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Date:   11/13/05

Text:   Mark 12:28-34

Title:   HD Living

Theme: Being loved by the creator God, we are to respond by loving God and Men.



  Nowadays everywhere we go we notice the thin and slim HD TV. They are bright, crisp and sharp. If we don't have one at home, its very tempting, isn't it? Don't we sometimes wish our life can be less bulky and as bright, crisp and sharp?

  Friday morning I walked out of my office and saw everything blurry. Then I realized I was wearing my reading glasses. How I wish I had only one pair of glasses like the good old days or no glasses at all.

  You look at your closet and sigh, “I don't have any clothes to wear.” You mean you have too many clothes but don't know which one to wear today. Don't you wish life can be simpler so you only have one or two sets of clothes that will fit every occasion? Especially when travelling, how we wish we can only bring one or at the most 2 sets of clothes that will last one week.

  We wish the phone, the calendar, weather information, email; or camera can be all in one place to make your life simpler. So we get the smart phones.

  Scientists are trying to find one principle that can explain all the complexities in life.

  When I prepare my sermons, looking at the books in my office, how I wish that besides the Bible, there is just one book; or one software, that will have all the information I need.

  Recently I talked to someone who was moving from a house to an apartment. He expressed that he was looking forward to a simpler life; with less furniture and low maintenance.

  Our life is often clustered and confused. We're pulled from all sides. Everything seems to be important. How we wish it could be simpler, less bulky, bright, crisp and sharp like the HD TV.

  In today's text, we read about a Jewish scholar who came to Jesus and asked, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” You see, in that 1 st century Jewish society, they had about 613 commandments. Out of this 613, there are 248 positive commands and 365 negative commands. An innovative person could publish it under this title: The Complete Guide to a Perfect Life. Realistically speaking, how can anyone live with these 613 commands hanging over him? Every moment he will be thinking, am I doing what I am supposed to do or something I am not supposed to do. Life could be very confusing and burdensome. No wonder the scribe asks, Is there just one commandment that I should keep which will satisfy the rest? I think he wanted something simple and easy to handle. He wanted to live a life that is bright, crisp and sharp.

  Jesus' response was, Mark 12:29-31, “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.” Jesus is saying: you want to live a HD life, be bright, crisp and sharp? Love God and Man.

I.   To live a focused life, the believers must first experience God's covenant love.

   Prior to telling the scribe about the great commandment, Jesus calls his attention to his relationship with God. Vs.29, “The most important is: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” This is a quote from Deut 6:4; a confession of faith that pious Jews recite every morning and evening. It tells us two things. One is about the unity of God (The lord is one) and secondly, the covenant relationship between God and his people. This is the creator of heaven and earth. Not only that, this God is also a personal God. He is our God. He has a covenant relationship with his people. It is a covenant of Love. The scribe wanted to know which was the greatest commandment, but Jesus first told him about God's love for him.

  This is also our starting point. Before we learn the greatest commandments, we too, need to know and experience God's love. Like the words of the song: How deep the father's love for us: how vast beyond all measure, that he should give his only son to make a wretch his treasure. Moreover, He provides, sustains and enables us to grow spiritually. We are deeply loved by Him.

1.   We love because we're first loved.

  Why did Jesus, instead of telling the scribe what the greatest commandment was, have to remind him about this covenant God; about God's love?

  You see, the greatest commandment is to love God. Is it possible to command someone to love? Because of our position of authority, as a manager or parent, we maybe able to command and order others to do certain things, but I don't think anyone, no matter how much power we may have, can order or command one to love another person.

  After about 10 years of widowhood, a good friend of mine got married recently. Several months ago, when one of his sons knew about his father's upcoming marriage, he was very upset. For several months, the step-mother-to- be spent time with this boy, talking and listening to him. When I met my friend about a month ago, he said his son and the step mom are very good friends now. What do we learn from this? We cannot command someone to love. In order to love, we have to first experience being loved.

  This is the reason Jesus reminded the scribe about God's covenant love. Only when we experience how deep the Father's love is for us, then we'll be motivated to love God. We love not because we are told to, but because we are being loved.

2.   Jesus as our example.

  There is more than meets the eye here. Jesus is also an example of this. In Mark 1:11, “A voice came from heaven, You are my beloved, in whom I am well pleased.” John, 5:20, “For the father loves the son……” 15:9, “As the father has loved me….” Jesus knew without question that his Father in heaven loved him. He knew that he was loved. And as a response to the father's love, he said in 15:10b, “…just as I have kept my father's commandments and abide in his love.” John 4:34, “my food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”

  Not only this, in John 13:1b, “having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” Several days later, he died on the cross for those whom he loved. What do we see here? Having been loved by God, he loved God and men.

  With Jesus as our example, let us take a closer look at the two great commandments: “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.”

