a house that glorfies the Lord-brick 1
Lately, we have been talking a lot about being a church family. A couple of weeks ago we talked about being reconciled to God through the blood of Jesus Christ. This reconciliation is the foundation to a house that we are building to glorify the Lord.
Since we have been talking so much about being God’s family and our church building is being renovated. I felt it appropriate to refer to this series as building a house or home, for which our family may prosper and our Lord may truly be glorified.
Today we will be looking at the first bricks that we each must lay as we build this house that is to glorify the Lord.
This first brick you probably know as the greatest commandment, it is to love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Jesus calls this in Matthew 22 the first and the greatest commandment.
I am not preaching about this subject because we have a hard time understanding love, because we all grasp to some extent what it means to love God, but rather because all of us so often fail to do it, and when we fail to love God, our house, or church family, will crumble.
Lets read Deuteronomy 6:1-9
Allow me to simplify this great commandment. Love the Lord your God totally, and you and your family be consumed with Him.
Lets begin with the second part of this commandment to be consumed with God. I will begin with a very personal illustration.
When Carla and I were dating the second time around, I was absolutely consumed with her. I could hardly think of anything or anyone else.
From the very first note I received, I ran to my mom to tell her that this was going to be the woman that I would marry. I spent hour upon hour on the phone with her. I talked to my friends about her constantly. Whenever we were able we were together, and then when I would drop her off, I would go home and call her.
She wanted to know that I had gotten home safely, and, I just wanted to hear her voice one last time before going to bed. I would then before going to bed, write about how much I loved her, in my journal.
This is what it means to be consumed with someone.
Is it good to be consumed with another person like this? Probably not?
Is it good to be consumed with God like that? Absolutely!
But How many of us have ever in our lives been so consumed with our God, even when we first became Christians most of us were not that consumed with Him.
However, God does command us to be consumed with Him. He says, that we are to love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our strength, and His commandments we are to put them upon our hearts, impress them on our children. We are to talk about them in the home, on the road, when we wake up and when we go to bed.
God wants to be the first person we think about when we wake up and the last thing that we think about when we go to bed. He wants us to have him on our mind, when we are out and about, and when we are simply at home relaxing. He wants us to be totally consumed with Him, and guess what, as soon as we fail to do this, we fall, we sin, and then our house begins to crumble. Like when David turned his eye from God to Bathsheba, or when Peter took his eye off Jesus and fell into the water. Just like that we can go from things going well, to everything going wrong.
In all of life this is the case, when God is not at the forefront we break things. When God is not at the center of our relationships, we fight, and the relationships crumble. When God is not at the center of work or ministry, we tend to mess it up, and if we as a church don’t keep God at the center, and seek to glorify Him, continually, then our house, our church, will crumble.
The second part of God’s commandment for us is simple to understand, we are to be consumed with Him, like I was consumed with Carla and like you probably were with your first love.
The first part of this command is even harder to do. The first part of the command is that we are supposed to Love God, and we are supposed to love Him with all of our hearts, with all our souls, and with all our strength. To love someone is more than simply being consumed with them.
When Carla and I began dating we were indeed consumed with each other, but we had not yet learned what it meant to love each other. Sure we were in love, we had that loving feeling, but true love, the kind of love that God is talking about here is more than that.
This is the kind of love that you choose when you get to know someone in the most intimate of ways, the kind of love that grows when you get to know who a person truly is, not simply a lot of facts about that person. It is the kind of love that you choose to have, even when that person does something we don’t like, and God will do things that we don’t like.
It is the kind of love that we can only have for God by knowing who he is through scripture; through prayer, and through continually choosing that we will love Him.
It is the kind of love that God has for us, and the kind of love that never fails.
A lady named Ruth Greene, wrote about this in her web log. She said, the entire Gospel comes together in this verse, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” The love of God is not static or dead. God’s love is not self-centered. His love reaches out and draws His beloved to Him. His words set the pattern of true love.
God’s love is the basis for all loving and caring relationships, from large to small. When you love someone, you are willing to give freely of your time and abilities, in many cases to the point of self-sacrifice. God set this example when He paid dearly with the life of his Son, the highest price that he could pay.
God loved us totally, and his command is for us to return that love.
We see this clearly in verses 20-25.
Let us read.
Today, these verses may be understood a bit different because we are not Israel, rather we are the new Israel, God’s new family, we are the church.
This is how we might understand. So when our children ask what is the meaning of all this. We tell them:
We were once slaves to our own sin, but the Lord our God delivered us with a mighty hand. Before our eyes the Lord sent miraculous signs and wonders- great and terrible- to this world. Like dying on the cross for the sins of his people, so that we might have life with God. The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and have eternal life. And when we fail, to obey this law, the Lord Jesus Christ has kept it perfectly, and that will be our righteousness.
So you ask then why, especially if Jesus has done it for us, why should we obey this law. The answer is simple friends verse 18 says, “Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so that it may go well with you.” When we fail to love God and to be consumed with him, our house, our home will crumble, our family will fall apart. We will be at each other’s throats, fighting for our own desires, but when we love God as he first loved us, then and only then may things go well in our church, our house, our home.
But we each must lay our own brick. We can’t say if that person over there would just fall in line, then everything would be better. We must each choose to totally love God and to be continually consumed with His ways.