Far from the Kingdom
1.Love the Lord your God
This is quite possibly the most important verse in the whole entire bible. You can spend the rest of your life working on this if you’d unpack it as much as it needs to be unpacked
If you get your heart, mind, and soul right, you get your relationship with God right
If you learn to love your neighbor as yourself- you’ll get your relationship with the world right
Its easy to say- its hard to live out
The entire exercise of Christianity is getting where you need to be spiritually. Its where you have made God your number one focus and yourself NOT the number one focus.
Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Either you are living for Jesus or you are living for the Devil. It’s an all or nothing proposition. There is no middle ground.
Rev 3:16 Jesus said that he spits lukewarm things out of his mouth. He want hot or cold. Not warm
Get this right- get the sin out of life, get your relationships where they need to be, fix your finances, fix your health, fix your living situation. EVERYTHING flows from having the correct focus and standard with God.
Today is Christmas eve! Today is “God and sinners reconciled” and “in sin and error pining, til he appeared and the soul felt its worth” and “to save us all from Satan’s power when we had gone astray” and “Let earth receive her king”
Christmas eve service is tonight- I encourage you to come out tonight. Its going to be amazing
You might ask, ‘why aren’t we preaching on Christmas on Christmas eve?’
Folks- The most exciting part of Christmas is that the savior of the world came to save you from your sin, and because of that you should love God with all your heart, mind and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself.
2.So what does it mean to love With all your heart.
Its your affections! What you love/emotion
What we love with our heart shows what we hold the most dear in our heart.
I can stand here and talk about the sins of the world that you shouldn’t partake of- drinking, cussing, fighting, stealing etc etc That’s the easy stuff to get rid of.
I want you to reflect on the stuff that you really hold higher in your heart that God. Your kids. Your spouse. Your career. Your money. Your house. Your status. Your comfort. Your hope.
Many of you don’t even hope in God. You’ve got more hope in your employer or your own ability to produce your own results than you do in God.
Deuteronomy 6:5 love the lord your God with all your heart
But how can we test that? Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The only treasure you have is your energy and your time. Wherever you put the bulk of your energy and time is where your treasure is.
Deuteronomy 13:3 tested to see if you love the lord
What it means to you
God will test you to see where your heart is at- according to Deuteronomy 13:3
You can lie to yourself, spouse, friends, and me. But no lying to God. He knows what you lvoe
You can be at work 40 hours a week and be doing it unto the Lord- there is no getting out of that
Deuteronomy 7:9-10 READ Love God or he will destroy those who hate him
You want to be on the love side! You want to be on the mercy side!
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
If you don’t love God, don’t expect that all things will work together for Good in your life. That’s not a promise of Scripture.
But how do you change your heart? BY CHANGING YOUR MIND
3.Jesus said- With all your mind- your mind means what you desire. What you think about
Matthew 4:17 repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.
Jesus understood and taught that the beginning of kingdom effectiveness starts with a changed mind.
56 times the word appears in the NT. You need to have a change of mind.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Romans 8:5-6 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
What are you thinking about all day? What is your focus on? What do you dwell on?
Whatever you think about the most is what you love the most and if you don’t train your mind, you are going to live a gutter existence.
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
You got to be involved in this! What do you think about?
1 Peter 1:14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
If you never have a changed mind, then you are going to constantly be thinking about the things of your past. Past sins, past relationships, wanting and longing for the things of this world
4.With all your soul means who you are
Simas said- “The essence of the biblical definition of the soul means life, personality, the inner self and our identity. It’s where we make our decisions and choices that ultimately decide our lifestyle and behavior. Think of the soul as the “core you.”
If your identity isn’t found in Christ and people don’t know you as a Christian, you are not loving God with your soul, because you have compartmentalized who God is to you.
He hasn’t taken you over. He has just become a part of you. You’re not following Christ, you’re merely liking the occasional post by him on Facebook.
You got to get this soul part right! Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Your soul belongs to God already! He gives you free will so you can CHOOSE to follow him or not! And in your choosing- you are deciding who the Lord of your life is going to be!