II.   As recipients of God's covenant love, we are to love Him with our total being.

  Having experienced how deep the Father's love is for us, Jesus also shows us how to love God. 12:30, “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.” This is to love God with everything we have. John Calvin wrote that our love for God is to fill all our senses. Every aspect of our life is to be influenced by our love for God. I'll briefly explain each of these life components.

  The heart is known in the scriptures as the center of our being, our emotions. The soul is the source of vitality, determination and conduct. It directs our activities. The m ind is the faculty that directs our thinking. And strength is our physical capacities, including possessions. When we love God with our heart, it is about our emotions, how we feel. Yet feeling without thinking, can be dangerous. There is a place near the Toronto airport in which several years ago, a movement was born at that location. Believers from all over the world would travel there to experience the second blessing. When you are ‘filled' with the Holy Spirit, you will roll on the ground, jump up and down, dancing, laugh loudly and speak in tongues. Many would make noise like dogs barking or lions roaring. This is very dangerous; we must use our mind, with the scripture as our standard to distinguish whether it is from God or from our enemy, Satan. On the other hand, loving God without the heart and just with our mind, is mechanical, intellectual, and lacking warmth. Sometimes we may love God with all our soul. We are constantly busy with one ministry or the other. it is non-stop activities. We need to use our mind to distinguish what is important and what is secondary.

  We also think of the widow who put all she had in the offering box. The rich people gave out of what they had, but the widow gave her all. She loved God with all her strength.

  God wants us to love him with every aspect of our life. What do we mean by loving God? Jesus said, “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” We love God by keeping his commandments, just as Jesus did. The 1 st four of the10 commandments, is about our relationship with God. therefore to love God with our total being is to recognize his primacy in our lives. When we love him totally, then we will not use his name in vain. When we love him totally, we will make sure that there will be no idols in our lives. God wants us to give him our undivided attention and loyalty.

  When we love God with our total being, we will honor the day of rest. We will make Sunday a special day. This is the day we come to church to worship God with other believers.

  When we love God, we'll obey his commandments. Everyday when we read the scriptures, every Sunday when we come here to worship and listen to the sermons, God is speaking to us in his words. Are we obeying him? God wants us to love him with our total being by obeying him.

III.   As recipients of God's unconditional and total love, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.

  12:31, “The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” When we experience the depth of God's love, we not only ought to love him, but we should also love others. How? We love them as we love ourselves. We all love ourselves, right? We care very much for our rights; whether we are being treated justly and fairly. We want to make sure we receive the best of everything. We won't allow others to violate us. This is how we are to love our neighbors. This a theme repeatedly stated in the scriptures. Leviticus 19:18, “ 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” John 15:12, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." 1 John 3:11, “…that we should love one another.” 4:7, 11, “.let us love one another, for love is from God….. if God love so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 4:20, “ 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” It cannot be clearer than this. If we love God, we have to love others. If not, it is doubtful if we truly love God.

   How do we love others? In the 10 commandments, from the 6 th to the 10 th is about loving others. We are to respects others and what belongs to them. In the rest of the scriptures, it is full of additional instructions on how to love one another. We are to care, love, accept, pray, bear burdens, teach, and admonish one another.

  The underlying truth is very simple, if you love God, you are to love others, that particular person. Our love for God cannot be separated from our love for each other. If we carry resentment and bitterness towards our neighbor, including a brother or sister in this congregation, or our spouse, or parents, then we'll have to ask ourselves: are we loving God? To love God is to obey his command to love others. Loving God and loving others cannot be separated.


  Do we want to live a HD life? A life that is bright, crisp and sharp? Love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. And like wise, love others as ourselves. Love God and Others.

   In a conversation with a friend, we asked, “How is your family?” She responded, “I hate him. He made me go to church every Sunday. Every night he made me kneel down to pray. When I refuse, he would say I'll go to hell. I hate him.”

  It is obvious we cannot tell her not to hate but to love him. We cannot make another person to love someone. Some of you may find yourself in similar situation. You may not have that much hatred, but there is resentment and bitterness towards someone. No one can make you love another person.

  In a sermon like this, any preacher, including myself will have the tendency to conclude by showing you 10 ways to love God and 10 steps on how to love one another. But I know that I cannot make you love someone, including loving God. But I want to conclude by telling you how God has loved you and me. He gave his only son to die on the cross, to bear our sins so that we are forgiven, and that our lives can be whole again. He died so we could live. And you know what, when we experience how deep our father's love is for us, then we'll begin to love God and men. Our life will be like that HD monitor, bright, crisp and sharp.

English Service:

Mandarin Service:

Cantonese Service:

2014 |2013 |2012 |2011 |2010 |2009 |2008 |2007
2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999

2014|2013|2012|2011|2010|2009|2008 |2007
2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999
Cantonese audio translation available up to 2011

2014 |2013 |2012 |2011


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