Christ’s Great Commission commands us to be a disciple-making church. But what kind of disciples? What qualities are we to instill in the disciples we make? That’s where today’s sermon comes in. For the Lord has not only given us the Great Commission. He has also given us the Great Commandment. Today, we’re going to focus on the first part of the Great Commandment which calls us to make disciples who have a Heart for God. In Mark’s gospel, Jesus was asked to name the greatest commandment. In a sense he was asked to simplify all of the writings of the Bible down to one simple statement. He didn’t pause. Jesus told his hearers that the greatest commandment is to love God with all your being, essentially with all your heart. Through Jesus, we can have a heart for God.
Here’s an automated transcription of the message:
All right, good morning, church. We’re starting a new series today entitled heart how heart change leads to world change and it’s our conviction that the only way to really see world change is one heart at a time, because the need really is in the human heart and over the next three weeks we will be unpacking this idea. And as we do, we’re really talking about the purpose, the mission, the vision of the church and more than that we’re talking about how you, how god wants you to have a new heart for god, heart for each other and a heart for our world.
The word heart is in the bible eight hundred and sixty two times. So it must be a pretty important word to God. in most of those instances, it’s not speaking of that which beats within your chest . However it’s almost always talking about a more metaphoric use of the word heart, which is the idea of the center of your being, or a description of the throne or the control center of your life.
According to oswald chambers he says the bible is the heart is the center of physical life, the center of mercy, the center of damnation and salvation, the center of god’s working and the center of the devil’s working the center from which everything works which molds the human mechanism. Now i know some of you think i misspelled some words in the oswald chambers quotation but those british believed that the are spelling those words correctly
you know in today’s language the word heart is often use anonymously with the word passion or the word love you’ll see it on facebook sometimes or in other social media heart you which means i love you we have a passion for something and so that’s certainly the way the bible often uses it but it uses it really in a much larger fashion
again quoting from oswald chambers we read the heart is not merely the seat of affections it is the center of everything the heart is the central altar and the body is the outer court. What we offer on the altar of the heart will tell ultimately through the extremities of the body and so here oswald chambers is comparing that our bodies are like a temple and the heart is like the holy place where we put god first in our body is like the outer courts now here’s the problem if the heart is so important to god how can we love god with all of our heart when we have a heart condition? Because the bible also says this this is from jeremiah the human heart is the most deceitful of all things and desperately wicked who really knows how bad it is so we have a heart problem so how are we supposed to love god with all their heart when our hearts are out of god’s will our hearts are messed up we need a new heart
as we look around the world today we often say well we need a new world we would like some new things to happen in the world we need a safer world and so we read the headlines we watch the twenty four hour newscasts we see the political divide in social media as even close friends and family members begin to take sides and argue we think if we could just change washington d c we could change our world if we had a different president if we had a different congress a different governor if we had better police or a different sheriff better schools or more laws or people had more money or we had safer streets or better housing and we go down the list of if we could just change our external condition in the world we’d have a a better world but is this true?
The bible says no it isn’t because the problem is not so much a world problem as it is a heart problem because no matter where we go, if we could create a perfect world, you’d mess it up because we all have a heart problem. So this is why the church has been given the great commission from jesus that’s who we are where the body of christ the church is you , the churches, all of you that believe in jesus the church is not the bricks it’s not the steeple it’s the people you’re the church
i believe that the church is the most important institution on planet earth it’s the only institution other than marriage that god ordained the first institution He ordained was marriage and then the next one He ordained was the church the idea of nations well, that was our idea more than God’s. Here we see that jesus gives the church a commission, he says in matthew twenty eight go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all that i’ve commanded you. And behold, i am with you always to the end of the age this is what we’ve called the great commission notice what he’s commanding the church to be about making disciples that’s what we’re supposed to do, we’re supposed to make disciples
i used to be in the business world for a long time before i came to be a pastor, i worked in corporate america and i was a student of several leadership gurus. One of them was a fella named peter drucker. He says that in leadership there are two important diagnostic questions, the first is what business are you in? And the second is how is business? Well, what business are we in church we are in the disciple making business? And then how do we answer the second question? How’s business? Well, let’s, just look at our hearts because that’s what we’re about, we’re about leading people to make significant heart change, putting christ as lord of their lives. So when we’re talking about this so the great commission says make disciples, but what is the quality that we’re looking for? Well, there’s, another great part of the bible called the great commandment that i think informs what type or what quality of disciples the church’s called to make. Listen, the great commandment tells us that we’re to love god with all oh love god with all so we have a great commission make disciples and we have a great commandment let’s make disciples who love god with all let’s focus now on the first part, that of what he talks about, he says, love god with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind, all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself, but we’re just going to focus on the first part, and we’re gonna be looking at mark chapter twelve, where jesus was asked to name the greatest commandment, and he didn’t even pause he said, well, let me tell you what it is He said it’s, love god with all and love your neighbor as yourself. I believe today that we can live according to that as we give god our lives, and he gives us new hearts. We can live god with all of our heart live for god loving god with all of our heart. And as we look at the text, i think we’ll see four ways that we can express this so let’s, look at the text, it’s, a short reading today, but we’re going to dig in deeply
