but for a sinner, Christ has died for us, but here's what God does. He looks and he's looking right at you, you're on the other side of that mirror, he's looking dead at you, but guess what he sees? He sees the righteousness of Christ. He's looking at you, but he's seeing, man, his own right, he's seeing his righteousness and his goodness, but guess what, go to the other side of the analogy.
When we're on the other side and we're looking through, guess what we don't see? We don't see the mirror reflection of ourselves, all of our sin, all of our failure, everything that we've ever done wrong in our life, all the reasons why we don't add up. Actually, we're on the side of that mirror where we look straight through it and we're seeing what he's making us into, we're seeing the beauty of a God who loves us like crazy.
And it's like the cross of sort of that mirror right in the beginning where he sees a reflection of himself, we see who he is and you know what it does? It begins to move our hearts and practice to be greater lovers of God. And that's what I wanna call us to today. The idea is that we would see something in God that is so beautiful that it would continue to move our hearts to where we say, and listen, if you never put your faith in Christ, you can do that here this weekend, you can do it at any one of our campuses. We have prayer teams, you can come up, listen, we do pray, bring, sing, and the last song every single week, you come right down front, kneel before God and give your life to him in this service that you are in today, okay?
If that's where you are, come and do that and see the beauty of that today. And for those of us that are already there, can we not see in this that there is a beauty that moves our heart toward a greater surrender? That we know if we're covered in the blood of Christ, New Covenant, he sees us as one who is already loving him with everything that we have, and then it begins to motivate us to actually become that in greater ways in our life.
So here's the application point for this weekend, okay? Love God with all of your God love, okay? Don't give anything that ain't God, God love. Allow, give back to God what it says.
Pour out your love upon him. And then what happens is he begins to pour out upon us and it overflows into our life, into all these other relationships, okay? That's a different sermon.
But let's not siphon off our God love and start dividing our heart in all these different categories, so I wanna show, you know, I just thought about this, this week, you know, some of you guys have seen one of these before, okay? Maybe you have, it's a siphon pump, all right? And if you're really kind of old school, this is a really good thing to have because the old school version of this is that there's no pump, there's just a tube, okay? And the problem with that is the way I learned from my father, okay, is that the real man's way to do this is if you're trying to siphon gas out of a tank, you just gotta suck, you just gotta suck the gas and once the gas gets lower than where it is in the tank, it'll start to flow. But the problem is, I look back on, you know, the way I learned how to do it and the tube was not clear. So you're sucking the gas out of the tube and just, you're just praying to God right at that last second I can kind of move and every good redneck I know has had at least you know, 10 mouthfuls of gas at some point in their life. But anyway, I digress here, okay? Anyway, hey, but I bought, actually, just this last kind of bout with the hurricane coming up and all that, we have a generator and all that and I got sick of sucking gas down my lungs, okay?
And so I saw this at Lowe's for like 12 bucks or something like that, I was like, this thing is genius. Here's the thing with a siphon pump, okay, or a siphon, however you choose to do it. You know, man, when that siphon gets to going, it's gonna start draining and sucking out whatever is there and the only way to stop it is to rip it out. I mean, that siphon, when that siphon gets going, little as it is, whatever is in the tank, I don't care if it's 100 million gallons, it will just keep siphoning all day every day. It'll just, that's just the way the nature works, okay?
I mean, that's just what it'll have, it'll siphon it out. And I thought about us today and I thought about us for this weekend, I thought about that analogy because I thought, man, there might be some of us today that are like the dreams that I have for my future, they're good. I mean, the things that people are putting on the line right now, I mentioned last week somebody, a weekend type vehicle that they've decided to put on, that's a good thing for, it's fine. What a blessing to be able to do something like that. Kid success, good thing, marriage, good thing, these are not bad things, they're good things, but are they sitting in God's seat?
That's the question. Man, I know in my life when I begin to really peel back the layers and this series is helping me to begin to do that, again, afresh and new in my life, it's like, man, it feels like sometimes there are things that got that siphon in them and they're siphoning off God love. They're beginning to divide my heart somewhat. And I don't know if maybe that's where you are even here today. And if that's where you are here today, man, I would just say what we wanna do is we want to repent of those things and gaze upon the beauty of God.
And I'm not gonna go into this, I don't have time. But you know, one thing we need to do practically is we need to fill our lives with the things that fuel our love for God. And we need to rid our lives of the things that rob our love for God.
And so I don't know how that hits you, okay? There might be some of you here today, you're like, man, there's some things I need to give more attention to, my community group, the relationships I have in my life, Bible reading, memory, scripture memory. I need to fill my life with what fuels my love. Others of my life, man, there might be things that need to get ripped out. You know, it's like, man, what is robbing us?
That's a practical application for today. But here's how I wanna end the sermon this weekend. Guys, a huge part of this, and two weeks ago, Pastor Bobby hit on this. A huge part of this series for us, if we're gonna be honest about talking about God love. It's all about Psalm one, right? And we're the shirt again with the tree.
