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(08-09-25) The Greatest Commandment - Deuteronomy 6.4-9; 1 John 4.15-21; Mark 12.28-34

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Greatest Commandment – Deuteronomy 6:4-9;

1 John 4:15-21; Mark 12:28-34

·      Westminster Shorter Catechism begins:

o  “What is the chief end of man?”

§ ‘end’ means ‘purpose’ or ‘point’

o  “Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”

·      Perhaps a bolder second question?

o  ‘What is the chief purpose of God?’

§ obviously not a flippant ‘What's the point of God?’

§ more; ‘What does God see His purpose as being?

§ Or even ‘What is God all about?’

·      In one sense an artificial question

o  applying human reason/questioning to God

·      What has God revealed to us about Himself?

o  turn to Ezekiel 36:22-32 and some other parts of scripture

§ Ezekiel is God's prophet to the exiled Israelites in Babylon

§ by this stage in his ministry, Jerusalem has been captured, and he is bringing a message of hope to God's people

o  v22 – “to bring honour to my name…”

o  v23 – “…to show…that I am holy…”; “…know that I am the Lord

o  v27 – “…make you eager to obey my laws and teachings…”

o  v28 – “…you will be my people, and I will be your God..”

o  v32 – “I'm not doing these things for your sake..”

·      Ephesians 1:11-12

·      We can begin to consider a possible answer to our question:

o  God's purpose is for His own glory

·      We may know this in our minds, but do we live our lives as Christians in the light of this?

o  the benefit that we gain from being God's children is wonderful, but it's not the primary purpose of God's actions

o  God is ‘self-aware’, while we are ‘self-centred’

§ not necessarily individually, but as created beings

o  we benefit so much that we often miss the point behind those benefits:

§ to bring God the glory He deserves!

·      How? What do we do? What is the consequent call on the Christian’s life?

o  finally our passage appears!

§ Jesus’ summary of ‘the Law’

§ as found in Deuteronomy (with a further summary)

·      Offering the totality of who we are to God in love and worship

o  this command impacts every second of our lives

§ challenge to stop and think how can I worship God now?

·      heart, soul, mind, strength, neighbour, self..

o  Jesus has already looked at this

§ vv13-17

o  and is going to come back to it...

§ vv38-44

o  Paul in Romans 12:1-2

§ reasonable?!

·      Paying taxes to Caesar

o  made in the image of...

o  paying out of fear of what will happen

§ perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18)

§ offering in love and gratitude

·      God seeks one thing through which everything happens

o  as children, created in His image, we have a part to play in that

o  to be played out of love, not fear

o  at all times and in all places

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