chapter twelve four starting at verse twenty eight, and one of the scribes describes 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, and jesus answered, the most important is here o israel, the lord our god the lord is one 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 god’s word amen
we’re going to pause right there there’s more to it but we’ll pick that up next week and we’re going to focus on that first part as we talk about four in ways that we can love god with all of our heart now i know some of you are going how are we going to get out of here today? Well we’re going to get through it relax it’s gonna be okay here’s the first
give god the first day of your week through passionate worship give god the first day of your week through passionate worship you know, one of the scribes came to jesus and said of all the commandments and there are hundreds of them in the old testament of all of them which is the most important or the greatest or as it says in the original greek, which is the protos which means the first okay, so it doesn’t mean in some order but it means which one has priority which one is most important or greatest and so this is important because i’m going to be working that out in this message because how do we worship god love god with all of our heart and then how do we live if there’s nothing left over for anyone else if i give god all my heart what’s left for my spouse what’s left for my children my grandchildren for my co workers my neighbors if i i mean how am i going to do anything if i give god all of my heart there’s no room for anything else so that can’t be what it means it must mean something different and i think the idea of first protos the greatest the priority is the key how do we show that we’ve given god all of our heart by giving him the first place in all things so that everything is guided by him? This is what i think helps us understand this commandment this greatest commandment jesus begins by reminding us of what god taught us
deuteronomy chapter six verses four and five the jews called it the shema shema means to hear or to listen they would repeat this three times a day in their daily prayers there early morning prayers as that began the day the midday prayers and then the evening prayers before they would return home they would pray three times a day going to the temple if they lived near jerusalem and they would begin their prayers with the shema here oh israel the lord thy god is one god this is how jesus starts off with the great greatest commandment they were taught his children to sing it. And so even today this shems is still sung in a prayer form i’d here oh israel the lord thy god is one god and so they knew this this is how jesus answers
dr james brooks and his commentary on the book of mark says that shema is crucial because the obligation to love god is based on his oneness because he is one our love for him must be undivided interesting insight our love must be undivided only one first love what kind of love what’s that familiar greek word agape that’s god’s kind of love sacrificial of the kind of love that the only way you can have it is if god pours it out in your heart and then he says from your heart, i want first place now i find it interesting that god who made you and who everything belongs to it has no need of sleep or food or shelter. He is all powerful and has no need of nothing, yet he has desires and among his desires is that his creatures his creation us, that we would love him back don’t you find that amazing that he made us and demonstrates how much he loves us by sending his one and only son to die in our place for our sins to pay the price he says this is how much i love you i love you this much and so he sends jesus to die and then he says you know what i want back from you i want you to love me with all your heart that seems appropriate doesn’t i mean anything less than that anything less than that is not worthy love him with all your heart
you know when jesus told john to write the book of revelation he says i want you to write to the seven churches the first one i want you to write to is really the best church it’s ephesus to a great church they just sent their youth on a week long uh student camp you know church of ephesus have just done that they had a great preaching team that could fill in when the pastor was on vacation without missing a beat they had life on life discipleship in their church and they were getting ready to expand the children’s ministry i mean ephesus was a great church and they said you guys were awesome said tell him that in the letter but he said there’s one thing i hold against you you have forsaken your first love you are doing everything right you’re reaching your city doing everything right but you’re not on fire for me like you were at first any first place to love god with all your heart is to love him first and then that changes had you love everyone else there’s room in your heart to love others when you love god first it’s like this huge expansion that takes place in your heart we love god first this idea of first fruits is throughout the old testament he was teaching the people of israel how to worship and he said, bring your first fruits because when you bring your first fruits you’re recognizing that i own everything anyway
Psalm twenty four says the earth is the lord’s and the fullness thereof the world and those who dwell there in god owns everything he made it it’s his so how do we give the one who owns everything already? What do we give him while we give him the first part we give him the first fruits in our life in order to show him that he has first place
Exodus twenty two you shall not delay offering the first fruits of your produce and your juices the firstborn of your sons and it just goes on first part give him the first part and in that way by faith you’re showing him that he owns the whole part even the first part of your heart giving priority and in that way you are loving him with all but we have a heart problem had to bring that up again
