Oh, did I type that outloud?
Love Jesus more than… ___________
Love Jesus greater than… ___________
Love Jesus > sin.
Love Jesus > evil.
Love Jesus > ourselves.
Love Jesus > our spouse… children… dog or cat.
Love Jesus > our home… our cars… our wants/desires… our stuff…
Love Jesus > our feelings… our beliefs… our emotions…
Love Jesus > our friends
Love Jesus > our church.
Love Jesus > people.
Love Jesus more than people?
That’s God’s command – That we love HIM with our entire being.
“Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and mind” (Matt 22:37).
“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27).
“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deut. 6:5).
“You shall have no other gods before me Me” (Ex 20:3).
“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain” (Ex. 20:7).
Let’s let that marinate…
Love the LORD God (Jesus) with everything you’ve got in you…
Love the LORD > (more than) other people’s thoughts, behaviors, attitudes, words, works, actions, beliefs, preconceived ideologies…
Love the LORD so much so, that you cannot stand for His name, His reputation, His precepts, His commands, His holiness, His righteousness – to be defiled by other people’s ________ (fill in the blank).
We are not to put anything – A-N-Y- T-H-I-N-G above HIM.
No thing above HIM. No place above HIM. No person(s) above HIM.
Love Jesus >
Without the complete understanding of the weight of this command – God’s demand for purity, holiness, and righteousness – there is no possible way that we can proceed with any Biblical instructions for anything else.
We talk a lot of christianese telling the church to “love God, love people.”
But what that has been interpreted to mean, by the recipients of that message is: “love whatever god you want, just make sure you love people more.”
In other words, what we have been saying is: “Don’t worry about offending God… just be careful that you don’t offend people.”
Look – this isn’t anything new. Paul covered this throughout the New Testament. In his letters to the Corinthians, especially the second – He expresses his fear that they are in danger of being “led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ (v. 3).
When we hold others to account – we are called “self-righteous” and told that we are not to judge others.
Then we become the subject of passive-aggressive attacks on our character and motives.
Improper and misinterpreted application of Scripture tells people that “God loves you just the way you are…”
But He doesn’t.
There has never been recorded one single incident where Jesus did not call a person to repentance.
The fact is that His holiness, His righteousness, His name – is more important to Him then our comfort.
Love Jesus >
Paul’s opponents rode into the town of Corinth and said – “look, if Paul’s such a worthy, righteous, man of God – then why has he suffered so much harm?”
Heard that before?
I have. As a matter of fact, I have heard that quite a bit lately… not directly of course – but like Paul, we are the subject of much gossip lately.
“If God’s in it… He’ll bless it… God will fling open the doors…”
What does God’s blessing look like? What’s on the other side of that door?
Paul explained to the Corinthians that his own sufferings were indeed the blessing of God – “so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same suffering that we suffer” (2 Cor. 4-6).
For us – the affliction is we don’t get grant money because we refuse to take Jesus out of our programming.
To them – what that means is that we don’t care about the lives of the victims of domestic abuse.
But we love Jesus >
To them – we are self-righteous because we hold to account those whose walk doesn’t match their “talk” and we lose “friends.”
But we love Jesus >
To them – we are unworthy to serve – because we are sometimes critical, intimidating, offensive.
But we love Jesus >
To them – we are not being “blessed,” because the road we travel is hard, filled with twists, turns, and roadblocks – even dead ends.
To us we see that Scriptures tell us that trials produce endurance that when it has come to have its full effect, we will be perfect and complete – and lack nothing.
So, we love Jesus > (more than) fear… trials… people…
Paul never made apologies for loving Jesus > _____________. He was steadfast, courageous, and bold.
We talk about being these things… But do we practice them when we lie to people and tell them that they are “acceptable” to a holy God?
Do we practice them when we drag our brothers and sisters through the mud for demanding the church be the “light on the hill” by practicing righteousness, holiness, and purity?
On the contrary – gossip is an example of loving the self, the church, the feelings, > Jesus.
We must love Jesus >
When God flings open the doors to a big-fat mess of controversy – we tend to run, justify, or simply lay down the sword of the Spirit – because, well… that might be offensive.
But when a true believer takes a stand against what might be considered controversial – and will cause others to get angry and feelings to get hurt… You prove your allegiance – to whom you truly serve – by blaming/shamming the servant of God by condemning the actions of the believer – over the feelings of the other –
Because we love people > (more than) Jesus.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21)
What is your standard of measure? People or God?
From a psychological perspective – this phenomenon is the referred to as cognitive dissonance. The Bible calls is spiritual warfare – it is a tool Satan uses to get people to do things that go against their beliefs and values – just like he did to Eve in the garden.
An example of this is demonstrated in what is known as Stockholm syndrome. Stockholm syndrome was named after a bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden, whereby the hostages, who were held by force for six days, began to sympathize with their captors. Patty Hearst is a more famous example of this cognitive-behavioral phenomena.
They came to love their comfort > (more than) justice – or their freedom.
We are now witnessing this very phenomenon repeat itself in the church – in the hearts and minds of the believers – the very witnesses called to defend Truth have succumb to their captors…
They have come to sympathize with the un-repentant heart – in complete defiance to God’s demand that the church remain pure, holy, and blameless.
We excuse, normalize, and justify worldly behavior – in the name of “Love.”
Because we love people > Jesus.
In complete blasphemy of the one who is Love – we strive to protect our idolatrous status in the community and maintain our reputation of being loving.
Because we love ourselves, our status, our reputation…. _________ > (more than) Jesus.
We pursue unholy and unrighteous relationships with others – sometimes even committing fornication and unholy marriages –
Because we love our feelings and desires > Jesus
And so we seek to please those who hold us captive.
We must change our perceptions to His perceptions – We must not continue on this path.
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