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                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                   Two Great Commandments (12:28-34)

INTRODUCTION

1. Having silenced the Pharisees,  Herodians, and Sadducees, Jesus was
   approached by a scribe...
   a. Who asked which is the first (foremost) commandment of the law
      - Mk 12:28
   b. Jesus replied by offering two great commandments - Mk 12:29-31
   c. With which the scribe agreed with grace and wisdom - Mk 12:32-33
   d. Prompting Jesusí comment:  "You are not far from the kingdom of
      God" - Mk 12:34

2. Though part of the Law, these "Two Great Commandments" are very
   important to Christians...
   a. For they have their counterpart in the New Covenant
   b. And keeping the commandments of God is just as important now - cf.
      1Co 7:19; 1Jn 5:3

[Therefore it is proper to ask, do we love God and our neighbor?  Do we
understand what is involved?  By reflecting upon these "Two Great
Commandments" we can find the answer to such questions...]

I. THE COMMAND TO LOVE GOD

   A. UNDER THE OLD COVENANT...
      1. The Israelites were expected to love God (Deu 6:5)...
         a. "with all your heart"
         b. "with all your soul"
         c. "with all your strength"
         d. "with all your mind"
         e. Emotionally, physically, intellectually, they were to love
            God
      2. Thus they were to love God with their whole being, not like
         some who...
         a. Serve God emotionally, while committing intellectual suicide
         b. Serve God intellectually, but with no emotion
         c. Serve God emotionally and intellectually, but with no actual
            obedience requiring the exercise of strength (i.e., action)

   B. HOW WE ARE TO LOVE GOD TODAY...
      1. Does God expect any less of us?  Of course not!  We are to love
         God:
         a. With all our heart - cf. 1Co 16:22 (note the use the word
            "phileo")
         b. With all our soul (body and mind) - cf. Ro 12:1-2
         c. With all our strength - cf. He 10:36
         d. With all our mind - cf. Col 3:1; Php 4:8
      2. We demonstrate our love for God through keeping His
         commandments
         a. This is the love of God - 1Jn 5:3
         b. This is evidence that we love Jesus - Jn 14:15

   C. HOW TO GROW IN OUR LOVE FOR GOD...
      1. By letting Godís love for us to move us - cf. 1Jn 4:9-10; Ro
         5:8
      2. By asking God to help us grow in love - cf. 2Th 3:5
      3. By praying, and growing in love when He answers - cf. Ps
         116:1-2
      4. By keeping the word of God - cf. 1Jn 2:5

[Do we love God any less than what was expected of the Israelites?  We
certainly have compelling reasons to love Him even more (e.g., the gift
of His Son)!  Now letís consider...]

II. THE COMMAND TO LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR

   A. ENJOINED UPON CHRISTIANS...
      1. We owe it to love our neighbor - Ro 13:8
      2. When fully applied, it fulfills what the Law required - Ro
         13:8-10
      3. Five of the Ten Commandments spoke to working no ill toward our
         fellow man
      4. If one truly loves his neighbor, he will not kill, commit
         adultery, lie, steal, etc.

   B. ENHANCED BY A NEW COMMAND...
      1. Jesus taught us to love one another - Jn 13:34-35
      2. This new command takes our love to a higher level
      3. No longer do we just love one another as we love ourselves
      4. We must love one another as Christ loved us! - cf. Jn 15:13;
         2Co 8:9

   C. EXPERIENCED WHEN WE KEEP GODíS COMMANDMENTS...
      1. We demonstrate true love of one another by keeping the
         commandments of God - 2Jn 1:5-6
      2. This is how we know that we really love one another - 1Jn 5:2
      3. Not by just claiming to love one another
      4. But by setting the proper example, and encouraging each other
         by the example we set!

   D. EDUCATED BY THE EXAMPLE OF GOD...
      1. We develop love for one another by being taught of God - cf.
         1Th 4:9-10
      2. The Thessalonians had been taught of God to love their brethren
      3. They did so remarkably, though there was always room for
         improvement
      4. Jesus by His own example demonstrates what true love is - 1Jn
         3:16-18
      5. If we wish to learn how to love one another properly, look to
         God and Jesus!

CONCLUSION

1. How great were these two commandments...to love God, and to love your
   neighbor?
   a. "There is no greater commandment than these." - Mk 12:31
   b. "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
      - Mk 22:40
   c. "Love is the fulfilling of the Law." - Ro 13:9

2. When one truly loves God, and loves his neighbor as himself...
   a. They are on the path that leads to the kingdom of God! - cf. Mk
      12:34
   b. They are on the road that leads to eternal life! - cf. Lk 10:28

If you wish to receive eternal life, and become a citizen of the
kingdom, then demonstrate your love for God by obeying His commands (cf.
Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:16), and live a life of faith in Jesus that is
focused on loving God and others...!
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