jeremiah says we have a heart problem um it’s sinful it’s deceitful it’s wicked what are we gonna do about that we need a heart transplant we need a new heart Ezekiel foretold that a day was coming when the lord would give us a new heart and that day has already come it came when jesus came and he offers us a new heart a new way of living he prophesied he says i will give you this is the lord speaking i’m going to give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you i will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh i’m gonna give you a new heart have you received a new heart? So we said the heart is the center here’s another way of saying the heart is the driver’s seat in your automobile give god the keys to your car in other words let him drive your life here’s the keys you get control the speed and the brake and the shifter in the steering wheel i’ve already told you people get that heretical bumper sticker off your cars you know the one that says god is my copilot get rid of that we need a new one somebody here needs to make it get it on your t shirts and so god is my pilot i’m in the backseat put him in charge give him your heart give him control of your life when you say jesus is lord you’re saying jesus is my pilot jesus is my boss he’s my master he’s in control give him the first part of your heart give him your heart how do you do it?
I Peter says this but in your hearts set apart christ as lord set him apart as pilot as master as in charge god i’m putting jesus as my lord as my master a single person that means he’s involved in who you date you don’t get to choose on your own you say lord you guide me there’s a lot of married couples who have got some problems and are saying single person you had better listen to the preacher he knows what he’s talking about right can i get an amen on that that was pitiful that was a pitiful amen
At some point in time we need to do something we need to do a message on how to go to church i mean some of you people i need to work on them that would get a random amen somewhere i know it i know what’s coming down amen we want to put god first as a single person. What does that look like as a married person? Whoever put god first that’s what it means to surrender your heart to him now we’re talking about how we give him the first day of the week, and that’s what believers have done for two thousand years, because on the first day of the week, jesus was raised from the grave, and from then on the church has worshipped on the first day of the week. You know, the jews always worshipped on the seventh day of the week, remembering what god had taught them and gave them the sabbath, but because of christ being raised on the first day of the week. From then on, the church has practiced this worshipping on the first day of the week in this way we are always remembering that christ defeated sin, death and the grave, and we come together to celebrate on a weekly basis because giving him the first day of the week is like giving him the whole week. Are you still with me? I’ve been describing that by giving him the first day of the week, the first part of the first day of the week. You’re in a sense tithing your week to him and saying god the whole week belongs to you but in recognition of that i’m gonna give you the first part of the first day of the week and i’m going to come together with other believers to say it’s true but the problem with that is believers are not doing that in america like they used to
according to the hartford institute of religion more than forty percent of people claim to attend weekly services and that’s according to the barna survey which does a phone survey and says do you go to church and how often but because of the halo effect have you heard of the halo effect when people are doing surveys people answer what they think they should answer instead of what they really do i probably should go to church so they say it more so forty percent say they go but the truth is when the hartford institute looked under the hood and actually examined church attendance rates and they asked the churches they found that really around twenty percent of americans attend church one out of five americans attends church on a weekly basis but really not even that not even a weekly basis because if they attend three out of eight sundays they consider themselves a regular attender three out of eight sundays now
twenty years ago you couldn’t be considered a a faithful member of a church unless you attended sunday morning sunday night wednesday night i grew up in that church, did you? I mean that’s the country i grew up in sunday morning sunday night wednesday night, so three times a week was a faithful member now it’s three times in eight sundays and it’s going more and more that way we’re becoming a post christian church, a post christian world rather in america because we’re starting to tell ourselves i don’t need those other people i don’t need to be sitting there in a church i can stay at home and tune in my favorite worship mix on pandora, you know i could listen to it, i get my worship on and you know what? Pastor Gary is on itunes now i could get his podcast , i can either listen to it through my head set while i’m taking a walk around the block or i can even watch it on my video screen in between my sock feet while still lying in the bed, you put it on there, gary didn’t, you know? I mean, well, yeah, i guess i did and why should i even come that way? I don’t have to inconvenience myself and come out and sit with these people, i really don’t like them that much anyway, but the problem is it’s more than just hearing the sermon it’s more than just worshipping alone we come together for empowerment for encouragement and we look at each other and go you still in? Yeah, i’m still in
we are holding each other accountable by our very presence and going i’m giving another week to god god’s still in charge of my life we come to you and we come together for power and then we scatter for mission it’s like you scrape all the coals together and make the fire go higher and we get fired up and then we spread out all over wilson county and the surrounding areas to set the world on fire
we need to come together people the church is god’s plan for changing the world for reaching the world He doesn’t have a plan b he sent jesus to die to lay the foundation of the church to be raised from the grave he’s at the right hand of the father the church is god’s solution and you are part of it the church is not the bricks the church is not the steeple the church is you doing battle. The church is the people.
