How to Love God His Way, Not the World's Way
- Summary: When the Pharisees asked Jesus to name the most important commandment in the Law, he immediately replied: loving God. The rest of His answer confirms that love for God is emotional, yes, but also much more. Come and see how to fulfill "the first and greatest commandment".
Matthew 22:36-38 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”
Mark 12:29-30 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ ”
- •• If the #1, greatest commandment is to love God, let’s make sure when we say "I love God" that we’re loving God the way He means it.
- • Heart and soul = emotions for sure. But that’s not all.
• Mind = intellect, thoughts (with or without emotion)
• Strength = action, doing
Joshua 23:11 So be very careful to love the LORD your God.
- •• “Be very careful to love the Lord...” It’s the #1 priority. I encourage you, over the next week or so, every time you awaken in the morning, pray, “Lord, let my love for you direct everything I do and say today.” Make loving God a top priority. Don’t let the greatest commandment slip to the background in importance in your life.
Psalm 18:1 I love you, O LORD, my strength.
- •• Follow King David’s example and tell the Lord, often, that you love Him.
•• Your spouse and children thrive on your verbal expressions of love. Exercise the same diligence to tell God you love Him.
Psalm 26:8 I love the house where you live, O LORD, the place where your glory dwells.
- •• Under the Old Covenant, God’s people gathered at the tabernacle, and later at the temple, to worship and honor God. Under the New Covenant, we gather together as local churches.
•• Love the assembled church. Love the gathering of the saints to meet with God. Jesus Christ, our greatest example, “loved the church and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25, KJV).
Psalm 119:97 Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.
Deuteronomy 30:20 ...and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.
- •• If you love someone (spouse, children, etc.), you listen to what he or she says.
•• God speaks to us in times of prayer and worship. And He speaks to us at great length in His word, the Bible.
- • Listen for His voice, and listen to His voice.
Psalm 97:10 Let those who love the LORD hate evil...
- •• If we love God, we will embrace His values. The Scriptures show clearly that God hates evil — so much so that He was willing to send His Son Jesus as the sacrifice to overcome the destructive results of sin in our lives.
- • If God is so much against evil, God forbid that we develop a casual attitude towards sin. The verse is clear: if I love the Lord, I must hate evil.
• Don’t tolerate evil; don’t ignore it; don’t let it creep slowly into your life and habits. Hate it!
Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
- •• You can’t have divided affections. You can’t love God and love the world (1 John 2:15). You can’t love God and money. Loving the pleasures of this world is likely to diminish your love for God (2 Tim. 3:4).
•• Love God first and foremost, and He will help you keep the things of the world in a wholesome perspective.
John 14:15 If you love me, you will obey what I command.
KJV: If ye love me, keep my commandments.
John 14:23-24a Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.  He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.”
1 John 5:3 This is love for God: to obey his commands.
- •• So love for God is not just mental and emotional. It is also demonstrated by our deeds — “This is love for God: to obey his commands.”
•• If we cry out to God, “I love you, Lord. I love you, Lord”, but walk in disobedience to His commands, then our professed love for God fails the test.
•• Remember our opening verses: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
- • Love Him with our emotions? Yes. With our mind, our thoughts? Yes. But we must also love God with our “strength”, our actions, our deeds — in the apostle John’s words, in obedience to His commandments.
1 John 4:21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
- •• Jesus defined the second-most important commandment of the Law as loving our neighbor (Matthew 22:39). John reminds us: if we love God, we must also love our brother. We can’t love God and dislike people! Remember, “God so loved the world...” (John 3:16), not just a select few. He expects the same of us.
Ephesians 6:24 Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.
- •• Determine that your love for God and for His Son Jesus will be an “undying love”. Let nothing quench it. Let nothing diminish it. Don’t let the world, the flesh, and the devil push your love for God into the background.
•• A reminder: get up each day and pray something like this: “Lord, let everything I do this day be motivated by my love for you.” Then go out with this mindset and enjoy the day!
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©2012, 2015, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.