1. Love God First
Today we are going to focus in on this first mandate from God, The Greatest Commandment. In a conversation with a lawyer of Israel Jesus asked the man what must be done by someone who wants to have eternal life. The man quickly quoted Moses from Deuteronomy and Leviticus. Jesus then said to him, “You have answered correctly. “Do this and you will live.” What was Jesus talking about? In Mark 12:28-31, Jesus is the one answering the question, asked by a lawyer, about the most important commandment, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus answered him by quoting the same verses from the Old Testament. But Jesus did add the first line of the “Shema,” “Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God, the Lord is one,” with the second part of the Shema, the commandment. These are the verses the Jews would quote, plus more, each day and night.
Why is this part of the Shema important to Christians? Because Jesus said that this commandment was the first of importance and we should do it. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Have you followed it and continue to place the love you have for God above all else? In the past and most importantly today, we want to identify what is the one focus we should have here at NABC and there is no greater command to follow than this one. In 1 John 4:19 John says, “We love because He first loved us.” The reason anyone would love God is to realize that He loved us first and gave His Son for our sins.
For the Israelites they were to recognize that God loved them so much that He chose them out of all the nations to be His and had given them life and gave them a deliverer who brought them out of slavery from Egypt and led them to a new life in “The Promised Land.” Why would they not want to love God back? Our Deliverer is Jesus the Son of God who came to this world as a man so that we might be brought out of the slavery of sin into the marvelous light of God.
All our worship and service has sought to be and should continue to be, focused on God and His glory because of our love for Him. The scripture calls for us to love Him with all we are, heart, soul, strength and mind. That says with everything, with no exceptions, to be focused on God as our first love. If all our lives are first dedicated to loving God with all we are, then the church, the body of believers, will surely follow and all that is done is because we put God first, no matter what.
Lynda knows that my love is first to God before her and I know that her love is first to God before me. When this is settled in the family and all know that God is our first love, will live rightly before the Father and be blessed.
Years ago we chose to use a little phrase as the catch phrase or motto of North Anderson Baptist Church, “A Lighthouse Of God’s Love.” If we are going to love God first then it will show to all who see us and experience the fellowship of this body of believers. We will be a shining beacon in a dark world for those who come into contact with you or me, the church and the corporate body too.
That leads us into the second most important commandment Jesus declared, to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” At that same time in the past, we adopted the phrase “A Lighthouse of God’s Love” we added this little thought as an action statement for the church, “Love God, Love One Another, Love the Church and Love the Lost” I believe that God guided our hearts to this list of priorities.