Number two, the second way that we can love god with all our heart that we could have a heart for god. Give god the first conversation of your day through focused prayer. We’re focusing on the word soul of god with all your heart love god with all your soul , because really soul is part of heart it’s one of those things, it’s, like the heart, really encompasses soul, mind and strength, but then it’s, like god, breaks it down so that we can understand in all the avenues that he means it. So the word soul in the greek it’s where we get the word psychology that’s the part that represents self in that part, we need to focus that on god on the first part of every day, through our first conversation.
sometimes we talk to the wrong people first, if you get up and the first person you’re talking to is your yelling at your toddler or your toddler’s yelling at you? I mean, the life the day gets ahead of you, or if the first conversation is you are griping to your spouse, or you’re talking back to your parents who were telling you to get out the bed. It’s time for school and if you if that’s your first conversation, you often get your day all messed up, you get it started wrong, but what if you started every day talking to the one who made you. The lord jesus christ? Get up every day and say, lord, i want to talk to you,you’re giving him what all your heart, all your soul how do you do it?
Give him the first part; give him the first conversation everyday the bible calls that prayer I was at a gathering this week and we were doing this thing where we’re getting to know each other better by asking questions, and one of the questions was what’s favorite part of the day. What your favorite time of day and several people in the group said all of the morning, i love the morning because it’s quiet and i hear the birds singing, i could get a cup of coffee and read the bible and some of the people were kind of shaking their heads, but some of the younger people in the room , the ones like in their twenties and thirties, the ones with three or four kids, they were like, no way you should come to my house the morning is the most chaotic time of day at my house it’s crazy mom i need some milk i need some cereal you need to get ready for school i got to get ready to go to work it’s just crazy it’s like the hardest time of day now here’s the past or putting the guilt trip on us and you need to give god the first conversation of every day i wake up running and i don’t have time to talk to anybody yeah you need it more than anybody you don’t have to talk long just have to start there i think it was dr charles stanley who first gave me this illustration and i’ve often used it in my personal life maybe it would help you before you get out of the bed cup your hands down like you’re pouring out something on the bed just say lord i pour out everything i thank you for forgiving me of my sin i thank you for all that you’ve taken away from me that it was hindering my relationship with you and now lord fill me up afresh for a new day then stick that foot out and get it on the floor and start your day i mean that doesn’t take that long as you grow as a believer, learn to pray longer and you learn to carve out time but just get started and give him the first conversation, give him the last conversation of everyday and the first conversation of everyday it’s just a great way to live and if you’re married, this is a great way to to say good night to each other just hold hands in the bed and pray together before you go to sleep. That’s a great way to just let the last thought be of your lord
when you first wake give him the first conversation, it is with the lord by the way, some of you have tried praying with your spouse, i just can’t do it husbands often say that i tried praying for my wife, but i have a hard time. I’m afraid if i pour out too much, she’ll, like interrupt me and say, i didn’t know you were struggling with that and then she’ll want to know more about and i don’t want to tell her more about it or, you know, here’s a couple of profound things to take note of here you might not have noticed this men and women regardless of what the culture teaches men and women are different women are different, they’re not the same. They’re different, they pray differently And so my wife and i, we’ve kind of landed on she’s going to kind of modify how she prays and so do I so we match each other, and so i like to pray like at thirty five thousand feet. I kind of do a flyover and name the major geographic features of our life what we need to pray she likes to dip down and kind of walk through the garden a bit and talk about what color everything is and how it smells and she’s real detailed. And i guess that a lot of men and women are different like that and sometimes it’s opposite but we try to pray together before we go to sleep at night. You know who’s the best in reminding me that we forgot to pray. She is. Oops! Okay, let’s pray
last conversation at night with the lord and then the first in the morning. Can you do it? You can do it, he’s going to give you a new heart you can do with that new heart i like how david prays he’s got this prayer journal called psalms. Psalm forty two here is an example as a deer pants for flowing streams so pants my soul for you oh god why’re you cast down o my soul and why are you in turmoil within me hope in god for i shall praise him again it’s like david talks to himself and he says soul which is really self why don’t you write right now why you are feeling depressed? Why are you down? Get right with god put your hope in god like that he’s keeping a prayer journal that’s a good idea, by the way prayer journal writing down your prayers you’d be amazed how many things god is answering in your life if you keep record
