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January 29, 2017

"THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT"

TEXT: Deuteronomy 6: 1-12
READING:  Psalm 33: 1-22

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SUBJ: The commandment wherein all others find their meaning and by which we are brought to acknowledge the oneness and sovereignty of God in Christ Jesus our Lord through whom we are enabled to do as He bids us.

AIM: That we might realize that even as God is eternally unchanged so is His design for us in our devotion toward Him.

INTR: The Book of Deuteronomy provides both a summary of the redemption of Israel from out of Egypt and a look into the spirituality of all that God requires.
1. Moses was at the end of a long ordeal and had learned that he would not be entering the promised land.
2. His devotion remained to the Lord and to His people even though death was imminent.
3. While the giving of the Law was to prove the necessity of grace, that aim of grace given and the objective produced in true believers was the same then as now.

THESIS:There is no higher calling than to love the Lord thy God supremely and exclusively, and true love for all others is derived from that which we experience in loving Him so in the Trinity of His persons.

I. The most important truth declared (v. 1-4)
1. The introduction to the commandment and direction for their use (v. 1).
1) That they were to be ever taught these things
2) That they were to be exercised in them as they received the promise and so possessed it.
2. That the fear of the Lord was to be practiced in such a way as to assure perpetuity – to successive generations. (v. 2)
1) To be kept as one does a most treasured possession
2) With a view to enduring life with the Lord
3. The commandment to “Hear….” Which we often hear throughout the Word of God with the promise of grace to sustain and to enjoy – not a tradeoff; rather a result of such a way.
4. That which is to be heard with the utmost clarity and attended to with the utmost devotion:
1) The name of God declared three times in verse 4, suggesting the Trinity to us and
2) The word “Elohim” (The mighty God and used 2570 times) is indicated as plural and assumed to be three when used.
3) Jehovah is the Name we associate with Jesus and is He who revealed Himself as the God of Israel in particular: The Jehovah, Our Supreme God, is One Jehovah!
5. Our attention is commanded first and foremost to Him: 29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. Mark 12:29-30.

II. An essential reaction commanded (v. 5)
1. We are reminded of the words of our Lord: Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Matthew 22:37 AND He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:37.
2. And then to see the necessity of loving the Lord thy God to properly love others:
1) In the very form (The Lord thy God) we find the acknowledgment: The redeemer, provider, protector who is the Almighty God from Whom our very being is derived and Who is the creator and owner of the air we breathe.
2) In Him alone is found the resource to be what is required.
3. The devotion is to be complete:
1) With all thine heart – the seat of affections and emotions and understanding. The heart is to be undivided as to the complete devotion.
2) With all thy soul – the person, the will and personality
3) With all thy might – “as representing the outgoings and energies of all the vital powers” (Barnes).
4. The prayer of Paul: And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. 2 Thessalonians 3:5.

III. A Christ centered life required and enjoyed (vv. 7-12)
1. It is to be noted that Moses did not present these things as cold legal precepts; they were to be matters of the heart and so projected with true affection for God and those to whom they were taught.
1) A proper assessment of the Lord will cause us to value Him supremely and
2) It will be then a matter of desire that we pass our most precious possession on to our children and those whom the Lord places in the aim of our affections and compassions.
2. The pictures presented are graphic but point to that which is most spiritual
1) There was a tendency among the heathen to use armbands, headbands, and other such devices to depict their devotion to their false gods –
2) The evident idea here is that the love of God along with the precepts so taught should be so ingrained in lives as to communicate in action what is believed in the heart.
3) Even the material things with which we have to do should reflect the teachings of the Lord.
3. That life that is known in Christ our Lord is a result of promise (the covenant reference o Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) and:
1) Includes all manner of good things and the blessedness of the Lord all of which is given us and none of which is a result of our abilities or efforts.
2) It is incorporated in the purpose of God for His people that they should have these things and be so blessed on all our ways.
4. The warning is evident: The tendency of men is to revel in what we have and not to be reminded of the source – True Joy in the Lord is the greatest of His gifts and provision and so we join with Him in delight.