Mark 12:28-34 - The Kingdom of God is the way of Love

Mark: Pushing Back  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Anticipation is something I love to hate.
I think it drives Hilary crazy that I don’t get excited about vacation until I get wherever it is we’re going.
I withhold all my hope of a vacation until the last second because of the phrase “So close, yet so far away”
Perhaps I’m a bit pessimistic.
I save all of my excitement for the moments you’re pulling up to the spot.
That sweet fresh air, the depths of relaxation beginning to wash over you, the rush of joy when you can think to yourself, “So close. We’re almost there.”
Jesus has a very similar feeling during an interaction with one of the Scribes.
Jesus is in non-stop debate in the Temple with the Pharisees.
The interaction we see Jesus in comes on the heels of the controversy with the religious leaders.
Pharisees asked about taxes
Sadduccees wanted to argue about what marriage looks like in the resurrection.
Now He’s being approached by an individual, not a group.
And this actually turns out to be a nice break from the controversy.
He’s going to teach this Scribe:

Big Idea: The Kingdom of God is the way of love.

Stand to read
Mark 12:28–31 ESV
28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Leader: This is God’s Word
Everyone: Thanks be to God.
Jesus quotes from Deut. 6:4-5, what the Jews called the “Shema.”
The Jews would recite this confession every morning and every evening.
It was as iconic to the Jews as the Lord’s Prayer is to Christianity.
This was a very exclusive statement that declare their absolute devotion to the Lord.
What they are declaring is that they will love the Lord with all of their being, teach this to their children, and never worship other gods.
Jesus adds Lev. 19:18, showing that these two laws go hand in hand.
Growing out of a love for God should be a love for those who have been created in the image of God.
This extends to all of humanity.
He calls them to love with a selfish love.
This isn’t a conceited, self-absorbed type of love, but a love that recognizes that I am an object of the creating and redeeming love of God.
To hate myself would be an offense against God.
There is no one I love more than myself.
I make sure my needs are met.
Hungry, tired, thirsty, cold.
To love someone as myself means to love someone with intensity and self-denial.
The more I rightly love myself, the more I will deny myself for others.
I will serve their needs with all the energy, passion, and zeal I can muster up because that’s what I would do with my own needs!
What Jesus is doing here is answering a legal question!
What is the greatest commandment of God?
Love God/love people
Church, Jesus’s answer shows us that:

Love is our responsibility

If you want to obey the Law of God, you love God and His people.
How you respond to the first (loving God) will determine your response to the second (loving others).
When you love the Lord with all your being, that will inevitably result in loving people.
If you do not love your neighbor, you do not love God.
You cannot call yourself a Jesus follower if you do not love your neighbor.
Jesus makes these two commands inseparable.
Jesus makes these two commands inseparable.bor.
Jesus lays out that God’s Law can be fulfilled in love.
Jesus shows us that love actually defines the lawful life, [and] He shows us that the law actually defines the loving life.
Tim Keller
What would it look like for us to take this responsibility seriously?
To take God’s command of love seriously that it actually results loving people as we love ourselves?
To take our love for God so seriously that we’re going to love people that aren’t very lovable because of how our God has loved us!
There are so many people that we come into contact with that don’t know how to be loved.
Abused, abandoned, hurt, angry, sad.
Notice the kinds of people that Jesus spent time with.
Outcasts were very lonely people.
Tax collectors were hated people.
The lowest forms of society had Jesus’s affections.
If we stand on the Word, this means that we pursue both love for God and love for people.
The scribe responds with an “amen!”
Mark 12:32–33 ESV
32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
This is a major statement coming from this scribe.
For the Jews, the Temple was all.
They lived and died on the burnt offerings and the sacrifices.
They worshipped the religious rituals more than the God they were sacrificing to.
But he’s beginning to see that religious rituals must always give way to a right relationship with God and others.
Even the most sacred duties can’t take precedent over love.
Religious duties have no meaning unless they are expressions of love.
To love God supremely and love your neighbor genuinely is far better than any type of temple activities.
What this shows us is:

Love is our foundation for worship

It’s too easy for us to get tripped up into religious routine rather than intentional worship.
Don’t settle for numb worship where we come and sing songs that we aren’t moved by and listen to a guy speak because he’s really excited and not be moved by the message.
If we’re not careful, we’ll slip into worshipping our Sunday routines and church schedule.
We come here together not out of obligation, but out of overwhelming delight for Jesus!
Jesus is our foundation for worship!
How can I not sing of what my Savior has done for me?!
How can I not be filled with delight!?
We come to celebrate that our sins have been destroyed in the blood of Jesus!
We celebrate because our King is risen and He invites us into His Kingdom!
I could’ve leaped from earth to heaven in one spring at the sight of my sins being drowned in my Redeemers blood.
Charles Spurgeon
We do these things because we’re so absolutely in love with Jesus and desire to express that in full out worship with one another!
Do you love Jesus?
When you love Jesus and His Word, worship becomes a natural response.
Out of the overflow of our love for Christ comes this intense love for people.
Loving God with all our being and loving people is better than any rigid religious activity we can part take in.
Jesus looks at this man and
Mark 12:34 ESV
34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Jesus doesn’t tell him, “You’re close, so try harder!”
The man is coming to see that entering the Kingdom of God is a matter of devotion, not duty.
Obeying rules and regulations will never get me into the Kingdom of heaven, because I can never measure up to God’s perfect standard.
Is this guy saved?
Although he had the law figured out and did all kinds of religious things—No.
No, and we shouldn’t be okay with where he is.
Being close to the Kingdom of God is an eternity away.
Gospel presentation
Are you close but just not there yet?
You need Jesus’s love today.
The eternal Son of God became man and lived perfectly according to God’s Law.
He died on the cross so that the wrath of God toward your sins would be satisfied. He took your place on the cross.
You can be forgiven of all your sins and brought into God’s Kingdom as a son/daughter through the blood of Jesus.
If you’re not a Christian, you can have the Kingdom of God today.
Put your faith in Jesus
Believe that He died for your sin on the cross and that He rose again from the dead and you will be saved!
Don’t just get close to the Kingdom—come into the Kingdom of God through faith in the blood of Christ.
We’re coming into a time of response through guided prayer.
Everyone has a next step to take.
If you’re a Christian, perhaps it’s learning how to love your neighbor as yourself.
Perhaps it’s stepping out in faith and committing to following Jesus, come what may.
That may look like baptism-joining the church-serving.
If you’re not a Christian and want to put your faith in Jesus, now is the best time to do it.
I would love to talk with you and pray with you through that.
This is a time for us to search our hearts and lean into the Spirit of God.
Prayer Emphasis
Read Psalm 40:4–5 “4 Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! 5 You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.”
Your Word tells us that the person who makes the Lord their trust will be happy/blessed. I confess to you that so often my trust is in ______________. Give me your help to supremely trust in you. You have showered me with many acts of kindness. I praise you for _______________.
Psalm 40:8 “8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.””
Father, I want to delight and find deep joy in doing your will. In you there is life, both abundant and eternal. So Holy Spirit please bring one area to my heart where I need to align my will to yours.
Psalm 40:9–10“9 I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord. 10 I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.”
Jesus, grant me courage to not hide your deliverance in my heart but speak it to my family, friends, or colleagues. May your unfailing love and faithfulness compel me to speak truth to _______________.
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