you know jesus, the son of god he had a habit you know what it was he started every day by talking to his father look at luke chapter five but jesus would often go to some place where he could be alone and pray he had a habit. It was something he often did he had to get alone and pray
mark one thirty five very early in the morning jesus got up and went to a place where he could be alone and pray got it good that’s good two of you got I’m telling you i’m sending you all to church school pretty soon turn your worries in the prayers it takes the same effort it takes to worry you can pray what is worry worry is self talk you’re talking to yourself what are we going to do? I don’t know how we’re gonna pay that bill i’m not sure i don’t know how we’re going to do it i don’t know either well, i was trying to get no i can’t and you’re talking to yourself that’s called worry it’s a waste of time no one ever fixed anything by worrying and ninety percent of what you worry about never comes to pass where did you get that statistic? I don’t know i just made it up but i feel like that’s true most of what you worry about doesn’t come to pass when you turn your worry into prayers it takes the same amount of energy instead of turning it inward turn it upward instead of talking to yourself talk to the lord lord, i need help with this and start your day. Start your first conversation with lord give give that day to the lord
here’s number three give god the first thought of your day through biblical meditation give god the first thought so give him the first day of the week for worship give him the first conversation through prayer give him the first thinking you do the first thinking and biblical meditation and we’re looking on how to love god with all your mind so love with all your heart love god with all your soul love god with all your mind well here’s what we need we need a new mind i need a new way of thinking how do we get it? Well we need to rewrite the hard drive our minds are filled with stinking thinking we need the lord’s way of thinking about things how do we get it in there we read the bible and we meditate on it and we study it it’s god’s love letter to us and to start the day in prayer and read the bible. okay gary i’m telling you you have not seen what my morning looks like not trying to guilt you here I am trying to help you hopefully most of you took a shower before you came to church today and most days you probably take a shower before you go to work or school am I right most of the time and you’ve built a habit your parents taught you to do it when you were younger and you figured out how to put that in your schedule well in the same way that you do that the same way you use soap every morning toe clean your body you need soap, spiritual soap every morning so you need scripture that you observe that you apply and that you pray over soap you need to read scripture you need to make observations what is it saying to me how to apply it to my life and then how can i pray that back to god say god help me have that in my life like that i need soap in the same way on a daily basis i need scripture in my life
some of you are going to ask me this week now i don’t know where to read that’s a good book should i start the beginning no don’t do that it’s not that kind of book there are sixty six books here and you shouldn’t start at the beginning if you’re just beginning start with the gospel of john it tells you about what jesus did for you start there just start reading john you’ve been a christian for a little while you’ve already read john you need to read james that’ll tell you why things are happening to you the way they’re happening and if you’ve already knocked those two books out come to me or one of the people in the church that have been a christian a little longer and they’ll tell you where to go next but don’t just don’t just pop around you’ll get all confused be orderly about it and that’s the first answer to what do you read
the second question is how long should i read? I’d read until god speaks well shall I read a chapter two chapters. I don’t know sometimes you read one verse and need to stop. Or you need to keep reading it’s not, not like you’re under some duty or obligation you’re trying to hear from god and so one great prayer to pray when you pray that first prayer in the morning, say god I want to read your word and want you just to speak to me, give me something that will just give me life for the day that will be some meat i could chew on and just start reading listen, god loves he loves to give you a word from his word so just read until your heart is stirred sometimes it’s one verse sometimes it’s one chapter sometimes it’s a couple of chapters, but one of the things i’ve noticed, if you’re new to it, if you’re just getting started god is really graceful towards you if you’ve been doing it for a while, he would want you to read a little more before he stirs your heart. Just start this