It's all about Psalm one. What does the tree do? The roots say, where's the water? Find the water, where's the water? Find the water, I was created for the water. You and I were created to be that way for God. Not for these other things in our life.
They're all good, they're fine. But man, where's the water, where's the water? Man, find God, find God, find God. Be satisfied in his love. And one of the ways that we need to think about that today is by, you know, there's, C.S.
Lewis said it best. There's nothing like wealth to knit a man's heart to the world. You know the flip side of that is, there's nothing like giving to remind us what is our first love.
And that's time, talent, and treasure, okay? But that's kind of where I want to land with this message here today, y'all. We talked about this commitment card every single week.
I'm gonna talk about it one more time because next week's the week, all right? That we come together to commit. And as we come together to make a commitment, there is a very significant aspect of this card that is the wrestling match that we have with God, that we have with God, to say I want to pull off all those things that are siphoning my love for you.
Man, I want you to be first in my life. He, the Lord, won. He is the one. Is he the one for us, is he the one in our hearts? Are we loving him with all of our soul, our strength, our heart, our mind, as Jesus said when he talked about this verse?
And that's really the question. Man, that commitment card is something we can wrestle with and we can say to God to get, hey, God, this is the whole series, meant the deepest desire of my heart and all my life to reflect that. And that is way more than a commitment card, but this card is part of it.
To say, God, I want it to be reflected in this particular way. And we have families in our church, man, that are going there. I've shared stories with you guys every single week.
These are not preacher stories, they're real stories, okay? Man, family in our church. Guy gets an allowance for any kind of car you want, for the job, and all the guys are doing this big truck, this kind of thing.
Goes and finds the smallest car, the cheapest car, that will work for the job and order that we can give the difference. I mean, what is that declaration? That is a practical way to declare the Lord one. He's first, he is before all things. He is the deepest desire. And I want my life to reflect that in this way.
We have a college student that stopped giving during COVID because it was scary. And I think we could all understand that, you know? It's like, man, it was scary, you know?
And college and all that kind of stuff. And through deeper, you know what she's saying? She's saying, God is saying to me, it's time to jump back in to the tithe, but it's time to go maybe even beyond the tithe. I think about that. I think about even kids in our church.
We had a story coming this week. I mean, little kids in our church and our student ministry and all of our different campuses and what are they doing? Man, they're learning to think about what they can give and you know what they're doing.
Man, thinking about toys and things like that. And one mom said it was amazing to her to see after going through the whole discipleship guide with them that they wanted to give something away that they did play with. Not that they don't. They want to give something that's first because God is first. These are the stories that are coming out in our church. That comes from a place of surrender. And a place of surrender only really comes from, man, the Lord one and God, I want to be a lover of you. I don't want anything else to have God love.
I want to be a lover of you with my heart, with my soul and with my strength. Guys, next week, and I'm done, all right, next week is a huge week in the life of our church. Your campus pastor has probably already said this, but it will be a weekend that we will talk about and remember for years to come. The next 10 years of ministry is gonna be dependent on the next two in a lot of ways. And next week is an opportunity for us to come together.
And I just want us to wrestle with this for this week because many of us, Advanced Commitment Night, came a little bit early, Halloween, it was like one weekend, but a lot of us were there. Maybe God was done speaking to you then, maybe he wasn't. Maybe there's something else that God's calling you to do. Maybe there's more wrestling that's gonna happen this week, but it all goes back to that idea of God, you are first, you are before all things. You are the stream that the roots of my life are looking for and seeking. How does my life reflect that? And so this week, y'all, we told you to put this somewhere where you could think about it. This week as you're thinking about it, I want you to wrestle with this idea. Man, of what does courage look like in that? What does safety look like?
You know, is there fear or is there faith? You know, as we're wrestling with these things, I heard an analogy the other day. I don't know, how many of you guys, how many of you guys remember in youth group or in school somewhere playing a game called musical chairs?
Does anybody remember this? Okay, all right, so I'm not sure they let you do that anymore because people always seem to get hurt in musical chairs. So I don't know if that's a thing we do at Mercy Hill or whatever, but you know, I remember the game.
And what's the point of the game? They play the music and you got one less chair than the people that are in the room, right? And you keep taking the chair out and somebody gets eliminated and all that kind of stuff. Until you get down to one, the only thing left is one chair, but there's two people. And I'm telling you, this is a good analogy for many of us are gonna be this very week. Here's the deal, there ain't but one chair, there's two people, and they're both circling. You know what their names are? One is faith and one is fear. But only one of them gets to sit down. And I think that's a good thought for us this week. Man, as we go into next week, what does faith look like that's born from a surrender, you know, that comes from God? You are one, you are first, you are before all things, all right?
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-07 19:12:45 / 2022-11-07 19:24:26 / 12