Ezekiel 18:4 “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.
If your soul belongs to God- you’re just giving back to him what belongs to him. It was never yours in the first place.
This is what is so crazy about Christ- You are just giving back to him what was his in the first place!
What does it mean to you?
You love God with your whole soul when you make Godly choices
If you’re making choices that shame God and are filled with sin and pride you are not loving God with your soul.
If you are following your desires and not the desires of the Lord you are not using your soul
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
How you speak. What you spend. Who you spend time with. Where you live. Where you work. How you spend your time. Who are your friends? What do you guys talk about? What are your hobbies? Show me your checkbook. I will show you what you value.
Matthew 7:13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
I have location sharing on my phone. I can go and look at my map and see where I’ve been and how long I’ve been there
On the surface it looks like I love to eat out. Which I do- but I’m always with people. That’s what I do. The gym, the church, home depot, walmart, costco. Its not that exciting.
But what it shows is where I spend my time.
Where is your soul being directed? Where are you choosing for your soul to rest?
Trying to obey Him
Following God demands that you obey what his word says.
And it’s a submission of the WILL. It does not come naturally. You FORCE yourself and DEMAND yourself to line your life up with the word of God
You do what God asks you to do whether you agree with it or not, to honor God
John 3:36He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
Now this “believe” in “not believe” is ap-i-theh’-o; to disbelieve (wilfully and perversely): – not believe, disobedient, obey not, unbelieving.
If you are not obedient, God’s wrath rests upon you.
Trying to be humble in life and speech
How you conduct yourself shows a lot about who you are. Haughty attitudes. Quick tempers. Nasty words and self aggrandizing yourself isn’t what God wants of you
If every story is about you, or that your story is better, or that you are never wrong that’s a soul problem
Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
Me and wife- correcting each other in a story. Does the minute details of the story matter?
Its prideful! Just let your spouse tell the story- No need to correct them.
Matthew 23:12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
Humble yourself. It will all be taken care of. Speak less of yourself. More of others.
When I meet someone, I rarely tell them I’m a pastor unless they ask. I invite them to church. I tell them there are loving people here- but its not about me.
2 Corinthians 11:30 If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity (weaknesses)
5. So, do those things and you’ll be great! Unless, you pay attention to this end of this story-
Read Mark 12:28-34
34 Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
“you are not far from the kingdom of God”
See- Jesus came to preach the Kingdom of God. The arrival of kingdom living. Return to God, be forgiven. Usher in the Kingdom.
The scribe asks, whats the greatest, Jesus answers the question, and the scribe says he gets is right. Jesus response? “you are not far from the kingdom of God”
What a vote of confidence! Love god, love my neighbor as myself, and that still doesn’t get me into the kingdom? Not according to Jesus! That’s not enough!
Loving God and Others is not enough in Jesus eyes to get you into the kingdom- Takes MORE
John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
Not just Love God with heart, mind and soul. Not just love neighbor as yourself
Loving your neighbor as yourself isn’t good enough because you are a rotten vile sinner that doesn’t have the full capacity to love. THIS IS WHERE MANY CHRISTIANS STOP AND MISS THE MARK
JESUS DEMANDS- “Love each other as I have loved you” or “look at my life- see how I loved you, THIS is how I want you to love each other- if you do THIS you’ll experience Kingdom”
If I loved you as I love myself- it wouldn’t be good enough- I don’t love myself enough. I don’t like everything about me. I don’t believe in myself. I get it wrong. I am self loathing.
You don’t want me to love you like I love me. I’m mean to me sometimes.
I need to love you like Christ loved me
He forgave me. He believed in me. He restored me. He inspires me. He tells me the truth. He obediently loved me in spite of myself and my brokenness.
He saw in me something that I didn’t see in myself.
1 John 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
If you don’t love people Like Jesus loves them, you are FAR from the kingdom. Youre Not living and loving like Jesus wants and desires for yOU