here’s what the book of psalms says concerning putting god’s word in your heart thy word have i hid in my heart that i might not sin against thee here’s one thing you could do, you could go someplace like staples or walmart and go to the computer section where the printers are, and they usually have different kinds of papers and stuff and there’s this paper that’s for business cards and it’s perforated like ten or twelve cards per page buy a pack of those and then tear an amount. So you’ve got these little blank business cards and with an ink pen and your hand, not with a computer not typing with your hand write on one side, psalm nineteen eleven let that be your first card, that’s your first card, psalm nineteen eleven then flip over to the other side, and write Thy word have I hidden in my heart, that it might not sin against thee, and then stick it in your pocket, man, or stick it in your purse, ladies. And then all week long work on that verse psalm nineteen eleven, Thy word have I hidden in my heart that it might not sin against thee oh, i got it right, that’s good psalm nineteen eleven so now you’re memorizing both the reference and the verse, and you’re filling your heart you’re filling your mind with god’s word so that it’s overriding and transforming your mind.
The bible is living and active it says in hebrews it is sharper than any two edged sword piercing to the division of soul and of spirit of joints and of marrow discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart we need the word in us now see christianity is different from eastern meditation christian meditation is not eastern it’s not hinduism or buddhism it’s not that kind of meditation in that kind of meditation the goal is to empty yourself but in christian meditation it’s to fill yourself with god’s word listen to what god said to Ezekiel the prophet he says son of man eat this scroll eat this scroll and go speak to the house of israel so i opened my mouth and he gave me the scroll to eat and he said to me feed your belly with this scroll that i give you and fill your stomach with it then i ate it and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey this is your food as jesus told the evil one who tempted him man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of god you can do this god has given you a new heart and with a new heart to get a new desire people who love god with all their heart love god’s word
number four here’s the fourth way give god the first part of your effort through generous giving you’ve got the first part of your effort through generous giving that we’re talking about loving god with all your strength that word strength has the idea of activity it’s not potential power but exerted power the bible has different words that are very accurate and helpful where we get the word dynamic dynamite that’s potential power but this word here points more to exerted power activity love god with all your activity with all your words how would you do that? Does that mean everything i do everything i work for i got to give it back to god i mean like now he knows you have to live he knows you have to have a house and you have to drive a car to get the work he knows this but he wants you to give him the first part how do we keep up how do we keep record of our work our strength exerted how do we keep record well in the modern economy we call it money we call it money Now I am talking to the kids here here we used to have these things called coins if you’ve ever seen these coins and this paper that had like george washington on the front of a lot of them and we would keep it in a thing called a wallet it’s back in the day not today there’s no such thing now i know that your parents have already given you a debit card right and you already i don’t know how that works and i just give them that and they give me my stuff i don’t know how that works
i remember when my kids first started going to college Stephen had just started and i would get a call from the bank the manager at the bank knew me your son has overgrown his checking account again so i’d call Stephen okay Stephen, what happened? You overdrew your checking account dad I stuck the card in the ATM and the ATM gave me money. It said i had money that’s because you had written checks over here and they hadn’t hit the bank yet you know checks okay used to be this thing there was paper and you wrote who you’re writing it too. Okay never mind anyway that’s how we kept up with in our modern economy back in the day they kept up with their strength exerted through animals and through their produce what they produced it was an agrarian society and so they would bring their first fruits they would bring in their wheat or their barley or their lamb we keep records differently and so to love god with all your strength means you bring him the first portion today of your money of your stuff and you say god it’s all yours my car is yours my house is yours my stuff is yours my bank account is yours but i know you want me to be able to serve you and to take to be able to live but i’m going to give you the first part as an expression of my worship and that my heart is for you so it makes sense that’s the thing i’ve learned is that you can live better off of ninety percent then you can off of one hundred because the problem is when you try to live off of one hundred you will end up trying to live off of one hundred twenty percent and then you go into debt you’ve got more month that you do money but whenever you put god first it’s like he sews up the holes in your pockets and helps organize your life if you’re putting him first you see that’s what worship is about
