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The Mission

The Easter Challenge  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  33:49
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Some of you may remember the story. It happened in January of 2018. A state worker chose the wrong menu item for the state alert system and sent an alert to the entire island of Hawaii that said, “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”
For about a half hour, many people in the state thought they were just about to die in a nuclear blast. Maybe you saw the photos of parents lowering their children down into manholes for shelter.
I wonder what I would do. I’d like to think that I would find the most crowded place I could and give my very best and my very last altar call sermon. But maybe if it actually happened, I’d be much less noble. Either way, that thought of twenty minutes left to live gives some real perspective to what’s important and what we’re doing right here.
Jesus tells us what is important. He gives us our mission and it comes at a point when the Pharisees are trying to trap him in something once again. Look at the story. It is found in Matthew 22:34-40
Matthew 22:34–40 NIV
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The question asked Jesus was not a new one because the scribes had been debating this for question for centuries. There were 613 commandments in the law and of those 613 they had categorized 248 as positive and 365 as negative. No one person could ever hope to know and fully obey all 613 commandments. So, to make it easier, the experts divided the commandments into “heavy” and “light”. A person could major on the “heavy commandments” and not worry about the trivial ones.
The fallacy behind this approach is obvious: You only break one law, heavy or light, to be guilty before God.
James 2:10 NIV
10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
So, what does Jesus do? He sums up all the laws into just 2. Not only was Jesus giving the Pharisee’s this break down, but He was giving us the two things that you and I as believers need to focus on. This is our Mission as believers.
Real quickly look at Matthew 28:19-20
Matthew 28:19–20 NIV
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
This was the great commission. Jesus wants us to go and make disciples. The only way we can do this is to live and teach the Great Commandment, our Mission to Love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind and to Love our Neighbor as ourself. Let’s break these down today.

1. Love God

In verse 37 of our text, Jesus is actually quoting from Deuteronomy. It is a statement of faith known as the Shema. This is something that every orthodox Jew recited daily. So, the audience that was there with Jesus that day knew these words by heart.
The greatest commandment is to love God with all that we are and have. Jesus is telling us to love God with everything that we have. Jesus doesn’t leave a part of us out. He mentions all the parts that make us up. Our heart, our soul and our mind.


The Heart refers primarily to our emotional response. In the New Testament, ‘heart’ is the word most commonly used to denote the inner nature of man, the secret core of his being, where the springs of his intellectual and moral activity reside.
When God was looking for a king to replace Saul He told Samuel...
1 Samuel 16:7 NIV
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
The heart is the center of everything that we do. We are driven by our heart. When the heart stops beating, we no longer exist.
The heart is the seat of the conscience. It is naturally wicked and it contaminates the whole life and character. The heart must be changed before we can willingly obey God.
The process of salvation begins in the heart. We hear the words of testimony of what God has done and we start a process of belief by a heart change. When the heart change takes place, we surrender our life over to God. Salvation begins with the heart.


The “Soul” includes the willful, decision-making part of us. Loving God with our soul covers those times when we love God apart from our feelings, such as when we truly forgive another while part of us feels like exacting revenge on that person.
The world has an odd view of the soul. The Greek Philosopher Plato perceived the soul as the eternal element in man: whereas the body perishes at death, the soul is indestructible. Gnosticism also taught that the body was the prison house of the soul.
We as believers, think of the soul differently. Soul is synonymous with life itself. Jesus came to give up his life for us. Jesus says we must give up our life in order to be His disciple. Jesus promises rest for our soul if we come to Him.
The soul is the life-force of the person and refers to our whole-being. Our soul needs to be sustained in order for life to thrive, and it is the seat of desires, emotions, and the will. The soul can be in intimate relationship with God or be under God’s judgment.


“Mind” refers to an active component of our love for God. It is the part of us in which thought takes place and perception and decisions to do good and evil come to expression. In a world where faith is often described as characteristic of people who don’t think, Jesus’ words point to the importance of engaging our mind as a central aspect of what we believe. Loving God with our mind covers much more than the practice of thinking about God. If we place our mind into service for God, it will enjoy its greatest usefulness.
The word God uses for love here is agapao which means totally unselfish love. This kind of love, we are only capable to do with the help of the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit helps us love him as we should. God wants our love and devotion, not just our obedience. The heart is the center of desires and affections, the soul is a person’s “being” and uniqueness, the mind is the center of a person’s intellect. To love God in this way is to fulfill completely all the commandments regarding one’s vertical relationship.

2. Love Your Neighbor

The first law talked about our vertical relationship with God. This second law Jesus said is just as important. This law talks about our horizontal relationship with each other.
You cannot maintain an upward relationship with God without caring for each other.
1 John 4:8 NIV
8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Jesus gave the easy part first. Loving God is the easy part, especially to the crowd that Jesus was speaking to. That concept had been indoctrinated in them since birth. They grew up watching mom and dad going to the synagogue and seeing them say their prayers, and speaking about God on a regular basis. Loving God was the easy part. But they didn’t always want to love their neighbor.
They only wanted to love their neighbor when it fit in their box. They only wanted to love their neighbor when it made since to them.
This wasn’t the first time that Jesus talked to them about loving their neighbor. In Luke chapter 10 an expert of the law asked Jesus the question, “Who is my neighbor?” This is where Jesus begins to tell the story of the Good Samaritan.
The story goes...
A man was walking down the road one day and thieves came out of hiding and robbed the man and left him for dead. As the man was laying there a Priest and a Levi came by but ignored the man because the law said they would be unclean if they touched him, so instead of doing the good thing they tried to go completely away from this man so that they would not have to go through the ceremony of cleaning themselves. But a Samaritan came upon the man that was half dead and he stopped, bandaged the mans wounds and found him a place to stay and paid for his meals and lodging. This made the man of the law think because the Jews wanted nothing to do with the Samaritan’s. Jesus wanted the man to understand that any person could be your neighbor.
Think of the person that you like the least. Better yet, think of someone who might be your enemies. That is your neighbor. Any person that has breathe in their lungs is your neighbor. That is who you are to love.

How Do I Love My Neighbor?

I could probably stand up here the rest of the day and give you a list of things to do to show love towards your neighbor.
Remember, I said loving God is the easy part, but loving your neighbor isn’t always easy. But you can’t have a love relationship with God without having a love relationship with your neighbor. So, how do you show love to your neighbor. I don’t have a 3 point answer, but I can give you some suggestions. The rest is up to you to figure out.
You can start loving your neighbor by praying for them.
You can love your neighbor by doing an act of kindness.
You can love your neighbor by giving them a thoughtful gift.
You can love your neighbor by talking to them.
It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s just the fact that you do something.
Loving our neighbor isn’t hard if we have the love of Jesus in our heart. Remember what Jesus said on the cross about those that were crucifying him. He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” He was loving his neighbor even while dying on the cross. It’s that kind of love that we need in our life.
From the day you first got saved, the mission never changed. You are to love God and love your neighbor.
Maybe the reason you can’t love your neighbor is because you haven’t learned to love yourself yet.
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