The first and great commandment
“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 12:30
Suggested Further Reading: 2 John 1-6
We are bound to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Thus, we deduce that we are to love God supremely. Thou art to love thy wife, O husband. Thou canst not love her too much except in one case, if thou shouldst love her before God, and prefer her pleasure to the pleasure of the Most High. Then wouldst thou be an idolater. Child! Thou art to love thy parents; thou canst not love him too much who begat thee, nor her too much who brought thee forth; but remember, there is one law that doth over-ride that. Thou art to love thy God more than thy father or thy mother. He demands thy first and thy highest affection: thou art to love him “with all thy heart.” We are allowed to love our relatives: we are taught to do so. He that does not love his own family is worse than a heathen man and a publican. But we are not to love the dearest object of our hearts so much as we love God. You may erect little thrones for those whom you rightly love; but God’s throne must be a glorious high throne; you may set them upon the steps, but God must sit on the very seat itself. He is to be enthroned, the royal One within your heart, the king of your affections. Have you kept this commandment? I know I have not; I must plead guilty before God; I must cast myself before him, and acknowledge my transgression. But nevertheless, there standeth the commandment—“Thou shalt love God with all thy heart” that is, thou shalt love him supremely.
For meditation: The Lord Jesus Christ preached what he practised (Matthew 10:37,38). His Heavenly Father’s house came first, but he was obedient in his earthly parents’ house (Luke 2:48-51); his Heavenly Father’s will came first (Matthew 26:39), but even while he was carrying it out, his earthly mother’s wellbeing was upon his heart (John 19:26-27). We love our families, our fellow-believers and the lost ones best, when we love and obey God first.
Sermon no. 162 8 November (1857)
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