tim keller talks about how there’s two movements worship is the first is to recognize what something’s worth and then the second is to give it what it’s worth and that’s what worship is towards god you look at me god you’re worth everything so i’m going to give you my all you recognize what he’s worth and you give him what he’s worth and how do you give him all
here’s what he said give me the first part just give me first part give me priority so that i know you believe that it’s all mine in the first part in the first part now we already do that we already worship things we say i want a house i really need a house i want to live in a house that i own nobody really owns their house some of you may someone in here may own their house or probably my age or older you own your house but really the bank owns your house and you’ve said i’m going to give you thirty years of my strength so i can live in your house and then at the end of thirty years it gets to be my house here you’re depressing me and i’m going to give you five years of my life so i can drive your car i’m going to give you five years of my strength so like that so you say the car is worth five years of my life and i’m going to give my car what it’s worth like that the house is worth thirty years of my life, so i’m going to give it like that so what i’m saying here’s what i’m suggesting god’s not saying you don’t need a house you don’t need a card don’t misunderstand me here’s what he’s saying give the first part and then as you have given the first part say you know what? It’s all yours so when someone needs help my car is available when someone needs a meal or someone needs help my house is available it’s really helpful when things break down by the way like god your car has broken down you get your car fixed god it’s really helpful with your prayer life just give it all to god give your body to god
first corinthians do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy spirit whom you have from god you’re not your own you were bought with a price remember your god that your body belongs to god give your job to god and if you’re a student your job is to go to school make A’s okay that’s your job but whatever your job is Colossians three twenty three whatever you do work heartily work with all your heart as for the lord and not for men so some people say, well pastor,you have a spiritual job, you have a sacred job but i have a secular job who made that up that’s not true if you’re a believer everything you do is sacred everything you do is wholly under the lord so work at it with all your heart and let god tell god you know little or jesus is my teacher and i’m making grades for him the lord jesus is my employer and i’m working for him it just happens to pass through whoever that is in front of me right now whatever employer it is it’s it’s really coming from jesus it’s just passing through that person but my employer is jesus christ that’s who my boss is and then tithing just gives god the first portion
Proverbs says honor god with everything you own, give him the first and the best first corinthians says every sunday put aside some money in proportion to what you’ve earned save it up so there’s no need to collect later paul’s talking about this matthew six twenty one jesus says where your treasure is listen where your treasure is there your heart will be also you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their checkbook and their date book do they give it to god? Will you give god the first part of your strength it’s how we give him all when you give god all your heart all your soul all your mind and all your strength you’re becoming the kind of disciple that we’re called to making you a disciple who has a heart for god oh what would happen to the people in this room if all had a heart forgot what would it do to our city how would it change our state in our country and our world it only took twelve to turn the world upside down when jesus changed their hearts what would it look like for you to have a heart for god
let’s pray jesus first of all i just lift up that person here today who came in needing a heart transplant needing a new heart is that you my friend right where you are right in your seat just considering this have you ever given your heart to christ have you ever given your life is what i’m saying to christ you can do it right now it’s an action you can take right now through prayer believing you might pray with me dear lord jesus praying right where you’re at lord jesus i’m a sinner i’ve been in control of my life but i don’t want to be in control anymore i give you my life i give you my heart i believe that you died on the cross for me that you were raised from the grave that you live today i believe it would you come into my life now and give me a heart for god? Forgive me of my sins and make me the person you want me to be? I want to follow you. I give you my whole life, my heart, my soul, my mind, my strength, it’s yours . If you pray that prayer right now believing in your heart the bible says, if you if you believe in your heart that god raised him from the dead, you’ll say with your mouth that he’s the lord you’ll be saved. I’m thanking god right now for you and then i’m also praying for that person this morning that knows christ is lord and savior. But maybe like the church of emphasus, the fire has gone out. You don’t love him like you once did you have forsaken your first love? He slipped into second place. Would you confess that right now and say lord, set my heart aflame, afresh for you? I give you every arena of my life so that it has first place ahead of all others in jesus name. Amen.