The Greatest Commandment

Text: Matthew 22:34-40


I.         From among the Pharisees, a lawyer came to Jesus to put him to the test.

            A.        He asked, “Which is the greatest commandment?”

            B.        A difficult question, given the large number of commands found in the Old Testament.

                        1.         How do you decide which is greater than the others?

                        2.         All are from God and are equally important

            C.        Yet Jesus had an answer - Matthew 22:34-40

                        1.         Interestingly, the command Jesus selected is not found among the famous 10 commandments.

                        2.         It is found three times in the book of Deuteronomy - Deuteronomy 6:5; 10:12; 30:6

                        3.         Jesus also labeled another command as the second greatest command.

                        4.         It is found only once in the book of Leviticus - Leviticus 19:18

            D.        Jesus selected “greatest” by the commands which covered most broadly

                        1.         These two commands summarize the entire law.

                        2.         Such a profound and pointed insight could only come from the author

II.        To love the Lord you God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength remains as the cornerstone of the New Testament.

            A.        Of faith, hope and love, love is the greatest - I Corinthians 13:13

            B.        Keep ourselves in the love of God - Jude 21

            C.        Paul prayed that the Thessalonians’ hearts would be directed toward God’s love - II Thessalonians 3:5

III.       Why should we love God?

            A.        Because He first loved us - I John 4:19

            B.        He showed this love by sending His Son – John 3:16

            C.        Not that we deserved being rescued - Romans 5:7-8

            D.        In willingly going to the cross, Jesus showed his love toward us - Ephesians 5:2

            E.        Because of God’s mercy we are driven to love Him in return - Psalm 31:23-24

IV.      How does a person love God?

            A.        Saying “I love you” isn’t sufficient - Matthew 7:21

                        1.         Love is demonstrated in a willingness to follow - John 14:15, 23-24

                        2.         Love is keeping God’s commands - I John 5:1-3

            B.        With all your heart

                        1.         From the depth of your emotions - Proverbs 4:23

                        2.         Absolutely nothing come before Him - Matthew 6:33

                        3.         Not like the Pharisees - Matthew 15:7-9

            C.        With all your soul

                        1.         Willing to give your life for Him - Revelation 12:11

                        2.         Romans 12:1 - A living sacrifice

            D.        With all your mind

                        1.         With sincerity of thought. Willing to know God and His Will.

                        2.         Diligent to present yourself - II Timothy 2:15

                        3.         Not by focusing on this world - Romans 8:7

            E.        With all your strength

                        1.         Willing to place all efforts at His disposal

                        2.         Ecclesiastes 9:10 - Do with all your might

                        3.         Colossians 3:23-24 - As slaves were told to do.

                        4.         Diligently, fervently serving the Lord - Romans 12:11

            F.        A love for God overflows to others - I John 4:7-13

V.        Benefits from loving God

            A.        We are strengthened - Ephesians 4:15-16

            B.        We are bonded - Colossians 2:1-3; 3:14

            C.        We are rooted - Ephesians 3:14-19

            D.        Grace to those who sincerely love God - Ephesians 6:24