1. On this occasion Jesus was asked to identify "the great commandment in the law." 2. Although the man asking this question did not have a pure motive, Jesus took advantage of this situation to teach a very important lesson. 3. "The first and great commandment" is to love God with all the heart, soul, and mind. 4. Since Jesus considered loving God to be so important, it deserves our careful attention. 5. Perhaps Valentine's Day is a convenient time for us to concentrate on our responsibility to love God. 6. The first point we need to make is that . . . Discussion: I. THE BIBLE EXPLAINS WHY WE SHOULD LOVE GOD
A. John stated twice that "God is love" (1 John 4:8, 16). B. According to 1 John 4:19, "We love Him, because He first loved us." C. We learn from 1 John 4:9-10 that God demonstrated His love in a powerful way. D. We know that loving God is "the first and great commandment," and we understand why we should love God. E. This brings us to our next point. II. THE BIBLE EXPLAINS HOW WE SHOW OUR LOVE TO GOD
A. One way we show our love to God is by keeping His commandments. 1. Regardless of what men may say, our response to God's commands is a true indication of our love to God (1 John 2:3-5). 2. To be right with God, we must keep His commandments (1 John 3:22-24). 3. Those who truly love God will not consider His commandments to be burdensome (1 John 5:2-3). 4. Let us make an observation from Deuteronomy 6:1-9. a. Moses called upon the Israelites to love God. b. In addition, Moses wrote at length about obeying God's commands. 5. Let us contrast 2 men and their responses to God's instructions. a. Abraham's willingness to offer his son Isaac showed God something (Genesis 22:9-12; James 2:21-23). b. Saul's disobedience showed God something (1 Samuel 15:10-11, 22-23). c. God showed His love to Abraham and Saul. d. We can determine by their actions which man truly loved God. 6. A special blessing will be given to those who show their love to God by keeping His commandments (Revelation 22:14). B. Another way we show our love to God is by loving our brethren. 1. God knows whether we truly love Him by our love [or hatred] for our brethren (1 John 4:7-8, 11-12, 16, 20-21). 2. To illustrate, God knew something about Cain because of the way he treated Abel (1 John 3:10-12). Conclusion:
1. "The first and great commandment" is to love God with all the heart, soul, and mind. 2. Let us love God as He desires -- "He first loved us." 3. Let us show God that we love Him by: a. keeping His commandments b. loving our brethren.